The recent apartment fire in Vernon, Feb. 25 mobilized tremendous public support throughout the area.
Some 70 residents awoke in the early hours of that day to fire alarms, flashing lights, the smell of smoke and fire burning.
They had to leave with little more than what they were wearing, displaced from their homes and belongings. Quick action by Vernon Firefighters, Emergency Services volunteers and many others brought these folks out of harms way and provided for their needs for the first few days to allow them time to plan their next steps.
Vernon volunteers of the Canadian Red Cross answered the call by accepting the generous financial donations of Vernon and area public.
These funds, of over $20,000 in total, enabled the Red Cross to provide ongoing accommodations, food, clothing essentials, hygiene and other personal needs like eyeglasses and dentures. Bus passes and gas cards were provided for residents to assist them in selecting longer term housing. Residents themselves worked together to make sure that everyone could make the necessary transitions.
Trained Vernon Red Cross volunteers were involved from the outset.
They organized initial and follow-up interviews with each resident and provided direct assistance and referrals as needed, in consultation with Interior Health and Ministry of Social Development staff.
Now several weeks later and hundreds of (volunteer) hours later, residents are actively re-establishing themselves and their own capacities to live self-sufficiently.
The Canadian Red Cross congratulates the Vernon community, the public, the professionals, the volunteers and the donors for this wonderful, compassionate and effective response to the people impacted by this emergency.
Regional Operations Manager
Canadian Red Cross