News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

  • Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
  • If publishing online, please link to the original URL of the story.
  • Maintain any tagline at the bottom of the story.
  • With Direct Relief's permission, news publications can make changes such as localizing the content for a particular area, using a different headline, or shortening story text. To confirm edits are acceptable, please check with Direct Relief by clicking this link.
  • If new content is added to the original story — for example, a comment from a local official — a note with language to the effect of the following must be included: "Additional reporting by [reporter and organization]."
  • If republished stories are shared on social media, Direct Relief appreciates being tagged in the posts:
    • Twitter (@DirectRelief)
    • Facebook (@DirectRelief)
    • Instagram (@DirectRelief)

Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
  • Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
  • Do not digitally alter images.

Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

  • Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
  • Republishers may not sell Direct Relief's content.
  • Direct Relief's work is prohibited from populating web pages designed to improve rankings on search engines or solely to gain revenue from network-based advertisements.
  • Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
  • If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.

For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

To Keep Vital Medical Reserves Safe During Wildfires and Other Disasters, Direct Relief Builds a Self-Contained Power Island



Direct Relief Headquarters Aerial View
Direct Relief's California headquarters features a Tesla micro-grid system with 999 solar panels that allows the organization to remain online through a prolonged power outage. (Photo by Donnie Hedden for Direct Relief)

Geographically isolated Santa Barbara is connected to the world by a thin thread. Nearly all its electricity comes via a single pair of power lines coming in through remote, wildfire-prone terrain. If that pair is cut by fire or earthquake or preventatively shut off during high winds—or if the power grid is crippled by a natural disaster—Santa Barbara could go dark.

Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief can never afford to lose power.

Its 155,000-square-foot pharmaceutical warehouse, the largest in the U.S. run by a charity, stores insulin and other drugs that need a constantly cold temperature, between 36- and 41-degrees Fahrenheit. Power is essential to maintaining that refrigeration. Such temperature-sensitive medications can spoil within hours if Direct Relief loses power. If temperatures rise even nominally, “cold chain” medicine can lose its efficacy and must be destroyed, according to law.

Worse, Direct Relief would be unable to respond to the very natural disaster that brought it offline. The group’s warehouse—2/3 the size of a Manhattan city block— is a crucial depository for emergency medicine and medical supplies needed after earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. During the raging wildfires of 2017, Direct Relief was California’s largest source of breathing masks that protected people from the choking smoke. The organization is also responding to the deadly Camp and Woolsey Fires burning across California.

To ensure Direct Relief never loses power, Direct Relief engaged Tesla to build a microgrid that keeps the organization running and its cold-chain medicine protected even if it loses grid power for many months. The microgrid system sustainably maximizes resiliency by combining three power sources: solar panels to provide the bulk of its electricity needs; battery storage to keep the power going when the sun isn’t shining; and Direct Relief’s diesel generators as a backup. The system is run by Tesla’s smart software that is able to seamlessly switch between power sources as conditions change and send excess solar power back into the grid for others to use.

Tesla designed the microgrid system after deploying similar systems in Puerto Rico, which experienced the longest-ever blackout in U.S. history after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Health facilities lost power for weeks or months, and more than 80 percent of the island’s vaccines and other medicines that require refrigeration were destroyed as a result of power loss, according to the CDC. Tesla and Direct Relief worked together on the island in the hurricane’s aftermath to identify key health facilities, restore power, and deliver aid to residents.

Recognizing that power is a prerequisite for health, Direct Relief and Tesla continue to equip dozens of local health facilities in Puerto Rico with reliable energy sources including solar power and battery storage. The solar and battery systems are integrated with existing generators and the grid, giving each health center a smart microgrid system that can pull power from the most efficient source and prevent going dark.

A solar power system is installed at Clínica Iella in San Juan, P.R., on July 5, 2018. The new solar system, funded by Direct Relief, will allow the clinic to sustain services during a power interruption. (Erika P. Rodriguez/Direct Relief)
A solar power system is installed at Clínica Iella in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 5, 2018. The new solar power system, funded by Direct Relief, will allow the clinic to sustain services during a power interruption.(Photo by Erika P. Rodriguez for Direct Relief)

Diesel generators work well for short-term power outages, but they’re unreliable and costly as a long-term solution. Some Puerto Rican clinics that had generators eventually lost power when generators broke down or fuel supplies ran out. Those that continued relying on generators during the months it took to restore electricity faced tens of thousands of dollars a month in fuel costs and unreliable results.

The organizations also deployed several mobile power units to areas of Florida and Georgia hit by the recent Hurricanes Michael and Florence.

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