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Red Cross provides assistance in response to deadly Oakland fire

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017, noon

A three-alarm fire broke out on Friday, December 2, at 11:32 p.m. at 1315 31st Ave. in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. The fire is the deadliest blaze in Oakland in more than 20 years with 36 confirmed victims. The public may access the latest updated information on the City’s website at www2.oaklandnet.com or at (510) 238-2181.

RED CROSS RESPONSE

The thoughts and deepest sympathies of the entire American Red Cross family are with all those affected by the December 2nd fatal fire in Oakland. More than 140 American Red Cross workers, mostly volunteers, have been working tirelessly with a multitude of government and community partners to provide comfort and support to people impacted by Oakland's Ghostship Warehouse Fire.

In the initial days after the fire, Red Cross workers cared for and supported the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives and those who were injured or displaced by the fire to ensure they received the Red Cross services available to them as well as connecting them with other community resources that might help them in small and large ways.

The Red Cross provided initial financial support to those impacted from Red Cross Disaster Relief funds. Those funds were used for lodging, clothing, food, and incidentals. Red Cross has also provided mental health, health services, and spiritual care support.

On the suggestion of the City of Oakland, the Oakland A’s requested the assistance of the Red Cross to provide a financial pass-through for their Oakland Fire Relief Fund to those impacted. The Red Cross is neither managing those funds nor receiving any portion of those funds. To date, $531,779 has been transferred from this fund and is currently being distributed directly to those impacted. As of December 28th, the American Red Cross had distributed $421,000 of this fund and is working closely with those displaced or injured and the families of the deceased to ensure 100% distribution of the remaining funds.

For those impacted who agreed to have their contact information shared with other agencies, the Red Cross referred them to the County’s Victim and Witness program, the Tzu Chi Buddhism Foundation, and the Gray Area Foundations for the Arts to access additional financial support as well as other community resources.

Red Cross caseworkers will continue to check-in with those impacted over the weeks and months to come to ensure they have the resources and support they need.

Within two hours of the fire breaking out, Red Cross volunteers were on-site providing canteening services to the more than 100 firefighters working on the fire. Red Cross remained at incident scene for five days to provide three meals per day, snacks, hot drinks, water, and mental health support to recovery teams as they worked 24/7.

The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau established a Family Assistance Center (FAC) on Saturday December 3 in coordination with the American Red Cross, which was open five days. At the FAC, Red Cross supported the family and loved ones of affected persons at the FAC with disaster mental health, spiritual care, and health resources as well as lodging assistance in support of or in conjunction with the city.

BY THE NUMBERS

Since Saturday, December 3, 145 Red Cross disaster workers have:

  • Provided 5,969 meals and snacks to first responders and recovery teams
  • Provided 569 emotional support and health services by licensed mental health and health service volunteers
  • Opened 79 cases, providing support and financial assistance to165 people
  • Photos of the Red Cross Service Delivery: flic.kr/s/aHskN1xgeS

    COPING TIPS

  • This is a difficult time for everyone affected and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. The Red Cross offers the following tips to help people stay strong:
  • Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows what could potentially happen next. Remember that it's okay to feel nervous.
  • Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events, especially for children. Children are especially vulnerable to stress reactions related to media.
  • Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.
  • Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support. Hug one another and listen.
  • Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends and children. Get help from others if needed.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
  • This information is also available on a special Bay Area Red Cross web page that has been established.

    To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746

    FINANCIAL DONATIONS

    This tragedy shows that emergencies can happen in any community at any time. Right now, the Red Cross has what it needs to support this event financially and with supplies.

  • While the Red Cross is not accepting financial donations designated specifically for this event, we always need the public to help support the nearly 66,000 other disasters we handle every year around the country.
  • Donations for Red Cross Disaster Relief are used to help people and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcross.org to donate.
  • If people want to make a donation to specifically support the victims, please consider the following funds:
  • --The Oakland A's Community Fund has activated an Oakland Fire Relief Fund supported by the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors at: youcaring.com/oaklandfirevictimsfrom130531staveinoakland-706680. The A’s Community Fund will be working with the City of Oakland and Red Cross to distribute the funds to those impacted by the fire.

    --The 501(c)(3) Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has activated and is managing their own Oakland Fire Relief Fund at: youcaring.com/firevictimsofoaklandfiredec232016-706684.

    VOLUNTEERS

    An average of 90% of Red Cross workers are local volunteers. To volunteer with future response efforts, please applying online, tinyurl.com/RedCrossNorCal, to start the steps to become a trained Red Cross volunteer. Upon completing the process, people will be contacted to determine their availability, skill and where they are needed the most.