Hero Care App Launched

For Active Military Members, Veterans and Their Families

The American Red Cross has unveiled the new Hero Care mobile application. This free app is designed to help members of the military, veterans and their families identify and access both emergency and non-emergency Red Cross services from anywhere in the world.

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“When an emergency happens, accurate information, easy access to services and time are of the essence, especially for military families” said Jessica Tischler, Director of Service to the Armed Forces in the Northeast Ohio Region. “That’s why the Red Cross has designed the new Hero Care App – whether you’re the parent of a child joining the military, a military member, a military spouse or  veteran, the Hero Care App will connect you vital services and guide you to valuable resources that will help alleviate stress during emergencies and provide important information right at your fingertips.”

Some the important features of the app include:

  • Request Red Cross emergency services including an emergency message or assistance with emergency travel or emergency financial aid.
  • Securely and easily access information about their service member in the case of an emergency, including updated information as they move or change duty assignments.
  • Access non-emergency Red Cross behavioral health assistance including financial assistance and free local workshops for military kids and spouses.
  • Find local resources and information provided by trusted community partners like Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, United Way, Goodwill, Easter Seals, and others.
  • Locate information on key government resources such as MilitaryOneSource, VA Benefits and Services, Department of Labor VETS, the VA Caregiver Support Program, and SAMSHA Community Health Support Services.

Content in the Hero Care App is available in both English and Spanish, and the call center is staffed 24/7 with multi-lingual translation services.

The Hero Care App is available to download for free in app stores, by texting ‘GETHEROCARE’ to 90999 or by clicking this link from a mobile device:  http://3cu.be/sharehc .

Volunteers help the Red Cross provide Service to the Armed Forces.  If you are interested in giving back to our nation’s heroes by volunteering with Red Cross SAF, click here, or call 216-431-3328.

RNC Operation Ends in Cleveland

Whew!

That collective sigh of relief was offered up early Friday morning, following the conclusion of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The convention, by nearly every measure, was a smashing success.

Following more than a year of preparation, the American Red Cross Crossroads Division, with a heavy Northeast Ohio regional presence, coordinated and lead the ARC involvement and support for the event.

Preparations included recruiting and training volunteers, securing potential shelter locations, staging assets like Emergency Response Vehicles in various locations, and renewing partnerships with various public safety entities and groups like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Salvation Army.

None of our services was needed.

Thankfully.

Red Cross workers underwent training during the operation that will be of benefit to those who will need our services during future disaster responses. And we increased our visibility in the community with news coverage of our preparations and social media messages about preparations, extreme heat safety, and the Red Cross Emergency App.

The Republican nominee wasn’t the only winner; the city of Cleveland shone, as evidenced by myriad media reports, almost universally positive.

For many Red Cross workers, the operation continues, with demobilization efforts.  We owe our volunteers our sincere gratitude for their dedication, which for one worker meant learning a totally new skill.

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Photo credit: Todd James/American Red Cross

Note: the article referenced above was written by Eilene Guy…a Red Cross volunteer.
If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, while we can’t guarantee you’ll learn how to drive a forklift, you can rest assured you will feel like you are giving back to your community. Visit our website to learn more about volunteer opportunities, and be prepared to help the Red Cross help those in need.

 

 

 

 

Texas Needs Our Help After Relentless Rain Causes More Flooding

More rain predicted for the area. Volunteers prepared with more supplies and shelters.

Texas Floods 2016

March 22, 2016. Orange, Texas. 75 year old Maybel Bordelon from Orange Texas comes to the Red Cross resource center to get much needed cleaning supplies. “Everyone here is so friendly and kind. Everyone is town is talking about the help that Red Cross is providing. We are so thankful you are here.” Photo by Danuta Otfinowski/American Red Cross

Volunteers from the American Red Cross are responding to the devastating flooding occurring in Texas after some parts of the state received 19 inches of rain over the holiday weekend. Among them are volunteers deployed from the Northeast Ohio Region.  They are assisting with communications and mental health services.

Since the beginning of the year, numerous storms have ravaged the state, displacing thousands of families and devastating homes and businesses.

Over the weekend, Brenham, Texas, located about 65 miles northwest of Houston, received 18 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Houston, which has been hammered with severe weather and flooding for several months, was again in the storm’s path and people were forced to leave their homes. The threat isn’t over – weather experts predict flooding will continue for several more days. Emergency officials estimate that some 6,000 homes may be affected.

Red Cross volunteers have mobilized once again. Fifteen shelters were opened in the affected areas and volunteers are helping to assess the damage. The Red Cross is also providing meals in coordination with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other local partners. Red Cross volunteers will also be delivering relief supplies as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Red Cross is monitoring the ongoing threat for more flooding and is setting up in areas that are likely to be hit by the next onslaught of bad weather later this week.

“This part of the country has been hit with multiple disasters for months now, and the Red Cross has been helping from day one,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We have nearly 300 Red Cross workers on the ground or on their way to help people in Texas. Our volunteers will remain in these communities in the weeks ahead to make sure people get the help they need.”

HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by the Texas Floods and Tornadoes by contacting Scott Thompson at scott.thompson@redcross.org, or calling 216-431-3064 or 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word TXFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Texas Floods and Tornadoes will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP With the threat of more severe weather, people should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Who Bought the Hot Dogs?

Red Cross Volunteers Treated to Lunch By Anonymous Diner

Responding to a call for action from the Red Cross to support the Martin Luther King Day of Service, more than a dozen volunteers joined Red Cross staff members from the Lake to River Chapter to offer residents of Warren, Niles and Girard fire safety tips and free smoke alarm installations.

Some of those volunteers were thanked in an unexpected, but welcome, way.

They began their day by receiving instructions from Disaster Program Manager, Scott Meeker and Disaster Program Specialist, Kristen Gallagher, and then headed out into the wintry Northeast Ohio weather, braving blowing snow and single-digit temperatures.

Several teams were formed, each visiting the homes of residents who registered with the Red Cross for free fire safety instruction and free smoke alarm installation.

 

Photo Credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

During their lunch break, three volunteers ate at the Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard.

“They were all wearing Red Cross vests and were talking about the alarms they had installed that morning,” said Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the Red Cross Lake to River Chapter.  “When they went to pay the bill, a good Samaritan had already paid it. How cool is that?”

The volunteers, from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and Christ Episcopal Church, were joined by Lt. Chuck Eggleston of the Warren Fire Department during the Day of Service in honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  They installed 95 smoke alarms in 40 homes, making each neighborhood they entered safer.

If you live in Northeast Ohio, and would like a free fire safety inspection and free smoke alarms installed in your home, visit redcross.org/neoosal.

2016 Hurricane Season Kicks Off Early

On January 17, 2016 the first hurricane of the season dissipated over the Labrador Sea.

The big question is: Did you even know there was a Hurricane raging over the Atlantic?

On January 14, Hurricane Alex became the first hurricane to form during the month of January since 1938. It originated seven days earlier as an extratropical cyclone near the Bahamas and moved north. It peaked as a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale with winds of 85 mph. After weakening slightly, Alex made landfall on Terceira Island as a tropical storm a week later.

Luckily, this rare January hurricane did little damage.

But it does make you think about getting prepared, because you just never know when an emergency situation will creep up!

One really easy way to cover your bases when it comes to preparedness is to download the Red Cross Emergency App. Not only will the app alert you to any hurricanes in your area (based on your phone’s GPS coordinates), it can help you prepare for winter’s worst (which is definitely more pressing to northeast Ohio!)

Visit www.redcross.org/apps or search for RED CROSS in your device’s app store today.

Protecting every member of your family with your 72-hour kit

FamilyThere is nothing more frustrating (or hilarious, depending on how you view it) than going through your 72-hour kit and seeing a huge pack of newborn diapers intended to fit your 15-month-old toddler.

That teensy, tiny diaper simply isn’t going to cut it.

If you are the parent or care-giver to an infant or toddler, you will need to go through your 72-hour emergency kit quarterly to keep up with your ever growing child.

For those who haven’t built a 72-hour kit, yet, here are some items you will need in addition to your family’s regular kit:

  • 96 oz of water (about ¾ of a gallon) will cover a 72-hour span. Keep in mind, infants may drink up 32 oz a day when mixed with formula. If you are breastfeeding, keep more on hand for you to drink to in order to keep up your supply.
  • POWDERED Formula. Make sure that you have enough to cover the number of bottles and ounces that your baby drinks during the day, times three.
  • Bottles and nipples (make sure they are the right size of nipple for your child!) The more you have in your kit, the less washing and sterilizing you will have to do.
  • A large pack of diapers.
  • Baby wipes.
  • Diaper rash ointment.
  • Re-sealable gallon bags (for soiled clothes and diapers).
  • Clothing:
    • 3-5 onsies.
    • 3-5 footed pajamas.
    • 6-10 pairs of socks.
  • Burp cloths.
  • 3-5 receiving blankets.
  • 1-2 fleece (or heavier) blankets.
  • Toys, teething rings or other items to occupy attention.
  • Copy of Immunization Record in the family files.
  • Add to the first aid kit:
    • Teething gel.
    • Infant acetaminophen.
    • Infant ibuprofen.
    • Bulb syringe.
    • Hand sanitizer.

When you go through your kit (quarterly!) be sure to pay attention to your diaper sizes, clothing sizes, nipple sizes and amount of formula on hand (if needed).

Don’t forget about your pets! In the event of a disaster they will have supply needs as well. Here are some tips to keep your four-legged family members safe during a disaster:

  • Store extra food, water, bowls, litter box, medicine, first aid supplies and health records for each animal with your 72-hour kit.
  • Leashes and pet carriers should be together and accessible.
  • Before disaster strikes, identify pet-friendly places to stay within a 50-mile radius. Keep your pet with you if at all possible during a disaster.
  • Have current health/vaccination records, proof of ownership and brand or microchip identification.

