Tree Demolishes Rocklin Home

By Heath Wakelee, DAT Volunteer

A family of three were sound asleep when a 40-foot tree fell down on their mobile home in Rocklin, CA, demolishing it completely. Fortunately, they were uninjured and able to escape into the darkness of night.

I was the Disaster Action Team lead and Arry Murphy was my volunteer teammate. We found the family frantic, as anyone would be. The 19 year-old daughter ran to us as soon as we parked the Red Cross response vehicle. We learned that neither of her parents speak English, so she acted as translator enabling us to complete our initial case work.

The family does not have home insurance, nearby relatives, nor savings. Sadly, this is a frequent finding when the Red Cross is called out to help. We provided the family with immediate assistance and they were very grateful.

I am blessed to be the face of the Red Cross in my community, but I’m not alone. There are thousands of volunteers all over the country who, without their selfless dedication, the Red Cross could not reach as many people in need.

Think The Red Cross Only Responds To Natural Disasters? Think Again!

When you hear the words, “Red Cross”, your first thoughts may be: natural disasters, blood drives or perhaps a literal red cross! To be fair, it is understandable why these would be the first things to pop into your mind as the Red Cross is exceptional at responding to and aiding natural disaster victims, organizing blood drives and being there for our community as a whole. But what is not widely known, however, is that the Red Cross cares even more deeply about our community than we originally believed and as such, respond to a wide range of incidents – not just natural disasters! Whodathunkit?


After receiving a dispatch call to Carmichael, CA, William Brittain, the Team Lead of a Disaster Action Team, immediately called the Battalion Chief in that area and was briefed on the call. The Battalion Chief indicated his concern over the lack of heat in the client’s residence and William, after learning this call was now 7 days old, told the chief there might not be much that the team could provide this person. Yet he did tell the Battalion Chief that he would be more than happy to meet and speak with the client in person to see if there was anything else the team could assist her with.


Upon arrival at the client’s residence, the Team quickly learned from the client that her gas service had been restored and she now had heat. She resides on the same property as the residence that had burned on the night of a fire. Fortunately, her residence was spared from the fire and there was neither smoke nor water damage within her home. However on the night of the fire, her utilities had been turned off.


Although the client’s gas had been restored by the time the Team had met with her, her electricity had not. In the meantime, her community had provided her with battery powered electric lighting, her son had provided her with a barbecue and she was keeping her food cold in a cooler with ice. The client had shelter, heat, food: the means to cook it and keep it fresh, water and clothing. Thankfully all of her emergency needs were met.


The Team then spoke with her landlord who was on scene and he told them that his tenant would be able to continue to live in her residence and that electrical service should be back on soon. Before leaving, the Team gave the client a street sheet and a 211 card and both the client and landlord thanked them profusely for coming out. William Brittain, Team Lead, then followed up with the Battalion Chief, informing him that the client had heat – and the Chief, in turn, expressed gratitude that the Team had gone to visit with the resident.


This is only one of the many different incidents the Red Cross responds to. And the Red Cross is ready and available if you need them. They are here for our community. They are a part of our community. =)

Fire Safety Tip from Tori: Blow Out Candles at Bedtime

I love the holidays! Every night at our house candles glow, the Christmas tree sparkles, and I dream of my first white Christmas. But, a forgotten burning candle can cause a devastating fire. So at bedtime, my mom and I make sure every candle is out. Because even though candles are beautiful,  they can also be dangerous.

Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays. Make sure no candles are burning when you go to bed.

Be safe this holiday season.


Fire Safety Tip from Tori in Twain Harte, CA: Keep an Eye on What’s Cookin’

It’s the holidays and for my family that means lots of time in the kitchen making big dinners and baking lots of pies!

Remember, when you’re cooking, check your food regularly, use a timer, and stay close to the kitchen. Don’t let that great food burn, or worse, start a fire in your home.

Did you know that about 40% of home fires start in the kitchen?

Keep an eye on what’s cookin’ in your kitchen. Be safe this holiday season!

Learn more about fire safety at the Red Cross website: Prevent Home Fires.

Water Your Christmas Tree Every Day!

