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Disaster Response, Red Cross is there to help

By: NEFLRedCross , 10:40 PM GMT on May 05, 2009

Disaster Services
From American Red Cross Guide to Services 2009
(PDF File)

Each year, the American Red Cross responds immediately to more than 70,000 disasters, including single-family and apartment home fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions and other natural and human-caused disasters.

Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by the U.S. Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same." The charter is not only an assignment of responsibility, but also an obligation to the nation, to disaster victims and to the people who generously support its work with their donations.

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s urgent disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food and health and mental health services to meet the basic human needs of those affected, including emergency workers. During times of disaster, the Red Cross provides blood and blood products to disaster victims and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.

The American Red Cross is also able to facilitate family communication through its Safe and Well Web site, found on RedCross.org. The Safe and Well Web site allows individuals to register their well-being using messages that can be seen by family and friends inquiring about their loved one’s safety. When inquiries involve individuals with serious pre-existing health and mental health conditions inside a disaster area, Welfare Information Teams search for the vulnerable individuals, get them the help they need and help them reconnect with their worried loved ones.

Emphasizing Disaster Readiness
Disasters deprive families of homes and belongings, cause major disruptions to businesses and cost billions of dollars. This immense social and economic impact can be dramatically reduced if families, businesses and communities take proactive steps to reduce their vulnerabilities. Therefore, disaster readiness and mitigation are priorities of the American Red Cross.

Awareness and Education
We develop and distribute a variety of materials in various languages to educate the public. This includes electronic capabilities, printed and video materials as well as public service announcements (PSAs) and community presentations that inform the public about how to stay safe and protect their homes.

Direct Mitigation and Advocacy
We have partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the insurance industry, emergency management and environment officials, educators, businesses and others who are concerned about the increasing, and often unnecessary, losses caused by disasters. Across the nation, we are working to build a "culture of preparedness" and to limit the harm inflicted on families and communities by disasters.

Be Red Cross Ready
Be Red Cross Ready represents the cooperative efforts of the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign to encourage the public to be more prepared for a disaster or other emergency. This program contains a simple message and a call to action. In today’s climate, it is more important than ever that all of us be prepared for possible emergencies, and there are three actions everyone can take that can help make a difference.

1. Get a Kit. What you have on hand when a disaster happens can make a big difference. Have at least three days of supplies for everyone in your household, including your pets. Include any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities in your kit. Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle. Information on what to include in a kit is available on RedCross.org.

2. Make a Plan. Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response. Design a family communication plan that includes an evacuation plan and coordinates with schools, work and communities’ communication plans.

3. Be Informed. When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Knowing what may happen and how you can help may make all the difference when an emergency happens. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid, CPR and AED use.

To learn more about the Be Red Cross Ready initiative, go to an online presentation at RedCross.org. The modules, which are available in English and Spanish, contain pictures, audio and video content that helps individuals and their families become safer, healthier and more resilient in the face of an emergency.

American Red Cross Volunteers

The American Red Cross has been able to provide services for more than 125 years in large part because of the tireless and dedicated work of volunteers-known as "Red Crossers." All across the United States, more than half a million Red Crossers help save lives by providing assistance to disaster victims, delivering community education courses and working with millions of volunteer blood donors. This special family includes individuals who help with a single event or who volunteer several times a month. Many Red Crossers have been involved in their communities for 10, 20 or even 80 years, providing lifesaving services and leadership and helping to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Our volunteers represent their communities, speak many different languages, are of all different ages and represent all races and ethnicities. We invite you to join us. Help make the Red Cross even stronger and better.

A Helping Hand
Among other things, Red Cross volunteers-

• Assist victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms, wildfires and home fires.

• Provide community disaster education in first aid, CPR/AED, swimming, babysitter preparedness and other classes.

• Donate blood to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and others.

• Help wounded service members with their recovery.

• Help vulnerable people around the world prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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28. NEFLRedCross
1:28 PM GMT on June 02, 2009
June 02, 2009

Red Cross shelter closed

Staff writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- The American Red Cross closed its shelter at Westside Baptist Church on Monday morning and is referring people to Volusia County for other services.

The Florida's Coast to Coast Chapter closed the last of three shelters it had opened during the areas flood damage. A total of 65 people were helped at the three shelters, including 18 on Sunday night. Dan Roll, chapter manager, said the shelter closed because Volusia County Community Services had services to assist people with alternative living arrangements.

The Red Cross continues to offer referral and other services. The agency did about 1,600 assessments on homes damaged and is contacting those people to see if they need further services.

If residents have not yet met with an American Red Cross client services volunteer, they can arrange an appointment by calling the local Red Cross chapter at (386) 226-1400.

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27. NEFLRedCross
1:26 PM GMT on June 02, 2009
Volusia Leaders Discuss Flood Funding Today
Tuesday, June 02, 2009 7:39:24 AM

Reported by Jason Wheeler

DAYTONA BEACH -- City leaders from across Volusia County are working to get more funding to continue flood recovery efforts.

City mayors, commissioners and managers, and members of the Volusia County Council and staff plan to meet Tuesday morning with state and federal officials to discuss the recovery process.

With so many people still waiting for some kind of help, the meeting will address what state and federal services are available, how much funding the county can get, and where it needs to go.

The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Volusia County Lifeguard Headquarters, located at 515 S. Atlantic Ave., in Daytona Beach.


Apply For Disaster Aid

Volusia County residents can apply online for the assistance or by calling (800) 621-FEMA.

Residents must bring the following items with them to the centers or when calling the FEMA hotline:

• Contact information (name, address, etc.)
• Social Security Number
• Household income information/number of people in household
• Insurance information
• Description of damage to home/business as a result of the rainfall event

Disaster recovery centers are open at:

• Holly Hill Recreation Center, 1046 Daytona Ave. in Holly Hill
• Dickerson Center, 308 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Daytona Beach

Please note, the disaster recovery center at the Public Works Complex in Daytona Beach was moved to the Dickerson Center.

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26. NEFLRedCross
1:20 PM GMT on June 02, 2009
Homeowners work to repair flood damage

Staff Writer

ORMOND BEACH -- Maryjane Apicella was asleep about 4 a.m. in her Ormond Beach home during the recent rains when she heard a pleasant sound, a sound of a liquid not a solid, and it was in motion.

"I could hear this happy noise. It was like I thought 'That's a nice noise' " she remembered thinking.

Then she stepped out of bed and felt the sound. It was water. Several inches of it filled her house on Pine Trail after creeping up from a deep pond behind her yard in the early darkness of May 21. She awoke her husband Mark and then sloshed through the house to rouse her 16-year-old son, Conor.

"I saw his iPod floating down the hall when I went to get him," she said.

Now, like many homeowners in eastern Volusia County, the Apicellas are tallying the losses and tackling the cleanup. They have already stripped the carpeting and vinyl flooring from their home, so only the gray concrete remains. When they carried away the carpeting, they found some unwanted visitors that normally live in the pond, said Mark Apicella.

"We had leeches crawling out from under the carpet," he said. "I was just afraid of snakes. Leeches, I can handle."

This week, Apicella contemplated the job ahead as the sound of dehumidifiers and moving air filled his house.

A bed in one room was stacked with their son's guitars and a decorative scarecrow. The garage contained some boxes filled with old toys.

Apicella prepared tools for the job ahead. A big electric saw rested on the dining table along with spare blades in a plastic case.

Apicella walked into his son's room and banged a hammer against the sheetrock, listening to the sound. A dull, soggy return indicated how high the water had risen, nearly 3 feet. With the help of his nephew Eric Apicella, he started working, the hammer thudding, tearing out sheetrock.

The Apicellas will have to remove and replace the lower half of all the sheetrock from walls around the house. He said the door jambs and doors have to go, too. The furniture also needs to be thrown out: a couch, wooden TV stand, tables, chairs. He has insurance but he worries it will not cover everything.

A city inspector had placed a yellow "restricted" sticker next to their front door, meaning no one can live in the house until it's cleaned up because of the fouled floodwater that filled it. The Apicellas were among a number of neighborhood houses displaying the yellow sticker.

The city's chief building inspector, Glen Urquhart, was in the neighborhood checking damages. He said building permit fees would be waived for flood repairs. He added that he was taking down information on the damage to make it faster and easier for homeowners to get building permits.

