American Red Cross assisting 19 families displaced by fires in Newark

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"In Eastern South Dakota, 80 percent of the disasters to which we respond are home fires", explained Ross.

A member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team met with a family affected by a fire on Vanderpool Street in Newark this morning.

She also noted that free training is provided for volunteers. Together, they hope to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires.

The American Red Cross released documents Friday night, January 5th, providing details many were asking for, after being accused of not providing financial assistance to a fire victim. Then, we also have volunteers that will help follow-up with those that have been effected by a disaster, they might do just a follow-up call on that case work.

Red Cross volunteers remain available to the families for support, counseling and referrals to local agencies that may provide long-term assistance during their recovery.

"We are not expected to jeopardize ourselves if it is not safe", Allemang said.

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Assessing situations can vary greatly depending on the event, but some of the basics covered included what happened and where, if a client is unable to return to their home due to unlivable circumstances from disasters, and what the client will need in the coming days in terms of essentials. Blankets and comfort kits containing personal care items were also provided.

The Red Cross was involved in a controversy last week over a policy, which has since been rescinded, that would have required people in certain ZIP codes to go to a Red Cross office or a police department to get emergency aid after house fires.

However, Smith along with Salkowski said what they need the most help with, is the disaster relief program.

Volunteer opportunities are endless with the Red Cross, and training seminars are held every month throughout South Dakota. He said the exact cause of the fire is unknown, however, and remains under investigation.

According to the Red Cross, the campaign launched in October 2014, and has already saved many lives and installed hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in almost 10,000 cities and towns.

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