To ensure that all members of your family are safe during a disaster, download the Red Cross First Aid apps available for people or pets. For more information on building a 72-hour kit, check out redcross.org!

Everything You Need to Know in New All-in-One Red Cross Emergency App

The new, all-inclusive Emergency App from the American Red Cross provides people with instant access to emergency alerts, life-saving information, and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for smart phones and tablets.Emergency App

The Emergency App is a single ‘go-to’ source for everything from home fires to hurricanes. It includes content from a group of award-winning Red Cross apps with additional information about what to do in case of 14 different types of emergencies and disasters. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.

The app includes a new featured called “Family Safe” that allows the app user to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. The recipient can instantly see the alert details as well as specific “what to do now” steps, and then respond with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not safe.” This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency App. In addition to smartphones and tablets, this feature will be available on the new Apple Watch and can be downloaded from the Apple Watch App Store starting April 24.

Other important features include:

  • Emergency first aid information for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies as well as water safety information;
  • Preloaded content so users can access guidance from Red Cross experts even without mobile connectivity;
  • A single map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information;
  • A home fire section with detailed prevention and safety tips as well as Red Cross “After the Fire” information;
  • “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes; and
  • The ability to easily toggle between English and Spanish.

The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Red Cross apps have been downloaded more than 6 million times and nearly 400 million alerts have been sent since the launch of the first app in 2012. While apps can help prepare someone for disasters, it’s important to note that they are not substitutes for training. People can take Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses so they’ll know what to do in case help is delayed. They can get information and register at redcross.org/TakeAClass.

Winter Prep: Simple Steps to Stay Safe

Blizzards, ice storms, Nor’easters and freezing cold ­ winter can be a killer. The season can have a huge impact on travel, schools, businesses and health. Just look at what happened to Buffalo recently, where people were trapped at home and in their cars due to snow measured by the foot. Or the Thanksgiving Nor’easter that disrupted the busiest travel day of the year and left more than 400,000 people without power in the northeast. Don’t let winter hazards catch you unprepared. Follow these simple steps from the National Weather Service to stay safe this winter:

1. Know your risk

Check the forecast at weather.gov before you leave the house. Familiarize yourself with winter watches, warnings and advisories so you know what to do when the National Weather Service issues one for your area.

2. Take Action

Make sure you have an emergency supplies kit in both your home and car. If possible, avoid leaving your home if hazardous winter weather is approaching. If you must leave, make sure you are dressed for the elements and that your mobile phone is fully charged. If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for pets. Make sure to provide a warm, dry place for any animals that typically stay outdoors.

To learn more about cold weather health dangers, like frostbite and hypothermia download the free Red Cross First Aid app (a 99¢ Red Cross Pet First Aid app is also available!)

3. Be A Force of Nature

Set an example and others will follow. Take to social media to post about approaching hazardous weather and tell your family and friends how you are preparing (on Twitter use #WinterPrep). Call friends, family and neighbors to alert them to dangers and encourage them to get ready for the storm. After the storm passes, check on your loved ones and neighbors. Offer assistance where you can, especially to the elderly who are particularly vulnerable. Be a Force of Nature in your hometown. Winter weather can be deadly. But with a few simple steps, you can stay safe.

10 ways to stay safe during this latest round of cold temperatures

COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS

Here are ten ways to stay safe during this latest round of cold temperatures:

Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.

Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.

  1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  2. Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.
  3. Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.
  4. Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  5. Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
  6. Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  7. Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.
  8. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  9. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  10. Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps. More information about winter safety is available on redcross.org.         

Red Cross Volunteer Apps make volunteering easy for current and prospective volunteers

Nationally, there are over one million volunteers for the Red Cross. While many volunteers tend to local community needs by those who have experienced a disaster like a home fire or flood, there are many other ways to work with the Red Cross including supporting the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, Blood Drives, work at events, community meetings, and more. All are welcome and encouraged to make a difference in their community.  The Red Cross has created two ways to use your mobile device to help you volunteer, the Team Red Cross App and the Volunteer Connection App.

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When a large scale disaster hits, the Team Red Cross App makes it easy for you to help the response through just-in-time training.  The app has extensive training materials so you know exactly how to provide help with disaster assessment, feeding, bulk distribution, or other important work to assist those when they need it most.  Using the GPS on your mobile device, the app instantly recognizes where you are and tells you what help is needed in your area.  For more information, visit www.redcross.org/apps.

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The Volunteer Connection app is for those who are currently volunteers for the Red Cross. The app will help you easily update your profile, log your volunteer hours, schedule your shifts or read up on the latest news from your groups.  The app works with the existing volunteer connection website, but gives you the power to stay connected through your mobile device.  The apps are downloadable for the iPhone and Android servers.

To get started as a volunteer, or learn about additional opportunities visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.