Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What in the World, Wednesdays!

Welcome to What in the World, Wednesdays! In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
HAITI: Red Cross emergency response teams were quickly deployed to camps across Port-au-Prince when a severe and unexpected thunderstorm left thousands of families without tents and tarps.

PAKISTAN: The ICRC continues to assist thousands of people displaced by both the flooding and the fighting.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Acting as a neutral intermediary, the ICRCfacilitated the handover to Congolese authorities of two pilots released in North Kivu.

COLOMBIA: Briseida Gonz├ílez saved an 11-year old girl's life after an anti-personnel mine accident in a remote village. The ICRC trains villagers like Gonz├ílez in first aid so that they might be able to deal with an emergency in the absence of a doctor or nurse.

WORLDWIDE: Do you know exceptional nurses or nursing aides who have worked in natural disasters or armed conflicts? Nominate them for the Florence Nightingale Medal.

ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are You Ready for the Big One?

Since my last post regarding Twitter and it's ability to remain disaster proof through Hurricanes I have attempted to become more active in "tweeting." Granted, I still have yet to "tweet" anything, I remembered my password, which for me, is a great start. 

I noticed this morning that several of my friends "retweeted" posts from a website called Quake Prediction. They are stating that within the next few days an 6.0 to 7.0 earthquake will his the Southern Los Angeles Area. They claim that the main earthquake should hit September 30th, with foreshocks beginning as early as today. 

I, however remain the biggest skeptic among all of this. I feel that earthquakes, are just like the weather. You can "try" to predict them but ultimately it is never what you expect. But I feel that this would be a perfect opportunity  to prepare you, our readers with an opportunity to build your own earthquake survival kit. I mean, the Big One may not be on it's way this week, but this is California and we should always be prepared. 

The American Red Cross can help you be prepared and build a kit, but here a few recommended items that should help you get started. Remember, it is your kit, so feel free to add in whatever you think may be necessary in times of a disaster. Such as your DVD copy of 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and Independence Day for references.

Here's What You'll Need To Get Started:

  • Backpack

  • Battery Powered Flashlight (batteries included)

  • Battery Powered Radio (batteries included)

  • Emergency Blanket

  • Food Bars 

  • Work Gloves (one pair)

  • Light Sticks (3 each; one lasts 12 hours)

  • Moist Towelettes (6)

  • Breathing Mask 

  • Plastic Sheeting (10'x10')

  • Rain Poncho

  • Personal First Aid Kit

  • Roll of Duct Tape

  • Water (2 quarts)

  • Water Container (2.5 gallon)

  • Whistle

  • Personal Hygiene Comfort Kit (includes shampoo/body wash, wash cloth, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, and deodorant)

  • First Aid and Emergency Preparedness Guide

  • If you have any questions on how to get started building your own kit you can contact your local Red Cross Chapter at (559) 455-1000 for more information. 

    Well, that's all for today, until then the American Red Cross will continue to blog and "tweet" until the Big One strikes. Even then...We'll Be There.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Got Four Hours? Get Trained!

    Did you know that 3 out of 4 people know how to jump start their car, but only 1 in 10 can do CPR…or in reality “jump start a life”…

    How about the fact that every year 365,000 lives are claimed by not having an available defibrillator near where the cardio pulmonary incident has occurred.  That is the same as 3 Boeing 747’s going down everyday!

    Taking a CPR course is really such an easy thing to fit into your schedule, all things considered.  Four hours, one day – once a year.  
    Think of all the family situations where CPR could be a necessity:   choking, near drownings (anyone who has a pool should definitely know CPR and First Aid) and sudden cardiac arrest.  Think your family is healthy – I think we all do, yet 7,000 children have cardiac issues each year, so it isn’t just affecting one demographic.  
    I know one of the other issues that we all face in learning CPR is the fear of being sued.  I learned CPR and then I went to help a stranger in situation XYZ, but I’m afraid that if something happens outside my home or family, I don’t want to be held liable.  In California, we have protections in place for just that reason.
    Under California law, a person has no duty to come to the aid of another. However, if a person comes to someone else’s aid, he or she has a duty to exercise “due care.” The Legislature has adopted certain exceptions to this “due care” requirement. One such exception is the “Good Samaritan” law. This law is found in Health and Safety Code § 1799.102, and it states, in relevant part, “No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission.”
    Don’t wait.  Everyday – that one situation could come up – that one time when you are going to say – “If only I had been prepared.”  

