By Eric Alves, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio
June 12, 2020- As many of us know, here in Northern Ohio we are prone to intense summer storms. This was the case on Wednesday night as the region was forced to withstand heavy rain and high wind speeds due to the extremely high temperatures we were experiencing.
For many in Northern Ohio, myself included, our power went out due to those harsh conditions outside. Whenever the power goes out, it can be scary and even stressful as we worry about things like the food in our refrigerator. However, now imagine how scary a power outage can be if you need that power to keep the medical equipment that you rely on running.
That was the case for some residents during the storm. Luckily, the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio was there to provide support and assistance.
“A power outage is very significant to the person experiencing it. Sometimes it can constitute what Red Cross considers a true humanitarian need, but only in certain circumstances. Our responders are trained to ask certain questions to determine if we can assist financially. These answers may lead us to having a member of disaster health services evaluate a resident,” said Renee Palagyi, senior program manager, disaster cycle services.
Renee added, “A resident who has medical equipment powered by electricity may or may not qualify depending on the severity of their condition and the frequency of equipment use. Some individuals are considered medically fragile and even despite not needing medical equipment, may not be able to withstand extremes in temperature. Ultimately, our disaster health services volunteers, with their extensive nursing backgrounds, are the best at determining who meets the criteria in these situations.”
Following the Wednesday night storm, the Red Cross provided storm assistance to 25 individuals, many of which were dependent on medical equipment, and provided over $4,000 in immediate financial assistance.
In addition, the Red Cross assisted 46 residents who suffered from a home fire and provided an additional $9,355 in financial assistance.
For the year to date, the Red Cross of Northern Ohio has assisted 3,139 adults, 1,677 children and have provided $933,715 in immediate financial assistance.
As the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross has the ability to use your donation to reach more people in need, more quickly. Your donation to the Red Cross helps provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.
To donate to assist the Red Cross in continuing to help residents in need throughout the region, please visit redcross.org/donate. Any amount donated truly helps.