Operation Save-A-Life Lives Up to its Name, Again and Again

More Lives Saved Across the Country Thanks to Smoke Alarms, Education

159.  That is the number of documented lives saved as of the close of 2016, thanks to the Home Fire Campaign, which the Red Cross rolled out nationwide in 2014.

The campaign is modeled after Operation Save-A-Life, which began as a partnership between the Cleveland Fire Department and the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Red Cross in 1992.

The 25th anniversary of Operation Save-A Life will be recognized at the 2017 Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball, which takes place on March 25 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland.
Together with corporations, community groups and other partners, the Red Cross provides residents with valuable fire safety information and installs free smoke alarms in homes where they are needed.32318085516_522639e1c2_z

“Thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers, employees, local fire departments, and other partners in the Home Fire Campaign, today we celebrate 159 documents lives saved,” said Harvey Johnson, Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services.

Partners helping the Red Cross achieve its goal of reducing deaths and injury due to home fires by 25% range from the employees of Lincoln Electric to a group of missionaries from the Akron Stake of the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Eight elders of the  church recently installed 60 alarms in the homes of people in need.

“The group is very dedicated, said Debbie Chitester, Disaster Program Manager for the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter.  “I have worked with missionaries on disaster operations across the country. They always come through for us and the people we serve.”

Your group can be a part of Operation Save-A-Life in Northeast Ohio by sponsoring a smoke alarm installation project.  Log onto redcross.org/neoosal, and click on your county to register.

The smoke alarms you install could be the next ones that save a life.

The Globetrotters and the Great Assist

Legendary Basketball Heroes Provide Help and Hope in the Face of Disasters

When you’re 6’ 8” tall, you don’t need a ladder to install a smoke alarm.

Unless your ceilings are REALLY high.

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Harlem Globetrotters forward Zeus McClurkin installs a smoke alarm in a home on Lawnview Avenue in Cleveland, as Regional CEO Mike Parks and Disaster Program Specialist Emily Probst observe.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Zeus McClurkin, a forward for the Harlem Globetrotters,  accompanied Regional CEO Mike Parks and other Red Cross workers and firefighters from the Cleveland Fire Department on Monday, December 12 to install smoke alarms in homes on Lawnview Avenue.

Residents who live in 25 homes in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood are now safer, after Zeus and the rest of the volunteers installed 75 smoke alarms.

“Having working smoke alarms cuts the risk of injury or death in a home fire in half,” said the eight-year veteran of the team.  “I’m happy to help the Red Cross with this lifesaving mission.”

Since 2014, the Red Cross has installed more than 500,000 smoke alarms nationwide. Nearly 13,000 smoke alarms were installed in Northeast Ohio last year. Together with the Harlem Globetrotters,  local fire departments and other community partners, our goal is to install our one millionth smoke alarm by October 2017 to help Americans stay safer from home fires.

Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster, most of which are home fires, which claim more lives annually than all major disasters combined. The Red Cross and the Harlem Globetrotters have teamed up through The Great Assist initiative to help communities across America to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters big and small. Join with us as we raise urgently needed funds to support families during times of crisis throughout the year. Your donation can bring help and hope to those who need it most. Text ASSIST to 90999 to make a $10 donation now that will truly make a difference.

The Globetrotters played 2 games at Quicken Loans Arena on December 27th.

In addition, the team played at the Canton Civic Center  on January 27, and at the Covelli Center in Youngstown on January 28.

 

Be Prepared for Winter Weather

It’s Winter Safety Awareness Week

We have experienced mild autumn weather this year, but if you have spent any amount of time at all in Northeast Ohio, you know the snow could start to fly any day. And forecasters are predicting colder temperatures and more snow for the Great Lakes area this winter, thanks to La Nina. It’s not too early to be prepared for the winter weather ahead, and Governor John Kasich is promoting Winter Safety Awareness Week, Nov. 13-19, encouraging households and businesses to update their safety plans, replenish their disaster supply kits, and prepare themselves, their vehicles and their property for winter-related incidents.

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Freshly fallen snow on the trees (and power lines) of a Northeast Ohio neighborhood.

Be Informed

Know the difference between advisories, watches and warnings.

Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconvenience and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Watch: Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Warning: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: when in doubt, don’t go out.  Minimize travel outdoors. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.  Emergency kits are available in the Red Cross store.

Your emergency kit for your car should include:

  1. Flashlight with extra batteries
  2. An extra Cell Phone Car Charger
  3. Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
  4. Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf (one set for each traveler)
  5. Flares
  6. Folding Shovel
  7. Sand or Cat Litter
  8. Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  9. First-Aid Kit
  10. Small battery-operated radio
  11. Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
  12. Extra prescription medications
  13. Bottled Water (4 quarts per traveler – don’t forget pets!)
  14. High protein snacks such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  15. Maps
  16. Whistle
  17. Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
  18. A baggie of pet food, if you frequently travel with your four-legged friend

Visit redcross.org for more information on how to make an emergency kit, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe and warm this winter.

Parma Neighborhood Now Better Protected from Home Fires

Fire Walk

Photos provided by Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

Smoke Alarms Installed in Dozens of Homes

While many of us were preparing to “Turn and Test”…turn our clocks back an hour, and test our smoke alarms on Saturday, November 5, the last day of Daylight Savings Time for 2016, several Parma residents got new smoke alarms installed in their homes.Fire Walk

The Red Cross and its partners with the Parma Fire Department and Parma CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) visited 38 homes, and installed 116 smoke alarms that day as part of Operation Save-A-Life.

Residents were also given valuable fire safety information, including ways to develop escape plans in the event of a home fire.

Last year, the Red Cross and its partners installed almost 13,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the Northeast Ohio Region.