The Apicellas don't know how long it will take to repair everything and move back in, at least a month, they estimate. They are living with their daughter in Port Orange for now.

Maryjean Apicella said she saw the water rising up the driveway before she went to bed that night. But she "never dreamed" it would flow into the house.

"You don't think, when you are going to bed, that by 4 o'clock in the morning you are going to be underwater," she said.


See Also: The 2009 Floods special report

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25. NEFLRedCross
1:27 PM GMT on May 30, 2009
FEMA Aids Volusia Flood Victims
Residents Begin CleanUp Process

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- Nine days after filthy flood water saturated hundreds of homes from Port Orange north to Ormond Beach, residents said they are finally beginning to see the light.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, FEMA has registered 1,500 flood victims.

The Red Cross is still going door-to-door checking on flood families.

Cities are hosting picnics for victims, and fire stations are collecting basics like deodorant, soap and toothpaste to make care packages.

Residents, like Dahia Shaw, who was flooded out of the Palm Cove Apartments, are starting to feel better.

"I'm believing it," Shaw said. "When I went to Holly Hill to register, things looked like they're trying to help us, so I hope they are."

In Caroline Village, which is run by the city’s housing authority, 100 units were under water. In addition to other aid, the housing authority is waving June rents and utilities, along with making a one-time cash payment to heads of households.

To apply for FEMA aid, residents need to register online, by phone or at one of the disaster recovery centers.

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24. NEFLRedCross
1:26 PM GMT on May 30, 2009
City Steps Up To Help Storm Victims

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- FEMA workers say they are visiting every single home that was damaged by the floods, which add up to more than 1,500 houses, before they can give an accurate estimate of the damage.

The current estimate is about $69.5 million and the City of Daytona Beach has decided to step up to help storm victims. The city started serving free meals Friday and officials say they are going to start buying things to help storm victims.

VIDEO REPORT: City Helps Victims

The meals are being handed out at Butts Park. Saturday, city workers will be going through neighborhoods to hand out many essentials.

Firefighters carried big boxes of donated items into the Dickerson Center in Daytona Beach for flood victims. The boxes contained toilet paper, toothpaste, trash bags, t-shirts and much more.

The city decided to buy 800 of each item and just hand it out, in kits, to flood victims.

"It was absolutely an easy decision to make because these are the times, that's what we're supposed to do," said Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey.

The meal service provided by the city included hotdogs, chips and drinks.

Flood victims are spending all their time and all their money trying to save their homes.

"We've spent 2-$300 just in cleaning stuff. And I've been keeping all the receipts and stuff so hopefully FEMA can pay us back the money," said flood victim Jermaine Roberts.

City officials don't know if FEMA or the state will reimburse the money. They don't even know exactly how much they will spend, but the Mayor said they had to do it.

"Whatever it takes and you know, we'll find it. And if we don't have it, we'll find it in personal donations, corporate donations," he said.

The city expects to get money from the State Housing Initiatives Fund, possibly in the million- dollars range, which should pay for housing for people who have damaged homes.

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23. NEFLRedCross
1:49 PM GMT on May 29, 2009
Victims flood help centers

Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- The flood victim assistance centers in Daytona Beach and Holly Hill remained busy Thursday, with hundreds of people looking for help with everything from food to a place to stay.

By 3 p.m. Thursday, more than 700 people had gone to the Dickerson Center in Daytona Beach and the Holly Hill Community Recreation Center. That tally was expected to climb as high as 1,000 by the time the two centers closed at 7 p.m.

The centers both opened Tuesday, and on Thursday the amount of help offered at each was expanded with the arrival of officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Because President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration Wednesday, Volusia County residents, businesses and local governments can now apply for FEMA assistance.

Flagler County has not been designated to receive the FEMA help, but could in the near future.

Those who want to help victims have a new outlet. Daytona Beach officials announced Thursday people can drop off non-cash donations at the city's seven fire stations.

"There are families in our community who lost everything they own due to their homes being flooded," said Mayor Glenn Ritchey. "They are in desperate need of everyday, basic items that most of us take for granted."

Items requested for flood-impacted residents include the following: deodorant, liquid or powdered soap, feminine hygiene products, wash cloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes, wet wipes, underwear, adult socks, adult T-shirts, denture cleaning products, adult diapers (large or extra-large), rubber gloves, bleach, razors, hairbrushes, combs, child diapers, bandages, insect repellent, garbage bags and air mattresses.

Once items are collected, "comfort kits" will be distributed door-to-door to flood victims as quantities allow.

Items can be dropped off 24 hours a day at the following Daytona Beach fire stations:

Fire Station #1, 301 S. Beach St.; Fire Station #2, 126 Botefuhr Ave.; Fire Station #3, 945 N. Halifax Ave.; Fire Station #4, 1675 Mason Ave.; Fire Station #5, 627 N. Nova Road; Fire Station #6, 2020 Beville Road; and Fire Station #7, 2545 LPGA Blvd.

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22. NEFLRedCross
3:54 PM GMT on May 28, 2009
Feds, state offer aid to victims of floods

Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- A week after murky floodwaters drowned pockets of Volusia and Flagler counties, big help is on the way.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that opened a pipeline between Washington and Central Florida for financial assistance to those hurt worst by the unrelenting rains that have racked up nearly $70 million in damage.

Also announced Wednesday was $2 million of state assistance headed to Volusia and Flagler counties.

"It's great news for Volusia County," said County Chairman Frank Bruno. "People will get the relief they need."

Just a few hours after Obama signed the declaration, 10 officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency went to assistance centers in Daytona Beach and Holly Hill to help people apply for federal dollars.

A Web site and toll free number have also been set up for residents and business owners who want to apply for assistance. FEMA: Apply For Assistance

People whose homes have become uninhabitable could receive rental payments for temporary housing. Also available will be grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance.

Flood victims could also be eligible for grants to help with medical, dental and transportation needs. Low interest loans and unemployment payments for up to 26 weeks are also available to qualified applicants.

Local governments will also seek the FEMA money to spray for mosquitoes, bring in teams to inspect homes for mold and make repairs to public buildings and roads, Bruno said.

Hundreds of local residents will likely be in line today for the federal aid. Some 700 flood victims showed up at the assistance center in Holly Hill on Tuesday, the first day it was open. Another 400-500 filed in Wednesday.

The Daytona Beach assistance center, which also opened Tuesday, helped 539 people Tuesday and about 400 or 500 people Wednesday.

The Daytona Beach help headquarters relocated this morning to the Dickerson Center, and extended its hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Holly Hill center hours are also expanded beginning today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Many of those reaching out for help are owners and renters of the 1,564 damaged homes in Volusia County, 632 of which have major damage. County officials have tallied the housing damage at nearly $60 million.

City and county properties, such as roads and buildings, have suffered nearly $10 million in damages. The county's running damage total is $69.5 million, but that's likely to rise, officials say.

"This was the worst urban flood damage in Volusia in any of our memories," Volusia County Property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath said in a statement Wednesday.

A few hours before the federal declaration was announced, several people seeking assistance at the Holly Hill essential service center were questioning why the president had not declared the region a federal disaster area so they could get assistance from FEMA.

FEMA "should be here. It's ridiculous," said Letha Baker, 31, who said she and her three children lost all of their clothes and belongings when their three-bedroom apartment flooded.

"They need to get on the ball," said Bettina McClenny, 25, of Daytona Beach, who lost food from the power being out and suffered carpet damage from the water that got into the house she shares with her cousin and cousin's children. "People don't have any food or furniture."

Officials with the state Department of Children & Families are helping at the essential service centers to replace food for people who are on food stamps and lost their food in the storm. If a federal disaster hadn't been declared, they wouldn't have been able to give food stamps to people who do not normally qualify.

Holly Hill Police Chief Mark Barker expects to see even more people seeking help as the water continues to recede from homes and mold escalates.

"Many people are in a situation where their homes are uninhabitable," Barker said.

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21. NEFLRedCross
2:40 PM GMT on May 28, 2009
Flood victims find help from volunteers

Staff writer

HOLLY HILL -- John McIntyre thought he had the perfect idea for a 50th birthday present for his wife after getting her a car and a house in the past -- a trip to the dentist office to fix a hurt tooth.

