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What kind of resources are available to the victims of house fires?

Si Cantwell
StarNews

Red Cross volunteers comfort a house fire victim. Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.

 

Q. As I write this, a good friend of mine is watching the last of the flames go out in a fire that just claimed her house. Everyone got out fine, but they are left with basically nothing but they clothes they put on this morning. What kind of resources are available to help someone like this? There are many needs in the family. My friend is caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s. Her husband has battled throat cancer twice and is now battling Parkinson’s. She is raising her grandson and also has a son living at home. I want to help, and I am trying to do some foot work so that they know what their options are. Thank you!!!

A. We asked Autum Mihm, director of communications for the  American Red Cross, Eastern N.C. Region, to provide an answer for this heart-wrenching question. Here’s her response:

The Red Cross can assist with immediate emergency disaster-caused needs including assistance with temporary lodging, food, clothing, replacement medications or eyewear, comfort kits with hygiene items, and storage containers for belongings. Red Cross mental health volunteers can support fire victims with grief and trauma counseling and referrals to local mental health care providers.

Additional assistance the Red Cross can provide is first month’s rent or security deposit and referrals to partner agencies for household goods, clothes, and other services. The affected resident(s) should call the Red Cross at 910-762-2683.

We also recommend people call 2-1-1 for a list of agencies in the area that can help with individual needs.

In 2013, the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to 143 home fires and assisted 570 residents with immediate emergency needs including shelter, food, clothing, supplies, referrals, and emotional support. The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan.

The biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods, hurricanes or tornadoes; it’s fire. Across the country, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires. Home fires can strike quickly and without warning, devastating lives and property. But unlike other disasters, most home fires can be prevented.

The Red Cross is committed to giving people the information they need to reduce their risk of home fires, and to helping people recover after a fire happens. At any time of day or night, trained Red Cross volunteers respond to the scene of fires and provide food, shelter, and emotional support to those affected.

Smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year.

Fires can spread quickly and every second counts. Having a plan in place can help you escape, but less than one-fourth of Americans have actually made a plan and practiced it. Home fire plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room of your home. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance from your home where family members can meet after a fire. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice it at least twice a year.

Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android. For more information visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

While big, visible floods and hurricanes often bring millions into the Red Cross, we sometimes struggle to pay for smaller disasters like home fires. Every year, the Red Cross spends an average of $300 million preparing for and responding to nearly 70,000 disasters across the county.

You can help people affected by disasters like fires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter (Cape Fear Chapter at 1102 South 16th St., Wilmington [Map this], NC 28401) or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

RELATED LINKS:

What are the rules for backyard campfires in New Hanover County and Wilmington?

Does the City of Wilmington Fire Dept offer free inspections of fireplaces ?

 

User-contributed question by:
Amy Westbrook

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One Response to “ What kind of resources are available to the victims of house fires?”

