Red Cross partners with Dominion Energy to distribute first aid kits

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

April 3, 2019- Dominion Energy and the American Red Cross want to make sure you are prepared. This Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at locations across northern Ohio they will supply you with the right tools. In return for five to 10 minutes of your time, you’ll be rewarded with a free, Red Cross First Aid Kit (valued at $35).

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Since 2013, “partners in safety” Dominion Energy and the Red Cross have held an annual Disaster Preparedness Day. Each person or family that agrees to take a short, six-question survey, will receive a quality, first aid kit along with literature stressing home safety.  Volunteers from each organization will be available to help people complete their surveys and hand out special co-branded bags with both organizations’ logos.

“Safety is one of Dominion’s core values,” explains Neil Durbin, senior communication specialist at Dominion. “That’s why this partnership is such a great fit for both organizations—we’re both centered on promoting safety. We also happen to each have offices in matching cities across the region.”

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Preparing for Preparedness Day turns out to be quite the project itself. John Gareis, regional manager for preparedness at the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, said that the preparation starts way before the event and involves staff and volunteers from both organizations. Sites have to be reserved, insurance certificates need to be provided, negotiations have to occur with vendors, five pallets worth of specially branded kits need to be received and then combined with handouts, and cases of assembled kits need to be transported to local chapters. Volunteers then need to be recruited, trained and equipped for the day of the event. When volunteers walk in that Saturday morning, everything will be there ready for them.

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This Saturday, more than 3,000 first aid kits will be presented to families at nine locations across northern Ohio. “We hope that people will take the information they learn on the survey and share it with family and friends,” said John. “In that way, each year, in just four hours, we hope to touch the lives of up to 10,000 people. It’s a lot of work on our part but to be able to reach that many people in one weekend, it’s certainly worth the effort.”

One of the key messages that volunteers will be stressing is that gas appliances should be professionally inspected each year. “While people usually think about having their annual inspections done in the fall, summer is an ideal time to schedule them, when heating contractors aren’t as busy,” suggested Neil. You’ll probably save some money and you’ll certainly have more flexibility scheduling your appointment.

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“No matter how much insurance you have or no matter how safe you think you are going to be, anyone can have a disaster at any given time, which is unfortunate,” explained John.  “We’d rather put the effort into teaching or reminding people what to do, rather than responding after a disaster happens.”

Disaster Preparedness Day locations:

  • Belden Village Mall – Canton
  • Chief Supermarkets – Lima
  • Eastwood Mall – Niles
  • Great Northern Mall – North Olmsted
  • New Towne Mall – New Philadelphia
  • Target – University Heights
  • Walmart – Ashtabula
  • Walmart – Stow
  • Walmart – Wooster

Red Cross volunteers can still sign up on Volunteer Connection to assist at some locations. Residents are encouraged to come out and get a quality first aid kit, which is ideal for home or auto. Sometimes they go quickly so come early, if possible.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross 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 hemophilia B.  Just three days after his birth, Benjamin had lost more than 10% of his birth weight.

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“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 donationGiving 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.

Sound the Alarm a Success

Hundreds of Volunteers Install Thousands of Smoke Alarms in Three Weeks

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Volunteers for the Sound the Alarm event in Slavic Village on May 12, 2018

Residents in more than 900 homes in Northeast Ohio can sleep more soundly knowing they now have working smoke alarms, installed over a three-week period this spring by volunteers with the American Red Cross and dozens of partners.

Nationwide, more than 103,000 alarms were installed in 43,000 homes during the same three weeks, as part of a Red Cross initiative known as Sound the Alarm. Save a Live.  Read more about the national results here.

Locally, nearly 2,500 alarms were installed in neighborhoods of Cleveland, Akron and Maple Heights between April 28 and May 12.  About 350 volunteers went door-to-door, installing free smoke alarms, changing batteries in existing alarms, and helping residents create escape plans.

40277366540_81f2ea6dbd_z“We have over 20 people here from KeyBank, and we think this is a great cause,” said Don Kimble, Chief Financial Officer at KeyBank and a member of the board of directors for the Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter. He volunteered to help during the final Sound the Alarm event in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood on Saturday, May 12.  “There aren’t many times you can volunteer and actually help save a life. It really helps out the community.”

More than 400 lives have been saved since the Red Cross began installing alarms nationwide in 2014.

“Anything can happen.  You never know what will cause a fire,” said Richard Demming, as volunteers installed new smoke alarms in his second-story home on East 55th Street in Cleveland. “Smoke alarms alert you to get out of the house.”

 

Another resident of East 55th Street, Stanford Simmons said, “It’s good for the community.  Volunteering is important. The fire department can’t do it all.”

