Fire Reveals Need for Red Cross Volunteers

A fire last week swept through a home on Highway 34 near Smallwood Road in Ridgeway, completely destroying the structure and displacing the resident, Travis Boyd. The fire caused approximately $50,000 in damage. The Ridgeway, Community and Greenbrier fire departments responded to the blaze, as did the Fairfield County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Headed by Amy Douglas, Disaster Volunteer, the Red Cross was able to put Boyd up in a motel room following the fire and provided him with a small allowance for food and clothing.

But in addition to upending the life of one Ridgeway man, the fire also highlighted the Red Cross’s need for disaster volunteers.

“We have four volunteers for Fairfield County,” Douglas said. “We would like to have more. At one time, the county had 15 to 20 volunteers, and we would like to get close to that number again.”

Volunteers work a flexible schedule, Douglas said, and respond to house fires and natural disasters. Volunteers can work at a county, state, national or global level, and the Red Cross provides the training for free.

What does a disaster volunteer do?

“We respond to the scene,” Douglas said. “In the case of a fire, we check in with the fire department, who introduces us to the occupants of the home. We talk with them, comfort them and stay with them until the fire is out. If it is a cold night, like it was last week, we provide them with a blanket and something warm to drink. We interview them to assess their needs – do they have a place to stay, for example. Then we check them into a motel and we meet with them the next morning to complete the paperwork for food and clothing allowances.”

Douglas began volunteering with the Fairfield Red Cross in 1994 and did so until 2006 when she moved out of the county. Since July, she has been back at it, giving her time to those in need.

If you want to volunteer, call her at 803-815-0688.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]