Check Your Smoke Alarms

Have you checked your smoke alarms lately? Do you know when they expire? Do they have working batteries? Do you know two exits from every room in your home? What about other people who live in your home? Could they get out of a room if a fire blocked the door?

With the heartbreaking news coming from Greater Cleveland about three separate cases of fire fatalities, six deaths, including children, we are imploring residents to get fire safety smart.

Don’t put this off. Start now, today.

“The most common cause, as related to fatal fire, often can be slow or smoldering fires at night,” stated Regional Disaster Officer, Timothy O’Toole in a recent WEWS interview.

This is why it is extremely, EXTREMELY important for you to know more about your own smoke alarms. (See first paragraph for the questions you should be asking yourself.)

Yesterday, reporter Jennifer Auh of WEWS, and cameraman, Brian Sobolewski, saw for themselves the importance of smoke alarms and fire safety education. They tagged along with two Red Crossers – John Gareis and Shelby Begg – as they installed smoke alarms in the home of Arlene Jordan.

If you do not have smoke alarms, contact us. Red Cross volunteers will come to your home and install smoke alarms – for FREE – and help you get started on a fire safety plan. To learn more about our program, visit www.redcross.org/neoosal and click on your county.

 

Tiffany Circle Members Experience Red Cross Mediterranean Rescues through Powerful Presentation

Imagine seeing terrified men, women and children crowded on tiny wooden boats and rubber dinghies being rescued from the dangerous, choppy waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

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This was the scene that Jenelle Eli watched over and over as she spent nearly a month aboard the Red Cross ship, Responder, which patrolled the central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. She is the Director of International Communications for the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., having specifically traveled to Ohio to share her experiences with Northeast Ohio Red Cross Tiffany Circle members and staff at an event hosted by Donna Rae Smith at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River on July 7.

Jenelle travels around the world to places like Haiti, Nepal, and the Philippines to observe the global humanitarian and international disaster response work of the Red Cross. She shares her experiences and photos with the news media and through presentations to raise awareness about how Red Cross donations and volunteers are making a huge impact. Years after earthquakes and typhoons have devastated countries, Red Cross assistance continues as communities recover with new irrigation systems, homes and schools.

In sharing with a captivated audience at the Rocky River event, Jenelle explained how last year, the Italian Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a joint life-saving mission with Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) to patrol and conduct rescue missions along the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy—where most of the 5,000+ drownings in 2016 occurred. The Red Cross helped save the lives of refugees fleeing their countries from war and poverty.

“They are going on boats without water, food or life jackets. The Mediterranean Sea is super dangerous. After they are rescued, the Red Cross provided them with medical care, food and water until they go to Europe where many apply for asylum.’’

When Jenelle asked refugees why they risked their lives going on a raft in the Mediterranean Sea, a father responded that his daughter was so smart that he wanted a better life for her. A woman who cried for hours told Jenelle that she had tears of joy because she had escaped after being kidnapped by a human trafficker and the Red Cross saved her life from the sea.

The Red Cross works in partnership with Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in other countries and deploys volunteers to help upon request. The Red Cross has a roster of about 60 volunteers from all over the country who serve on an international disaster team restoring information technology – among other relief activities – after disasters so people can communicate. David Schindler and John Wright, from right here in Northeast Ohio, are part of that team!

Jenelle was introduced to the crowd at the Cleveland Yachting Club by Donna Rae Smith, Vice Chair of the Northeast Ohio Tiffany Circle. Donna Rae and Tiffany Circle Chair, Laurie Laidlaw Deacon, shared with guests the power of the Tiffany Circle network of women across the United States, who want to change lives, save lives and strengthen communities through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure in the Red Cross.

“We are informed and active decision makers who are network builders, ambassadors, community volunteers, and mothers who greatly influence family and friends – all working to advance the Red Cross mission to help those in need.” – Laurie Laidlaw Deacon, Tiffany Circle Chair

 

 

Jenelle also shared the impact of the Red Cross Measles initiative to help save lives.

The Red Cross can continue our efforts to vaccinate the world’s at-risk children against measles – with the goal of ridding the world of this deadly disease.

Measles vaccinations cost only about $1 each – making them an incredibly effective way to improve the health and safety of children around the globe.

To learn more about joining the dynamic women leaders of the Tiffany Circle, contact Donna Gracon at donna.gracon@redcross.org.

For more photos from her deployment at sea, search What I Heard in the Middle of the Mediterranean in the Middle of the Night. Learn more about how the Red Cross helps people around the world by reading Jenelle’s contributions to the Red Cross website: http://www.redcross.org/news-events/news?tag=International, or by contacting Jessica Tischler, Director of Services to the Armed Forces and International Services for the Northeast Ohio Region, at jessica.tischler@redcross.org.

Follow Up: Handmade with Heart

This post is the follow-up from our May 26th Story: https://neoredcross.org/2017/05/26/blanket-made-of-red-heart-yarn-and-love/

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After a recent fire destroyed their century home in eastern Ohio, the Burton family met with Red Cross volunteers to plan out their next steps.

While this is an all-too-common story across Northeast Ohio, our volunteers respond to an average of 3 home fires a night, the Burtons have a special addition to their story.

Early this spring we received a handmade blanket and a note from Linda Evans of West Farmington, Ohio. The blanket was crocheted from on a Red Heart yarn pattern which features a red, Grecian cross on a white field.

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The Burton family was given Linda’s handmade blanket following the fire.

 

“I will treasure the blanket,” said Tracy Burton, matriarch of the family. “We had 3 other hand made afghans, each with a special story, which were lost in the fire.”

They hope to one day meet Linda in person and share with her the impact that one kind gesture, that one blanket, can have on a family.  Chances of that meeting are good: the Burtons are also from West Farmington, population 490.

