Drop in temperature brings rise in disaster responses

Heart of Missouri Red Cross, Those Who Suffer Vintage Red Cross Poster
We’ve almost had an epidemic of fires since temperatures plummeted during this cold spell.

Chapter assists 58 clients in 10-day span.

It’s winter, it’s January, it’s Missouri and it’s really cold.

It’s supposed to be cold, but Mid-Missouri rarely experiences the kind of bone-chilling temperatures brought by the “polar vortex” when it dropped in from the north and extended its glacial grip across the state.

“When the air temperature drops down below zero and the wind chill dips even lower, as it has, furnaces work harder and people sometimes turn to alternate means to keep their homes warm,” said American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter Executive Director Dave Griffith. “Those extra efforts to keep families warm can and do lead to structure fires. We’ve almost had an epidemic of fires since temperatures plummeted during this cold spell.”

In a span of 10 days, Jan. 19 to Jan. 28, chapter volunteers responded to 14 single-family fires and one multi-family fire. Volunteers assisted 58 clients from those fires, which have been in all parts of the chapter’s 21-county service area.

The busiest day was Jan. 25 when volunteers responded to one multi-family fire and three single-family fires, which were in Boone and Crawford counties. Volunteers assisted 21 clients that day.

“Our volunteers have just been amazing during this,” said Phillip Iman, chapter disaster specialist. “They’ve gone out at all hours of the day and night, in what sometimes have been life-threatening conditions, to offer our service to families who in many cases just lost everything. Some have gone multiple times.”

Services offered by the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter are free to our clients. Funding for the Red Cross is provided through the generosity of donors. The Red Cross does not receive government funding at any level.

Donations, which help further the Red Cross mission, can be made by calling the chapter, toll-free, at 866-815-2738 or by mail at American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter, 431 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

Volunteer responses Jan. 19 to Jan. 28:

  • Jan. 19, Sunday – Dent County, 1 single-family fire, assisted 5 clients
  • Jan. 20, Monday – Maries and Dent counties, 2 single-family fires, assisted 2 clients
  • Jan. 21, Tuesday – Morgan County, 1 single-family fire, assisted 2 clients
  • Jan. 22, Wednesday – Moniteau County, 1 single-family fire, assisted 2 clients
  • Jan. 23, Thursday - Chariton and Phelps counties, 2 single-family fires, assisted 4 clients
  • Jan. 24, Friday – Pulaski and Dent counties, 2 single-family fires, assisted 8 clients
  • Jan. 25, Saturday – Boone and Crawford counties, 1 multi-family fire, three single-family fires, assisted 21 clients
  • Jan. 27, Monday – Boone and Miller counties, 1multi-family fire (from Jan. 25 in Boone County), 1 single-family fire, assisted 8 clients
  • Jan. 28, Tuesday – Phelps County, 1 single-family fire, assisted 6 clients