Inside the Bronx Fire Response


By Gordon Williams

The American Red Cross of Greater New York is the nation’s biggest Red Cross chapter — embracing all of New York City, seven suburban counties and even a small slice of adjacent Connecticut. It is also the busiest chapter — responding to disasters that leave people homeless more than 4,000 times a year.

Fortunately most of these events are modest in scale — fires confined to a single dwelling or even a single room. This is an inside look at an event that was anything but modest–the December 28 fire at Bronx County, New York box 3303 that left 13 people dead and more in critical condition.

It was New York’s worst loss of life from a fire in 27 years. I saw it from the inside as a dispatcher in the chapter’s Emergency Communications Center (or ECC). Continue reading


Why I Volunteer: Summer Warfield

Summer-WWhile watching the news during Hurricane Katrina I knew I needed to get involved in some way to help.

Once my kids were a bit older I researched organizations that help during disasters and the Red Cross kept coming up.

The more I read, the more I wanted to join. Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Wendlamita Ouedraogo


I am Wendlamita Fatim Ouedraogo.  I am from Burkina Faso, a West African Country.

I enjoy travelling the world to discover new cultures. That is the reason why, after living several years in Europe, I decided to move to the US and have been living here for 2 years now. Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Jessie Rounsley

My name is Jessie Rounsley and I got started with the American Red Cross in May of 2016 as an intern in Sioux Falls, SD.

RED CrossI chose to get involved with the American Red Cross because I thought they had an amazing mission, and that it was an organization with which I could make an impact on other’s lives.

I really wanted to help people recover from disasters.  I wanted to lift people from some of the worst times in their lives to a place where they could focus on recovery and improvement. I believed that if you have the opportunity to improve just one person’s day or life then it is worth it. Continue reading

Why Patrick Panlasigui Volunteers

By Gordon Williams


Hurricane Harvey deployment to a shelter in Houston, TX proved a personally rewarding experience for Red Cross volunteer Patrick Panlasigui, of Federal Way, WA.  Patrick says it also proved an educational experience — teaching him lessons and sharpening skills he is already finding valuable in his job as a research coordinator at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

He says that shelter work in a disaster zone drove home the need to remain flexible — to be able to adjust quickly to changing conditions. Even more important, he says, “It taught me a lot about stress management in the workplace.” Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Krystal Craig

Craig_Krystal_PicI started volunteering with the American Red Cross two years ago during the Okanagan Wildfires. 

I was working with the Snohomish County Medical Reserve Corps, when they received a call asking for additional Red Cross volunteers. I responded immediately, and was on my way to Wenatchee the next day. 

I worked in a Red Cross shelter for one week in Brewster, WA and fell in love with Mass Care. Since then I have continued cross training between Red Cross and Medical Reserve Corps. Continue reading