The Red Cross touches hundreds of lives in Anne Arundel County each day.

Disaster does not discriminate by age.

A fire ripped through a Pasadena, Maryland senior citizen group home, leaving residents as old as ninety-four, homeless. Marion Mathews, who owns the home, credits a recent Red Cross disaster preparedness training as the reason all of the residents and employees escaped the blaze unharmed.

“They just followed the procedure,” says Mathews. “Every senior complex needs to do this.”

Red Cross disaster action team volunteers arrived within a half an hour of the fire to provide the residents with temporary shelter, food and other necessities.

“They were right on the scene. We were grateful for the Red Cross,” Mathews says about the help they received. “It was a blessing. That’s all I can keep saying.”

She adds that during the disaster training some of the residents couldn’t understand why they needed to have three days of clothes packed and ready in case of an emergency.

“They know now,” Mathews says.

She knows about the need for disaster preparedness because Mathews is also an American Red Cross instructor. She has taught health and safety courses to older adults for nearly ten years.

“Everybody needs to know first-aid and how to evacuate,” says Mathews.

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