This year, the American Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. In the Eastern New York Region, volunteers in more than 150 local cities and towns responded to fires at all hours of the day and night, providing temporary shelter, food, clothing and comfort to people with nowhere else to turn.
From January 1 to December 1, the Red Cross provided assistance to more than 1,900 fire victims in the Eastern New York Region, which comprises 24 counties and 26,000 square miles. Assistance included providing financial support to a total of 649 local households affected by fires throughout the year. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.
“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Gary Striar, CEO of the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears; every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”
Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires
Because of the high number of home fires across the country, the Red Cross launched a campaign in 2014 to reduce the number of fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The campaign involves partnering with fire departments and community groups nationwide to encourage every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross and its partners have already reached more than 29,000 people nationwide, installing 17,000 free smoke alarms for families in need and saving five lives to date. In the Eastern New York Region, Red Cross volunteers and local partners have installed more than 100 smoke alarms since October, with plans to distribute another 900 alarms locally between January and June.
New Volunteers Needed in 2015
Whether providing relief to families affected by home fires or installing smoke alarms to help prevent fire-related deaths and injuries, the work of the Red Cross is done almost entirely by volunteers. As a new year begins, the Red Cross is seeking more volunteers to provide important services in local communities across the Eastern New York Region.
Current volunteer needs include new Disaster Action Team members willing to provide shelter, food, comfort and hope to local families displaced by home fires and other disasters. Volunteers are also needed to help individuals prepare themselves and their loved ones for emergencies of all kinds. For a complete listing of current volunteer opportunities in your community, visit redcross.org/volunteer. Make a resolution that means something this New Year, and join the American Red Cross.
All of the work of the Red Cross is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.