By Karsten Doan, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
They say disasters never stop and that is evident here in Texas. From multiple home fires to bone-chilling Artic temperatures, it seems the Lone Star state cannot catch a break. Fortunately, our sense of community has persevered through it all to keep us united as we work together for neighbors in need.
More than 80 partner-run and independent warming centers and shelters are operating in the North Texas Region to help those requiring shelter from frigid temperatures in their homes due to a lack of electricity. The American Red Cross is supporting partner-run shelters and has provided more than 500 cots, 1,000 blankets, 500 meals and 1,375 snacks. In addition, Red Cross has health, mental health and spiritual care services available for those in need. Responding to this weather event is a team effort, and the Red Cross will continue to work in close coordination with community and government partners to support those affected by these winter storms.
“Every disaster response is different, but the Red Cross stays prepared to respond no matter what comes our way,” said Katrina Farmer, disaster officer, American Red North Texas Region. “Currently, in addition to our winter weather response, teams are responding to multiple house and apartment fires; which have significantly increased over the past two weeks. We are grateful to the dedicated volunteers and generous donors who make it possible for the Red Cross to be where we’re needed most.”
Since February 7th, the American Red Cross North Texas Region has responded to more than 130 home-fires helping in excess of 650 people. The Red Cross was able to help those affected by providing shelter and essential necessities while each family plans their disaster recovery. Home heating is the second leading cause of home fires in this nation. During these extreme cold temperatures, it is important to take proactive measures to ensure that your home is safe and while trying to keep your family warm.
In spite of the storm, the need for blood remains constant. While weather conditions have caused many canceled blood drives, through our wonderful partnerships, the Red Cross has been able to coordinate the pick-up and delivery of lifesaving blood products for local hospitals. In anticipation of the weather clearing, healthy individuals are encouraged to schedule an appointment to give blood to help replenish the shelves so blood is available when patients need it most.
If you or anyone you know needs a place to warm up, please call 2-1-1 to find the warming center closest to you. For weather alerts and preparedness tips in the palm of your hand, download the free Red Cross ‘Emergency’ App.