Monday, June 24, 2019

Follow these Red Cross Steps for a Safe Fourth of July Holiday

The 4th of July holiday is just around the corner and many of us will take time off to enjoy a long weekend of summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a great holiday and offers safety steps people can follow.


The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."


Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. Wash your hands before preparing the food. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:

Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
Never grill indoors — not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
Keep the grill out in the open and away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire. 
Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.


Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.


Be “water smart.” Children and adults should learn to swim so, at a minimum, they achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, find an exit, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.

Prevent unsupervised access to water. A person who is drowning has a better chance of survival if these steps are followed:

Recognize the signs of someone trouble and shout for help;
Rescue and remove the person from water without putting yourself in danger;
Call 9-1-1;
Begin rescue breathing and CPR; and
Use an AED, if available, and transfer care to advanced life support.

Here are a few more steps people can take as we approach the holiday:

Go to for water safety courses, tips and resources.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on how to treat bleeding, burns, insect bites and stings, and more.
Give blood. The number of people donating blood often drops during the summer when people are on vacation and schools are closed. Visit or download the Red Cross Blood App for more information or to schedule your donation.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Red Cross Offers 15 Summer Safety Tips for Swimming, Grilling and Attending Crowded Events

Accidents happen – learn First Aid and give blood to help those in need

The official start of summer is here, signaling the time for outdoor summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy the season and offers safety tips you can follow all summer long.


Before going in, on or around the water, every family member should become “water smart.” This starts with learning to be safe, making good choices, and learning to swim to at least achieve the skills of water competency. Everyone should be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely. A variety of water safety courses and resources are available at 

1. Prevent unsupervised access to water. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, keep a constant eye for any water dangers such as portable splash pools/slides, buckets, and bathtubs. 
2. Adults- actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers. Kids-follow the rules.
3. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat and if in a situation beyond someone’s skill level. 
4. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Designate a ‘Water Watcher’ to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next Water Watcher takes over. 
5. Download the Red Cross Swim App for kid-friendly games and activities and water safety information for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at


A recent Red Cross survey showed three in five adults have walked away from a grill while cooking, one of the leading causes of grilling fires which cause more than 9,000 home fires on average each year. To avoid this, the Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area. 
3. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.  
5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.


If summer plans include places where crowds may gather, such as at an amusement park or concert, people can expect to wait in lines and possibly face extra security measures, along with getting separated from their group. The Red Cross has safety steps to follow:

1. Have a few different methods to communicate – cell phone, tablet, calling card for a landline phone. Stay with the group – don’t go off alone. All adults should have a cell phone and exchange numbers with the others in the group. Plan where to meet should someone become separated.
2. Find out what is allowed when it comes to items such as coolers, backpacks, etc. to avoid having to throw them away.
3. Dress appropriately and in layers to be ready for any change in the weather. Stay hydrated. Apply sunscreen regularly.
4. Watch the weather and seek shelter if any severe weather warnings are issued. Know where the exits and shelters are.
5. Be on the lookout for suspicious activity and don’t be afraid to report suspicious people or packages.

Accidents and Emergencies Happen
The Red Cross has several resources to help people learn how to treat bee stings, burns and heat emergencies including training courses (, a free First Aid App and a First Aid Skill for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

Right now, the Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood – the most needed blood type in the hospital. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personal reach for in the most serious situations when there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type. Donors are encouraged to schedule a blood donation appointment today by using the Blood Donor App, by visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Individuals can also open the Red Cross Blood skill on an Alexa-enabled device with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood Skill” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Nashville Area Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer Medical Screener

Want to use your medical skills and knowledge to make a difference in your community by helping save lives? Join the American Red Cross Blood Services volunteer team as a Volunteer Medical Screener! Medical experience and positive attitudes wanted to support the Red Cross mission of providing lifesaving blood to patients in need. For more information, email or call 615-788-5155.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Kalen Collins - June 2019

As you know, March brought rain, rain, and more rain, but our team was ready to respond. Local volunteers sprang into action by opening five shelters and completing damage assessment in the affected areas. A team of volunteers including Naif Almutairi, Marth Farmer, Larry Nelson, Rachelle Burkert, Lynn Wright, Teresa Rhoton, Edith White deployed to Linden and Nashville, Tennessee to help our Red Cross neighbors. We operated as a cohesive unit to respond to the Tennessee Region’s flooding.

