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Working with Our Partners to Accommodate Special Needs

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“It’s is a good example of how we are able to accommodate the requests of our local partners…”

During the hectic first days of the Sand Fire, which began July 22 in Santa Clarita’s Sand Canyon, the Red Cross responded quickly by opening several shelters for an increasing number of evacuated residents.

Quietly, and out of the spotlight, the Red Cross also opened a special shelter for residents of a private rehabilitation facility on July 23 at Palmdale High School. At the request of the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health, the Red Cross operated this shelter for four days, serving a population of 100 people, including residents and employees.

These evacuees needed to stay together the entire time and the Public Health Dept. knew the Red Cross could handle the challenge. So, with some 25 volunteers stepping up to the plate in their Red Cross disaster positions - including mass care, shelter supervision, logistics and external relations - the Red Cross provided all the traditional Red Cross shelter services during the entire stay.

“This is the only time in recent history we’ve been asked to open a shelter for this kind of group, which is not in our typical response scope,” said Jon Brown, Red Cross L.A. Region Disaster Program Manager. “It’s a good example of how we are able to accommodate the requests of our local partners and meet their needs in a disaster.”

A big thank you to our Red Cross volunteers who provided all of the traditional services Red Cross offers at public shelters.