Hurricane Florence Hits Coast – Red Cross Volunteers Respond

More than two dozen volunteers  from NEO deployed to disaster relief operation

The American Red Cross is helping people in multiple states as Hurricane Florence pummels the Carolinas with strong winds, heavy rain and dangerous tidal surges. Twice the size of Louisiana, Florence is inundating communities and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

 

Residents of Wilson, North Carolina take refuge in a Red Cross shelter.   
                                    Photo credit: Danial Cima/American Red Cross

As Hurricane Florence comes ashore, the Red Cross is providing safe shelter and comfort for evacuees across six states. More than 20,000 people sought refuge in more than 200 Red Cross and community shelters Thursday night to escape the storm’s wrath. View some of their stories here.

As of midnight, 14,000 people were in 124 shelters in North Carolina, and 5,600 people in 59 shelters in South Carolina. An additional 430 people stayed in 23 shelters in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland.

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Red Cross volunteers Linda Taylor, Bob Schneider, Teresa Greenlief and Cameron Fraser prepare to depart Akron in Emergency Response Vehicles.  Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

About 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country have been mobilized to help shelter, feed and support people affected by Florence, including 29 from Northeast OhioFour Emergency Response Vehicles based in Northeast Ohio departed from Cleveland, Akron and Canton today, staffed by two-person crews.  They have been assigned to meet in Macon, Georgia.

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Volunteers Susie Muetzel and Sue Wisdom prepare to depart Cleveland in an ERV.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Working with partners, the Red Cross has served 47,000 meals and snacks in North Carolina and South Carolina. To bolster relief efforts, the Red Cross is mobilizing nearly 100 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies, including 100,000 ready-to-eat meals and enough cots and blankets for more than 42,000 people.

See photos of local media coverage here.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Florence relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD More than 140 blood drives have been canceled through early next week due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 4,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Eligible donors in unaffected areas are urged to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets to help maintain the nation’s blood supply. There is a critical need to platelet and type O blood donations. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

 

Cleveland Clinic Nurses Unite to Make a Neighborhood Safer

40 homes in a Cleveland neighborhood are now safer, thanks to the efforts of two-dozen nurses from Cleveland Clinic.

“United as a team, we’re giving back to the community,” said Kelly Hancock, Cleveland Clinic Health System Executive Chief Nursing Officer.  Kelly also serves on the board of directors for the Greater Cleveland Red Cross Chapter, and is chair of the Volunteer Services Committee.

25 nurses and Chief Nursing Officers from each hospital across the Cleveland Clinic Health System  installed 113 smoke alarms, and helped residents near the main campus, in the Fairfax neighborhood, create fire escape plans.

That the activity was planned on 9/11 was no accident.

“It was a time when the country was in a dark place,” Kelly said. “What a wonderful way for us to recognize and remember, by giving back to those who we serve.”

Kelly recorded a message at the start of the activity, known as a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event.  You can see her message here.

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Cleveland Clinic Chief Nursing Officers Shannon Pengel, Barb ZInner and Mary Beth Thoburn with Fairfax resident Kasandra Edmonds

If you have a team of co-workers or colleagues who may be interested in helping make homes safer, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.  

 

Mark Cline to be Recognized as a “Sparkling” Volunteer

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Mark Cline

CLEVELAND – Decades of volunteer service will be honored next week when American Red Crosser Mark Cline receives the top individual award from Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

Cline will be in the spotlight when the David F. Leahy Volunteer Excellence Award is presented at Greater Cleveland Volunteers’ annual “Sparkle at the Zoo” benefit Sept. 21 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

“I volunteer with the Red Cross because it gives me the opportunity to use my 40+ years of emergency response training,” Mark says. “Helping people prepare for a disaster or helping people in need after a disaster makes me feel like I’m making a difference in their lives.”

Actually, Mark – now 61 – has been serving the people of northeast Ohio since he was old enough to join Boy Scouts. He worked his way up through the scouting program to the rank of Eagle Scout. He went on to become an Explorer Scout with the Wickliffe Fire Department, eventually becoming a part-time firefighter and EMT.

Helping those in need motivated Mark to join the Emergency Response Team at Cleveland Hopkins Airport while he was working for Continental Airlines. He also took on the role of Explorer post advisor, working with teens interested in aviation.

