Weekend disaster responses include helping people affected by flooding

Jewett Flooding

Flooding during the President’s Day weekend kept some Red Cross disaster workers busy across the Northern Ohio Region. Heavy rains in some parts of the region, along with melting snow caused flood damage that brought a Red Cross response to Lorain, Stark, Wayne and Harrison counties.

The village of Jewett in Harrison County was especially hard hit. Red Cross disaster program managers Tim Reichel and Mike Arthur were accompanied by volunteers Dan Best and Arden Tohill on Saturday, when they distributed clean-up kits to nearly two-dozen affected residences.

Jewett Flooding

“Those buckets have everything they need to get a good start,” Tim said during an interview with WTOV 9 news. “They’ve come out of their homes, they’ve welcomed us, we’ve gotten a few hugs along the way,” Tim continued. “It’s what we do and it’s a pleasure to do it.”

Weekend responses also included home fires in Cleveland, Akron, Wooster, and Masury, Ohio in Trumbull County. More than 60 children and adults received Red Cross assistance throughout Northern Ohio.

February has been a very busy month for Red Cross Disaster Action Teams. Responses are up more than 30% over February of 2021, and Red Cross caseworkers are continuing to help hundreds of people find a path to recovery.

While President’s Day is a federal holiday, the Red Cross remains ready to respond to emergencies, today and every day of the year.

“While many will be relaxing with family and friends, our teams remain vigilant,” said Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer.

Jewett Flooding

If you’d like to help neighbors in need following a home fire, flooding or some other disaster, visit redcross.org/volunteer to apply for a spot on our Disaster Action Teams. The Red Cross is also in need of trained medical and mental health professionals to assist people following disasters big and small. A virtual information session for licensed healthcare and mental healthcare providers will be held this Thursday, February 24, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. To RSVP for this event, email neovolunteer@redcross.org, or call 216-431-3328. A Microsoft Teams meeting link will be emailed to you prior to the event. A conference call option will also be available.

More than 260 donations made at the Give from the Heart at annual blood drive

For 23 years, the Give from the Heart blood drive has been a lifesaving tradition in Northern Ohio. This year’s event was held last Tuesday, Feb. 8 at the Cleveland Marriott East in Warrensville Heights.

This blood drive came at a vital time, as the Red Cross continues to struggle with a national blood crisis. The current nationwide shortage has been further impacted by winter weather across the country, with about 600 blood drives cancelled forcing 20,000 donations to go uncollected.


Across the Northern Ohio Region, 21 blood drives were cancelled Thursday, February 3 leaving more than 730 donations uncollected.

The more than 260 donations made at the Give from the Heart blood drive will potentially help up to 800 patients.

We encourage donors to make an appointment for future blood drives by visiting redcrossblood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

If you are not able to give blood, the Red Cross also needs blood drive volunteers and blood transportation specialists to support critical blood collections. Blood drive volunteers play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals our local communities. To learn more and sign-up, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Community members come together to give back this holiday season

By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross Volunteer

The American Red Cross of Northern Ohio held holiday blood drives across the region, providing an opportunity for donors to give the gift of life for people in need during this holiday season.

Hailee Horstman, Blood Donor

The drives were held between December 14th and December 23rd at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg, the Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg and Stambaugh Auditorium and Packard Music Hall in Youngstown.

Daniel Salmons, Blood Donor

The Red Cross put the call out to the public, encouraging them to donate at our holiday drives, and our community members answered. Across all of the holiday blood drives, 1,240 pints of blood were donated to provide critical help for patients across the region.

Each donation can help up to three patients awaiting a blood product – red blood cells, platelets, or plasma. That means more than 3,700 people will possibly benefit by the donations made at this year’s holiday blood drives.

Lee Holmes-Blood Donor

Blood donations help patients in our community of all ages, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer, among others. In fact, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

The need this year is high, as pandemic challenges and concerns, along with the typical winter lulls, have resulted in historically low levels of blood supply. If you haven’t had a chance to donate—don’t delay. We are calling all eligible donors this January as part of National Blood Donor Month to roll up their sleeves and donate. To find an upcoming blood donation drive near you, click here.

Fast start for Sound the Alarm

Corporate partners and volunteers help save lives at Sound the Alarm events

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

April 29, 2019- “This isn’t so much a corporate event—it’s really just people helping otherIMG_7080 people.” That’s how Kim Giberson, the quality assurance project manager for TravelCenters of America summed up his company’s participation in Sound the Alarm.

Kim was among more than a dozen TravelCenters of America employees who gathered on a bright, crisp Saturday morning to install free smoke alarms in homes in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side.

“When you hear about the need to protect people’s homes, you realize you need to do something,” he said.

Several other partners provided volunteers for home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events, not only in Cleveland, but also in Youngstown, Ravenna and Sandusky, where Rob Griggs and his sister Tricia Costanzo went door-to-door to help make homes safer and, ultimately, save lives.

“This cause is near and dear to our hearts,” Rob said. “We lost our parents and a brother in a home fire in January of 2018. Anything we can do to help someone else avoid the same fate, we’ll do.”

IMG_6362ASound the Alarm is a nationwide American Red Cross campaign meant to help save lives. Teams of volunteers are going door-to-door across the country through May 11, installing smoke alarms and providing home fire safety information. Several more installation events are planned throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

“We are off to a great start here in Northeast Ohio,” said Tim O’Toole, Red Cross regional disaster officer. Through five events, we have tallied 922 alarms installed in 391 homes.”

The goal in Northeast Ohio is to install 3,000 alarms by May 11. It’s part of the national goal to install 100,000 smoke alarms.

