Friday, September 12, 2014

Red Cross Offers Flood Cleanup Tips

Follow these tips for a safe clean-up:
  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
  • Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud, including canned goods and containers with food or liquid that have been sealed shut. When in doubt, throw it out.
  •  Be careful when moving furnishings or debris since they may be water logged and heavier.
  • Some cleaning solutions can cause toxic fumes and other hazards if mixed together. If you smell a strong odor or your eyes water from the fumes or mixed chemicals, open a window and get out of your home.
  • Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (e.g. mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys).
  • Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
  • Clean hard surfaces (e.g. flooring, countertops and appliances) thoroughly with hot water and soap or a detergent.

The American Red Cross offers the following informational resources in both English and Spanish for returning to your home after a flood:

Repairing Your Flooded Home (Spanish)

You can also download the free Red Cross Flood app for tips on what to do before, during and after a flood. Download it directly from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.

You can receive more safety/preparedness information by visiting

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kenneth Brown: Plough Foundation Volunteer of the Month - Mid-South Chapter

The volunteer of the month is no stranger to the American Red Cross.  He has been extremely active in Disaster Cycle Services (DCS) for over a decade.  He has been with the Memphis Fire Department since 1998 and with the Mid-South American Red Cross since 2000.

Nominated by DCS, this volunteer continues to perform double-duty to support the chapter.  Through his professional connections, he has assisted the chapter in preparing and responding.  He is responsible for engaging members of the community, including seventeen Red Crossers, in becoming part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and ensuring all are trained and ready to answer the call in times of disaster.  To find out more about this training and see pictures of the Mid-South Chapter in action, visit
In 2000, after experiencing first-hand the comfort the Red Cross provides, our Volunteer of the Month decided he needed to be part of the organization that showed up to offer a helping hand. At first, he directed all of his United Way contributions to the Red Cross. But before long, he was down at the Mid-South Red Cross building on his days off taking disaster preparedness courses.

He began driving an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to emergency sites, spending many of his days off offering assistance to his fire-department colleagues, and other workers and persons affected by emergency situations. He became a member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT), which responds to assist people who have been displaced from their homes when disaster strikes. Soon, he was tapped to be a DAT Captain, a role that he still fills. He is also a Disaster Assessment specialist, a function that is essential after a disaster strikes to determine exactly where and how much assistance is needed from the Red Cross.

In addition to his work in the local community, this dedicated individual also deploys with the Red Cross to assist with national emergencies. He has been deployed over a dozen times since 2005, including deployments to assist with Hurricane Gustav and Katrina recovery efforts.

When not busy with the Red Cross, he serves as a Chaplin for the Memphis Fire Department. He is also a member of Tennessee Task Force One, an emergency response agency sponsored by the Memphis Emergency Management Agency and co-coordinated through the Memphis Fire Department; he teaches Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) courses; and he is also a liaison to the City of Memphis Office of Emergency Management that helped to establish a partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation to identify and survey shelter facilities that can be utilized by the American Red Cross.  He was instrumental throughout the summer, especially during the severe flash flooding that occurred in late June.  He worked to identify shelters, set them up, manage the sites while opened, and many more vital functions during the month of July. 

We are excited to announce that our Plough Foundation Volunteer of the Month is Kenneth Brown. We are honored to have him serve in numerous capacities and represent the organization.  Brown has been instrumental during the recent disaster operation and continues to be an integral part of the Mid-South Chapter through his dedicated service as a DAT captain.  We are grateful for Kenneth’s service and thankful that we can honor him as the August volunteer winner for his commitment to the Red Cross.