2005 Hummer H2 American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle

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(from GM Press Release)  HUMMER owners are forming a group of volunteers that will be available to assist the American Red Cross in its disaster relief efforts. Under a collaboration announced during the American Red Cross Disaster Response Symposium in South Bend, Indiana, members of The HUMMER Club Inc. can choose to become certified as Red Cross volunteers who can be deployed in local chapter and national relief operations to drive supplies and people into disaster areas that other vehicles might not be able to reach. The volunteer program will go by the name of HOPE - HUMMER Owners Prepared for Emergencies.

In support of the HOPE program, the GM Foundation will contribute $4 million to the American Red Cross over a six-year period to assist the Red Cross in disaster relief efforts and to assist chapters in delivering local programs and services.

"When disasters strike, it's imperative that Red Cross personnel can access affected areas as quickly as possible," said Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "The off-road capabilities of HUMMER vehicles and the volunteer operational support by The HUMMER Club will certainly help our relief workers assess the damage and get lifesaving aid and supplies to those who need it most."

Mike Morris, a director of The HUMMER Club and national coordinator of the HOPE program, said that the program grew out of members' desires to get more involved with their communities by taking advantage of the remarkable all-terrain capabilities of HUMMER vehicles. "The HUMMER Club has a lot of people who care about helping others and are willing to give up their personal time because it's the right thing to do," Morris said.

The Red Cross will acquire HUMMER H1s, H2s and new H3 models that will debut next year. In addition, GM's OnStar subsidiary will provide OnStar service and OnStar Personal Calling will be activated while the H2 and H3 vehicles are in the Red Cross emergency fleet. The vehicles also will come with a GM extended warranty plan.

The HUMMER vehicles will supplement the existing 256 emergency response vehicles currently used by the Red Cross.

"The unprecedented string of recent hurricanes is a reminder that we all need to pull together to help the American Red Cross perform its vital relief work," said Rod Gillum, GM Foundation chairman and GM vice president for Corporate Responsibility and Diversity. "GM and HUMMER are committed to providing assistance to communities when disaster strikes, and we're proud to support The HUMMER Club in its new collaboration with the Red Cross."

To qualify for HOPE certification, members of The HUMMER Club will undergo and receive a variety of Red Cross training including CPR, first aid, automated external defibrillation and emergency response. In addition, The HUMMER Club will provide training and the necessary certification for off-road driving skills, ensuring that drivers can safely drive over or through obstacles, or remove them if needed. The off-road training will be held at regular HUMMER club outings and at specially organized events. Local HUMMER dealers also will support the Red Cross first-aid and HUMMER Club off-road training through various dealer events.

The contact information for certified HUMMER volunteers will be entered into the American Red Cross national database and those of local chapters. The national Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources System or the chapter can then call on the HUMMER owners in situations such as snowstorms or in the aftermath of natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, when debris blocks normal vehicles from getting to critical areas.

When The HUMMER Club put out an Internet survey asking members if they would be interested in the volunteer program, 50 people responded positively on the first day, according to Morris. The HOPE program is restricted to members of The HUMMER Club, a nonprofit organization comprising about 1,500 HUMMER enthusiasts. Morris predicted that many more club members will eventually become involved.

In addition to the participation by current members of The HUMMER Club, the HUMMER corporate staff will undergo training to participate in the program, which will add more than 25 people who will become certified by the end of the year.

"In a short time, we should have 400 to 500 people involved in the HOPE program, ready to help in a disaster situation," Morris said.


About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 900 field units dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by 1 million volunteers and 36,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 70,000 disasters, trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and keeps U.S. military families connected worldwide. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide. Marsha J. Evans is the President and CEO of the American Red Cross.