Friday, May 27, 2011

Have A Safe And Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day weekend is the first long weekend in the summer months. It’s the beginning of grilling season; pools will be opening and the Indy 500.
This also means there will be many people on the road traveling so to make the weekend a smooth transition into summer, we are going to highlight a few safety measures to help you get on the road and enjoy this long weekend.
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. Keep an eye on the gas gauge and stop to fill up when you see it dip to about a quarter of a tank. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the highway without gas in an area that you are unfamiliar with.
  • Closely supervise children when they are near or in a body of water. Try to avoid distractions and make sure you are aware of where the safety equipment is.
  • When grilling up burgers and brats try to keep the grill in an open area and out from under an over hang or away from the house. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the grill from little hands and pets that wander too close to the hot grill.
  • Also remember to drink responsibly if you are of age. Designate a sober driver before activities commence. If you are the host, make sure to provide non-alcoholic beverages to accommodate those who are the designated drivers.
Memorial Day weekend is a wonderful time to take out the boat, jump in the pool or grill up those juicy steaks you’ve been savoring over the past week. Remember to have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend.

This Memorial Day, Say Thank You...

This Memorial Day, I hope you’ll join us in honoring and remembering the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed forces.

More than 130 years ago, the first mission of the American Red Cross was to serve military members and their families and it still remains a core part of what we do today – a mission I’m particularly proud of.

Many military members not only sacrifice for us during their careers, but also afterwards. Right now during our Midwest tornado and flood relief operations, military retirees are among the thousands of Red Cross volunteers there, helping restore a sense of normalcy and provide relief and comfort. 

Today our Service to the Armed Forces programs provide valuable support with items like comfort kits for wounded warriors, and our core service of delivering emergency messages to service members far from home – from birth announcements to equally vital news of sickness or death of loved ones.

This Memorial Day, you can help us provide these valuable services – and say thank you to our servicemen and women – by making donation to the American Red Cross:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Would You Take With You?

If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

It's a question we've all thought about. And perhaps Red Crossers think about it more than most since we respond to house fires nearly every day.

But this intriguing blog asks you to answer that question artfully - with a picture of your most treasured possessions.

I'm fascinated by the mix of practical and sentimental items - an album, a cat, a toothbrush, a coat...

Of course, the sad reality is that if you actually do experience a house fire (or any other disaster) you probably won't get to save everything on that list. And that's why the Red Cross is there to help - offering food, shelter, basic necessities like toothbrushes and combs, and emotional support.

Speaking of losing everything you have, it's hard to think about anything today but the tornadoes in Joplin and throughout the country. We've got fellow Red Crossers on the ground doing everything they can to help. If you want to keep up with the response, stay tuned to the disaster online newsroom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

List Yourself As Safe And Well...

Don’t think a tornado can reach California? It may not,  but its effects can be felt by family right here in the Central Valley.

While we think that the devastating events that have take place in Joplin, Missouri which is well over 1400 miles from us, wouldn’t have a local affect on us, one of our own Red Cross volunteers was. Robin Nickels, Disaster Services Volunteer, has in-laws living in that very city.  Three years ago, they lost their home to a tornado, and were still recovering from the effects felt during that storm, only to completely lose everything again last night.  Luckily, they were able to reach family in Fresno, to let them know they had survived and were relatively safe under the circumstances.

Another Red Cross staff member has family in the affected area as well that raced to their basement when a secondary tornado touched down right outside Joplin.  They too, were scared and grateful for a place to be during the destruction, and were able to let family know in Sanger that they were okay.

But are you wondering how you would get ahold of family if this happened where your loved ones lived? 

After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. American Red Cross has an up to date system.  It is continually manned at Red Cross shelters at disaster locations.

This website at with its Safe and Well link is designed to help make that communication easier.

To Register Yourself as “Safe and Well”Click on the “List Myself as Safe and Well” button to register yourself on the site.

Search for Loved OnesConcerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well” by clicking on the “Search Registrants” button. The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s first name, last name and a brief message.

