Fresh Face Friday: Responding to a Home Fire

Intern Zac Woltz

SO happy to have Zac Woltz, student intern extraordinaire, on our communications team! Zac is a junior at The Ohio State University majoring in political science and American politics.

On Wednesday Jan. 9, I was honored to respond to a home fire with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team. On the ride to the scene, the team prepped for the events to come as much as possible. Going in, we only knew we were responding to a single family home with four occupants.  As it was my first response, the team of three volunteers was very good at filling me in on what to expect, what needed to be done and always reminding me to stay safe.

When we arrived on the scene our team leader, Caroline, met with the fire department. Briefly, they went over the damage and learned a bit about the residents, who were roommates. From there, Caroline and Rick went into the home to determine the damage and assess the needs of the individuals. Meanwhile, Christina and I were able to sit down with the residents to fill out the necessary paperwork so the Red Cross would be able to assist them.

The fire destroyed one wall of the upstairs bedroom, a bed and the roof of the other upstairs bedroom. Due to the fact that it was an electrical fire, all power and utilities were shut off. Without power and heat in the middle of an Ohio winter, the residents were unable to stay in their home until the power could be restored. Caroline arranged for hotel rooms for the residents and their three pets. Then she provided one resident with a debit card to replace his lost bedding. Each resident received a debit card for food to help them get through the next few days.

The residents were so overwhelmed by the generosity of the Red Cross and really appreciative. The best part of the run was being able to reach out to someone in the midst of their tragedy and bring a little bit of comfort to them. To be able to let them know they are not alone in their time of need and that there is someone ready and willing to help. It was truly a humbling experience.

We respond to more than one home fire every day and need more volunteers to help! If you would like to volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, visit us online to begin the process.

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