Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Top 10 Driving & Travel Tips for Thanksgiving

Travelers should plan ahead and expect delays as they head to destinations 

Millions of people are expected to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and the American Red Cross is offering tips travelers can follow as they visit loved ones over the long weekend.

DRIVING SAFETY

1.     Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
2.     Pack an emergency preparedness kit and supplies in the trunk.
3.     Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
4.     Check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
5.     Be well rested and alert.
6.     Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive while impaired.
7.     Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
8.     Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
9.     Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
10.  If you have car trouble, pull of the road as far as possible.

OTHER SAFETY TIPS

Winter weather:
  • Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Pull over and stay with your vehicle. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.
Public transportation and preventing the spread of the flu virus:
  • Everything you touch is likely touched by someone else – luggage, seats, etc. – which is how germs are spread.
  • Handle your own belongings. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS


People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Red Cross Response to Wildfires & Hurricanes at a Glance


Starting in late August, the American Red Cross launched wide-ranging relief efforts to help people devastated by three historic back-to-back hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—followed closely by the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. 

Last updated November 13, 2017

California Wildfires
The Red Cross, community and government partners have provided more than 27,900 overnight stays in emergency shelters.
With the help of partners, the Red Cross has served more than 189,200 meals and snacks, and provided more than 15,300 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected.
The Red Cross has distributed more than 144,300 emergency relief items such as masks, gloves, rakes, trash bags and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items to people in need. 
To help people recover and get back on their feet, the Red Cross has opened more than 2,300 cases, reaching more than 6,200 Californians. 
More than 150 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground now. 

Hurricane Response Efforts (Harvey, Irma and Maria) 
Since late August, the Red Cross, along with community and government partners, has provided 1.3 million (1,301,300) overnight stays in emergency shelters. That’s more overnight shelter stays than the past 5 years combined. Shelters were opened in 8 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes—
o For Harvey, more than 414,800 overnight shelter stays in Texas and Louisiana. 
o For Irma, more than 555,300 overnight shelter stays across six states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
o For Maria, more than 331,100 overnight stays in primarily government shelters across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
With the help of partners, the Red Cross has served more than 10.5 million (10,503,600) meals and snacks—that’s more food than the past 4 years combined.
The Red Cross has distributed more than 6 million (6,064,800) emergency relief items to people in need. 
Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 214,600 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected. 
A total of more than 16,500 trained disaster workers, 91 percent of them volunteers, have been mobilized to support hurricane relief efforts. Many of these workers have supported multiple relief operations or deployed multiple times. 
Right now, nearly 700 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground. Since August, more than 100 Red Cross workers from around the world deployed to the United States to help with hurricane relief efforts. 

Hurricane Harvey 
As of October 31, the Red Cross has authorized payment of $400 to more than 573,000 households severely affected by Hurricane Harvey. That’s more than $229 million in direct financial assistance, and we continue to process applications.
Along with our partners, we have served more than 4.5 million (4,549,100) meals and snacks in Texas and Louisiana.
Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 127,200 mental health and health services to support and care for people in Texas and Louisiana. 
We’ve distributed more than 1.6 million (1,660,400) relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items, in Texas and Louisiana.
A total of more than 9,500 trained disaster workers have supported Harvey relief efforts. Many of these workers have responded to multiple relief operations or deployed multiple times. 

Hurricane Irma (Continental U.S. Only) 
Along with our partners, we have served more than 1.5 million (1,591,300) meals and snacks across six states.
We’ve distributed more than 1 million (1,074,500) relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items across six states.
Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 52,600 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected across six states. 
To help people recover and get back on their feet, the Red Cross has opened more than 11,400 cases, reaching more than 38,900 people across Florida. 
A total of more than 6,900 trained disaster workers have supported Irma relief efforts. Many of these workers have responded to multiple relief operations or deployed multiple times. 

Hurricanes Irma and Maria (Puerto Rico and USVI) 
In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency shelters remain open for people with nowhere else to go.
More than 500 Red Cross disaster workers are supporting relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands now. 
Along with our partners, the Red Cross has served more than 4.5 million (4,583,200) meals and snacks across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
We’ve distributed 3.2 million (3,248,900) relief items across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 25,900 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected. 
Since Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Red Cross has served more than 4.5 million (4,501,200) meals and snacks, distributed more than 2.6 million (2,671,500) relief supplies, and provided more than 20,400 mental health and health services to people in need. Right now, nearly 400 Red Cross disaster workers are helping. 
Since Irma and Maria struck the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Red Cross has served more than 82,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 577,400 relief items, and provided more than 5,500 mental health and health services to people in need. Right now, 170 trained Red Cross disaster workers are helping.
More than 30 Red Cross disaster responders from around the globe deployed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help deliver aid. These responders came from Red Cross societies in Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, Mexico, Spain, and from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 

10 Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips from Red Cross

Cooking is leading cause of home fires. Smoke alarms and other precautions can help prevent them.

