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The American Red Cross makes changes nationwide

The American Red Cross has a new look.

In the summer of 2011, the American Red Cross announced its plan to reduce overhead costs and streamline operations while increasing programming and disaster response ability. The organization is now moving ahead with that plan across the state of Alabama and the nation.

For Butler County, that means joining a new chapter of the American Red Cross. Butler County used to be serviced from the Montgomery chapter, but now will be serviced from the Covington chapter with the Mobile chapter being the back up.

“It really means that our Covington County chapter has got two more counties – Butler and Crenshaw,” said Don Johnson, interim chapter executive. “We already had Covington County and Conecuh County.”

Johnson said his team of volunteers works all four counties from its office.

The consolidation nationwide is caused from the increasing technology and the ability to use it efficiently, Johnson said.

“It’s to make it a more efficient computer-based system so that everybody has access to all of the same information,” Johnson said. “We use to do military emergency messages locally out of the each individual chapter. Currently, they have a self-help telephone number that they can call that can go to the message center and get the information there and takes us out of the loop. It makes it more efficient and faster.”

The hope is for many of the American Red Cross programs to be like that, Johnson added.

Even with all the changes occurring, Johnson wanted to remind Butler County that nothing will change as far as service.

“We’re there,” Johnson said. “I’ve already been up there the last two months about 10 times, and I’ve handled at least five or six different fire emergencies, and we’re developing a staff of volunteers up there that they can call locally.”