If you would like to help the Red Cross make Northeast Ohio a safer place to live by partnering with us to install smoke alarms, or if you need smoke alarms in your home, visit our Operation Save-A-Life page at redcross.org/neoosal.

Ashtabula Residents Get Free Smoke Alarms for Their Homes

Ashtabula Fire Department, Aqua Ohio Workers Help Red Cross Make Neighborhoods Safer

Residents who live in close to 100 homes in Ashtabula now have working smoke alarms, thanks to the efforts of the Red Cross, the Ashtabula Fire Department and Aqua Ohio.

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More than 20 volunteers fanned out throughout Ashtabula on Thursday, October 20 to provide residents with fire safety information and to install, at no cost to the residents, smoke alarms featuring batteries with a 10-year lifespan.

“We urge residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms, especially at this time of year, when we’re about to turn the clocks back,” said Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the Lake to River Chapter of the Red Cross. “And even if the batteries are good, if the alarm is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced because the sensors are out-of-date.”

Gary Offerdahl, the Red Cross volunteer who coordinated the installation event, called it a success. “We’re protecting more people from smoke and fire casualties and possibly fatalities, which is the motivating factor.”

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Ashtabula resident Carmen Rocco receives fire safety information in his home from a Red Cross volunteer on Octiber 20, 2016

Now in its second year, the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is meant to reduce the number of fatalities caused by home fires by 25% over a five year period.

The Red Cross has more smoke alarms to install, thanks in part to the generosity of the United Way of Ashtabula County and the Ashtabula Foundation.  Companies interested in helping make residents safer in their homes by allowing their employees to participate in similar smoke alarm installation events can call 866-319-7160.

Photo credit: Paul Wadowick/American Red Cross Volunteer

Northeast Ohio Natives Ride Out Hurricane Matthew in a Red Cross Shelter

People, Pets Provided with a Safe Place to Stay, Warm Meals to Eat

 

“I feel safe.”  Southport, North Carolina resident and Northeast Ohio native Sue Fogle made a point of seeking out Red Cross workers at the shelter at a shelter in Shallotte, North Carolina on Friday, October 7, 2016 to express her appreciation for the treatment she and her husband and son received from the Red Cross and its partners.

She and her husband Gary and son Randy were taking refuge from Hurricane Matthew at the storm bore down on the southeastern part of the state.

“It’s not like I’m living in the lap of luxury, but it’s more than I expected,” Sue said as she spoke with Red Cross volunteer Margo Smickles. She said she expected to sleep on the floor, and did not expect to be fed, but she and all the residents at the shelter received cots, blankets, and three warm meals a day during their stay.
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In addition to the 120 people at the shelter, there were 12 dogs, 3 cats and two birds.  The animals were kept separate from the human population, in a room far from the sleeping area, and were monitored by Animal Protective Service Officers. Almost 100 residents stayed in the shelter Friday night, as strong winds and heavy bands of rain began to pound parts of southeastern North Carolina.  By mid-afternoon on Saturday, 120 residents were taking refuge at the shelter.  Many were drawn by the shelter’s long-running offer to house pets.

“It’s just something Animal Protective Services has been doing for a long time,” said Lori Bork, Shelter Manager. Other partners assisting the Red Cross with shelter operations included Brunswick County Social Services, Brunswick County Health and Human Services, the Brunswick County School District and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s office.

By Saturday morning, the Fogle family were among more than 18,000 people who woke up in 183 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters across four states, more than during the height of Superstorm Sandy.

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Sue and Gary Fogle

More than 2,200 trained disaster workers, including  more than two dozen from Northeast Ohio, were mobilized to respond to the needs of residents in the path of Hurricane Matthew. More volunteers are needed. If you are interested in helping the residents affected by Hurricane Matthew, click here.

The Red Cross also deployed 95 emergency response vehicles, 4 from Northeast Ohio, and pre-positioned 94 trailers stocked with relief supplies including water, ready-to-eat meals, cleaning items and comfort kits, insect repellent, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. As soon as it is safe to do so, the Red Cross will be coordinating with partners to support people as they return home.

The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief to residents affected by disasters like Hurricane Matthew. If you’d like to help, visit redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Police Chief Honored During National Preparedness Month

Cleveland Chief Cited for Work During Recent Republican National Convention

He has been called a peacemaker, the host of the party, and the “RNC MVP” for the way protesters and visitors who were in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in July were treated.  But Chief Calvin Williams of the Cleveland Division of Police gives the credit to the members of his department for helping keep the peace during the four day event.

The Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors recognized Chief Williams and the Cleveland Division of Police with a Certificate of Appreciation at their quarterly meeting on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

Chief Williams agreed to receive the certificate under one condition: that the entire Cleveland Police Department be recognized as well. And he acknowledged the work of many organizations, including the Red Cross, for helping make the RNC a success.

“The Red Cross has always been a great partner of ours whenever there was something that happens, not just in Cleveland but in Northeast Ohio. You don’t ask anything in return, so we definitely appreciate it,” Chief Williams said.  “The RNC was a great, great example of partnership, again not only for Cleveland but Northeast Ohio, and it could not have been the success it was without partners like the Red Cross and others.”

The Certificate was presented to Chief Williams  by Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region and Laura Hauser, Secretary of the Greater Cleveland Board of Directors.

“It seemed appropriate during National Preparedness Month to recognize this great partner of ours,” Mike Parks said as he introduced the Chief, “Not only the chief, but the Division of Police because of the great work they did.”

Mike noted how the Red Cross was ready to open shelters during the convention, thanks to the preparations made by many Red Cross volunteers.  The need for volunteers did not end with the conclusion of the convention.  There is a constant need of volunteers to fill a variety of roles at the Red Cross.  If you are interested in a volunteer position, log onto redcross.org/neo and click on the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328.