Instead, the Red Cross volunteers spent the day in a shelter after storms flooded the area last week.

"How many people get a disaster for their birthday?" McIntyre joked.

"It's a birthday you never forget," said his wife, Dawn, about her birthday, which was last Thursday.

N-J | Peter Bauer
American Red Cross volunteer Dawn McIntyre, standing, talks to a flood victim Wednesday at the Westside Baptist Church shelter in Daytona Beach. In the background, center, is her husband, John.

The Palm Coast couple, who were in the Red Cross shelter at Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, have helped at area storm shelters and conducted damage assessments the past seven days in between working their real jobs as a nurse and an emergency medical technician.

The Daytona Beach shelter remained open with 27 people late Wednesday afternoon.

Volunteers from several agencies have been helping storm victims throughout the area.

The American Red Cross Florida's Coast to Coast Chapter in Daytona Beach had about 60 volunteers from its chapter and surrounding chapters. The agency has distributed more than 900 clean-up kits, 1,000 snacks and housed 76 people in shelters. About 600 meals were also provided by the Red Cross and Salvation Army of East Volusia & Flagler Counties.

The Salvation Army gave out more than 1,500 clean-up and bug repellent kits on Tuesday and Wednesday, and continues cooking meals for the Red Cross shelter.

The McIntyres, who have been with the local Red Cross for four years, said they enjoy volunteering and it's something ingrained in them growing up in a rural New York town where neighbors shovel each other's driveways in the winter. They both also volunteer teaching CPR classes to community groups.

"It's just part of my nature," said Dawn McIntyre, a nurse at Florida Hospital Flagler. "It's just something we do."

An Ormond Beach couple who have been at the Red Cross Daytona Beach shelter for six nights cut coupons Wednesday in the shelter and played cards. The couple, ages 66 and 71, who did not want their last name's used, were staying at their daughter's house which had flood damage and lost electricity. The woman is a diabetic and has heart problems. They are on waiting lists for low-income housing.

"They've been wonderful," the woman, Lynne, said about the volunteers.

At the Holly Hill Community Recreation Center on Daytona Avenue, workers from various agencies and volunteers assisted victims with everything from counseling to food stamps

Letha Baker, 31, and her three children, who are now staying with family, awoke to a flooded three-bedroom apartment last Wednesday. The apartment is now bare after all the furniture and wet clothing have been taken out.

"We lost everything. We have nothing," she said while picking up cleaning supplies at the service center.

Robert Fields, 22, a client in the Salvation Army drug treatment program, has volunteered all week helping storm victims.

"It makes me feel bad for a lot of them," he said.

Other smaller agencies are also chipping in. The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia is giving away free clothes on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at 434 S. Woodland Blvd., in DeLand. The center has an abundance of clothes, officials said, at its thrift store to help storm victims.

The Rose Marie Bryon Children's Center on South Street in Daytona Beach gave out more than 1,400 meals from Thursday to Monday and continues to distribute nonperishable food from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The help, including passing out cleaning supplies, came from donations from the community. Many of the families whose children attend the center lost everything in their homes.

Janet Elam-Bryant, the center's executive director, said she had to help after seeing two women being pulled in a boat last week with their wheelchairs being pushed by neighbors behind them.

"We were just trying to be a dry place for people coming out of the water," she said. "The community has just pulled (together) with help for us."

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20. NEFLRedCross
2:36 PM GMT on May 28, 2009
Local Red Cross volunteers to help Fla. flood victims
Four head for Daytona

By CONNOR HOLMES, cholmes@breezenewspapers.com POSTED: May 28, 2009

Four Lee County American Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to the Daytona Beach area to assist in humanitarian efforts after flash flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes last week.

Robin Moore, Suzanne Weiss, Ron Saberton and Betty Conley expect to spend about two weeks helping the Coast to Coast American Red Cross chapter in the Volusia and Flagler counties area, according to spokesperson Colin Downey.

Flooding from recent rains has affected approximately 1,500 homes and destroyed several throughout the area.

The four are slated to spend a couple of weeks helping affected residents, but ultimately they will stay as long as they are needed, whether that period of time is longer or shorter.

"There's a lot of preparation that goes into it before they leave," Downey said. "You never know going into one of those things how long you're going to be there."

The volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are ready to help within hours of being notified of a disaster.

Moore is a client case worker along with Weiss, a position which entails interviewing clients to assess their needs. They arrived in the area Wednesday afternoon, and their first task was to organize flooding information collected by the agency.

Moore said the opportunity to help those in need compelled her to volunteer for the Red Cross into her retirement years. She has been with the organization for two and a half years.

"The clients that we talk to, sometimes they've experienced a really desperate situation," Moore said. "We all have a passion for being volunteers for the Red Cross and being trained to respond to disasters."

According to the Associated Press, flash flooding - sparked by more than 21 inches of rain last week - caused approximately $55.1 million in losses.

Executive Director of Florida's Coast to Coast American Red Cross chapter Dan Roll said about 70 volunteers from across the state have gathered to help for disaster relief.

"In Florida we really partner with our neighbors," he said. "Ninety percent of our disaster response is run by volunteers. That's what makes our services so valuable. They have been driving our emergency response vehicles, running our shelters, loading supplies and working out in the flooded areas, which are often humid and muggy."

Roll said he is grateful to neighboring Red Cross chapters for helping the damaged areas, which were most heavily concentrated along low-lying expanses of U.S. Highway 1.

Since May 20, the Red Cross has opened three shelters, one of which remained open Wednesday evening with approximately 27 flood victims.

Volunteers also have handed out nearly 1,000 cleanup kits, including bleach, mops, buckets and other cleansing and sanitizing materials, Roll said.

President Barack Obama recently approved FEMA aid for the area.

The Associated Press reported that Gov. Charlie Crist requested as much as $50 million in federal disaster relief for the flood victims.

The Red Cross works with county and city officials and not-for-profit agencies communitywide in its disaster relief efforts, Roll said.

To learn more about the Lee County American Red Cross, visit: www.arclcc.org.

Information about the Coast to Coast chapter is available at: www.flcoasttocoastredcross.org.
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19. NEFLRedCross
9:51 PM GMT on May 27, 2009
Where to get help

Essential Service Centers have been opened to help flood vicitms. Here's what you need to know.

LOCATIONS: Holly Hill Recreation Center, 1046 Daytona Ave.; Daytona Beach Public Works training room, 950 Bellevue Ave.

HOURS: The centers — to assist people with flood-damaged property — will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. FEMA representatives and assistance are not yet available.

PHONE NUMBERS: The Daytona Beach center is at 386-671-5555. Call the Holly Hill Citizens Information Center line 386-248-9410 with questions about that facility. Identification is required for people seeking assistance.


-- Department of Children & Families will replace lost food stamps for current clients.

-- Department of Elder Affairs will assist with senior citizens’ needs.

-- Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles willprovide information on lost drivers licenses, tags, identification cards and open locations.

-- Coast-to-Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross will collect a list of flood victims’ needs.

-- State of Florida Mitigation will provide information about National Flood Insurance.

-- Project Hope will offer crisis counseling.

-- Representatives from the affected cities will be available.

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18. NEFLRedCross
9:45 PM GMT on May 27, 2009
Obama signs disaster declaration for flood victims

Staff Writer

President Obama today signed a national declaration for assistance for those affected by the floods in Volusia and Flagler counties.

The declaration, which Obama signed this afternoon, means residents could start receiving financial assistance as early as this week. Those who have already filled out applications for assistance will likely receive aid first.

Officials from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be in Daytona Beach and Holly Hill beginning at 5:30 today. Five FEMA representatives will be at the Daytona Beach Assistance Center at 950 Bellevue Ave. and another five will be at the Holly Hill Recreation Center, 1046 Daytona Ave.

Some $2 million in state funds should also be headed to the area shortly, local officials said this afternoon.

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17. NEFLRedCross
11:37 AM GMT on May 26, 2009
Crist seeks disaster relief

Staff Writer

State officials said Monday they hope damage to 1,531 homes in Volusia County warrants a federal disaster declaration and release of an initial $9.6 million in emergency aid for temporary housing and repairs.

Exact estimates on damages caused by last week's incessant rain and flooding are expected to be released today, said Pat Kuehn, Volusia County spokeswoman.

