Red Cross thanks its partners in Cambridge

Red Cross of Massachusetts CEO Jarrett Barrios, Disaster Chief Leighton Jones and Nick Herald of the Medical Reserve Corp.

Red Cross of Massachusetts CEO Jarrett Barrios, Disaster Chief Leighton Jones and Nick Herald of the Medical Reserve Corp.

The American Red Cross of Massachusetts owes thanks to the Cambridge Health Alliance and Medical Reserve Corp for their immense help in supporting nearly 40 residents forced out of their home.

A frozen pipe burst at the YWCA on Sunday, flooding the basement. Almost 100 residents were evacuated, and sought shelter that night at the Frisoli Youth Center.

That shelter was relocated on Monday to St. Paul’s AME Church in Cambridge, where several organizations are working together to meet the needs of residents.

Thank you to the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Medical Reserve Corp and St. Paul’s AME Church for your continued support.





Hello from a Red Cross shelter in Maine


rco_blog_img_CaseyAmeriCorps volunteer Casey Levesque is usually found in the Cambridge headquarters of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. This weekend she was in a Red Cross shelter in Ellsworth, Maine, helping those still without power after ice storms moved through. She notes that she spent Christmas, and the two days afterward, in Belfast, where a Red Cross shelter is now closed. With power coming back on in the last of Maine’s rural communities, it’s hoped the last of the Red Cross shelters can close in Maine today.


Red Cross leads shelter training at MEMA

Alex training MEMA on shelter fundamentalsSeptember is winding down, but our minds are still on preparedness.

Today, Red Cross instructor Alex Ellis is helping make sure other agencies are ready for the next big storm.

That’s her, educating staff at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Association on the fundamentals of sheltering.

Want to know more about being ready for anything? Visit RedCross.Org/PrepareMassachusetts.

Five reasons you should download the Hurricane App

There’s a million reasons you should download the American Red Cross Hurricane App.

A million is a lot, though, so we’re going to boil it down to five:

1. With one touch, you can tell everyone in yous social networks you’re safe and sound. No muss, no fuss.

2. You can track the storm without having to physically track the storm. Win-win.

3. It tells you where shelters are located so you don’t have to bother looking it up. BOOM. Info at the palm of your hands.

4. You can take quizzes and win badges, thus avoiding boredom and boosting your ego during the storm.

5. It has a flashlight. And a strobe light. As if that’s not reason enough to download.

Not sold yet? Download it yourself and find out firsthand what all this chit chat is about.

It’s Throwback Thursday!

An American Red Cross volunteer helps a young boy at a shelter.

The American Red Cross is always there when tragedy strikes.  Here, a dedicated American Red Cross volunteer talks to a young boy at a shelter.

Gratitude in Arizona

Members of the Public Affairs Team. From left, Trudy  Thompson-Rice and Dianna Van Horn.

Members of the Public Affairs Team. From left, Trudy Thompson-Rice and Dianna Van Horn.

The moment I landed at the Sky Harbor International Airport, I could sense the gratitude, thick in the air.

Like the Arizona heat, it hit you in the face – smiles from strangers, murmurs of thanks and grateful nods as I rolled my suitcase through the airport. It was then that I remembered I was wearing a Red Cross shirt. Ahh, I get it now.

I got the call last Friday to deploy to Prescott, Arizona, where I would serve as a public affairs supervisor on the Yarnell Wildfire disaster response. My heart fluttering with nervous excitement, I accepted the assignment and spent the next day packing everything – 54 pounds of everything I could possibly need. Better to be prepared, yes?

I departed from Logan Airport on Sunday morning, and the warm welcome in Arizona was a positive start to my first deployment. I met other volunteers at the baggage claim – from Missouri and Minnesota, who swapped disaster stories with pride and wisdom as we waited for our shuttle bus.

We arrived to headquarters – a vacant storefront in a shopping plaza, and quickly got to work. I was greeted by a handful of other communicators – public affairs specialists from California to Florida and many states in between. We made a game plan, grabbed dinner and turned in to our home-away-from home at the Yavapai College. For some of us, it was a dorm room. For myself and a few others, it was a staff shelter shared by volunteers and displaced residents.

The shelter at Yavapai College

The shelter at Yavapai College

Here I am interviewing Flo Hencken at the Individual Assistance Center in Yarnell.

Here I am interviewing Flo Hencken at the Individual Assistance Center in Yarnell.

I awoke slightly jetlagged the next morning, but happy to get going. I was paired with Stan Rosenzweig, a seasoned public affairs volunteer from Salt Lake City. He and I took a winding Route 89 to Yarnell, where we stopped at the Individual Assistance Center.

There, the Red Cross was working with several local and state agencies to address residents’ needs. I met Flo Hencken, a volunteer from Prescott who was directing residents where to go. I watched their interactions. The residents wore tired expressions as Flo explained the next steps, but their responses were always the same: “Thank you for everything. I’m so happy you guys are here.”

That response stretched to Wickenburg, about an hour south of Yarnell, where the Red Cross opened an additional shelter. About 14 residents remained there yesterday, and were entertaining themselves with computers and television when I arrived. I watched volunteers interact with these residents, and was impressed by the comfortable and easy repertoire between them.

Christine Moran, right, chats with Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic.

Christine Moran, right, chats with Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic.

Today I worked alongside Christine Moran, a communicator from Cleveland, at the Yavapai shelter. She and I stood ground to chat with any media that came by. A couple of reporters came through, asking about Red Cross efforts. We then made our way over to the campus performing arts center, where the public could watch a stream of the memorial. The Red Cross supplied bottles of water and boxes of tissues. As you can imagine, both went to good use.

Clients have expressed a lot of gratitude to the Red Cross, but what has surprised me is the praise from outsiders – the servers who bring us coffee, the gas station attendants who ring us up. Each of them has thanked me, thanked the Red Cross for everything it’s doing here. It’s been incredibly touching, and validates everything I’ve heard about Prescott: a tight-knit community with incredible resiliency. I feel fortunate to be here.

Volunteers gathered Monday night to prepare for Tuesday's memorial.

Volunteers gathered Monday night to prepare for Tuesday’s memorial.

Happy Birthday, Red Cross Apps!

My how time flies.

It has been a year since the initiation of the American Red Cross First Aid app, and in that short time period, people across the country have downloaded the now five available apps more than 3 million times. Wowzers, right?

The First Aid app, the most popular of the five, has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times.  After its success, four more apps related to specific disasters were launched: hurricane, earthquake, wildfire and tornado.

During the Oklahoma tornadoes this past May, the Tornado App became the number one free weather app and even rose to number 14 of all free apps, yielding 167,000 new downloads.

Those awaiting the affects of Superstorm Sandy found comfort in the Hurricane App, with one user writing, “While waiting for Hurricane Sandy to arrive, I had no TV updates so this was great to help me.”  The stories and positive feedback from these apps go on, and it is clear that each one provides life-saving information and news to people across the country.

Help celebrate the one year anniversary of these life-saving, user friendly apps and DOWNLOAD THE APPS TODAY!  Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

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