Volunteering for Blood Services

The American Red Cross Blood Services relies on the Volunteergenerosity of volunteers, not only as blood and platelet donors, but also to help with various aspects of our humanitarian work.

Every day, the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region holds approximately 20 blood drives throughout 19 northern Ohio counties. The organization depends on volunteers to assist donors with registration, escort them after they have given blood and ensure they receive refreshments and feel well after their donation.

Every day, volunteers show blood donors how important they are. Volunteer Ruby Dailey has been with the American Red Cross for over 14 years and loves helping people and making donors feel special. In the Northern Ohio Region, volunteers are part of a process that is vital for the whole community. By assisting at local blood drives and helping donors have a good experience, volunteers help patients in 57 local hospitals receive the lifesaving treatment they need. Jean Barson, who has volunteered with the Red Cross for 12 years, loves being part of the organization and giving back to her community.

Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the total work force of the American Red Cross and the work of the organization could not continue without these dedicated individuals. That’s one of the main reasons George Figel has volunteered with the Red Cross for 29 years. He likes that it’s run by volunteers. And, he feels it’s a worthy endeavor because it helps people through a variety of services, like blood, disaster relief and military aid.

If you are interested in joining the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross as a Blood Services volunteer, visit redcrossblood.org/volunteer or call (216) 431-3172.

Everything You Need to Know in New All-in-One Red Cross Emergency App

The new, all-inclusive Emergency App from the American Red Cross provides people with instant access to emergency alerts, life-saving information, and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for smart phones and tablets.Emergency App

The Emergency App is a single ‘go-to’ source for everything from home fires to hurricanes. It includes content from a group of award-winning Red Cross apps with additional information about what to do in case of 14 different types of emergencies and disasters. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.

The app includes a new featured called “Family Safe” that allows the app user to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. The recipient can instantly see the alert details as well as specific “what to do now” steps, and then respond with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not safe.” This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency App. In addition to smartphones and tablets, this feature will be available on the new Apple Watch and can be downloaded from the Apple Watch App Store starting April 24.

Other important features include:

  • Emergency first aid information for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies as well as water safety information;
  • Preloaded content so users can access guidance from Red Cross experts even without mobile connectivity;
  • A single map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information;
  • A home fire section with detailed prevention and safety tips as well as Red Cross “After the Fire” information;
  • “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes; and
  • The ability to easily toggle between English and Spanish.

The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Red Cross apps have been downloaded more than 6 million times and nearly 400 million alerts have been sent since the launch of the first app in 2012. While apps can help prepare someone for disasters, it’s important to note that they are not substitutes for training. People can take Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses so they’ll know what to do in case help is delayed. They can get information and register at redcross.org/TakeAClass.

Volunteering with our Armed Forces and International Services

When many people think of the Red Cross, they may conjure up images of people in red vests at the scene of a national disaster, or the roadside sign announcing a blood drive. While both of these functions are true of the Red Cross, we also support America’s Military FamiliesIMG_4080

By providing unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces (SAF) continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army. Today, with the help of our dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross is meeting the needs of a changing military while expanding services to veterans.

Here in Northeast Ohio our dedicated cadre of volunteers serves as caseworkers to service members and their families in times of emergency, outreach educators, and in many more functions.

When asked why they want to volunteer with SAF, most of them, like Jamie Bricker, expressed a love for helping service personnel and their families.  Katlin Vorndran stated that she was impressed with how grateful clients are for the SAF program and with how the Red Cross is there to assist the families of service members with their most urgent needs.

Bruce Foster shared the story of an experience that happened shortly after the death of his own father. He was contacting SAF clients to complete our satisfaction survey and was caught off guard by a client’s compassion towards him.  Understanding the turmoil that was going on in his own life, the client pressed him to be truthful about his well-being and then proceeded to praise him for extending such compassion to those he didn’t know during a difficult personal time.

