American Red Cross - Cascades Region
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News Release
Busy Wildfire season is on the horizon. The Red Cross says get ready now, prepare and volunteer. - 05/15/24

Volunteers are needed to support families affected by continuous disasters.   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

[Portland, ORE, May 14, 2024] Residents of Oregon and SW Washington are anticipating another busy wildfire season as the climate crisis threatens to upend more communities. The best defense during an emergency is to be prepared and the American Red Cross, Cascades Region advises everyone to get ready now. 

“Today, the Red Cross is responding to more large disasters — almost twice as many — than we did a decade ago,” said Priscilla Fuentes, CEO of the Red Cross Cascades Region. “This growing need for help means we need more volunteers trained and ready to support families facing their darkest moments. Plus, it is critical for Oregon and SW Washington residents to make an emergency plan now.” 

The number of billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. has increased 85% in just the last decade as disasters grow in frequency and intensity. People across the country are feeling the impact as an estimated 2.5 million were forced from their homes by weather-related disasters in 2023 — with more than a third displaced for longer than a month. 

LOCALLY:

  • In 2020, Oregon experienced the worst wildfires on record, burning over a million acres of land. The Red Cross sheltered thousands of people for months across the state.  
  • In 2021, Oregon experienced a heat dome with record high temperatures. Later that summer, we responded to the Bootleg Fire which was the third largest in Oregon history.  
  • In 2022, dozens of fires consumed 465,000 acres. The Red Cross opened 10 shelters in one month alone. A wildfire erupted in Clark County in October, an unusually late time in the year.  
  • In 2023, the Red Cross started the summer with four times as many wildfire responses than the previous year. Our Cascades Region sent people on over 300 deployments, from Alaska to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Maui wildfires. 
  • In 2024, we are anticipating warmer summer temperatures which can intensify wildfire activity. 

Comprising 90% of the Red Cross workforce, volunteers are continuously providing shelter, comfort, hot meals, health services and recovery support to families in need across the country. We need you! 

VOLUNTEER TODAY The Red Cross is seeking new volunteers who are team-oriented and want to make an immediate difference. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up. Free online training will be provided 

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOUSEHOLD With the increasing risk of climate-driven disasters, help keep your family safe by getting prepared today.  

  • Build an emergency kit with bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, and battery-powered radio. Also include medications, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers and emergency contact information.
  • Make an evacuation plan with what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and if you must evacuate. Make sure to coordinate with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans — and don’t forget your pets.
  • Know how to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

Plus, download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and more safety tips. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. 

 

About the American Red Cross:  

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on social media.  

 

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