Monday, April 26, 2010

The American Red Cross Responds to an Apartment Fire

Last week the American Red Cross opened a shelter to 19 individuals affected by a duplex fire on Thursday April 22nd at 4 p.m. in Salt Lake City.

A total of 19 individuals spent the night in the shelter and the Red Cross provided them with comfort, care, shelter, meals and items for infant care such as diapers, milk and juice.

Twenty-six Red Cross volunteers participated in this shelter operation set up, management and casework for the adults and many children affected. One of these volunteers, Kris Hirschbeck, sat with the four children who had to run out of their house without shoes when the fire started.

When sitting with the kids, Kris noted that they were not concerned with the destruction of their material possessions. Rather, they were worried about whether or not they could finish the year at the same school and if their family was okay. “The neighborhood was really pulling for the kids, coming over to ask if they could help, I was happy to be a part of that,” Kris said.

The total numbers of individuals affected was six adults, four teens and eight children.

Nine individuals returned to their home the following day. The utilities were restored in one side of the duplex and disaster clean-up efforts are underway.
Ten individuals were not able to return to their home due to the damage caused by the fire, but they made plans to stay with family and friends.

The Red Cross also helped the individuals with some immediate clothing needs and connections to other community partner agencies and charities if long term assistance is needed.

Kris loved being with the kids and being able to help, “It’s a good feeling to help people, it makes it worth all of the hard work.”

The American Red Cross also responded to a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The American Red Cross responded to a fire just after midnight. Two individuals were injured in the fire and taken to the hospital. Disaster Action Team members offered the individuals shelter upon their release from the hospital and the Red Cross will follow up with them to offer help with any other immediate essential needs today.

Red Cross Chapters in Utah responded to 114 disasters last year. Some of them rendering multiple families homeless. Nationwide, the American Red Cross’s local chapters help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing, emotional support and other life necessities. Volunteers give comfort kits to victims of fire, flood or other disasters. The kits include helpful items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a toy for children.

How you can help:
Help people affected by disasters like this fire by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or your local Chapter. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Learn more

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