Red Cross partners with TeamSmile at Progressive Field Event

On July 15, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio partnered with TeamSmile to present the Pillowcase Project to nearly 300 children. The event, organized by TeamSmile, featured a group of local dentists, hygienists and educators who volunteered their time and talents to provide free dental care to underserved children during the one-day event at Progressive Field.

The children were moved through stations that included a preliminary exam, x-rays, cleaning and other work deemed necessary. While waiting for their turn in a dentistry chair, each child had the opportunity to learn more about being prepared for a disaster through the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

“The ability to partner with TeamSmile presented the perfect opportunity to give back to our community by teaching the children who participated in the program how to be prepared for an emergency,” said Steve Trisler, Regional Disaster Officer for Northeast Ohio.

The Red Cross Pillowcase Project, sponsored by Disney, is a preparedness initiative created for children ages 7 to 11. It teaches the basics of how to stay safe during an emergency, what to have in an emergency kit and how to cope during an emergency. The program is fully customizable to the region; in Northeast Ohio the Red Cross teaches children about home fire safety, tornado safety, flooding safety and winter weather safety. At the end of the course each child is given a pillowcase and the opportunity to illustrate their own emergency kit needs.

TeamSmile is the nation’s premier oral health advocacy group. They partner with sports organizations across the nation to promote the message that oral health care is vitally important to long-term health.

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Celebrate National Preparedness Month: Make a plan, get a kit, be informed!

September is National Preparedness Month.  There are many ways that your family and community can prepare for an emergency. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing some of the simple steps that you can take to get prepared.

Oklahoma Tornado One Year Report 2014Carney, Oklahoma Home Kit DeliveryThe simplest way to prepare for a crisis is to have an emergency kit ready to go. An emergency kit is made up of basic necessities that will help you and your loved ones survive sheltering in place. (To shelter in place means that you are staying in a safe space in your home for any amount of time, like when you go to your basement or other enclosed area during a tornado warning.)

The core items needed for a basic emergency kit are available at many of the locations where you do your weekly shopping, so it doesn’t even require a special trip to get started!

Your kit should include:

  • Water
    • one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food
    • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables
    • Protein or fruit bars
    • Dry cereal or granola
    • Peanut butter
    • Dried fruit
    • Nuts
    • Crackers
    • Canned juices
    • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
    • High energy foods
    • Vitamins
    • Food for infants
    • Comfort/stress foods
  • Can Opener
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
    • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
    • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
    • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
    • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
    • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
    • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
    • 1 blanket (space blanket)
    • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
    • 1 instant cold compress
    • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
    • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
    • Scissors
    • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
    • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
    • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
    • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
    • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
    • 2 triangular bandages
    • Tweezers
    • First aid instruction booklet
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies – paper copies and on a usb stick)
  • Cell phone and/or chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • Map(s) of the area

Don’t forget to include specialized items for all of your family members, especially the tiny or four-legged ones! If relevant, be sure to include:

  • Baby supplies
    • Bottles
    • Formula
    • baby food
    • diapers
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies
    • Collar
    • leash
    • ID
    • Food
    • Carrier
    • Bowl
  • Medical supplies
    • hearing aids with extra batteries,
    • glasses
    • contact lenses
    • syringes, etc

And some additional supplies that would be good to keep at home or in your survival kit (based on the types of disasters common to your area):

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

For more information on building an emergency kit, visit www.redcross.org/prepare or download our free Situational Emergency apps.

On Twitter? Show us your kit! Tweet a picture, tag @neoredcross and use the hashtag #NatlPrep. 

A Month of Preparedness, sneak peek into September at the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

One piece of the mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent human suffering in the face of emergencies. The simplest way to do that is to help individuals and families learn how to be prepared for the disasters that happen in our communities. When a disaster strikes, because it can and will happen, everyone will have the tools and knowledge to respond accordingly.

The month of September is National Preparedness Month. For the Red Cross and many of our partner organizations, September is the perfect opportunity to voice the power of being prepared in our homes and in our communities.

There are so many simple, quick ways to prepare for an emergency situation.

  1. Check your smoke detectors once a month and change the battery at least once a year.
  2. If you don’t have smoke detectors, install them. One in every bedroom, one outside of sleeping areas and one on every level of your home. (NOTE: carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are not the same thing.)
  3. Make a Fire Escape Plan and teach it to every member of the household.
  4. Practice your plan twice a year.
  5. Know what emergencies can affect your area: Flooding, Tornadoes, etc.
  6. Create a 72-hour Emergency Kit filled with necessities to keep your family safe and sound for 3 days.
  7. Take a first aid and CPR course.
  8. Download the FREE Red Cross Apps through iOS or Android app marketplaces.
  9. Make your neighbors part of your emergency plan (and you become a part of theirs), especially if they are older adults or have young children in the home.

All September long, our blog will be dedicated to details ways that you can get your family prepared, so be sure to subscribe or check back often.

If you are regular reader of this blog or just happened here through Google, please, share this link with your friends and colleagues. It is vitally important that we help ourselves and each other before an emergency situation happens.

Jessica’s Red Cross story

Jessica Sandoval, a summer intern with the Lorain County Chapter, displays her Leadership Lorain certificate.

