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Director of Communications

(401) 831-7700 x101
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Monday, November 11, 2002
RED CROSS RESPONDS TO JOHNSTON FIRE -- "Teamwork" Key to Smooth Response

It was a holiday weekend and many Rhode Islanders were enjoying Sunday evening, knowing they would not have to report to work the next morning. However, when the call came in about a major fire at Pocasset Lodge Retirement Home in Johnston, over two dozen Red Cross volunteers, from all corners of the state, dropped what they were doing to help.

There were fourteen Red Cross volunteers on scene at Johnston High School, where the Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for the over 150 elderly residents evacuated from the assisted-living facility. An additional 15 were on stand-by, waiting for the call to bring in the Red Cross' supply of cots and blankets for an overnight shelter.

Red Cross volunteers set up a "check-in" station, taking the name of each resident and finding out if they had any injuries or immediate medical requirements, such as prescriptions or oxygen. Several runs were made to local pharmacies to acquire a replacement prescription for the night ahead.

Working with state officials, and Pocasset Home's administrators, Red Cross volunteers matched their sign-in lists with official rosters to ensure that every resident was accounted for.

Several local restaurants and stores stepped forward to provide food so the residents could snack while waiting.

"There was a tremendous amount of teamwork --- so many people came forward, offering their services to make sure these folks were taken care of," Nick Logothets, who is the Director of Emergency Services for the Red Cross, and oversaw the shelter, said. "Everyone worked together and in the end everyone had a place to go."

In the end, nearly 100 residents went home with family members and an additional 39 were placed in other local nursing homes.

Local Red Cross volunteers are on-call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to fires, weather emergencies and other disasters. They receive no compensation, use their own vehicles and pay for their own gas when responding to a call. Last year, the Rhode Island Red Cross responded to 176 incidents in Rhode Island, providing assistance to over 1,000 Rhode Islanders in need.

All Red Cross assistance is free. The Red Cross is NOT a government agency and relies on donations to fund its services. To become a volunteer or make a donation, visit today.

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