Friday, April 30, 2010

Profile: AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Kellie Mieremet


Few people truly dedicate their lives and work to others the way that Kellie Mieremet does. Guided by her personal mission to make a difference, Kellie manages the volunteer program at the American Red Cross. She is a volunteer through the Be Ready Utah AmeriCorps VISTA program, placed at the Red Cross. VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America, and its members serve to build capacity in an organization, and dedicate a year of volunteer service.

Prior to starting her position at the Red Cross, Kellie worked in higher education organizing service learning and civic engagement programs for college students. For four years Kellie worked at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado arranging service sites for 120 college students each quarter. After moving back home to Salt Lake City, Utah to be closer to her family, Kellie continued her work in higher education with an organization called Utah Campus Compact. While there, she served a nine month position facilitating service learning and volunteer placement with all the colleges and universities in the state of Utah.

After years of placing students in AmeriCorps volunteer positions, Kellie knew and loved the program and wanted to become a member herself. She looked for positions in volunteer management and found that the VISTA program was hiring at the Red Cross. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Kellie’s main roles are to build a larger and stronger volunteer base, develop and maintain lasting programs and create a more streamlined process for volunteer management. Another goal is to create a sustainable system that will maintain long after her year at the Red Cross is over.

Working with volunteers has had a dramatic impact on Kellie. “Everyday I am inspired by the dedication and commitment volunteers bring to this organization,” Kellie said. Many volunteers are here everyday or on call everyday in order to carry out the mission of the Red Cross. “These people give of their time, talents, and treasures to serve the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross,” Kellie said.

Whether it is a student or a volunteer, Kellie’s passion is to make a difference in the lives of those she serves. Her remarkable work with the Red Cross has only solidified this passion. While her position with VISTA will be over at the end of June, Kellie stated, “I will be a Red Cross volunteer for life.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Disaster Preparedness for your Pet




Have you ever thought about what you will do with your pets when a disaster or emergency happens? Does your family emergency plan include your pets? Does your 72-hour kit include pet supplies?

The American Red Cross Pet First Aid Checklist can help you care for your pets during an emergency and plan ahead for your pet’s safety.

Items to include in a Pet Disaster Supplies Kit:
• Your pets’ medications and medical records
• Sturdy leashes, harness, and/or carriers for transport
• Current photos of your pets in case they get lost
• Food, potable water, bowls, etc
• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behaviors problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
• Pet bed or toys if easily transportable


For more information check out our website www.utahredcross.org

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Northern Utah Chapter recognizes Heroes


The Northern Utah Chapter will host their annual Heroes event on Tuesday, May 11, 2010.

Each year, the Red Cross Chapter recognizes local heroes for their outstanding contributions at the annual Heroes event.

The American Red Cross is proud to honor nine heroes in the community. Award recipients include a 19 year old who pulled a two-year old out of a car submerged in water. He performed CPR and was able to save the child's life! John A and Telitha E Lindquist will also be honored for their lifetime commitment to the community, Tom and Nancy Davidson for their lifetime commitment to the American Red Cross as well as other heroes who have responded in times of need.

The event will take place at 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on May 11, 2010 at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center. Don't miss this heart-warming and inspirational event. Ticket information can be found on online at www.redcrossutah.org or call 801-627-0000. Sponsors are welcome, please call for details.

American Red Cross of Northern Utah
2955 Harrison Blvd., Suite 204, Ogden, UT 84403,
or via e-mail to stephaniec@redcrossutah.org

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Red Cross Assists 2 Injured by Fire Overnight


Salt Lake City, Utah (Tuesday, April 27,2010)— The American Red Cross responded to a house fire in the 700 block of 1700 South just after midnight. Two individuals were injured in the fire and taken to the hospital. Disaster Action Team members offered the individuals shelter upon their release from the hospital and the Red Cross will follow up with them to offer help with any other immediate essential needs today.

Red Cross Chapters in Utah responded to 114 disasters last year. Some of them rendering multiple families homeless. Nationwide, the American Red Cross’s local chapters help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing, emotional support and other life necessities. Volunteers give comfort kits to victims of fire, flood or other disasters. The kits include helpful items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a toy for children.

How you can help:
Help people affected by disasters like this fire by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or your local Chapter. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Learn more www.utahredcross.org.

