Sunday, June 16, 2013

Red Cross Health Services Answers the Call to Black Forest Fire Response

Story and photo by Catherine Barde

The Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross, in partnership with the Medical Reserve Corp of El Paso County, have been providing On-Call, Physician care at the three Red Cross shelters opened in the Colorado Springs area in response to the Black Forest Wildfire. Almost 40,000 individuals were evacuated from their homes and many had medical or special needs and during this time, over 250 individuals received medical services at one of the shelters.

Bill Grieson, 36-year resident of Monument, CO,
and Red Cross therapy dog, Lacey
This week they have monitored clients with diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and breathing difficulties exacerbated by the smoke and assisted with Red Cross Health Services Team with the specialize care which Bill Grieson requires. He has been staying at the Palmer Ridge High School in Monument Colorado since Wednesday, June 12, 2013 in a comfortable, private area with a medical cot and the assistance he receives to manage his daily living. "Red Cross volunteers have treated me with such dignity during this difficult time. It makes leaving my home of 36 years just a little easier," said Bill.

The Medical Reserve Corp volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses and pharmacists who donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year.  Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County has co-partnered with the Red Cross in many shelters including those during Waldo Canyon Wildfire.

"We are incredibly pleased with this partnership and this is the perfect example of how well we work together to provide for the special and medical needs of those evacuated," said Frankie Gales, LPN and Coordinator for El Paso County.

The Red Cross relies on a trained workforce of volunteers to provide emergency assistance. “Our hearts are warmed by the huge outpouring of people who want to help others by giving their time through the Red Cross.” said Lori Geres, Regional Volunteer Services Director for the Red Cross in Colorado.  To become a Red Cross trained volunteer, visit

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