RNRN Standby for Potential Deployment: California Wildfire Assistance
RNRN is closely monitoring needs in the wake of the devastating fires affecting the Paradise/Chico area in Northern California, and Ventura County in Southern California. Here is what we know so far:
Since it broke out as a small brush fire on the morning of Thursday, November 8th this fast moving fire in Northern California has now burned nearly 110 square miles (70,000 acres) and is at 5% containment. The town of Paradise is “pretty much destroyed” according to Cal Fire officials. Five fatalities have been confirmed, with more feared as officials slowly gain access to the affected areas. Confirmed injuries include two firefighters. At least 400 welfare checks have been requested by worried families searching for loved ones who have not been heard from since the firestorm roared through Paradise yesterday morning. Evacuating residents have told harrowing stories of getting stuck on gridlocked roads as the flames approached, sparking explosions and toppling utility poles.
“Our hearts go out to the communities impacted by these fires, and to our members from the California Nurses Association who live in these areas,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo. "RNRN nurses know from experience in disaster relief work that long past the time when news cameras disappear, disaster-stricken communities will still need care. We are monitoring the situation, and we will be there to help."
Due to deteriorating air quality, schools in areas as far away as Sonoma have been closed, and air advisories have been issued for Bay Area counties.
Woolsey Fire – Ventura County
Still uncontained and growing, last reports had this fire at 10,000 acres and evacuation warnings and orders in place affecting 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The fire is currently moving west into Malibu, and the situation with this fire is rapidly changing and the number of affected areas is expected to grow. Dozens of homes have been reported lost in Ventura County towns including Thousand Oaks, Bell Canyon and Oak Park. Thus far, no fatalities or injuries have been confirmed.
During last year’s devastating wildfires in the Napa and Santa Rosa region, CNA co-president Deborah Burger pointed out the impact of the climate crisis on these increasingly frequent and severe wildfires: "As nurses, we look to the effects of climate change and how that’s going to change the intensity of storms, the intensity of weather patterns and fires like this. We must of course provide immediate response to protect patients, and all area residents in the face of these disasters."
RNRN is preparing resources and standing by to assist with any needs as they are identified.
- If you have not already done so, you may join our list to be on active standby for potential deployment to CA fire shelters here.
- Donate to support the work of RN Response Network to help those in need when and where it is needed most.
Thank you for your support, and for being there for those in need.
A national network of direct-care RNs — powered by National Nurses United — that coordinates sending volunteer RNs to disaster stricken areas where and when they are needed most.
RNRN was organized in 2005 when Katrina and Rita — two of the most destructive hurricanes in history — dramatically exposed America’s flawed disaster relief system. RNRN volunteers went to the devastated Gulf Coast to help provide care for the hundreds of thousands of people abandoned and without food, water, shelter, medical aid, nursing care, or even a basic evacuation plan.
RNRN received an overwhelming response to the call for help after a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January, 2010. RNRN answered the call and deployed RNs aboard the USNS Comfort, and to a hospital in northern Haiti where volunteers worked side by side with local RNs.
RNRN also participated in Continuing Promise 2010 with the United States Navy, treating thousands of patients in eight different countries, including Haiti. RNRN supported the relief efforts in Japan after the March 11, 2011 devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
In 2012 and 2013, RNRN responded to Hurricane Sandy in the US, and sent several teams to provide assistance in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines. In 2015, RNRN returned to our partnership with the US Navy to participate with the Continuing Promise mission, working both on the USNS Comfort as well as in rural clinics, providing medical care to thousands in 11 different countries over the six month mission.
RNRN sprang to immediate action in the wake of the devastating hurricane season of 2017, providing teams of relief RNs to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In addition to our work to provide immediate aid and relief to victims of disasters, and to help those in need, RNRN provided first aid and health basic health services to the Navajo Nation Fair and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in 2016, as well as ongoing first aid and health screenings at event across the country.
RNRN deploys and provides support for volunteer nurses when disaster strikes. With RNRN, nurses can focus on providing patient care. RNRN takes care of everything else – including raising funds to cover airfare and lodging, and facilitating out of state licensure when required.
RNRN also conducts educational courses examining the RN’s unique ability to be the driving force in pressing for universal healthcare and disaster preparedness/response standards. We are proud to be the power of nurses helping nurses to respond when disaster strikes.To join our network of volunteers, visit our sign up form here.
National Nurse Magazine covers RNRN responses to Hurricane Harvey and Standing Rock #NoDAPL