EY Interns Help Make Dozens of Homes Safer

It was hot.  It was Friday the 13th.  But it didn’t stop more than 40 interns from Ernst and Young in Cleveland from making dozens of homes in the city safer, by installing smoke alarms and offering residents fire safety information.

They were helping the American Red Cross by taking part in a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event.

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EY intern Nigel Williams of Marquette University installs a smoke alarm.

“When I learned about Sound the Alarm, and how the Red Cross makes so many homes safer by installing smoke alarms, I knew it would be a worthwhile project for our interns,” said Nick McCauley, Senior Manager, Assurance at EY and  a member of the board of directors for the Greater Cleveland chapter of the Red Cross.  “They loved being able to make a difference in so many people’s lives.”

The interns study at schools near, like Kent State University, and far, like Marquette University in Milwaukee.  They are working this summer at the EY office in downtown Cleveland.  But on Friday, July 13, 2018, they left the office and entered 77 homes in an east side neighborhood,  installing a total of 185 smoke alarms.

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EY Interns Nadia Dansani of Kent State University and Katherine Butler of the University of Cincinnati in the home of Danita Beamon Battle of Cleveland.

If you have an interest in helping make homes safer in vulnerable communities, become a Red Cross volunteer.  If you need smoke alarms in your home, visit soundthealarm.org/neo. To view more photos from the EY Sound the Alarm event, visit our photo album here.

Keep Your Pet Safe in the Event of a Home Fire

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Red Cross Volunteer and Board Member

Recent natural disasters like last year’s hurricanes, ongoing wildfires and even the volcano eruptions in Hawaii have brought pet rescue national attention. In a search and rescue situation, human safety always comes first, and pets are often left behind. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking pictures in the news of pets stranded in a life-threatening situation, making many of us realize that if we have pets, we need to make a plan to keep our pets, as well as our people-safe.

Far more common than a natural disaster, is a home fire. In fact, home fires are the most common disasters the Red Cross responds to, and the most preventable. I remember when I was in grade school, we had “Fire Safety Week” and the Fire Marshal from a local fire department came in and talked to all of us about an escape plan for our homes. We were reminded to go home and talk to our parents and perform at-home fire drills, similar to the ones we did in school, and to find a meeting spot in the yard to make sure everyone got out. I don’t recall dogs, cats or any kind of pets being in the escape planning, but they should be!

Sunday July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, and the Red Cross has several suggestions to keep your family and pets safe in the event of a home fire. Most importantly, is prevention.

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Every year, pets are the cause of many preventable home fires. Curious pets can easily knock over lit candles, investigate what’s cooking on the stove, or even get into trouble if they get too close to a fire in the fireplace. Here are a few tips to keep pets safe around the house:

  • Ensure your pet is never left unattended around an open flame
  • Remove or protect stove knobs so they can’t accidentally jump up and turn on the stove
  • Invest in flame-less candles. Cats are known for batting at and knocking down lit candles
  • Secure especially active and young pets either in a crate or behind a gate in an easily accessible area

In the event of a fire, help firefighters find your pets easily.

  • Keep pets near an entrance while you are away from home
  • Invest in pet alert window clings to let firefighters know you have pets and how many
  • Keep collars on your pet so they can be leashed to escort out (cats and dog hide in fear and are sometimes difficult to capture)

Get more information  on how to keep your pet safe and learn more about pet first aid and sign up for a pet online first aid course here.

12 Safety Tips for Savvy International Travel

Summertime is vacation time. It is one of the most popular times for people in the United States to embark on international trips. If you are traveling to another country this summer, the Red Cross offers some tips to help make you a savvy traveler.

Whether you are driving across a border, setting sail for a tropical coastline, or jetting overseas, taking these 12 steps will help you stay safe. (If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to pack an emergency kit in the vehicle.)

A little advance preparation goes a long way. So add this checklist to your itinerary:Icon App

