Another holiday season – another holiday door decorating contest

And more entertaining comments from the judge

By John Bernard,  Crossroads Division Disaster State Relationship Director

(Editor’s note: The winner of the annual Northeast Ohio Region Disaster Cycle Services (DCS) Holiday Door Decorating Contest has been announced by John Bernard, the Crossroads Division Disaster State Relationship Director.  Like last year, we found his comments to be so entertaining that we are including them, along with photos of all 9 doors entered in this year’s competition.)

door 1Emily Probst, Regional Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager
Dept of Misfits.  This is Mike Park’s office door isn’t it? But, I zoom in and see a bunch what I think are disaster personnel.  Tim as Santa Claus. That fits, given his RDO (Regional Disaster Officer) exception rate! There’s Renee as Bumble. Not sure who did this door– but Renee – you do realize they pushed Bumble over a cliff and later removed his teeth a la Old West style?

door 2Debbie Chitester, Disaster Program Manager, Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Santa Down the Chimney.  Wonderful use of space – vertical door/chimney– Santa. Kicked it three dimensional with the smoke alarms.  Kind of ironic, isn’t it; smoke alarms down the chimney?

door 3Renee Palagyi, Senior Regional Disaster Program Manager
Birth of Hope.  To quote the late, great Stan Lee, “’Nuff said.”

 

door 4Mike Arthur, Disaster Program Manager, Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter South 
Oh wait, THIS is Mike’s door. Nope, couldn’t be, otherwise it would be white with an orange stripe and a star on it.

 

door 5Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer, AKA Batman
What am I seeing here?  Is this like Halloween costumes tacked up on a door?  Can’t decide if the door is a chimney Santa is scaling up or he’s going Airborne and parachuting with a quick release on his pack before he hits the dirt.  I was going to make Buffalo Bill/Silence of the Lambs reference but thought that might be too dark.  Moving on…..

door 6Jeremy Bayer, Disaster Program Manager, Greater Cleveland Chapter
Ah, the good ole “Wrap the door as a present – wait, it needs more – here, let me hot glue this Christmas stuff up there – perfect” routine.  This just screams “I spend an inordinate amount of time at Hobby Lobby and they call by my nickname at the checkout – ‘Craft-alicious.’”

door 7John Gareis, Regional Preparedness Manager
A Christmas Story. First off, you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing.  Second, you can expect that ATS (American red Cross Training Services) will release “How to stay safe and healthy during the Holiday Season” talking points two weeks AFTER someone has injured their tongue by sticking it to a frozen light post.

door 8Rick Whitehead, Regional Community Partner and EMA Manager
Aloha.  How very Christmas-y.  The three stockings really bring it home, ya know?  Can you feel the eye-rolling from Cincinnati?

door 9
Tim Reichel, Disaster Program Manager, Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter
Wow – two actual elves.  They sure do look seasoned…..I mean, seasonal.  I can see they took a long time to tape up that red table cloth left over from the Regional Training Institute and then add some basic Christmas stuff.

So, that’s the overview.  Now for round 2.

  1. Credit for tying the holiday to the team – build camaraderie! It’s in the TOP 3!
  2. I count four smoke alarms for that one house.  It’s supposed to be 2.5 per house.  You’re not fooling anyone, Gareis!  I’m ratting you out.  TWO POINT FIVE!
  3. As a believer in Hope, this entry took some consideration; it is, after all, the reason for the season.  What I arrived at is this; like the baby born in the manger, this door – because of its message – is set apart and therefore above judgment.
  4. 8.5 x11 worth of printed out Christmas.  Minimal effort – minimal comment.  Better hope this isn’t tied to your merit increase!

Hands down, A Christmas Story wins it! You knew it when you did it.  Fantastic job!  Second place, is the Department of Misfits! Third place – against my better judgment – Santa down the chimney…2.5.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

JB

Partners at Lincoln Electric, Euclid Fire Department Help Make Homes Safer

Hundreds of smoke alarms installed during the company’s fourth annual effort

Madison Miller was wearing big rubber gloves – pink, her favorite color – as she helped her mommy clean the house, when she heard a knock on the door.  Outside, four workers from Lincoln Electric asked if they could come in and help make her Euclid home safer.  They were volunteering with the American Red Cross on Saturday, August 4th, as part of a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event.

Madison’s mother, LaceJavone Hill was happy to receive the volunteers, who installed a free smoke alarm on each floor of her home.  The volunteers also told Madison and her mom how to create an escape plan.

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Madison Miller, 6 and her mom LaceJavone Hill

“What you’re really doing is providing an opportunity to save someone’s life,” said Chris Mapes, Chairman, President and CEO of Lincoln Electric, as he rallied the troops before they fanned out across the community.  “You probably didn’t think you’d be spending your Saturday afternoon saving lives.  But that’s what this is all about.”

