Red Cross of Northern Nevada seeks donations and volunteers after recent house fires

Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 10:10 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - While the Red Cross is known for its work during large-scale disasters like wildfires, smaller ones are just as important.

Every two to three days, the Northern Nevada chapter responds to a home fire. Just recently, the nonprofit assisted five people in a fire on 9th Street in Sparks.

“We are called as one of the kind of second responders on the scene just to make sure that family is cared for within those immediate moments after a home fire,” said Mary Powell, executive director of the Northern NV. chapter. “ So that they (victims) know where they’re going to sleep that night, some clothes on their back.”

Aside of the material things, people can lose their sense of direction after experiencing a fire.

“We are walking into these scenes for people’s darkest hours and sometimes the most valuable thing we’re providing is just that comfort,” said Powell.

The Red Cross arrives to scenes in a van to get victims out of the elements, then give blankets, food and even stuffed animals.

This year they have assisted 338 people and responded to 99 home fires in our area.

“It’s often the best just to give them some money so they can figure out what’s the most important thing for them to survive the next couple of days and then, we do have long term recovery case work that we partner with so many other wonderful nonprofits,” said Powell.

The need for families vary, and while financial help is important, emotional support is crucial after losing your home and belongings in a matter of minutes. That’s why the nonprofit also offer disaster mental health workers and individuals who provide spiritual care.

However, everything the nonprofit does is through donations and people committing their time. Like many other nonprofits, they’re trying to bring volunteers back after COVID.

“We have multiple volunteers deployed out of our local community and into Florida and Puerto Rico and other areas in large scale disaster responses so, even if we had the same levels of volunteers prior to COVID, I think we’re in a place where our capacity needs to be built, and we’re actively trying to do that.”

Powell encourages families to have a safety plan in case of a fire or any other disaster.

To donate, go to:

For more information about volunteering, contact your local Red Cross Chapter, or Get Started Online Now!

Northern Nevada Chapter: email or call (775) 225-3392.

Any resident interested in fire prevention assistance can visit // or call the Northern Nevada chapter at 775-954-1185 to schedule an appointment for a free smoke alarm installation. During the 20-minute home visit, Red Cross volunteers will also share information on home fires, how to prevent them, what to do if a fire starts, and how to create an escape plan.