Don’t be a statistic: It’s National Fire Prevention Week

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

A home can be rebuilt. Human lives, pets and mementos can’t.

For those with insurance, a home fire a major disruption. For those without insurance, it’s devastating. The good news is that most home fires are preventable.

As a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, I’ve seen numerous fires that didn’t have to happen:

  • A kitchen fire was caused by unattended grease left in a pan on the burner; another was caused by loose papers left too close to the gas burner; and a third by a plastic highchair overhanging an electrical element.
  • Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wiring contributed to the loss of a beautiful century home.
  • An unattended burning candle and a young child playing alone in the home displaced two families.

I could go on, but the good news is that no lives were lost. However, with a modicum of prevention, they could have all been avoided.

Here are 10 simple tips to share with members of your family during National Fire Prevention Week:

  1. Make sure to have working smoke alarms and replace the entire unit if it’s more than 10 years old. Even with a good battery, the sensor in an old alarm wears out in 10 years.
  2. Create an escape plan and make sure every child and adult knows that they must be outside within two minutes of hearing the alarm. Practice the plan with your children so they know the official meeting place outside.
  3. Never smoke in bed or when extremely tired or intoxicated.
  4. Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  5. Keep lit candles away from flammables, children and pets.
  6. Take care that nothing can blow over or into your kitchen gas burners.
  7. Keep frying pan handles turned away from the front edge of the stove so they aren’t tipped by children or pets.
  8. Electric space heaters can easily start fires if clothes or newspapers are tossed on top of them.
  9. Keep a working fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.
  10. Keep gas cans outside if possible; but, never in a basement or near a furnace or water heater.

Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, recognized the huge loss caused by fires, both to property and human life. To address the problem, he proclaimed the first Fire Prevention Week in 1926, with the hope it would become an annual event.

He wrote:

“While efforts should be made constantly to reduce fire destruction to a minimum, in pursuance of a well-established precedent, one week is set aside each year during which the urgent need of preventing fires is forcibly stressed.

“If every individual will adopt and practice the simple precautionary measures advocated as fire prevention safeguards, fire hazards and their consequences will be materially reduced.”

Make Calvin proud, and use caution to avoid unnecessary fires.

For more resources, visit the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety page for videos, tips and mobile apps to help you safeguard your family.

On October 6, volunteers from the Red Cross, Parma CERT, Hope World Wide Ministries and the Parma Fire Department held a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event. The volunteers installed 171 smoke alarms making 61 home safer.

To view photos from the Parma Sound the Alarm event, visit our Flickr page. Furthermore, to learn more about home fire safety and to request a smoke alarm, visit the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Home Fire Campaign page.

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Ronald J. Warzel Blood Donation Center relocates

Now in the Regional Headquarters building across the street

By Christy Peters, Manager, External Communications, Northern Ohio Blood Region

As part of the continuing effort to provide the best service and experience to our dedicated donors, the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross recently relocated its Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. Formerly housed at 3636 Euclid Ave., the donation center has is now located in the Northeast Ohio Regional headquarters building at 3747 Euclid Ave. The new site officially opened Aug. 30, 2018 and many donors have already stopped by the newly renovated space.

The new site continues to offer Red Cross donors the opportunity to give whole blood, platelets or plasma. The site is open seven days a week and offers more flexible hours than a mobile site, for donors who may need early morning or late evening appointments. Currently, the Red Cross has a critical need for platelet and type O blood donations. Hundreds of blood drives have been forced to cancel due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 6,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Donors of all types are need to recover donations canceled by the storm.

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region is excited to share the new and improved Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center with the community. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give at redcrossblood.org, by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here are some photos from the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. To see more photos from the center opening, please visit our Flickr page:

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Regional CEO Mike Parks donates blood during the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center

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Donors give blood in the new Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center in Cleveland

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Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center staff

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Ronald Warzel accepts a commemorative photograph of the grand opening of the new blood donation center from Greater Cleveland Chapter Chairman Christopher Mapes

Red Cross, Fox 8 News raise money to help those affected by Hurricane Florence

Day-long telethon also helped raise awareness for residents affected by the storm.

