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For Second Year, Millions Turn to American Red Cross for Help after Record Wildfires, Hurricanes and Devastating Weather


American Red Cross

American Red CrossClarksville, TN – In a second consecutive year of record-breaking disasters, millions of people from coast to coast turned to the American Red Cross for shelter, food and comfort.

This year, massive wildfires scorched more than 8.5 million acres—in California alone, residents have suffered back-to-back years of the most destructive wildfires in state history, with the Camp Fire being the most severe.

American Red Cross volunteers deliver meals to emergency workers and volunteers helping with debris clean-up in between storms. (Beth Ferguson/American Red Cross)

American Red Cross volunteers deliver meals to emergency workers and volunteers helping with debris clean-up in between storms. (Beth Ferguson/American Red Cross)

What’s more, six major hurricanes impacted the United States in just three months, devastating communities across nine states and U.S. territories.

Red Cross volunteers also provided crisis counseling and other support to communities affected by six tragic shootings, including those in Parkland, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Thousand Oaks, California.

“For a second year in a row, American Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to deliver care and hope for people whose lives were torn apart by record disasters,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responded to these and other crises of all sizes across the country—including home fires, which devastate families each and every day.”

As the year comes to a close, the Red Cross continues to help those affected by disasters.

Local Disaster Responses in 2018

The Tennessee River Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to disasters and provides services to people in Dickson County, Giles, Hickman County, Houston County, Humphreys County, Lawrence County, Lewis County, Maury County, Montgomery County, Perry County, Stewart County and Wayne County in Tennessee. In addition to the counties listed, the Tennessee River Chapter also serves Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

This year, local Red Cross volunteers:

  • Responded to 213 home fires, including large-scale apartment fires
  • Assisted families in Hickman, Lawrence and Montgomery counties after tornadoes damaged more than 125 homes
  • Helped people in Dickson County affected by flooding
  • Provided canteen services to first responders
  • Deployed 42 volunteers to assist with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Matthew and the California wildfires

Large Disaster Responses in 2018

In the face of large crises this year, the Red Cross mobilized more than 14,000 disaster workers—90 percent volunteers—who:

  • Served more than 8.2 million meals and snacks with partners
  • Distributed more than 2.2 million relief items
  • Provided more than 290,000 overnight shelter stays with partners
  • Made more than 188,000 health and mental health contacts to provide support and care

In addition, we also provided recovery support for tens of thousands of households rebuilding their lives—whether it was connecting them with community resources, helping them create recovery plans or providing financial assistance for those severely affected.

Home Fires Most Frequent Disaster

Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, accounting for the vast majority of disasters that the Red Cross responds to in the U.S. This year, the Red Cross has provided recovery support for more than 73,000 households affected by home fires.

Our work continues today, as families face increased fire risks from heating equipment, decorations and cooking during the holidays and winter months. That’s why we’re working to keep people safe through our Home Fire Campaign.

With generous support and local partners, Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans. In 2018, we:

  • Installed nearly 400,000 smoke alarms nationwide, including 1,300 in the Tennessee River Chapter area
  • Reached more than 219,000 youth through preparedness programs
  • Made more than 165,000 homes safer through home fire safety visits

How Can You Help

Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, storms and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Please consider making a donation today. Visit or call 1.800.RED CROSS (1.800.733.2767).

Volunteers Needed

Become a volunteer today by submitting your application online at

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit or on Twitter at @RedCrossTN.




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