The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

February 23, 2014

When fire departments need help

OTTUMWA--- The garage wasn't flooded, the tornado sirens weren't screaming and the place was not on fire. Yet there was the Red Cross.

"We wanted to let the public know that the Red Cross works with the Ottumwa Fire Department, and not just at fires," said Julie Smithart, an Americorps member who volunteers at the local Southern Prairie Chapter of the American Red Cross. "If there were a blizzard or massive power outage, they can help us rescue people who have no power and no transportation."

The fire department could get a family to the nearest disaster shelter, which in many cases will be operated by staff and volunteers from the Red Cross. The Red Cross focuses on getting the basics to people.

The Southern Prairie Chapter's open house Saturday was held in the truck-sized garage at the central fire station.

"The three things the Red Cross helps with immediately during a disaster are shelter, food and clothing," Smithart said.

Even when it comes to an individual disaster, like a fire, Red Cross workers find a place for a family to stay and something to eat for a few days. The clothing is useful since victims nearly always have to leave everything in the burning home.

The Southern Prairie Chapter of the American Red Cross works in eight counties with fire departments whether there's flooding, a blizzard or a tornado. And, said a fire department commander, they're good for firefighter morale.

"They are very helpful," said Ottumwa Assistant Chief Bill Trout. "Not just at fires, but any disaster. They are there to help the people, but they do a lot for us, too."

It's vital, said Red Cross Americorps volunteer Janelle Schmid, to keep firefighters hydrated. Summer or winter, the inside of the fire resistant suits get awfully hot, she said. Add in the level of exertion rescuers need to use and they lose a lot of water to sweat.

"In temperature extremes," said Schmid, "we'll take cold water to them. For extended [duration] fires, we'll feed them."

"All we have to do is call them," said Trout, "and they're there."

News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0617 OTT Wapello Co Fair color photo -L -M Come one, come all to the Wapello County Fair

    ELDON — The Wapello County Fair is just around the corner, kicking off with entries being welcomed at Wapello Hall and the Iowa Agricultural Hall from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, entries for competition will be received from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siegel, Rubel face off in forum OTTUMWA — For Steve Siegel, a political campaign is nothing new. For Tom Rubel, being the candidate is a first. Now they want the same job. Siegel and Rubel are seeking the Democratic nomination for SD 41, the Iowa Senate district which includes Ottu

    May 29, 2014

  • 0530 OTT Oak tatters picture color Oak leaves left in tatters

    OTTUMWA — Trees throughout Iowa have been terrorized by the likes of Emerald Ash Borer and other dangers in the past months and now oak trees throughout Iowa are in a little bit of more trouble because of a disease called oak tatters. Thankfully, tho

    May 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Help fight hunger OTTUMWA — The groups began with a question: How to better help Wapello County residents who don't have enough decent food. Next week, they'll decide if they've found any answers. The food security project, Growing Wapello Together, had small groups m

    May 28, 2014

  • Attempted murder trial set for July KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County man accused of attempted murder could head to trial in a remarkably short time. Dimitrious Royal has a trial date of July 15. If that date is when the trial actually begins, it would take place just more than 11 weeks

    May 28, 2014

  • Agency aces assessment OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it. "The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's som

    May 27, 2014

  • County backs bike rides OTTUMWA — Bike rides in Wapello County just received a personal push of goodwill from Wapello County Board of Supervisors. Tuesday, supervisors signed a resolution of support for three area bike rides to be conducted in June. The rides include the H

    May 27, 2014

  • 0527 OTT EMS week color photo -L -M ORHC celebrates EMS Week OTTUMWA — During National EMS week, May 18-24, Ottumwa Regional Health Center (ORHC) celebrated its staff, the community EMS providers and the importance of being prepared in emergency situations through education. The ambulance service at ORHC, also

    May 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moving into the future OTTUMWA — Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning joked after the board approved upgrading the county’s servers Tuesday. “You can put away your quills.” Jokes asides, Wapello County will now have more opportunity to maximize its server resources. The

    May 20, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National