Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hurricane Katrina's Disaster Relief!

Katrina Poitras, Disaster Services Director
Disaster Relief is such a big part of what we do here at the American Red Cross, and it needs people with a big heart to assist us in fulfilling our mission. Katrina Poitras, has recently joined the team as the Disaster Services Director and has so graciously offered to fill you all in with all the assistance the Red Cross has been providing right here in our Valley. So with that, we welcome Katrina, and I present to you, "Hurricane Katrina's Disaster Relief!" (Clever, right?!)

Fresno County

Gas Leak 1/8/11 
The Red Cross was called out at 3pm where I was told there were 14 adults and 19 children involved. When I got there the count had gone to 20 adults and 18 children. I had other DAT team members called out to meet me on scene. Four other DAT team members responded. Cindy assessed what families needed our services. DAT Team Members started assisting the families, while I secured transportation and housing with Yellow Taxi and Vagabond Inn.

Fire had been called out due to 2 of the children in one of the homes not feeling well. When the fire department arrived they entered into the apartment and noticed immediately there was a gas leak. They then began to evacuate the building and out of the 11 apartments, 9 had gas leaks. The families were living in substandard housing with no heat and only a few residents had small space heater to warm their homes. The rest were using the gas stoves to heat their homes. OES was called out along with social services and other agency to help with the crisis. All agencies worked well together in helping the families get to a safe place for the weekend and help them get their lives back on track. The American Red Cross housed 6 families and transported 2 families to the hotel. No food or clothing were in need as the families were able to take their own food and clothing with them to the hotel.

Fire Call  1/7/11 Single family home involved in a fire with 2 trailers that were not damaged by the fire but had residents living in them on the property, so a total of 3 families were affected.  Owner of the house lost everything and the other 2 families lost power to the trailers. Home owner is staying with family so only food and clothing was given provided, the other family received housing in a hotel for 3 nights and food. The third family has not come forward to receive any assistance. The homeowner lost 2 dogs and 5 puppies that were under the bed.

Fire Call  1/3/11 Single family home, child playing with a cologne bottle and matches as a torch and set the Christmas tree on fire, family has lost everything. Fire was around 5pm on Monday evening. Fire was contained and put out with only partial damages. Family left to spend the night with nearby relatives, when they were called out again around 4 am because the house had caught fire a 2nd time and they lost everything including their exotic pet animals – a snake, a Macaw, however they were able to save the Iguana and 2 cats. This was a single mom with 3 children. We housed them in a hotel for 2 nights and gave them food and clothing assistance.

Merced County 

Fire Call  1/4/11Single family home caught on fire due to electrical issues. Family has lost everything. They too had exotic and domestic animals that were lost, they had 4 dogs and 21 puppies just 4 weeks old, they were not able to save the mother dogs but the puppies were saved. The American Red Cross teamed up with a local pet rescue that were able to secure 6 of the puppies for foster care and the rest have been farmed out. The 6 that were surrendered to the pet rescue were the 6 that were struggling to survive due to smoke inhalation.
Update as of 1/10/11 one of the 6 puppies had to be put down, one more is struggling to live the other 4 seem to be coming out just fine.

This concludes this week’s update; this was a hard week for families and their pets. Please consider taking a Pet First CPR and First Aid class and I encourage every family to Be Red Cross Ready.

"Hurricane" Katrina Poitras