Tuesday, August 25, 2015

You've Been Asking About How You Can Help... Here's What We Know...

UPDATED 08/27/2015
UPDATED 08/26/2015

The spreading impact of the fires in Washington has prompted many individual and organizations in Clark County to ask how they can help, We have been doing some checking to help answer your questions.  Here are some things that you can do:

PREVENTION-  Currently even those of us living here in SW Washington are under extreme fire conditions.  We can help in our own back yard by being vigilant to prevent fires in our area.  No open flames outdoors.  Don’t park idling engines on dry grass.  If you live in a rural area make sure you have a brush free zone around your home.

DONATIONS- We have been contacted several times by individuals and groups that want to help by sending sack lunches or toiletries for firefighters.  As a former firefighter, I can tell you, the fire crews that are currently engaged in firefighting efforts are being supported in every way.  They have food, shelter, communications.  In fact they are fed very well.  Because of the strenuous job they perform, firefighter rations must meet a certain calorie count, meet allergy components, and several more guidelines.  They also come prepared for "fire camp" and items are available just in case they forgot something.   So sending them toiletries, food, writing supplies…etc is not only unnecessary, it can be counterproductive.   Donations of food, clothing, toiletries..etc must be tracked, stored and then dispensed.

As of this time, we are told the same applies to donating items to those who have lost their homes. With the current focus of getting the fires under control, there simply are not enough personnel  to track and manage and store all the supplies that would easily flow in after one of these types of disasters.  These actions require time and trained donation management personnel, Those are the two things that are in most short supply.  The current focus is sheltering  and taking care of those who have lost their homes. The best way at this point, is to consider making a monetary donation to one of those organization assisting in disaster response.  At this time these are what we have found:  

  • American Red Cross national site where you can make donations directly for disaster relief or to your local Red Cross Chapter. 
UPDATE 08/26/2015
  • Columbia Basin Hospital is accepting donations of supplies, particularly items needed in the short term. Those include non-perishable food, disposable plates and utensils, bottled water, gas cards, coolers, hygiene products, first aid products and pet food. No clothes are being accepted, said Alayna Lodi, the hospital's spokesperson. The hospital is working with the Wenatchee chapter of the Red Cross, and more information on what is and isn't being accepted is available by contacting the Red Cross, 509-663-3907. Here is their Flyer 
  • The Community Foundation of North Cnetral Washington is accepting monetary donations. They can be made at, cfncw.org or by calling 509-663-7166
 ** We are certain this isn't a full list but we will do our best to add them as we find out about them. 

You can also check the Registered Washington Charities Search   to verify if a charity you have found is registered at the state.  

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS HAD THEIR HOME DAMAGED-  the State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions has resources to help in both English and Spanish including information on mortgages called: Handling Finances after a Natural Disaster. 

UPDATE:  08/27/2015:

VOLUNTEER- The call has went out, so far over 4000 people have volunteered their services to help fight fires across Washington.   If you have questions about how to volunteer, or what requirements the Department of Natural Resources is looking for, here is the basic rundown:

Washington State Department of Natural Resources says they are mainly looking for people who have wildland firefighting qualifications, including an Incident Qualification Card (Red Card or Blue Card) or those with a letter of certification form a local firefighting agency saying you have performed and completed physical fitness tests, and met the experiences and training standards for serving on wildfire incidences.

DNR has set up temporary community resource coordination centers for those wishing to commit time or equipment to fighting the current wildfires.  You can also inquire online by completing the Online Intake Form.  

DNR Volunteer Intake centers will close Thursday August 27th at 6pm after successfully processing thousands of inquiries

Centers are being established in three strategic locations:
Omak:  Jay Guthrie
Omak City Hall
2 Ash St. N
Email: CRC.Omak@gmail.com
Colville:  Julie Sacket
Washington State Department of Transportation
Second Floor
440 N Hwy 395
Email: CRC.Colville@gmail.com
Castle Rock: Kellie Williams
DNR Pacific Cascade Region Office
601 Bond Rd.
Email: CRC.CastleRock@gmail.com

1 comment:

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