Pioneer Valley Red Cross Stretched Thin after Series of Fires
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)– The Pioneer Valley chapter of the American Red Cross is a beacon of hope and comfort for families left crushed by fires and other disasters, providing necessities they might otherwise go without, and this season they have had to step in and help more families than usual.
“The Red Cross always provides for the families and people who are in these fires immediate, emergency needs. So that can include a place to stay for the night but when you’re in that place you still need a toothbrush, shaving cream, deodorant so you feel like you. You’ve just lost everything so those little things can make a huge difference,” said Caitlin O’Hara, Major Gift Associate for the Red Cross.
However, those resources are starting to feel the pinch after a busy few months.
Regionally, our local chapter of the Red Cross has responded to 108 fires since October 1 – an unusually high number compared to years past, so it’s easy to imagine that they have been stretched thin.
“Our volunteers are out, just this week we’ve had seven fires since Monday, five of which were yesterday. So we have volunteers up, they’re going, they’re running, but they need to sleep too so our volunteers are running thin. And also because the Red Cross services are completely free our donations are also starting to be stretched a little thin,” added O’Hara.
O’Hara said there are many things we can do to protect ourselves from house fires. First explain the dangers of matches to children and keep them out of reach. Next, make sure that your stove is clear from all pot holders and towels. And make sure you use space heaters with caution.
“Space heaters are really popular during this time of year, make sure that they are at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire and also turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep,” O’Hara says.
If you’re interested in helping the Red Cross through volunteering or donations you can visit their website.