Youtube Videos

Be Prepared!!!!!

video

For more videos like this one check out our Youtube site.

For earthquake preparedness tips and a 72-hour kit checklist visit our website.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The American Red Cross Responds to an Apartment Fire


Last week the American Red Cross opened a shelter to 19 individuals affected by a duplex fire on Thursday April 22nd at 4 p.m. in Salt Lake City.

A total of 19 individuals spent the night in the shelter and the Red Cross provided them with comfort, care, shelter, meals and items for infant care such as diapers, milk and juice.

Twenty-six Red Cross volunteers participated in this shelter operation set up, management and casework for the adults and many children affected. One of these volunteers, Kris Hirschbeck, sat with the four children who had to run out of their house without shoes when the fire started.

When sitting with the kids, Kris noted that they were not concerned with the destruction of their material possessions. Rather, they were worried about whether or not they could finish the year at the same school and if their family was okay. “The neighborhood was really pulling for the kids, coming over to ask if they could help, I was happy to be a part of that,” Kris said.

The total numbers of individuals affected was six adults, four teens and eight children.

Nine individuals returned to their home the following day. The utilities were restored in one side of the duplex and disaster clean-up efforts are underway.
Ten individuals were not able to return to their home due to the damage caused by the fire, but they made plans to stay with family and friends.

The Red Cross also helped the individuals with some immediate clothing needs and connections to other community partner agencies and charities if long term assistance is needed.

Kris loved being with the kids and being able to help, “It’s a good feeling to help people, it makes it worth all of the hard work.”

The American Red Cross also responded to a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The American Red Cross responded to a fire just after midnight. Two individuals were injured in the fire and taken to the hospital. Disaster Action Team members offered the individuals shelter upon their release from the hospital and the Red Cross will follow up with them to offer help with any other immediate essential needs today.

Red Cross Chapters in Utah responded to 114 disasters last year. Some of them rendering multiple families homeless. Nationwide, the American Red Cross’s local chapters help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing, emotional support and other life necessities. Volunteers give comfort kits to victims of fire, flood or other disasters. The kits include helpful items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a toy for children.

How you can help:
Help people affected by disasters like this fire by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or your local Chapter. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Learn more www.utahredcross.org.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Cross offers help to 12 people after fourplex fire


SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 4:15 a.m.)— The American Red Cross is offering help to ten adults and two children this morning after a fourplex fire in West Valley at approximately 4800 West 4100 South. Red Cross disaster action team members are on the scene at this hour to assess the immediate essential needs of the 12 people affected and to offer items like food, clothing and shelter. More information will be available soon. This is the second fire the Red Cross has responded to in 24 hours. Yesterday's early morning apartment fire affected a family of seven on Riverside Drive in Salt Lake.

Red Cross Chapters in Utah responded to 114 disasters last year. Some of them rendering multiple families homeless. Nationwide, the American Red Cross’s local chapters help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing, emotional support and other life necessities. Volunteers give comfort kits to victims of fire, flood or other disasters. The kits include helpful items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a toy for children.

How you can help:

Help people affected by disasters like this fire by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or your local Chapter. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Learn more www.utahredcross.org.

My what a busy week; Thank you DAT volunteers!!



It has been a crazy week for the Salt Lake Area Chapter and it’s only Wednesday. This week our awesome DAT (Disaster Action Team) volunteers have responded to THREE fires.

On Friday night a duplex caught on fire displacing two families from Somalia. A shelter was set up in order to provide 19 family members with immediate needs such as food, clothing, and water. The Red Cross worked with other agencies over the weekend as well in order to provide individuals and families with any long term needs.

After a fire on Tuesday, a family with five children was displaced and the Red Cross was able to provide them with immediate needs.

In the early hours of this morning, a fire destroyed an entire apartment complex leaving 12 people displaced, ten adults and two kids. Any immediate needs will be met by the Red Cross including a possible shelter opening for the night.

Thank you to all the volunteers who were on the scene helping or on call and ready to help when needed. We at the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter are so grateful for the hard work you do and all of the hours you put in. The work you do is incredible and a huge asset to the community.

To be involved as a Red Cross volunteer contact our office 801-323-7000 or volunteer@utahredcross.org.

