Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Disaster Services

Disaster strikes in Port au Prince, Haiti, January 2010
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. While the International Red Cross, with the help of your generous support, have made much progress, there is still a lot of work to be done.

This date has brought up many inquiries about disasters and what exactly the Red Cross does when a disaster strikes.

Do you know?

When you hear the term "Disaster Services," what do you think of? Earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires... Katrina may even come to mind.

Here at the Arizona Grand Canyon Chapter, we do indeed respond to “major disasters,” every day in fact!

But, the kind of disasters our chapter frequently responds to doesn't involve hundreds or thousands of displaced people. We focus on the individual. We frequently assist single families ranging from 3-5 individuals. 

Two DAT volunteers assess the damage
of an Arizona home fire
Most often these families have lost their homes to fires.

One family displaced due to a house fire may not make the headline news. But to the unfortunate victims, a house fire is a major life-changing event. For many families, especially during the present economic climate, a house fire can be a one-way express ticket to homelessness. It is our job at the Grand Canyon Chapter to help these families sort through the next couple of nerve-wrecking days after a fire and ensure they have a clear path toward recovery. (Check out these Home Fire Safety Tips.)

From the time a DAT (Disaster Action Team) volunteer wakes up at 3 AM to respond to a house fire, to the time of interviewing the distraught and suddenly homeless Grandmother caring for 4 children, to the day a new apartment lease is signed and a deposit is paid for, the Disaster Services Department will always be there providing support.

~ Roy M. Guerrero
Client Services Coordinator

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