“I couldn’t believe it could happen twice.” That’s how Heather Hournay, an Event Based Volunteer with the American Red Cross, began our conversation.
Heather and her family reside in Redding, California. She explained that on Friday the 13th in January, 2017 she and her family were sleeping when her husband awoke and discovered a fire in the ceiling of their daughter’s room. Just as the family had everyone and all the pets out of the house there was an explosion and the home was destroyed.
Heather said her church contacted the Red Cross and a Disaster Action Team arrived at her home. Red Cross volunteers offered the family comfort, gave them much-needed hugs and offered them assistance to get through the next few days. The family began their road to recovery.
Fast-forward to Thursday, July 26, 2018. The Carr Fire began moving toward her new home. Heather and her husband gathered their children, their pet rabbit, Guinea pig and dog and fled to a friend’s home. As of today she is unsure if she has a home to return to.
Knowing her family was safe, Heather began searching for a place she could help others affected by the fire. She found the shelter at Shasta College that was helping evacuees. She found the Red Cross new volunteer intake area and applied. “It only took about 15 minutes and I was an official Event Based Volunteer,” reported Heather. Immediately she began talking to evacuees, offering a sympathetic ear and when appropriate, a hug. Heather said she has laughed and cried with other in the same situation she finds herself.
When asked she had decided to volunteer, Heather said, “I just had to work and serve to get through this.”
Sacramento, CA (June 1 2016) — Texas residents are once again facing devastating flooding and the American Red Cross is there, helping those affected. Since the beginning of the year, numerous storms have ravaged the state, displacing thousands of families and devastating homes and businesses.
Some parts of Texas have already received as much as 19 inches of rain and the threat isn’t over – weather experts predict flooding will continue for several more days.in the Red Cross has 15 shelters open in Texas.. Emergency officials estimate that some 6,000 homes may be affected as mandatory evacuations continue.
Red Cross volunteers have mobilized once again, and our local region is helping with this national disaster by deploying volunteers. The Red Cross is also providing meals in coordination with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other local partners. Red Cross volunteers will also be delivering relief supplies as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Texas has been having a tough year. Disasters first hit the area as the year began and again in March, April and earlier this month,” said Robin Friedman, Regional Disaster Officer. “Many families have suffered repeated loss from several floods just this year alone. Red
Cross workers have been helping from day one and will remain in the affected communities in the weeks and months ahead to make sure people get the help they need.”
HOW TO HELPYou can help people affected by the Texas Floods and Tornadoes by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word TXFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Texas Floods and Tornadoes will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.
FLOODING SAFETY INFORMATION With the threat of more flooding in the region, the Red Cro
ss has steps people should follow to remain safe:
Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and heed evacuation orders when given. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from floodwaters.
If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep children out of the water.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY With the threat of more severe weather, people should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.
The Gold Country Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties.
For more information, please visit redcross.org/GoldCountry or cruzrojaamericana.org. Stay up to date by following us on Twitter (@RCSierraDelta | @RedCrossNECal) or join the conversation on Facebook’s Sierra-Delta Chapter Page or Northeastern California Page.
Henry Braxton was among the first to assist the American Red Cross when he and his neighbors were caught in the path of rising water in the Natchez, Louisiana, area. Every day for nearly a week, he did whatever he could do to lend a hand, from helping to distribute cleanup kits to showing volunteers flood-damaged areas.
“The Bible says put my hometown first and put myself last, and I think God will bless me for that,” Henry said one recent evening at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Natchez, where the Red Cross offered hot meals, cleanup supplies, emotional support and casework assistance.
He was among dozens who attended, but he wasn’t there to seek help. Rather, he assisted people carrying cleanup supplies and other items to their vehicles.
Inside the church, Henry reached into his pocket and pulled out a Red Cross challenge coin that he received for his efforts—a coin that few receive and even fewer have ever seen. When he displayed the coin, it was obvious to Red Cross volunteers that Henry was a person who had been singled out for recognition.
“It was a high honor and brought tears to my eyes. I was just doing the best I could to help the people needing help,” he said.
Henry, a big man with rippling muscles and an infectious smile, said his late mother raised him to be kind to others and to go to church. To honor her, Henry said his philosophy is simple: “Any way I can help out, I will.”
As he talked, it was clear that Henry deserved more than the thanks of a grateful Red Cross. Henry said he hadn’t signed up with the Red Cross for help, and with that, he
was introduced to Jeremiah Norrell, a Red Cross Jeremiah Norrell, a Red Cross caseworker from the Sacramento, California area. Henry explained how he had lost his refrigerator, stove and furniture to rising water, which soaked his floors. Yet he hadn’t asked for anything.
Henry indeed qualified for Red Cross immediate assistance, as he and Jeremiah together checked a map to see that his home was in a flooded area. He was eligible for supplemental Red Cross assistance and in position to be referred to various partner agencies for things such as clothing and furniture.
As he left, Henry stopped and hugged volunteers who helped him get assistance. When he walked out the door, he turned around, waved and smiled before disappearing into the night.
Jackson, CA – Saturday, September 12, 2015 – The American Red Cross has established a public information line for inquiries from the public regarding Red Cross services during the Butte Fire.
The number to call is: (925)588-6678. The phone number is being staffed by a Red Cross volunteer. If you get a busy signal, we ask for your patience and to call back.
The three emergency evacuation shelters established by the Red Cross are located at:
Good Samaritan Church, 4684 Baldwin St, Valley Springs
Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall, 189 Pine Street, Valley Springs
Jackson Rancheria Hotel and Resort – 12222 New York Ranch Rd, Jackson
We appreciate the good intentions of people who want to donate items, but financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most.
