OnStar and the American Red Cross: Working Together to Help Those in Need

Posted on May 1, 2017

A man and woman stand in the OnStar Command Center looking at a computer screen filled with data. Large monitors surround them on the walls.

Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, OnStar's Command Center is staffed with trained specialists who monitor weather and disaster activity. They stay prepared to help our Members at a moment's notice with the critical assistance or information they may need.

OnStar's Command Center was on alert last August when more than 30 inches of rain fell on southern Louisiana, resulting in catastrophic flooding. Over the course of ten days, the storm dumped three times as much rain on the state as Hurricane Katrina did, killing 13 and causing more than $10 billion in damage. The American Red Cross called the disasterthe worst since Hurricane Sandy.”

"Just prior to the rainfall, OnStar had a meeting with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters that had a Red Cross executive on the board," says Mary Ann Adams, Member Crisis Manager for OnStar. "We shared the services we provide during emergencies, and that was top of mind to her when calls for help into the Red Cross became significant."

"As a result, the Red Cross reached out to OnStar for help and we determined that our call center capabilities could quickly provide support to the Red Cross in addition to helping our own customers impacted by this disaster," Adams explained.

Open Quote

You may not be in a disaster every day, but when you are, as a Member of the OnStar community you should know we have your back.

Mary Ann Adams, Member Crisis Manager, OnStar
Close Quote

Within a few days, OnStar Advisors completed Red Cross protocol training, and then they quickly began handling requests for shelter and delivery of food, medicine and other essentials. Over the next 45 days, OnStar Advisors assisted nearly 9,000 individuals calling the Red Cross for help, while also responding to the normal call volume from OnStar Members.

A woman in a red safety vest and red hat stands at the edge of a flooded street talking on a cell phone.

"There was a tremendous effort by many employees across our organization to make this happen, but it was rewarding for all," Adams said. "We felt good about being able to help others in addition to our own customers during this time."

Once the crisis subsided, the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) both expressed deep appreciation for OnStar’s help in aiding the community. “We really can’t thank you enough! Talk about saving the day,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Operations & Logistics for the American Red Cross.

“You may not be in a disaster every day, but when you are, as a Member of the OnStar community you should know we have your back,” Adams said. “In a disaster situation, it can be easy for Members to forget that we’re here to help.” In fact, OnStar actively reaches out to our Members during disasters in order to remind them to push their red Emergency button when they need help. And as always, the OnStar Command Center team and our call centers are on call and ready to serve around the clock, regardless of the emergency or crisis at hand.   

Learn more about OnStar Crisis Assist and how it can help you during an emergency.