Many of our SAF volunteers serve dual roles between Services to the Armed Forces and our International Services. For Nicole Rolf, the overlap in working cases for both International clients and Armed Forces clients gives her the opportunity to gain a better understanding of new cultures and interacting with people from all walks of life.

Amylynn Smith appreciates how unique our internationally recognized organization is, and that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (to which the American Red Cross belongs) are respected throughout the world -even in areas of conflict.

When Alassane Fall moved to Cleveland from Senegal, he had a great respect for the missions of International Red Cross movement and sought out volunteer positions with the local Red Cross. He has a boundless desire to make a difference in this world, and wants to help those in need in his community.

If you are interested in learning more about the volunteer opportunities with our Services to Armed Forces or International Services, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

Volunteering as a Disaster Team Member

Team members on a Firewalk - passing out fire safety literature in susceptible areas - in Summit CountyOur Disaster Action Team (DAT) members are amazing people!

When a family experiences a home fire a two a.m., it is the DAT team that pull themselves from their own beds and respond, bringing a little light into a dark situation. If a building complex catches fire on Thanksgiving Day and requires multiple fire departments to respond and control, DAT team members leave their own families and turkey dinners to serve hot coffee, cold water and other snacks to the fire personnel.

Walter Reddick, DAT volunteer with the Greater Cleveland Chapter, feels that giving people a direction after a disaster has given him a purpose. When asked what made him want to volunteer with the American Red Cross he said he had a stranger show him love and wanted to do the same thing, to better himself and to help create something new in the lives of those with whom he interacts.

For some, volunteering with the Red Cross has been a family affair. Jack Beck, a volunteer with the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter, became a volunteer after his father and uncle volunteered with the organization. Once, he responded to a familiar address. When his aunt experienced a home fire, Jack found it was gratifying to be able to provide support as the Red Cross to her.

Many of our volunteers work with families across the United States. When a disaster strikes, they are called up on to report to the scene, even if it is hundreds of miles away. Gene McCray, DAT Team Leader and Logistics Lead for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter, has been on 10 disaster relief operations including places as far away as Tampa and South Dakota.

Gene even met the love of his life, Cheryl, through the Red Cross!

It’s not just the two a.m. calls that keep our volunteers busy, many also volunteer in other Red Cross services areas, such as our Service to Armed Forces programs and Disaster Education Preparedness programs. Take for example, Alice Martinez, a volunteer with the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter, who volunteers with as DAT member, a Pillowcase Project presenter, a general Community Disaster Education Presentations/Events worker, as part of the Shelter Survey project and provides occasional support to disaster casework and volunteer candidate inquires. Or Mark Morrow, from the Lake to River Chapter, who- in addition to his DAT team responsibilities, volunteers as Office Support at the Jefferson Office location, and recently became an instructor for our health and preparedness classes!

If you are interested in volunteering as a DAT member – or in any of the other positions available with the Red Cross – visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328

Celebrate March is Red Cross Month by Rolling Up Your Sleeves

March is Red Cross Month, and the Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors to give now to help restock its shelves following recent winter weather.

Winter storms in March forced the cancellation of more than 200 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in nearly 7,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. This shortfall follows more than 26,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations in February due to severe weather across 27 states. Regardless of the weather, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood – from cancer patients to accident victims to premature babies with complications.

March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by former President Franklin Roosevelt. Since then, every president has called on people across America to support the organization’s humanitarian mission in March.

You can help support the Red Cross and ensure blood and platelets are available for patients in need by scheduling an appointment to donate now. To find a donation opportunity near you, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also help support the Red Cross by asking others to donate or creating a SleevesUp virtual blood drive.

Spring Preparedness: 6 Tips to Prepare for Blackouts

It’s not pleasant to think about – but blackout season is ahead of us! Why not get prepared today for a potential spring blackout?

Follow these 6 tips and get your home blackout-ready!

1. Follow energy conservation measures to reduce electricity usage, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.

 

2. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Leave about an inch of space inside each one to account for expansion. Chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.

 

3. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

 

4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

 

5. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help in lifting it.

 

6. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.