As the Gap Fire burns just miles away from its Santa Barbara headquarters, Direct Relief International today committed $50,000 to help local agencies handle relief efforts and assist at-risk populations. Staff has mobilized to deliver medical supplies among the community.
CEO Thomas Tighe has reached out to the City of Goleta and emergency responders to offer Direct Relief’s resources, including protective N95 masks. On July 4, Direct Relief staff will man two sites in Goleta (to be announced) from 10 am to 3 pm to distribute masks to the public.
Smoke from the fire is the primary health concern. Direct Relief has distributed the N95 protective masks from its inventory to its partners Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and Casa Esperanza, as well as firefighters and sheriffs working to battle the blaze and protect residents. Direct Relief staff is in frequent contact with Santa Barbara County Emergency Services officials to help identify needs as the fire swelled to 2,500 acres and a local state of emergency was declared.
Direct Relief is working to secure donations of more masks and other medical supplies for treating smoke-related health issues, including eyewash and inhalers for asthma sufferers. Direct Relief has also offered to help transport evacuees to the Red Cross shelter at San Marcos High School, should local agencies need assistance.
As evacuation warnings expanded across Cathedral Oaks Road at Glen Annie Road, residents should register for Reverse 911 evacuation calls at the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department website. For frequent fire updates, visit theInciWeb and for updates on evacuation orders, closures, and other news, see the County of Santa Barbara.
Those wishing to support Direct Relief’s Gap Fire response may direct contributions to the Southern California Fires fund established in 2007.