When back injuries ended Mark’s days on the tarmac, he went looking for other opportunities to serve. That’s when he discovered the Red Cross. Since joining the Greater Cleveland Chapter in March 2016, he’s been putting in 40 hours a week with disaster services.

Mark is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader, administrator-on-call and DAT induction trainer, a presenter for the Pillowcase disaster preparedness program, and volunteer partner of the chapter’s disaster program manager (DPM), Jeremy Bayer.

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“Mark is a tremendous asset to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland,” Jeremy says. “His personal sacrifice of time and energy has made countless numbers of people more comfortable in their time of need during disasters.  Mark is also an integral part in the administration as the DPM (Disaster Program Manager) volunteer partner of the Greater Cleveland Chapter.”

Mark was recently recognized as a Hometown Hero by Cleveland 19 News for his volunteer accomplishments

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people, who donate time, financial support and life-sustaining blood to help those in need. Volunteers are always welcome and you don’t have to commit 40 hours a week like Mark.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northeast/volunteer.html

Wayne County Fair goers are in Good Hands Thanks to Red Cross Volunteers

Five-Day Event Begins Saturday, September 8

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

Each year, dozens of nurses, medics and physicians donate their precious time (sometimes vacation hours!) to provide first aid services at the Red Cross First Aid Station at the Wayne County Fair. The fair runs September 8th – 13th,  and during the hours of operation, the first aid station is open and ready to care for anyone in need of unexpected medical care. The station, which is housed in a permanent, air-conditioned facility, will care for over 200 fair-goers dealing with injuries and illnesses ranging from blisters and bee stings to serious, complex medical conditions that tend to arise due to warm temperatures and extensive walking.

Lara Kiefer, the Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross, shared that the volunteers have provided the first aid services at the fair for at least the last 40 years. This year, the first aid operation will be coordinated by Mike Priest, a retired Wooster firefighter. He and his team will be on duty for a total of about 1,000 total hours, to ensure the health and well-being of those who attend the five-day event.

The volunteers meet well in advance to ensure they have ample coverage. Their station is stocked with supplies and the three medical bays are ready for those who get sick or injured. The team is ready with band-aids and gauze for minor cuts and scrapes, but also are truly ready for anything that comes their way. In fact, in 2016 a fair-goer had a life-threatening heart attack. The team gave CPR, used an AED and prepared the victim for transport by Wooster EMS.  Read more about their lifesaving action here.

Similar first-aid services are offered by the Red Cross at other events in Northeast Ohio, like the Pro Football Hall of Fame activities in Canton and the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County.  The need for volunteers to help provide such valuable services never ends.  Visit redcross.org/neo and click Volunteer at the top of the page to learn more about the volunteer opportunities available.

The need for blood donors is also constant.  Those who are able to donate are encouraged to visit the Red Cross bloodmobile at the Wayne County Fair Sunday and Monday, September 9 and 10, from noon to 7:00 pm.

And if you are one of the 100,000+ attendees of this year’s Wayne County Fair, please make sure to thank the volunteers who are working at the Red Cross first aid booth. You will make their vacation!

International Day of Charity Shines Spotlight on Global Needs and Worthwhile Causes

Philippines 2018By Ifat Gazia, American Red Cross volunteer

Since 2012, September 5 has been designated International Day of Charity. This day coincides with the date of Mother Teresa’s death. She was a humanitarian and philanthropist who was awarded a Noble Peace Prize in 1979 for her work in India to fight poverty, help orphans and fight other humanitarian crises across the nation.

Poverty is a global phenomenon. It has existed in the most powerful nations to the most underdeveloped countries of the world since the beginning of history. Therefore, eradicating poverty in all its forms is a worldwide challenge. The purpose of International Day of Charity is to raise awareness and provide a platform to organizations and philanthropists who perform charity-related activities on a national or international level. By spotlighting critical needs, this international observance also encourages people to donate to charitable causes that provide lifesaving support, housing, food, education, child protection and safety to millions of people around the globe.

Portland Manufacturing 2013Every year, the American Red Cross responds to about 64,000 disaster emergencies across the United States. This vital help is only possible due to the generous donations of individuals and the amazing efforts of Red Cross volunteers who give their time and talents. The blood donated by people through the Red Cross is truly lifesaving and sustains patients in need. It’s worthwhile to mention that the selfless work that volunteers do in such organizations is a noble form of charity. This not only offers great social bonding opportunities but also contributes to the creation of more inclusive communities.