Here’s an important fire safety tip from Tori in Twain Harte, CA:

Water your Christmas tree every day! A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.
Check out more important tips on the Red Cross website:
Seven Fire Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating and Entertaining.


A Day in the Life of a Disaster Action Team Member

Heath Wakelee

At 12:30 am early Wednesday  morning the phone rang and the cheerful but very dreary voice of Debbie Calcote was saying hello.  I recognized her voice immediately and knew that Debbie would only be calling me if she had exhausted all other options.  Sure nuff – that was the case.

OK I said, I’ll go to Woodland…..Woodland??  Michael Reeves from Sacramento was my partner and he arrived about 1:05 am, 10 minutes before me.  He had called me and said that the location had no fire equipment and no clients.  “Holed on” I said, I’ll be there in 10 minutes and I was.

The street was wet and outside both the front and back doors there was evidence of burned debris being thrown out.  The smell of smoke was fresh but no clients and no fire department… I called Debbie.  No contact info for the clients who said that they would stick around and wait for us.  Which they did not.

Fortunately (use of that word is debatable) for Debbie – she had just received another request for a DAT response to Knights Landing.  “Where is Knights Landing” I said and Debbie said “I don’t know.”  Great…I’m thinking it is down in the delta somewhere… I punched the address into my navigation system and fortunately it said that the address was only 20 minutes away.  It was now about 1:30 am when Michael and I headed to Knights Landing.

We arrived at about 2:00 am to find a single woman standing near her burned out mobile home.  Temperature about 35°F.  Luckily the trailer park manager allowed us to use her tiny office to do the paperwork.  Our client’s  options were few so we helped her with lodging, food and clothing, comfort kit and well wishes.  We do not carry street sheets for every county nor lists of hotels and perhaps we can put that on the web somewhere so it would be accessible to anyone in need (or perhaps it is already available and I just don’t have the info).

We departed at 3:00 am and I was home at 4:00 am to enter the paperwork and hit the sack by 5:00 am this morning.  Sleep was compromised because the house was very, very cold – turns out the heating system went out and the temperature outside was a cool 34°F.  Fortunately is was only in the low 60s inside.  Long story short – heater repair is now scheduled for tomorrow – Thursday.  Burrrr.

Very glad that we were able to help the one client.  Hopefully She is sleeping somewhere warm tonight.   Our electric blankets will be on high.

My very best to all …. and to all a good night.

Keep Candles Away from Pets and Kids!

Hey, I’m Marigold, but everyone calls me Mari. I know, I look sweet.

But I could start a home fire with my tail. Yup, I could knock a lit candle over and that could do it. So please, keep candles away from me—and all my dog, cat, and little human friends.

We’ll love you more if you do!

Let’s be safe this holiday season!


Keep Your Family Safe!

For many of us, the holiday season brings cozy evenings with family and friends around the Christmas tree, glowing candles, or a crackling fire in the fireplace. But too often, a dried-out tree, faulty string lights, a forgotten candle or fire in the fireplace can lead to a home fire and the devastating consequences.

Keep your family safe this holiday season. Follow these great safety tips from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department.


Check Your Smoke Alarms Today!

On December 4, the Sacramento City and Metropolitan Fire Departments partnered to stage a dramatic demonstration at their training facility which showed how a dry Christmas tree and faulty lights or a candle can spark a home fire. And, they showed the tremendous value and benefit to working smoke alarms. Though the demonstration fire ignited and grew quickly, the smoke alarm sounded loud and clear providing potential residents the opportunity to escape to safety. Research shows that smoke alarms cut the risk of death from home fires in half. Are your smoke alarms working properly? Have you checked the batteries lately?

Protect yourself and your family in two simple steps:

  1. Develop a fire escape plan.
  • Develop a fire escape plan for your household. Practice it several times every year at different times of the day and night. Make sure everyone can get out of your home in two minutes, or less.
  • Include two ways to exit every room.
  • Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes above the ground floor, such as apartments.
  • Pick an outside meeting place for your family to gather. Ensure everyone , young and old, knows where your meeting place is.
  1. Check smoke alarm batteries and install new alarms, if needed.
  • Test your smoke alarm batteries every month.
  • Replace batteries at least once a year, or more often, if needed.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and near every sleeping area.

Be prepared! Make a plan and check your alarms today!