Local Survivor Combats Risk with Readiness

IMG_3962By: Sara Shager

The Red Cross recently installed smoke alarms in several mobile homes in the Port Susan Camping Club in Tulalip, Washington. The need for working smoke alarms in close-quartered camping clubs is extremely high. The forest surrounding the club increases the risk of fires spreading from home to home. As volunteers finished one of the installations, a club member shared her escape plan. Continue reading

Inspiring Families to be Safe

By Kristi Sanders

Photos by: Lucia Scordamaglia


As an AmeriCorps member of the American Red Cross, my role is focused primarily on teaching kids and adults about Disaster and Home Fire Preparedness. So when presented with an invitation to participate in the annual King County Fire & Life Safety Association’s Kids Safety Day, my answer was an enthusiastic, yes! Continue reading

A Complex Recovery 


By: Diane Toomey

Photos by: Betsy Robertson

It’s been three years since one of the largest fires in the state of Washington started on July 14, 2014. The Carlton Complex Fire consisted of four fires, all ignited by lightning. They destroyed over 250,000 acres, 322 homes and 149 other structures before being contained on July 26.

The American Red Cross mobilized immediately to assist survivors who were displaced. Shelters were set up and volunteers from across the country arrived to assist survivors in the immediate aftermath.

The summer of 2015 brought a second wave of devastating wildfires to the surrounding area. Back-to-back disasters and a growing number of homes lost in flames further strained already limited resources in the region. It became clear that the scope and duration of wildfire recovery would be immense.

Compassionate and generous donors drove successful fundraising efforts. They allowed the Red Cross and other local organizations to not only respond to the immediate needs, but also to create a “Long-Term Recovery” program to support survivors beyond the initial response and recovery period.

Kriss Salgado, previously an Executive Director for grief/loss support in her Wenatchee community, took on the role of Eastern Washington Recovery Manager on behalf of the Red Cross, a position she has held for the last 15 months. Kriss was responsible for taking those designated Red Cross donations and distributing them to survivor recovery efforts by working with individuals impacted and community partners.

Long-term recovery is a multi-year process for both survivors and the community. It is about coordination and partnerships and supporting survivors in their individual recovery, right where they’re at in the process. For Kriss, “facilitating this role for the American Red Cross has been the most memorable and impactful work I have ever done.”

With five affected counties and the area being very rural, it was logistically challenging for Kriss, who traveled up to two hours each day to reach the hundreds of survivors impacted. Kriss speaks very emotionally about the amazing resiliency of the survivors she met. Complex6

As she smiles warmly with a “sticky note” that said “don’t cry” in front of her during our conversation, it was hard not to notice the meaningful impact this long-term recovery role had on Kriss. She said, “I got to see the compassion that started with donations and volunteer relief efforts, then watch as those Red Cross contributions made a meaningful impact on the recovery process. I am humbled to be a small part of what has happened here.”


As the 2 and 3-year anniversaries of the wildfires draw closer, Kriss and everyone at the Red Cross is hopeful for a quiet summer without the impact or loss that the season can bring, but are confident they’ll be able to meet whatever need arises.

For information on preparing for wildfires, please visit http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/wildfire.

Active Wildfire Map | Wildfire Preparedness | Red Cross


View an interactive map of US wildfire locations and Red Cross shelters, and learn about how to prevent wildfires and what to do if one occurs.


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Partnering in Prevention

By: Sara Shager


David Petersen, Assistant Fire Marshal Lake Stevens Fire

On Saturday, June 24, The American Red Cross and Lake Stevens Fire Department partnered to Sound the Alarm and save lives by installing more than 100 smoke alarms in the Connor Park Mobile Home Park in Lake Stevens, WA. Continue reading

Exercising the Red Cross sheltering muscle

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By: Betsy Robertson

Every nine minutes the American Red Cross is called to bring help and hope to people in need.  Most often that comes in the form of two volunteers providing immediate comfort and assistance to victims of a single family home fire. But what happens when multiple families are impacted and the need for an emergency community shelter arises? Continue reading

Hearts, Hammers and Smoke Alarms


By: Nancy Waddell

Photos by: Jen Blackwood

The first Saturday in May is a special day on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle WA. Hundreds of community volunteers with the non-profit organization Hearts & Hammers turn out to help residents in need fix up homes and yards.

For the third year in a row, local Red Cross volunteers joined the South Whidbey event to provide and install smoke alarms in these homes. For the first time, they worked with the Central Whidbey group this year as well. Continue reading

Edmonds Students help Red Cross “Save-a-Life”

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William Slaughter, Vyvy Mai and William Ebanks

By: Nashika Stanbro
Edited by: Nancy Waddell

On April 14, the American Red Cross joined forces with Premera Blue Cross to provide free, life-saving hands-only CPR training.

The event took place on the Edmonds Community College campus, where Red Cross volunteers received a helping hand from several enthusiastic student volunteers. Continue reading