For fire safety tips and ways you can be prepared at your own home in case of a fire click HERE

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's a Great Day to Be a Volunteer


Yesterday was the start of National Volunteer Week. We are truly blessed here at the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross with extraordinary volunteers who do extraordinary things for their community’s everyday.

I feel humbled and honored to be a part of such an amazing group of individuals who are dedicated to preparing our state for emergencies and providing relief to individuals affected by disaster.

The simple things make all the difference. Not everyone can respond to the disasters when they occur, but here at the Red Cross we have individuals on call every week, willing to respond at any time of the day or night.

Our incredible Records Manager is Wendy Griffin. She volunteers full time inputting class records and training new volunteers. Her hard work is a valuable asset to this organization and we would not be able to thrive without her.

Countless volunteers are in the office all day, working hard for no pay. They sacrifice their time and sometimes sanity to do the work that allows volunteers to deploy to national disasters, engage new volunteers, organize paperwork, and enter donations that come in the mail, input data, and a myriad of other tasks.

Even more volunteers are on e-mail lists, ready to respond if we need their photography skills at a house fire, their second language skills to help translate for families, their time to educate the community.

And thousands more volunteers are trained in life-saving skills such as CPR and First Aid. They are ready to respond if someone is choking at a restaurant or someone in their household has a heart attack.

I am lucky to be surrounded by these individuals everyday. And if I could manage I would thank each one of you personally. So any volunteers reading this blog: THANK YOU!! The Red Cross is lucky to have you.

Check out our website for more information about Volunteer Week.

All volunteers receive a discount at the Red Cross Store, through May 15th, use the code Volunteer2010.

All volunteers with Crossnet Access can print a 15% off coupon for Macy's Department Store.

Questions? Contact our volunteer coordinator Kellie Mieremet at 801-323-7023.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earthquake News!

Since Utah had an earthquake last week, we have had a lot of calls here at the Red Cross about people wanting information on Earthquake Safety.

I think it is very important for everyone to be aware of how to Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed.

This post is meant to get you prepared with the information and tools you need.

I challenge each and everyone to put together their very own 72-hour Kit!
Happy Preparing!!

Click HERE for an awesome resource about Earthquakes here in Utah that was published.

Click HERE for the Be Red Cross Ready checklist.

Click HERE for a one page checklist on Earthquake Safety

Also, here are a few links to newscasts about being prepared that aired this past weekend. Check them out for extra tips as well.

KSL broadcast

FOX News broadcast

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Triangle Method: What the Red Cross has to say!





Have you heard about the Triangle of Life Method?

Lately I have been doing a lot of Earthquake presentations on how to be prepared when and if an earthquake were to happen here in Utah. As you all know we live in "Earthquake Country." So it wouldn't be surprising if a big earthquake were to happen here.

During some of the presentations, there have been questions about the Triangle of Life Method. When first asked about it I had never heard of it.

I did my research however, and found this article about what the Red Cross says about themethod.

Here is the article in its entirety.


American Red Cross response to "Triangle of Life" by Doug Copp
Sent from
Rocky Lopes, PhD
Manager, Community Disaster Education
American Red Cross National Headquarters
Recently it has been brought to my attention that an email from Doug Copp, titled "Triangle of Life," is making its rounds again on the Internet. "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is CORRECT, accurate, and APPROPRIATE for use in the United States for Earthquake safety. Mr. Copp's assertions in his message that everyone is always crushed if they get under something is incorrect.
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Recently, the American Red Cross became aware of a challenge to the earthquake safety advice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." This is according to information from Mr. Doug Copp, the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of American Rescue Team International (a private company not affiliated with the U.S. Government or other agency.) He says that going underneath objects during an earthquake [as in children being told to get under their desks at school] is very dangerous, and fatal should the building collapse in a strong earthquake. He also states that "everyone who gets under a doorway when a building collapses is killed." He further states that "if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, to roll out of bed next to it," and he also says that "If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair." These recommendations are inaccurate for application in the United States and inconsistent with information developed through earthquake research. Mr. Copp based his statements on observations of damage to buildings after an earthquake in Turkey. It is like "apples and oranges" to compare building construction standards, techniques, engineering principles, and construction materials between Turkey and the United States.

We at the American Red Cross have studied the research on the topic of earthquake safety for many years. We have benefited from extensive research done by the California Office of Emergency Services, California Seismic Safety Commission, professional and academic research organizations, and emergency management agencies, who have also studied the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" during the shaking of an earthquake. Personally, I have also benefited from those who preceded me in doing earthquake education in California since the Field Act was passed in 1933.