The Cleveland Fire Department has been working with the Red Cross to install smoke alarms in homes since 1992.  Several firefighters accompanied the volunteers in Slavic Village on Saturday.

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Jamie Evans, upper left, and other volunteers from Third Federal Savings and Loan

Jamie Evans is a human resources employee with Third Federal Savings and Loan, which is headquartered in Slavic Village.   He was with a team of volunteers from Third Federal and said, “You could definitely tell people appreciated it.  A couple of residents were outside waiting for us.  We took out lots of old alarms, people who didn’t have the means to replace them.  It’s definitely a good program.”

425 alarms were installed in Slavic Village on Saturday, making 125 homes safer. Click here for more photos from the Sound the Alarm event in Slavic Village.

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FirstEnergy employees were among the volunteers for the Sound the Alarm event in Akron on May 11, 2018.

The day before, dozens of volunteers gathered in East Akron for another Sound the Alarm event. Among them was Murphy Montler, Director of Local External Affairs for FirstEnergy in Ohio and West Virginia.  He was heading a team of more than two dozen FirstEnergy workers.

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Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Board member Charles Brown and Murphy Montler of FirstEnergy

“We have a long-standing partnership with the Red Cross,” Murphy said.  “When they’re out dealing with disasters, we’re also dealing with infrastructure issues affecting our customers.”  Murphy noted that there has been a recent spate of fire fatalities in Akron, and that FirstEnergy workers volunteered to help the Red Cross make homes in Akron safer.

“This organization is so wonderful,” he said.  “It doesn’t operate without volunteers.  It’s a mission that people really connect with.”

Greg Sell, a resident of Eva Avenue in Akron, said he didn’t know the Red Cross offered free smoke alarm installations.  “Thank God for the Red Cross,” he said.  “I’ll be telling everybody.  Continue the good work.”  Click here for more photos from the May 11th Sound the Alarm event in Akron.

Sound the Alarm events WILL continue, year-round. Residents throughout Northeast Ohio can request a free home fire inspection and free smoke alarms by visiting soundthealarm.org/neo.  You can register to become a Red Cross volunteer at redcross.org/neo.

We are grateful for all our partners who helped us Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.

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Akron City Fire Department
Almost Family
ArcelorMittal
Asurint
BCD Travel
Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs
Case Western Reserve Students
Cleveland Central Catholic
Cleveland City Council
Cleveland Fire Department
Cox Automotive
DOVIA
First Energy Corporation
Franklin Myles State Farm
Huntington Bank
J & M Champions for Change
KeyBank
Louis Stokes VA Medical Center
Manheim Cleveland-Cox Automotive
Maple Heights Fire Department
Metro Health System
Mount Calvary Lodge
NAWIC
NLC LOANS
Ohio’s Choice Home Health
Prince Hall Masons
Red Cross Board, & Associate Board (Young Professionals)
Red Cross Club- CWRU
Robert W Baird
S&T Bank
Signet Jewelers
Stockyard Connection Block Club Metro West CDO/Stockyard Safety Committee
Team RWB
Third Federal Savings & Loan
Torchbearers
Westfield Group

 

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.

Christmas Season Brighter for Children Affected by Home Fire

Annual Toy Giveaway Made Possible by Employees at TravelCenters of America

“Jade is my favorite one!” It took a while before eight-year old Jamie Sullivan found just

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Jamie Sullivan of Cleveland

the right Bratz doll to take home during the annual holiday toy giveaway on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

Right now, home is with her grandmother Lori.  Jamie, her little brother Samuel, and her mother Angela Jordan lost their home to fire just a week before, on December 15th.

86 children received toys collected during a Christmas Toy Drive by employees of TravelCenters of America. It’s the 19th year of the partnership between TCA and the Red Cross.

“We’re happy to help children who have lost so much,” said Tom Liutkus, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations at TravelCenters of America.  “The Red Cross does such great work, it just makes sense to have them distribute the toys every year.”

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Seven-year old Taneeja Terry of Cleveland finds just the right doll

“We have plenty of gifts to give to these kids who had a lot taken from them this year,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. ” This is a great opportunity to give back to them, especially at this special time of year.”

“To see everything that you had just gone, it was total devastation,” said Edna Bailey, whose home burned down in September. “I had no idea what to do, where I was going, or anything. The Red Cross came in with hugs, with encouragement, and kind of guiding me. For weeks I received phone calls with follow-up messages.  I’m so thankful.

