The excerpted article was written by David Lea |

When a fire destroys someone’s home, some of the questions people typically ask include: did everyone get out safely and how did the fire start?

However, other important questions are: what happens in the aftermath and how long will it take for this person to put their life back together?

Julie Chiesa, a volunteer personal disaster assistant supervisor with the Canadian Red Cross in Halton, filled in some of these blanks.

They can be reached by dialling 311.

Chiesa said when the Red Cross responds, their first order of business is getting the family to a safe place.

That may involve getting them out of the winter cold and to a hotel, or somewhere else they can stay.

“We go in and we do a needs assessment. We meet with the beneficiaries and we discuss what their needs are at that moment,” said Chiesa.

“Sometimes that is lodgings and food and clothing. Sometimes it’s just food and clothing because they have somewhere to go for lodgings.”

She said the Red Cross will provide support for 72 hours.


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