What the claims made by Mr. Copp of ARTI, Inc., does not seem to distinguish is that the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" is a U.S.-based recommendation based on U.S. Building Codes and construction standards. Much research in the United States has confirmed that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" has saved lives in the United States. Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few buildings collapse or "pancake" in the U.S. as they might do in other countries. Using a web site to show one picture of one U.S. building that had a partial collapse after a major quake in an area with thousands of buildings that did not collapse during the same quake is inappropriate and misleading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collects data on injuries and deaths from all reportable causes in the U.S., as well as data from three University-based studies performed after the Loma Prieta (September, 1989) and Northridge (January, 1994) earthquakes in California, the following data are indicated: Loma Prieta: 63 deaths, approximately 3,700 people were injured. Most injuries happened as a result of the collapse of the Cypress Street section of I-880 in Oakland. Northridge: 57 deaths, 1,500 serious injuries. Most injuries were from falls caused by people trying to get out of their homes, or serious cuts and broken bones when people ran, barefooted, over broken glass (the earthquake happened in the early morning on a federal holiday when many people were still in bed.) There were millions of people in each of these earthquake-affected areas, and of those millions, many of them reported to have "dropped, covered, and held on" during the shaking of the earthquake.

We contend that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" indeed SAVED lives, not killed people. Because the research continues to demonstrate that, in the U.S., "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" works, the American Red Cross remains behind that recommendation. It is the simplest, reliable, and easiest method to teach people, including children.

The American Red Cross has not recommended use of a doorway for earthquake protection for more than a decade. The problem is that many doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a building, and may not offer protection. Also, simply put, doorways are not suitable for more than one person at a time.

The Red Cross, remaining consistent with the information published in "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages," (visit http://www.disastereducation.org/guide.html ) states that if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, remain there. Rolling out of bed may lead to being injured by debris on the floor next to the bed. If you have done a good job of earthquake mitigation (that is, removing pictures or mirrors that could fall on a bed; anchoring tall bedroom furniture to wall studs, and the like), then you are safer to stay in bed rather than roll out of it during the shaking of an earthquake.

Also, the Red Cross strongly advises not try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape. Identifying potential "void areas" and planning on using them for earthquake protection is more difficult to teach, and hard to remember for people who are not educated in earthquake engineering principles. The Red Cross is not saying that identifying potential voids is wrong or inappropriate. What we are saying is that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" is NOT wrong -- in the United States. The American Red Cross, being a U.S.-based organization, does not extend its recommendations to apply in other countries. What works here may not work elsewhere, so there is no dispute that the "void identification method" or the "Triangle of Life" may indeed be the best thing to teach in other countries where the risk of building collapse, even in moderate earthquakes, is great.


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Monday, April 12, 2010

Three Month Haiti Update


I cannot believe it has been three months since the earthquake that destroyed Haiti. A friend of mine from college, Molly, was in Haiti but did not make it out of her building alive. She was working with disabled Haitian children in an orphanage giving them the confidence, and rehabilitation they needed to keep pushing through their disabilities. I will always remember her life and her work in everything I do from this day forward. She is an inspiration to me and all those whose lives she touched.

Looking back at where I was when I found out about the earthquake and Molly, I will never forget the feeling I had when I walked into the Red Cross office and knew that even though I could not be in Haiti to comfort all those who lost their family, their limbs, their health, their livlihood, nor could I be there to help in the rebuilding of a nation, I could at least be a part of an organization who could.

I am blessed to have such a fortunate life here in America, where if an earthquake were to hit I would know what to do, and have my 72-hour kit ready to put to use. Those in Haiti hardly had any resources to begin with, but still they persevere with determination, resilience and hope; hope that we can and are giving them.

The Red Cross has put the millions of donated dollars to good use. You can click HERE to see the recently released Three Month Update about how and where ARC is helping and will continue to help for as long as it takes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Volunteering: Rewarding, Inspiring, Fun!



Being a volunteer is an incredible experience. Helping someone, even in the smallest capacity, has a lasting impact not only on the person or community you help, but also you as an individual. Knowing you make a difference is incredibly rewarding.

