Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today's Red Cross Response Part of Unusual Season


6 fires, 2 shelters, I-91 bus accident and this week’s train derailment place high demand on Red Cross disaster services over past two weeks

For the second time in 24 hours, Red Cross Disaster Services volunteers are responding to a fire in northwestern Vermont. The Franklin County Disaster Action Team of the Northern Vermont Chapter has responded to a request for rehabilitation services for area firefighters who are combating a major blaze on the Sheldon Road in St. Albans. Hydration and food will be provided in support of the first responders.

This assistance is on the heels of the support provided overnight by Red Cross volunteers to firefighters at the scene of a single family house fire in St. Albans. Four fire departments were on the scene at that fully involved structure fire. “The Franklin County Disaster Action Team is putting their training and Red Cross resources to the test,” said Tim Stetson, Chief Response Officer of the American Red Cross in Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley. “Thankfully, these are the times when the dedication and commitment of our volunteers really shines.”

The fires of the past 24 hours are just the latest in a series of emergencies that have prompted a response from regional American Red Cross volunteers over the past two weeks. The Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross has also provided aid at fires in Essex, Richford, Grafton and Charlotte. The Red Cross was also on the scene of a bus accident on I-91, opened warming shelters for those left without power in the wake of the recent wind storms and, earlier this week, responded to a train derailment in St. Albans.

Red Cross disaster services volunteers are organized in Disaster Action Teams throughout the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley Region. In addition to the rehabilitation services provided to firefighters and other first responders, individuals and families affected by disaster are interviewed to determine their immediate, emergency needs. The Red Cross primarily assists with emergency shelter, food, clothing, medical and disaster mental health services where a verified need exists and will support the families further by providing referrals to other community support resources.

While the need for Red Cross disaster services historically increases in the winter months, the start to this season has been unusual. “During this holiday season, too many of our neighbors have faced crises,” said Larry Crist, Regional Executive of the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. “As we each consider what we are thankful for this time of year, we hope that the community will keep in mind the work of the Red Cross and the work of our disaster volunteers.”

As a non-governmental organization, the American Red Cross relies upon the donations of community members to ensure that disaster services are available when called upon. American Red Cross emergency assistance is provided without charge to those in need. To help victims of disaster, donations can be made to the American Red Cross by sending a contribution to the American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323. Please specify Disaster Services in the memo of your check.