Written by Bryan Meyers

The American Red Cross offers 24/7 emergency communications, counseling, and financial assistance through its Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) network. Eligible members include the U.S. Armed Forces, their families and military veterans. Mind-body workshops, information and referral services in the local community and global service delivery options are available for home and overseas installations.

Soliders

Nearly 100,000 families have received aid through the SAF program this year, including more than 36,000 emergency communications to military members and their families. The program can help families to cope with military deployments with courses, pre-deployment preparedness tools, reconnection workshops and post-deployment support resources. A Hero Care App is also available for free to access vital resources for military members, veterans and family members.

The emergency services that are also available through the SAF network include the American Red Cross Hero Care Center, which is accessible 24/7. You can submit a request online or call toll free to speak to a Red Cross Emergency Communications Specialist at 1-877-272-7337. Service member information will be required in addition to information about the emergency.

In addition to military hospital and clinic programs that are designed to offer comfort and boost morale, veteran’s services are available for veterans and their family members. The American Red Cross will assist veterans and their families with local, state and national resources including emergency needs for clothing, shelter, counseling referrals and claims for veterans’ benefits.

Through its local chapters and the SAF network, the American Red Cross is there for active-duty military service members and their families 365 days a year. Red Cross volunteers also serve in Veterans Administration (VA) and military hospitals around the country and the rest of the world to ensure that vital assistance is given to the men and women who need it.

Written by David Haas

Danelle Stoppel is a local Red Cross volunteer who has been deployed to support national disasters twenty-two times, including the Boston Marathon bombing and recent Puerto Rican hurricane relief efforts.  With so much experience, she has many stories to tell – often funny – but always in an emotional voice expressing gratitude for being allowed to help others.

Danelle

Danelle, second from the left, takes part in the Integrated Care and Condolence Team in Puerto Rico.

Danelle talked recently to a group of trainees at the Red Cross Deployment lab held at Red Cross headquarters.  She described participating in a tornado disaster response in Norman OK when a hurricane hit.  She says that people she met there and in other locations “are more resilient than I will ever be.”  While responding to fires and mudslides in California last year, she witnessed family members digging out other family members and realized that “disasters don’t discriminate – you never know when it will strike you or me.”

Danelle 2

Danelle says that she “doesn’t know anything better than to give back through the Red Cross” and that “there are always people (on deployments) who adore giving back, and that is the essence of the Red Cross.”  Volunteering with the Red Cross has made her “grateful for what I have much more than before, and a better person as well.”

She encourages volunteers to respond locally in order to qualify for national deployments. Once deployed, she encourages volunteers to understand that safety comes first, and learning to work effectively with local residents and providers comes second.

 

Summer is one of the most popular times of year for people in the United States to take a trip that involves international travel. If you are planning a trip which involves driving across a border, sailing to a coastline, or flying halfway around the world, the American Red Cross has some steps you can take to stay safe.

CTSY: NASA

  1. Download the first aid app. The American Red Cross first aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Whether you’re in the United States or abroad, arming yourself with basic first aid skills can save a life. Be sure to download the app while you’re still in the United States, otherwise you’ll download the local Red Cross or Red Crescent’s mobile app (which will be in the local language).
  2. Make a plan. Just like at home, it’s important to establish a time and place to meet family members in case you get separated.
  3. Know what natural disasters are possible. There’s no reason to panic, but it’s important to research whether your destination faces emergencies you’ve never experienced. While you’ll need to gauge the local context, the Red Cross offers basic tips about what to do during natural disasters like tsunamis, volcanoes, and hurricanes.
  4. Register your trip with the State Department. Enter your travel details with the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program online, which allows the State Department to better assist you in case of an emergency while you are abroad. You can also get information about safety conditions in the country you are planning to visit.
  5. Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while traveling.
  6. Check out the State Department’s ‘What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisisand have an evacuation plan that doesn’t rely on the U.S. government.
  7. Keep your destination country’s emergency numbers handy. You know to use 911 in the United States, but how will you reach the fire department, police, or an ambulance abroad? Find your destination country on this reference sheet from the State Department—and write down the emergency numbers before you take off.
  8. Know the six-month passport rule. Some countries deny travelers entry if their passport expires in less than six months. Renew your passport about nine months before the expiration date.
  9. Let your credit card company know what countries you will be visiting and when. This way, they won’t think your card is stolen and shut it off just when you need it the most.
  10. Pack your International Certificate of Vaccination. Also referred to as the “yellow card,” it lists your immunizations, allergies, and blood type. The “yellow card” is available from your physician or local health department.
  11. Bring medications, bug repellent. If you’re traveling somewhere with mosquito-borne illnesses—such as malaria, dengue, or Zika—be sure to spray repellent and/or cover your arms and legs with lightweight clothing at critical times of the day. Don’t forget your medications and it’s a good idea to bring other stuff like OTC pain reliever and something for an upset stomach.
  12. Check for emergency exits and evacuation routes. The American Red Cross has helped many communities around the world install signs that indicate evacuation routes in case flooding or another natural disaster occurs. Be sure to identify evacuation routes at your destination and, as always, pay attention to the location of emergency exits.