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Bowl for the Red 2010

    When: Saturday, October 16th, 2010 
    Time: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Where: AMF Rodeo Lanes in Clovis
    Cost: $30.00 per person, $120.00 per team of four.

    Includes Shoe Rental & 3 Games Trophies, Raffle, Prizes, Great Corporate Team Building! 

    Please come out and Bowl for the Red and support the Red Cross disaster relief. When a family is forced from their home following a disaster, the Red Cross helps them secure resources, temporary shelter, food, and clothing to being the recovery process. It's with the help of events and donations that the American Red Cross Central Valley can provide essential support and care to every disaster victim.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    What In The World, Wednesday!

    Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
    KYRGYZSTAN: In July and August the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF, gave free polio vaccinations to 95 percent of children aged under five throughout the country.

    MALI/NIGER: In response to the food crisis, the ICRC has distributed aid to more than 300,000 people.

    WORLDWIDE: Is the law of war suited to today's conflicts? The ICRC has just completed a two-year study on the current state of international humanitarian law.

    WORLDWIDE: “For the first time in human history more people live in towns and cities than in the countryside, but the world has not kept pace with this change. This is why more people live in slums or informal settlements than ever before, and this will lead to more people being affected by urban disasters like the terrible earthquake which struck Haiti earlier this year, " says Bekele Geleta, IFRC Secretary General, referencing the findings of the newly launched World Disasters Report.

    ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
    IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

    What We're Watching...

    Check out this cool little PSA on preparedness!  To see more visit:

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    The Call Before the Storm.


    The irony of this next article is that I actually read a snippet of this from a Facebook post and had  to share this with you all. Especially because in every disaster scenario we have ever seen in any movie, the cell phones are the first things to stop working. Now, in my opinion those people probably just had AT&T but you never know. So check out this true account from a man who used technology to stay connected during Hurricane Earl.

    "At the time of the storm, both my wife and I were separated (She was at home while I was at the golf course).  We talked up until the storm hit, but right after our phones were dead because the network was flooded with calls.  We both even tried text messaging to no avail.  My wife, being the clever woman that she is, tried sending me a BBM.  Wait, what’s  BBM?  We both have BlackBerry’s and a BBM is a BlackBerry Message.  It’s similar to a text message but can only be sent to other BlackBerry users.  Until I was able to arrive home, that was how we communicated
    Speaking of communications, having cell phones is great, but all cell phones run off batteries.   When there is no power to be able to charge them, it would be smart to have a car charger on hand.   We were able to to keep our cell phones charged this way and made communicating with family a friends a “breeze” (Pun intended).
    Even after the storm, all phone lines continued to be down and there was only two ways to get information 1: Radio 2. Twitter.   More and more, Twitter impresses me how you are able to gather and disseminate information.  Through Twitter, I was able to keep track of friends and bulletins put out by the local media outlets.   For almost all of Friday evening, I couldn’t call anybody, but I could send them a “Tweet”.  Isn’t technology amazing?"
    Now, I don't know if I am willing to give up my iPhone just to have the option to "BBM" and seeing that this is California and we don't even know the meaning of Hurricanes, I'll take my chances. But I will take our friend's advice and buy an extra car charger, and maybe finally use my Twitter. What's a "tweet" again?

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Red Cross. Ready and Responding.

    It seems like all you see you on television these days is commercials telling you how far you can stretch your dollar; and while ordering 10 double cheeseburgers sounds like a great idea, imagine saving a life with a ten dollar donation to the American Red Cross.

    When disaster strikes the Red Cross is ready to respond with over 322 Emergency Response Vehicles Nationwide ready to deliver meals and relief supplies from its 90,000 volunteers. You too can help us in our mission by giving your time or dollars to the American Red Cross.

