Monday, July 26, 2010

Red Cross is responding to major fire tonight, helping 16 people


Salt Lake City, UTAH ( Monday, July 26, 2010)- The American Red Cross is on the scene of a fire affecting one home and two duplexes in the 700 South block of Roberta (near 300 East) in Salt Lake City. The Red Cross is now helping 16 individuals after the fire that damaged the 3 buildings and affected 5 units in Salt Lake City this afternoon. The Red Cross is helping these families with food and clothing. One family has a 7 week old baby and the Red Cross provided a crib and baby supplies for that family. At this time the affected families do not need Red Cross assistance with shelter and they have places to stay for the next few days.

The American Red Cross in Utah responds to more than two incidents per week, some of them rendering multiple families homeless. Nationwide, the American Red Cross local chapters help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing 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.

Help people affected by disasters, like this fire, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or your local Chapter at www.utahredcross.org. 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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

DAT teams, comfort kits, and fires oh my!

It's been a very busy couple of days for the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter. Our Disaster Action Teams have been hard at work responding to multiple apartment fires that have left many families homeless and without any of their possessions.

DAT members have given out numerous teddy bears and hygiene products and have been working around the clock to make sure all of the people affected have a place to stay and enough food to eat.

Let us know if you would like to join a Disaster Action Team, or donate to your local response fund so that we can continue to help those who lose everything due to a fire or other emergency. Also, make sure you and your family know what to do in the event of a fire in your own home.

And check out the media coverage below on two of the fires from last week.

video
video

Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Things I Didn't Know About the Red Cross...

...Until I Started Volunteering Here

Before starting my year with AmeriCorps, all I knew about the Red Cross was that if I could get over my fear of needles (which I did!) then I could donate blood. And if I needed to re-certify in CPR I could do that too. What I didn't know about the Red Cross is more than just 10 bullet points. However, this is my attempt at informing a few more people about what the Red Cross does.

1. The American Red Cross can deliver messages to and from soldiers overseas. Our Services to the Armed Forces division is the reason the organization exists. Clara Barton began providing relief services to soldiers in the Civil War; passing out water, food, and providing medical assistance and protecting the injured soldiers. For more about the history of the American Red Cross, read here and to read story about a soldier who received a Red Cross message about his ill grandfather click here.

2. The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter responds to over 100 emergencies each year and provides clients with food, clothing, and shelter for three days. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers are busy all year long responding to house fires, floods, and other disasters. If your house were to burn down, or a flood were to damage your apartment, our Disaster Action Teams would come in and lend you an ear, a shoulder to cry on, and then provide you with food, clothing, and shelter if lost due to the disaster.

3. The American Red Cross provides first aid at mass gatherings. If you've been to a Red Butte Garden concert this summer, or braved the masses at the Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park then you've probably seen our Red Cross first aid station volunteers. These volunteers are trained to respond to all types of injuries and emergencies during many downtown events, including the Farmer's Market and the Pride Festival.

4. If you are over the age of 60, or on disability the Red Cross can help you pay your utility bill. The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter is able to dispense the Reach and Lend-A-Hand programs to those elderly or disabled people who are unable to pay their utility bills.

5. You can take all of the American Red Cross disaster classes for free for volunteers! If you are interested in learning more about what disaster services the Red Cross provides, or knowing what to do in the event of a large scale disaster you can take the Red Cross disaster classes free of charge. The updated course schedule is now on our website.

6. 96% of the work done by the American Red Cross is carried out by volunteers! Incredibly enough, American Red Cross volunteers are responsible for most of the work we do. Whether its important office assistance like entering our courses in a database or responding locally to emergencies, volunteers are an essential part of the Red Cross mission. To join our volunteer force, fill out the online application.

7. We have incredible youth leaders in our community. The American Red Cross in Utah just completed the first annual Leadership Development Camp aimed at getting youth involved in leadership and helping us fulfill the mission of the Red Cross.

