Red Cross talks local impact

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, March 28, 2019

On Tuesday, a local representative of the American Red Cross of Central Midwest Georgia updated the LaGrange City Council on its programs and their impact.

March is Red Cross Awareness Month, and while the program was still fresh on local minds following its Heroes Breakfast last week, leaders updated the city on what the local chapter has been doing to “eliminate human suffering” in the LaGrange and Troup County area. Fire prevention was a major focus of the update, since home fires are the single most common disaster to impact local families, and the Red Cross’ local program has been proven to save lives locally.

“In October of 2017, our local American Red Cross chapter partnered with the City of LaGrange Fire Department and the Troup County Fire Department for a home fire campaign day to install fire alarms,” said Trae Long, a member of the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Central Midwest Georgia. “One of the locations where these were installed was at the home of Nakia and Luther Bell. At 3:22 a.m. on March 27, 2018, the beeping of these alarms awoke Nakia, who when she opened her door saw smoke.”

The Bells were able to evacuate the home, and all seven family members were able to safely evacuate the home before it was engulfed in flames from an electrical fire.

Long said that locally 2,574 smoke alarms were installed by the program, primarily in homes of people considered at risk, during the Red Cross’ most recent fiscal year. That installation accounted for 1,248 households. Additionally, Long said the local chapter responded to 458 disasters, assisted 2,052 individuals or 667 families and reached 536 youth through its pillowcase preparedness project, during the group’s last fiscal year, and the group plans to have strong results for the current fiscal year as well.

“So far, in fiscal year 2019, we’ve opened 21 cases and served 74 clients in Troup County alone,” Long said. “The majority of those were due to home fires.”

The City of LaGrange provided $12,600 in funding for the local branch of the American Red Cross in its fiscal year 2018-2019 budget.

The LaGrange City Council will meet again on April 9 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.