The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle a large influx of donations such as household items, clothing or food that may or may not be useful to victims as it takes time and money to store, sort and distribute donated items. If community members still like to donate goods, we recommend they contact other organizations in their community and inquire if they are accepting donations.
“Financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help we deliver and ensure that we can provide what disaster victims need most,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Regional Communications with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Donating is simple, just call 1-800-Red Cross or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.”
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.
SACRAMENTO, CA (July 31, 2015)— The American Red Cross Gold Country Region has spent the last several days responding to multiple wildfires throughout Northern California. Thankfully, we’re ready to respond at a moment’s notice and we are prepared for what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons that California has experienced.
“We know this is just a sneak peek into how bad the fires could be this season” said Lilly Wyatt, American Red Cross Communications Director. “With the extreme drought we’ve been experiencing for four years, we know the threat is there and we are ready to respond and assist our community.”
WRAGG FIRE The Wragg Fire, which began on Wednesday, July 22, forced multiple evacuations around Solano and Yolo Counties. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Ave, Winters, CA, where evacuated residents can received lodging, meals, comfort and information. We accommodated five residents overnight, but had more than 20 fluctuating throughout the day as residents come and go.
KYBURZ FIRE Thursday July 23, more Red Cross volunteers were called into action to set up an evacuation center at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center, 2675 Sanders Drive, Pollock Pines, CA. for resident impacted by the Kybrurz Fire, which closed both directions of Highway 50. We
LOWELL FIRE The Lowell Fire at the Nevada/Placer county lines exploded just as the Kyburz Fire was easing on Saturday, July 25 around 3pm. We opened a shelter in Grass Valley to support Nevada Country residents. Eleven residents stayed at the shelter overnight and another 15 persons staying in the parking lot of the High School in camper’s cars and motorhomes. Red Cross provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to 25 people while the shelter was opened.
SWEDE’S FLAT FIRE In the morning of Wednesday, July 29 another wild land fire erupted, this time in Butte County. Local government requested the Red Cross to set up an Evacuation Center and we were able to have it available within a couple of hours at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville CA. The evacuation center quickly transitioned into a full shelter to house seven individuals overnight.
CHINA, HAPPY AND MALLARD FIRES Three different blazes sparked in Shasta County the evening of July 29. Although small in acreage they were threatening multiple homes and the Red Cross established a shelter at Anderson High School.
BIG CREEK FIRE Also on July 29 a vegetation fire in the Groveland Area of Tuolumne County began burning heavy timber. The fire spread quickly and 65 homes were evacuated. At 8:00pm, Red Cross staff and volunteers established the evacuation center at Groveland Community Hall to have it ready for those who needed a comfortable place to rest.
“In 2014, we responded to dozens of wildfires, more than ever before and 2015 is shaping up to be as bad as last year,” said Wyatt. “From July 1 to the end of September we had at least one shelter open except for just 18 hours.”
BE PREPARED The Red Cross urges communities throughout California to get prepared for what will likely be a long and severe wildfire season. The Red Cross urges residents to follow all evacuation orders from local enforcement and be prepared for disasters like wildfires. All families should have an emergency game plan for disasters large and small. Make sure your home has an emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Click here to learn more about preparing for and responding to wildfires.
HOW TO HELP Become a volunteer or make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donations can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Three months have passed since the devastating earthquake rocked Nepal and its aftershocks shook surrounding locations. The Red Cross is still there providing relief and helping to rebuild.
On April 25, 2015 Nepal was severely impacted by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which took the lives of many and left others homeless and in a state of helplessness.
5.6 million people were affected, and of that number 17,932 people were injured and 8,856 people were killed. On top of the loss of lives 543,034 houses were destroyed.
To date nearly 8,000 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been deployed, and more than $13.6 million have been spent or committed to emergency relief and shelter and cash distribution.
With generous support and donations we have provided health services including medical care, first aid and psychosocial support; we’ve distributed more than 2.8 million liters of safe water, and more than 7,000 relief kits and hygiene kits have been distributed to Nepal survivors.
This natural disaster was one of the largest to strike Nepal since 1934, and we will continue to do all that we can to assist with the restoration and rebuild of Nepal. Our primary areas of focus are food, water, shelter, health care and cash grants.
We are confident that we can extend our hand to aid in relief efforts.
When people see the Red Cross responding to emergencies, they often want to help but don’t know how. We want to help you get involved now, before a major disaster strikes.
Our volunteers respond to a local emergency every 11 hours. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes. We work in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.
Most of you have probably noticed reports of several fires in our region. With our record drought conditions, it will not be surprising to have many more, and the danger of a big fire is greater than ever.
The Red Cross has had a presence in the Gold Country region for over 100 years with a modest number of dedicated individuals. Now only a very small number of volunteers remain to provide initial help to folks who have lost their homes, who need a place to stay, food, and maybe critical prescription medications. These same volunteers are regularly the ones to start the process of setting up evacuation centers and shelters for large disasters.
If our local volunteers are not available because of vacations or illness, volunteers from Yuba City or Sacramento will respond, but driving time will insure it won’t be as prompt. Consider your family standing beside the ashes of what used to be your house without money, credit cards, car keys, phone and phone numbers, only the clothing on their backs – would waiting an extra hour or two for help make a difference?
You can make a difference by volunteering with the American Red Cross. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Requirements are few: 18 or over, retired or with a flexible work/school schedule. We do require a background check of all our volunteers, We do this to ensure both our volunteers and clients have a positive interaction with the Red Cross .
We have several areas where you can get involved, from communications/public affairs to disaster response and recovery, fundraising, preparing the community for a disaster and general administrative support. For more information or to sign up visit: www.redcross.org/GoldCountry.
Sign up for the Team Red Cross App, which allows you to sign up to help, get an overview of basic tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in your community.