    How You Can Help:
    $10 provides a comfort kit and blanket
    $25 provides breakfast lunch and dinner for a neighbor
    $50 provides food and shelter for someone in need

    To volunteer or to donate to your local American Red Cross please visit our website at or for more information on how you can help call us at (559) 455-1000.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    We Depend On YOU!

    I hosted a volunteer orientation today at California State University, Fresno.  What is absolutely amazing to me is that every volunteer that attended was volunteering for their own sake.  Meaning, they are not volunteering with us to complete service learning hours for their classes.  Don't get me wrong, the volunteers we have signed up to complete those hours are GREAT and very helpful-but those students that volunteer their time and energy on their own doing is.....something wonderful. 

    One student I met is originally from Central America and while living there she witnessed several disaster situations where she wishes she could have helped with First Aid services or CPR.  She not only has signed up to help out at our fundraising events, she wants to become one of our volunteer Presenters! 
    Every volunteer has traveled a different road.  But when I meet and talk with each one of them, their destination is the same- to help. To help the community they are apart of.

    Thank you for making up our total work force of 96 percent and carrying out our humanitarian work! 
    Nationwide Statistics:
    • Every year the Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disastersincluding approximately 150 home fires every day.
    • About 11 million Americans turn to us to learn first aid, CPR, swimming, and other health and safety skills. Last year, more than 158,000 people volunteered to teach those courses.
    • Half the nation's blood supply six million pints annuallyis collected by more than 155,000 Red Cross volunteers .
    • Among our emergency services for the men and women of the armed forces is the delivery of urgent family messages—around the clock and around the globe.
    • More than 30,900 volunteers serve as chairs, members of boards of directors, or on advisory boards for local Red Cross units - chapters, Blood Services regions, and military stations.
    • As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Red Cross reconnects more than 8,000 families separated by conflicts and disasters around the world through international tracking services and Red Cross messages.
    Anya Goosev

    What in the World, Wednesday!

    Welcome to What in the World, Wednesday, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...

    MOZAMBIQUE: When riots erupted recently in Maputo, the Mozambique Red Cross immediately mobilized seven teams of 23 volunteers and 18 staff to provide first aid and evacuate those requiring hospital treatment. Staff and volunteers are now providing psychological support to those affected by the riots.

    WORLDWIDE: Just two diseases – pneumonia and diarrhea – account for 36 percent of all under-five deaths worldwide. Most of these lives could be saved with cost-effective and relatively cheap immunization measures, says a new joint report by the IFRC and the GAVI Alliance.

    SENEGAL: When the country was about to host a mass gathering of two million pilgrims for a religious festival, pandemic preparedness was a top priority for the Senegalese Red Cross. They mobilized hundreds of volunteers for the occasion. Now they say they're more prepared than ever for outbreaks and other disasters.

    KAZAKHSTAN: While professional tennis fans were glued to their televisions watching the US Open play out, 32 amateur athletes and Kazakhstan’s national tennis champion gathered for their own tournament in Almaty to raise awareness about the American Red Cross and Kazakhstan Red Crescent Society earthquake preparedness program. (photos)

    ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
    IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010


    For those of us who are paranoid and are uber-prepared for any type of disaster, we carry at least the minimum of one gallon of water per person in our emergency kit. However, when disaster strikes there is no guarantee that recovery will be faster than three days, which leaves the opportunity for many of us to be without water for days. 

    The WaterBOB™ is a fresh water containment system used to store up to 100 gallons of potable drinking water in the event supplies become scarce during times of natural or man-made disasters. Water can be stored up to 2 weeks in a controlled environment. 

    The WaterBOB can be beneficial in the event of storm/hurricane warnings, severe power outrages, or in any case where one must prepare and remain on alert for several days. Using WaterBOB can ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to have fresh drinking water for several weeks. 

    If you are interested in week's "Prepare"aphenalia please contact the American Red Cross Central Valley at (559) 455-1000.

    Please note: the WaterBOB™ is intended for a one-time use only.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Monday's Myths Debunked!

