Celebrating American Red Cross Month

The Wiregrass Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to more than 150 home fires every year.

"To those families that have lost their house or apt to a fire, it's as devastating as someone who went through Katrina, a tornado or hurricane sandy. They've lost everything," said Susan Holmes.

The American Red Cross sends a volunteer to the scene of the fire and provides victims with basic emergency needs.

The amount of financial assistance depends on the number of family members and their needs.

"We’re not a government agency but we work so closely with them quite often the community perceives that we are. We do not receive government funding it is only because the generosity of our donors that we continue this," said Holmes.

Wiregrass Chapter Executive Director Susan Holmes says the community's response varies from fire to fire.

"When it is a highly visible the community responds very well to that because they are made aware. To a family that may have a fire before today is over, no one else may know besides the fire department and the Red Cross because we're called to the scene. Those are the families that sometimes kind of fall in between the cracks where they're only receiving Red Cross assistance. They're a little more vulnerable."

Holmes says this month looks almost *too* familiar.

"March is Red Cross month and we kicked off last year with a four apt fire so it is a little déjà vu. This was just before march but we're still working with those families. The winter months are the very busiest but our cold has not let up. Things like electric fires and cooking fires don't take a break. January and February might be busier but it's an ongoing need."

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