April 17, 2024

Service to the Armed Forces

Service to the Armed Forces, SAF, is the official emergency communications link between Military Personnel around the world and their families. The American Red Cross, through Congressional Charter is appointed to provide this service (Red Cross HIPPA Exemption). The American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services delivers around-the-clock emergency communication between military personnel and their families. These services are available to both active duty and community-based military members and their families.

Our chapter provides this service with the help of dedicated volunteers who have received training and who have also gone through a “mini-apprenticeship” with an experienced volunteer. Volunteers are on-call during times when the office is closed. Our chapter averages about one call per day. When a call is received, the volunteer will verify the information or message and send the message to the appropriate military authority or family member. All of this is done by telephone and the internet. This is an ideal volunteer opportunity for a stay-at-home mom, a retiree or someone who is homebound.

The Central MN Chapter of the American Red Cross also helps provide emergency financial assistance to active duty and retired military personnel through their branch emergency relief offices.

For more information about SAF, volunteering, or to send an emergency message please call our office at 1-800-560-7641

When calling to send an emergency message, it is helpful to have as much information about the servicemember and situation as possible. The following are pieces of information that are used for SAF messages (not all are necessary for every call, most important items regarding servicemember are in bold):

  • Service member’s full name
  • Rank/Rating
  • Branch of Service
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Military address where deployed
  • Home base unit address
  • Unit phone number
  • Hospital name and phone number (if applicable)
  • Attending doctor name and phone number (if applicable)
  • Funeral home name and phone number (if applicable)
  • Local point of contact phone number (if possible)