Friday, January 23, 2015

American Red Cross Tennessee Region Announces New Hires

The Tennessee Region of the American Red Cross is pleased to announce recent additions to their staff.

Faye Anderson joins the Tennessee River Chapter as Executive Director, where she will oversee volunteer development, fundraising, relationship management and management of the local Board of Directors.  Previously, Faye was the Executive Director of the American Red Cross, Mid-West Chapter in Hopkinsville/Madisonville, Kentucky and was responsible for a seven county area working closely with local government and other non-profit agencies to raise community awareness.

Sarah Basel has joined the leadership team as Regional Director of Communications, where she will manage public affairs for the both the Nashville Area Chapter and the Tennessee Region. Sarah has direct communications/public relations experience and leadership experience in communications firms both in Nashville and Chattanooga and has had active roles in building community partners for the last four years.
Other new positions include Grants/Foundation Specialist and Development Specialist.  The Grants/Foundation Specialist position has been filled by Flint Clouse, who will serve both Louisiana and Tennessee in the position.  From prospect research to final reports, Flint will partner with the Red Cross team to match funding opportunities to organizational strategies and to enhance donor relationships.  The Development Specialist position has been filled by Jennifer Drewniany, who previously worked at the Adventure Science Center as the Philanthropy Coordinator and prior to that as the Resource Development Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club of Taunton, in Massachusetts. 

“We are thrilled to have these amazing new team members join our organization,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO.  “We feel confident they will add significant value and experience to our organization. We are lucky that they have joined us in serving the great Tennessee Region!”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Every 8 Minutes, the Red Cross Responds to a Home Fire

The American Red Cross is promoting a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Across the country, the Red Cross is working with fire departments and community groups to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, teaching people about fire safety as they canvass these communities.

EVERY EIGHT MINUTES Home fires are the biggest disaster threat people face in this country. The Red Cross responds to help a family affected by a home fire every 8 minutes. For families who may experience these fires, it can mean they lose everything, often getting out of the burning home with only the clothes they are wearing.

The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. 

You can also help people affected by fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

Your generosity can help provide what families need after a fire:

  • $45 can provide fire safety training and installation of smoke alarms to protect one home.
  • $100 can feed 10 people after an emergency, making sure victims maintain their strength during a stressful time.
  • $200 can house a family of four people in an emergency shelter for a full day when they have no place to go after a house fire or other disaster.

  • TRUE OR FALSE – TWO MINUTES TO GET OUT? Fire experts agree that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. However, a recent survey conducted for the Red Cross shows that many Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape and about 18 percent believe they have ten minutes or more to get out. 

    About 42 percent of those polled said they could get out of a burning home in two minutes and almost 7 in 10 parents (69 percent) believed their children would know what to do or how to get out with little help.

    However, the poll showed these parents had taken few actions to support their level of confidence about their children’s ability to escape a fire: 

  • Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills.
  • Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
  • Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.

  • The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Smoke Alarms to Be Installed in West Nashville Neighborhood on MLK Jr. Day

    Ready Nashville: Partnership for Fire Prevention in Nashville
    Ready Nashville is a partnership between the American Red Cross and St. Luke’s Community House, made possible by the HCA Foundation and the participation of the Metro Nashville Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office.

    One of the key objectives of Ready Nashville is fire safety and prevention, and one  of the key components of fire safety and prevention is making sure as many homes as possible are equipped with functional smoke alarms.

    On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 19th) teams of volunteers will canvass the West Nashville neighborhoods that St. Luke’s serves.
    For two reasons:
    To hand out fire safety information to our neighbors
    To install free smoke alarms for those residents who wish to participate.
    No experience is necessary. Training/orientation will take place at 9:00am at St. Luke's. All volunteers will work in teams of 3. Bring your own team or join with new friends to help prevent fire-related deaths in our city!
    To sign up to volunteer, please visit:
    or call 615-250-4300.

    Meet at The Roger's Building of St. Luke’s Community House,
    Monday, January 19th, 2015   9:00am - 2:00pm
    Click here to register:


    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - January 2015

    Resolve to Get Prepared for Emergencies in 2015

    The New Year is a time when many of us look forward and make resolutions about things we want to accomplish in the coming year. To make a real difference to yourself and your loved ones, resolve to get your household prepared for emergencies in 2015.

    Families need to plan as to what they should do if a disaster occurs. They 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 three 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.

