Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November disasters keep Red Cross teams on their toes

Red Cross has responded to 14 disasters in first half of November

Denver, CO – The American Red Cross Mile High Chapter has responded to nearly a disaster a day during the first two weeks of November – and although the Red Cross typically sees an uptick in home fires during the cold winter months, this month’s responses have included a spate of disasters, such as:

* A hazmat incident that required the set-up of an evacuation center for a Commerce City neighborhood
* A multi-unit apartment fire that displaced 55 residents in Aurora
* A gas explosion in a 4-unit townhome in Lakewood
* A 34-car pile-up yesterday on I-25

Since Nov. 1, the Chapter has responded to 14 different disasters – including two late last night.

“These bursts of activity are not unusual in the disaster world, but they highlight why we place such an emphasis on our own preparedness - we work year-round to line up supplies and trained volunteers so that we can handle multiple disasters in a row,” said Disaster Response Director Elizabeth DiPaolo .

Last year, the Mile High Chapter responded to more than a fire a day during the first weeks of December; this month’s disaster blast has Red Cross workers wondering whether 2010 will prove even busier than 2009.

“The scary thing is that we haven’t yet reached the busiest part of our fire season,” DiPaolo said. “We’re still a few weeks away from the holiday-related fires that start around Thanksgiving and continue into early January.”

The Red Cross Mile High Chapter provides disaster response, preparedness and health and safety services in 19 Colorado counties. The Red Cross is seeking donations during its annual Holiday giving campaign in order to fund these ongoing operations. Visit www.ColoradoRedCross.org/donate for more information.

Summary of November Disasters

Tues. 11/16 – Responded to a single-family fire in Arvada that displaced two adults and three children

Mon. 11/15 – Responded to a single-family fire that completely destroyed a home in Aurora , displacing four adults and three children

Mon. 11/15 – Red Cross sent Mobile Feeding Vehicle to give warm drinks, water and snacks to people on the scene of a 34-car pile up on I-25

Sun. 11/14 – Responded to an apartment fire in Thornton in which three units were affected, one rendered uninhabitable. One family was displaced by the fire.

Sat. 11/13 - Responded to a gas explosion in a four-unit town home in Lakewood that affected two units and displaced two families.

Fri. 11/12 - Responded to a single-family fire in Aurora that displaced two adults and one 13-year-old.

Fri. 11/12 - San Luis Valley Branch responded to a single-family fire in Saguache County that displaced two adults, three cats and one dog.

Wed. 11/10 - Assisted families affected by two separate home fires that occurred on Nov. 9 in Commerce City and Aurora , respectively.

Tues. 11/9 - Responded to a disaster in Lakewood that displaced one adult, three teenagers, four cats and one dog. Pets will be housed w/neighbors.

Sun. 11/7 – Set up a shelter in response to a multi-unit apartment fire in Aurora that displaced an estimated 55 residents; the Red Cross also followed up with a client service center to help residents who did not stay at the shelter.

Sat. 11/6 - Responded to a single-family fire in Longmont . Two adults were displaced.

Fri. 11/5 - Responded to a hazmat spill in Commerce City . Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Dupont Elementary and sent mobile feeding vehicle to provide emergency responders and evacuees with snacks and drinks.

Fri. 11/5 – San Luis Valley branch responded to a fatal single-family fire that displaced two adults and two children.

In each case, the Red Cross assessed the individual needs of each family to provide for temporary assistance in the aftermath of the disaster. Assistance may include lodging, food, clothing, baby formula, help replacing medication and other basic needs.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.ColoradoRedCross.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter: Facebook.com/redcrossdenver and Twitter.com/redcrossdenver. .

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