Jessica Sandoval, a summer intern with the Lorain County Chapter, displays her Leadership Lorain certificate.

Following my sophomore year as a marketing major at University of Dayton, I became involved with the Lorain County Chapter of the American Red Cross through the Leadership Lorain County Internship Program. As the Communications Specialist Intern, I was responsible for increasing Red Cross awareness and donations through effective communications, public relations and the use of social media tools.

Previous to my assignment, I knew very little about the American Red Cross, but I was quickly amazed by this incredible organization. The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization and not a federal agency. As such, it receives no regular federal funding. The Red Cross also does a lot more than host blood drives. Each region is well equipped with a Disaster Action Team, Disaster Mental Health Team, and an array of other volunteers. They also offer services to the Armed Forces—from preparing soldiers and their families for deployment to getting those same soldiers emergency contact with their families while overseas.

Based on my experience, I do not think the public is well aware of the extent to which the Red Cross helps our local, as well as national, communities.

While attending a Friday Forum at the Cleveland City Club to hear President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, speak I met a volunteer who truly changed my life. The woman, who dedicates 100% of her time to volunteering, and I discussed her career in the medical field and a trip she took to India to treat patients in a poor village. I commended her on her voluntarism and expressed how I wished my future profession in the business world would allow me to help people the same way hers does. I commented that those in the medical field have the ability to go the extra mile and help people in a more profound way than any other profession. She informed me it is not an extra mile, but a different mile.

During my time at the Lorain County Chapter I helped prepare for the annual 5K Run for the Red, and have witnessed the chapter go through a merger with the Firelands Chapter. I also created several campaigns for different chapter events including Christmas in July which supported the annual Holiday Mail for Heroes and the Pillowcase Project sponsored by Disney. I contributed blogs on chapter events and also created a Social Media and Marketing timeline for the annual 5K. I also canvased for our 5K, made phone calls in hopes of obtaining donations, and spread Red Cross awareness whenever and wherever I could. As a marketing major, I believe I learned so much about my future profession as well as what it is like to work for a non-profit organization. I had the opportunity to become CPR Certified as well as take Disaster Overview and Fundamental courses.

Whether it was hearing a volunteer’s Red Cross Story, or learning something new about my major (or even myself), I was inspired every single day when I stepped over the threshold of that history Lorain County building. I could not agree more with President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, when she says, “the depth and breadth of all the Red Cross does still amaze me, and it’s an incredible privilege to play a part in it.” I plan on continuing my involvement with the American Red Cross as I complete the last two years of school and well into my future.

 

The power of being prepared (at any age)…

My boys are survivalists at heart.

When they were little, each carried around a bag full of cherished things:   “Puppy” the stuffed dog, a tape measure from Papa, a wallet with a few bucks in it, a note pad, a toy car, a plastic hammer, a blanket.  Today they still carry around bags, though now it is a camel pack filled with a pocket knife, wallet, gloves, bug spray, bandana, flashlight, and first aid kit.  As teenagers they are more inclined to be prepared for an emergency.

This is not a scientific fact, but, personally, I believe that people want to be prepared. Stuffing a bag full of essentials is one way to do that.  Heck, I have a purse stuffed full with essentials, myself! This personal belief is what made me fall in love with the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project sponsored by Disney!

A Girl Scout troop colors preparedness kits during a Red Cross Pillowcase Project session.

A Girl Scout troop colors preparedness kits during a Red Cross Pillowcase Project session.

The pillowcase project is an emergency preparedness exercise that teaches children grades 3-5 about weather related emergencies, coping mechanisms, and provides them with a “bag” in which to stuff all their essentials.  Instead of an ordinary bag it is a personally decorated, canvas pillowcase. I was very excited about this project, not only as a Red Crosser, but also as a parent.  I signed up right away to be a presenter and am so happy that I did.

My first session was with a group of Girl Scouts from Wooster, Ohio.  To my surprise they were very well-versed in tornado safety.  They already knew the difference between a tornado watch and a warning.  They knew where to go and what to do.  They were very smart cookies (no pun intended)!  However, when we talked about coping mechanisms, none of them really knew what that meant. As a presenter, I was able to introduce them to new ways to deal with fear and anxiety in just a few steps through coping mechanisms like breathing with color or singing their favorite song.  These mechanisms can help on a day-to-day basis and in times of emergency.

When the time came to pass out the pillowcases, we talked about what they would put in their pillowcase.  I asked them to think about the items that they would need in an emergency.  They began to list the items like flashlight, band-aids, batteries, phone charger before they mentioned the important stuff: stuffed animals, pictures of family, and special toys.

It is very important to be prepared for an emergency physically – with all the emergency equipment – but it is equally as important prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Hence the need for a stuffed animal and family photos!

This project is valuable in so many ways.  It is a fun and interactive teaching tool and the take a way is a tangible, touchable, stuffable pillowcase.  My day-to-day tasks don’t usually put me in contact with children, but this project has allowed me to reach out to the children in our community as future Red Crossers, future leaders, volunteers, and emergency personal.  I feel priveledged to be a Pillowcase Presenter.

Katie Myers-Griffith

Executive Director, American Red Cross, Ashland & Wayne Counties, Ohio.