Volunteer disaster responders with the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois came together this weekend at the Greater Chicago chapter headquarters to further develop the skills needed during disaster response at our Disaster Training Institute.
In the last decade, the rate and complexity of disasters has increased and there has been an increase in home fires of 13% in our region in the past five years. The training institute held classes for managing a workforce and simulated a mass casualty response to strengthen our staff and volunteers and better enable them to continue the work we do every day.
In addition to these activities, Red Cross volunteers are always at the ready to respond to home fires across the 21-county region. Red Cross disaster workers have responded to 17 fires from Monday, April 1 to today in the region including fires in Rock Falls, Romeoville, Waukegan, Kankakee, Harvey and 7 of those fires happening in Chicago.
The fires in the past week affected 62 people including 47 adults and 15 children.
The Red Cross provided resources to help address the immediate basic needs of those affected such as temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits with toiletry items, information about recovery services, and health and mental health services. Additional information about these incidents, if available, may be obtained from the local first responding agency/fire department.
Responding volunteers are members of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, a group of specially trained volunteers who respond to the scene of a disaster when called upon any time of the day or night.
The city of Chicago skyline will also be lighting up in red for the Red Cross from April 26 to May 3 in celebration of our “Sound the Alarm” initiative to install over 2,000 free smoke alarms across the region. Anyone who needs a smoke alarm can visit www.getasmokealarm.org to sign up for an appointment to have our volunteers install it for them. More volunteers are needed to help! Sign up to join us this spring at www.soundthealarm.org/chicago.
HOW TO HELP: The Red Cross depends on financial donations to provide immediate disaster relief. Help people affected by severe storms, fires and flooding by visiting redcross.org or calling 1- 800-RED CROSS. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.
DONATE BLOOD: The Red Cross also has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. The Red Cross asks eligible individuals to make an appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
The Red Cross responds to 3 to 4 home fires every day in Chicago and northern Illinois. The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan. For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit www.redcross.org/prepare.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.