Responding to Colorado Wildfires
As a result of the ongoing fires raging through Colorado, we have activated our emergency response efforts by reaching out to 13 partners that are community-based nonprofit health clinic partners near the areas affected by the High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires. The fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 30,000 people to evacuate in the last week.
We received urgent requests for essential medicines and supplies from the Sunrise Monfort Family Clinic in Evans, Colo., which is caring for families who were forced to evacuate their homes. An emergency response shipment valued at more than $25,000 was shipped directly to the clinic. The emergency pack will contain first aid kits, over-the-counter products, personal hygiene items, eye drops and other medical supplies.
“Anything would be appreciated,” said Shannon Rea of the Sunrise Monfort Family Clinic. “We were watching several houses go up in flames last night and this morning. It has been devastating to our state.”
An offer of support was extended to the Colorado Community Health Network –which supports 15 health centers providing care to 500,000 community members – to assist with the coordination of medical supplies at their network of facilities.
We have also been in communication with Denver Indian Health and Family Services, Inc., who reported that patients are coming in to the clinic each day with eye irritation and allergies they believe are related to the smoke.
Wildfires pose serious health risks beyond the flames themselves. Wildfire smoke containing particulate matter can hurt the eyes, irritate the respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung conditions, especially in children.
Any rapid, mass evacuation raises general health risks for evacuees, particularly those who require medications to manage chronic conditions, like asthma and diabetes. These treatments are often forgotten when people rush to flee their homes in an emergency.
“All emergencies are local events, and the nonprofit primary care clinics are typically among the critical social-service agencies that get stretched in emergencies as their already strained supply and workforce works to care for evacuees,” said our CEO, Thomas Tighe. “We want to ensure they have rapid access to the emergency supplies they and their patients require.”
FedEx, which provides extensive logistics and transportation support to Direct Relief’s ongoing and emergency efforts, has offered free transportation for all medical resources to the clinics. Additionally, more than 30 pharmaceutical and health care companies have contributed medicines and medical supplies to be furnished free of charge at facilities that request them.
To donate to emergency preparedness and response efforts, click here.
Thank you to the following companies that have contributed products in this shipment:
- APT Pharmaceuticals
- Boehringer Ingelheim Cares
- C.R. Bard Medical Division
- Drip Drop
- FirstLine Gloves
- Honeywell Products
- Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies
- Meda Pharmaceuticals
- Medvantx Incorporated
- Merck & Co., Inc.
- Nephron Pharmaceuticals
- Omron Healthcare, Inc.
- Pfizer, Inc.
- Prestige Brands
- Purdue Pharma, L.P.
- Roche Diagnostics
- Sanofi US
- Tea Tree Therapy, Inc.