Gov. Charlie Crist -- via Major Phil May, regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- requested the declaration and federal aid from President Barack Obama late Sunday.

"We need this," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood. "When you look at the areas where the water is waist deep, those folks have lost everything."

Officials from the FEMA, the state Division Emergency Management and the county property appraiser's office completed preliminary damage estimates in Volusia County on Sunday.

"We've had evacuations, we've had, obviously, lives disrupted, we have homes not suitable to move back in," said Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey. "We're desperately moving this as quickly as we can to make sure basic needs are being met.

"It would mean opportunities for homeowners that were impacted to have some funding available to assist with day-to-day living," Ritchey added.

Individual assistance should include housing and unemployment assistance, disaster loans and crisis counseling in Volusia County, which has been "hit the hardest" of the flood-damaged counties in Florida, Crist wrote.

In Volusia, Some 619 local homes sustained major damage and 912 homes had minor damage, Crist noted.

In the coming days, the state could ask for more damage assessments and county designations for federal assistance as the floodwaters recede.

"The concentration of damages to individuals is isolated in just a few communities, but the overall trauma to the region is great," Crist wrote.

Crist also cited $45 million in crop losses to Flagler and Putnam counties, localized flooding and a May 19 tornado that ripped through 11 homes in Casselberry.

On May 22, Crist declared a state of emergency in 12 counties, including Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno plans to request a seven-day extension to the local declaration of emergency issued May 21 by the Volusia County Council to continue providing relief, according to a county press release.

U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and John Mica, R-Winter Park, will meet with local, state and federal agencies at 9 a.m. today at Ormond Beach City Hall to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

Two service centers will open today in Daytona Beach and Holly Hill to help residents affected by the recent rains and floods.

The "one-stop shops" -- at Daytona's public works facility, 950 Bellevue Ave., and Holly Hill's community recreational center, 1046 Daytona Ave. -- will give residents access to state and local services, community- and faith-based relief organizations and information on recovery activities.

The centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice.

If Volusia County gets its federal declaration and FEMA offers client help, the centers will also serve as disaster recovery centers offering federal assistance and referrals.

Meanwhile, the cleanup continued Monday with street sweeping, extra police patrols and Waste Pro trucks hauling away large damaged items such as sofas from Daytona Beach homes.

Daytona Beach shut down its emergency operations center Monday afternoon and announced that all roads in the city were open for travel.

Local preliminary assessments still stand at $14.8 million in damages to 618 Daytona Beach businesses and homes, but that figure will likely rise as information on more damages is available.

In Ormond Beach, the city street sweeper raked in 28 cubic yards of debris by Monday afternoon. Vegetative debris will be picked up Wednesday.

Three roads were reopened in Ormond Beach, but Lake Park Circle is still underwater and closed, Wilmette Avenue from Center Street to Nova Road is blocked by water pumps and John Anderson Drive at Neptune Road is closed because of severe potholes, said Sgt. Kenny Hayes, city spokesman.

American Red Cross volunteers are still distributing cleanup kits of mops, bleach, sponges, buckets and other materials to flooded areas.

Florida's Coast to Coast chapter of the disaster relief organization closed its shelter at 1065 Daytona Ave. in Holly Hill today. The shelter at Westside Baptist Church, 1085 Mason Ave., remains open.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
16. NEFLRedCross
1:18 AM GMT on May 26, 2009
Record rainfall floods FL towns
Nearly 1,000 buildings damaged in Volusia County alone

While hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1, recent tropical-like rainfall in Florida found many residents cleaning up from flooding, or waiting for the water to recede, instead of focusing on usual holiday activities over the Memorial Day weekend.

Less than a month ago, emergency officials were warning the severe drought could produce damaging wildfires, Instead more than 1,000 buildings have been damaged following record May rains.

In parts of the state, Volusia County (in which Daytona Beach is located) in particular, it is estimated that $52 million in damage has already been reported. The early estimate assessments show 967 buildings have already been reported damaged. As people return to their homes and businesses over the next few days, that number is expected to rise dramatically.

David Gaul, 33, and his daughter Ana, 5, were staying at the American Red Cross shelter set up at Daytona Beach’s Westside Baptist Church with 48 others trying to escape the flood. They woke on Friday to find dirty water seeping under the door of their duplex apartment.

"The street was flooded like a river and water got into the car when I opened the door. That’s how deep it was," he said. "But we had to leave. We couldn’t stay at home because water was getting in there too. We just took the stuff we have to have and left."

It’s not just the streets adjacent to "the world’s most famous beach" that are under water. Several miles inland, the Daytona International Speedway is better suited for speedboat races than for high-speed automobiles with nearly a foot of water on the track.

According to the National Weather Service, nearly two feet of rain has fallen in parts of central Florida (including Daytona) during the past two weeks. It is expected that the rain will continue to fall in scattered downpours across the region until Tuesday when it will begin the more traditional pattern of afternoon thunderstorms.

For now, water continues to rise, chasing people from their homes and making driving a hazard across much of central Florida.

"I've never seen this much rain," said Dan Roll, executive director of the Florida Coast to Coast chapter of the American Red Cross. "It's worse than with any hurricane or tropical storm I’ve seen."

Eleven central Florida counties were declared disasters by Florida’s governor Charlie Crist. The declaration allows the activation of the National Guard if necessary to help people to safety. It allows government agencies to waive some rules in order to respond to the emergency and suspends some toll collections.

While the May drenching is slowing slightly, there is one more thing to occupy the minds of those who watch the weather. The official June 1 start of hurricane season is only about a week away.

Some prognosticators are saying the unusual weather patterns we have already seen this year, make it more difficult to predict the kind of hurricane season the Atlantic region will have this year.

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report released last week a "near normal" hurricane season is expected this year. They said there is a 70 percent chance that there will be nine to 14 named storms, with four to seven hurricanes, and up to three major hurricanes.

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15. NEFLRedCross
12:01 PM GMT on May 25, 2009
Flood Victims Return To Face Moldy Cleanup

Red Cross Helping Victims; Sandbags, Shelters Available

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Flood victims returning to their homes Sunday morning were dealing with a disaster and asking for help.

After a week of downpours, coastal Central Florida flood victims got a little relief.

Video | Images | County Information

The numbers are staggering from the week's record rainfall.

Since Sunday, 28 inches of rain have fallen in Bunnell in Flagler County. Nearly 27 inches of rain have fallen on the Flagler Fairgrounds. About 25 and a half inches have soaked Ormond Beach in Volusia County, and Daytona Beach has more than 21 inches and counting. Click here for images.

Flood Area Updates:
Volusia Co. Update
Daytona Beach Update
Ormond Beach Update

The Volusia County Property Appraisers Office, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are on the ground Sunday tallying the damage.

Their report will be sent to the governors office for review and to determine if a request for a federal disaster declaration should be made.

Saturday marked the sixth day of rain across the greater Daytona Beach area and some areas reported flooding up to waist-deep. An initial survey earlier this week estimated around 1,000 homes and businesses with damages totaling about $55.1 million.

People in Daytona Beach are returning home to find almost all of their belongings ruined.

After flooding took over residential streets east of the International Speedway, people had to get out on boats and leave everything behind. Finally on Sunday, the water dried and residents returned home.

Oh man, you're just glad to be home even though we lost things, but still I'm here -- that's the main thing," said Angela McCode.

Once inside, what the residents found wasn't pretty -- stains on the walls of homes on Keech Street showed that a foot of rain had been there.

The floodwater isn't all gone just yet. There are still inches to mop up and furniture, clothes and files to throw out.

"I was not expecting it to be this bad," said Keyshia Ross.

Local businesses opened their doors only to clean up. It won't be until later this week when most said they think they may be able to take customers again.

At a local loan business, Ross Bray returned from a cruise to find important files soaked.

Even though the damage is daunting, people were positive on Sunday and said they were grateful to be able to actually see what Mother Nature left behind.

Daytona Beach will establish an Essential Services Center for residents to receive various levels of assistance from local, state and federal agencies in one location. The center will be established on Monday to be open to the public on Tuesday. The Center will be located at 950 Bellevue Ave. -- the Daytona Beach Public Works complex.

The Red Cross gives out cleanup kits in Daytona Beach on Saturday.

