Over the weekend, the American Red Cross provided shelter and emotional support in the community of Aurora following the tragic shooting Friday in Colorado. Today, the Red Cross continues work with partner agencies to provide mental health support at grief centers set up by community groups in Aurora.
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY In the immediate hours after the shooting, local authorities called the Red Cross to help provide assistance. The Red Cross deployed team members, provided mental health assistance, opened an evacuation center, and provided canteen services to movie patrons as well as emergency responders.
The Red Cross shelter originally opened to support those displaced by the theater shooting expanded after people were evacuated from their apartments in the suspect’s neighborhood, as well as victims of a multi-family fire and power outage in the area. Cots, blankets, hygiene kits, mental health workers, health workers, shelter staff, feeding and other support were quickly brought in to accommodate approximately 100 residents in need of a safe haven over the weekend.
Families were given a safe place to stay, cold drinks, and hot meals along with physical and mental support. More than 20 Red Cross volunteers helped comfort and care for their neighbors in their time of need.
Temperatures were very warm over the weekend and the Red Cross also provided food and water to first responders, as well as water for those attending a memorial service in Aurora.
While people were cleared to return home to their evacuated apartments in the suspect’s neighborhood Saturday afternoon, the Red Cross is helping those affected by the apartment fire with their post disaster plans and a place to stay for the next few nights.
CARING FOR ONE ANOTHER A terrible event like this affects the entire community, especially the families and friends of the victims. This can be an emotional time, and it’s important for people affected by this tragedy to connect with and support each other. Children may be affected by the shooting, and parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety and that life will eventually return to normal.
It has already been a difficult summer for people in the state of Colorado, after extensive wildfires burned hundreds of homes near the cities of Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. This is a time where people should take care of themselves and their families. For example, coping individuals can try to surround themselves with people and activities that comfort them, and should be careful not to overexpose themselves to media reports about the tragedy.
For more information, read tips from the Red Cross on caring for your emotional health.
GIVING BLOOD The Red Cross supplied a small number of blood products to two hospitals treating victims of the shooting and is on standby should additional blood be needed. The Red Cross is not scheduling special drives to support the blood needs of the shooting victims.
However, blood donations through the Red Cross are at their lowest in 15 years and there is currently an emergency need for blood and platelet donors nationwide. This tragedy illustrates that it is the blood already available on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
The Red Cross is not seeking donations in response to this devastating tragedy in the Aurora community. The greatest need for those involved in this tragedy is emotional support, which the Red Cross and partnering agencies are providing through mental health counseling.