8. Everything you need to know about being prepared, you can find at the Red Cross. For tips, checklists, and safety advice, the Red Cross is here to help. Whether its fire prevention, earthquake tips for before, during and after, or how to prevent heat stroke, the Red Cross can provide you with the necessary tools to do so.

9. The Red Cross can come speak to your school, church, company, or group about what we do and how to be prepared. If you want someone from the Red Cross to come talk to your group about being prepared for any and all types of emergencies, just call and ask, we'd be happy to come and tell you more about what we do and how we do it for no charge!

10. We are the only organization to have a congressional mandate to perform and carry out our services and not receive any line-item funding. This just means that we rely on the generous donations of our community and community partners in order to be able to do all of the things I just mentioned. If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross in Utah click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood


About 5 months ago I decided that I needed to donate blood. My main job here at the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter is to coordinate, book, and attend Community Disaster Education Events. A group of volunteers and myself go out into the community and talk about being prepared! (You can book a presentation at your school, church, or organization too)

During these presentations and at health fairs, many people ask questions about blood donations. The Blood Services Division is separate from our chapter office, and also happens to be about 9 miles away. Therefore, I didn't have the answers to their questions, like how long do you have to donate after getting a tattoo (12 months if the needles were not sterile).

Finally I had time to go down to the American Red Cross Donor Center in Murray. I made an appointment online, received a confirmation e-mail and I was on my way. My experience was great and the people working there were extremely friendly and excited that it was my first time donating. I was nervous to say the least, but the process was painless and the guy who took my blood was conversational and made me forget I even had a needle in me. (Thank you Jed at Blood Services!)

Moral of this blog post: Your blood is needed! As the title of this post suggests, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. So sign up for an appointment today!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Volunteer Evelyn Halstead in Texas!

Evelyn Halstead, a volunteer from the Mountain Valley Chapter headed to Texas last week after being deployed to help with the flooding near the Rio Grande and other rivers. She sent us this great picture of her helping in the shelter in Rio Bravo, Texas.

Kudos to Evelyn for responding to the call and making Utah proud!

Monday, July 12, 2010

6 Month Haiti Update

It's been 6 months since the devastating earthquake hit the country of Haiti. While Haiti hasn't been in the news lately, and the initial surge in support and donations is over, the global Red Cross network hasn't stopped working since January 12th.

Here are some fast facts about what the Red Cross is doing
The global Red Cross network is providing:

• Emergency shelter materials for 625,000 people

• Cash grants and microloans to help nearly 210,000 people

• Water for 280,000 people each day

• Food for 1.3 million people for one month

• Disaster preparedness activities to protect 500,000 people

• Medical care and/or health education for 435,000 people

• Semi-permanent shelters to house 165,000 people

• Latrines for 238,000 people

• Emergency supplies for 125,000 people for use during hurricane season

For more on what the Red Cross is providing, read the 6 month progress report

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Red Cross Helps 29 People Affected by Home Fires


Local Chapters of the American Red Cross Bringing Comfort to 29 People Affected by Home Fires in Utah this Week


Salt Lake City, UTAH (Thursday, July 7, 2010) — The American Red Cross Utah Region has helped 29 individuals so far after six home fires this week. Four fires occurred in the Greater Salt Lake Area, one in St. George and one in Logan, Utah. The disaster action teams are still working with many of the affected individuals to provide meals, clothing and assistance in finding a new place to live. Utah Region CEO, Maxine Margaritis said, “We’ve had a busy week. The Red Cross is here to help people in all kinds of disasters and home fires are the most common disaster we respond to here in Utah. We help people recover with immediate essential needs after they’ve lost everything unexpectedly. We want to remind everyone to think about fire prevention and to practice fire escape plans. Contact your local chapters of the Red Cross to learn more about fire prevention and visit our Web site for fire safety tips.”