The Red Cross was out on Sunday, doing what it can to help storm victims. Red Cross volunteers handed out packages full of supplies to help with the cleanup effort. Volunteers were also manning two shelters that will stay open as needed.

"We had a leak in the ceiling, and then we went back today and the actual ceiling had actually caved in on the house," said flood victim David Cone. "So, this is home for now."

Some people who are staying in the shelters said they haven't been able to get to the stores to buy food or cleaning supplies.

Flood victims can go to Sica Hall on Daytona Avenue in Holly Hill. The Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach has reached its capacity, but it is still accepting people with special needs.

The floodwaters are keeping tow truck companies busy. On Friday alone, one truck hauled almost 40 vehicles out of the floodwaters.

Drivers said they're trying to find ways to get home but keep getting blocked by flooded streets.

"We have a floating submarine," said flood victim Angel Fields. "We've been floating around this water. I am surprised we haven't gotten stuck."

Many of the drivers getting stuck in the floodwaters are people who are also trapped outside their homes.

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14. NEFLRedCross
11:53 AM GMT on May 25, 2009
Volusia waters recede, but troubles just starting for many
Elo?sa Ruano Gonz?lez | Sentinel Staff Writer
May 24, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH - Florence Johnson hasn't been home since grimy water engulfed her neighborhood Wednesday.

While floodwaters have receded in several areas and residents have returned home to toss out damaged furniture and damp carpets, Johnson remains at an American Red Cross emergency shelter.

"I have a bed to sleep in, and I'm dry. It's not like home, but I'm content," said Johnson, 74, who arrived Wednesday at the shelter at Westside Baptist Church.

Johnson snagged her medication and only a few pieces of clothing before fire-rescue workers plucked her from her three-bedroom home off South Nova Road. Water was ankle-deep inside the home, but her Cadillac parked in the carport was submerged in several feet of water.

"I've been living there for 45 years, and I never had to be evacuated before. . . . You know I was scared," she said.

Volusia County was hit hard in last week's storms, receiving 2 feet of rainfall in some areas. County officials estimate $52 million in damages and nearly a thousand damaged homes.

The Red Cross opened a second shelter in Holly Hill after Westside Baptist reached full capacity at 50 people Friday. But more displaced residents have been hitting relatives' homes or taking advantage of discounts at motels, said Dan Roll, executive director of Florida's Coast to Coast Chapter of the Red Cross.

Ralph Sullivan, 53, took his family, along with insurance documents and as much clothing as his car could hold, to a nearby motel. Sullivan, who waded in about 18 inches of water on South Keech Street, said he periodically checks on his home, which had been submerged in a foot and a half of water. But he's more concerned about thieves than the flood.

"I'm checking on my house every day -- people [are] looting," he said.

At Westside Baptist, families talked about losing their belongings and even their homes after roofs collapsed. Many had no insurance.

A 40-foot palm tree crushed Steven Kondziola's studio apartment. He moved there three weeks ago. Kondziola, 34, said he returned Friday night from helping the homeless in Jacksonville to find himself without a home.

John Van's home flooded Tuesday night, just days after he was handed a pink slip at work. The 48-year-old electrician staying at Westside Baptist said he doesn't know where to turn for help.

County officials are in preliminary talks with the state Division of Emergency Management and don't know whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency will step in.

Meanwhile, Van continues to trudge through his duplex to salvage everything he can. He pulled furniture, clothing and carpets onto his lawn Friday, but the rain continued to damage them.

"I don't have rental insurance. . . . All that is lost," he said. "It's like your life is going down the drain."

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. NEFLRedCross
2:03 PM GMT on May 12, 2009
Jesusita Fire

Evacuation Centers
UCSB Multi Cultural Center still open

Anyone in need of a safe place to stay due to the Jesusita Fire is encouraged to go to the Red Cross Emergency Shelter at the Multi Activity Center on the UCSB Campus. This shelter will be opened 24 hours a day until further notice (map). Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real.

For immediate updates on the Red Cross response to the Jesusita Fire follow us on this website or on Twitter.

Client Assistance For Jesusita Fire Victims
Starting TODAY, Monday, May 11, at UCSB's MAC Center we will be registering anyone affected by the Jesusita Fire who is need of long term assistance. Registration will take place between 10am and 5pm daily. Even if you registered earlier while an evacuee at the MAC Center you must register again for long term assistance.

Bulk Distribution
The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter has begun bulk distribution of free Clean-Up Kits, dust masks and water for those affected by the Jesusita Fire. The distribution will be held between 10 and 5 p.m. today in the rear parking lot of the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter headquarters at 2707 State Street.

Volunteer Training Sessions
If you have taken our Intro to Disaster Course (including Fulfilling our Mission, Mass Care, and Shelter Operations), you can sign up to volunteer with the long term recovery efforts by taking our Client Casework course. This course will teach you about how we track and manage the recovery efforts for Red Cross clients.

The class will be held Wednesday, May 13, 2009 from 9am-6pm at the Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta (map). Please register ahead of time by calling (805) 729-6782.

In recent days we have trained and fully processed 687 new Red Cross volunteers. Thank you to all who have come forward to volunteer time, money and services during this disaster. What an amazing display of community support!

Neighborhood Clinics Offering Services and Face Masks to those with Respiratory Problems
The three Neighborhood Clinics are offering medical services on a low cost/sliding scale basis to anyone with respiratory problems affected by the poor air quality. They are also offering FREE face masks to anyone with respiratory problems. The clinics will be open on Saturday from 9:00am to Noon. For appointments call 805-961-4628. Visit their website at SBClinics.com for more information. The clinics are at the following locations:

Eastside Clinic
915 N. Milpas St.
Santa Barbara, CA

Westside Clinic
628 W. Micheltorena St.
Santa Barbara

Isla Vista Clinic
970 Embarcadero del Mar
Isla Vista

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12. NEFLRedCross
4:20 PM GMT on May 10, 2009
Jesusita Fire

Evacuation Centers
UCSB Multi Cultural Center still open
Dos Pueblos Emergency Shelter on Standby

Santa Barbara, CA, May 9, 2009 - The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter is placing its Emergency Shelter at Dos Pueblos High School on standby status as of 12 noon today. Anyone in need of a safe place to stay due to the Jesusita Fire is encouraged to go to the Red Cross Emergency Shelter at the Multi Activity Center on the UCSB Campus. This shelter will be opened 24 hours a day until further notice (map).

The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter will begin bulk distribution of free Clean-Up Kits, dust masks and water for those affected by the Jesusita Fire. The distribution will be held between 2 and 6 p.m. today in the rear parking lot of the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter headquarters at 2707 State Street. Beginning Sunday, May 10, the bulk distribution will take place from 10 to 5 p.m. at this same location.

Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real.

For immediate updates on the Red Cross response to the Jesusita Fire follow us on this website or on Twitter.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. NEFLRedCross
4:19 PM GMT on May 10, 2009
Santa Barbara fire: Evacuees cheer as sheriff says they can return home

See Video: In Santa Barbara, Jesusita fie evacuees and volunteers share their stories

Cheers rose inside the UC Santa Barbara MAC Center when Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown announced to evacuees taking refuge there that most of them would be able to return home.

As he called out street names, people responded “That’s me!” They folded up blankets and went to their cars which most had turned into mobile garages to hold their belongings. Many had been displaced for several days and the air around the cots had grown a bit stale.

Diane Lacey, 44, had spent time in her car to get away from the noise and buzz of the center. She was headed into the center to see if her street was on the list. “Heck, yeah, I get to go home,” she said. She had been staying at the shelter since Thursday night. Mostly she was worried about her cats, Bubbie and Beebz. They were at the animal shelter. First priority -- pick them up.

Britney Ayers, 23, a student, and her grandfather, George Wasco, 77, had spent two days at the center. Ayers, who had her laptop with her, spent the time working on an English paper. Now she gathered up her computer and clothes and was ready to return to home.

“We’re relieved,” said Ayers. “We finally get to go home.”

For some, the trauma of being evacuated was replaced by the adventure of getting to meet Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who paid a visit to the evacuation center.

