From major hurricanes to massive wildfires, during 2018 the United States was hammered with large-scale disasters. Despite all of the crises, people didn’t lose hope. With the help of the American Red Cross, individuals and communities have shown resilience in the face of adversity.
Wildfires destroyed more than 8.5 million acres nationwide. In California, residents experienced some of the most destructive fires in the state’s history. In addition, major hurricanes struck in a span of just three months (August: Hurricane Lane; September: Hurricanes Florence, Olivia, and Mangkhut; October: Hurricane Michael and Typhoon Yutu). Locally, home fires claimed the spot as the nation’s most frequent disasters.
Disaster workers provided help by serving over 8.2 million meals and snacks; distributing over 2.2 million relief items; working with partners to provide more than 290,000 overnight shelter stays; and making more than 188,000 health and mental health contacts to provide support and care. In addition, the Red Cross helped more than 3,000 people nationally to reconnect with their loved ones separated in the aftermath of disasters.
The Red Cross mobilized more than 14,000 disaster workers during 2018, 90 percent of them volunteers. Among these were local Red Cross disaster workers who deployed to national disasters, offering hope in the midst of these tumultuous events.
“For a second year in a row, American Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to deliver care and hope for people whose lives were torn apart by record disasters,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responded to these and other crises of all sizes across the country – including home fires, which devastate families each and every day.”
As people welcome a new year, the Red Cross continues to help people prevent and prepare for disasters, including home fires. Through our Home Fire Campaign, with generous support and local partners, volunteers go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans. Nationally, during 2018 nearly 400,000 smoke alarms were installed and more than 165,000 homes were made safer through home fire safety visits.
You can help people affected by disasters by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Please consider making a donation today by visiting https://www.redcross.org/ or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).