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Chris Mapes speaks with Lincoln Electric volunteers

It was the fourth year in a row that Lincoln Electric employees and interns volunteered to install smoke alarms and provide fire safety information to residents in the community the company calls home.  This year, nearly 70 interns and employees volunteered for the Sound the Alarm event.

“The first year there were 30.  The next, 40.  Last year there were 50 Lincoln Electric volunteers.  Today, 68 of you are here,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. “Over the last four years, we’ll have installed well over 1,250 alarms in the city of Euclid, making close to 450 homes safer.  You are not only saving lives, you are making this community become more resilient.”

Before the smoke alarm installations took place, the volunteers gathered in the cafeteria at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School on Lakeshore Boulevard, where they were fed pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, barbecued in the parking lot by Euclid Fire Chief Chris Haddock, who expressed his appreciation for the work that was about to take place.

“As the fire department, on a daily basis throughout the year we install smoke alarms,” said the chief.  “But you guys will do more today than we will do all year long.  So you’re really making a difference.”

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Volunteer Justin Grabinski tests the alarm he installed in a Euclid home

By the end of the event, 373 smoke alarms had been installed, making 141 homes safer —including young Madison’s home.  And while the alarms should be tested every month, they are designed to last 10 years without a battery change.

Residents throughout Northeast Ohio can request smoke alarms by visiting soundthealarm.org/neo.  And those interested in helping make homes safer, like the Lincoln Electric employees did last Saturday, can apply to become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting redcross.org/neo, and clicking the volunteer tab.

See our photo album of the Lincoln Electric Sound the Alarm event on Flicker.  The pre-event “pep rally,” featuring the comments of Chris Mapes, Mike Parks, Chief Haddock, Euclid Mayor Kirsten Gail, and Red Cross Regional Disaster Program Officer Tim O’Toole were streamed live on our Facebook page, where it may still be viewed .

 

Carbon Monoxide Kills, Alarms Save Lives

 

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Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

Winter has finally decided to show up. With it has come deep snow in most areas of our region, and cold temperatures.

Given the increase in the number of carbon monoxide emergencies during cold snaps (like in this story), we want to remind you to exercise caution when heating your home.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless and silent killer that, nationally, claims hundreds of lives each year. A threat year round, carbon monoxide poisoning tends to increase when storms and power outages force people to turn to unsafe alternative heat sources such as fuel-burning appliances, gas generators, camp stoves and charcoal grills and use them in confined spaces.

The best way to keep your family safe during this time is to install carbon monoxide alarms and learn how to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Every home should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in addition to their smoke alarms,” said Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. “If there is only one carbon monoxide detector, it should be in or near sleeping areas. Both carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are relatively inexpensive and easy-to-maintain devices that have been proven to save lives. There are even models that feature a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.”

Follow these safety recommendations:

  • Furnaces and other natural gas fired appliances should be serviced once a year.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas (avoid corners where air does not circulate). Test the alarm every month.
  • Have heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually, checking for blockages, corrosion, and partial and complete disconnections.
  • Never use a generator, grill or camp stove inside a home, garage or basement.
  • Do not use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move quickly to a fresh air location, and then call 9-1-1.
  • Treat the alarm signal as a real emergency each time. If the alarm sounds and you are not experiencing any symptoms described above, press the reset button. If the alarm continues to sound, call the fire department.

Download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.

New Disaster Ops Chief Brings Wealth of Experience To Region

Will Lead Response To All Disasters in Northeast Ohio

Tim O’Toole, who recently retired as Assistant Chief of Operations for the Cleveland Division of Fire, is the new Disaster Program Officer for the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region.

O’Toole served the city of Cleveland for almost 35 years in various positions of responsibility, including Chief of Staff and Acting Division Chief for the Cleveland Fire Department, and was named the first Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, under then-mayor Michael R. White, in response to the events of September 11, 2001.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a disaster program manager with such vast experience,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region. “Chief O’Toole’s extensive background in disaster preparedness and emergency management will benefit the 4.5 million people who live in the 22 counties we serve.  His leadership and experience fit perfectly with the mission of the American Red Cross: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Among the major emergencies Tim responded to and managed were the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, preparation for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the massive blackout of 2003.  He has also been involved with training for most of the disaster drills that have been staged in Cleveland over the past several years.

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One such drill was held at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on September 19.  Volunteers and staff from the American Red Cross provided support at the Emergency Operations Center, and staffed the Family Assistance Center, where participants role-played as loved ones concerned about the fate of the “victims” of the mock air disaster.

As Regional Disaster Officer, O’Toole will lead all American Red Cross responses to disasters of any scale in Northeast Ohio, by mobilizing the community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.  He will also continue to develop and support volunteers, who serve as the primary disaster-response workforce.

If you are interested in volunteering to respond to disasters in your community and beyond, please visit our website: www.redcross.org/neo and click on “Volunteer” on the left side of the screen. You will be dropped directly into the application process. You may also call 216-431-3328 or email, NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.