By: Eric Alves, American Red Cross

Communities in Northeast Ohio are renowned for the generosity they show at a moment’s notice when individuals are in need. This generosity was evident on September 20.

Understanding the importance of keeping the disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Florence in the news and relevant, despite the lack of coverage nationally, Fox 8 News devoted airtime throughout the day and on Facebook Live to hosting a telethon from Regional Headquarters in Cleveland, including a feature with reporter Todd Meany highlighting the importance of blood donation by giving blood on air in our new blood donation center.

Time and time again volunteers have dedicated their time and efforts to help the Red Cross support the needs of others, and the telethon was not any different. Among the volunteers was Chef Rocco Whalen, proprietor of Fahrenheit in Cleveland and Charlotte. When Chef Rocco heard the Red Cross and Fox 8 News were holding a telethon to help with hurricane disaster relief, he rolled up his sleeves and answered phones to help with donations.

Here are some photos from the telethon. To see more photos from the event, please visit our Flickr page:

 

 

 

We are grateful to Fox 8 News, Chef Rocco Whalen and all the volunteers who helped make the telethon possible and such a success. We also would like to give a special, heartfelt thank you to Northeast Ohio. Due to your immense generosity, we raised $32,186 to support the disaster relief efforts!

Spotlight on Josh Mattulat: New Executive Coordinator, Northeast Ohio Region

Former military officer reunited with CEO Mike Parks after losing his home in Texas during Hurricane Harvey

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By Brad Galvan, Red Cross volunteer

It’s apparent that retired U. S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Michael Parks, the current CEO of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, agrees with U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski, who famously said, “On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.”  Staying true to this pledge, Josh Mattulat was recently hired as the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region’s executive coordinator.

Josh Mattulat spent two years as Mike’s right-hand man as military aide when both were serving our country in the Ninth  Coast Guard District headquartered in Cleveland. The district was involved in challenging missions spanning the Great Lakes, from search and rescue, to pollution control, to border security.

Following that assignment, Josh moved his family to Seattle to continue his Coast Guard career. For  three years, he led a team of more than 100 that focused on maritime safety and security.

In 2017, Josh and his wife Katherine, parents of four children, decided it was time to set down their roots and raise their children. Josh left the Coast Guard and the family moved to Galveston, Texas, where Josh launched his own business as a metal fabricator. Unfortunately, a few months later their home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Safe, but displaced and devastated, Josh and Katherine decided they needed to get out of Texas to catch their collective breaths. During a short visit at Josh’s father’s home in Idaho, Josh was job searching and saw a position with the Northeast Ohio Red Cross working under Mike. It was a great fit and he applied.  Josh and his family now live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and he works for the Red Cross’ Northeast Ohio Region. He couldn’t be happier.

“I’m surrounded by great people who add value to their communities and beyond,” Josh said.  “And words can’t express how much it means to be reunited with a personal mentor like Mike.”

When asked about being reunited with Josh, Mike said, “I’ve known Josh Mattulat for many years, and I’m so pleased he’s bringing his energy, enthusiasm and skills back to Northeast Ohio to help us meet mission each and every day.”

Josh, like other military veterans, has transferable skills that were obtained while on assignment in the service. Many military members find it tough landing a job after leaving the military, even former officers. He explains that the organizational, leadership, communication and logistical coordination traits can be applied in most organizations and employers will be very impressed with the loyalty, commitment and enthusiasm that most military veterans will display in a civilian organization. These attributes will benefit and serve his new employer well as Josh put his skills to work and dedicates his service to the Red Cross.

Mike Parks would certainly agree.