  1. Download the first aid app. The Red Cross first aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Whether you’re home or abroad, arming yourself with basic first aid skills can save a life. Be sure to download the app while you’re still in the United States, otherwise you’ll download the local Red Cross or Red Crescent’s mobile app (which will be in the local language).
  2. Make a plan. Just like at home, it’s important to establish a time and place to meet family members in case you get separated.
  3. Know what natural disasters are possible. It’s important to research whether your destination faces emergencies you’ve never experienced. The Red Cross offers basic tips about what to do during natural disasters like tsunamis, volcanoes, and hurricanes.
  4. Register your trip with the State Department. Enter your travel details with the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program online, which allows the State Department to better assist you in case of an emergency while you are abroad. You can also get information about safety conditions in the country you are planning to visit.
  5. Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while traveling.
  6. Check out the State Department’s ‘What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisisand have an evacuation plan that doesn’t rely on the U.S. government.
  7. Keep your destination country’s emergency numbers handy. You know to use 911 in the United States, but how will you reach the fire department, police, or an ambulance abroad? Find your destination country on this reference sheet from the State Department—and write down the emergency numbers before you take off.
  8. Know the six-month passport rule. Some countries deny travelers entry if their passport expires in less than six months. Renew your passport about nine months before the expiration date.
  9. Let your credit card company know what countries you will be visiting and when. This way, they won’t think your card is stolen and shut it off just when you need it the most.
  10. Pack your International Certificate of Vaccination. Also referred to as the “yellow card,” it lists your immunizations, allergies, and blood type. The “yellow card” is available from your physician or local health department.
  11. Bring medications, bug repellent. If you’re traveling somewhere with mosquito-borne illnesses—such as malaria, dengue, or Zika—be sure to spray repellent and/or cover your arms and legs with lightweight clothing at critical times of the day. Don’t forget your medications and it’s a good idea to bring other stuff like OTC pain reliever and something for an upset stomach.
  12. Check for emergency exits and evacuation routes. The Red Cross has helped many communities around the world install signs that indicate evacuation routes in case flooding or another natural disaster occurs. Be sure to identify evacuation routes at your destination and pay attention to the location of emergency exits.

Safe travels!

 

Emergency Blood Shortage: Red Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood Donors

An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to give now and help save lives.

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Photo Credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

 How to help

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Blood Donor Ken Krogulecki of Bay Village, Ohio

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

 

Who blood donations help

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products for patients like 9-month-old Krew Anderson. Krew is a happy, laid-back baby boy. His wide grin frames two tiny teeth. He likes to play with balloons and just experienced his first boat ride and fireworks show, but Krew has faced more challenges in the last four months than many people will experience in a lifetime.

In March, Krew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that causes bone marrow to produce a large number of abnormal blood cells. Since then, he has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and received 15 blood and platelet transfusions to date.

“The first time he got [a transfusion], I was just super nervous and didn’t know really what was happening,” said his mother, Stephanie Anderson. “Now, when he gets one, I’m like, ‘Yes, please, get him some blood to help him get more energy and back to normal.’”

Krew’s father, Richard Anderson, donated blood a couple of times a year prior to his son’s diagnosis, but after seeing Krew receive blood, he now plans to give as soon as he’s eligible again.

“For me, just knowing that if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. I want to make sure there’s enough blood out there for everyone, and that there’s no shortage,” he said.

Stephanie Aholt of Strongsville also knows the value of donated blood.  It saved the life of her newborn son, Benjamin.  See and hear Stephanie’s story here.

Missing Types sees encouraging increase in new donors – all donors needed now

Facing a decline of about 80,000 new Red Cross blood donors each year for the past several years, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign in June to encourage new donors, and those who have not given recently, to donate blood. While the campaign has already inspired thousands of new donors to give, the Red Cross is now calling on all eligible blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible to overcome the emergency blood shortage.

Through the Missing Types campaign, which runs throughout the summer, the letters A, B and O – letters used to identify blood types – disappeared from corporate logos, celebrity social media accounts and favorite websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays in ensuring blood is never missing from hospital shelves.

Keeping Pets Safe in the Heat

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross Board Member and Volunteer Leader

petfirst-appToday is the first official day of summer, although we’ve already had a number of days with temperatures into the 90’s.  Heat and humidity can be uncomfortable for us, but it is far more uncomfortable, even dangerous for our pets. Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe in hot weather.

Never, ever leave your pets in the car. It seems obvious, but we still see so many people who want to bring their dogs along for the ride. Many justify this by saying their dogs love car rides, and love to be with them. But running in to the store for “just 5-minutes” put your dog in jeopardy.

First, of all, what if you get distracted? What if there is a long line at the check-out? 5 minutes turns into 10 while the temperature in your car soars. On an 75-degree day, temps can reach over a 100 within 30 minutes, even with the car window cracked.   

If you see a pet in a hot car, take action. Take down the make, model and license of the car and go into the place of business to report it. Call the non-emergency number for the police to report the situation. And you can get involved by asking store managers at local restaurants, malls, and businesses to put up signs asking customers to not leave their pets in their cars.

The Humane Society has things you can do if you see a dog in a hot car.

Some dogs are more prone to have difficulty in hot weather than others. Dogs with short snouts, heavy fur, that are overweight, or breathing issues are are higher risk of heat stroke. If you notice heavy panting, fast pulse or any of these symptoms, take immediate action to cool down your pet. Dogs with white colored early are more susceptible to skin cancers, so keep your dog out of direct sunlight in the summer for long periods.

