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RICHFIELD, Utah (Nov. 25, 2022) — The devastating fire in Richfield this week is a reminder of how important it is to have support from disaster experts. Trained Disaster Action Team members from the American Red Cross of Utah were on site to help those affected by the fire, and more are needed to ensure there are always enough nearby volunteers available when disasters strike.
“Disaster Action Team volunteers help communities prepare for and avert emergencies,” said Benjamin Donner, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Central and Southern Utah Chapter. “They help families with immediate needs after a home fire or other disaster and offer support during difficult times. We’re looking for Sevier, Emery, and Sanpete County residents to join this specialized Red Cross team and help us respond when their neighbors are in need.”
Thirty-five Richfield families were displaced from their homes by Monday’s fire, and area volunteers responded to the scene. “But many of our volunteers had to drive more than two hours to the disaster site,” Donner said. “We’re hoping to find more locals to help provide support to their neighbors and friends.”
Salina resident Richard Ryan is a Red Cross volunteer who responded to the fire and noted, ‘It’s heartbreaking to see so many families lose everything. I’m just glad I was able to be there quickly to help them start their recovery.”
Red Cross volunteers respond not only to home fires, which are the nation’s most frequent disaster, but also to other community emergencies, such as floods and wildfires. “Disaster Action Team members provide emotional support, access to financial assistance, and information to help families begin to recover,” Donner said. “These specialized volunteers provide immediate compassion and care when it is needed most.”
Local volunteers often find they are helping people they know, including neighbors, friends, even family members, said Donner. “For those receiving help, a personal connection to an emergency responder can make all the difference,” he emphasized. “Please join with the Red Cross so that when disasters happen – in Richfield, Monroe, Salina – your neighbors get the help they need from a familiar face.”
After initial training, Disaster Action Team volunteers can take shifts that may include responding to emergencies night or day, rain or shine, either on the scene or coordinating remotely, to provide immediate support, according to Donner.
“With experience and further training, volunteers can take on leadership and response coordination roles to have a wider impact and be eligible for deployment to large scale emergencies in Utah and other parts of the country,” he said. “Local volunteers are also needed to help install smoke alarms and share fire safety information with families.”
For more information and to apply for a volunteer position, contact Bonnie Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-268-3207 or visit RedCross.org/volunteertoday.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.