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Direct Relief and Red Cross help storm victims up and down the coast

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Direct Relief has sent out dozens of these emergency medical response backpacks to local agencies following the series of storms that hit the Central and South Coasts.

“These backpacks really help teams who are on the ground mobile and they're able to go into neighborhoods, visit people's homes if necessary, and provide first aid care, wound care. Really, it's just a way to better prepare our first responders for helping in the communities that have been impacted,” said Direct Relief Spokesperson Brea Burkholz.

Crews are making sure Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and surrounding counties have any needed resources that were lost in the storm.

Direct Relief’s top concern is displaced people fighting chronic diseases that may not have access to regular medical needs.

“A lot of chronic disease exists and so people can manage it well, but if they're displaced, it can really go south fast. I think if you don't have an inhaler and you have asthma, that's a crisis. When you have trouble breathing. If you rely on heart medication and chest pains, that will put you in the hospital,” said Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe.

The Red Cross also provided relief to a handful of people stranded by the weekend storms.

“We took care of the ones, people and pets that came by the Wake Center. We took care of them by feeding, giving them shelter, compassion, someone to talk to, medical care, mental health. And they went on their way when the storm ended,” said Red Cross volunteer Susie Mosby.

The Red Cross is currently seeking more volunteers to help with future natural disasters.

They are hosting an open house Thursday at 4 pm at their State Street location.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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