Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions. If an answer to your question is not found here, please complete our Comment/Question form and submit.

Q: Is the American Red Cross a government agency?

A: The American Red Cross is not a government agency. Congress does not appropriate any funds for the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross is a private, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on the generosity of public contributions.

Q: Does anyone have to pay for disaster relief?

A: No. All American Red Cross disaster relief assistance is free and made possible by the voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. All American Red Cross disaster relief assistance is an outright grant.

Q: What is the mission of the American Red Cross?

A: The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. It does this through services that are consistent with its congressional charter and the principles of the International Red Cross movement.

Q: What is the volunteer philosophy of the American Red Cross?

A: The American Red Cross is an organization governed, supported and primarily staffed by volunteers. Paid staff is an enabler of, and not a substitute for volunteers. Teams of both paid and volunteer staff working together and sharing responsibilities fill principle management roles.

Q: What are the prerequisites for becoming a certified lifeguard?

A: Minimum age of 15 by the last session of the class. Swim 300 yards continuously as follows: 300 yard swim with 100 yards of front crawl, 100 yards of breast stroke and 100 yards of either. For breaststroke the skill must be demonstrated using a pull, breathe, kick and glide sequence. 20 yards back and forth swim with surface dive to retrieve a 10-pound object from a depth of 7-10 feet in 1:40.


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