Donations Needed For Red Cross Hydration Supplies

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The drought and extreme North Texas heat have caused a water crisis for the local American Red Cross.

Now the agency is the one asking for assistance from the public to help replenish their water supply for firefighters and police.

In addition to helping families after disasters, the Red Cross is also there to make sure firefighters and police officers working outdoors have water and Gatorade to keep them hydrated. “If you are fighting a fire or directing traffic around a fire, in these temperatures, keeping those guys hydrated is one of our number one priorities,” explained American Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster.

Foster says public servants have specific needs in the heat. “What we’re asking folks to do is to help us with those financial donations so that we can buy the water in the size containers that fit on our relief trucks and we can buy in bulk and actually help your dollar go farther.”

Jason Evans, with Dallas Fire Rescue, says hydration is critical when battling a blaze in the heat. “We try to encourage our citizens to wear light-weight, light-colored, loose fit clothing of course,” Evans said of the normal heat stress reduction recommendations. “[But] as firefighters we don’t have that option whenever we’re out in the heat fighting fire.”

The triple-digit heat is dangerous for average citizens and even more so for those responding to a heat or fire emergency.

“Our firefighting gear weighs an extra 70 pounds – it’s well insulated. So as well as keeping heat from contacting us, it also keeps our body heat inside which increases the temperature of that gear 50, 60, even 100 degrees,” explained Evans.

In just a few weeks the Red Cross has gone through an entire summer’s worth of bottled water and Gatorade.

“Our warehouse is bare. We’re down to about one pallet of bottled water and not much more Gatorade,” Red Cross interim regional chief executive officer Leslie Palmer said in a press release. “That’s not going to last long so we’re in great need of financial donations to make sure the many firefighters working out in this heat stay hydrated.”

The hydration supplies are critical for rescuers who are out in, or expecting to be out in, the heat. “We try to encourage our firefighters to hydrate throughout the day, whether or not we’re responding to an incident or not, just in case we have to go to a multiple-alarm fire,” said Evans.

Compared to last year, this summer’s extreme heat and dry conditions have led to a 46-percent increase in disaster responses.

“When the elements are dry, like they are now, it just does not take contact with fire for an extended period of time for something to actually light up and pose more of a danger for our firefighters,” said Evans.

Red Cross officials say some $21,000 needs to be raised to purchase supplies to finish out the summer.

Anyone wanting to help the Red Cross restock their hydration supplies can click here to make a donation or call (214) 678-4800 to make a gift over the phone.

  • Joe

    For several weeks I contacted the Red Cross, the United Way and other agencies in my area offering a free window unit air conditioner and no one would call me back or come and get it so I gave up.

    • C Bauer

      Yep. That’s very typical of the disorganization and apathy most of the drones at these non-profits exhibit. I’ve also been through a similar situation, where I wanted to donate thousands of dollars in Ethan Allen furniture and a gently used King size mattress set, and after contacting a few charities, nobody would return my calls or emails, except for one. You know what they said? “It’s out of our pick up area. You’re in Fort Worth, and we’re in Dallas.” I then asked, “You DID hear me say that even the used value is over $15,000, right?” Still, nobody cared. I ended up selling it, paid off my debt and paid cash for a new 60″ LED TV, Blu-Ray player, Monster Cables, and an Onkyo receiver. F–k ’em.

      • josh

        it’s not that they don’t care. it’s that they don’t have the capacity to process such a donation. I know the Salvation Army would take it. The problem is that they can’t afford to send their trucks all over. Some communities can’t even afford to do pick up at all.

        These are not fortune 500 companies, they’re nonprofits opperating on a shoestring and trying to best serve their donors and clients as efficiently and finanically sound as possible.

        indeed that is a very generous donation and it’s unfortuante you couldn’t find a home for it. I know that the volunteer center of north texas runs a sort of a thrift store for other nonprofits to get stuff for their offices or clients. I know they would have loved that furniture and put it to good use. Also I’m sure their’s a women’s or kid’s shelter nearby that would have had someone come out in their own or rented pick up to get it.

        I’m sorry that didnt’ work out for you but I hope you try one of those resources in the future. calling 311 is always an option too since they give out referals to services then maybe they also know who needs stuff.

        As always the best and easiest way to help your favorite charity is to sell your stuff and donate the money. That way the organization can get exactly what they need saving time, money and other resources that can be put to use serving the community.

    • Josh

      it’s very hard to handle donations of this kind. It requires a lot of overhead and that’s esentially wasting donor dollors if the nonprofit’s mission is outside of handling used stuff. It’s not apathy it’s a matter of physically being able to process (ie sell) the stuff or find a charity that does need it.

      With that being said, nonprofits unlike most for profit companies share ideas, volunteers and other resources. In that vein, there are organtations that do handle what is called in-kind donations (Basically stuff). One of those is the Salvation Army. You can also try Good Will or Saint Vincent de Paul as well. Not only do they support their every day missions but in times of disaster they have an assigned duty to help in some capacity.

      That isn’t to say that no nonprofit takes in-kind donations, it’s just that they need to be things that they would have bought anyway. In the case of the Red Cross, that would be vehicles, pallets of water or generators.

      The simplest and best way to donate stuff to your prefered nonprofit is to sell the stuff and donate the money. Not only does that save them from using resources that would otherwise go to delivering services, it also allows them more buying power than you would ordinarily have (through discounts and buying agreements).

      With a window unit, i would try any smaller nonprofit. Especially womens and children’s shelters. If they can’t use it, I can almost be certain they know someone who can.

      I’m not sure what capacity they have for helping but the volunteer center of north texas might be able to help steer you to the right agency. If not, there’s always 311. They know just about everything.

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  • Beetus

    Are hydration supplies the same thing as Wilfred Brimley’s testin’ supplies?

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