Thursday, May 31, 2012

An American Red Cross Flashback

123 years ago today, the American Red Cross responded to the Johnstown, Pa. flood, where 2,000 people were killed. This date became a significant piece of American and Red Cross history. Up until this point, the American Red Cross was primarily founded as a battlefield relief organization. When our founder, Clara Barton, and volunteers offered assistance to the Johnstown flood, the organization entered into the world of peacetime disaster relief.

Volunteers arrived providing furniture and supplies for flood survivors. Under Barton's direction, the American Red Cross distributed new and used supplies valued at $211,000, and some 25,000 people were helped. They also established "Red Cross Hotels" to house victims. Merchants and businessmen left homeless by the flood were the primary tenants of the hotel, and it was so successful that other hotels were soon built.

The exhaustive news coverage of the Johnstown flood and the relief effort helped establish the American Red Cross as the major disaster relief agency in the United States.

The Johnstown Flood Museum features a display about Barton and the Red Cross, including examples of some of the relief items she distributed, documents, photographs and more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness Week

Living in Utah, we are fortunate that we do not face the risk of experiencing a hurricane. However, May 27- June 2 is Hurricane Preparedness Week and we want to offer a few helpful tips for you to share to family and friends who may be at higher risks of undergoing these disasters.

  • Build an emergency kit: with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store.

  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan.  Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.

  •  Be informed! Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.

  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tips for a Fun and Safe Holiday Weekend!

According to, "the holidays are a dangerous time to be on the road, and Memorial Day weekend proves to be one of the deadliest," amounting to 397 deaths caused by accidents last year.

We are wishing you all a fun and safe holiday weekend and are offering these tips to help:
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Make frequent stops.
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
  • Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights.

  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
  • Pack high protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications and important documents or information you may need.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • Find out what disasters may occur in the place where you are traveling, especially if they are   disasters you have never experienced before. Find out how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Red Cross Continues to Help Joplin Recover from 2011 Tornado

Monday, May 21, 2012 — Today marks the one-year anniversary of a tornado that stormed through Joplin, Missouri, changing thousands of lives and devastating their town.

“I will never forget the color of the sky that evening as my family and I stood outside our Springfield home and looked to the west. It was multi-colored reds and oranges, as if the sky were burning,” said Nigel Holderby, Red Cross chief communications officer for Southern Missouri.

The devastation left in the path of that storm would make it one of the deadliest EF-5 tornadoes in history.

In response to the tornado in Joplin, the Red Cross:
  • Opened two shelters that provided 3,450 overnight stays.
  • Served approximately 86,000 meals and 373,000 snacks.
  • Distributed 1,456 comfort kits with hygiene supplies such as deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth, shampoo, liquid soap, lotion, comb, razor and shaving cream.
  • Distributed 205,000 relief items such as tarps, ice chests, rakes and cleaning supplies through six centers and through deliveries.
  • Made 5,850 health service contacts and nearly 6,800 mental health contacts.
A year later, the Red Cross continues to help people in and around Joplin recover. The Red Cross is currently focused on helping families plan their recovery and access community resources, supporting those who are rebuilding homes, and preparing the community for any future disasters.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Be prepared for House Fires!

American Red Cross responded to a fire near Glenmoor Golfcourse in South Jordan Tuesday night. A Disaster Action Team was prepared to provide food, clothing and shelter to anyone who might have been displaced by the fire. Ultimately, our services were not needed. This is reportedly the the third fire this month Red Cross volunteers have responded to. With fire season rapidly approaching, hear are a few simple precautions to protect your family during a fire emergency:

Make Your Home "Fire Safe"
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home.
  • If people sleep with doors closed, install smoke alarms inside sleeping areas, too.
  • Use the test button to check each smoke alarm once a month. When necessary, replace batteries immediately. Replace all batteries once a year.
  • Vacuum away cobwebs and dust from your smoke alarms monthly.
  • Smoke alarms become less sensitive over time. Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Consider having one or more working fire extinguishers in your home. Get training from the fire department in how to use them.
  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.
Plan Your Escape Routes
  • Determine at least two ways to escape from every room of your home.
  • Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.
  • Select a location outside your home where everyone would meet after escaping.
  • Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
Escape Safely
  • Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor's home.
  • If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out. If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to your exit.
  • If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is warm, use your second way out.
  • If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them where you are.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Red Cross Celebrates Armed Forces Week

For more than a century, the American Red Cross has maintained relationships with the U.S. military. What began during the Civil War continues today, with Red Cross Service to the Arms (SAF) workers present at more than 50 military installations around the world, and together working 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.

Along with that, Red Cross staff provides support at military and veterans hospitals. Red Cross volunteer teams meet wounded troops as they arrive and are there to provide information, comfort items and food for patients and their families. These volunteers visit wounded, ill or injured patients throughout their stay to deliver items such as toiletries, quilts, phone cards, books and computer games.

In light of the increased pressure on military families due to repeat deployments, the Red Cross has also developed programs to better serve families’ needs. Free courses, including Coping with Deployments and Reconnection Workshops, were designed to address the challenges that troops and their loved ones face during and after deployment.

If you’d like to support the work of the Red Cross with our nation’s military, learn how you can help by following this link.