Monday, January 15, 2018

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - January 2018

The New Year is here and many of us are making resolutions about things we want to do in 2018. Losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. are great things to want to accomplish, but to make a real difference to yourself and your loved ones, resolve to get your household prepared for disasters in the coming year.

Families need to plan on what they should do if a disaster occurs. Whether the disaster is small – a home fire – or large – a hurricane or tornado – families need to know what emergencies are most likely to happen where they live, learn, work and play. You can make a difference in your community by knowing what to do when disaster strikes. It’s just a few short steps away:

1. Get a kit. If you’ve ever fumbled to find a flashlight during a blackout, you know what it feels like to be unprepared. Use a downloadable checklist to make it easy to get your emergency preparedness kit ready. You should include:

Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water—one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit, medications and medical items
Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Extra cash

2. Make a plan. Talk with household members about what you would do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case you are separated, and choose two places to meet - one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

Choose a contact person from out of the area and make sure all household members have this person’s phone number and email address. It may be easier to call long distance or text if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.
Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.
Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

3. Be informed. Know the risks where you live, work, learn and play.

If you live or travel often to areas near a fault line, learn how to prepare and what to do during an earthquake. If summer brings to mind not just beaches and picnics but also tropical storms and hurricanes, arm yourself with information about what to do in case one occurs. Remember that emergencies like fires and blackouts can happen anywhere, so everyone should be prepared for them.
Find out how you would receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.
Learn first aid and CPR/AED so that you have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders may not be as available. Sign up for a class here.

4. Download our apps. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of a disaster, as well as locations of shelters. The Red Cross First Aid App puts information in your fingertips on how to help. Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard App for a fun way to teach children what to do in case of a flood or a hurricane. Users can find all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Following these simple steps will ensure that you are prepared and ready to overcome challenges a disaster presents.  Best wishes for a great new year ahead!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Get Ready: Resolve to Prepare for Emergencies this Year

The New Year is here and many of us have made resolutions about things we want to do in 2018. Losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. are great things to want to accomplish, but to make a real difference to yourself and your loved ones, resolve to get your household prepared for disasters in the coming year.
Families need to plan on what they should do if a disaster occurs. Whether the disaster is small – a home fire – or large – a hurricane or tornado – families need to know what emergencies are most likely to happen where they live, learn, work and play. You can make a difference in your community by knowing what to do when disaster strikes. It’s just a few short steps away:
1. Get a kit. If you’ve ever fumbled to find a flashlight during a blackout, you know what it feels like to be unprepared. Use a downloadable checklist to make it easy to get your emergency preparedness kit ready. You should include:
  • • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water—one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
  • • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • • First aid kit, medications and medical items
  • • Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • • Extra cash
2. Make a plan. Talk with household members about what you would do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case you are separated, and choose two places to meet - one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
  • • Choose a contact person from out of the area and make sure all household members have this person’s phone number and email address. It may be easier to call long distance or text if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
  • • Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.
  • • Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.
  • • Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
3. Be informed. Know the risks where you live, work, learn and play.
  • • If you live or travel often to areas near a fault line, learn how to prepare and what to do during an earthquake. If summer brings to mind not just beaches and picnics but also tropical storms and hurricanes, arm yourself with information about what to do in case one occurs. Remember that emergencies like fires and blackouts can happen anywhere, so everyone should be prepared for them.
  • • Find out how you would receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.
  • • Learn first aid and CPR/AED so that you have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders may not be as available. Sign up for a class here.
4. Download our apps. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of a disaster, as well as locations of shelters. The Red Cross First Aid App puts information in your fingertips on how to help. Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard App for a fun way to teach children what to do in case of a flood or a hurricane. Users can find all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Sharon Hudson - January 2018

Happy New Year!

It’s a new year and a time of new beginnings. As we’re making resolutions, consider your personal health and safety. The Red Cross responded to historic disasters in 2017. Let’s reflect on the lessons learned and make preparedness a priority in 2018. Being prepared isn’t as time consuming as you think. Become Red Cross Ready in three easy steps:

1. Get a Kit—include essential supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, personal documents, medications, pet supplies and cash.
2. Make a Plan—create and practice an emergency plan so that your family will know what to do in a crisis.
3. Be Informed—understand which disasters are likely in your area.

A preventable disaster that occurs too frequently in East Tennessee are home fires. Unfortunately, chapter staff and volunteers responded to several home fires this holiday season. Simply having a functional smoke alarm installed will cut the risk of death in a home fire by FIFTY PERCENT. East Tennessee will take part in the national Sound the Alarm, Save a Life campaign later this spring. Via Sound the Alarm, the Red Cross has already installed over one million smoke alarms, saving over 300 lives. Contact us to learn how you can donate, volunteer and support our efforts to make East Tennessee families safer. Be Ready in 2018—prepare yourself and your loved ones—start at home.

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Kathy Ferrell - January 2018

Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

Happy 2018!

My hope is that each of you had the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season, Christmas and the New Year with those you love. As we begin 2018, I’m incredibly excited about what we accomplished in my first five months and what we will accomplish this year.

