LOS ANGELES, October 8, 2020 — For the past three months the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region has been on the ground responding to wildfire needs in LA County. From the Lake, Bobcat and Martindale fires locally to the fires in Northern California and Oregon, Red Cross LA has worked to make sure anyone evacuating was safe, had food and lodging and the resources that they needed to get back on their feet. With more than four million acres burned in California during this year’s wildfire season, the need for volunteers at our shelters continues as the peak wildfire season usually falls in October and November.
SEE: Photos of Red Cross Response to Bobcat Fire (Flickr)
As we look toward the next month, the threat isn’t gone in LA County with Santa Ana winds picking up and a warming and drying pattern expected for the month of October. The Red Cross is closely monitoring such conditions, placing volunteers on standby shifts – ready to respond when aid is requested by emergency management agencies. Supplies are being made accessible; support partners are being contacted and plans are being proposed.
Since the Bobcat Fire started on Sept. 6, the Red Cross has worked with partners to provide emergency lodging to more than 250 residents who were directly impacted by the fire. Thanks to the support of partners such as The Salvation Army, Panda Express and Farmer John, the Red Cross was able to provide more than 7,800 meals and snacks. In addition, the Red Cross is invested in the recovery process and has provided more than 570 individuals with emotional and spiritual support, especially those with medical or disability needs, during this challenging time.
While following COVID-19 safety protocols, Red Cross disaster workers have also been distributing relief supplies with emergency response vehicles in the neighborhoods where mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted. Residents still in need of assistance, can contact the Red Cross via the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-675-5799.
We are thankful to all those who support us as we do our job, and to the more than 85 volunteers who donated their time and energy to help support those impacted by the Bobcat Fire. This was all accomplished as the Red Cross Los Angeles Region was also called in to support the large fires in Northern California and Oregon.
YOU CAN HELP There is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts in the months to come. Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is placing those needing a safe place to stay in emergency hotel lodging when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, we have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
We need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, meal distribution, sleeping arrangement, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve.
If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review our most urgently needed volunteer positions at redcross.org/volunteertoday. More information is available here.
- Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
- Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby. Add masks, hand sanitizer and gloves to your kit as well to protect you from COVID-19.
- If you have time, take photos and videos of the inside and outside of your home.
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. You don’t have to wait for an official evacuation order. If you feel threatened, be sure that you leave with time to spare.
- Confine all pets to one room so you can quickly and easily take them and go if you need to evacuate. Keep pets on leashes or in carriers, as they can scare easily and run away during disasters like this one.
- Back your car into the driveway for a safer and more efficient way out. Park in an open space facing the direction of escape. Make sure you have at least a half a tank of gas.
- Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for more preparedness tips and safety checklists, localizable alerts, shelter locator and more.
Follow @RedCrossLA on Twitter for the latest updates. Visit redcross.org/wildfire for information on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfires.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.