What To Do Before the Fire Department Arrives

Exterior of burned buildingBy Gordon Williams

A simple mistake turned what might have been a routine New York City apartment house fire into a tragedy that took more than a dozen lives.

Finding her kitchen in flames, a woman grabbed her children and fled her apartment – leaving the front door wide open. That let the flames spread into the hallway and up the stairwells until the entire five-story building was engulfed in flames. Before the fire was extinguished, 12 people were dead, four critically injured and more than 40 survivors were left homeless on a bitterly cold night. A 13th person died later.

So what should you do in those critical few minutes between the time you discover a fire and when the fire department arrives?

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Why I Volunteer: Tanya Puente


Humanitarian at Heart: 

At the age of 15 I went on my first humanitarian trip to Romania; followed by 5 more throughout high school and just after. I found that I had a true passion for humanitarian aid/disaster relief and wanted to  do more of it. Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Holly Thode


I was introduced to the Red Cross through my work and family, but I was drawn to volunteering because of the opportunity to help other people. When my company, Paul Davis Restoration, started getting more involved with the Red Cross, I got to see more of what volunteers were actually doing – how much their work made an impact, and I wanted to do that too. Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Melanie Cole


I initially came to the Red Cross in 2013 as an AmeriCorps member in South Puget Sound. Before then, I knew very little about the organization and how much impact it actually has on the communities it serves.

I fell in love with the idea that I could take part in helping people in need every day. I wasn’t stuck behind a desk, I was out in my community and I felt like I was truly giving back. Continue reading