Hearing Aid

Date / Period
Object Type
Medical Equipment
Canadian Red Cross
Disaster Management

On a January night in 2014 a fire broke out in a senior’s residence in L’Isle-Verte, a small town in eastern Québec. The fire spread quickly through the Résidence du Havre while the elderly residents began to evacuate the building. The situation was desperate; there were few staff on hand overnight, and the mobility of many residents was limited. Firefighters and community members worked to rescue those trapped inside, but the intensity of the blaze made it impossible to reach some of them. One neighbour brought a ladder to the scene, hoping to save his mother from a third-floor balcony. Sadly, his ladder could not reach the third floor where his mother was and she became one of the 32 people killed that night.

The victims were all elderly residents of the home. Fifteen other people were treated for injuries, smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation, and two firefighters were injured that night as well. The fire entirely consumed one wing of the building, and the following morning the remainder of the building and nearby area was encased in ice. The ice and frigid temperatures made investigating the scene difficult, but the crisis had shifted from the fire to its aftermath. 

The Red Cross played a leadership role in meeting the post-disaster needs of the people of L’Isle-Verte. It helped in efforts to find lodging for homeless residents and care for those with health needs – providing hearing aids, dental prostheses, eyeglasses and mobile health equipment. The Red Cross also helped provide food and clothing, information for family members, services for members of the community suffering from the experience, and money for people affected by the disaster, including cash cards for fuel. 

After this initial emergency phase, Red Cross personnel and volunteers concentrated on short-term recovery. Working with local individuals and organizations, as well as provincial authorities, the Red Cross drew on its expertise and the donations to the L’Isle-Verte Assistance Program  to provide assistance ranging from transitional housing to a school assistance program.  After several months, these forms of assistance continued as needed.

A year after the tragic fire, the Red Cross had distributed $325,000 in aid, and helped not only former residents, but their families, first responders, and employees of the Résidence du Havre. The organization had also participated in a community health project designed to help local people recover psychologically, and a school program of age-appropriate first aid education.

Hearing Aid

Firefighter Inspects Building
Justin Trudeau visited volunteers and toured Red Cross facilities.
Justin Trudeau visited volunteers and toured Red Cross facilities.

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