Tag Archives: Disaster Response

How Red Cross teams supported those affected by regional wildfires

Since mid-August, when many of the wildfires described below started in our region, we have been updating this post on a regular basis. Now that most of our efforts are focused on helping residents as part of the recovery phase of these Red Cross responses, we will only update this post if future circumstances warrant.

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Please see the information below that summarizes all of the great work our volunteers, employees, and partners have done to support our communities. We are also so appreciative of the donors whose generosity makes our work possible.

Background: The lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region in mid-August caused a number of large and destructive fires in our chapter areas, prompting quick responses by our region’s Red Cross teams. Other fires subsequently started in our region in September, including the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Working alongside our government and community partners, Red Cross teams — comprising responders from inside and outside our region — have provided shelter, food, and comfort to the many residents impacted by these wildfires. Read more

‘I just can’t thank you enough’

Having returned home after their Glass Fire evacuation, a Santa Rosa couple shares their Red Cross story

By Dave Skutnik

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Red Cross disaster worker Leigh Elliott is shown with Ila and Mike Ervin at the Ervin’s Santa Rosa area home following the Glass Fire.
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As flames from the dangerous Glass Fire roared toward them, Mike and Ila Ervin — like so many on the night of September 27 — were forced to flee their rural home near the Northern California city of Santa Rosa.

“The sheriff came around and said we had to get out,” recalls Mike. “There was barely any time to even pack anything. We had to go — now.” Read more

Among evacuees, Esalen staffers are grateful for Red Cross

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“The level of coordination and care was outstanding,” Esalen Institute’s Terry Gilbey said of the Red Cross response to the Dolan Fire. (Photo by Jens Wazel)
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Founded in the 1960s in picturesque Big Sur, the Esalen Institute has a well-earned reputation for exploring human consciousness and developing human potential. The center attracts visitors from around the world whose interests in subjects such as personal growth, meditation, massage, yoga, and spirituality are explored less seriously by traditional universities and religions.

Terry Gilbey, the General Manager/CEO, has been with the institute since 2016. Just a year into his tenure, he helped the center stay afloat after landslides and a bridge failure made the facility inaccessible for many months. So the institute — and Terry — has had some practice with disasters. Read more

Fire, fear, and a helping hand

By Marcia Antipa

Roxanne, Hunter, Bill, and Vera Corbin

On a hot, windy Thursday in late August, the Corbin family of Morgan Hill got a cellphone alert: an evacuation warning, telling them to get ready to leave their home. Firefighters said the SCU Lightning Complex Fire threatened their community.

Bill Corbin realized the threat was serious.

“The wind was blowing southeast,” says Bill. “If it was to pick up, we would definitely be in danger.” Read more

A smile to share

Volunteer BreAnna Sanabria and a smile behind the mask.

A few weeks after beginning training, BreAnna Sanabria packed up to board a flight for the first time in seven years. For the first time, she deployed on August 22 to support the American Red Cross response to fires in Northern California. No stranger to service, BreAnna was more nervous about the flight than the work itself.

“I like being social and like to give back,” says BreAnna. “Our parents always said we were very blessed and that we should always give back. I thought the Red Cross was a way I could do that.”

Read more

Actor discovers why our volunteers have been VIPs during CZU Fire

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Preparing to assemble re-entry kits for fire evacuees returning home, Casey Affleck is briefed by Michele Averill, CEO for the Central Coast Chapter (right), and Kerrin Welsh, Regional Preparedness Manager, in a warehouse in the community of Aromas. (Photo by Brian Nichols)
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As a long-time Red Cross volunteer and disaster responder, I have seen first-hand the impact disasters have on individuals, families, first responders, and entire communities. Although the resulting devastation and loss are unbearable, natural disasters can also bring out the very best in people who step forward to help in any way possible.

Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck and his friend Brian Nichols were two such people, wanting to provide assistance during the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Read more

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