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SOBERANES FIRE UPDATE: Red Cross provides support to residents

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The American Red Cross has been providing shelter, feeding, or other services to residents affected by the Soberanes Fire since the first night of the fire on July 22.

This fact sheet includes links to CalFire information on the fire and evacuations, information about the support the Red Cross and partners are offering people affected by the fire, and information about how members of the general public can help. This information is also being regularly uploaded to this web page on the American Red Cross Central Coast Chapter site, and timely updates can also be found on our Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The following information is up-to-date as of 4 p.m. on Monday, August 22, 2016.

Status of Soberanes Fire:

CalFire has posted a status page providing information about the fire, including evacuation orders.

If people have additional questions about the status of the fire, they may call CalFire's public information line at 831-204-0446.

Red Cross Response:

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Carmel Middle School on Friday night, July 22. The shelter was put on standby on Friday, July 29, and then reopened on Saturday, July 30, as the needs of evacuated residents became clearer.

On Monday, August 1, the shelter was relocated to All Saints Day School at 8060 Carmel Valley Road because Carmel Middle School needed to get its campus ready for the new school year.

At the Red Cross shelter, evacuated residents — regardless of whether or not they are spending the night at the shelter — have access to food, hydration, disaster mental health services, health services, fire updates, and a safe place to gather during the day.

On Friday, August 12, the shelter at All Saints Day School was placed on stand-by status, as the need for it was reduced by the lifting of evacuation orders by fire officials. The shelter was replaced at that time by a Resource Center that opened at the Red Cross office in Carmel; that office is located at the intersection of 8th Avenue and Dolores Street.

Please note: On Friday, August 19, the Red Cross's Carmel office was transitioned back to normal operations. Disaster support and referrals continue to be available there. People wishing to come to the office to discuss their need for those services are advised to first call 831-626-5256.

In addition, the Red Cross continues to staff its 24/7 hotline. All residents affected by the fire and needing additional assistance, including assistance with a place to stay, may call 866-272-2237 to speak with a Red Cross caseworker.

Either in the Carmel office or via the 24/7 hotline, Red Cross caseworkers continue to be available to meet with residents whose homes have been damaged or destroyed to help them plan their recovery and connect them with resources.

By the Numbers:

78 Red Cross disaster workers, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, have provided the following assistance since the fire began 31 days ago:

  • 89 overnight stays provided in the Red Cross shelter.
  • 6,176 meals and snacks provided by Salvation Army, local restaurants, and the Red Cross.
  • 94 "comfort kits," which include personal-hygiene items, distributed.
  • 60 cases opened by Red Cross caseworkers to provide individualized recovery support for individuals or families, assisting a total of 137 people.
  • 30 residents have made contact with Red Cross health services workers to discuss unmet health needs.
  • 362 residents have spoken with Red Cross mental health volunteers about help they need coping with the emotional impact of a disaster and its aftermath.
  • The Red Cross continues to partner with SPCA for Monterey County to provide secure space for the care of evacuated pets. Evacuated residents should call 831-373-2631 for assistance with their pets.

    Check out this Flickr album for photos of the Red Cross Response.

    Recovery Support:

    Recovering from a disaster takes time and a diverse network of organizations and services to make sure people have the help they need. The Red Cross is there — and will continue to be there in the months ahead.

    Post-disaster collaboration and communication is critical to ensuring that people have the support they need. This is why the Red Cross is working closely with emergency officials, local communities, and residents to make sure that the right resources and support are provided.

    The Red Cross participated in a Local Assistance Center (LAC), held on August 6, at Carmel Mission Inn, 3665 Rio Road, Carmel. The LAC informed people affected by the fire about the resources available to them.

    Reconnecting with Family and Friends:

    Evacuees or people worried about evacuees may register on the Red Cross's Safe and Well web site: redcross.org/safeandwell.

    Emotional Support:

    In addition to the mental health support services provided via the shelter or the Red Cross's 24/7 hotline, related information is posted on the organization's web site. That address is: redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally.

    The site also provides access to two very helpful guides that can be viewed online or printed: "Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster" and "Helping Children Cope with Disaster." Both guides are available in multiple languages.

    Wildfire Preparedness and Safety Tips:

    Wildfires spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. The Red Cross urges residents to follow all evacuation orders from local enforcement and be prepared for disasters like wildfires. All families should have an emergency game plan for disasters large and small. Some basic wildfire safety tips are:

  • Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Back cars into driveways or park in open spaces facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • As residents are being allowed back into their neighborhoods, the Red Cross has information to help keep people safe. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App (redcross.org/apps) for safety tips and access to emergency first aid advice.

  • Pre-loaded content ensures that guidance from Red Cross experts is available anytime,
  • anywhere — even without mobile connectivity.
  • The app also provides lifesaving information on emergency first aid for various situations, including what to do for heart attacks and heat-related emergencies.
  • The Red Cross recommends the following safety tips as people return home after a wildfire:

  • Do not enter your home until fire officials say it is safe.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots that can flare up without warning.
  • Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles, and downed wires.
  • Watch for "ash pits" and mark them for safety; warn family and neighbors to keep clear of the pits also.
  • Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots can burn your pets’ paws or hooves.
  • Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
  • Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Wear leather gloves and heavy soled shoes to protect hands and feet.
  • Cleaning products, paint, batteries, and damaged fuel containers need to be disposed of properly to avoid risk.
  • This Red Cross web page provides additional safety information, including what do to before, during and after a wildfire.

    Donations:

    The American Red Cross is very grateful for the offers of assistance, but at this time we are not able to accept in-kind donations such as food and clothing. If people have questions about in-kind donations related to the Soberanes Fire, they should contact MontereyCo.Recovers.org, which is a local web site that matches people who have supplies and other in-kind donations with people who have those same needs. To list an item that could be donated or to list a need, individuals are asked to submit that information on the organization's web site: montereyco.recovers.org/. The organization's phone number is 831-649-3050.

    People can help those affected by disasters by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit redcross.org/donate/, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.