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Disaster Services- General Information

The Henderson County Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to about 30 local fire cases every year.
Thank you to our financial supporters who make that critical assistance possible!

Emergency Information:

LOCATE FAMILY AND/OR FRIENDS AFTER A DISASTER: After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring them great peace of mind. The Red Cross SAFE AND WELL website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during those emergencies.
To register, visit SAFE and WELL or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
LOCATE AN EMERGENCY SHELTER: For Henderson County emergency shelter information: listen to WHKP-AM or WTZQ-AM radio or go online to Blue Ridge Now (Hendersonville Times-News).
Click Here for listing of all American Red Cross shelter openings anywhere in the U.S.

Disaster Services Provided:

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to over 60,000 disasters, including home fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and other natural and man-made disasters. Most Red Cross responses are to the actual scene at the time of the disaster – whether day or night. Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s immediate, emergency, disaster-caused needs.

When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition, individuals and families affected by disaster are provided support to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently. Call us at the local Henderson County Chapter to see how you can get involved and help with Disaster Services.

In addition to providing relief to victims of disaster, our mission includes helping people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Your preparedness and advance planning is crucial to your ability to be ready when disasters strike. For helpful disaster preparedness and readiness information, please consider taking our “Be Red Cross Ready” on-line course or contact us to schedule a group presentation of the program. A printable “Be Red Cross Ready” summary sheet is available by clicking here.

Summary of Disaster Services Provided by Henderson County Chapter
During fiscal year 2011 (ending June 30, 2011), we worked 30 Henderson County disaster cases including home fires, flooding, and power outages resulting from storms. Responses included assisting with the emergency needs of individuals and families affected. (i.e. temporary housing, clothing replacement, food needs, assistance in re-establishing permanant housing, referrals and coordination with other helping agencies). These disaster cases directly affected 77 people who were were suddenly forced from their homes as the result of an unexpected emergency right here in our community!
Almost weekly, we receive a call from either the fire department, sheriff’s dispatch or the County Emergency Manager to request our response to a local disaster. Whether business hours, weekend, day or night, we respond immediately, usually arriving at the disaster scene as the fire department is getting a fire under control.
In 2005, our local program had a significant role in the largest domestic disaster response in the history of the American Red Cross as we sent 88 of our local, trained DSHR volunteers (Disaster Services Human Resources) to be a part of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita responses. More recently, we deployed local DSHR to assist during and after the April 2009 Myrtle Beach Wildfire disaster, spring 2009 flooding responses in North Dakota, West Virginia and north Florida, and 10 to the spring/summer 2011 tornado, spring storms and flooding response (including eastern NC, Tuscolosa AL, Joplin MS, west Tennessee, and Minoit ND.
After a couple relatively “quiet” hurricane seasons, we deployed 17 the 2008 hurrican season to assist with major storm responses. That included “Fay”, “Gustav”, “Hanna” and “Ike”. Those DSHR volunteers opened and operated emergency shelters, provided basic health services, delivered meals and supplies, done damage assessments and worked with affected individuals to determine emergency needs and get that assistance to them. Fortunately, 2009’s hurricane season was another quiet one. 2010 is predicted to be an active hurricane season but our team is ready!
We maintain a team of over 75 trained, certified DSHR (Disaster Services Human Resources) to respond to disasters here at home, and nationwide, as needed. While those DSHR are available to respond all over the country if needed, they are also the standing resource for our local disaster relief needs.
Provided 24/7 immediate response coverage for local disaster needs with our DAT (Disaster Action Team) personnel. DAT is who is called in, at 3am or whenever the disaster occurs, to assist the Henderson County family who’s standing beside their house that just burned down with no where to go!
The Henderson County Chapter is an active member of the Henderson County Local Emergency Planning Committee. We are also designated on the County Ermergency Operations Plan for disaster response services including opening and operating the County’s emergency shelters. (Read Henderson County Emergency Manager’s acknowledgement of our Disaster Services)

Our DSHR, Tom DeMartini. (in red) preparing to take the regional ERV (emergency response vehicle) to Birmingham/Tuscolosa, Alabama for tornado response. (5/1/2011)

Picture taken in Sanford, NC on April 16, 2011, from Wal-Mart parking lot by a friend of our Disaster Services Director.  We deployed two of our ERV drivers and one of our volunteer RN’s to eastern NC to help with the response to that day of tornadoes.

DAT members Bill and Deb Rutten assessing damage of Etowah-area home destroyed by fire.  Photo by Henderson County Chapter ARC.

The Caldwell Inn on 7th Avenue in Hendersonville after fire broke out early on September 24, 2009.  We responded to the scene and worked for several weeks to assist the 22 displaced residents (including two children).  Photo by Henderson County Chapter ARC.

Our Disaster Action Team responded when an August 7, 2009 fire destroyed this Henderson County home.  Photo by Henderson County Chapter ARC.
(pictures left and below)

During the past four years, we responded to a combined total of 145 local disaster responses.  Most were home fires….often leaving nothing but rubble and ash where a family had previously lived!

This July 20, 2010 fire destroyed the mobile home of an East Flat Rock man where he had lived for 15 years.  Our Disaster Action Team responded to the fire scene, assisting the man with temporary shelter at a hotel, clothing, shoes, food, toiletries (when everything is destroyed – that includes toothbrushes and razors!), assistance in replacing multiple medications that were destroyed, and developing a recovery plan.  Photo by Henderson County Chapter ARC.

Volunteer Opportunities in Disaster Services

Henderson County Red Cross volunteers assist victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms and other disasters, including families forced from their homes by fire.  They work here in Henderson County and some may work throughout the United States when needed.  We providing free training to volunteers including classes in “Disaster Assessment”, “Client Services”, “Mass Care and Sheltering” plus basic first aid and CPR. 

You can be a part of the Red Cross in Henderson County and be a part of the work we do.  Get involved and make a difference!

For more information or application information, please see “Volunteers” under the “Who We Are” section to the left..