It was the middle of the night when Carol Crawford, 59, felt someone shaking her as she slept. When she turned to look – no one was there.
She went back to sleep. Then, it happened again – but this time, the shaking was harder. Again, she turned to look – and no one was next to her.
Stirred, she decided to go check on her son, Reggie Crawford, 32. Reggie works late into the night stocking a freezer at Wawa. He usually returns home in the early morning hours.
When she opened his bedroom door, it was a terrifying sight: a fire was completely surrounding him in his bed.
Carol quickly woke her son and got him out of the home, telling him to leave everything behind.
As scary as the situation was, it was one Carol had prepared for. She was trained by the Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania on how to respond to emergencies. As a teacher, she had even taught students what to do if a fire broke out. For her, it was second nature.
“I froze sometimes,” Carol said, recalling moments when the adrenaline rush almost paralyzed her. “But I had to be strong for my son.”
The fire department quickly arrived and contained the blaze, which was limited to Reggie’s bedroom. Unfortunately, though, they had to check to see if there was fire elsewhere in the home – which resulted in damage.
The Red Cross was called to help. Within ten minutes, a volunteer arrived. “We were frightened. We were scared. They gave us courage, hope, peace,” Carol said.
Since Carol had been trained by the Red Cross, she knew about the Red Cross House, and the services it made available to people affected by fires. The Red Cross House quickly responded when she reached out.
For Carol and her son, it made a devastating life event a little easier to cope with.
“When I got here, it felt like home,” she said. “The People here are very generous. There are no words to describe.”
Now, Carol and Reggie are working to clean and restore their damaged home. Carol credits her disaster preparedness with saving her and her son’s life.
“Training. What to do in a disaster. Practice it. Even plan it.”
Interviewed and written by Chris Peralta