-April Henry, Regional Health & Safety Administrator

Monday, May 23, 2011

Missouri Officials Say Tornado Killed At Least 89.

JOPLIN, Mo. – A massive tornado that tore a 6-mile path across southwestern Missouri killed at least 89 people as it slammed into the city of Joplin, ripping into a hospital, crushing cars like soda cans and leaving a forest of splintered tree trunks behind where entire neighborhoods once stood.

Authorities warned that the death toll could climb as search and rescue workers continued their efforts. Their task was made more miserable as a new thunderstorm with strong winds, heavy rain pelted part of the city with quarter-sized hail.

City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday's storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly 6 miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. Much of the city's south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.

Jasper County emergency management director Keith Stammer said about 2,000 buildings were damaged, while Joplin fire chief Mitch Randles estimated the damage covered a quarter or more of the city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City. He said his home was among those destroyed.

An unknown number of people were injured, and officials said patients were scattered to any nearby hospitals that could take them.

To make a donation to the American Red Cross please visit and assist us as we continue to provide relief to those affected by these devastating spring storms.

Friday, May 20, 2011

12 Places To Go If The World Goes To Heck!

Anyone who travels up and down the 99 corridor in the Valley has probably seen those signs that claim "Judgement Day" is this Saturday, May 21st. I personally, don't believe that this weekend will be the end of the world, but if it is, I am going to be very angry that I finally paid that parking ticket I received three months ago.  However, should the world choose to spite me this weekend and chaos strikes, have hope! Business Insider has created a list of the places to go should the world go to "heck."

Some of these places include...





Kansas City

Rio de Janeiro

To check out the full list and explanations click here!

Should this be the end, whi
ch again, I am confident it isn't, rest assured that throughout the destruction the American Red Cross will be there providing aid and relief to those in need. So make a donation today, or volunteer at your local Red Cross Chapter and join in on all the action!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy National Lifejacket Day!

For many Valley residents, the summer season means enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and canoeing. But each year, tragic and avoidable boating-related fatalities occur across the Valley. A study of the long-term trends indicates that the use of proper safety equipment such as a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) would greatly reduce this number.

Every year, nearly 200 Californians drown while boating. Of these, 88 percent are not wearing a lifejacket or do not have it properly secured.

Before heading out on a boat this summer, ensure that all persons on board - even strong swimmers - are outfitted with a correctly sized lifejacket appropriate to the activity. Be aware of and monitor the weather and water conditions, be prepared to head to the nearest point of safety if the conditions change, never consume alcohol before or during a boating outing, and ensure boaters know how to safely operate and load the vessel.

Today, the Red Cross marks National Lifejacket Day, an annual campaign to encourage and promote the use of lifejackets and PFDs among boaters.

For information on boating safety and how to choose a lifejacket or PFD, download our tip sheet:

For more information and summer safety tips, or to take a CPR/First Aid Course visit us online at

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

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...

QATAR: Health professionals and other specialists from 10 different countries gathered in Doha to attend a two-week training course in the management of humanitarian aid, jointly organized by the ICRC, the Qatar Red Crescent Society and the University of Calgary - Qatar.
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Residents of the department of Likouala remain in a precarious situation following the massive influx in 2009 of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ICRC is distributing farm and fishing equipment for almost 100,000 residents to ensure that food reserves will not be exhausted.
JAPAN: Red Cross and Red Crescent partners from around the world gathered in Tokyo from May 9-11 to review the response to the disaster so far and to discuss plans to aid long-term recovery. The American Red Cross has made another $30 million donation to the Japanese Red Cross, bringing its contributions to date to more than $160 million.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan Red Crescent Society workers are teaching residents about disaster preparedness in advance of the monsoon season, which last year caused massive flooding and landslides.
NAMIBIA: The Namibia Red Cross and the World Health Organization are partnering to prevent disease outbreaks during floods.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

6 People You've Never Heard of Who Probably Saved Your Life

Henrietta Lacks.