  1. On May 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm housexfirexvictims wrote:

    H HELLO,
    MY FAMILY, HAD OUR HOUSE FIRE ON MARCH 18 2014..WE LOST EVERYTHING TO AN UNDETIRMINED HOUSE FIRE.. I DO THANK THE REDCROSS FOR THERE FIRST RESPONSE HELP TO OUR EMERGENCY…THEY GAVE US CLOTHING MONEY, ON A CARD..THEY ALSO GAVE US THREE DAYS AT EXTENDED STAY..THEN THEY GAVE US A REFERAL TO ALL LOCAL AGENCYS FOR ALL THINGS NEEDED.I MUST NOT FORGET TO THANK MY LOCAL ELVERTA, CA FIRE FIGHTERS, NOT ONLY DID THEY PUT THE FIRE OUT, THEY GAVE US AN ENERGENCY FUND ON A CARD FOR A 100.00.
    THANKYOU…SO MUCH..
    ASIDE FROM THIS…MY CONCERN IS THAT ,
    THAT REFERAL THE RED CROSS GAVE US DIDNT GET ME , NOT EVEN ONE RESOURCE…THE NON PROFITS IN SACRAMENTO ARE CONFUSING US WITHHOMELESS…PLEASE KNOW THERE IS A DIFFERENCE…DISPLACEMENT YES IS A FORM OF HOMELESSNESS…Although TWO DIFFERENT ENTITIES..IN SACRAMENTO ALL RESOURCES FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES ARE LITERALLY SUCKED DRY..THEY ARE ON OVERLOAD..ALONG WITH THOSE PROGRAMS, IS MANDITORY FAMILY REHABILITATION, AND IN SOME INSTANCES, FAMILY REUNIFICATION…DUE TO DRUG USE…IN OTHER WORDS…THEY LABEL THERE HELP FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES..IS REALLY A FAMILY DRUG REHAB…PLEASE NO OFFENCE, AND A COMMUNITY DEFFINATELY NEEDED. IM TRYING TO SAY THAT FAMILIES THAT ARE DISPLACED DUE TO A DISASTER. TTHE TWO CATAGORIES SHOULD BE SPLIT UP INTO O TWO DIFFENT AREAS OF MUCH NEEDED HELP..
    THIS HAS LEFT MY FAMILY IN A HORRIBLE DOMINO AFFECT , iLEAVING MY FAMILY WITHOUT ANY RESOURSCES, OR COMMUNITY CONCERN…
    WE OWNED OUR HONE 28 YEARS..WE LOST IT TO AN ILLEAGAL FORCLOSUE, FOLLOWED BY , A BAD FAITH CLAIM. OUR LOSS IS A CATASTROPHIC,
    310.00 to nothing….AND NOT ONE RESOURCE…NO ONE EVEN CARED TO HELP. THIS REFERAL I HAVE DOESNT MEAN A THING…I AM IN A GARAGE NOW…MY KIDS STAY IN THE HOUSE IN THE LIVINGROOM…IVE HAD TO SPLIT UP MY FAMILY , BUSING, WAS WRONGFULLY DENIED, SO WE HAD TO SPLIT UP, FOR SCHOOL REASONS…I HAVE THREE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN, IN SPECIAL EDUCATION..THEY DENIED THE BUSING…SO I HAD TO SPLIT US UP, SO OUR OLDEST BOY COULD GET TO SCHOOL ON TIME. WE DIDNT EVEN IMMAGINE IT WOULD TAKE THIS LONG FOR US TO FIND A HOME. SINCE WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND NOT ONE ORGANIZATION TO HELP, WITH THE ILLEAGAL, FORCLOSURE, BAD FAITH INSURANCE, CLAIM…28 YEARS, SAME INSURANCE, NO MISSED PAYMENT…BILL PAY, UP TO DATE, UNTIL THE FIRE..
    OUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN …WE CAN EVEN RIGHTFULLY RECOVER NOR PROTECT OUR HOME OR BELONGINGS???? THEN A REFURRAL CANT HELP, RESOURCES ARE USED UP BY HOMELESS FAMILIES….SALVATION ARMY, WANTED ID AND VERIFICATION THAT WAS BURNED UP IN THE FIRE, OR WE COULDNT GET HELP..LATER AFTER WE GOT A FIRE REPORT THEY GAVE A FAMILY OF 6 TWO 100.00 GIFT CARD. AND THATS THE THE END OF THAT RESOURCE.. WE HAVE BEEN REVICTIMIZED BY OUR FRIENDS, FAMILY , SCHOOL, ETC.
    THEY THINK WE HAVE NOT YET RECOVERD, THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH US..EXACT WORDS FROM SALVATION ARMY..”YOUR STILL PLAYING ON THAT FIRE …
    SCHOOL HAS SINCE TAKEN MY RIGHTS AS A PARENT…AND SOMEHOW SOME WAY TOOK MY PARENTAL RIGHTS, TO MY OLDEST BOY, THE ONE THAT, I had stay with my daughter temperary.
    THE SCHOOL HAS LET MY DAUGHTER REPLACE EMERGENCY CARD..REPLACE ME IN TESTING FOR IEP.FUNDRAISING, SIGHN FOR 5 DAY TRIPS, EXCUSE COUNTLESS ABSENSES EXCUSED. NEVER CALLING ME OR TELLING ME NOTHING…I COMPLAINED, I NEVER GAVE MY RIGHTS AWAY, NOR EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS…..MY TWINS ATTEND THE SAME SCHOOL..THE LETTER I GOT FROM THERE TEACHER, IS A PERFECT PARENT LETTER…WHILE THEY CO-CONSPIRACY WITH MY DAUGHTER…THEY LABELED HER LEGAL GARDIAN ON PAPERWORK THAT IS TO BE CONFIDENTAL…SINCE SHE GOT A TEMPERARY CUSTODY ORDER…THE SCHOOL MADE IT SEEM LIKE I WAS NOT EVEN INVOLVED, IN MY SINS LIFE…ALL OF A SUDDEN..MY SON RUNS FROM US WHEN hE SEES US..NO PHONE CALLS …I DONT EVEN KNOW WHERE HE LIVES..SO MY KID WAS KIDNAPPED BY MY DAUGHTER WITH THE SCHOOLS HELP…AND I CANT FIND HELP FOR THIS…..THE PLACES PEOPLE TELL ME TO GO FOR HELP…MY STORY IS WAY OVER THERE HEAD…WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO WATCH MYSELF LOSE? WHY HAS MY COMMUNITY LET THIS GOOD FAMILY JUST BURN. AND BURN…
    THANKYOU,
    TRACY TOEWS…….tracytracy4112@gmail. Com



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