“I actually got to meet the governor, and I took my picture with him. I still can’t believe it,” said Dawn Naranjo, 43. She and her roommate, Kathy Taylor, 45, arrived at the evacuation center Friday afternoon. They had hustled to leave their home, south of Foothill Road near State Street, dropping off their seven hamsters and four birds at a pet store.

Dawn said when they return home today they would be spending the rest of the day trying to make their animals feel comfortable.

“It was so good to be able to come to a place where everyone was so sweet and we felt so safe,” said Taylor echoing others’ praise for the Red Cross staff that runs the evacuation center. At its peak, the center had 600 evacuees. This morning, when the governor visited it was down to 60 to 70 and about 50 staff members.

-- Esmeralda Bermudez

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. NEFLRedCross
4:20 PM GMT on May 09, 2009
Jesusita Fire

Second Red Cross Emergency Shelter now open at the UCSB Multi Activity Center

The Red Cross emergency shelter at Dos Pueblos High School (7266 Alameda Avenue in Goleta) is currently at full capacity. We've opened a second shelter at the UCSB Multi Activity Center (MAC Center) on the UCSB campus. To get there, take Ward Memorial Highway (Hwy. 217) into the UCSB campus, turn right at Mesa Road after the entrance and go 3 stop lights to Ocean Road and turn left. The MAC Center is on Ocean. Follow the signs to the Red Cross shelter (map).

Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real.

For immediate updates on the Red Cross response to the Jesusita Fire follow us on this website or on Twitter.

Volunteer Training Sessions
The volunteer training session scheduled for Saturday, May 9th will be held at Broida Hall on the UCSB Campus (UCSB map). The class will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with registration beginning at 9:00 a.m. The class is limited to 200 people due to size constraints of the room. Entrance to the session will be based on a first come, first served basis. This training is free. Additional training sessions are being planned for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information call 729-6885.

All spontaneous volunteers must take a Red Cross orientation and classes in Emergency Shelter Operations and Mass Care, which will be held several times over the next few days.

Neighborhood Clinics Offering Services and Face Masks to those with Respiratory Problems
The three Neighborhood Clinics are offering medical services on a low cost/sliding scale basis to anyone with respiratory problems affected by the poor air quality. They are also offering FREE face masks to anyone with respiratory problems. The clinics will be open on Saturday from 9:00am to Noon. For appointments call 805-961-4628. Visit their website at SBClinics.com for more information. The clinics are at the following locations:

Eastside Clinic
915 N. Milpas St.
Santa Barbara, CA

Westside Clinic
628 W. Micheltorena St.
Santa Barbara

Isla Vista Clinic
970 Embarcadero del Mar
Isla Vista

Red Cross Chapter Headquarters Evacuated to Goleta
We have been evacuated from our headquarters on State St. and are currently at the Goleta Community Center at 5679 Hollister Ave.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. NEFLRedCross
4:11 PM GMT on May 09, 2009
Red Cross Lending a Hand as Santa Barbara Wildfires Rage

Friday, May 08, 2009 - The American Red Cross is on the scene in Santa Barbara, CA, offering shelter, food, and a helping hand to those residents affected by the massive wildfires in the area.

According to news reports, the fire has led to the evacuation of an estimated 30,000 people. About 2,300 firefighters are fighting the inferno which worsened overnight and is only about ten percent contained. The blaze is approaching one of the city’s more populated areas and flames have jumped several roads, igniting brush surrounding houses. The area is no stranger to wildfires. In November of 2008, a fire burned 200 houses in Santa Barbara and Montecito

Red Cross is operating several shelters, and is working with the Humane Society to shelter animals whose owners have been evacuated from their homes. The Santa Barbara County Chapter is urging residents to be prepared to "Grab and Go," putting important papers, extra medications, pet supplies and irreplaceables in the car to be ready to flee the area quickly if necessary. You can follow the chapter’s response on its web site or on Twitter.

If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, listen for news reports and evacuation information, and follow the instructions of local officials. Here is a set of Red Cross tips on what to do when a wildfire threatens:

• If advised to evacuate, do so immediately

• Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need, such as:

-water and food that won’t spoil
-a change of clothing and footwear per person and a blanket or sleeping bag
-A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications
-An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler’s checks, and an extra pair of eyeglasses
-Sanitation supplies
-Special items for infants, the elderly, or disabled family members

• Important family documents in a waterproof container

• Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage door openers. Keep your Disaster Supplies Kit in the car, ready to go.

• Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.

For more details on what to do to prepare both your family and your home for a wildfire, visit our web site.

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8. NEFLRedCross
4:04 PM GMT on May 09, 2009
Voices from the Fire
Evacuees and Victims Share Their Stories of Jesusita

Friday, May 8, 2009
By Indy Staff

Stories from UCSB’s Red Cross Shelter: Friday, May 8

The Recreation Center at UCSB has been transformed into the largest temporary shelter in recent Santa Barbara history, according to Marjorie Wass, public relations officer for the Santa Barbara chapter of the Red Cross.

Last night, 608 Jesusita Fire evacuees spent the night on cots in the Center’s MultiActivity Court (MAC), while the Red Cross shelter at Dos Pueblos High School housed another 240. In contrast, Wass said the Red Cross provided shelter for about 400 people during the Painted Cave Fire of 1990, and housed less than 300 evacuees during last year’s Tea Fire. The maximum capacity of the MAC is said to be 900, and Red Cross staff and volunteers are preparing for an influx of evacuees should the winds pick up tonight, forcing more mandatory evacuations.

Late this morning, those displaced by the fire rested on cots and milled around in the MAC’s lobby area. As Salvation Army volunteers cleared up from breakfast, I spoke to Robert and Zoila Peters, who lost their home at 984 Camino del Rio in the Painted Cave Fire, and rebuilt on the same site. Their neighborhood is just east of Tucker’s Grove.

"Last night, we had to run for our lives again," said Zoila. "We couldn’t imagine it would happen. We kept watching and watching, and suddenly the mountain just exploded." Robert, lying on his back on a nearby cot, added, "They came by with a megaphone and said, ‘Out, out.’ We went to a neighbor’s house, and then at 4 a.m. we had to jump up and run for our lives again."

The neighbor they had gone to stay with was 79-year-old Betty Wittak, who has lived at 5539 San Patricio Drive, off Kellogg Avenue, since 1972. Wittak, who accompanied the Peterses to the Red Cross shelter, said she had called her adult children on Thursday morning to assure them that she was fine, only to watch the fire surge toward her neighborhood later that evening. The grandmother of five lives alone, and said she rarely watches television news "until something big is going on." Resting on her cot, Wittak said she hoped to get some rest tonight. "I haven’t slept a wink," she said, declining to have her photograph taken. Both Wittak and the Peterses expect their houses escaped last night’s fire storm, and hope to return home soon.

Nearby, Phil Jones of 466 Arango Drive, off Turnpike, lay on his cot, occasionally rubbing his face with the back of his hand. He spoke with exhausted resignation. "We’re just south of Tucker’s Grove," he explained. "We were one of the last areas to be evacuated." Jones said they received a reverse 911-call about 30 minutes before the phone rang again, ordering them to evacuate immediately. Staying with Jones and his wife that night were his son and daughter-in-law, their three children, cats, dog, and hamster, all of whom had evacuated their Northridge Road house the previous night. Jones said it was impossible to see flames by the time they loaded the car to leave. "It was so smoky," he said. "We just had to get the hell out."

It was about 9:15 p.m. on Thursday when UCSB Adventure Programs employee Natalie Brechtel realized it was time to evacuate her house at 3842 Center Avenue, just off Foothill Road. "I was standing on my roof and watching the flames leaping from ridge to ridge," she said. "It was spectacular, it’s sad to say. From about 7 to 9 p.m. I watched them work themselves down one canyon, then up onto the next foothill. You know the way the embers in a campfire glow when the actual fire goes out, and they’re just mesmerizing? It was like that - but it was the whole mountain." When Brechtel finally saw it was time to retreat, she drove to a friend’s house. Realizing that it was already packed with other evacuees, she headed for UCSB, where at midnight the Red Cross shelter was not yet very busy. "I went to sleep and there were plenty of beds, but when I woke up at 6 a.m., there were people sleeping on the floor," she said. "I took the tag off my bed, and immediately a guy asked if he could lie down." Brechtel said her house had been without water pressure for a few days. "Today was my first shower since Tuesday," she said, posing for a photo. "I was pretty stoked."

