Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My First Fire Call...

Amy Mayer, Volunteer Coordinator, Kern Chapter
Being an employee of the Kern Chapter of the Red Cross for 6 months now, I am a bit ashamed to say it has taken me this long to go out on a fire response.  Alas, the call came at 6:30pm last night.  Although I was not happy about the fact there was a fire in someone’s home, I was quite excited to have the opportunity to go out with the team.  Two volunteers and I met at our office and loaded up the ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle).  I opted to sit in the back for the ultimate riding experience. 

The incident was in a not-so-great part of town that I was later told is actually one of the most dangerous.  As we pulled up to the scene, we were met with the image of a charred home.  The front windows were blown out and the inside consisted of piles of scorched belonging that were once a life for a family of three who now had nothing.

I finally was able to witness first-hand the impact the Red Cross can make.  We were able to provide the family with adult, child, and pet Comfort Kits (toothbrush, comb, shampoo, deodorant, etc.) as well as referrals to community centers in town for food, clothing, shoes, and other necessities.  We also provided them with a 2 night stay at a nearby hotel until they can hopefully find an alternate residence and get back on their feet.

As we left the scene a little over an hour later, knowing that our volunteers locally and throughout the country are in some way able to ease the heartache and dry the tears that come with losing one’s home is honestly the greatest feeling and makes me extremely proud to be a part of and support the extraordinary mission of the Red Cross.     

Monday, April 8, 2013

Big Hat Days

This weekend the American Red Cross' booth at Big Hat Days was a big hit! With the help of 50 fabulous volunteers, and sponsorship from Pacific Gas and Electric and State Farm, the Red Cross taught over 1,000 visitors how to build their own emergency kits, make emergency evacuation plans, create emergency kits for their pets and learn how to save a life by performing hands-only CPR.

Everyone we spoke to was incredibly eager to start preparing their own families and was excited about the free services that Red Cross offers. We were even able to schedule several preparedness presentations to schools and community organizations! 

A big shout out to all my wonderful volunteers who came out to help and my teammates, Alex and Sandra, for helping me make this event a success. Below are some fun pictures from our event. Enjoy!