California – After opening a shelter at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School on August 27 to provide a safe place for those under mandatory evacuation in the Palos Verdes area, wild fires in La Canada and Hemet ignited a day later — making it clear to the Greater Los Angeles chapter and it’s volunteers that fire season has arrived.
In anticipation of more wild fires and the call for Red Cross assistance, over 50 volunteers gathered on August 29 to review the readiness level of the chapter’s emergency shelter trailers. The chapter maintains Disaster Action Teams and supplies on standby at each of its district offices so that when the call for a shelter comes from emergency officials it is as simple as hitching a trailer and getting on the road to provide an immediate response. A shelter trailer contains all of the supplies needed to open a Red Cross shelter including cots, blankets, administrative supplies, toys for children, and comfort kits. Seven of our shelter trailers convened from as far as Commerce, Torrance and Canoga Park to chapter headquarters in West Los Angeles. The importance of these activities were underscored by the 95-degree heat and two plumes of smoke which arose from the East.
“We have seven disaster response hubs within our region of 37 cities and we must be prepared to deploy our trailers at a moment’s notice should there be a need to open a shelter,” said Eric Brubaker, manager of logistics at the chapter. That moments notice came three different times on Saturday evening in response to mandatory evacuations due to the growing Station Fire – a shelter was opened at Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga just to the South of La Canada, Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita Valley and Highland High School in Lancaster. Through the dedication of these amazing members of our communities, who recognize the importance of the Red Cross mission of preparedness, all supplies were inspected, reviewed and updated when necessary to maintain the standardization which is critical to an efficient response.
“Our shelter team was put on standby at about 8 pm in the event that there were evacuations in the Santa Clarita area. I felt very confident that our material supplies were ready as earlier in the day we were getting them ready. Our work is very important,” said Ron Ross, volunteer and logistics co-lead. Within four hours, Ron and others had opened a Red Cross shelter at Golden Valley High School checking-in displaced residents and providing a safe place to those displaced by the disaster.
Help people affected by disasters like the current wildfires, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.