Red Cross Responded to 176 Large U.S. Disasters in 2015

At home and around the world, the Red Cross reached out to help those in need.

Friday, December 18, 2015 (Sacramento, CA) — In an unusually busy year, the American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people impacted by disasters in 2015, both here at home and around the globe. Red Cross disaster workers responded to 176 large U.S. disasters – more than each of the past three years.

The cost of just the four largest of these disasters is more than $30 million – this includes flooding in Texas and South Carolina, wildfires in California and Typhoon Soudelor, which battered the island of Saipan in August; (Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific).

Here in the Gold Country Region, the Red Cross launched relief operations after more than eleven major wildfires stuck our region including the Hayfork Complex fires, the Wragg fire, Rocky fire, Lowell fire and of course the Butte and Valley fires which are considered the top ten most destructive wildfires in state’s history. Volunteers from across the country deployed to the area and helped to provide emergency essentials such as food, shelter, health services and emotional support for hundreds of people who lost everything.

“These disaster affected many people’s lives here in the Gold Country Region,” said Robin Friedman, Regional Disaster Manager. “Red Cross workers from both here at home and across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help planning their next steps.”

131003-Year-End-Graphics_1024x512_FINAL-USAcross the country, the Red Cross provided more than 34,000 overnight shelter stays to people forced from their homes because of disasters, served more than 1.1 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 800,000 relief items this year (as of December 8). Red Cross caseworkers provided recovery support to more than 19,000 households, and health and mental health workers provided more than 65,000 consultations after disasters.

As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross also worked alongside other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to support families in Nepal after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake there in April. Across the world, the Red Cross continues  to address the needs of displaced families from Burundi, people facing food insecurity in Senegal, and is assisting with the ongoing migration crisis in Europe.

Flooding, Wildfires Devastated Communities Across U.S.

In May and June, the Red Cross responded across multiple states to help people impacted by flooding and wildfires. Residents of Texas, Alaska, California, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Illinois turned to the Red Cross for help. In July and August, the Red Cross responded as raging wildfires burned out of control in Washington and California. In September, Red Cross workers helped after several massive fires in California destroyed hundreds of homes, forcing thousands of people to evacuate. As the Red Cross continued to assist people in California, catastrophic flooding hit South Carolina in early October and again, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers responded. Then in early November, Texas was hit by a second round of relentless storms and floods just months after flash flooding wreaked havoc on much of the state in May. The Red Cross opened numerous shelters, provided food, health and mental health services and helped people plan their next steps.

Home Fires Continued to be Largest U.S. Disaster Threat

Amidst all of these devastating events, home fires continued to be the largest disaster threat in the United States. During 2015, the Red Cross provided casework assistance to help 214,000 people whose lives were affected by a home fire. The Red Cross also helped prevent home fires and related injuries and deaths by working with thousands of local partners across the country to install 195,000 smoke alarms and teach 268,000 youth about fire safety.

Here in the Gold Country Region, the Red Cross responded to 439 home fires, and installed 1,684 smoke alarms with the help of community partners.

131003-Year-End-Graphics_1024x512_FINAL-GLOBALNepal Earthquake and Migration Crisis
In late April, a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, causing significant destruction and loss of life. Working with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from 33 countries, the American Red Cross helped provide 4.6 million liters of clean water and 70,000 cash grants to support 350,000 people. Cash grants empower families to buy the items they deem most urgent in their time of greatest need.

Currently, families are searching for safety across the Middle East and Europe and the global Red Cross network is providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need. More than 49,000 Red Cross volunteers are helping tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in 28 countries throughout Europe, providing help such as food, water, healthcare, hygiene kits, baby supplies, clothing and first aid kits.. The American Red Cross deployed eight disaster specialists to support the effort, along with 10,000 cots to help families in Germany.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Join us! Help us save lives on December 5!

20150502_123839Join the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign on December 4th and 5th for our Goal: 1000 Smoke Alarm Installation Event!

Here are some important details:

December 4th will be a pre-canvass event where volunteers will be placing door hangers to inform residents in 17 predetermined neighborhoods in Sacramento about the smoke alarm installation event on December 5.

December 5th will be the Goal 1000 event where each volunteer will be placed into groups of four which will consist of one Red Cross volunteer who will be an educator, one document-er, and two installers.

Sign up to be one of the volunteers that can help save someone’s life.

Red Cross member volunteers go to www.redcross.org/volunteerconnection (Go to: My Shifts, Special Events, December)

Non-Red Cross volunteers simply go to pre-register at http://bit.ly/Goal1000 and fill out the form for the day (or days) that you wish to sign up for.

Thank you for helping to make a difference!  All volunteers must pre-register by Friday, November 20. No walk-in volunteering is available.

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign aims to reduce the total number of home fire related deaths and injuries by 25% by 2020.

Three Years After Hurricane Sandy: Red Cross Successes and Progress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Thursday, October 29, 2015) — In the three years since Hurricane Sandy unleashed massive destruction along the Atlantic coast, the American Red Cross is still on the ground, having used $313 million in donations to help thousands of people recover and rebuild from the devastation of the storm.

