Red Cross stretched thin after increase in house fire cases

Red Cross Volunteers Stretched Thin
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
House fire in Craighead County Wednesday (Source: KAIT)
House fire in Craighead County Wednesday (Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The American Red Cross in Northeast Arkansas has responded to 36 house fire cases since December 1.

With 16 counties to cover in northeast Arkansas, Dean Hannah, disaster program manager, said volunteers and money are stretched thin.

"It seems like ever sense the beginning of the month we've been getting a lot more, you know, when it starts to get a lot cooler," Hannah said.

While financial donations are always helpful, Hannah said they need more volunteers.

"Per county, ideally we would have about four volunteers work that county, but in some counties, we have a little bit more and some counties we have less," Hannah said. "In some counties we don't have any."

Volunteers in each county get training from the American Red Cross on how to treat families that are displaced from their homes.

"We look at the situation, and talk with the client, and you see what the client's needs are first and foremost," Hannah said.

Wednesday morning, a man in Craighead County lost his home in a house fire. Hannah responded to help.

"We take comfort kits," Hannah said. "What that means is there will be toothpaste, all your hygiene stuff, toothbrush, bath wash, all that kind of stuff."

Comfort kits are catered to families based on number of family members and case details.

"We give clean up kits sometimes if the house isn't destroyed, and they have to go back in and clean it up," Hannah said.

The American Red Cross tries to do everything it can to help following a disaster, but Hannah said his advice to stay safe from fires is get a smoke alarm installed in your home.

"We are in the business of saving lives," Hannah said. "You know, your house and property can be gone, but your life, we can't let that go to waste."

The American Red Cross office in Jonesboro can supply smoke and fire alarms to families.

To learn more about receiving help, donating, or becoming a volunteer call 870-932-3212 or stop by the office at 2416 South Madison in Jonesboro.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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