Donald Henderson.

Norman Borlaug.

Are any of these names familiar? No? Well, maybe they should be. And maybe, just maybe, you owe them a sincere thank you.

Yes, the three people mentioned above made the cut for Cracked's list of "6 People You've Never Heard of Who Probably Saved Your Life."

Who else made the list? James Harrison, the man with the golden arm, and Henri Dunant, a college dropout who went on to win the first Nobel Peace Prize for creating the Red Cross.

Every accomplishment is notable and most often on!

P.S. When you say thanks to Henri Dunant, don't forget to also wish him a  belated happy birthday. That happened on Sunday, May 8, also known as World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. I know, I know, I am horrible for forgetting!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Toto, I Don't Think We Are In California Anymore!

We at the American Red Cross hear about disasters around the world daily. From fires, earthquakes and disasters, we are always ready!

Any one who knows me personally knows that I am not an outdoorsy person. I prefer to blog about nature and its fury from the safety of my desk. So it was no surprise that all weekend I hid from all this whacky weather we had in the Valley.

I was surprised to turn on the news last night and see that in two days we've received six inches of snow in the mountains, 2 inches of rain, and a funnel cloud sighting just outside of Clovis. Yes, a funnel cloud! I was immediately reminded of the film, "The Day After Tomorrow" where tornadoes terrorize the City of Los Angeles. Tornadoes are not common to California, so it really shocked me to hear that such things had actually happened. 

Meteorologist Steve Johnson took these funnel cloud photos Sunday morning around 8:20 AM. It was about 10 miles northeast of Clovis.

Of course, the Red Crosser in me immediately began brainstorming. I have taught many about what preparedness is, and how us Valley folk can be prepared to respond to fires, earthquakes, heat, and floods. But never have I once mentioned Tornado Preparedness. I know it's a long shot to think that a tornado will occur, but as we've noticed worldwide, stranger things have happened, and being prepared is key to survival.

Luckily for the both of us, the American Red Cross has just the place for us to go to learn how we can
Be Red Cross Ready for tornadoes with a Tornado Safety Checklist. 

If you would like to donate to those who are in need after the devastating Spring Storms that have affected the Southern Regions of the United States, or to learn how your donation dollars are hard at work check out the
2011 Spring Storms Update.

My friend, meteorologist Steve Johnson took these funnel cloud photos Sunday morning around 8:20 AM. It was about 10 miles northeast of Clovis.

Do Your Kids Need A Summer Job? Why Not Become A Red Cross Babysitter?

Summer is just around the corner, and that means there is about to be a lot of rear-ends putting dents into your  couches! So instead, have your tween get trained to be the best babysitter on the block with Babysitter's Training from the American Red Cross!

Designed for 11 to 15 years old, the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training provides young adults who plan to babysit the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly give care to infants and children under their watch. The course is fun and fast-paced with hands-on activities, exciting video, role-plays and lively discussions. Young adults can impress potential clients by earning their Babysitter’s Training certificate from the American Red Cross. Parents can also encourage or register a potential babysitter to take the class.
Students will receive Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Kit at the end of the course which includes valuable babysitting resources that they can take home with them:

· Red Cross Babysitter’s Handbook packed with great information and resources including full-color skill sheets to use in class and while on the job

Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Emergency Reference Guide compact and easy-to-carry, the booklet provide step-by-step instructions to handle common emergencies

Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Interactive CD-ROM provides tools to sun your babysitting business featuring an activity book with games, songs, and other activities; electronic babysitting client organizer; business card and resume templates; and much more

Ensure that your children have their own spending money this Summer and enroll them in a class today! 

Cost: $55.00 per person
Date: June 4th, 2011

Multiple Locations:

Tulare-Kings Branch Office, 505 W Main Street, Visalia CA 93291
(559) 732-6436

Fresno Regional Office, 1300 W Shaw Ave, Suite 4B, Fresno CA 93711
(559) 455-1000

Merced-Mariposa Branch Office, 301 W 18th Street, Suite 104, Merced CA 95340
(209) 383-2150

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Did You Feel That? Eaaaarrrttthquaaaaaakke!

