I expected my first day at The American Red Cross to be filled with paperwork and meeting the staff. This was not the case. I was welcomed by a briefing on an apartment fire that happened the day before, which resulted in the tragic death of one man. Whenever a fatality happens, after the family’s needs are met, the Red Cross dispatches a team of volunteers to canvass the neighborhood, offer support and pass out information about safety.
I rode along with a team of three AmeriCorps workers, two volunteers and two other interns. They were seasoned Red Cross veterans who had experience in disaster relief across Ohio, the Midwest and major hurricane disaster areas such as Louisiana. From all of their “war stories” it seemed like this was an everyday routine.
I was pleasantly surprised by how they reacted with so much genuine compassion and concern, as if it was their first time at a site. Being surrounded by so many people, so passionate about helping their community, I can tell this will be an amazing and worthwhile internship.
Keep your family and community safe, follow these simple fire prevention tips:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Test them once a month and replace the batteries twice a year.
- Replace smoke alarms at least every 10 years and never disable them.
- Create an escape plan in case of a fire or other emergency
- Make sure everyone in your household knows the escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
- Check out the Red Cross Fire Safety Checklist for more details. (http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340073_FireSafety.pdf)