Red-CrossMore than 1,200 Red Cross volunteers in Iowa gave 41,000 hours of service to disaster victims this year. The regional communications officer for the Red Cross in Iowa, Kara Kelly, says floods and wildfires across the country have kept the relief agency busy.

“Certainly, nationally, it was busier than usual,” Kelly said. “Of course, here in Iowa, we’re always busy responding to mostly single-family home fires, but certainly across the country, we’ve seen a lot of disaster activity.”

At least 40 Iowans were deployed to lend aid nationwide in 2015. In Iowa, Kelly said volunteers responded to 632 house fires over the past 12 months.

“The large disasters certainly get a lot more attention, but our Red Cross volunteers are on call 24/7 and mostly respond to individual incidents like home fires,” Kelly said.

According to Kelly, Iowans gave more than 36,850 lifesaving blood donations in 2015. The American Red Cross opened its first branch in Iowa in 1916.

(Thanks Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio)