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Red Cross Helps Wildfire Victims Forced Out of Homes

Red Cross Helps Wildfire Victims

Raging wildfires continue to burn out west and the American Red Cross is there, helping people impacted by the fires.

WASHINGTON RESPONSE The fires burning in the state of Washington are the largest in history, consuming about 600,000 acres so far. Red Cross workers have opened 12 shelters since the fires started, providing more than 750 overnight stays for evacuees. Many more people are visiting the shelters during the day for meals, to get information, or to charge mobile devices.

The fire evacuations are difficult for people forced to leave their homes – particularly hard for children now living in shelters. In Wenatchee, Washington, one family was able to go home, but returned to the shelter because the lack of power and water, combined with heavy smoke enveloping the area, made the heat inside their home unbearable. Their children now amuse themselves with games and toys inside a school gymnasium. Read how this Red Cross shelter is home for now to this family and others.

More than 100 Red Cross workers have provided more than 12,000 meals and snacks, including meals for U.S. military helping fight the fires. The Red Cross distributed hundreds of relief supplies and helped almost 400 people with health services such as replacing prescriptions and lost eyeglasses. Caseworkers are meeting with residents to provide assistance and access to other help.

WILDFIRE SAFETY With no end in sight to critical fire weather in the affected states, the Red Cross has safety steps people should follow if they live in an area where a wildfire is possible:

  • If a wildfire threatens, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room or spot so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
  • People can also get more wildfire safety information by watching this video or visiting the wildfire safety section of this web site.

    DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY People can also download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe, including information about what to do in case of floods, thunderstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires and more. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.

    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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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