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Red Cross partners with local firefighters to raise funds for displaced families

'Fire Hurts…Red Cross Helps' campaign set $300,000 goal for 2013

Jennifer Ramieh and Scott Gorgon kick off the Fire Hurts…Red Cross Helps’ campaign Jan. 4 at the Henderson Fire Training Center. The campaign’s goal is to raise $300,000 for people affected by residence fires. photo by courtesy of Trosper Communications.
January 21, 2013
The American Red Cross is joining with the Professional Firefighters of Southern Nevada for the "Fire Hurts…Red Cross Helps" campaign, which kicked off earlier this month at Henderson's fire training center.

The campaign's goal is to raise $300,000 to fund emergency assistance to local families affected by residence fires.

The Henderson Press spoke with Jennifer Ramieh, chief development officer for the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada, and PFFN secretary/treasurer Scott Gorgon about the fund raising drive.

THP: This is the first year for the collaboration between your organizations?

Ramieh: Yes. The PFFN has been a supporter of Red Cross in the past but this is the first year of a fully formed partnership. It's a natural partnership. The fire fighters are on scene. The families go from their hands to ours. It just made sense to work together.

When people think of the Red Cross, they think of big disasters like Hurricane Sandy, but in reality we work on a day to day basis in the community.

THP: We average roughly one house fire a day in Southern Nevada?
Gorgon: Firefighters in the region respond to a multitude of calls each day, and usually one results in the Red Cross needed to come out, where somebody has lost a major portion of their home, sometimes everything they own.

Rameih: It averages to every 23 hours. Sometimes a single family home, sometimes an apartment fire with multi-units involved, which we've seen more of. We're helped about 1,500 people in Southern Nevada (in 2012) and provided more than $240,000 in assistance.

We want to be sure we have the resources to provide the emergency food, shelter and clothing that people need during a home fire. We provide that bridge for a few days people need so they can figure things out and get back on their feet.

We provide a pre-loaded debit card, based on the needs of the family. Say, for a family of four who has lost everything, on average they would get about $600 in assistance. We provide comfort kits to each member of the family, which is basically a personal hygiene kit. We also have teddy bears and Mickey Mouse dolls we give the kids.

THP: This is for local fire victims only?
Ramieh: Yes, all Southern Nevada.
THP: How important, on an emotional level, are these resources for fire victims?

Gorgon: When I go to the families and tell them they can't occupy their homes, but I've called the Red Cross, there's a lot of relief in their faces. They've just lost everything…I think it goes a long way for them to know someone is coming to help them with their needs.

Ramieh: That's one of the most important pieces we provide. Not just financial help. Comfort. They're not alone. Someone's going to help them. We have a great group of volunteers.

THP: How can people donate?
Ramieh: On-line, at or call 791-3311.

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