FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The American Red Cross is in desperate need of volunteers for its Disaster Action Team in Fresno County.
It’s an essential leg of the nonprofit’s operations, as the team will respond to emergencies and natural disasters to provide relief and options for people who have lost everything.
As of now, the Disaster Action Team has only four responders for the entirety of Fresno County.
The entire team is about 12 people, with dispatchers and case workers included.
They hope to double those numbers to not only make sure they can help everyone in need but to provide relief to their exhausted volunteers.
It’s a nonstop battle, a spokesperson for the Red Cross told us Tuesday their team has responded to 23 fires so far in 2023, just like on 4:30 Tuesday morning, near Clinton and West avenues.
The home was a total loss, with a hole through the roof, and charred walls and belongings on the inside.
“We woke up to the smoke detectors going off. And we heard glass breaking. And we jumped out of bed, we seen that the back part of the house was glowing… it was completely engulfed in flames,” said Joyce Brown, the homeowner for over 40 years.
Brown said they were offered monetary relief from the Red Cross but declined.
“They’ve offered help, but we’ve got a large family here. We’ll be able to stay with them and get everything built back up,” said Brown.
But not everybody is so lucky, DAT Responder Jose Martinez said they’ve already provided relief to roughly 40 displaced people in need so far this year.
He and the other three responders find themselves constantly running out the door and around the county at all hours of the day and night to help those in need.
“We’re an active chapter. And it can put a little bit of a strain on the people that are doing this. Myself and a number of others,” he said.
He said if helping people is your passion, like it is his, as a former military service member and fireman, the Red Cross will supply all the training and resources needed to become a welcomed addition to the team.
“With the training, we can get them into doing this. Helping the people of the community, helping themselves, and um… helping me,” Martinez said with a laugh.
If you want to sign up, you can visit redcross.org/volunteer.