The donations made to different philanthropic organizations can help conserve cultural and natural heritages, save wildlife and promote the rights of marginalized people. Charitable giving also simply spreads a message of humanity in areas of trouble and conflict.

To donate to the Red Cross in observance of International Day of Charity (or on any day of the year) or to volunteer your time to help its lifesaving mission, visit www.redcross.org.

Psychologist Deploys to California to Assist Wildfire Victims

His expertise with PTSD counselling helped residents cope with losses

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Disaster Mental Health volunteer Edgardo Padin

Edgardo Padin is a clinical psychologist who helps treat veterans in the Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System. This experience made him a valuable member of the volunteer team that responded to the wildfires in California this summer.

This was Ed’s first deployment as an American Red Cross disaster mental health worker. He wasn’t quite sure what his role would be, as he explained in an interview recorded shortly before he left for California.

Shortly after arriving, Ed found himself in a Red Cross shelter, counseling people who had just lost their homes and all of their belongings.

“I did a lot of talking to people,” he said. “I calmed them down and gave them some idea of what was happening by showing them how the fire was going on my iPad. Information was really important to them.”

Ed said that while he did provide a lot of mental health services, it wasn’t the only thing he did during his 10-day deployment.

“We had a Norovirus outbreak that we just had to work at and maintain so that it wouldn’t spread throughout the entire shelter,” he explained. “We collaborated with the University of Santa Cruz, which sent EMTs to help us. They worked 24-hour shifts just like we did.”

Emily Probst, the Regional Workforce Engagement Manager of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, said Ed’s skills made him a very valuable volunteer.

“We are so thankful that Ed offered his immense expertise to help people affected by this crisis,” she said. “I have no doubt his work in California made a difference in the lives of the people he touched.”

Volunteers are needed every day to respond to local disasters like home fires and to deploy to wildfires, hurricanes and other national disasters. Visit redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteers at the top of the page to volunteer to help people in need.

In an interview upon his return, Ed said his first deployment as a Red Cross volunteer was a gratifying experience. “In the end, I felt like I did something that was wonderful. I did something that was helpful. It was a great adventure, and I certainly would do it again.”

 

September is National Preparedness Month

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer and Disaster Action Team member

One of the most often heard phrases during and after a disaster is “If I had only thought to (insert any of the following suggestions), I wouldn’t be in this mess now.” This is known as the “could of – should of” syndrome. You knew you could have prepared. You knew you should have prepared. But you didn’t.

Well, this September is your chance to get it done. The American Red Cross offers some helpful tips. All you need to do is follow through.

As we consider all the natural disasters that could strike, there are some basics that will apply across the board to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.

  • Don’t wait until the day of a disaster to think about what to pack. Be prepared if you need to evacuate. Make a list of “must have” items right now and keep it somewhere handy.
    1. Have a family plan for a meeting place in case some family members are not home when you have to evacuate. In case someone comes looking for you, leave written instructions in the home as to where you went.first aid kit
    1. Pack enough for 72 hours at least. Pack the following items in an easy-to-carry container: a gallon of water per person, per day; non-perishable food; flashlight and hand-crank or battery-powered radio; extra batteries; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of important papers; extra cash; and any medical or baby supplies family members may need. Plan for your pets as well. Additional suggestions here. Even more suggestions here.
    1. Fill your car with gas. Never let it go below a half tank when threatening weather exists.
    1. Pay attention to officials and evacuate when suggested. Those who linger are the ones who find themselves in trouble.
  • The American Red Cross has multiple apps for iOS and Android with directions to mobile-apps-emergencylocal shelters, emergency first aid instructions and weather-related specifics. Download them to your phone now in case your wireless goes out later.
  • Simulate an emergency some weekend. Make sure your “Go Kit” fits in the car and spend a night away somewhere. Make a list of those things you wish you had included.
  • When you get home, make the changes and you’ll be ready in the event an emergency occurs.
  • Share your experience with other family and friends who don’t live with you.

Congratulations! You’ve just avoided the “could of – should of” syndrome and your family will be ready should an emergency strike.

Having worked in many emergency shelters, I know that those who were prepared are much better able to deal with the inconvenience of leaving their homes. Forgetting your wallet, your glasses or your medications just make the experience twice as stressful.

To learn more about how the Red Cross helps in emergencies, see these local and national articles. After you learn all that Red Cross does, hopefully you’ll want to make a donation.