Fall off to a busy start with record hurricanes, wildfires, and local disasters

By: Sophie Kluthe

As the leaves began to change and temperatures cooled, the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania was busy with nearly 20 regional workers assigned to major disasters like Hurricane Laura and the Western Wildfires, while still responding to the nation’s most frequent disaster, home fires. 

Just in the first quarter of the organization’s fiscal year, (July-September) trained Red Cross disaster workers assisted with nearly 300 local disasters, mostly home fires in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Hurricane Isaias also thrashed the region during this time period, leaving hundreds of people displaced by major flooding in August. In total, disaster workers provided emergency support in the form of temporary lodging and other immediate assistance to almost 1,500 residents impacted by disaster.  

SEPA Red Cross disaster workers coordinate a snack delivery for displaced residents at one of the hotel shelters in Philadelphia after Hurricane Isaias.

While our dedicated local response teams continued to support our communities here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, many also raised their hand and packed their bags to help in major disasters around the country in what has been a record-setting year so far for Red Cross emergency sheltering.

From July to October 7, when this article was written, local Red Crossers have volunteered about 130 times to support these major responses, either on the ground or virtually, with some people volunteering for multiple operations. That includes the 81 regional workers who supported the major sheltering and recovery efforts in our own backyard after Hurricane Isaias. Other disasters workers from our region have supported include Tropical Storm Hannah in Texas, Hurricane Laura in Texas and Louisiana, and the numerous wildfires that have ravaged parts of California and Oregon, and more. 

A small portion of the dozens of local Red Cross disaster workers who have volunteered to support major disaster relief operation around the country.

Thank you to our incredible team of disaster workers for carrying out the Red Cross mission at home and across the country!  

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