Hot asphalt is dangerous to pads. A dog’s feet pads are tender, and burn easily. The rule is, if it is too hot for your bare feet, do not walk your dog on it as it is too hot for their feet too. Walk your dog on the grass. Dogs sweat through their feet so their paws are an important temperature gauge and their pads must be protected.

Provide shade and water  Keep plenty of fresh cool water available for your dog inside and out. Carry a water bottle with you on walks and keep a portable collapsible pet bowl with you to keep your dog from dehydrating. If your pets spend lots of time outside provide a spot with plenty of shade. Tarps or tree shade are better than a dog house, as they provide air flow. Dog houses often make the heat worse. In excessive heat, many dogs love a small baby pool filled with water to cool off.  Add ice to water bowls.

Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App for more information on how to include Pets in emergency preparedness plans, in case of a natural disaster or other emergency situations. The app also features instructions for first aid emergencies. Find the app in your app store or you can text GETPET to 90999 for a link to download or go here redcross.org/apps. You can also take the Red Cross First Aid online course. Access the course here  redcross.org/catdogfirstaid and go through the content at your own pace.

  

 

Top Ten Tips for Fireworks Safety

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

Every Fourth of July there are invariably some headlines about those who lost fingers or limbs due to accidents involving firecrackers or fireworks.  It needn’t be that way if safety is as much a consideration as celebrating.

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Fireworks photo credit: Paul Wadowick/American Red Cross volunteer

In order to celebrate responsibly, consider these ten tips:

  1. Leave it to the professionals – go watch a city display instead of trying it at home. [Okay, there are 10 more since many of you just won’t take this advice.]
  2. Never give fireworks to small children or let them attempt to light them.
  3. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  4. Never place a firecracker in a container – flying shrapnel can result.
  5. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  6. Keep a supply of water and first aid kit close by as a precaution.
  7. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  8. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  9. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place – locked away from children and pets.
  10. Alcohol and fireworks are a recipe for disaster. Save the drinking for after the fireworks.
  11. Consider your pets – they really aren’t going to enjoy all the noise – some will be terrified – so find them a safe interior room or space in the basement where they won’t hear as much noise.

Regarding tip #10, if you’ve successfully enjoyed your own fireworks, consider yourself lucky.  Someone else certainly won’t be so lucky, and they may need blood in the emergency room.

Consider donating during the week of the Fourth.  Blood drives see a big decrease during the holiday week, but the need never decreases.  If you’ve been blessed enough to not need it, be the donor that someone else needs.

Check your Red Cross Blood Donor app or go to RedCrossBlood.org to locate a donation time and site convenient for you. You’ll receive a special edition Red Cross T-shirt as a special thank you (while supplies last.)

For more tips on safely enjoying your holiday weekend, see this article at RedCross.org.

 

State Award Named for Red Cross Volunteer

By EILENE E. GUY, American Red Cross volunteer

CANTON – The father of emergency medical technician (EMT) training got an early Father’s Day “card.”

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Jack Liberator, flanked by Brittany Paxos, left and Kim Kroh, right

On May 22, Jack B. Liberator of Canton received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of Ohio EMS Board for his pioneering contributions to the field of EMT training in Ohio and across the nation.

The American Red Cross has played a role in Jack’s career of service from the very beginning.

As a senior in high school, Jack joined the newly-formed Canton Township Fire Department and helped organize an emergency squad. He turned to the Red Cross for first aid training and quickly became an instructor for his own and nearby departments.

“I was going to Kent (State University) to become a teacher,” he said, “but I found I like going out on the squad; I liked patient care, so I switched over to become a nurse.”

As a newly-minted registered nurse in Columbus, Jack was struck by the primitive treatment of emergency victims, who often received transportation but little or no care, until they reached the hospital doors.  So in his “spare time,” he started teaching his own specialized classes in emergency medical care to fire departments in the Columbus area.

In 1958, the State Department of Education asked Jack to draft a comprehensive course in emergency victim care and rescue procedures. His student and instructor courses – the first statewide curriculum in the nation – became the foundation of modern EMT services and were widely copied.

Meanwhile, Jack pursued a career as a nursing and hospital administrator, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 26 years, raised a family of six children, and continued to give to his community as a paramedic, EMS instructor and volunteer firefighter.

“Jack is a great example of a lifetime of service – personally, professionally and as a volunteer,” said Kim Kroh, executive director of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the Red Cross. “We’re delighted that he received this state recognition. Closer to home, we’re so grateful for his continued service to our community through the Red Cross.”

Jack is an active member of the chapter’s board of directors and helps represent the Red Cross on the Stark County Emergency Management Agency board. He’s also a generous financial supporter, Kroh said.

“He truly lives our mission of mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, so we can help people prevent and respond to emergencies. Red Cross fits right into his life’s work.”

“If you volunteer, you’ll love it,” Jack says without hesitation.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to helping blood donors to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://neoredcross.org/volunteer