The last ten days have been extremely busy for the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross. Since Sunday, November 2, volunteers have responded to ten local fires and provided assistance to 75 people in need across Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties.
In these local disaster responses, unpaid Red Cross volunteers arrive at the scene, sometimes in the middle of the night, ready to provide emotional support and immediate assistance. This often includes temporary lodging and financial aid for food, clothing, replacement medications and other necessities. Once these immediate needs are met, Red Cross volunteers work with clients to ensure that their long-term needs are addressed, often working in partnership with other organizations and social service agencies to help people get back on their feet.
"The activity level we’ve seen in the last week reminds us how critical it is that the Red Cross is always there to help, no matter how big or small the disaster," said North Country Chapter Executive Director Jane Gendron. "We are extremely grateful to our volunteer Disaster Action Team members for providing assistance 24 hours a day to people in need, and we hope that new volunteers will continue to join them here in the North Country.”
Gendron also expressed her gratitude to the financial donors who support the work of the Red Cross. She explained that the ability for the Red Cross to respond to disasters like this week’s rash of fires is made possible solely through generous donations from the public.
“In addition to being there for our community after disaster strikes,” Gendron continued, “we want to make sure that people are practicing fire safety in their homes to prevent these types of tragedies whenever possible.” Gendron offers the following Red Cross fire safety tips for residents throughout the North Country:
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home and test them monthly.
- At least twice a year, practice a fire escape plan with all members of your household.
- Never smoke in bed.
- “Keep an eye on what you fry.” Stay in the kitchen whenever you are frying, grilling or using an open flame.
- “Three feet from the heat.” Keep furniture, curtains, dish towels and anything that could catch fire are at least three feet away from any type of heat source.