Millions of people will gather for Thanksgiving to enjoy time with loved ones and a delicious holiday dinner. With cooking being the number one cause of home fires, the American Red Cross recommends that everyone follow these fire safety steps:

1. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
2. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
3. f you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended – stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
4. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
5. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
6. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
7. Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
8. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
10. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.

Bonus Tip
The Red Cross First Aid App provides expert advice for common mishaps or emergencies including cuts, burns and what to do if someone is choking. Download the app for free in your app store or text GETFIRST to 90999.

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - November 2017

The season of giving thanks is upon us, and here at the Nashville Area Red Cross we have so much to be thankful for. In the past months, the American Red Cross has launched wide-ranging relief efforts to help people devastated by three historic, back-to-back hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—followed closely by the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. Our volunteers are also busy responding to home fires right here in our community. My sincerest thanks and appreciation to our donors, volunteers, and staff members for making the Red Cross response possible to help our neighbors in need. You are the Red Cross mission in action.

As we look forward to spending time with friends and family this Thanksgiving, please keep the following tips in mind for a safe holiday.

TOP TEN COOKING SAFETY TIPS

1. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
2. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended – stay in the kitchen. If you just leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
3. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
4. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
5. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
6. Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
7. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
10. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

HIGHWAY SAFETY

1. If driving, check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Watch weather predictions for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.
2. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
3. Be well rested and alert.
4. Follow the rules of the road.
5. Use caution in work zones.
6. Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision. Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
7. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
8. Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
9. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights.
10. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

I also encourage you to download the free Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. You can see all the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - November 2017

So many lives have been effected by the tragedy and 2017 has proven to be one of the most devastating years for disasters in over a decade. People have experienced the loss of homes, belongings, pets, jobs and saddest of all, the lives of those close to them.

November is a time of reflection. Not one of us is immune from disaster, no matter where we live. This special time of the year is literally a time of thanks for we know there will always be someone there for us in some way to bring us through whatever event of distress that might befall us.

This is a time to find our capacity for giving and turn compassion into action, regardless of when or where. It is poignantly heart-filling to see all people come together for each other, even when many who are assisting others are experiencing the effects of the same catastrophe.

This is the definition of thanksgiving. It is the swell of humanity at it's very finest. We are so thankful to know and to have met those who shine in the darkest hour in this past year. We are especially thankful for the over 270 Red Cross volunteers in southeast Tennessee who have sacrificed so much time and time again.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

--Julia

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Kathy Ferrell - November 2017

Heart of Tennessee Volunteers:

Thank you!  I hope we say that enough; your most precious asset is your time and you freely share that in service with us.  

The first three months of my time with Red Cross has been incredibly busy and ever changing.  What has remained constant is your passion for this work and loyalty to this mission.  This was on full display during our recent apartment fire in Smyrna.  We had numerous volunteers on the scene at Chalet Apartments, and many more at our staging area and then at the shelter.  47 individuals were served and I couldn’t be any more proud of this team.  As I finish this, we are working to respond to individuals that have been impacted by flooding in Rutherford and DeKalb Counties.  We have amazing volunteers at the scene and many more ready to join us.  You love this work; I encourage you to share this opportunity with your friends and neighbors.  We need to grow our team and you are the best equipped to share your story and encourage others to serve alongside us.

Please remember that we are grateful for your service and we want you to feel like this is your home. Our office is open and you are welcome in this place.  We are already making progress on this journey together.  Looking forward to what the future holds!

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

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - November 2017

Hello Mid-West Tennessee volunteers! Happy Thanksgiving- a little early! I hope this newsletter finds you well and things are good in each of your worlds. As we look back on the CRAZINESS of the last 2 ½ months, I want to be sure and say again how extremely proud I am of our local chapter! Our response to both the national disasters (those that deployed) and our local, ongoing responses by the disaster action team (DAT) during some chaotic weeks left me not only pleased as your executive director, but also awestruck at your resiliency and teamwork! You should be proud of yourselves and the team members around you.

As we’ve now entered the holiday season, I want us to each finish the calendar year strong in our respective roles in the chapter. I hope that each of you who has contributed so mightily in these last several weeks (both locally and nationally) will take the time to replenish your energy and recharge your batteries. You’ve earned it! If we’re going to finish the year strong and welcome in 2018 with all the effort and dedication it deserves, there is no shame in taking the next few days to slow your pace and gear up for the next round of opportunities to serve- for the sake of your own personal families and your Red Cross family.

Please take the time this month to seek out those that deployed to hear their respective stories and to gain insight and encouragement from the things they experienced while teaming up with Red Crossers from all across the nation. Some of their eyewitness accounts are so inspiring and help remind us all “why we do what we do”! While all of the volunteers stories are worthwhile, our own chapter’s Disaster Program Manager, Heather Carbajal, also deployed into a very “high maintenance” and difficult disaster response situation in the Virgin Islands (specifically St. Thomas). She represented us well and has some inspiring experiences that many of you would enjoy hearing her share.  Great job, Heather, on behalf of our chapter!  I hope all of you enjoy the holidays with your families and I look forward to seeing you around the chapter office!