 

 

 

Eligible Blood Donors Needed to Help Save Lives this Summer

We are facing a critical blood shortage and have issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save lives.

Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the past two months, resulting in about 61,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood donations for more than four days.

It’s crucial that people donate now to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood. Every day, blood and platelet donors can help save lives, and right now these heroes are needed to give as soon as possible.

How to Help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added more than 25,000 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.

Summer Months Lead to Shortage

Blood shortages often worsen around Independence Day due to many fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives at places of work, worship or community gathering, and this year is no exception. Nearly 700 fewer blood drives are scheduled during the Independence Day week than the weeks before and after the holiday.

Overall, the summer months are among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they vacation and participate in summer activities. In a recent survey of Red Cross blood donors, more than 73 percent indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after Independence Day.

New donors and those who haven’t given in a while are especially encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Nearly one-third fewer new blood donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year due in part to schools – where blood drives are held and where new donors give – being out of session during the summer months.

Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Highlights from the NEO Region in FY 17

More than 15,000 smoke alarms installed.  More than 31,000 residents enrolled in Preparedness, Health and Safety courses. More than 150,000 units of blood collected. Emergency services provided to more than 1,800 families of service men and women. More than $850,000 in financial assistance provided to more than 4,200 residents of Northeast Ohio since June 1, 2016.

These are some of the highlights of our fiscal year.  They were shared with the Board of Directors of the Greater Cleveland Chapter during the annual meeting on Thursday, June 28, 2017.  Many of the highlights were featured in  a video shown during the meeting.

Laurie Laidlaw, Donna Rae Smith and Lorraine Frankino-Dodero were recognized as Red Cross Visionaries. Lorraine was also honored as Philanthropist of the Year, for the generous gift her family foundation recently made to help us purchase a new Emergency Response Vehicle.

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Board Chairman Shawn Riley, Lorraine Frankino-Dodero and CEO Mike Parks

CEO Mike Parks recounted the response to a recent fire in Cleveland, which affected a family of 12, and introduced Gary Grano and Talib Zayed, the two Red Cross volunteers who provided assistance to the family.

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The meeting ended with a call to action: to help the Red Cross install 100,000 smoke alarms in September and October, during the Sound the Alarm. Save a Life initiative. Everyone is invited to join us, by volunteering to Sound the Alarm, when we will install smoke alarms in the homes of residents in Cleveland and Akron.  Or by providing financial support at redcross.org.

Have a Safe 4th of July!

Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend! We wanted to be sure to send out some steps that you can follow to stay safe, whether enjoying a nice meal with friends and family or going for a swim.

The biggest take away? Download the first aid app to help you and your family be prepared for whatever may happen!

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GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

WATER SAFETY Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Other safety steps include:

  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

DOWNLOAD SWIM, FIRST AID APPS The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. It also contains water safety information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches and water parks. The First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on a variety of situations from insect bites and stings to choking and Hands-Only CPR. People can download the apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.

HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

 

 

 

New Chapters Heed the Call During WWI

Looking back 100 years at the Summit, Portage & Medina Counties Chapter

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

(Editor’s Note:  This is the latest in a series of centennial-related stories involving the founding of Red Cross chapters in Northeast Ohio)

April 18, 1917 – The Akron Evening Times ran a story that Kent planned to organize a Red Cross chapter in that community.  A meeting had been held the night before with pastors of Kent churches all in attendance, along with officers of church organizations, lodges and clubs. A follow-up meeting was to take place that week to make sure the people of Kent did their part in the war crisis.

April 20, 1917 – Barberton began work to organize a Red Cross chapter and communicated their desire to do so to the national office in Washington.

By June 1917, Akron had already formed a Red Cross Chapter primarily for men. It was followed by an auxiliary for women on June 30, 1917. Election of officers found Mary Gladwin elected as president of the women’s auxiliary. She had just returned from serving in Serbia the year before. She was also named to the Akron executive committee along with six gentlemen.

At the June 30 meeting, 24 members of Battery B lined up on either side of the church entrance as people arrived. Upon the start of the meeting, they marched into the auditorium and joined in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Wasting no words, Miss Gladwin addressed their first meeting and scolded the Akron citizenry for their lack of patriotism during the recent deployment of troops the prior week as they headed off to Columbus. Her concern centered around the fact that in the “American” residence districts of Akron, there were entire blocks with not one American flag on display.

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November 1, 1917 found the formerly organized chapter in Medina to be doing an excellent job with their sewing.  Unfortunately, a German submarine sank a boat filled with Red Cross supplies. When a local Medina member told District Supervisor Mrs. Harrison Ewing that,  “I don’t think I want to knit if that is to be the fate of my work,” Mrs. Ewing would have nothing of it, responding “Don’t think, KNIT.” That appeared to be the end of that conversation, and discussion turned to lack of yarn and the need to prepare Christmas packets.

By the beginning of December, the yarn had been received and was already knitted into sweaters for the troops.

Girl Red Cross Workers.

Schools were already starting to organize their own chapters, with Seville and Medina schools ready to go. Children all over were raising money for the Red Cross in support of starving children in Belgium and Poland.  One little girl wrote the following:

“Dear Red Cross,

I have earned another dollar for the poor children. I have piled up all the pumpkins, and hauled four loads of chips, and pulled some weeds for the pigs and picked up all the scattered beans. I am eight years old today.”

 

With such dedication from someone so young, how could adults not pitch in?

Today, you can do your part.  Volunteer or donate.  Volunteers can learn more here.

Donating couldn’t be easier. Donate by text, by email, by mail or online. You can even set up a monthly automatic donation.  All five links to giving are here.

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All photos creative commons licensed