Sound the Alarm has finally wrapped up. On April 27, the Tennessee Region rallied together to install more than 2,500 alarms within the first 24-hours of the Sound the Alarm kick-off. The Northeast Tennessee team worked together to install 220 alarms and make 92 homes safer.

As the end of the fiscal year is nearing, we took time on April 30 to celebrate our amazing volunteer team. The Northeast Tennessee group gathered at Laurel Run Park to enjoy an afternoon of Chick-Fil-A and ice cream. We took a break to say thank you for all the hard work our volunteers have completed this year. You all truly keep this organization going. Thank you for carrying out the Red Cross mission daily. 

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Corner - June 2019


Disaster Action Team (DAT) Volunteers
Volunteers needed to respond to single-family fires.

Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Volunteers
Volunteers need to represent the Red Cross at community events, deliver birthday and holiday cards, assist with other military events as needed.

Hero Care Network Regional Caseworker/Follow Up Volunteer
Volunteers needed to ensure military families’ needs are met when faced with an emergency.

*If you or someone you know is interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Kalen Collins for more information at


Red Cross for Dummies
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
Please contact Dawn Day for more information or to RSVP at


Annual Meeting
5:30 p.m. - 7:00  p.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
Formal invitation to all volunteers will be distributed. Please note that the meeting for January has changed to noon.

 “Donut Forget”
8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Red Cross NETN Office | 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663
This will be an opportunity for volunteers to enjoy coffee and donuts while logging volunteer hours and catching up on any training.


Free Dental Clinic
06/20/2019 and 06/21/2019
Time to be decided.
Johnson County, Tennessee
 Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Grainger County Tomato Festival
Noon - 6 p.m.
7480 Rutledge Pike, Rutledge, TN 37816
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Taste of Tusculum
Tusculum University – 60 Shiloh Road, Greeneville, TN 37743
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Nettie Day of Service
Tusculum University – 60 Shiloh Road, Greeneville, TN 37743
Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.

Animal Shelter Information Event
Johnson County, Tennessee
 Please email Kaarina Hill ( if you are interested in participating.


Don’t forget to download the “Volunteer Connection” mobile application and log your volunteer hours! This app is both Android and iOS compatible.

Northeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie and Tony Hewitt - June 2019

Most of you have visited our local chapter off I-26 in Kingsport. What you may not know is the role two of our dedicated leadership volunteers played in our first location on Wilcox Drive, and then with our current location on Eastern Star Road! 

Meet Jackie and Tony Hewitt.

When Tony arrived in Kingsport in 1999 as director of commercial development and community relations for Holston Army Ammunition Plant, he found that he was the landlord for the Red Cross Chapter on Wilcox Drive. It was time to renegotiate the 50-year lease so Tony got to know the chapter well. He became a financial contributor and participated in what he calls, “one of the best charity golf tournaments in the Tri-Cities.” 

Due to the age of the Wilcox Drive building (built during World War II for temporary use), it became necessary for the local Red Cross chapter to move. This brought forth the second half of the Hewitt team. Jackie Hewitt became acquainted with the Red Cross through her work. For 17 years she has been a Commercial Realtor for TCI Group Jerry Petzoldt Agency LLC. The National Red Cross engaged the Pentzoldt Firm to search for a new location for our chapter. As a result, Jackie was instrumental in helping find our current location. She became a volunteer in 2013. 

Jackie says she got to know Glenda and the team and found them so welcoming and friendly she felt drawn to helping and became a Red Cross volunteer. “I was asked to be a Board Member and became involved in helping with fire alarm installations, Run for the Red, and the humanitarian breakfast,” she said. “I enjoy all the volunteer events because of the camaraderie. Some jobs are harder work than others, but I always feel I am helping make a difference in someone's life, and that is very fulfilling."

