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QC Red Cross volunteers assist in wildfire relief efforts

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:31 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Illinois (KWQC) - As wildfires continue to ravage the west coast, volunteers from the Quad Cities are on their way to help. TV6 spoke with the Red Cross about how they’re assisting and how one of TV6′s own is dealing with the smoke in California.

Multiple wildfires have continued to burn through the west coast and they’ve created hazardous air conditions.

“I’ve been seeing just a thick haze of smoke covering the sky,” said Angela Rose, TV6′s Digital Producer.

Angela, who’s been working remotely from Southern California for months, said her typical forecast has been sunny with smoke. The current condition was unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups.

“Well since the air quality is for sensitive groups, I consider myself a little bit in that category so I decide to stay safe about it and just stay inside,” she said.

For Angela, going outside is a way to decompress. Now, those walks with her pug New Gunni don’t last as long.

“That’s been kind of hard especially with COVID-19 because going outside was my stress reliever and now I feel like I’m being stuck inside when I just want to get out the house,” she said.

In Moline, local American Red Cross volunteers also stepped in. Two emergency response vehicles deployed over the weekend and are heading out west to aid in any way they can.

“We actually deployed two teams yesterday, driving our emergency response vehicles. Those are vehicles that will go out and help with feeding in the neighborhoods, driving through neighborhoods, checking on people that kind of thing,” Trish Burnett said the Executive Director of the Quad Cities and West Central Illinois Red Cross. “We also have shelters. We’re partnering with other organizations and also staffing on our own to make sure people have a place to evacuate to and to stay because there’s such widespread evacuations right now.”

Burnett said they’re doing a wide variety of things including mental health work

So far, they’ve had 53 volunteers from the organization’s Illinois region, which includes part of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, four of which are from the Quad Cities. Burnett said they’re helping around the country and here at home.

“We also have things right here. We had five home fires this week in our chapter so, you know, we’re taking care of our own but we’re also helping across the country,” she said.

Now, they’re looking for volunteers.

“In about 10 different states we have 30,000 people in hotel rooms that we’re delivering food to, we’re helping provide mental health services, so there’s all kinds of things. No matter your interest or skill set we’ve got a job we can slot you into and train you out for,” she said. "We’re taking all the COVID precautions. We’re really doing our best to keep those who serve and those we serve safe in this environment.

If you’re interested in donating or volunteering click here.

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