Ventura, California - The American Red Cross is providing shelter and support to help people in the path of fast-moving wildfires which broke out yesterday in Southern California, forcing people from their homes.
The Thomas fire is burning out of control and has already consumed 31,000 acres. Ventura County and the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura have declared emergencies and mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for as many as 27,000 people. Thousands are without power, various schools are closed and some patients have been evacuated to other hospitals.
Dangerous fire conditions are expected to be a threat for Southern California for much of this week, with officials calling this the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event seen this wildfire season.
The Red Cross has shelters open where 240 people spent Monday night. Everyone is welcome at Red Cross shelters. People do not need to be American citizens to receive our assistance. Red Cross volunteers are working to ensure that everyone – including children, the elderly, and those with special needs – get the best possible help during this challenging time.
Additional volunteers, cots, blankets and emergency supplies are being mobilized now to support relief efforts. The Red Cross is also working closely with government and community partners to coordinate relief efforts.
This latest fire comes on the heels of the devastating wildfires which burned more than 245,000 acres in northern California in October, destroying thousands of homes. More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster workers responded in northern California and the Red Cross continues to help. Red Cross caseworkers are meeting with those affected, helping them plan their recovery.
HOW TO FIND A SHELTER If you need the location of a shelter or other help, you should follow your local media or go to redcross.org and check the shelter map. People can also find a shelter by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts wildfire safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
The Red Cross is working with partners to provide care for evacuated pets. We encourage anyone who needs a safe place to stay to come to an evacuation shelter, and suitable accommodations will be found for household pets. Service animals and therapy pets are welcome at Red Cross shelters.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters big and small, like wildfires and countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS
The Red Cross urges everyone to follow evacuation orders from local law enforcement and have an emergency kit ready to go. Visit the Red Cross Safe and Well website at http://www.redcross.org/safeandwell to reconnect with loved ones that might be missing during a disaster. The site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.
You can also use the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App to let loved ones know your status.
IF A FIRE OCCURS Listen to your local media for updates on the fire and be ready to leave quickly. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape. You should also:
- Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.
- Arrange for a temporary place to stay outside the threatened area.
- Keep your indoor air clean – close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.
- Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else.
- If smoke levels are high, don’t use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
AFTER THE FIRE Don’t go home until fire officials say it is safe. Be cautious entering a burned area – hazards could still exist. Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires. Other things to do include:
- Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
- Wet down debris to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
- Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
- Recheck for smoke or sparks throughout your home for several hours after the fire, including in your attic. Wildfire winds can blow burning embers anywhere so check for embers that could cause a fire.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; ConocoPhillips; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; LabCorp; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Assurant; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.