Stay prepared for hurricanes with the Red Cross Hurricane app!

We are getting into the prime of hurricane season and although New England doesn’t experience many hurricanes, it is important to be aware of what you can do to prepare for one.  The Hurricane app developed by the Red Cross is user friendly and perfect for knowing what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.  Download the app and familiarize yourself with all it has to offer before a hurricane is on its way.  

The app opens to the Prepare screen which is further categorized to Right before, During, After, Plan ahead, and Make a plan.  Each category has details on what you should be aware of.  For instance – Right before teaches you the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning, Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations, among other useful tips to note.  There is also a checklist to ensure you are ready in the instance that a hurricane is approaching.  The other categories work very similarly with tips throughout the entire timeline of a hurricane.

Do you want to ensure you know what to do in case of a hurricane?  There are several test options to test your knowledge from the Prepare link.  It’s a quick way to test your knowledge before it is too late.  

There are also options to set your phone up to pull in information for your specific location.  By doing this, be in the know all the time.  You will receive updates from the app if there is a watch or a warning in your area.  You can pick several locations, so if you travel a lot for work, you can receive information for all the locations you select.  Also be aware of the current hurricanes around the nation by clicking the link to Tracker and Weather Map.  

If a hurricane is approaching, it will be handy to know where the Red Cross shelters are located.  This is easily found by clicking on the link at the top labeled Shelters.  The shelters are pinpointed on the map with the name of the location.

You can find all this information and so much more by downloading the app.  Just search Red Cross Hurricane on your smartphone, download, and you’re done!  It’s that easy!  

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Do You Respect a Storm?

When is the last time you thought of a natural disaster? Polls show that 43% of New Englanders are very or somewhat concerned about being in the way of a hurricane. Responding to a storm at the first sign of it will leave you and your family disheveled and even in danger. Imagine the panic that will overcome you when you decide to make a dash to the stores for supplies and the shelves are basically empty. Then take into perspective the feeling of helplessness and danger that will consume your family should disaster strike. The fact of the matter is you have to respect a storm. You may ask yourself, “How can I possibly respect a storm?” The answer is simple: be prepared.

Out of the 43% of people that are concerned about being in a hurricane only 27% have taken the steps to be prepared. 1 in 3 east coast residents does not have an emergency kit, 1 in 2 don’t have a plan for communicating with family if they become separated in an emergency, and 3 in 10 have no clue where to stay in case of an evacuation.

There are very simple steps a family can take to prepare for a storm, and the Red Cross has more than enough tools for information on how to be prepared. It is as easy as downloading Hurricane, Flood, and First Aid apps (to name a few) on your Smartphone. Other preparedness tips can be accessed by doing a keyword search (like: Hurricane) at redcross.org leading you directly to these resources!

Hurricane season should not include impeding symptoms of anxiety on your-self. So, keep calm and be prepared by having an emergency kit, make a plan for you and your family, and stay informed.

My First Volunteer Assignment with the Red Cross – Revere Tornado

Post from guest blogger and Red Cross volunteer Dana Rosengard

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My first Red Cross volunteer assignment is just a bunch of subway stops away from my home in Boston but in a city I do not think I have ever visited: Revere.  I brought phone power chord, camera battery-charger, and the cable to connect my camera to a computer, all things I usually leave home without. Four hours later I have a mental list building of things to bring next time. But the mechanics are forgotten when you start to meet and talk to the people we are helping. Yes they need our tarps and brooms. Yes they want our toothbrushes and soap. Mostly though, they need and want our ears and our shoulders. Listening and letting them lean on us a bit is what seems most needed the day after this surprise tornado just outside Boston.  I want an official Red Cross vest and I need an official I.D. or badge of some sort but mostly I’m grateful to be of help and to now really be part of the American Red Cross team.

— Dana Rosengard, Red Cross volunteer and Advanced Public Affairs Team member

Celebrate your Independence Safely this July 4th

It’s that time of year again, grilles are prepped with new propane tanks, stores sell out of charcoal, ice, and cook out food, people clean there pools and set up various firework viewing plans. Every Independence Day seems remarkably similar to the last in style, yet each new year brings countless new memories spent with family and loved ones. This year the Red Cross advizes communities on how to keep those memories positive and avoid potential disasters by spreading safety tips for all of peoples favorite 4th of July activities.

For those who wish to celebrate their independence at the beach:

1.If someone plans to swim in the ocean, they should always check weather conditions before going in the water.
2.Swim only at a lifeguard protected beach, within the designated swimming area and listen to all lifeguard instructions.
3.Always swim with a buddy and always swim sober.
4.Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
5.Everyone should enter the water feet first if they can’t see the bottom or don’t know how deep the water is.
6.Be aware of the danger of rip currents. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. When free, turn and swim toward shore. If unable to swim to the shore, call out for help, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
7.Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
8.Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
9.Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
10.Wear beach shoes. The sand is hot and can burn someone’s feet and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

To the celebrators who prefer to spend their time poolside:

1.Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
2.Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
3.Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
4.Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
5.Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
6.Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
7.For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
8.Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
9.Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
10.Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

For those who are traveling to their favorite Independence Day destinations:

HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

1.Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
2.Do not drink and drive.
3.Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
4.Use caution in work zones.
5.Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:

1.Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
2.Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
3.Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
4.Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
5.Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

1.Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
2.Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
3.Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
4.Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
5.Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

Aside from these tips, the Red Cross also now has several apps for all occasions, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps for more information.

Have a blast this Independence Day, and stay safe!

“100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” Campaign

The Red Cross is launching a new campaign this summer “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” reminds everyone the need for blood is constant, even during the summer. There are about two fewer donors at every blood drive between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.

All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.  People can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information or to make a donation appointment.

People can also help those in need by making a financial donation this summer to help the Red Cross respond when disaster threatens.  Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster somewhere in this country.  During the summer, the Red Cross responds to hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

The Red Cross also holds classes in CPR and First Aid so that people have the knowledge and confidence when an emergency occurs.

There is a way for everyone to get involved in 100 Days of Summer.  100 Days of Hope.  Find your way to get involved at redcross.org!

Response to Balkans Flooding

The American Red Cross has contributed a total of $400,000 towards the relief efforts of the Balkans. Humanitarian needs in the Balkans include provision of emergency shelter, food, relief items, safe drinking water, and hygiene items, emotional support, as well as reconnecting family members.

In May, three months’ worth of rainfall poured over the Balkans region in just three days.  This affected Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.  About 40 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina was under water.  As of May 27, nearly 3.1 million people were affected by the floods and landslides including 60 people who lost their lives.  Almost 100,000 people have been evacuated.

Opening of the Lawrence Office

On May 28, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts celebrated the grand opening of the Lawrence Office with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Many people from the community were there to celebrate the event including Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera who spoke. Also in attendance were Chief Disaster Officer Leighton Jones, Fire Chief John Marsh, and Disaster Program Manager Deb Duxbury.

Duxbury and her team, who were based out of Haverhill, had been working since March 31 to make the move to the 60 Island Street location in Lawrence.  During this time volunteers have been running CPR classes, volunteer training courses, and limited programming.  Now that the official opening has occured, the team can proceed with the programs which require state licensing such as Certified Nurse Assistance training.  One of the goals of the new location is to increase the volunteer base since it is easy to walk to and accessible by train. 

 

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