    Today I am suffering from an extreme case of the Monday's. So I decided that I would rebel and blog about all the things our mother's told us as children to scare us, and provide you all with cold hard truth. So here are a few popular things we were all lead to believe at one point or another. Happy Monday, and here's hoping for a Terrific Tuesday!

    You Shouldn’t Cut Off the Bread’s Crust. It’s Full of Vitamins.
    The truth is: In a 2002 German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb. That said, it’s more important to serve whole-wheat bread, with or without the crust, because it’s all around higher in nutrients, such as fiber, says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet ($25, Make sure the ingredients list “100% whole-wheat flour.” Breads simply labeled “wheat” are usually made with a mixture of enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour and have less fiber.

    If You Go Out With Wet Hair, You’ll Catch a Cold.
    The truth is: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, California, and a cohost of the daytime-TV show The Doctors. He cites a study done at the Common Cold Research Unit, in Salisbury, England, in which a group of volunteers was inoculated with a cold virus up their noses. Half the group stayed in a warm room while the rest took a bath and stood dripping wet in a hallway for half an hour, then got dressed but wore wet socks for a few more hours. The wet group didn’t catch any more colds than the dry. Sears’s conclusion: “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”

    You Should Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever.
    The truth is: In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. “Staying hydrated is the most important thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill,” says Sears, who adds that there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) unless you’re severely dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.

    Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years.
    The truth is: Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either.

    An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.
    The truth is: A handful of blueberries a day will keep the doctor away more effectively. Blueberries are a nutritional jackpot, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and they’re also easy to toss into cereal and yogurt. That said, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to prevent many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, down the road. (To find out how much earth-grown goodness your child should be getting, enter his or her age, sex, and level of physical activity at

    You Lose 75 Percent of Your Body Heat Through Your Head.
    The truth is: “This adage was probably based on an infant’s head size, which is a much greater percentage of the total body than an adult head,” says Pollack. That’s why it’s important to make sure an infant’s head remains covered in cold weather. (This also explains those ubiquitous newborn caps at the hospital.) But for an adult, the figure is more like 10 percent. And keep in mind that heat escapes from any exposed area (feet, arms, hands), so putting on a hat is no more important than slipping on gloves.

    To Get Rid of Hiccups, Have Someone Startle You.
    The truth is: Most home remedies, like holding your breath or drinking from a glass of water backward, haven’t been medically proven to be effective, says Pollack. However, you can try this trick dating back to 1971, when it was published in The New England Journal of Medicine: Swallow one teaspoon of white granulated sugar. According to the study, this tactic resulted in the cessation of hiccups in 19 out of 20 afflicted patients. Sweet.

    Eating Fish Makes You Smart.
    The truth is: For kids up to age three or four, this is indeed the case. Fish, especially oily ones, such as salmon, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). “DHA is particularly beneficial in the first two years of life for brain development, cognition, and visual acuity,” says Beverly Hills pediatrician Scott W. Cohen, the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year ($16, And a 2008 study in Clinical Pediatrics showed an increase in vocabulary and comprehension for four-year-olds who were given daily DHA supplements. Omega-3 options for the fish-phobic? Try avocados, walnuts, and canola oil.

    You Shouldn’t Swim for an Hour After Eating.
    The truth is: Splash away. “After you eat, more blood flows to the digestive system and away from the muscles,” says Cohen. “The thinking was that if you exercised strenuously right after eating, that lack of blood would cause you to cramp up and drown.” But that won’t happen. Sears concurs: “You might have less energy to swim vigorously, but it shouldn’t inhibit your ability to tread water or play.”

    Every Child Needs a Daily Multivitamin.
    The truth is: Children who are solely breast-fed during their first year should be given a vitamin D supplement. After that, a multivitamin won’t hurt anyone, but many experts say that even if your child is in a picky phase, there’s no need to sneak Fred, Wilma, and company into his applesauce. “Even extremely fussy eaters grow normally,” Cohen says. “Your kids will eventually get what they need, even if it seems as if they’re subsisting on air and sunlight.”

