From Hurricanes to Home Fires – Get Prepared in September

Hurricane Harvey 2017By now you know may think that you know all about hurricanes — massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring now, between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

It may seem like you’re well versed on basic preparedness tips, such as:

  • Know where to go if ordered to evacuate.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.

And with Ohio not being a coastal state, you may feel that you don’t have to worry about any of these things!

But you should.

Hurricane Harvey 2017Coming right smack in the middle of the peak of Hurricane season, is Preparedness Month. Celebrated every September, it is the perfect time for you, your family, and your community learn how to BE PREPARED.

Prepare for the things you may experience as an Ohioan: tornadoes, flooding, extreme winter weather, power outages, or a home fire.

Step one:
Build a Kit or Do an Annual Supply Check

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Waterone gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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.

NEO Holds 2nd Annual Training Institute

You can’t have confidence unless you are prepared. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden, legendary UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach


Aloha i ka mokupuni o ka hoʻonaʻauao. Welcome to the island of learning.

2017 NEOTI

Preparedness is a key goal for the Red Cross. We are constantly striving to prepare our communities, our homes, and our staff to respond to emergencies.

We, as an organization, expect our volunteers to be ready to heed the call to action! That means education before an event occurs.

From Wednesday, May 10 through Saturday, May 13 over 125 individuals from all over Ohio and West Virginia gathered at the second annual Northeast Ohio Training Institute (NEOTI) at the Akron office. The theme of this year’s institute was Aloha, or “welcome” in Hawaiian.

The institute gives us the chance to offer key leadership courses that may not be available during the year, as well as basic courses for those new to the organization.

This year’s course offerings included: Shelter Fundamentals, Disaster Assessment Fundamentals, Client Casework Workshop, Disaster Mental Health Fundamentals, Psychological First Aid, Disaster Response Management Simulation, a class on driving the large Red Cross Emergency Trucks, and Everyone’s Welcome (a course highlighting our commitment to diverse populations).

By Saturday, 317 certificates were issued to those who attended.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross in northeast Ohio, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER.

Click below to see our 2017 NEOTI photo album.NEOTI 2017

Magics Learn Disaster Safety

Hurricane Season begins June 1.

And while that usually (usually!) isn’t a major factor when planning for Northeast Ohio weather, we do have plenty of disasters that we need to be aware of and plan for, here in NEO.

To that end, the Red Cross continues to help children in our communities learn about disasters that can (and do!) happen in NEO through our Pillowcase Project.

Nearly 300 students at Barberton Elementary School West had the opportunity to learn more about home fire safety and winter weather safety when kids from third to fifth grade participated in the program in February.

The volunteer team leading the education portion included members of the Advancement to Nursing program, high school students from Barberton and the surrounding communities.

To learn more about how to host the Pillowcase Program at your school, click here.

March is Red Cross Month

Cleveland Mayor Issues Proclamation; Terminal Tower Bathed in Red

giving_day_thank_you_b_1200x1200_final1We at the American Red Cross are recognizing the country’s everyday heroes during Red Cross Month.

March is Red Cross Month, the perfect time to honor our Red Cross volunteers, blood donors and financial contributors who bring hope to people facing life’s emergencies,” said Mike Parks, CEO, Northeast Ohio Region.  “During Red Cross Month, we thank them for their tremendous support.”

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for more than 70 years. All of our presidents have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has issued a proclamation recognizing March as Red Cross Month as well.

mircm-jackson-proclamation

And the iconic Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland was bathed in red light to mark the start of Red Cross month on March 1st.

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Volunteers and staff members in Tremont, with the Terminal Tower in the background.  The building was lit in red to recognize March as Red Cross Month.    Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. Every eight minutes, Red Cross disaster workers respond to a community disaster, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. We provide 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. Nearly 14,000 donations of blood must be collected every day to meet patient needs. We train millions of people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills. And we support the vaccination of children around the globe against measles and rubella.

In fiscal year 2016, the Northeast Ohio Region responded to 967 local emergencies, assisted 1,641 members of the military and their families and trained 64,598 people in lifesaving skills. And people from this area donated 144,089 units of blood.

“It’s easy to become a Red Cross community hero,” said Parks. “Be ready for an emergency by creating a preparedness plan for your home. Test your smoke alarms and tell your neighbors to do the same. Or sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer or make a financial donation.”

