While everyone around us is preparing for an anticipated Swine Flu outbreak, the Red Cross is always gearing up for natural disaster and in the winter that means fire. While we all stock up our homes with medicine, anti-bacterial gels and even face masks, the Red Cross looks toward car donation to ‘stock up’ and meet the demands of the community they serve. Residential fires occur every 79 seconds and local Red Cross volunteers across the country are first on the scene to meet needs of fire victims as well as emergency personnel. The National Fire Protection Association says that fire frequency soars during the winter months and residential fires occur most commonly during December, January and February. If you are thinking about whether to donate a car to charity, make the Red Cross your top choice. Vehicle donation is critical to the Red Cross’ many programs that serve communities of Southern Maryland during winter months.
The majority of these fires are caused by candle use and overloaded electrical circuits. Though ninety-three percent of the fires Red Cross responds to are home fires, they are preventable emergencies. People unknowingly place ‘spent’ ashes in paper or plastic bags near combustibles that unexpectedly catch fire. Unfortunately, urban areas are often hit hardest where homes are tightly packed and often don’t meet modern fire codes. These are also often the areas that have the least resources to cope with fire disaster. When someone donates a used car to the Red Cross the proceeds of the sale of the car donation provides relief for these hardest hit areas.
The Red Cross provides immediate and longer-term assistance to fire victims. Auto donation helps fund the chapter budget that is set aside for local disasters to be drawn on to provide vouchers for food, clothing, and temporary shelter. In one year alone, Red Cross workers in Southern Maryland responded to more than 75 fires with many of those families being displaced and in need temporary housing, clothing and food. In addition trained Red Cross mental health counselors help families to recover emotionally, particularly the elderly who may lose a home lived in for decades. The Red Cross strives to educate people on what to do in event of fire through their fire safety tips located online but donations are needed to help meet the many needs of the people they serve.