Local fire agencies plan to pitch in to pitch in to help local Red Cross
Susanville Fire Department Battalion Chief Ted Friedline said the chapter is in dire straights, and if things don’t turn around for it soon, everyone in Northern California could feel the effects.
“One of the problems is when (Hurricane) Katrina happened, people made donations to the national Red Cross,” said Friedline. “Our local area Red Cross has suffered because of it.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Shasta Area Red Cross Tom Bourne confirmed money is tight right now, so much so that he’s had to let five people go in recent months.
“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve already responded to 60 single-family house fires,” Bourne said. “That amounts to about 1 1/2 families each week. Our cash flow is a little tight right now. We, of course, think it’s a great thing for all of these local agencies to gather together in an effort to raise money and we are very appreciative.”
The chapter has been serving Northern California for 90 years.
The Shasta Area Red Cross specifically serves five counties in Northern California, including Lassen, Shasta, Tehama, Trinity and Modoc.
Friedline and Bourne said the chapter established evacuation centers and shelters to accommodate hundreds of households evacuated from forest fires last year alone. The chapter responded to more than 100 emergencies in the Shasta area alone in 2006, as well as providing CPR, first aid and aquatic training to more than 10,000 people. Currently, around 200 volunteers work for the chapter.
Bourne said Office of Emergency Services Chief Chip Jackson is the person who got the ball rolling for raising funds for the chapter.
Jackson said the goal, as far as the fire agencies in Lassen County, was to raise $10,000 during the Nov. 17-18 weekend. As of Friday, Nov. 23, the amount of money the Lassen County agencies made wasn’t available.
Members from each fire department within the county walked some of the busiest intersections and areas of their respective communities asking citizens for donations.
Jackson also said the Fill the Boot Campaign would not only be taking place in Lassen County, but Tehama and Shasta counties also.
“We’re going to try and do a regional approach to raise the money,” Jackson said. “The Shasta area chapter serves all of us. So as we try to raise the money for the Shasta Area Red Cross all of our local firefighters will be working on their respective areas: Janesville (firefighters) will be taking care of Janesville, Susanville (firefighters) will be taking care of Susanville, Susan River will most likely be helping out around town and CAL FIRE will be all over the place.”
Susan River contributed by hanging out near the entrance to Wal-Mart both days, while the Susanville Fire Department hung out on the corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive, near the entrance to the Safeway shopping center.
Susan River firefighter Andy King said the fund-raiser was also a good way for people in the community to come up and talk with the firefighters in a non-emergency capacity, allowing for greater community relations.
“This is great,” King said. “We are raising money for a service we all need, and by doing it face to face with our community, it’s just fantastic.”
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