Your help is needed – A message from our Regional CEO

May 21, 2013. Moore, Oklahoma. Red Cross volunteer Angela Clemins hugs Moore resident Donna Giedrocz. Giedrocz has spent the day clearing debris from her home and expresses gratitude at the warm meal Clemins has brought her. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

Red Cross volunteer, Angela Clemins, hugs Moore resident, Donna Giedrocz.  Giedrocz has spent the day clearing debris from her home and expresses gratitude at the warm meal Clemins has brought her. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

On Monday the severe weather that has been ravaging the United States throughout the spring took a turn for the worse and brought heartbreaking devastation across the Midwest and the South, including Oklahoma, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Iowa. The damage is profound, widespread and the full impact still has yet to be realized.

American Red Cross disaster relief workers are on the ground as I write this, providing urgently needed assistance including food, water, shelter, cleanup supplies and emotional support to those who were affected. Our local volunteers have jumped into action and our helping. Just yesterday, we deployed three volunteers from the Palmetto SC Region to help with Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, and we anticipate that number to continue to increase. And we need your help.

The Red Cross is there for families in need and you can make a difference. We will be opening up additional shelters and delivering thousands of meals and water in the coming hours, days and possibly weeks ahead. But we can’t do any of this without the generosity of individuals like you. You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

I hate to say it, but it isn’t over yet – the National Weather Service warns that the threat of severe weather continues from Texas to the Great Lakes. Be sure that you and your loved ones are prepared and stay safe. View Tornado Safety Tips or download the free Red Cross Tornado App.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families impacted by the incredible damage. If you or a loved one need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for helping families affected by disasters.

Warmest regards,

LouiseWWsignature

Louise Welch Williams
Regional Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross
Palmetto SC Region

P.S. –  Click here to see more photos from our response in Oklahoma.

Red Cross Can Help You Be Prepared For Next Emergency

Recent events in Boston and Texas emphasize the importance of knowing what to do when an emergency occurs. Even as first responders rushed into help at both scenes, much of the initial care to the injured was provided by friends, neighbors and bystanders who were trained in CPR and first aid. Whether the emergency is community-wide and involves numerous injuries, or involves a single individual being hurt at home, it is vital that someone close by knows what to do when such an emergency occurs.

Getting yourself and your family more prepared for disasters can bring peace of mind during trying times and can help save someone’s life during future emergencies. Taking an action like downloading our first aid app, taking a first aid class or building a disaster supply kit can help people feel empowered to act when disaster strikes.

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The American Red Cross has numerous ways people can get the information and training they need to be able to help when an emergency occurs.  The Red Cross urges everyone to be better prepared by taking advantage of training and mobile apps available to teach them what to do when someone needs assistance.

FIRST AID/CPR CLASSES The Red Cross has classes available that emphasize hands-on-learning of First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The courses teach someone the skills they need to help save a life. Participants learn how to respond to common first aid emergencies, how to respond to cardiac and breathing emergencies in adults and how to use AEDs. There are also options available to learn how to help infants and children. People can register for these classes at redcross.org/takeaclass or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

ONLINE TRAINING Family and household members can learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies by taking the new Red Cross Family First Aid and CPR online course. The cost is $30. Family First Aid and CPR teaches you how to:

  • Identify signals of medical emergencies.
  • Give appropriate care for common first aid emergencies.
  • Know when to call 9-1-1 and what to do until help arrives for critical cardiac and first aid emergencies.

This course is for people who do not require OSHA-compliant certification. It takes about 2 hours to go through the Adult CPR and First Aid content. Pediatric modules are also available.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP People can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for iPhone and Android mobile devices which puts simple lifesaving information at someone’s fingertips. Features include step-by-step instructions to guide someone through everyday first aid scenarios, full integration with 9-1-1 to call emergency services from the app and preloaded content to have instant access to information even without device reception or internet connectivity. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross.

 

 

New Tornado App Brings Red Cross Safety Information to Mobile Devices

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The new American Red Cross Tornado App puts help right into the hands of people who live in or visit tornado-prone areas. Best of all, it’s free and available for iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users.

The Red Cross app gives people instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after tornadoes whether it’s in the community where they live or where they love to vacation.

The app, available in English and Spanish, has a number of features including a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning is in effect. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. People who are out of harm’s way can quickly tap the “I’m safe” button to send a message letting loved ones and friends know they are okay.

People across the country can now receive location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood alerts on their mobile devices and share them on their social networks. Users can share vital information via Facebook, Twitter, text and email. Even if someone doesn’t live in a tornado-prone area, users can have peace of mind knowing they’ll have instant information about loved ones who live in other parts of the country.

Other features of the app include:
• Simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with household members;
• Preloaded preparedness content that gives instant access to critical action steps even without mobile connectivity;
• Toolkit with a flashlight, a strobe light and an audible alarm;
• Locations of open Red Cross shelters; and
• Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

Red Cross First Aid, Hurricane, Earthquake and Wild Fire Apps have already been downloaded more than 2 million times. People have not only downloaded the apps, but have used them to track storms, let loved ones know that they are safe, find Red Cross shelter locations and access other recovery resources. Download the apps today. The Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

While apps can help prepare you for disasters, they are not a substitute for training.  Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.  Visit redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.

March is Red Cross Month – Join the Movement!

