APRIL 28, 1997

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Guest Column

Don't be misled

scam artists by Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District
In recent weeks, there have been several instances where local businesses have been approached to assist in collecting donations for families affected by fire. While this is a noble and caring action, unfortunately it is also sometimes used as another way to con or mislead.
   Please do not misunderstand. We in the fire service believe it is admirable that a community would pull together to assist a stricken family. We encourage, and even assist, in these legitimate efforts. We also assist the affected family in obtaining aid from the many organizations established specifically for that purpose. The American Red Cross will provide food, shelter, clothing, and disaster assistance. This happens even if the disaster is only a single residence fire or flood. There are numerous church and civic organizations that will assist with food, clothing or financial aid.
   Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District has many avenues of assistance that we may call on to help after a fire or other misfortune that may strike a member of our community. We do ask and recommend that if you, as a business or community organization, are approached--ask questions. It should not be considered improper or insensitive to ask for the details of an event. Anyone who is legitimately asking for help should not be offended by these questions. We encourage you to ask the individuals where, when, and what their disaster was. Ask them which local agency, fire, police, etc. was involved so that you may determine the details. And most of all, please do not hesitate to call us if there is a question or if you just want to verify the situation.
   We all want to help. Woodinville is known as a caring and compassionate community. Let's not allow ourselves to be misled or taken advantage of in the name of caring.