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The Fear of Fire

Since this is the season when there a lot of fires sparked from lightning or carelessness due to dry conditions I would like to focus more on the resources available. In 1985 I had an apartment in a complex for elderly and disabled. During this time the government was reviewing each individual with a disability who received Social Security benefits with their goal being how to cut the number of recipients. For those who had no other options available, they went a little crazy over the loss of their only source of income.

One day, a neighbor in my building and her boyfriend, decided to put a chair on top of a table and set it on fire. The fire department was called out and put the fire out. That seemed to be the end of it until midnight when embers left from the fire erupted again this time in the roof. This time when the fire fighters came out to put the fire out a second time, it displaced everyone in the building. Because these apartments were constructed when there were fire walls and made of brick, most of the damage was from water, and depending on the way the wind was blowing from fire, as well.

After the second fire in the building, the wires were damaged, so electricity had to be turned of so everyone had to vacate. The American Red Cross came to our aid with vouchers for a hotel room for the night. For those who lost property, they got vouchers from the Red Cross for clothing, food, or any other necessities.

Since I was on the opposite side from the fire, I had no water damage to my apartment. I received a voucher from the American Red Cross for a hotel room for the night. The next day I came back and moved into another apartment.

In the past few years the American Red Cross has come under fire for the way they handle donations. Whenever there is a disaster the Red Cross is the first on the scene to help victims. They take funds from their accounts as needed and provide them to those in need. Because large amounts of donations come in when the news covers major fires like the oneís currently going in South Georgia by the Okeefenokee Swamp and in Northern Florida the public will make large donations for disaster relief.

In 2005 when the public was making large donations for disaster relief they were appalled because the funds were being placed in their general fund in stead of going to the victims of the Tsunami whom had lost everything. The American Red Cross is a two edged sword. On the one hand, they have to have funds available whenever a disaster hits immediately, they canít wait for donations, so they take the money from the funds they have available. They raise money and have blood drives all year round, to replace the funds used for previous disasters. Then, when large amounts of funds come in they have it available for future disasters. Unless you have been a victim and received services from the Red Cross, you donít realize just how much it cost the Red Cross to be the First Responders in a disaster.

During the holidays the Red Cross often has to have special Blood Drives to have the public come in and donate blood so their supply does not get dangerously low. If they did not set aside some of the funds that people donated during major disasters, they would not have the money available for the victims of fires which occur on a daily basis.
Even though the people who participate in the First Responders program are trained volunteers, it still takes monetary funds to purchase food and supplies for victims, as well as, the cost of transporting everything to a disaster site.

Builders today are not building homes with the quality of materials they did in the last century. Therefore, not only is one home, but two or three homes burn when sparks fly through the air and land on another building. What would happen when the American Red Cross did not have the funds to help you in you time of need? Where would you go for assistance to find a place to stay for the night? Is there anyone else who has received services from the Red Cross that can tell me what it meant to you?

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Davida Shensky is a business advisor specializing in In-House workshops and One-on-One personal coaching assisting clients to reach their maximum potential and LIVE WITHOUT LIMITS. You can access her newsletter CREATE YOUR OWN SUCCESS IN LIFE by visiting her website: http://www.personalmentorcareercoach.com .

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