The Burn Center at MetroHealth is honored to be part of the Red Cross Sound the Alarm event,” said Brandy Kulak, a nurse manager at the hospital’s Comprehensive Burn Care Center. “We know firsthand how important prevention is, and how seconds can make a tremendous difference when there is a fire.”

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Volunteer opportunities still exist for the remaining Sound the Alarm events throughout Northeast Ohio. Visit SoundTheAlarm.org/NEO to find an event near you.

Kim Giberson plans to volunteer for another Sound the Alarm event next weekend in Medina. “It makes you feel good.”

See photos from our Cleveland Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Youngstown Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Sandusky Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Ravenna sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Parma sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Sound the Alarm kick-off news conference here.

See photos from our North Ridgeville Sound the Alarm event here.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

Photos provided by Cal Pusateri, Doug Bardwell, Eric Alves, Jim McIntyre, and Karen Conklin – American Red Cross.

Ronald J. Warzel Blood Donation Center relocates

Now in the Regional Headquarters building across the street

By Christy Peters, Manager, External Communications, Northern Ohio Blood Region

As part of the continuing effort to provide the best service and experience to our dedicated donors, the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross recently relocated its Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. Formerly housed at 3636 Euclid Ave., the donation center has is now located in the Northeast Ohio Regional headquarters building at 3747 Euclid Ave. The new site officially opened Aug. 30, 2018 and many donors have already stopped by the newly renovated space.

The new site continues to offer Red Cross donors the opportunity to give whole blood, platelets or plasma. The site is open seven days a week and offers more flexible hours than a mobile site, for donors who may need early morning or late evening appointments. Currently, the Red Cross has a critical need for platelet and type O blood donations. Hundreds of blood drives have been forced to cancel due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 6,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Donors of all types are need to recover donations canceled by the storm.

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region is excited to share the new and improved Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center with the community. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give at redcrossblood.org, by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here are some photos from the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. To see more photos from the center opening, please visit our Flickr page:

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Regional CEO Mike Parks donates blood during the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center

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Donors give blood in the new Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center in Cleveland

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Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center staff

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Ronald Warzel accepts a commemorative photograph of the grand opening of the new blood donation center from Greater Cleveland Chapter Chairman Christopher Mapes

Neighborhood Now Safer in Slavic Village

Firefighters, Volunteers Help Red Cross Install Smoke Alarms

More than 100 homes in the Cleveland neighborhood known as Slavic Village are now safer, following a home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event last Saturday, October 14.

37740737531_3109609b4a_oCleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli wrote the following message in an email the day after the event:

“Here is some info on the recent American Red Cross, Sound the Alarm and Save A Life event in Slavic Village on Saturday.  Volunteers from the Red Cross including many from “Hope Worldwide” and including our local Cleveland Fire Department walked throughout our neighborhood knocking on doors and installing free smoke detectors as part of a Country Wide national installation event.  

We want to thank Regional Disaster Officer Timothy O’Toole from the American Red Cross for coming into our community as part of the National “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” program and installing hundreds of smoke detectors free for our families.  Special thanks to all the volunteers from “Hope Worldwide” and our local firemen for making this event such a huge success.  Timothy O’Toole (former Cleveland Fire Chief) asks for those not home that they can still call 216-361-5535 for a smoke detector.”

We thank Councilman Brancatelli for his support of Red Cross efforts to make neighborhoods safer, and we thank the Cleveland Fire Department for their ongoing partnership, which began in 1992 as Operation Save-A-Life.

Group Shot II

See more photos here, in our album on Flickr. 

ARC Gearing Up for the RNC in Cleveland

Preparations are underway for the 2016 Republican National Convention, July 18-22 in Cleveland.  The American Red Cross is among several organizations with plans to provide residents and visitors a safe and enjoyable experience.

The Red Cross responds to approximately 66,000 disasters in the United States every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family, to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands, to earthquakes that impact millions. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet.

During the Republican National Convention, most hotels in Northeast Ohio are expected to be booked solid.  The Red Cross is preparing to respond to any potential need to shelter and feed any residents who may be displaced from their homes,  and is recruiting volunteers to help fulfill its mission.

Preparations are underway to open up to three shelters within a short time frame, in the event that a large number of Northeast Ohio residents is displaced due to home fires or other disasters. Opening and staffing three shelters could require more than 70 trained shelter volunteers around the clock. Currently, there aren’t enough volunteers to meet that need.

If you are interested in supporting our readiness to assist people in need throughout Northeast Ohio, during the convention and beyond, click here to create a Red Cross volunteer profile and begin the application process.

There is also a “Zero to Hero” boot camp planned in June, to teach volunteers the skills necessary for sheltering, health, or mental health responses.  The boot camp will take place from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Friday, June 24 and all day Saturday, June 25th, at the headquarters of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.  To register, contact Luis Rivera, Workforce Engagement Manager, at 216-431-3328, or email NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet Wednesday, April 13

Icon BiomedJoin us for the 18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet Wednesday, April 13, 7 a.m to 7 p.m. at Windows on the River in the Powerhouse at Nautica. All who come to donate will enjoy a 98.5 WNCX live broadcast all day, free goody bag with great gifts from our sponsors, complimentary parking, food and raffle prizes. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org and enter code “Bloodsuckers” or use the Blood Donor App to schedule your appointment today.

Donating blood at the Bloodsuckers Buffet on April 13? Save time at the blood drive by completing the new Red Cross RapidPass online health history before you go that day! To learn more and get your pass, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions.

 Every day the American Red Cross needs 14,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients. We can’t do it without you! Join us for the 18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet and help make a difference! The blood drive is Wednesday, April 13, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Windows on the River in the Powerhouse at Nautica. Enjoy a live broadcast with 98.5 WNCX, goody bag, complimentary parking, food and raffle prizes. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org and enter code “Bloodsuckers” or use the Blood Donor App to schedule your appointment today.