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.”

Jack Liberator with Kim and Brittany

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

Missing Types Campaign Launched in Cleveland

N_tice _nything missing? A few missing letters may not seem like a big deal, but for a hospital patient who needs type A, B or O blood, these letters mean life.

As part of an international movement, the American Red Cross is launching the Missing Types campaign to raise awareness of the need for new blood donors – and those who haven’t given in a while – to donate and help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients in need. You may notice A’s, B’s and O’s – representing the main blood groups – missing from signage, websites, social media and other public-facing platforms to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays.

The sad fact is that blood shortages are not uncommon in the U.S. and other parts of the world. But they can be prevented when more people roll up a sleeve to give.

When blood types go missing

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Stephanie Aholt and son Benjamin.  Photo credit: Doug Bardwell/American Red Cross volunteer

“You never know whose life you might be saving,”  Stephanie Aholt told a group of Red Cross supporters and media gathered for a news conference to kick-off the Missing Types campaign in Cleveland.  Her two-year old son, Benjamin, lives with type 2 hemophilia.  Just three days after his birth, Benjamin had lost more than 10% of his birth weight. _D5C6722

“He was bleeding to death, and was in critical condition,” she said.  “Benjamin needed several units of blood and blood products.  Without the donations he received, he would not be alive today.”

 

The news conference was held in the law offices of Jones Day, which has been hosting_D5C6862 regularly scheduled blood drives for the past 20 years.  “In that time, our lawyers and staff have donated thousands of pints, most recently just two weeks ago,” said Paula Batt Wilson, Administrative Partner for Jones Day’s Cleveland office and active Red Cross Blood Services volunteer.

See more photos from the news conference here.

Join the movement

  1. Give blood – Schedule your appointment at org/MissingTypes or with the Blood Donor App.
  1. Recruit new donorsEncourage a friend or family member to roll up a sleeve too.
  2. Spread the word
  • Take a photo with one of these selfie signs and post it to your social media along with the message “I am the #MissingType.”
  • Write out your name with the A’s, B’s and O’s missing on the “blank” selfie sign, and take a photo with it. (Underscores are recommended. Example: _meric_n Red Cr_ss)
  • Visit RedCrossBlood.org to a Missing Types message on your social mediaWhat to expect at your donation

    Giving blood is simple. Commit about an hour of your day to help save a life.

    • Registration – Sign in, show your ID and read the required information.
    • Health check – Answer questions and receive a mini-physical.
    • Donation – Giving a pint of blood takes about 8-10 minutes.
    • Refreshments – Enjoy some snacks and relax before resuming your day.

     

Y_u _re the #MissingType p_tients need. Don’t wait until the letters A, B and O go missing from the hospital shelves. Schedule your appointment to give now.

Preparedness in a Pillowcase

Milestone reached for the Pillowcase Project

One million elementary school students across the country have now learned how to prepare themselves, their households and their communities for emergencies by participating in The Pillowcase Project. More than 11,000 of those children live in Northeast Ohio.

 

Originally created in New Orleans, The Pillowcase Project is a free program inspired by the story of local university students carrying their belongings in pillowcases during Hurricane Katrina evacuations. During the presentation, participants receive a pillowcase to decorate and then take home to use as a personal emergency supplies kit.

The curriculum, targeted at 3rd to 5th graders, is structured by a Learn, Practice, Share framework. Students learn about the science of a locally relevant hazard and how to best prepare for it. They practice what to do if a disaster occurs and how to cope with related fear and stress. Afterwards, they share the information and skills they have learned with their family and friends so everyone in the household knows what to do.

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John Gareis, Regional Preparedness Manager was assisted by AmeriCorps worker Rachel Steiner at a Pillowcase Project presentation at the Cleveland VA Medical Center                                         Photo Credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

“It’s exciting to see young people in Northeast Ohio and across the country learn how to prepare themselves, their households, and their communities for emergencies and save lives by participating in The Pillowcase Project,” said John Gareis, Regional Preparedness Manager.

To date, 11 lives have been saved by four students who put into practice what they learned through the program. Last year, 9-year-old Camryn Sarnie of Ramona, Oklahoma was startled awake at 3:00 a.m. by a smoke alarm sounding in his home. The sound scared Camryn, but he recognized it and knew that it was alerting him to a fire. He knew that he had less than two minutes to escape, so he quickly woke up his parents, alerted them to the fire and instructed them to evacuate immediately. Camryn saved three lives that morning, including his own, by putting into practice what he learned just a few weeks earlier from The Pillowcase Project presentation at his school. According to Camryn’s mother, Lora, “Camryn told us all about what he learned in class after the presentation. Camryn is a true hero.”

