Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Charlotte Blaze Displaces 4

An afternoon fire on Guinea Road in Charlotte left four people out of their homes. The fully-involved blaze drew a response from 7 area fire departments.

Red Cross volunteer Jeanne Keller (left) and Regional Volunteer Manager Angela Russell (right) help David Stewart of Charlotte and a fellow firefighter with some hot coffee.

Volunteers Alex Fuchs and Allan Hunt met with the two displaced couples to help assess their emergency needs. Temporary lodging and financial assistance for food and clothing was provided.

We are fortunate to have a corps of volunteers that find ways to drop what is going on in their lives to help those in need after a disaster strikes. Thanks to Jeanne, Allan and Alex and to all of those volunteers who help us respond to a fire or other disaster on average once every three days throughout the year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Volunteers Train to Help Others

It isn't only our experienced volunteers that show incredible dedication. This past weekend, new volunteers interested in client casework gave several hours of their time to learn about this vital component of Red Cross disaster services.

Client casework is often at the heart of how the American Red Cross interacts with individuals and families impacted by disaster. The Red Cross recognizes that recovery begins the moment a disaster strikes. Sometimes on scene at a house fire, with firefighters still combatting the blaze, our caseworkers provide comfort and support. Many are reassured just seeing the iconic Red Cross logo on a volunteers vest, hat or vehicle. The emotional support provided by our volunteers let disaster victims know they are not alone. The caseworkers assess the disaster victims emergency needs and help establish a recovery plan. Often, these first steps include temporary, emergency lodging and Red Cross financial support for food and clothing. When appropriate, Red Cross disaster health and disaster mental health volunteers are called upon.

Yesterday, volunteers Dorothy Commo and Sue Shulman (left to right in the foreground) and Sophia Parker and Ellen Jarecki (left to right in the background) attended a client casework class taught by veteran disaster action team member Michele Packard.

It is crucial that we continual train new volunteers, including those with an interest in client case work. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, go to www.redcrossvtnhuv.org or e-mail our volunteer manager, Angela Russell, at arussell@nvtredcross.org.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Volunteers Respond to Call in Burke

While many people may see the work of the Red Cross during our response to large scale events such as Vermont's Spring flooding or Tropical Storm Irene, most of the work of our volunteers is done out of the spotlight and with little fanfare.

To a family who has lost their home, it doesn't much matter whether it was swept away by a raging river or lost to fire. Each family must start the process of recovery and the Red Cross is there to help. Most recently, at 2:30 a.m. this morning, the call came in that fire crews were combatting a fire in Burke, Vermont. Two members of the Caledonia Disaster Action team answered the call.

Today's devastating fire forced a Burke Hollow Road couple and their dog from their home and left them without a place to stay and their possessions were caught in the blaze. The Red Cross volunteers met with the couple to determine their immediate needs, arranging for a few nights lodging at a local hotel and providing some financial assistance. The aim of both is to help the family in the initial phase of recovery from their personal disaster.

In addition to work assisting the displaced family, the Red Cross volunteers provided rehabilitative support to the fire and other first responders. Such support is in the form of food and beverages to help those crews through their difficult work.

Over 100 times a year, Red Cross volunteers in our region are answering the call for help, whether it is a fire, flood, or other natural or man-made disaster. We owe a great deal to these dedicated and compassionate volunteers.