Four Heroes and an Unforgettable Bus Ride to Save Their Students

On October 16, 2019, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Friese Foundation honored Kevin McKay, Mary Petersen Ludwig, Abigail Gerspacher-Davis and Allyn Pierce for their heroic actions in helping students and patients evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

Their story made headlines around the world.

This week, the Gold Country Region is reflecting on the people who were directly affected by the Camp Fire, and the many Red Cross volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly to help them in their recovery.

Red Cross Monitors Fires Across State as Fall Fire Season Takes Shape

As much of California continues to wait for power to be restored during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), we saw some 275 fires break out across the state Thursday.

Here in the Gold Country Region, Disaster Program Manager Patricia Davis is representing the Red Cross at the State Operations Center as we monitor developments statewide.

Of note are the Sandlewood Fire in the Desert to the Sea Region and the Saddleridge Fire in the Los Angeles Region.

Desert to the Sea opened a shelter with an overnight population of 16.  They have a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) up and running and have all of the resources they need, according to Division Disaster Executive Denise Everhart.

The Los Angeles Region has opened four shelters, two of which have reached capacity and they are prepared to open more.

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“While it may seem that wildfires are a way of life in California in the fall, people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night, the smoke is affecting everyone, and the fear is real,” noted Everhart in message to Pacific Division leadership.

“Some people have lost everything, but as always, the Red Cross is there helping alleviate suffering in the face of these wildfires by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

With these developments comes this guidance from the American Red Cross: Be prepared. Disasters unfold very quickly and can leave little time for last-minute decision-making if you are forced to evacuate.

Be Prepared

Wildfires can be nearly as impossible to prevent, and as difficult to control, as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. The fall wildfire season typically begins mid-October and continues through December. Fires can happen any time of year, but there is a higher risk during this period because of low-humidity and other fire-conducive conditions.

With millions of homes near woodlands, the American Red Cross offers tips on what to do if a wildfire threatens so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS

A wildfire can spread very quickly, giving you little time to evacuate to safety. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Obey evacuation orders from officials.

  • Back your car into the garage or park it outside in the direction of your evacuation route.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust – keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor pollution such as candles, fire places and gas stoves.

If you are trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.

  • Do not put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose. Moist air causes more damage to airways than dry air at the same temperature.
  • If there is no body of water, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks. Lie flat, face down, and cover your body with soil. Breathe the air close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs or inhaling smoke.

Do not return home until officials say it is safe to do so.

  • Inspect the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
  • For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks throughout the home, including the attic. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause fires.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

If you would like to support the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts with a financial donation, please visit redcross.org.

 

Red Cross Shelter Housed 12 After Stockton Apartment Ceiling Collapse

Stockton Apt Shelter

The American Red Cross sheltered 12 people Sunday night after a ceiling collapsed at a Stockton apartment complex.

Damage at the Meadow Green Apartments was caused by excessive water after weekend rains, according to local media reports.

Anyone who was directly affected by the incident who needs a place to stay is welcome at the shelter which is located at the Arnold Rue Community Center,  5758 Lorraine Ave, Stockton, CA, 95210.

The Red Cross provides for immediate needs at our shelters, including a place to sleep, food and beverages.

You can support the Red Cross by making a donation at redcross.org.

Have a Passion for Disaster Preparedness and Like to Talk to Kids? Check Out the Pillowcase Project

The American Red Cross Pillowcase Project is a free, interactive preparedness program designed for youth ages 8 to 11. The program aims to increase awareness and understanding of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills, and personal preparedness.

Through instructor-led presentations, students learn the best ways to stay safe and how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during a disaster. Students also have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases and share what they’ve learned with friends and family.

The curriculum meets many of the Common Core State Standards for grades three to five.

You may request The Pillowcase Project one-hour presentation for your school or youth program by selecting The Pillowcase Project here.

The Gold Country Region is also always looking for volunteers to lead Pillowcase Project presentations. Go to redcross.org to sign up and help!

Yuba County Recognizes volunteers as Part of Red Cross Month

As part of Red Cross Month, the Yuba County Board of Supervisors today recognized local volunteers.

We are so proud of the many volunteers who help the Gold Country Region carry out the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

 

Red Cross, Partners Helping Coast Guard During Shutdown

With thousands of U.S. Coast Guard service members and families facing financial hardship as a result of the ongoing government shutdown, the United States Automobile Association (USAA), the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), Inc. and the American Red Cross are teaming up to help Coast Guard service members and families in need.

Read more here.