guy

The American Red Cross has named Guy Triano CEO of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. The Bucks County resident is no stranger to the Red Cross. Triano has been with the non-profit organization for over 14 years, all in the biomedical field. He first joined the Red Cross as an account manager for Atlantic and Cape May counties. Most recently he served as Director of Donor Recruitment for the Pennsylvania-New Jersey and the New York-Pennsylvania blood regions where he was responsible for collecting 550,000 units of blood annually. He was named Director of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

“I’m proud to be a part of the American Red Cross because it is an organization that helps so many people in so many different ways,” said Triano. “After spending most of my time focusing on the collection of lifesaving blood, I’m excited to also be helping the organization’s many humanitarian services.”

Guy lives with his wife and two boys in Bucks County. Guy is also very involved with coaching both of his sons’ baseball teams and sits on the Board for Neshaminy Kids Club.

Triano now oversees the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region, which includes more than 6.5 million people in 17 counties from Philadelphia north to the New York border.

In an average year the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region:

  • Responds to more than 1,000 local disasters
  • Provides direct disaster assistance to more than 5,000 people
  • Installs approximately 10,000 free lifesaving smoke alarms
  • Trains nearly 100,000 people in first aid, CPR and other lifesaving skills
  • Provides almost 5,000 services for military members, veterans and their families
  • Trains approximately 8,000 students in disaster preparedness through The Pillowcase Project
  • Collects more than 150,000 blood donations

The Eastern Pennsylvania Region also operates the Red Cross House in Philadelphia, the only-of-its-kind Red Cross Center for Disaster Recovery in the United States.

 

Written by David Haas

For four days in June, volunteers and employees of Eastern Pennsylvania Red Cross received extensive training as part of the yearly Disaster Institute.  Held on the campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), more that 140 individuals participated in 45 classes ranging from Forklift Fundamentals to Mass Casualty Incident Response.

Room

The purpose of the Institute, according to Kate Crowley, Institute Director and Mass Care Regional Program Lead, is to provide Red Crossers with the opportunity to add Group Activity Position (GAP) skills to their disaster deployment capabilities. There are more than 50 GAP skills needed by the Red Cross to support large scale disaster response, including communications, financial support, mass feeding, shelter management, and spiritual care.

In the area of shelter management, for example, Robert Schmidt and Carol Aldridge took more than a dozen participants through a full day of training on the fundamentals of operating a shelter including resourcing, operation, and management of the housing, feeding and safety of shelter guests. This was followed by a second day of hands-on shelter simulation covering the management of guest registration, feeding, and sleeping.

ERV

Other full-day training sessions covered the Red Cross Concept of Operations, Excel skills, and Supervising the Workforce.

Another purpose of the workshop, according to Janice Winston, leader of workshops on Collaboration and Government Operations, is to give Red Crossers a chance to get to know each other.  With more than 3,000 volunteers in the region working in very diverse areas, it can be difficult to connect with others. During events organized by staff and volunteers, the group participated in a BBQ cookout, softball game, and other events.

To see more pictures, visit http://bit.ly/2M3mzAc

Hurricane Isaac 2012

It’s that time of year when the temperature goes up and heat and humidity, which can be deadly, make being outdoors very uncomfortable. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. The American Red Cross has steps you can take to help stay safe when the temperatures soar.

HEAT SAFETY TIPS

Some people are more at risk of developing a heat-related illness, including adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants and children and athletes. Here are steps you should take in hot weather:

  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • 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.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and 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 animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand and settings for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts including heat advisories and excessive heat warnings. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips including heat-related emergencies. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

Hurricane Maria 2017

Barceloneta, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Red Cross volunteers distribute water, food and other basic necessities to families affected by Hurricane Maria. Photo by Sergio Rojas for The American Red Cross

As the year nears the peak of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the American Red Cross and its partners are ready. We are gearing up for the height, while hoping it will not be as active as last year.

2017 was marked by historic hurricanes, wildfires and other crises, the American Red Cross was there for a record number of people whose lives were upended by major events.  Last fall was unprecedented in terms of the scope and scale of our mission delivery.  We provided food, water, reconnected families, and mobilized thousands of relief supplies, including comfort kits, blankets and cleanup kits to help rebuild lives.  Everything we do depends on the needs of the people that we serve and we could not be there without the generous support of our partners.  Thank you for bringing hope to those in need.

  • Toll Brothers
  • SKF USA
  • Duane Morris
  • PJM Interconnection
  • Vanguard
  • Tanner Industries
  • Ametek Foundation
  • Bentley Systems
  • Dietz & Watson