Hey Fresnans, did you feel that earthquake yesterday? I sure did...

I spent most of my evening picking up books that fell off of my shelves, cleaning up broken glass, and attempting to put my life back together. Does this seem crazy? Of course, it does! I didn't really do any of those things, instead I spent most of my night on the couch watching American Idol. Did anyone else think Lady Gaga's outfit was beyond strange? I digress...

Yesterday at 12:07pm, a 2.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in Fresno County, 3 miles Southeast of the City of Fresno. While a 2.0 earthquake is hardly noticeable to us, it lead to me think...a serious earthquake could most definitely happen right here in our Valley.

Granted, we have tremors in California just about as often as we have traffic or sunny days. The fact of the matter is, we are long overdue for a large catastrophic earthquake. While the odds of it directly affecting Valley cities are low, the impact that it may cause on the area may cause serious concern. With the San Andrea fault lying directly beneath 9 cities with a population of 250,000 or more, which includes metropolis regions like San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, we have to think what resources maybe drained from us as we provide relief to others.

This is why we at the Red Cross cannot stress enough how important it is for individuals and business owners to take advantage of Red Cross programs like "Be Red Cross Ready" or the "Red Cross Ready Rating Program." These programs will help you be prepared for disasters and ensure that you and your loved ones will be safe and secure. Not to mention, the more

prepared individuals are in the Central Valley will allow Red Cross Volunteers to provide aid and relief to those who aren't. The time to prepare is now, so join us today.

Just think, in the time you spent watching American Idol, you could have built an emergency preparedness kit, created an escape plan, and practiced with your family. It's really that easy! 

For more information contact your local
Red Cross Chapter at (559) 455-1000.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

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...
LIBYA: A ship chartered by the ICRCarrived in Misrata this week, carrying medical supplies for the hospital, spare parts to repair water and electrical supply systems, and baby food for the civilian population.
NEPAL: A four-day emergency-room trauma course jointly organized by the ICRC and the Dhulikhel Hospital of Kathmandu University is taking place in Pokhara.
JAPAN: With healthcare systems left in crisis by the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese Red Cross Society will provide vital medical infrastructure in one of the worst hit north-eastern areas, until damaged state services can recover.
SUDAN: The ICRC is working with government and local partners to vaccinate 100,000 cattle.
WORLDWIDE: The IFRC has announced the launch of the Nursing Network - a worldwide network of nursing colleges that will work together to ensure a global nursing workforce is ready to respond in the event of emergencies.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Prepare-aphernalia: Tactical Sammich!

Thank Think Geek for this latest in disaster kit deliciousness. The Tactical Sammich is designed to help geeks survive the zombie apocalypse, but of course it would be useful in other disasters as well.

Like a Hot Pocket that doesn't need a freezer or a microwave, the Tactical Sammich comes in two flavors: Pepperoni and Honey BBQ Beef. (Sorry, fellow vegetarians.)

I've seen some amazing "Prepare-aphernalia" but today's takes the cake. Oooh, I wonder if they have a cake sammich! 

Want to see the Tactical Sammich in action? Check out the Think Geek video!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"If I Don't Work, You Don't Live."

While cruising back home from spending the afternoon with my mother like a good son should, I came upon a billboard which read, “If I Don’t Work, You Don’t Live” and it showed a picture of a smoke detector.

At first, I thought this was a bit over dramatic, unnecessarily terrifying – but after I thought about it, the message is more than appropriate.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over 800 lives could be saved a year if smoke detectors were used and used properly.

I can attest to this figure with our own DAT experiences here at the Central Valley Chapter. An overwhelming majority of those who experience a fire in their home are alerted by a smoke detector – some even accredit the detector with saving their lives.

While basic standards advise people to have at least one working smoke detector on each floor of a home, the NFPA suggests placing a smoke detector in each sleeping area of a home, stairways and basements.