March is American Red Cross Month and is a time for community members and businesses to join the Red Cross movement and help us carry out our lifesaving mission with a gift of time, money or blood.

Red Cross volunteers and staff members kick-off Red Cross Month by building a human red cross

Red Cross volunteers and staff members kick-off Red Cross Month by building a human red cross

March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month 70 years ago by resident Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since 1943, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross is synonymous with helping people, and has been doing so for more than 130 years.

We  respond to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. We provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collect and distribute about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and train more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

Last year in our community, the we provided emergency assistance to 5,041 adults and children that were affected by a disaster, handled 5,594 military emergency communications, trained 38,227 people in lifesaving skills and collected 109, 881 red blood cells and 27, 677 platelets. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters, serving 35 counties in South Carolina.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.

To learn more about how you can get involved visit Redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Safe Travels This Thanksgiving!

Many people will travel to visit loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the American Red Cross has travel tips holiday travelers can follow to arrive safely at their destination.

Whether folks travel by plane, train or they take to the highway, there are things they can do to have a safer trip. Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel times of the year and we want people to be safe and enjoy their trip.

ON THE ROAD Most holiday travelers get to where they are going by car. To arrive safely, the Red Cross recommends these safety steps for travelers who will drive to visit their loved ones this Thanksgiving:

  • Make sure the vehicle is in good working order.
  • Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Give one’s full attention to the road.  Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase the chance of being in a collision.
  • Make frequent stops.  During long trips, rotate drivers.  If the driver is tired, stop and get some rest.
  • Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Clean the vehicle’s headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or if using windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
  • Don’t overdrive the headlights.
  • If car trouble develops, pull off the road as far as possible.

It’s also recommended to keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash and blankets. Red Cross Emergency Preparedness kits are available in the Red Cross Store.

TRAINS, PLANES, BUSES For people traveling by air, bus or train, the Red Cross reminds them that the seasonal flu can occur as early as October. If people have come in contact with someone who is sick, perhaps the trip should be postponed as they may be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.

Other safety tips to avoid the flu while traveling include the following:

  • Remember that everything someone touches has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc.  Handle one’s own belongings as much as possible.  Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes and use them to wash hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring one’s own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • If someone has to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching the face or eyes.

For more information on how to remain safe while traveling this Thanksgiving, visit the Red Cross web site. 

It’s National Fire Prevention Month – Are You Prepared?

October is Fire Prevention Month and the American Red Cross is encouraging families and businesses to learn how to protect themselves and others from fires.  Last year, the  Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.

“We respond to a disaster every eight hours across the Columbia Region,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region.  “The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan. Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”

Additional recommendations include:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
  • Follow your escape plan in case of fire.Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.

The Red Cross is there to help those in need when disasters strike. The Columbia Region, which serves 28-counties in South Carolina, responded to 1,035 disasters and assisted 1,090 people last year.

In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Month, the Red Cross has kicked-off, “Fire Hurts – Red Cross Helps,” a local initiative to encourage community members and businesses to make a financial donation of $1,250 to support a family following a home fire.  The average cost to provide Red Cross disaster relief services to a family of four is $1,250.  Click here to learn more about this initiative.

“In order to respond to disasters in our community the Red Cross depends on the generous financial support of individuals and businesses,” added Salemme.“Giving through Fire Hurts – Red Cross Helps will ensure that our essential services are provided everyday to families who have been devastated to a home fire.”

It’s National Preparedness Month!

The aftermath of Hurricane Isaac continues to affect thousands of people along the Gulf Coast as September, National Preparedness Month begins.  During National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross is encouraging all households to create a family disaster plan to make sure they are ready for the next emergency or disaster.

As Isaac proved last week, disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense.  Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.

Plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, an out-of-area emergency contact person and a location where everyone should meet if they can’t go home. All members of the household should work together on the emergency plan and each person should know how to reach other family members.

Red Cross tools make it easier for people to make or update plans. The American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone or Android smart phones helps people create a plan, share it with household members and over social networks. In addition, instructions and a template to build a plan are available on the Red Cross website.

Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency.  No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow.

Other Ways to Get Ready

The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.

  • Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.
  • Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.
  • The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
  • Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.
  • People can visit redcross.org for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.

One week after Isaac made landfall, the Red Cross continues to provide help and comfort to people along the Gulf Coast as power outages linger and communities begin the path to recovery. Extensive relief efforts include providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort for people.  Over 2,700 Red Cross are on the ground responding across multiple states.  In total, the Columbia Region has deployed 26 local volunteers and expects that number to continue to grow. The Red Cross will be in the area for weeks helping people get back on their feet.

On August 30th, siblings Jamaal, Jr., 7, Jon Weseley, 6, Jahnyray, 4, and Judge, 1, huddled under a Red Cross blanket at the Creekside Junior High shelter. The four had just arrived with their baby four-month-old sister and parents. The family of seven evacuated due to concerns about flooding in Slidell, Louisiana, the southeastern Louisiana town that many shelter residents call home

Red Cross worker David May takes care of food delivery from a high-water vehicle in Louisiana.

Click here to see more Isaac response photos.

You can help people affected by disaster like hurricanes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the country, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

 The American Red Cross, Columbia Region provides services to 28-counties in South Carolina from Aiken to Myrtle Beach.