Between July 1 and July 25, Tulsa Red Cross Disaster Action Teams have answered the call for fire assistance more than 100 times. That’s 25 percent more than last year’s annual average of 2.8 disaster responses per day.
Since Sunday alone, the Tulsa Red Cross has responded to 16 home fires and provided more than $10,000 in financial assistance for shelter, food and clothing to 24 families who have suffered fire-related losses.
During the same five days, area fire departments, police departments and emergency managers have called upon the Red Cross to provide critical canteen services for emergency responders on six different occasions for emergencies ranging from wildfires to home fires to crime situations.
The Red Cross operates at the scene of the emergencies, providing vital replenishing beverages, water and energy sustaining snacks and meals. Red Cross teams working canteens this week have provided emergency responders with 463 bottled drinks, 675 snacks and 140 meals.
The extreme heat contributes to the increased need for Red Cross services for first-responders. Prolonged exposure to the high temperatures can result in heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can kill. The extra protective gear worn by emergency responders also becomes a factor. When all of those elements come together, onsite canteen services become critical for the safety and wellbeing of the emergency workers.
All of the services to fire victims and emergency responders are provided free of charge by the Red Cross.
The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on volunteers and financial donations from the public to provide services. Those wishing to donate to the Red Cross in order to assist the organization with critical funding for disaster and emergency response can do so online at www.OklahomaRedCross.org, or by sending a check payable to American Red Cross – Tulsa Area Chapter to PO Box 995, Tulsa, OK 74128, or make a $10 donation by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.