Without being overly quixotic, we’d prefer to never have to respond to another fire and have to report back that there had been a fatality.

So please, install those smoke detectors. Already have them? Be sure to test them once a month. For more information please contact your local Chapter at (559) 455-1000.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Gifts For Great Moms!

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, you may be thinking of what to give the person who brought you into the world. Fortunately, the American Red Cross has many items to help you show your love.
Give a Tribute Gift
  • Instead of Chocolates, $20 can provide two hot meals to a disaster victim. 
  • Rather than a bouquet of flowers, $50 can provide a parent with diapers, wipes, and formula. 
  • In place of a dinner out, $100 could supply a crib for an infant in need. 
  • For the price of a piece of jewelry, $200 could provide for a day's shelter for a family of four.
Almost everyone believes preparedness is important, but it’s a fact that close to 60 percent of Americans are wholly unprepared for a disaster of any kind.

Having an emergency preparedness kit can help put your mind at ease. Some kits—such as the
Vintage-Style Emergency Preparedness Kit—contain everything from emergency food and water to first aid supplies and a radio. The Personal Safety Emergency Pack includes basic preparedness and first aid items, and is small enough to stash in a glove compartment.

The 66-piece
Deluxe Personal First Aid Kit contains the essential items to help you be prepared for minor injuries. This is another compact kit that is great for the car or office.

The electricity is out, and you need information fast. The American Red Cross Microlink FR160 Eton Emergency Radio and the Solarlink FR360 Eton Emergency Radio can help keep you informed.

Both radios can be charged with both solar power and a hand crank, giving you unlimited power fo
r AM/FM radio, NOAA weather channels, emergency lights, cell phone battery life and more.

er Fun Gifts

If your mom is already well-stocked with preparedness items, consider giving her some stylish Red Cross gear, such as a jacket, t-shirt or hat. Or give her a classic Red Cross vintage field bag to carry all her essentials.

Check out the many other items and gifts at the
Red Cross Store, and have a very happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It Took Two Days, 17 Volunteers, and 92 Boxes, But We Did It!

We survived the grueling move, bloggers! After two days of heavy lifting, unpacking, and sweating (yes, it was 90 degrees on the two days we decided to move), we have arrived at our new home at 1300 W. Shaw Ave, Suite 4B, Fresno CA 93711. 

It was definitely bittersweet to leave our home on Fine Avenue, especially after 11 years, but we were busting at the seams in that office, and with the regionalization of our Chapter we definitely needed more space to continue to provide the Central Valley with our mission services. Not to mention, that we also gained five new staff members in 2010.

We would especially like to thank The Nazaroff Team for donating their moving truck, time, and hard-working men to help us move 95 years of Red Cross History. We truly appreciate your efforts!

Without all of our volunteers, this move would not have been possible. The countless hours they spent packing boxes, loading trucks, and to this very minute, unpacking boxes, our volunteers are one of a kind! I am reminded of a quote, "Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless." At the American Red Cross Central Valley Region, we couldn't believe this anymore!

So if you want to swing by to check out our new place come in for a visit or take a Health & Safety Course and see our sweet new classroom! 

Your local Red Cross Chapter is here. We are ready, and we are responding!

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

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...
LIBYA: Among many activities, the ICRC conducted an emergency evacuation of 1,381 Nigerians from Misrata, reunited five Libyan civilians with their families, andevacuated more than 2000 stranded foreigners from the port of Misrata.
GEORGIA: The remains of a person who went missing in connection with the August 2008 hostilities were handed over to the family by the Georgian authorities under the auspices of the ICRC.
BANGLADESH: The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and ICRC are providing aid for more than 700 people following the recent violence in Khagrachari.
MYANMAR: Three years after cyclone Nargis made land fall in Myanmar, Red Cross teams are still helping people rebuild their lives.
JAPAN: Mobile medical teams are on the road, bringing care to the lost and lonely.