Red Cross Providing Emotional Support in Arizona

July 3, 2013

By Teri Klemchuk

Photo credit: American Red Cross/Teri Klemchuk

Arizona residents affected by wildfires continue to turn to the Red Cross for a safe place to stay, food, emotional support and health services.

The fire has forced hundreds of people to leave their homes and caused a closure of a major roadway in the area, dividing the response area almost in half. Red Cross workers opened shelters on both sides of the fire to best help people in need.

A community meeting to update local residents was held on Tuesday, July 2 at the Red Cross shelter located at Wickenburg High School.  Ethan Mapstone and his family have been staying at a local motel after they were evacuated from their home in Yarnell on Sunday. The family attended the meeting along with approximately 300 neighbors. During the meeting, kids were invited to draw pictures as their parents intently listened to first responders.

When asked about his drawings, Ethan said he heard about the 19 firefighters on the news and it made him sad but drawing a picture made him feel better. He doesn’t know if his home is okay and is worried.

People may be experiencing many different emotions after this type of tragedy, which is normal.  The Red Cross has disaster mental health workers to help those affected cope.  To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.



Fast Facts: Montana Wildfires

July 17, 2012

The following information shows our total service delivery as of July 15, 2012 in Montana:

Story: American Red Cross Volunteer and her Therapy Dog Support Disabled Veterans and Their Families

July 3, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross volunteer in Public Affairs Allen Crabtree.

The American Red Cross has provided support to our military and their families throughout its history as a key part of its mission to serve the American people.  No matter what time of day, any day of the year, the Red Cross quickly sends emergency communications to deployed service members on behalf of their family during a crisis, provides access to financial assistance in partnership with the military aid societies, information and referral and assistance to veterans.

There is another aspect of the Red Cross’ support to the military that is not widely known – the Red Cross partnership to make available pet therapy animals that visit military hospitals to help the healing process for disabled veterans and their families. There are thousands of active duty and retired military personnel and their families living in theColorado Springsarea, and the Red Cross has three pet therapy teams with trained Red Cross volunteers and Certified Registered Therapy Pets that work in the area.  These teams are sent to military installations, hospitals and clinics in and aroundFortCarson.

Thea Wasche has been a Red Cross volunteer for three years and is the handler and owner of Lacey, a six-year old Golden Retriever Registered Therapy Dog.   “I received Lacey when she was about two years old,” she said.  “Lacey and I have been certified by the rigorous Delta Society training program for therapy dogs, and I have been fully trained by the Red Cross.”

Wasche is a thirty-year civil servant veteran and has been around the military her entire adult life.  She now assigned to Schriever Air Force Base, so she is no stranger to the military.

“Lacey and I visit theEvansArmyCommunityHospitalatFortCarsonevery Saturday,” said Wasche.  “Lacey interacts with the disabled veterans in the patient wards.  It is wonderful to see how they react to her gentle approach and demeanor.  For many, it is the first reaching out that they have done as part of their rehabilitation program.”

Wasche and Lacey also visit outpatient clinics to support veterans receiving physical therapy and other services, and represent the Red Cross when they with the children, families and friends of fallen soldiers as part of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

The American Red Cross has strict training and certification requirements for all therapy pets and their handlers before they are allowed to represent the Red Cross and provide their needed humanitarian healing services to these important military programs or other Red Cross activities.


Photos: Red Cross Responds in Mississippi

May 5, 2011



See entire 2011 Spring Tornadoes set on Flickr >>

Story: Winds of change leave Texans on pins and needles

April 20, 2011

Story and photos by Anita Foster

Texans are resilient people, but even they are reeling from a series of wildfires that have destroyed more than 150 homes, scorched at least 1 million acres and claimed the life of a volunteer firefighter in Eastland County. And they know that the fires are not close to being contained—and there’s not a drop of rain in the forecast.


Each day brings with it its own set of challenges. Just yesterday, our American Red Cross team was in a small town near Palo Pinto, Texas. We could see the fire burning on the other side of the hill. We knew it was close. Firefighters and state troopers patrolled the streets alerting residents that they had one hour to pack up and get out because the fire was coming right at them. The residents were told to take the things that really mattered to them because they wouldn’t likely have a home upon their return.