As of mid-December, our disaster workers responded to 940 incidents, the vast majority of them home fires, in 2017.  The fires disrupted the lives of nearly 1,600 children and more than 2,500 adults in the 22 counties of Northeast Ohio.  They received immediate financial assistance totaling more than $750,000, thanks to the generosity of donors.  If you’d like to help future victims of disasters like home fires, please make a tax-deductible donation here, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

For more photos from this year’s Holiday Toy Giveaway, visit our Flickr photo album. Media coverage of our annual toy giveaway included a photo gallery from Plain Dealer photographer Lisa DeJong, a video on Cleveland.com, and a story on Cleveland 19 WOIO.  

 

 

Local Volunteers Helping in Texas

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Red Cross volunteers Cameron Fraser and Rick King are improvising.

“We’re both trained in logistics, but when we got here, we saw a greater need and offered to help deliver meals,” Rick said as he assembled packages of snacks. “Flexibility is key. Our snack packs could end up being lunch, dinner and breakfast.”

Rick and Cameron are among more than two dozen volunteers from Northeast Ohio who have been deployed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  They have been assigned to help residents in and around Texas City, Texas.

“We went from Baton Rouge to Hempstead in the Great Texas ERV Drive,” Rick said, referring to a convoy of more than 40 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) that made their way to the Houston area. “It took us hours and hours to get there.”

ERV drive

In total, eight groups headed to the area last Thursday.  They were able to communicate with one another through a smart phone app.

Cameron and Rick are working with partners from the Southern Baptist Convention, who set up a mobile kitchen for preparing the meals Red Cross workers will deliver.

“There’s a feeling of nervous energy,” said Rick. “We’ve spent time training on what to expect and we’re ready to go.”

To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit our volunteer page, or call 216-431-3328.

By the numbers:

· Saturday night, at least 32,399 people sought refuge in 226 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas overnight. The Red Cross is also assisting the Louisiana state government with an emergency shelter which hosted nearly 1,700 people last night.

· More than 2,700 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground, and more than 660 are on the way.

· Shelter supplies to support more than 85,000 people are on the ground.

· Along with our partners, we have served more than a half million (515,000) meals and snacks since the storm began.

· We have trailers of kitchen supplies on the ground to support 14 kitchens, each able to produce 10,000 meals a day, and 2 more trailers are on the way.

· We also have about 150,000 ready-to-eat meals currently on the ground with an additional 5,000 on the way.

· More than 215 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies.

· Mental health and health services professionals have provided some 15,000 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees.

· We’ve distributed more than 27,000 relief items like diapers and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items for people forced from their homes. Cleaning and relief supplies to support more than 15,000 homes are on the ground, with an additional 5,000 on the way.

 

 

The Red Cross and the Eclipse…Please Explain

By Todd James, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer and Executive Director from the Ohio Buckeye Region

IMG_1217I recently had the opportunity to serve as part of the Red Cross preparedness operations team in Kentucky as part of the Great American Eclipse.

Many people will ask, “What does the Red Cross have to do with an eclipse?”

Well, whenever there is a large public event such as the Super Bowl, a national political convention, or in this case, an eclipse,  the Red Cross is part of the planning process with local,  state and federal  officials. It takes a lot of work to be prepared for large crowds of people coming into an area. In this case, over 7 million people were expected to visit the 12 states in the path of totality to see the eclipse. This had the potential to overwhelm local infrastructure in many communities, especially here in Hopkinsville, Kentucky,  where the point of greatest eclipse took place.

The Red Cross has been planning, for over a year, for single this event.

In Kentucky, where I served, 21 counties were in the path of totality and hundreds of thousands of people were expected to visit the area in the days leading up to the eclipse.

What if a natural disaster occurred during this period? The possible need for sheltering and feeding was a big concern. Many people may have had to sleep in their cars!

This is storm season! A severe storm or tornado would be devastating in normal circumstances, but could be catastrophic with thousands more people than usual in the area. Severe heat is also common in the area at this time of year. The Kentucky Red Cross spent months making sure shelter locations were secured and inspected. They loaded trailers with shelter supplies and moved them to strategic locations, ready to be moved to town shelters where needed. Red Cross volunteers signed up to be available and ready at a moment’s notice to open shelters and provide care and comfort.

Prior to the event, the Red Cross coordinated safety and preparedness messaging with emergency management officials to let people traveling to view the eclipse know what they could do to make their trip a safe one.

All this work led up to August 21, the day of the eclipse.

So, what happened? Nothing! Millions of people made their way to their destination, viewed the eclipse and returned home safely. There were no major incidents or disasters. Our teams went home without having to open a single shelter.  And that’s just the way we wanted it!  Preparedness is key to the Red Cross mission. We’re constantly training, preparing and collaborating with our partners, so when a disaster happens, we are ready to respond immediately. But, sometimes, our best days are the ones when we don’t do anything but wait.