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Red Cross Response to Double Diamond Fire Coming to a Close

Residents Urged to Prepare for the Next Disaster
AMARILLO -- Three weeks after wildfires swept through the town of Fritch, Texas, the American Red Cross is wrapping up work in the area and is urging residents to prepare ahead of the next outbreak.
   
 “It’s been quite an undertaking to respond to a disaster as large as this one, said Steve Pair, executive director, American Red Cross Texas Panhandle Chapter. “But it was possible thanks to our volunteers, our community partners and mostly to the people who helped out with financial contributions. We wanted to take a moment to let everyone who made a financial donation to the American Red Cross know how your funds were applied”.

Casework Services:
  • As of May 31, 2014, the American Red Cross had identified 117 families that would need financial support from the organization. Financial support assistance can be provided to purchase storage items, new clothing, replacement of medications and medical equipment and other services designed to help the family begin their recovery. 
  • As of May 31, 2014, Red Cross caseworkers have completed the financial assistance portion of recovery for 46 families. An additional 56 families still have open cases.
Red Cross Shelters:
  • One Red Cross shelter and one Red Cross supported shelter operated over the course of the response.
  • There were a total of 108 overnight stays.
  • Trained disaster workers from the Texas Panhandle responded immediately, while others joined from across the state in the days and weeks that followed.
  • At Red Cross shelters, residents were provided a place to sleep, daily meals and snacks and comfort items for their families.
Meals & Snacks:
  • In total, the American Red Cross handed out 20,388 meals and snacks to wildfire victims at the shelters, or through mobile feeding operations where Red Cross relief workers delivered meals directly to the affected communities so that everyone had proper nutrition and hydration.
  • As much as possible, the Red Cross turns to local restaurants to purchase meals because it helps to infuse the local economy, understandably devastated from a local disaster. In Fritch, Red Cross teams were fortunate that many restaurants were unaffected by the wildfire and able to provide the expertise to keep hot meals available throughout the course of the relief effort. 
Relief Items:
  • Red Cross relief workers distributed 3,567 relief items such as shovels, rakes, sifter boxes, work gloves, and other necessary items to help people try to salvage what was left of their homes.
  • Because of the nature of the fast-moving wildfire, residents weren’t able to evacuate with even the smallest of items, like a toothbrush. Red Cross workers were able to provide “Comfort Kits” with a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, etc. to 105 people.
Physical and Emotional Health:
  • When disasters strike, they often leave behind scars that are highly visible; charred landscapes, wind damaged homes or flooded neighborhoods. The Red Cross knows that some scars aren’t as easily identified so as part of relief operations, trained and licensed nurses and mental health workers join the effort.
  • Red Cross nurses rendered first aid, checked blood pressures and answered general medical inquiries 354 times during the relief effort.
  • Red Cross mental health workers checked on the well-being of 170 people while responding.
Preparing for the Next One:
  • Not only did Red Cross workers support the families directly affected by the fires, teams of preparedness experts fanned out across the unaffected neighborhoods to better prepare families for the next round of wildfires. In total, Red Cross workers visited 385 homes in Borger and Sanford to deliver important documents such as: Wildfire App Flyer with QR Code, Wildfire Preparedness Tips and Planning Sheet, Pet Preparedness Tips and Planning Sheet, Food and Water during Emergencies Brochure, Disaster Planning and Home Inventory Brochure
  • For residents who didn’t have the opportunity to speak to a Red Cross worker in their neighborhood about preparing for the next fire, information is available at the RedCross.org.
“Those of us who live here in the Panhandle know that wildfires are possible, and we know all too well the devastation they leave behind,” said Pair. “The most important thing is that we do all we can to prepare ahead.”
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