    These are simple and easy steps to ensure you are Red Cross Ready!  Working through these items with your family will ensure you are prepared for whatever comes next! 

    Winter Driving Safety Tips

    While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible during snow or freezing rain, if you have to drive, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm or what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:

    ·  Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
    ·  Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
    ·  Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
    ·  If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
    ·  Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
    ·  Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
    ·  Don’t pass snow plows.
    ·  Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
    ·  Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
    ·  If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Mike Cowles - January 2015

    Wow, it is 2015 already!  I do not know about you but time sure does go fast the older I get.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.  We are a couple of weeks into the New Year and I, like everyone else, am in full swing at work with a lot of task ahead and no end in sight.  Between work and my two boys sporting activities we are a family on the go.  I encourage you to take some time and follow the ten steps below on how to stay safe during our cold winter months.

    1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.

    2.  Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

    3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

    4.  Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

    5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

    6.  Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.

    7.  Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

    8. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

    9. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

    10.  Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

    Most of these items are common sense steps and are easy to do.  Take some time to make a safety plan for you and your family and if you follow these steps you will have a much more pleasant and safe winter.  Also, I encourage you to download our “free” apps on your smart phone by going to the app store.  We have anything from a first aid app to a tornado app, you can go to to find out more information or better yet stop by our chapter office to find out more details.  Thanks for what you do and have a GREAT Day!

    Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director Michelle Hankes, January 2015

    Happy New Year!

    Many people follow the tradition of setting New Year resolutions: losing weight, stopping a bad habit, eating healthier, and so on. But how many of us can say that we’re still following those resolutions months later?

    Here are some suggestions for resolutions you can keep:

    1. Download the Red Cross apps and get a friend to do it with you. They’re free and cover just about any topic you might want: earthquakes, shelters, first aid, swimming, wildfires, and more.

    2. Convince your company to check out the Ready Rating program. It’s a free checklist to see whether your business can bounce back after a disaster so employees can get back to work faster.

    3. Recruit a new volunteer for the Red Cross. It’s a lot more fun to help out when you have someone you know with you!

    4. Make sure everyone in your family is trained in CPR and First Aid. Several years ago, when my oldest son was a toddler, he choked in a restaurant. My husband, Michael, had just taken Infant CPR and saved our son. One little class can make all the difference!

    You can make all the difference for the new year!

    Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - January 2015

    It’s that time of year.  We have taken the decorations down, celebrated the beginning of a New Year, and made our resolutions for 2015. 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. 

    With the winter vortex on its way, there is no better time to think about Winter Storm Preparedness.  Here are some quick tips to get you started.  

    • 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


    Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik - January 2015

    Welcome to 2015!  What a wonderful feeling a new year brings, full of opportunity and reward.  I want to share a few examples of opportunities coming soon.

    Many of you have mentioned a desire for more information to enhance your ability to serve the community as Red Cross volunteers, staff, and supporters.  As a first step toward this goal, we are beginning a quarterly series of “Lunch and Learn” events.  Topics for these events will be determined by your requests for information.  The first topic will be “Emergency Managers: What are their responsibilities and how do they interact with us.”  Knowledge of our partnership with Emergency Management is useful to all of us as we represent the Red Cross in the community.  On an even broader scale, their role impacts us as members of the community that they serve.  Take an hour to learn about this aspect of our community’s government.  They are open to all of our Red Cross family.  Watch your email for dates and times.

    Have you heard about our disaster mini-institutes?  These are three day events where we offer training in topics relevant to disaster response.  As I have watched the participants in past training institutes, the primary benefit I saw was the interaction between volunteers.  This is an excellent opportunity to share experiences and get to know your peers.  The event will be in February so watch your email for dates and times or give us a call.

    The Pillowcase Project is recruiting facilitators.  This is our preparedness program for elementary age children. Following Hurricane Katrina, many youth left their homes carrying their belongings in a pillowcase.  This generated an idea for raising awareness of the items we should all have on hand when disaster strikes.  Each session is an hour long and lots of fun with active participation by students.  If this sounds interesting, contact us to learn more.

    These three activities are just the beginning of the list of happenings at your Red Cross.  Email, call or come visit us to explore your involvement with the opportunities offered in 2015.  Join in the fun!