The American Red Cross in Utah responded to 114 incidents during the past year, some of them rendering multiple families homeless. This year, the number will be even higher. Nationwide, the local chapters of the American Red Cross help victims of major and minor disasters by offering immediate comfort, which may include food, a warm place to stay, clothing 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.

Help people affected by disasters, like these fires, 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.

Stationed in Iraq in 2009, Zachary Zimmerman was able to return to Utah to see his ailing Grandfather

Here is a great story highlighting another awesome service that the American Red Cross provides. The following story was sent to us by the father of National Guardsmen, Zachary. Stationed in Iraq in 2009, Zach was able to fly home to visit his ailing grandfather. For more information about our Services to the Armed Forces Program, check out our website.


My father Carl has lived in Mesquite NV since his retirement years ago. Over the years he has been in good health. Suddenly, between July and October 2009, he developed several ongoing medical emergencies requiring many hospital admissions in St. George UT. In October 2009 my father suffered a severe blood clot in his abdomen, severely damaging his kidneys and requiring a complete removal of his bowel.

My son Zachary is a combat medic with the Colorado National Guard. Early in 2009, he started a year-long deployment in western Iraq. As my father’s medical condition constantly changed, I did my best to keep Zach informed of his grandfather’s status. In October Carl’s condition became grave. I talked to Carl’s physicians and they recommended any family that could, should travel to St. George as soon as possible. With this news, I immediately began attempts to contact Zach in Iraq. Luckily, Zach had just returned from a mission and I was able to contact him. After explaining his grandfather’s condition to him, he asked I attempt to get him back to Denver so he travel to Utah and see his grandfather.

In the middle of the night, from my hotel in St. George, I made the call to the American Red Cross military assistance line. The American Red Cross worker compassionately asked me all the required questions. The American Red Cross worker also explained the next steps. The medical emergency needed to be confirmed with the hospital and then the American Red Cross contacted the military with our situation for their ultimate approval or denial.

Due to the work of the American Red Cross this request was processed quickly. Although responsible for a heavy mission workload, Zach’s command staff graciously approved his emergency family leave. Less than 2 hours from my call to the American Red Cross, Zach was on a helipad starting his rapid return to Colorado. Zach made it to Utah to spend quality time with his grandfather.

When families attend military briefings before deployments it is easy to think, I will not need the services of the American Red Cross. Nothing bad will happen in our family during this deployment. I too never thought I would need to make the military assistance call. I made that American Red Cross call for help October 2009.

The citizens of the United States support our military warriors in many ways like hand shakes in the airports and flags on our porch. The behind the scenes work of the American Red Cross makes them the unsung hero supporting our military and their families in their time of need.

My What a Busy Week It's Been-And it's Only Wednesday!

The past two weeks have been extremely busy for our hard working Disaster Action Team (DAT) members. They have been responding to house fires pretty much daily since last week.

Some of you may remember my previous blog post documenting my very first fire response. It was an interesting and emotional experience that I would recommend to anyone.

When I first started my AmeriCorps term 6 months ago (wow, time sure does fly!) I had no idea the scope of the American Red Cross. We provide food, clothing, and shelter to anyone who has been displaced by an emergency or natural disaster. We can provide medical attention, both physical and mental including prescription refills that may have been lost.  We are able to ensure that those affected by a fire, flood, or other disaster can survive at least three days with our assistance.

It is amazing how much the American Red Cross is able to provide. However, this assistance is only possible with the generous donations from our community. If you or someone you know is interested in making a donation to the Red Cross, follow the link and you too can make a difference in the lives of others. Who knows when you might end up needing Red Cross help yourself.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July...now stay safe!


The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our Nation's Independence. It is also a time when families travel, go camping, or just take advantage of the day off from work.

My family will be celebrating by cleaning the house...boring... and then watching the firework show at the Salt Lake Country Club.

Whether you are travelling, grilling on the BBQ or setting off your own fireworks, make sure you stay safe with these tips from the American Red Cross.

Here are a few firework safety tips:

•Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

•Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.

•Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud."

•Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.