The American Red Cross of Central MA Disaster Action Team has responded to 21 fires across central MA since July 1 of this year. Over the past two months the team has assisted families affected by fires in Worcester, Webster, Brookfield, Gardner, Sutton, West Boylston, Marlborough, Spencer, Charlton, and Leominster. Several of the fires took place in multi-unit houses and apartment buildings displacing several families at a time. In the past seven weeks, the Red Cross has assisted 82 families (134 adults, 38 children) with immediate emergency needs including, food, clothing, shelter, toiletries and emotional support.
Home fires are the most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to – and also the most preventable. “We strongly encourage everyone to visit redcross.org for fire safety tips and review them with loved ones,” said Dawn Leaks, American Red Cross of Central MA Director of Communications.
The 21 fires reflect a nearly 50% increase in fire responses for the Red Cross of Central MA in the summer months. As the Red Cross Central MA continues to follow up with the families affected by these fires to assist with recovery, the chapter is also looking ahead to the fall and winter months. “It is very unusual for us to respond to so many fires in the summer months,” said Leaks. “It definitely puts a strain on our budget and our volunteers as we head into the fire season which begins in October and continues through fall and winter.”
The holidays and winter season often bring an influx of home fires that cause incredible need to people who often lose every possession they own. The Red Cross is there for those in need to provide comfort, support and the means to replace items which may have been lost in the flames. This service is provided free of charge; volunteers give of their time because of their extraordinary compassion; and the resources for food, clothing and shelter are available because of the generous financial support of individuals and businesses in our hometowns. Consider making a gift today to support your neighbors down the street and around the corner.
“Just as people here in Central Massachusetts depend on the Red Cross, we in turn depend on the support of people, businesses and organizations in order to meet the needs of our community,” added Leaks. “We want to make sure we are ready and able to provide the community the help it needs when the time comes.”
For fire safety information or to make a donation, visit www.redcrosscwm.org. Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross of Central MA at 2000 Century Drive, Worcester, MA 01606. All Red Cross disaster assistance is given free of charge, made possible by the voluntary contribution of time, blood and money. Red Cross is an independent, humanitarian, voluntary organization, not a government agency.