During the past year I have served the Red Cross as an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) driver, as a ham radio operator providing communications, and, mainly, as a team member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT).
DAT Team Members respond immediately to house or apartment fire calls when people are displaced by fire. I consider it truly an honor to be able to serve the local American Red Cross chapter by directly serving the people that have been affected by fire. Some memorable stories stand out about the many fire calls I have been on.
JUST GETTING GROCERIES
The large family that was affected by this fire had just been out grocery shopping when they received a call that their house was on fire. They came home to a totally destroyed house - only the walls, chimney and part of the roof remained. Fortunately no one was home at the time so there were no injuries. However, some pets perished in the fire. The cause of the fire was a circuit breaker in the garage. The family had no where to go. The American Red Cross provided the family with a motel for a few days and funds for food and clothing. Red Cross responders are also trained to give guidance in the recovery process.
FIRE IN THE CHILDREN'S BEDROOM
|In Red Cross vest, Gary Crown helps set up |
antenna for HAM Radio operations during a shelter drill.
Some of the scariest call-outs I have been on involved fires that started at night in children's bedrooms inside electrical outlets, traveled up the wall, and into the attic. During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 26,100 fires and $1 billion in property losses. To prevent this, be sure to routinely check your electrical appliances and frayed wiring. Fortunately, no one in any of these incidents I was called out to were hurt. Being able to be there, representing the American Red Cross, to assist these families by providing food, shelter and clothing is the greatest gift of all.
"I JUST LEFT THE STOVE FOR A MINUTE."
Another very common fire is the kitchen fire, sometimes called the "grease fire".
Many times the cook is heating cooking oil to fry something on the stove and gets called away. The baby is crying. The phone is ringing. Someone is at the door. In that short amount of time the oil ignites, catches the wall on fire, burns through the ceiling into the attic. Sometimes the fire department can catch the fire before it goes farther. Sometimes it burns so fast the entire house is destroyed.
No matter what the emergency or disaster, the American Red Cross is there helping the people affected.
It is an honor to serve the American Red Cross.
My philosphy is: "If you can't serve drectly, serve those who do serve."
Please donate generously to your local American Red Cross chapter.
Volunteer, Disaster Services