American Red Cross Response to Residential Fires and Damage Assessment

American Red Cross Response to Residential Fires and Damage Assessment

As the American Red Cross continues to adapt to numerous disasters and changing environments, we have expanded the use of Red Cross/FEMA Damage Assessment Guidelines to now include small, local disasters such as single and multi-family fires. This move will help ensure that we are providing consistent services to all those impacted by home fires and other local disasters. As we continue to work in a mostly virtual environment, your help is especially needed to determine what the level of structural damage to the residence is for those impacted. We have developed a two-page guide that provides an overview of the new Red Cross Damage Assessment Guidelines for Home Fires and Other Local Disasters classifications and brief descriptions and questions to help make the determination.  We are also providing you with a SC Red Cross Dispatch guide.

Again, please know the Red Cross is still responding, just differently during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you please get the client family’s name and contact phone number and provide it to our Red Cross Dispatch when you call to request Red Cross services. Please do not just tell the client to call the Red Cross if they need assistance, the call should come from the Fire Department if possible. We will also be asking 

for your help to confirm the extent of damage of each residence. We may also ask you to confirm the identity of the head of the household for each family either by checking their ID and proof of residence documentation (usually a Driver’s License).  If their ID documents have become unavailable or there is no other person nearby who can assist, then confirmation by a responder from the Fire Department will be requested.

Lastly, we want to remind everyone of the assistance available when there is a residential fire related fatality. The American Red Cross can provide Individual Disaster Care Services (access to mental health services, disaster health services, and spiritual care) to immediate and extended family members impacted by the death. Additional financial assistance for funeral assistance and other related needs may be available for the family assistance based on identified needs and qualification.

Through wildfires and home fires, we very much appreciate the collaborative relationship between the Red Cross and our local fire departments. Please pass along this update to all the appropriate individuals (Battalion Chiefs, Company Officers, and Fire Marshals/Investigators). 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling or emailing.

Tony Reid, Regional Disaster Officer / 828-772-6982 /  t[email protected]

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