More information about how people can support the organization is available on redcross.org/neo. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

 

 

Red Cross Volunteers Credited with Saving Man’s Life

Performed CPR, Used AED to Save a Man at the Wayne County Fair

Farm animals. Funnel cakes. First Aid.

All are traditions of the Wayne County Fair.

The Red Cross has been providing first aid to fair goers for more than 60  years, as a service to the community.  This year, that service helped save at least one life.

A man attending the fair on Monday, September 12, suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed. Red Cross first aid workers rushed to perform CPR. They also applied a newly-acquired AED (automated external defibrillator) while awaiting the arrival of Wayne County EMS personnel.

The man survived.  “The ER staff said the Red Cross saved his life, as there was no way he would have made it if he had to wait for the squad to reach him inside the fairgrounds,” said Lara Kiefer, Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

Captain Doug Hunter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s office also credited the Red Cross crew, in a video posted on Facebook.  Capt. Hunter said, ” I want to recognize the life-saving efforts of the representatives of the Wayne County Red Cross.” He continued,
“They frantically started doing what they are trained to do and tried to revive this man.”  He went on to describe the use of the AED.  “It was not looking good folks. I had pretty much written this man off as not going to survive, but they kept going.”

Captain Hunter also credits a nurse from the Wooster Community Hospital for assisting.

“It was truly a remarkable moment,” Captain Hunter said, in describing the moment the man first showed signs of life. “The people from the Red Cross at the Wayne County Fairgrounds saved this man’s life.”

Most first aid requests involve far less serious ailments, but the service provided by the Red Cross was deemed so important, a facility was built on the fairgrounds for use as a first aid station during the run of the fair every year.

About 120,000 people attend the Wayne County Fair, and the Red Cross provides first aid service free of charge.  Red Cross first aid workers respond to 200-300 incidents each year.  Taxpayer money is saved, by reducing the number of calls made to 911.

Our first aid service at the fair has been valued at approximately $20,000.

But for the man who suffered cardiac arrest on Monday, no value can be placed on the life-saving skills of the Red Cross first aid responders.

You can learn the same life-saving skills employed by the Red Cross by taking a class, to learn First Aid, CPR and AED. Training for other skills, such as babysitting and swimming and water safety are also offered. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass.

Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

Fire Drives Residents from Home, Draws Red Cross Workers for Help

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This resident of a home on E. 82nd St. in Cleveland received Red Cross assistance, including money to buy shoes, after fleeing his burning home in bare feet.

He stood in his bare feet as he watched his home burn.  The man, one of three residents of a multi-family house on E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, was awakened by firefighters pounding on his door just after dawn Monday morning, and fled with no shoes or socks on his feet.

Two other residents,  Therens Vitanzan and Larry Anderson also escaped.  All three received financial assistance from the Red Cross, to help them with their immediate needs; a safe place to stay, a warm meal, and for one of the residents, shoes.

“That’s why we go,” said Disaster Program Manager Jeremy Bayer of the Greater Cleveland Chapter. “People who just lost their home, all their possessions, they need our help and the hope we can give them during their darkest hour.”

In addition to financial aid, the suddenly homeless residents received a small plastic bag filled with personal items like a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.

Mr. Vitanzan, who was wrapped in a blanket, sat quietly in a van that doubles as an intake office at disaster locations, while Walter Reddick, a Red Cross volunteer, offered what comfort he could.  Walter also helped Mr. Anderson, who was grateful to escape from his burning home with his prized possession: his guitar.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

In the coming days, all three residents will receive follow-up care from Red Cross case workers, who will help them develop a plan for recovery from the fire that forced them from their homes.

They were fortunate to escape without suffering serious injuries.Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. Seven times a day, someone in this country dies in a home fire.

Incidents like this highlight the importance of having working smoke alarms in every residence in Northeast Ohio, and the Red Cross is ready, willing and able to install free smoke alarms and provide valuable fire safety information to residents in their homes. Northeast Ohio residents can visit the Operation Save-A-Life website to contact their local Red Cross chapter and schedule an appointment for a free home safety inspection, free smoke alarms and free installation.

It’s our goal to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25% over a five-year period.  Last year,  the Red Cross and its partners saved at least 102 lives as part of its nationwide Home Fire Campaign, and in Northeast Ohio, 12 lives were saved and more than 12,500 free smoke alarms were installed in homes throughout the Region.