Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another unfortunate first

Every time I respond to a disaster, be it a single-family house fire here in Western New York or a massive response like Hurricane Sandy, chances are I'll see or experience something completely new. That's the nature of disasters: no two are completely alike, and yesterday was no exception.

Monday afternoon, fellow Disaster Action Team member Julie and I drove to the scene of a fire in Hamburg, Erie County. The fire department had already done its job, so we were looking at house numbers to find the correct location. As we pulled up, I said to Julie, "Oh man, it's the one with the 'sold' sign in front." As we began talking with the current resident, we found out he had just moved in and was still in the process of closing on the home. Thankfully, he and his son were not injured, but he was understandably devastated as the "perfect" home he had searched long and hard for was suddenly uninhabitable.

Thanks to your support, we were able to provide this man and his son with food and lodging so they could take a couple days to catch their breath, and the Red Cross will continue to provide support and referrals as they figure out the next steps in their recovery. As always, I am so proud to be a part of an organization that provides a glimmer of hope to people in their darkest hours.

This situation also proves that disasters are never convenient. They can happen anytime, anywhere, so please take the time to prepare now and keep your loved ones as safe as possible.