Though there’s no telling what kind of conditions tonight may bring, officials are preparing for winds similar to those that stoked the flames last night. Come tomorrow, there may be need for further temporary shelter for those affected by the Jesusita Fire. The Santa Barbara chapter of the Red Cross is actively seeking volunteers. Those interested must register for a full-day volunteer training, which will be held tomorrow, Saturday, May 9, starting at 10 a.m. at the Goleta 1st Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrel Way. Registration may be done at the church starting at 9:15 a.m., as well as at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue. Call 729-6885 or visit sbredcross.org for more information.

-Elizabeth Schwyzer

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. NEFLRedCross
12:32 PM GMT on May 08, 2009
Jesusita Fire

Second Red Cross Emergency Shelter now open
UCSB Multi Activity Center
UCSB Campus

The Red Cross emergency shelter at Dos Pueblos High School (7266 Alameda Avenue in Goleta) is currently at full capacity. We've opened a second shelter at the UCSB Multi Activity Center on the UCSB campus. To get there, take Ward Memorial Highway (217) into UCSB, turn right at Mesa Road after the entrance and go 3 stop lights to Ocean and turn left. From there follow the signs to the shelter. The shelter is behind the main gym on Ocean (map).

Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real. For immediate updates on the Red Cross response to the fire follow us on Twitter.

Volunteer Training Sessions
Volunteer training sessions are scheduled May 8th & May 9th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at at Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta. Registration begins at 9:15 a.m. at the church. You may also stop by the Goleta Community Center to register. This training is free. For more information about this training session call 729-6885.

We are also holding a training session for Disaster Mental Health May 8th from 8:30 a.m. to Noon at Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta. Those interested must be licensed Psychiatrists, Psychologists or MFTs. Bring your credentials.

All spontaneous volunteers must take a Red Cross orientation and classes in Emergency Shelter Operations and Mass Care, which will be held several times over the next few days.

Red Cross Chapter Headquarters Has Reopened
We have returned to our office at 2707 State Street and are no longer at the Goleta Community Center.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. NEFLRedCross
12:27 PM GMT on May 08, 2009
Jesusita Fire: Red Cross Reopens State Street Headquarters
The emergency shelter remains open at Dos Pueblos, and disaster training begins Friday

The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter has returned to its headquarters at 2707 State St. after evacuating the building because of the Jesusita Fire evacuation warnings.

The Red Cross will hold disaster classes at Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrell Way in Goleta. The classes will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Residents interested in helping with the Red Cross Jesusita Fire relief effort and future disasters can register for the classes from 9:15 to 10 a.m. at the church or the Goleta Valley Community Center.

All new volunteers must take a Red Cross orientation and classes in emergency shelter operations and mass care. Call 805.729.6885 for more information.

A disaster mental health class will be held for licensed psychiatrists, psychologists and MFTs only; those interested must bring credentials on Friday to Goleta Presbyterian Church. The class will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The Red Cross emergency shelter is open at Dos Pueblos High School, 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta. Small animals can be taken to the Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real.

Jesusita Fire: Events Canceled, Postponed

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s benefit concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Lobero Theater has been postponed. Tickets for the concert will be honored on the rescheduled concert date, to be determined.

However, the scheduled artists - virtuoso violinists Gilles Apap and Caroline Campbell and pianist Miwa Gofuku - are donating their services for a free sneak-preview at 7 p.m. Thursday for Jesusita Fire evacuees at the Red Cross shelter at Dos Pueblos High. Chef Robin Goldstein, who prepared delicacies for the originally planned benefit concert and reception, will bring the already-prepared food to the shelter.

The concert is free for the evacuees, firefighters and Red Cross staff and volunteers.

The regular Santa Barbara Symphony subscription concerts at the Granada on Saturday and Sunday are scheduled to go on
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. NEFLRedCross
12:24 AM GMT on May 08, 2009
Jesusita Fire: Evacuees Find Refuge in Red Cross Shelter
Disaster volunteer training will be held Friday and Saturday
By Marjorie Wass | Published on 05.07.2009

The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter provided shelter and services to 110 Jesusita Fire evacuees Wednesday night, and and will continue to provide services according to the community’s needs.

The Red Cross has evacuated its headquarters at 2707 State St. and is operating from the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.

Residents interested in becoming disaster volunteers to help the Red Cross respond to the Jesusita Fire and future disasters should stop by the community center at 9 a.m. Friday or Saturday. Classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All new volunteers must take a Red Cross orientation and classes in emergency shelter operations and mass care. The location for the classes has not been determined.

Click here to make a donation for Jesusita Fire relief efforts.

Jesusita Fire: Wildfire Photos 5.5.09
May 7, 2009

>>View the entire photo set from the Santa Barbara County Red Cross

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. NEFLRedCross
3:22 PM GMT on May 07, 2009
Jesusita Fire

Red Cross Emergency Shelter
Dos Pueblos High School
7266 Alameda Avenue
Goleta (map)

The Red Cross emergency shelter is at Dos Pueblos High School, located at 7266 Alameda Avenue in Goleta (map). Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Goleta. Large animals can be evacuated to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real. For immediate updates on the Red Cross response to the fire follow us on Twitter.

Volunteer Training Sessions
A volunteer training session is scheduled tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. It will be held at San Raphael's Church, 5444 Hollister Ave. Santa Barbara. It is free. For more information about this training session call 729-6885.

All spontaneous volunteers must take a Red Cross orientation and classes in Emergency Shelter Operations and Mass Care, which will be held several times over the next few days.

Red Cross Chapter Headquarters evacuated
We have been evacuated from our office at 2707 State Street and have relocated to the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta.

more photos

Mandatory Evacuation Orders

Evacuation Warning Advisory

Road Closures
Road Closure Hotline: 805-568-3006.

Key Phone Numbers

County Jesusita Fire Call Center: 805-681-5197
Animal Hotline: 805-681-4332

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. NEFLRedCross
2:04 PM GMT on May 07, 2009
'Cautious optimisim' fades fast
Evacuees reluctantly settle in at Red Cross shelter
By COLBY FRAZIER - May 7, 2009

Victor Maccharoli- Jesusita Fire, Evacuees go to the shelter set up at Dos Pueblos High.

As the black 196-acre scar left by the Jesusita Fire smoldered yesterday morning, sending up swirls of smoke that looked like gasps of mercy, fire officials, who hoped to suffocate the blaze before wicked sundowner winds could cause any flare-ups, expressed a slight air of optimism.

But when the winds came, they came hard, quickly blowing the fire past loosely established containment lines, forcing firefighters away from their posts and grounding a half-dozen retardant dropping fixed-wing aircraft.

The winds blew down slope in a southerly direction, prompting roughly 2,000 people to evacuate, with thousands more placed under an evacuation warning.

As a black cloud of smoke climbed the sky, blotting out the sun at about 3:30 p.m., it was a matter of minutes before homes started going up in flames.

Of the 2,000 homes under mandatory evacuation, roughly 1,200 are in Mission Canyon, where residents woke up this morning feeling like they might have dodged a bullet.

"We were very hopeful until things blew up this afternoon," said Ray Smith, who was once the president of the Mission Canyon Association and has actively worked with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department to clear brush in the fuel-rich canyon. "I have no clue what’s going on with my place right now."

Smith said he managed to drive away with two car loads of personal belongings, but as of last night, was preparing to evacuate a second time from a friend’s home, which is on the edge of the evacuation warning area.

At the American Red Cross emergency shelter at Dos Pueblos High School, 80 people had checked in. Officials there sad they had the capacity, with two other emergency shelters ready to open as needed, to house 2,300 evacuees

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., many evacuees at the shelter were snacking on apples, Rice Krispies treats and other munchies. Others were huddled around a flat screen television tuned to a channel showing live shots of homes engulfed in flames.

Ron Stallings left his home on Vista De la Cumbre after police officers arrived at his doorstep and told him it was time to.

"Around 2 p.m. it started getting crazy," he said while sitting on a green cot, taking break from his dinner of mashed potatoes and chicken.

Stallings, who doesn’t drive, said two neighbors he barely knew gave him a lift to the shelter.

The Villa la Cumbre senior living facility at 521 N. La Cumbre Road was also evacuated.