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The Red Cross has engaged more than 35,000 volunteers and partnered with more than 13,000 schools, community organizations and partners to deliver this program to students across the country and at more than a dozen U.S. military stations abroad. The Walt Disney Company is the founding sponsor of the program.

Contact John Gareis at 216-431-3219 to schedule a Pillowcase Project presentation for your school, or email john.gareis@redcross.org. .  Additional information about The Pillowcase Project is available at redcross.org/pillowcase.

Keeping Fans’ Blood Pressure in Check

By Doug Bardwell – American Red Cross volunteer

It’s June again, and Cavs fans blood pressures are rising.  It could have to do with missed free throws.  It might be due to poor calls by the selectively blind referees. Or it could be due to an opponent overly adept at shooting three-point baskets from obscene distances.

In any event, it’s NBA Finals time and collectively our blood pressures are on the rise…. which is not a good thing.

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Hopefully, this situation will improve shortly; but high blood pressure can be caused by a number of other factors, and it’s something that definitely needs to be monitored.

Some symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure include:

  • Severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Problems with your vision
  • Throbbing in your chest, ears or neck

If you notice these symptoms, it’s wise to seek a doctor’s help quickly. Extreme blood pressure problems could cause a stroke or heart disease.

Remedies for high blood pressure (for other than NBA-induced causes) include:

  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Regularly exercising
  • Losing weight
  • Reducing sodium in the diet
  • Cutting back on caffeine
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting use of alcohol
  • Reducing stress

One other thing everyone can do is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.  How about every eight weeks for example?

That’s how often you can donate blood, and each time you donate, you’ll get a mini-checkup from your friendly Blood Services professional at the donation site.  Iron levels and blood pressure are always checked before you donate, so you won’t develop a problem without being alerted.dougdonating

Give yourself plenty of time to get to your donation location, as blood pressure can rise needlessly if you are stressed about being late to your appointment. Fortunately, in a case like that, sitting quietly for 10-15 minutes should bring you right back to normal levels, and your pressure can be checked a second time.

To schedule your regular eight-week appointment, log on to redcrossblood.org and pick a convenient date and location. Or, you can do it quickly from the Red Cross Blood Donor App for your Android or iOS phone.

Raising Awareness: National CPR and AED Awareness Week

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

Arguably more important than National Doughnut Day or National Turkey Lovers Day (both real), comes National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

On December 13, 2007, Congress unanimously passed a resolution to set aside June 1-7 each year as National CPR and AED Awareness Week to spotlight how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED.

Icon PreparednessThe American Red Cross recognizes and celebrates this week by encouraging as many community members as possible to take get trained and acclimated to both CPR and AED utilization.  We also recognize individuals who have saved the lives of others by performing CPR and using an AED (automated external defibrillator.)  See the stories of the heroes we honored recently in Cleveland and Akron on our YouTube Channel.

CPR and AED utilization has saved countless lives; the reason? It’s because another person remembered past training and stepped up. People helping others is the cornerstone of thriving communities.

The Red Cross has many opportunities for community members to get trained with these life-saving skills. There are countless classes in varying formats: in-person, online and simulated, to teach both adult and pediatric CPR. Visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/cpr-training/cpr-classes for a listing.

BigRed Manikin (002)Those taking hands-on training will benefit from practicing skills on the new state of the art BigRed™ LightSaving Manikin. The manikin will increase students’ confidence that they can save a life in emergency situations, as it is equipped with three interrelated sets of lights that provide immediate feedback to students on how they are performing CPR. Only the proper technique will show the success of blood circulating from the heart to the brain which improves a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

The free Red Cross First Aid App provides users with instant access on how to perform Hands-Only CPR and information on sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks and other emergencies.

How are you going to step up and observe this important week?

Ready to Help as Hurricane Season Begins

By Debra Kellar, Senior Specialist, Volunteer Services

Preparations are underway along the coasts, as the 2018 hurricane season is upon us. June 1 marks the start of what forecasters anticipate being a ‘near or above-normal’ year for storms in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins.

Forecasters also predict, with a 70 percent likelihood, that we will see 10 to 16 named storms in the Atlantic, of which half could be powerful enough to be classified as hurricanes. One to four storms are expected to become major hurricanes. Based on this prediction, the 2018 season is expected to be similar to last year–one that saw catastrophic impacts from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

 

hurricane graphic

Animation provided by Yiqi Shao

Anatomy of a Hurricane

The formation of a hurricane begins as warm, moist air travels around the equator, rising as it heats, creating an area of low pressure beneath. As cooler air rushes in to take its place, it, too, begins to warm and rise before subsequently cooling, causing the formation of clouds. The system grows, further perpetuating the cycle.  As the winds get faster and faster, an eye will form in the center of the storm.