Tony says as he moved towards retirement in 2016, Jackie invited him to an all-volunteer meeting where the volunteers, recently returned from the Gatlinburg fires, shared their experiences. “I was so impressed with their stories and thought I could do that,” he added. “Soon after the meeting, I rekindled my friendship with Glenda, and ‘the rest is history’ as they say. Until that meeting in 2016, I don’t think I had any appreciation of how much the Red Cross does.”

“I had heady visions of deployment and helping disaster victims; but a cancer diagnosis in early 2017 put a stop to deploying. Though I am now healthy, 12-hour shifts and medications makes me a potential liability rather than a help. I started assisting on local fire calls and installing smoke alarms. I have also done local disaster damage assessment. In July 2018 I took responsibility for the Home Fire Safety Program (smoke alarms) and find it is a most rewarding activity. Lifting people’s spirits and making them feel safer by putting fire detection in their homes must be one of the better jobs and I love the people we meet.”

The Hewitts do have a life outside their Red Cross volunteer work. Tony is on the golf course when the weather is good, and when the weather is bad he is at home reading or doing his duties as a “house husband.” Jackie continues her work as a commercial realtor. In her spare time she takes exercise classes at the YMCA, knits, takes quilting classes and enjoys cooking. 

When asked how they feel about being Red Cross volunteers, Tony stated, “Getting involved with the Red Cross is rewarding in so many ways, from the care and kindness that is shown to others and the gratitude that comes back to us, the friendships you make with like-minded people and with every meeting there is food!” Jackie commented, “I would encourage anyone to go to the Red Cross who is looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity. The staff and all the volunteers are so helpful and grateful for all you do, I have never been a part of a non-profit where I felt more valued.”

The local Red Cross is so pleased to have the Hewitts as a part of the Red Cross family. They played significant roles in the history of our location, but primarily for their role in the continuing work in support of the Red Cross mission. Sometimes volunteers walk in the door asking to volunteer. Other times, they walk in the door in a professional capacity and unexpectedly turn into committed volunteer leaders.   

There is always a need for additional volunteers with the local Red Cross. You can work in a variety of positions. Training is available for disaster and non-disaster positions. For more information on volunteering and training visit If you are a current volunteer, and would like additional information please contact Angela Morris by calling 423-765-4218 or emailing her at

Friday, May 31, 2019

East Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Marilyn Rasmussen - June 2019

Marilyn Rasmussen was recognized for excellence as a Service to Armed Forces (SAF) team leader during the American Red Cross Southeast and Caribbean Division meeting. Rasmussen and the Tennessee Region SAF team took on the North Florida Region’s casework load while the state recovered from Hurricane Michael. The storm severely impacted Tyndall Air Force Base, located near Panama City, Florida resulting in an acute need for SAF response. Because Tennessee Region volunteers accepted the challenge, SAF service delivery continued without interruption and thousands of families received much needed assistance.

Rasmussen, an Atlanta native, worked for GE as an administrator, eventually assigned to the vice president of major appliances where she created and delivered intern orientation classes. In addition to her career with GE, Rasmussen served in the office of Mayor Amato of Lexington, Kentucky, operated her own business, and worked as a medical transcriber. She relocated from Georgia to Kentucky, and Indiana for husband, Ken’s, career, before settling in Knoxville, Tennessee.

No stranger to volunteering, Rasmussen has bestowed her gift of time to several agencies including the Atlanta Police Department, church leadership, and served Cub Scout Den Leader for 8 years, before joining the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina. In addition to SAF, she has held positions as a DAT Captain, CAS administrator, Disaster and Volunteer Connection Instructor, Ham Radio operator, Fire Safety House team, and First Aid Station Team at University of Tennessee sporting events. Rasmussen began volunteering with SAF in 2014 and advanced to Lead Caseworker and Trainer and EDGE Administrator for the Tennessee Region.

Rasmussen says that she encourages others to volunteer and investigate, like she has, different lines of service and the multiple opportunities to help others offered by the Red Cross. “I tell new volunteers the number one requirement (to be a volunteer) is heart and compassion,” Rasmussen said. “You can make a difference. Believe me when I say that volunteering with the Red Cross is a humbling, yet emotionally rewarding experience.”