    Warm Milk Will Help You Fall Asleep.
    The truth is: Milk contains small amounts of tryptophan (the same amino acid in turkey), “but you would have to drink gallons to get any soporific effect,” says Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who specializes in sleep disorders. “What is effective is a routine to help kids wind down,” he says. And if a glass of warm milk is part of the process, it can have a placebo effect, regardless of science.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Ride for the Red 2010

    The Third Annual Ride for the Red 
    A Motorcycle Ride to Benefit Military Families Right Here At Home...

    Please support Military Families in the Central Valley by sponsoring and/or participating in the 3rd Annual American Red Cross Ride for the RedMore than 2,578 Military Families reached out to our local Red Cross Chapter last year for services and resources such as; emergency communication, health and welfare inquiries, referrals and advocacy, care for veterans, and emergency financial assistance. 

    Help us, help our HEROES by making this fundraising event a great success.
    Ride for the Red Registration Begins: 8:00 am (Both Sites)
    American Red Cross Branch Office
    505 West Main Street, Visalia CA
    The Blossom Trail Cafe
    922 N. Academy Avenue, Sanger CA
    9:00 am From Visalia 
    10:00 am From The Blossom Trail Cafe in Sanger
    11:30 am Post Ride BBQ & Picnic... Great Food, Entertainment, & Prizes

    For More information or to register click here!

    Worldwide Wednesdays

    Welcome to  Worldwide Wednesdays, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
    NEW ZEALAND: When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near the east coast of the South Island over the weekend, New Zealand Red Cross emergency management teams sprung into action - providing first aid, shelter and relief supplies.

    KYGYSTAN: Almost four months after the violent clashes that shook southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, the ICRC is still hard at work in Osh and the surrounding area.

    PAKISTAN: Five weeks after floods first struck Pakistan at the end of July – and with millions of people still in need – Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad, talks about current priorities and some of the ongoing challenges to the relief effort.

    KENYA: To promote pandemic preparedness, the Kenya Red Cross Society sent out teams of outreach volunteers to demonstrate effective hygiene and sneeze techniques.

    PHILIPPINES: The ICRC is helping conflict-affected people in Central Mindanao earn a livingagain.

    ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
    IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

    Hidden Hazards In Your Home!

    In honor of "National Preparedness Month" I thought it would be nice to share with you some tips on how to avoid the many hazards that lurk in many of our homes. While housefires are the most common disaster to hit the Central Valley taking the time to follow these steps may result in saving a life, not to mention a few bucks off of your utility bills.

    1. Clogged dryer exhaust ducts. Dryer lint will catch fire very easily, which is why regular vacuuming of the dryer's exhaust system is a must. What many people aren't aware of is that dryer lint can also accumulate and possibly ignite in the exhaust ducting under the floors or behind the walls. To remove lint buildup in these ducts, a DIY dryer duct cleaning kit can help clean those hard-to-reach areas.
    2. Dirty chimneys. It wasn't until our chimney flue exploded in flames that we learned how important it was to have chimneys cleaned out at least once a year. Burning wood in the fireplace releases a black, tarry substance called "creosote" which sticks to the chimney walls. If the creosote is allowed to build up, a floating ember is all it takes to set off a fire.
    3. Water heaters. Water heaters are usually set to high temperatures so that a family can enjoy plenty of hot water. Those higher temperatures can also cause accidental burns, especially in young children. Lowering the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees will prevent scalding burns and lower energy costs as well.
    4. Bad DIY wiring. When we had the wiring updated in our home several years ago, the electrician discovered that an early owner had wired the house himself, using braided cloth extension cords. Before buying an older home, a home inspection by a certified inspector will catch a so-not-to-code wiring job and other unsafe DIY improvements.
    5. Carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and flammable gas that is poisonous to humans and their pets. CO gas can build up from a faulty gas furnace or oven, a camp stove or even a chimney. Fixing the escape of CO gas into your home is a job for the professionals, but an easy (and cheap) DIY task for a home owner is to install CO alarms throughout the home.