On May 31, local News Reporter London Swan was assigned to cover a structure fire in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When she arrived on site, she realized that the flames were coming from right above her apartment. The shock was overwhelming, but thankfully, she was not alone. The American Red Cross was there, almost immediately.
“With all the stories I have covered with the Red Cross, you hear about them being on the scene almost immediately and I got that firsthand. I was surprised by how quickly a team set up camp at the site to offer us pizza and drinks,” said Swan.
For a home fire victim like Swan, the Red Cross knows that the tragedy isn’t over when the flames go out. For many, the challenges are just beginning.
“Early the next day, a caseworker met me at my hotel, sat down with my father and I, and discussed what’s next,” said Swan. “The caseworker and the Red Cross have followed up with me wondering if I am okay. It’s not like they just help you right then and there and then they are on to the next thing. They are caring about you and wanting to see how you are doing days, and even, weeks later.”
Every 8 minutes, the Red Cross responds to a home fire or other disaster. To help combat the threat of home fires, the Red Cross announced a national campaign in October 2014 to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. The Red Cross has already prepared more than 44,000 households and installed nearly 83,000 smoke alarms.
“Being prepared is something everyone needs to do because I never thought this would happen to me and it did,” said Swan.
Learn more about the Home Fire Campaign.