Christine Welch, Communications Director
SAN DIEGO — September 23, 2020 — The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties has completed its immediate disaster response to aid those affected by the Valley Fire. Since requested by authorities at the outbreak of the fire on Saturday, September 5, disaster workers supported two temporary evacuation points; one in Spring Valley and one Alpine (which late transitioned to Lakeside) and provided food, safe shelter, health services and more for over 176 families who were displaced by the fire.
During the 2020 Valley Fire response, from September 5-September 20, the Red Cross and its partners:
Responding to disasters is a team effort— and this is particularly true in this current coronavirus environment. Due to COVID-19, Valley Fire temporary evacuation points were established which were dedicated to providing meals, health services and directing evacuees to the best sheltering option for their individual needs. With new safety protocols put into place, County Public Health Teams assisted with health screenings and first aid at the evacuation points. Temporary Evacuation Points are not staffed or resourced as shelters, and hotel rooms were prioritized over congregate sheltering in this response as a safety precaution during the pandemic. Red Cross volunteers and the County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members provided daily meals, snacks, water and COVID-19 safety resources at the sites, and arranged lodging for evacuees, including stays at many pet-friendly hotels.
Partnering to respond to disaster needs
Throughout the fire, the Red Cross continued to work with local emergency management and partners to coordinate ongoing relief efforts and respond where needed. To support greater capacity needs, and at the request of the Incident Command Post in advance of forecast strong Santa Ana winds, the Red Cross transitioned one of its evacuation points from Joan MacQueen Middle School to El Capitan High School in Lakeside on September 8. There, Red Cross volunteers continued to provide food, hydration, emergency lodging, and more, in a facility that was equipped to handle a large number of evacuees, if needed.
The San Diego Humane Society was also on-site to support small animal lodging along with requests for assistance with horses at the nearby Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. Large animals (other livestock, excluding horses) were evacuated to the Iron Oak Canyon Ranch. In addition, Fire officials regularly visited the evacuation points and provided updates to the evacuees.
Remaining on call
In preparation for disasters of any scale, trained Red Cross volunteers and staff remain on call around-the-clock and are ready to assist in various aspects including sheltering, feeding, disaster assessment, casework and more. Currently, casework volunteers are working with families as they return to their homes after the Valley Fire.
Thanks to our generous donors, the Red Cross will provide $450 to households whose homes were confirmed to have been destroyed or sustained major damage from the recent California Wildfires and need help taking care of emergency needs. Eligible households should apply over the phone by calling 800-RED-CROSS. More information about Red Cross assistance, and additional recovery resources from other organizations, is available at redcross.org/cawildfires.
Before a Wildfire
Please follow @SoCal_RedCross 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 Southern California Region
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 public to perform its mission. The Red Cross Southern California Region proudly serves San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties. In addition to carrying out disaster preparedness and response programs, blood collection, health and safety training, international services programs and supporting the military community, the Southern California Region provides nutritional counseling through its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in San Diego and helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters through its Prepare SoCal and Prepare San Diego initiatives. For more information, please visit redcross.org/SoCal or cruzrojaamericana.org, or connect with us on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram and YouTube.