This article was edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

 

Red Cross Reminiscing

By Jorge Martinez, Regional Chief Operating Officer

“The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me.”  -Clara Barton

That is exactly what happened at the Regional Headquarters on Wednesday, April 25th. Our doors swung open and in came a wonderful band of brothers and sisters.  Our cherished Red Cross retirees met for their annual meeting and in attendance were nearly 15 retirees with over 300 years of dedicated Red Cross service.

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Red Cross retirees pose with Regional CEO Mike Parks on April 25, 2018

Together with staff members, bread was broken, stories were shared (most of them true) and hearts were warmed.  One of the highlights occurred when John Gareis – our Preparedness Lead Specialist who has been with the Red Cross for 42 years – joined the group.  He knew many of the retirees and collectively they shared their stories.  The stories were wonderful and entertaining, but at heart was the obvious humanitarian and volunteer spirit that is the Red Cross.  And yes, the retirees appreciated greatly having John serve as a bridge from their Red Cross of years gone by to the same and different Red Cross that exists today.

We are nothing if we don’t remember our past or fail to honor the giants on whose shoulders we stand.  The comradery in the room was palpable and it truly is a testament to the great organization which we all have the privilege of being a part of.  It was humbling to be in a room of Red Cross giants!

To quote William Shakespeare, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters).”

Globetrotters Thrill Fans in Wooster, Youngstown, Canton and Cleveland

Ambassadors of Goodwill live up to their name, designating Red Cross as official charity

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Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

The Original Harlem Globetrotters are appearing in more than 250 cities during their 2017-2018 tour, and fortunately, four cities in Northeast Ohio were among them.

Fans got to see the the high-flying team play in Cleveland, Canton, Youngstown and Wooster after they kicked-off their North American tour in December.

The American Red Cross is the official charity of the Globetrotters, and during many of the games, fans got the chance to help provide critical funding for disaster relief, as Red Cross volunteers went out into the crowd to “Pass the Bucket.”

Donations made at Globetrotters games will help the Red Cross assist residents in local communities when they experience a disaster, like a home fire.  Our disaster workers, most of them volunteers, respond to about 64,000 disasters a year – the vast majority of them home fires.

The partnership between the Globetrotters and the Red Cross is part of the team’s “Great Assist” initiative. They pledge to spread 100 million smiles over the next 10 years with smiles, sportsmanship and service.

See more photos of Red Cross volunteers enjoying the Globetrotters and passing the bucket by clicking here.

Help Humanity – And Get a Tax Deduction

It’s been quite a year – Red Cross supporters, volunteers and donors achieved incredible things for families and individuals in need, in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country.

Here’s a look back at some of the incredible work we accomplished with the help of our partners in 2017:

  • We were able to provide 658,000 overnight shelter stays to people affected by imagejpeg_0 (002)disasters like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, historic wildfires and hundreds of home fires. In Northeast Ohio, we responded to about 1,000 incidents, the vast majority of them home fires, helping more than 4,100 people.
  • We distributed more than 7 million disaster relief items during these countless disasters, helping families who had lost everything get back on their feet. In Northeast Ohio, we provided about $800,000 in financial assistance to residents who experienced a disaster.
  • More than 5.7 million people received Red Cross Health and Safety training, including life-saving emergency and first-aid information from Red Cross mobile apps.
  • IMG_4281Volunteers installed 418,460 smoke alarms, including more than 16,000 in Northeast Ohio to make homes safer, bringing the total number installed to more than one million since our Home Fire Campaign began in 2014.
  • More than 2.7 million people chose to give blood or platelets through the Red Cross, helping to save lives at about 2,600 hospitals throughout the country.
  • Over 76,900 military families benefited from emergency communication services provided by the Red Cross.

Each family we meet has a unique story. We were there when we needed to be, for those who needed us most, thanks entirely to supporters and donors.

The need won’t change in 2018, which is why we need to be ready before the next emergency. Will you make your year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross today?