Punxsutawney Prediction

It was a bright day in Punxsutawney, PA this morning and we all know what that means…. Phil saw his shadow. As the rest of the world sits and wonders if the prophesying groundhog will be correct about our future winter weather, we DAT members begin to worry about other things….

For example:
Exactly how many pairs of socks are we going to be wearing to our next fire?

The American Red Cross responds to disasters in all weather conditions: weather (get it, weather/whether?!) it’s a balmy 40 degrees like we had for Super Bowl Sunday or a blistering -16, we’ll be there.

Generally speaking, as the temperature drops our number of responses skyrocket. On a consistent basis we have seen incident numbers go from 0-2 a day in the summer months to around 4-6 a day during the chillier months of November through January. We even saw a spike in responses in the middle of December when there were 14 incidents in a 24 hour period (fires and pipe bursts causing flooding)!

Often times, when responding to fires clients will ask us how many fires we normally respond to and are usually shocked at our response.
In case you’re wondering, here’s some information to let you in on exactly how much the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s Disaster Services Team does in the Chicagoland area:

  • Last week, we had 20 separate incidents. An incident can be a fire, flood, Carbon Monoxide leak…. Anything disastrous
  • We opened 84 cases and assisted 88 individuals
  • In the last six months, the ARCGC has assisted 3,338 people and have been to over 700 incidents.

Give us a call.
Volunteer today!

Sam and Lily

DAT Weekend Update

Looking for new and exciting ways to spend your weekend? Throw away the RedEye (actually, please recycle) and get off Metromix.

Here’s a little taste of a weekend with the Disaster Action Team:

Sunday morning, I was woken up around two in the morning with a call from dispatch, advising of a fire on S. Holman. I took a quick look at my schedule, called Sam and we were on our way.

Arriving at the scene of a fire is always a bit unnerving.
This fire in particular greeted us with lights from a dozen fire trucks and police cars that lined the street and cross street.

When the Red Cross Disaster Action Team arrives at a residence that caught fire, there are several steps we take.
First, we check in with the fire department and get any and all information that we can about when and where the fire started and how many people were affected.
Then, we locate the families of the affected buildings or units and ask them to walk us through their home.
From there, we can assess the damage to determine what kind of assistance we can provide – this includes things like food, clothing and shelter to medicine and infant supplies.

Fortunately for my teammate and myself, we were greeted on scene by two rock star volunteers who passed along all the information they had gathered.
We were looking at three single family homes; a fire had started in the middle home and communicated to both homes on either side.
As soon as Sam and I got the “Ok” from the fire department to go inside the homes, we began our assessment. About a half hour later, we had assisted eleven people with food, clothing and shelter for the evening – and a couple of teddy bears for two very brave little boys.

We left the scene about six o’clock in the morning with both heavy hearts and a feeling of satisfaction of fulfilling the mission of a truly great organization: The American Red Cross.

A little bit about us:
Lily Pavone and Sam Gieryn are two of the Disaster Services five AmeriCorps members this year.

AmeriCorps is a volunteer program, similar to the Peace Corps, where members devote a year of their lives to serving the needs of a community here in the United States.

We specifically are working with the Disaster Action Team in Chicago, serving the city and six surrounding counties.