“Hurricane Sandy was a major storm, affecting thousands of families, homes and businesses. Recovery from such a tremendous storm requires continued coordination, involvement, and commitment of many organizations. For the past three years, the Red Cross is proud to have worked alongside government and community-based partners to provide assistance to those who needed it most,” said Richard Reed, American Red Cross senior vice president, disaster cycle services.

“For so many of these people, the Red Cross has been part of the answer to helping them recover by providing financial assistance with housing-related expenses, recovery case management services, and grants to support services in the hardest hit areas.”

Hurricane Sandy Third Anniversary – Red Cross Facts:

1. Spending: The Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend $313 million in support of our Sandy response efforts; an additional $1 million will be spent on Sandy programs in 2016. Details on how donations have been spent are available atredcross.org/sandy.

2. Emergency Relief: Before Sandy made landfall in October 2012, the Red Cross mobilized a massive emergency response effort that was ultimately supported by more than 17,000 workers from all over the country – 90 percent of them volunteers. Working with community partners, the Red Cross served more than 17.5 million meals and snacks and handed out more than 7 million relief items such as blankets, gloves, warm clothing, and home clean-up supplies. Red Crossers offered 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts and provided nearly half of the 163,000 overnight shelter stays for Sandy.

3. Recovery Support: The Red Cross has provided one-on-one assistance through casework to help thousands of families heal, rebuild and recover. The Move-In Assistance Program provided financial assistance to those whose primary homes were destroyed or made uninhabitable and who lacked the resources to relocate or make repairs. From 2012 through early 2015, this program provided more than $32.3 million to more than 5,100 households. The Red Cross has also worked closely with hundreds of partners and government agencies to make sure people have the support they need. For example, working with local residents and community organizations, the Red Cross helped start and support Long-Term Recovery Groups to address the disaster needs of storm-affected households. These groups continue to help people today in the hardest-hit areas.

4. Partnerships: The Red Cross awarded $95.2 million in funding to support critical recovery services in Sandy-devastated communities in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. This funding has supported the repair and rebuilding of more than 7,500 homes; the training, housing and deployment of more than 230,000 volunteers; and casework, mental health and health services, financial assistance and financial and legal counseling to more than 120,000 households. This month, the Red Cross is awarding $750,000 to four organizations to help them continue to provide financial assistance to Sandy survivors; these organizations are based in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. A full list of grants is available at redcross.org/sandy.

“This robust recovery effort was made possible because of the generosity of people who were moved to help after seeing heartbreaking images of devastation on the news, or reading stories of Sandy survivors who lost everything,” added Reed. “We are grateful that Americans entrusted the Red Cross with their financial donations and we have stretched these dollars to provide meaningful and lasting support to thousands of families and individuals.”

“Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today” – National Preparedness Month

124421 NPM 2015 Social Media Tip1This September, the American Red Cross joins in celebrating National Preparedness Month (NPM) 2015. The national theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month (NPM) is “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today”. Across the country, people are being asked to make their disaster plan now. Full details are available on the national campaign on the Ready.Gov NPM campaign page.

View President Barack Obama’s 2015 National Preparedness Month Presidential Proclamation: http://1.usa.gov/1JJZb6k

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region encourages everyone to be ready for emergencies like home fires by creating a disaster plan for their household during National Preparedness Month.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Lilly Wyatt, Red Cross Gold Country Region Regional Communications Director.  “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”

HOME FIRES National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. They should test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.

MAKE A PLAN Everyone in the household should help put the emergency plan together so they know what they should do if something occurs. Because everyone  may not be together at home when a disaster happens,  the plan should include ways to contact one another and two places to meet – one near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.

Any emergency plan should also include decisions about where to go if ordered to evacuate and what route to take to get there. It’s a good idea to include alternate routes in case roads are closed. Don’t forget family pets. Make sure to include plans for them such as pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross has developed mobile apps that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies. The all-inclusive Emergency App and other preparedness apps have a “Make a Plan” feature on how to develop an emergency plan. Users can develop their plan and share it with household members through the apps.

People can also download the Monster Guard App so 7 to 11 year-olds will have a free, fun gaming environment to learn how to prevent emergencies like home fires and stay safe in an emergency or severe weather. The free apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Pillowcase Project on Fox40 News!

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina gave birth to a wonderful project for children – The Pillowcase Project. This preparedness education program for 3rd through 5th grade students teaches about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills.

During the 10th Anniversary of Katrina, Red Cross chapters across the nation have been participating in the World’s Largest Pillowcase Projects to increase awareness of this unique project. The Gold Country region kicked off this event at Prairie Elementary School in Elk Grove.

We were so thrilled to have Fox40 showcasing the project, the students and our volunteers LIVE on the air and later on in their evening newscast. Below you can see the piece in their 6PM News.

Four Fun Facts About the Pillowcase Project:

  1. The Red Cross Pillowcase Project began in New Orleans after the disaster, where volunteers reached out to children in the community who remembered Katrina’s fury and remained afraid of storms.
  2. The Red Cross took the lead in talking with them about disasters and loss, about rebuilding their lives starting with a pillowcase and a plan. Children began to feel the strength that comes from being prepared.
  3. In the past 10 years, the Pillowcase Project has expanded to hundreds communities across the United States to help children better plan for their future. And it all begins with a pillowcase.
  4. In the Gold Country Region, we have shared the Pillowcase Project with more than 3600 students.

Check out pictures from the day on our Flickr Album.