Friday, January 2, 2015

Giving Hope: A Local Disaster Response

One of the many goals of the American Red Cross during disasters services is to address our clients’ most serious human need. In most of the fire call cases I have been to the Red Cross provides: temporary housing, water, food, transportation, comfort kits, and referrals for food and clothing. The service that we provide to our clients addresses all serious human needs, and our clients are very appreciative for the comfort and hope that we’re able to provide.

Recently, the Kern Chapter was dispatch to respond to a house fire near downtown Bakersfield. Disaster Action Team (DAT) responders were able to gather comfort kits to meet the needs of the whole family.  As we loaded the Emergency Response Vehicle with water and comfort kits, our lead on call remembered to bring toys to comfort the children from the disaster their family had recently experienced.

Red Cross DAT responders assist a family after a home fire

My first contact with the client was via phone.  I was able to communicate with the father of the family, and I told him the Red Cross was on the way to help them out. Arriving at the scene I was able to meet the father and I gave each family member a hug and introduced my self to the family. I told them I was here to help them out. The client was stressed because he was at a loss; his bedroom was burnt to the ground. All of the clients clothes including the clothes of his children were located the bedroom that was affected due to the house fire.  The kitchen was completely affected and none of the food was saved. After completing the damage assessment, the client joined me and in the Emergency Response Vehicle and I completed the intake interview.

The next day, I was able to contact the client and do a follow up. The client communicated that they were going to live with extended family until his house got renovated. The client was able to purchase food and clothes with money that was provided. Within 24 hours, the Red Cross was able to provide all the basic needs of the family and then some. The client had a place to stay, water to drink, clothes for their kids to go to school the next day, and food. The following day, I was able to set goals with the client and also set a time frame of three weeks for his recovery plan.  The client has been very impressed with the service we provide, the client did not know ARC provided all these services and was very impressed.

Red Cross DAT volunteers respond to disasters like this every day in the Central Valley. Now you have a chance to help prevent home fires and save lives in your community.

The HFPC seeks to increase the use of smoke alarms in
neighborhoods with higher numbers of home fires.

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is a new initiative to install free smoke alarms in homes throughout the Valley. Join us on January 17, 2015 in Tulare or Fresno as we work to decrease death and injuries from home fires by as much as 25%.

CLICK HERE to sign up today!

Daniel Avina
AmeriCorps NPRC 2014-2015
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross Central California Region

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