Central & South Texas Region headquartered in Austin, through six local Chapters serves nearly 7 million people in 83 counties

By: Roylene Roberts

American Red Cross (ARC) volunteers across the United States are dispatched to home fires in their community by the ARC Duty Officer utilizing OnStar.  The Duty Officer receives requests for assistance from local Emergency Management Officials or even by a client calling 1-800-REDCROSS themselves.  Occasionally, we may be contacted directly by a Fire Chief or Fire Marshall.

In each case, families and individuals are given financial resources for a place to stay, clothes, food and medicine, as needed.  If needed, health and mental health services are provided. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame. In addition, volunteers provide follow-up calls to assist individuals on a clear path to recovery.

Our compassionate Disaster Assistance Team (DAT) responders are volunteers or staff who are on-call to respond to emergencies day and night to meet the immediate needs of their neighbors.  Since early spring our DAT responses are primarily virtual in compliance with the COVID-19 DAT response protocols.  In person interviews are a last resort and when conducted social distancing guidelines are adhered.  This change in procedure is in consideration of the health of our clients and volunteers.

CSTAR experienced another month with an overall decrease in home fires as compared to the same month last year. 

CSTARDAT CallsClients Served
September 202051194
September 201981251

Overall, there was a 40% decrease in calls for service across the region, resulting in a 23% decrease in individuals impacted by home fires.

This might sound like success but every home fire is at the least disruptive and all too often devastating to the family.  This September, a Llano family of four suffered the loss of their home as the result of a home fire. Our volunteers responded virtually and provided financial assistance to assist the family’s recovery.

Breakdown of September service by Chapter service area:

Central Texas: serving Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Milam, Travis, Williamson counties

  • September 2020:  Twelve calls for service, 23 clients served.
  • September 2019: Thirty calls for service, 76 clients served.

Heart of Texas: serving Bell, Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Grimes, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Leon, Limestone, McLennan, Madison, Robertson, Washington counties

  • September 2020:  Fifteen calls for service, 45 clients served
  • September 2019: Eighteen calls for service, 58 clients served

Hill Country: serving Bandera, Blanco, Crockett, Edwards, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Llano, Mason, Maverick, Medina, Menard, Real, Sutton, Uvalde, Val Verde counties

  • September 2020:  Two calls for service, 7 clients served
  • September 2019: Eleven calls for service, 28 clients served

Permian Basin: serving Andrews, Borden, Brewster, Crane, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Sterling, Terrell, Upton, Ward, Winkler counties

  • September 2020:  Six calls for service, 16 clients served
  • September 2019:  Three calls for service, 8 clients served

Greater San Antonio:  serving Atascosa, Bexar, Comal, Dimmit, Frio, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, LaSalle, Webb, Wilson, Zapata, Zavala counties.

  • September 2020:  Twenty-seven calls for service, 103 clients served
  • September 2019:  Twenty-five calls for service, 81 clients served.

Trans Pecos: serving Culberson, El Paso and Hudspeth Counties.

The American Red Cross was not contacted by the Fire Chief or Fire Marshall in September 2020 to respond in this area.

All services provided by the American Red Cross are free.  Today, as throughout our long history, the American Red Cross (ARC) depends on generous contributions of time, blood, and money from the American public to support our lifesaving services and programs.

More information about American Red Cross service delivery in the Central and South Texas Region is available at https://www.redcross.org/local/texas/central-and-south-texas.html