In the Eyes of a DAT Volunteer

Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee
Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee

Just when you though that Placer County would NEVER get another DAT call it happened early this morning.

At 1:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was our Disaster Program Manager (DPM) Tami Martin. Poor telephone connection but we finally communicated. I had been deep in sleep so it took me awhile to get dressed – out the door at 1:45 headed for the back hills of Auburn. Tami invited some others to respond and Arry Murphy said yes! OK – we were a team. I was pleased that Arry said yes. She had only limited experience with 901s, even less with CAS2.0 or DCSOps. But, when given a task, she plows ahead and asks good questions. Dependable, reliable, accurate, smiles, laughs, doesn’t take herself too seriously, all great attributes.

At 2:30 a.m. I finally arrived at a very busy scene. Probably 8 fire trucks all with flashing lights were easy to see once I got close to the address. I found the incident Commander and he pointed out one of the occupants (the wife). As is typical the front yard was strewn with household items that the firemen had been able to salvage.

The fire started in the garage of the one story ranch style home then quickly spread to the attic and across the whole home. After the fire reached the other end of the home, where the bedrooms were located, the home had filled with smoke and the smoke alarm finally went off. It certainly saved this family of three plus their four animals (1 dog, 3 cats). By the time the fire department reached this remote home, it was fully engulfed.

Arry and I learned that the family would stay with friends and that they had structural insurance so we provided them with food and clothing allowances plus comfort kits. The 7-year-old daughter was well behaved, but it looked like she would sleep for a week once she finally got into a bed.

We left at 4:00 a.m. with CAC card authorized and the clients very appreciative of our support. My take home… the mother’s smile. Genuine, sincere, caring, grateful. It was a good night.

I fell asleep at 5:30 a.m. after driving home, eating a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and finishing the paperwork.

For other DAT volunteers, if you have not done so already, ask about how to put your availability into DCSOps. If your not in DCSOps we don’t know about your availability. Need help, just ask. PLACER DAT ROCKS!!!

Best Regards, Heath Wakelee American Red Cross Volunteer Placer DAT Team Captain

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Gold Country Crosswords

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region serves the Sierra-Delta Chapter as well as the Northeastern California Chapter, a total of 24 Counties from Stanislaus to Siskiyou. We are happy to serve the 4.4 million residents in the state.

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