Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes

I was recently reading an article in a magazine about things you could do if you had 5 minutes to spare. Included in the list were: brush and floss your teeth, write a thank you note, and call a loved one. The list included simple things to do but important tasks that sometimes get overlooked. What would you do with a 5 minute break?

I decided to create my own list of preparedness items you can do if you have an extra 5 minutes in your day. See I told you it was easy! Check it out!
  1. Change the batteries in your smoke alarm
  2. Make sure items in your food storage are not expired
  3. Make a list of emergency contact information for you and your family members
  4. Assemble a small emergency pack with items around your house like a flashlight, water, etc.
  5. Read up on Red Cross earthquake safety information
  6. Fill up your gas tank
  7. Make a fire escape plan and discuss it with your kids and family
  8. Put fresh batteries in a flashlight and put it next to your bed
  9. Sign up for a CPR class
  10. Order a first aid kit online
What else can you do to be prepared with just 5 minutes to spare?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Preparedness: It's Not That Hard!

Preparedness can be a scary word; it's true, it can be daunting. Many people I have talked to during preparedness presentations across the state are overwhelmed by what the word entails. Here in Utah, people have entire rooms in their homes dedicated to preparedness. Shelves full of canned foods and gallons of water! But if you think about the basics of being prepared, you shouldn't be daunted. It really can be easy if you start with the essentials.

My advice, start with a 72-hour kit! Either purchase one already made on our online store or gather the supplies and put them in an old backpack. Make sure your kit is readily available for use. This could mean near your bed, in your car, or by the front door.

Once you feel comfortable with your kit, start gathering other items that may be useful. These include, extra flashlights and batteries in case of a power outage, a few extra cans of food and some water containers after a trip to Costco and beefing up your first aid kit. Then check your fire alarms and make sure everyone in your house knows what to do and where to go in case of an emergency.

As soon as you have the basics down, you can rest assured that while you may not have everything but the kitchen sink in your earthquake, tornado, and atomic bomb proof chamber, you have essential items that will help in case of any type of emergency.

If this simple post doesn't do it for you, I suggest saving your money for this instead. 

Shout out to Jana Sweeny for bringing up the "preparedness is simple" topic and to the Oregon Trail Chapter for this awesome video.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reality Show Partners With American Red Cross

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. Learn how one reality show speaks the truth about a serious subject.

The popular television dating show The Bachelor helps spread the word about National Blood Donor Month. January is National Blood Donor Month and the contestants put their acting skills to the test! Their task is to create public service announcements highlighting how important it is to give blood today.

Not a fan of the show, but want to check out this special episode? Click here to watch part 1 and part 2 

About "The Bachelor":
In the hit primetime reality series 
The Bachelor, one lucky man is offered the chance to find true love. The single and eligible Bachelor embarks on a romantic journey, getting to know a bevy of beautiful bachelorettes, gradually narrowing the field to the one woman to whom he may propose marriage in the dramatic season finale. Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Haiti-One Year Later

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. One year since hundreds of thousands of Haitians lost their homes, their loved ones and their livelihoods. One year since Haiti, an already ravaged country, crumbled.

A lot has happened in one year. I have been volunteering and now working for the Red Cross for over a year now. And I was forced into the fire of the happenings of Haiti right here in Utah. I was overwhelmed with work to do but even more so overwhelmed by the amount of people who came to the office with money in all amounts and with time to answer phones, take messages, and offer support.

The people from Utah are an extremely generous bunch; raising over $2 million for the American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. Donors came from large corporations, from small businesses, from elementary and high schools across the state and from ordinary citizens just trying to offer whatever help they could.

A lot has happened in one year. With the money that people across the United States donated (almost $475 million) the Red Cross has been able to provide food to over 1 million people with the help of the UN World Food Programme ; clean drinkable water to hundreds of thousands of people every day since the earthquake; after the Cholera outbreak, vaccinations for nearly 1 million people, and much more!

A lot still needs to happen. The American Red Cross is committed to helping the people of Haiti until every last donated dollar is spent. Long term recovery plans have been made over the next several years with permanent housing for Haitians a top priority.

It is absolutely incredible to me how vast the American Red Cross is. The work that has been done and is being done can and will move mountains but it will take some time, and patience is key to the recovery process. I often wish I could go over to Haiti and help pick up the pieces, lend my able body to the relief efforts and give hope to the country. But for now I will marvel at the work that the Red Cross is doing and patiently wait and hope that the work will continue and things will change for Haiti.

To read the One Year Report from the American Red Cross click here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Electrifying Red Cross Program

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. This time she is highlighting one of our seasonal programs.

Utility Assistance

Beyond the highly publicized American Red Cross disaster services there are many other aid programs, including our Utility Assistance program.  In 2010 American Red Cross assisted just over four thousand homes in Utah regarding utilities services.  The Utility Assistance program provides emergency monetary support to qualifying individuals.  Utahans experiencing hardship with paying their bills during the winter season may seek help for one or more of the following utilities Questar, Riverton City Water, Rocky Mountain Power, or Salt Lake City Water

Program Qualification

People seeking help, should know to qualify you must meet at least these specifications:

  • Considered living on a low income wage AND also meet one of the listed items below.
  • Item 1: Individuals must be 60 years or older
  • Item 2: Or you must be on permanent disability
Steps To Getting Help

  1. Contact the Home Energy Assistance Target 

    (HEAT) program at 801-521- 6107 first

  2. If you have a shut off notice, you may go to the HEAT office in your area
  3. Review program information on the HEAT website 
  4. If you have already worked with HEAT AND still need Red Cross assistance call us at 801-323-7000
  5. When leaving us a voice message at 801-323-7000 make sure to state your name and a daytime phone number 
Program Funding

Funding consists of various charitable gifts from these main sources:

  • Utility employees and stockholders donations
  • Local resident contributions made with their utility payments
  • Direct donations given to the American Red Cross (Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter)

Other Program Details

Assistance is not intended to relieve individuals of their responsibilities, but is meant to assist them while they develop practical plans for meeting their own needs.