As a full time volunteer with the Red Cross, I have been able to see the incredible work that the community of Salt Lake and the surrounding area provides.

After the devastating earthquake hit Haiti this January, the response from our community to help was inspiring. The Office of Volunteers here at the Red Cross, was buzzing with calls from people wanting to help.

During times of disasters there is usually a surge in spontaneous volunteers. When people called during those first few weeks after the earthquake they were hoping we could send them overseas. While we were not able to send anyone to Haiti, we encouraged everyone to get trained and registered with the American Red Cross so that they could respond to future disasters, first locally and then nationally. The response was tremendous. In fact, from January 13 to February 17 we received 200 new volunteer applications.

About 90 of our new volunteers have already attended a New Volunteer Orientation. More than 35 have started training in disaster services, have helped out in the office on a weekly basis, or have started taking classes to become certified Red Cross Instructors.

Almost 96% of the work of the Red Cross is performed by volunteers. The organization would not survive without the work of those volunteers who are dedicated to supporting and fulfilling the mission of the American Red Cross, to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.

Knowing I am a part of such an incredible organization with a dedicated group of outstanding volunteers is inspiring. You too can volunteer with the Red Cross here in Utah by going to our website www.utahredcross.org. Be a part of this great work.

And a big THANK YOU to all volunteers here in the Salt Lake Area. Your work makes a tremendous impact on the community.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Governor Herbert Declares this week Earthquake Preparedness Week





Click here for Earthquake Safety Tips!


The Governor's Declaration:

Whereas, this year we have seen devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Turkey resulting in a high loss of life, buildings and infrastructure;

Whereas, earthquakes that took place in 2009 caused more than 1700 deaths in various countries around the world;

Whereas, one of the state’s primary responsibilities is to safeguard the safety and welfare of our citizens;

Whereas, more than 80 percent of Utah’s population is located in areas subject to large earthquakes;

Whereas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has ranked Utah sixth in projected annualized earthquake loss in the United States;

Whereas, the 2008 Legislature passed Joint Resolution 7, recognizing the hazard of unreinforced masonry buildings and members from the Utah Seismic Safety Commission and the Structural Engineers Association of Utah have spent hundreds of hours inventorying unreinforced masonry buildings;

Whereas, the Utah Seismic Safety Commission is committed to making an inventory of all Utah schools that are a seismic hazard a top priority; and

Whereas, the commission’s Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country handbook and the state’s Be Ready Utah emergency preparedness guides have been widely distributed;

Whereas, the Utah Seismic Safety Commission has selected the first week of April to focus on earthquake and disaster preparedness;

Now, Therefore, I, Gary R. Herbert, Governor of the State of Utah, do hereby declare April 4 - 10, 2010 as Earthquake Preparedness Week


Governor Gary R. Herbert

BE RED CROSS READY!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eclectic, Creative, Ingenious, and Fantastic: Todd Keith and Renee Lee


Eclectic, creative, ingenious, and fantastic; these are only a few of the words that can be used to describe Renee Lee and Todd Keith. Both enormously talented photographers, they are committed to humanitarian causes and have a particular devotion to the Red Cross. Their photos have enlivened the pages of this newsletter and have helped communicate the impact of the Red Cross in action to the larger community.

Renee and Todd, both disaster trained volunteers receive calls often in the middle of the night to go out to a fire or other disaster and capture images of Red Cross volunteers in action. Todd notes that their work requires a great deal of sensitivity; they are not there to sensationalize suffering but to share through powerful imagery the important work of the Red Cross. Before photographing anyone, Renee and Todd introduce themselves, explain why they are there and request subjects to sign a photo release.

In addition to shooting Red Cross emergency response efforts, Todd and Renee took portraits of award recipients for the annual Heroes event as well as the event itself. When the Red Cross took holiday cards made by school children to patients at the VA Hospital, when poinsettias donated by Smith’s were delivered to friends of the Red Cross during the holidays and when the Red Cross set up aid stations at regular venues like First Night and Red Butte concerts, Renee and Todd made sure to capture the moment.

Their work in stock photography is an asset when the local chapter needs images that will compel people to read brochures for babysitting classes and CPR training. Their professionalism, extraordinary talent and generosity combine to provide tremendous support for the work and mission of the Red Cross.

Check out Todd and Renee's amazing photos on their website:
http://bellaorastudios.com/