    Simple Steps to Prevent the Spread of the Flu

    Influenza is widespread across more than half the country and the Centers for Disease Control reports the number of deaths attributed to the flu has reached the epidemic threshold. The American Red Cross reminds everyone to get their flu vaccine now and has steps people can follow to help prevent the spread of the flu.
    According to the CDC, the number of deaths from influenza is just below the epidemic threshold of 6.9 percent. Forty-three states are reporting widespread flu activity and the number of people seeing their doctor for flu-like illness is on the rise. Hardest hit are people 65 or older. These numbers are expected to continue in the weeks ahead, and could rise especially in states that have not yet seen a high number of cases. The CDC recommends those who have not had their flu vaccine should get it now.
    FLU SAFETY STEPS In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu. They include:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.

  • SIGNS YOU HAVE THE FLU The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children). If you think you have the flu, call your health care provider. Seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
  • Fever with a rash (children).
  • No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).

  • More information about how to care for someone with the flu is available on this website and in the free Red Cross First Aid App.

    A Night in the Life: Disaster Volunteers Respond to Home Fire

    The biggest disaster threat in the United States isn’t floods, hurricanes or tornadoes; it’s home fires.
    Every night in America, while most of us are sleeping, American Red Cross disaster volunteers are standing on the lawn of someone who has just lost their home and everything they own in a fire. Our volunteers give them a warm blanket, a hot cup of coffee, a place to stay for the night and a plan to help them get back on their feet.

    A Night in the Life of Our Disaster Volunteers
    The Red Cross responds to help a family affected by a home fire every 8 minutes. Follow the typical journey of our disaster volunteers as they respond to a home fire:

    1:10 a.m. A Red Cross disaster volunteer receives a call from the local Fire Department that there has been a home fire in their community. She quickly gets up, gets dressed and calls another volunteer to meet her at the location of the home fire.
    1:30 a.m. The disaster volunteer arrives at the scene of the home fire. She talks with the fire chief to find out who has been affected and what their needs may be. She also touches base with the EMS captain and leaves a case of water for the firefighters.
    1:35 a.m. The fire chief introduces the Red Cross disaster volunteer to the family of four whose home has been destroyed. The two parents and two children are standing out on the lawn watching as the firemen work to put out the fire. The volunteer immediately wraps warm Red Cross blankets around each of them, and offers them hot coffee or cocoa which she has brought with her as well.
    1:50 a.m. Another Red Cross disaster volunteer arrives to help the affected family. With a smile, he hands the parents two stuffed animals to give to the children. He then helps watch the little ones so that his volunteer partner can talk with the parents about next steps.
    2:15 a.m. The Red Cross volunteers contact a nearby hotel and secure a room for the family to stay in for the next couple nights. They give the family four comfort kits which each contain a toothbrush, tooth paste, soap and other personal hygiene items. They also hand them an emergency gift card to help the family purchase clothes, food, and other items they may need to replace.
    2:30 a.m. The disaster volunteers help the family pack some of the personal items that the firefighters retrieved from the home and a few additional Red Cross supplies and snacks into their vehicle, which thankfully has not been damaged so they can drive to the hotel.
    2:50 a.m. The family says goodbye and embraces the Red Cross volunteers. Before they drive off, one volunteer hands her card to the parents and sets up a time to talk the next day.
    2:55 a.m. Finally, the disaster volunteers check back with the fire chief to tell him the family is taken care of. They then depart the scene of the fire and head back to their homes. In a few hours, they will have to get up and go about their day. 

    How You Can Help Home Fire Victims
    You can help people affected by fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015


    January is National Blood Donor Month and this year, American Red Cross supporters have a new way to help save lives through blood and platelet donation with the Sleeves Up virtual blood drive.

    SleevesUp is a first-of-its-kind website that lets you create a virtual blood drive and encourage colleagues, friends and family members to give blood or platelets, or make a financial donation – no matter where they are located across the country.

    Creating a SleevesUp campaign is a simple four-step process:
    ·         Create an account at or log in with an existing Facebook or Twitter account.
    ·         Personalize the campaign with video, pictures or your personal story.
    ·         Set a goal and timeframe for the campaign.
    ·         Invite others to join the campaign via email or social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 and recognizes the importance of giving blood and platelets while honoring those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. The winter months can be especially difficult to collect enough blood and platelets to meet patient needs. Inclement weather can result in blood drive cancellations, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can prevent some donors from making or keeping appointments to give.

    Blood donors with all blood types, particularly O negative, A negative and B negative, and platelet donors are needed to ensure blood is available for patients. If you haven’t made a donation appointment yet for 2015, do it now at Then, check out SleevesUp and invite others to join you making a lifesaving donation.