In addition to living our mission through fire/flood response, smoke alarm installations, and The Pillowcase Project, we are focused on our Heroes Breakfast. This event will be held Wednesday, February 21st, and will honor Dr. Sidney McPhee and Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. McPhee is a supporter of our work and has his own Red Cross story as a shelter partner for hurricane evacuees. Last year’s honoree, John Hood, will introduce Dr. McPhee and share some highlights from our sheltering experience. I hope you have the opportunity to attend; we will forward an invitation and details to each of you. This event serves as our signature fundraiser, allowing us the opportunity to raise the dollars that we need to carry out our mission.

T.S. Eliot wisely wrote, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words away another voice.  To make an end is to make a beginning.” This resonates with me as we are closing the chapter on the past and looking to the future. Thanks to your service, the future is very bright for Heart of Tennessee. I look forward to a phenomenal year with you!

With gratitude,
Kathy Ferrell
Executive Director, Heart of Tennessee Chapter

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - January 2018

It’s that time of year.  We have taken the decorations down, celebrated the beginning of a New Year, and made our resolutions for 2018. While many of us typically make resolutions like exercising more, losing weight and eating healthier, this year, consider making a resolution to make your families safer.

Here are some quick tips to get you started with Winter Storm Preparedness:  

Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit to include winter-specific supplies for both home and vehicle that include a flashlight, first aid supplies, warm outerwear, water resistant boots, a blanket and extra warm clothing.  Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand in case your car is stuck or to help make walkways less slippery.  Additionally, your home kit should have essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, and a battery powered radio with extra batteries in case of a power outage.

Heed Storm Warnings:  A winter storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA weather radio or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Preparing Your Home and Car: If you heat with natural gas, be sure to identify the location of your meter and vents. It's important to keep them clear during storms and to ensure they are not damaged. Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which helps prevent the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.

Winter weather has a way of sneaking up on us, so now is a good time to be taking steps to reduce any weather-related issues.  To learn more on how to prepare you family visit www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm

--Julia

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom - January 2018

As we enter 2018, we should first reflect on the success that together we have accomplished as a chapter.

102 Households assisted
436 Service to the Armed Forces cases
1,645 Individuals reached through Preparedness Health and Safety classes
19486 Volunteer hours
150 Smoke alarms installed
164 Children reached through The Pillowcase Project
19 Volunteers who deployed for national disasters (Deployments to Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico)
(July- December 2017)

In addition to our accomplishments in 2017, we are already seeing growth in 2018! Please help me in welcoming Charles Thomas, our new Mass Care Coordinator, and Marvin Williams, our new Logistics Coordinator. Both volunteers are eager to expand the reach of our chapter and we are very excited to have them as part of the team!

In the month of January, the cold weather continues to bear down on Middle Tennessee and we want to remind everyone to practice fire safety. We will be hosting a Home Fire Preparedness Campaign on January 20, 2018 and would like to invite everyone to join us in making our community a safer place.
Happy New Year!



-Katy Hagstrom

Heart of Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Debra and Art Fuller - January 2018

The Heart of Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight this month is on the husband and wife team of Debra and Art Fuller. Debra and Art have been married 12 1/2 years and have 5 children between them. They are grandparents to 14 (last one will be born January 2018). The children are scattered around the country: two in Oklahoma, one in Pennsylvania, and two here in Middle Tennessee. This means trips around the country which is something that Debra and Art enjoy doing. 

Debra was a military wife for many years and was employed by the Federal Government as a civilian and has been retired for 10 years. Art was also a federal government employee for 42 years working with the Air Force, Army, and Defense Logistics Agency.  He moved around in the job, eventually settling in Tennessee working at Arnold Air Force Base.  As part of his job he was the Equal Employment Counselor, helping many in that capacity. Art is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer to help oversee the needs of at risk children.  He has been on the board of the Murfreesboro Soccer Club for about 20 years, becoming involved when his own children were playing soccer. Together, Art and Debra are involved with the VA every Wednesday through a ministry in their church. 

Good Friday 2009 found Debra in the only room on the second floor of their home that had not been carried off by the tornado in Murfreesboro. Debra was saved by taking shelter in the bathroom. The Red Cross came, offered help to the victims and fed all the workers. From that time on Debra wanted to join the Red Cross because of how they interacted with the victims and helpers. It took her 8 years to volunteer, the catalyst being the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. As she says, you don’t know what comes knocking on your door, you need to be ready to help. Debra became a Red Cross Volunteer in September 2017. She joined with a smile on her face and willingness to work.

Art, who was not at home when the Good Friday 2009 tornado hit, saw Debra’s excitement when she joined the Red Cross and decided to sign up also.

Debra and Art are both certified emergency response vehicle (ERV) drivers for the chapter along with Disaster Action Team (DAT) responders, shelter volunteers, and disaster responders. In December, they headed up a crew to install smoke alarms in a Smyrna trailer park. Their work was greatly appreciated by the residents.


For the future, Art and Debra plan to travel and to continue in their many roles at Red Cross. Their words of wisdom are “get out and do it” and “get off the couch”. If you do something for someone else, it will put a smile on their face and yours as well. The Heart of Tennessee Red Cross is happy to have them with us. Thank you for your service to our Chapter and Middle Tennessee.