Press Release: Red Cross Continues To Help Tornado Victims, Fire Clients and Respond Nationwide To Disasters

April 5, 2011


Red Cross volunteers continue to respond down the street, across the country and around the world

CENTRAL FLORIDA, April 5, 2011 – American Red Cross volunteers in Hillsborough County have completed assessments of the damage caused by last Thursday’s tornados, however client casework and mass care services continue. At the same time, Disaster Action Teams have been busy responding to multiple fires throughout the state.

Today’s storms came as an ominous reminder of last week’s violent weather. Many structures that were damaged by the nine tornados may have been weakened further by the heavy rains and strong winds. The Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in Tallahassee reports that high wind caused major damage to six homes today. Another home was damaged in the Jacksonville area.

While Red Cross volunteers continue to help families affected by the storms, others respond to provide emergency assistance to families who lost their homes to fires. Within the last 24 hours, Tampa Bay Chapter volunteers responded to four fires, one involving an apartment complex where 19 people including 11 children were forced from their homes.

Across the state of Florida – 325 homes were affected by the March 31 tornados; 14 were destroyed and 85 suffered major damage. But, it’s not just Florida that is suffering.

Across the country, the Red Cross responded today after severe spring storms affected hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina. At the same time, Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in North Dakota and Minnesota as the Red River continues to rise. In fact, since late March, the Red Cross has played a role in 14 disaster events in 13 states across the nation.

This latest disaster response comes on the heels of the Red Cross assisting people in Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Texas where wildfires burned thousands of acres, destroyed homes and forced people to evacuate from their neighborhoods.

Disaster Alert – Texas Wildfire

April 5, 2011

Disaster Alert

Texas – A wildfire burned thousands of acres, destroyed homes, threatened dozens of others and caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Laredo and Webb Counties on Monday.

The San Antonio Area Chapter deployed Disaster Action Team, opened a shelter, dispatched two Emergency Response Vehicles, provided Mass Care, supplied Bulk Distribution and canteened emergency responders.

An Emergency Response Vehicle was deployed through mutual aid from the Coastal Bend –Texas Chapter.

Disaster Alert: Severe Weather Reported in Southern States

April 5, 2011

Disaster Alert

Louisiana – Severe storms passed throughout the state and destroyed homes, damaged others and caused power outages that affected thousands of residents on Monday.

The Southeast Louisiana and Acadiana Area Red Cross Chapters deployed Disaster Action Team members, placed a shelter on stand-by, and assisted disaster victims as needed.


Mississippi – Severe storms damaged homes and buildings, leaving thousands of residents throughout the state without power on Monday.

Disaster Action Team members from the Northeast Mississippi Chapter opened a shelter and provided assistance to evacuees as needed.


Tennessee – Strong storms destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and left more than 100,000 residents without power throughout the central portion of the state on Monday.

The Nashville Area Chapter deployed Disaster Action Team members, opened a shelter, placed others on stand-by and staffed local Emergency Operations Center.

The Greater Chattanooga Area Chapter staffed the county Emergency Operations Center and is monitoring situation to provide response, if necessary.


Kentucky – Severe storms passed throughout the state and destroyed homes, damaged others, downed trees and power lines on Monday.  One reported injury.

All Chapters in the affected areas, including the Louisville Area and Bluegrass Chapters, deployed Disaster Action Team members and provided assistance to victims as needed.


North Carolina – Severe weather passed throughout the state damaging homes, downing trees and causing power outage to almost 130,000 residents.

The Rutherford County and Asheville-Mountain Area chapters are monitoring the situation and continuing to do Disaster Assessment and provide assistance as needed.

Press Release: American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

March 15, 2011

American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

[WASHINGTON, DC] March 15, 2011 – The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”


Disaster Alert: Wildfire in Boulder, CO

September 7, 2010

Disaster Alert

Colorado – A wildfire in Boulder County burned thousands of acres, damaged or destroyed multiple structures and caused thousands of residents within the affected area to evacuate on Monday.

The Mile High chapter deployed a Disaster Action Team, opened a shelter, provided Mass Care for shelter residents and issued canteen services to hundreds of affectedarea residents and emergency responders.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 374 other followers