Red Cross Mobilizes and Urges All to Prepare for Wildfires

A Red Cross volunteer and a firefighter talk while wildfires burn in the distance.
“By preparing together for wildfires, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger.” - Regional Communications Officer Kristie Fry

Santa Rosa, CA, Monday, August 26, 2013 — The American Red Cross has declared a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) for the entire state of California as each of its regions are impacted by the 15 wildfires currently burning. The largest sheltering operations are taking place in the Capital Region with the Rim Fire. The Capital Region stands ready to shelter more than 1,200 people. The DRO headquarters will be located in Sacramento.

The Humboldt County Chapter of the American Red Cross, part of the California Northwest Region, is expecting to open a shelter in Humboldt County to shelter and feed evacuees from the Corral Complex and Butler fires. Volunteers from throughout the region will assist with staffing. With seasonal wildfires raging across the state, the Red Cross is urging residents to take steps now to stay safer when wildfires threaten. “By preparing together for wildfires, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” Regional Communications Officer Kristie Fry said. “We can help you and your family create a wildfire preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for wildfires by:

  • Create and Practice a Home Wildfire Plan – Learn about wildfire risks in your area. Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a wildfire occurs. Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.. Identify two routes out of your neighborhood in case the primary route is blocked.
  • Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit Pack a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and manual can opener, bottled water, maps of the area, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries. Include essential legal and identifying documents in your kit in the event that you must quickly evacuate.Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools (e.g. a rake, ax, shovel, bucket, chain or hand saw).
  • Heed News Reports Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated information. If threatened, be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice as wildfires can be unpredictable. Contain pets to one room so you can find them quickly.
  • Prepare Your Home – Select building materials and plants that resist fire. Regularly clean your roof and gutters to remove flammable debris. Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home to saturate your home’s perimeter if needed.
  • For more information on wildfire preparedness, contact the Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross at 707-577-7600, download the Red Cross Wildfire app to your smart phone or tablet, visit www.redcross.org or www.cruzrojaamericana.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross wildfire preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.

    For continued updates from the California Northwest Region of the Red Cross, visit our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

    You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as countless other crises, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donation not only supports the costs associated with a disaster response, like food or the deployment of volunteers, but also supports our year-round readiness and maintenance costs such as our vehicle fleet, warehouses, IT systems and volunteer training.

    Your support enables us to continue providing the critical and unparalleled American Red Cross services on which Americans depend in times of crisis. To learn more, please call Development Officer Ashley Fehrmann at 707-577-7627.