Evelyn Wilson, who said she was in her 90s, joked about how her neighbors had to force her to leave.

She said she was worried about being able to sleep with so many other people in the gym.

"What do I do when people are snoring," she wondered, adding that she hoped someone would call her a cab so she could leave the shelter in the morning. "I’m not use to any noise."

Mary Hunter, 68, drove Wilson to the shelter. She joked that Wilson was "kicking and screaming."

Eight nuns, who live at the Monastery of Poor Clares at 215 E. Los Olivos St. near the Santa Barbara Mission, were also evacuated.

The sisters had set up their cots outside at Dos Pueblos. In the smoky dusk light, one of the sisters, with her head bowed, could be seen reading a Bible.

A couple of people were gathered around the sisters, urging them to leave the shelter and stay at their homes. However, Mother Mary Clare, the monastery’s mother superior, wasn’t sure if she would leave.

Since arriving at the monastery in 1946, Clare said she has never had to evacuate. In fact, since the monastery is cloistered, apart from brief doctor appointments, this is one of the few times she’s left in her more than six decades there.

"This is kind of unusual for us to be out here," she said, adding that she prefers her life in the vegetable garden, taking care of the fruit trees surrounding the property and watching the sisters’ three German shepherds. "We prefer to be in and not about."

Whether it was the sisters who were being asked to spend the night at followers’ homes, evacuees who had been driven to the shelter, or firefighters braving the flames to save people and homes, the general mood, while laced with worry, was simultaneously one of community.

"Everyone’s working together," Wilson said. "It’s a community working together."

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. NEFLRedCross
1:54 PM GMT on May 07, 2009
Fire Ravages SB Hills
Gov. Schwarzenegger Declares State of Emergency

By Kristin Ferrell and Travis Miller / Staff Writers
Published Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jonathan Kalan / Daily Nexus

The Jesusita Fire burns through San Roque Canyon, destroying homes and wildlife. The fire has also caused power outages, firefighter injuries, traffic congestion and mandatory evactuations.

The Jesusita Fire, which began in the Santa Barbara foothills Tuesday afternoon, grew significantly more destructive yesterday, spurred on by strong winds and high temperatures.

The Governor declared a state of emergency last night, and approximately 20 homes have allegedly been burned, though reliable statistics on the fire were not available as of press time. While the blaze has thus far remained in the canyons above Santa Barbara, several thousand more structures are potentially at risk, and mandatory evacuations have been issued across large swaths of northern Santa Barbara.

"This fire is moving very fast," County Emergency Operation Center spokesman Pat Wheatly said. "We are using firefighters to save lives and property. They don’t have the time to judge the extent of the acreage or number of homes burned."

Although there is no official number, news agencies and firefighters have estimated that between 200 and 500 acres have burned. Three Ventura County firefighters were also injured after being trapped in a burning house and were transported via helicopter to the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks.

Wheatly said that the fire was "not at all contained," and she could not speculate about whether additional neighborhoods would be added to the already extensive list of areas under mandatory evacuation orders. However, she said winds were working against fire containment operations and had not died down since they first picked up early yesterday afternoon.

The fire caused large portions of the downtown area to lose power for much of yesterday afternoon, and further outages are anticipated, according to the county Office of Emergency Services. Isla Vista experienced rolling blackouts during last year’s Tea Fire and could again in the coming days; however, the university has the ability to generate its own auxiliary power.

Little is known about the origins of the fire, though it is believed to have started around the Jesusita trailhead. There were rumors that gun shots were heard there Tuesday, though nothing of the sort has been confirmed.

With several road closures and heavy smoke, traffic was exceedingly congested all over Santa Barbara yesterday. Highway 101 was especially backed up as a result of low visibility from the smoke.

Evacuees from the affected regions are being directed to a Red Cross Disaster Relief Center at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta.

Red Cross spokesman Kristiana Kocis said the shelter had moved its operations to Goleta in the afternoon when the winds shifted and the previous venue - the First Presbyterian Church on State Street - was suddenly threatened by the blaze.

Dos Pueblos shelter is prepared to accommodate 200 overnight guests, and the Red Cross has two other facilities prepared to take on any additional evacuees. All told, Kocis said the school can take in up to 2,300 stranded Santa Barbara residents. An estimated 8,000 residents have been told to evacuate, though only a fraction of them are expected to register at a shelter.

As of press time, 80 evacuees had registered at the Dos Pueblos shelter, and Kocis said that the flow of arrivals had been picking up steadily throughout the early evening hours.

Judy Grigsby arrived at the shelter yesterday afternoon after being forced to abandon her home.

"All at once, the smoke became so thick we couldn’t see where the flames were," Grigsby said. "My husband came and said, ‘We have to get out right now.’"

She said she and her husband had ignored evacuation orders given to them earlier. After nearly five decades in their house on the 1200 block of Tunnel Road, Grigsby said that she had seen many fires in the area before.

"We decided to play it by ear," she said. "This morning, it looked like the fire had died down - there was just a little plume of smoke left."

But the winds soon shifted and, by 3 p.m., Grigsby and her husband finally decided to leave.

"We took the cats and a few belongings and had to drive down [out of the neighborhood] through flames on both sides of the street," she said. "There were leaves caught under my windshield wiper, and those were on fire, too."

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. NEFLRedCross
10:41 PM GMT on May 05, 2009
Displaced fire victims assess damages, destruction
Updated: 5/5/2009 12:32 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

When flames destroyed their homes, about 58 people were forced to stay the night at a Red Cross shelter set up at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center in Northeast Austin Monday.

As part of the recovery process, those residents were able to check their apartment homes for salvageable goods Tuesday.

Red Cross caseworkers will then begin to work with the families to replace the things they need immediately and help them figure out the next steps in their long-term recovery, Elaine Acker, of the Red Cross of Central Texas, said.

In total, about 300 people were affected when the Regency Apartment Complex went up in flames Monday afternoon.

"People are really banding together during this economic downturn, so even though we may have one fire, we're seeing a lot of people," Acker said. "So even a single-family home may not just be a single family - there's going to be several people affected, and we help each individual that is affected by that fire."

Many of the apartment residents are Spanish-speaking only, but the Disaster Action Team at the Red Cross has volunteers who can translate. However, Acker said the Red Cross doesn't have enough Spanish-speakers on hand.

Acker commended volunteers from the Austin Stone Community Church for their involvement Monday night.

"Austin Stone Church came out - really stepped up to the plate and saved us last night, helped us sit down and translate so that everybody was calm and understood what they needed to do to be part of the shelter and really helped us make that transition," she said.

For folks who would like to help, the Red Cross always needs volunteers and cash donations. Acker said the nonprofit prefers cash donations, rather than donated items, because it allows the organization to better accommodate each individual's needs.

"The young pregnant woman doesn't need the same thing as an older senior gentleman," she said. "So for us to be able to clean and store that would just be cost-prohibitive. The cash donations make it really easy for us to give people exactly what they need at that moment."

Back at the Regency Apartment Complex Tuesday morning, an inside look showed few homes had been spared.

Twenty-four apartment homes were destroyed, and about 100 people are permanently displaced.

Resident Dalia Daiz's home was not among those devastated. Still, she mourns for her neighbors.

"We are together," she said. "We have parties. We know each other. I'm sad, because many people lost a lot of things - all their stuff - and they're sad. They are still in shock."

Those displaced now look to property owner Brad Meltzer for help.

"This is devastating," Meltzer said about the fire. "I care about these people."

Meltzer also sits on the board of the Red Cross of Central Texas and has seen tragedy. He said he is trying desperately to get help for residents who no longer have a home, as well as those who have been temporarily displaced.

"These people are like family to us," Meltzer said.

Meltzer said all those left homeless will be given their deposit and first month's rent, in an effort to get them back on their feet.

"The first thing we want to do is take care of all of the people," he said.

Figuring out what to do about the apartments will come later.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

However, a hot stove could be to blame for the fire. The Austin Fire Department will not confirm this but the Meltzer said it started after a tenant left something on a hot stove.

An official with the Austin Fire Department said the Regency Apartments did not have sprinklers as they were built in the 1970s, and the complex was exempt from requiring sprinklers because it was less than three stories.

The Regency Apartments passed its last fire inspection in October.
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