Once sustained wind speeds reach 39 m.p.h., the system is considered to be a tropical storm. Upon reaching 74 m.p.h., it is reclassified as a hurricane. The Saffir Simpson wind scale is used to further categorize a hurricane, with the weakest referred to as a Category 1 hurricane and winds in excess of 157 m.p.h. considered a Category 5.

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Graphics provided by the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center, and the NOAA Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Red Cross Recovery Efforts

Last year’s Category 5 hurricanes came in quick succession, causing response and recovery efforts to pivot and reorganize to meet the needs of those impacted as additional states became affected. The American Red Cross’ ability to adeptly transition comes from its readiness planning and from the unparalleled dedication of its volunteers. Current disaster volunteers had been poised to assist the impacted coastal states, with many volunteers from Northeast Ohio deployed to staging areas pre-landfall. As the 2017 season continued, more than 100 new volunteers from Northeast Ohio became trained to provide disaster relief as part of one of the premier humanitarian organizations in the world.

Helping People in Need

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The Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services Department is already preparing its volunteer workforce in anticipation of another active hurricane season. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the disaster team, visit our website here to begin an online application or contact our Volunteer Services Department at 216-431-3328.

This year, Facebook has teamed up with the Red Cross to make sure people are prepared for hurricane season,  which runs through November 30. In addition to volunteering, you can help by donating to support disaster relief.

Debra Kellar studied climatology and cartography, and earned a Master’s Degree in Geography at Kent State University.

Clara Barton Answers the Call to America’s Largest Flood

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Just before 3 p.m. on May 31, 1889, 14 miles west of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a dam broke, releasing 20-million tons of water into the Conemaugh Valley. In this narrow valley, the water reached 60 feet high as it barreled toward the city at speeds of 40 m.p.h.

By the time it struck Johnstown, the 4 billion gallons of water brought with it everything in its path. Four square miles of downtown were completely obliterated by the crushing flood waters. By the time it was over, 30 acres of human bodies, homes and debris were piled 70 feet high against the stone-arched railroad bridge at the far edge of town. The pressure and amount of the water was later compared to all the water flowing over Niagara Falls in 36 minutes.

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Photo credit: Johnstown Flood Museum

Between the force of the water and the ensuing explosions and fires that broke out, more than 2,200 people died, 1,600 homes were destroyed, and $17 million worth of damage was done (close to $500 million in today’s valuation.)

From War Relief to Disaster ReliefClara B

In Washington, D.C., Clara Barton got word of the event.  Prior to this time, she had provided relief to the Civil War soldiers, but was lobbying for the American Red Cross to provided relief for peacetime disasters as well.  Five days after the flood, Clara and five Red Cross workers arrived in Johnstown. Within days, she had assembled a team of 50 doctors, nurses and relief workers.Johnstown Flood

Setting up headquarters in the city, she immediately began organizing donations that began arriving from all around the world.  Food, clean water and supplies were passed out immediately to survivors as they tried to create shelters however they could.

 

“Red Cross Hotels” were opened to provide shelter for those left homeless before the winter weather set in.  The first “hotel” was so successful, five more were quickly erected.

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Photo credit: U. S. National Park Service

They also began building 3,000 “Oklahoma houses,” a type of prefabricated home, to aid the city in rebuilding. Furniture donations and domestic items were then organized and distributed to outfit these homes.

Clara didn’t leave the city for five straight months, only returning to Washington on October 24, 1889.  The city presented her with a number of gifts to show their lasting gratitude.  One editorialist wrote, “Too much cannot be said in praise of this lady…To her timely and heroic work, more than that of any other human being, are the people of the Conemaugh Valley indebted.”

Today if you visit the Johnstown Flood Museum, you’ll see a section devoted exclusively to Clara Barton and the Red Cross’ success in helping restore the town, along with some of her original papers and one of the first Red Cross blankets to be distributed.

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Photo credit: Doug Bardwell/American Red Cross

Based largely on the success of her mission to aid the Johnstown residents, the American Red Cross received its Congressional Charter 10 years later, in 1900.

Today you can continue the legacy of Barton and volunteer to help with the next big disaster to strike this country.  Volunteer today at https://neoredcross.org/volunteer/.

Access the ProVia Employee Red Cross Volunteer Application here.