Thursday, June 30, 2011

Go Wild This Summer With Wilderness First Aid!

I don't mean to jinx it. I really don't. But so far this Summer hasn't been as dreadful as it has been in year's past, which makes for a perfect time to go camping. Overnight lows are consistent, the sun exists (yes, there was doubt in February) and I actually pulled out my bike from storage and wiped off the seat (and that's about all I did). So with camping just around the bend, it's always a good idea to brush up on advanced first aid skills — especially when your campsite or bike route is a solid 30 minutes from emergency medical services.

Warning: Obligatory anecdote. Call me nerdy. I'm that weird Eagle Scout kid you knew in high school. I memorized knots, hung food from trees and learned how to go number two in the woods (yes, there is a right way and a wrong way). More importantly: I learned all kinds of backcountry first aid skills. And the American Red Cross Central Valley is about to offer a program so you can learn these skills, too.

The class is called Wilderness First Aid. The course combines classroom lecture, skills practice and role-playing to teach the response steps and treatment of injuries and illness in delayed-response situations. The course focuses on:

• Primary and secondary assessments
• Head (brain), neck and back injuries
• Heat-related emergencies and hypothermia
• Altitude-related illnesses, allergies and anaphylaxis
• Bone and joint injuries
• Burns
• Wounds and wound infection

... but that's just the start of it. In short, the class is a very in-depth look at several outdoorsy first aid situations. Bee sting in the woods? Broken bone in the backcountry? Severe burn at the campsite? There's a class for that.

Want to enroll? I thought so. Starting today, classes will be scheduled and enrollment will be open for Wilderness First Aid classes in the Central Valley. So if you're a nerdy ex-scout, a connoisseur of the outdoors or just enjoy the occasional jaunt through the forest preserve, taking this class will help you save a life in cases of delayed emergency response.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How To Survive A Plane Crash!

If you pay attention to the news, you know that the American Red Cross doesn't just respond to natural disasters -- we respond to transportation disasters as well.

In fact, you might remember the Hudson River plane crash that occured over two years ago. Or the Buffalo crash just about one month later.

I remind you of this after viewing Wired's gallery of plane crashes that people actually survived.

Sure, you never know when this might happen -- and it can be paralyzing to expect the worst --in our ongoing campaign to keep you prepared (and empowered), I thought I'd also link to Wired's cool wiki on how to survive a plane crash.

From where you sit on the plane (the back) to what kind of clothes to wear while traveling (long pants, long sleeves), there are several tips that go beyond just common sense. Don't cross your legs or ankles for take-off and landing? Interesting.

Of utmost importance, pay attention to the safety briefing and review the safety card. There are lots of different models of can't assume that you know 'em all.

And, as always, don't panic. Follow instructions from the flight crew and you'll hopefully be a lucky survivor yourself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What Do Californians Fear Most?

Like a steaming kettle with the top on, pressure is building beneath the surface of California that could unleash a monster earthquake at any time. That's according to a new study from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Geologists say Southern California is long overdue for a huge earthquake that could unleash widespread damage.

It all comes down to the Salton Sea, which lies to the east of San Diego. The Salton Sea lies directly on the San Andreas Fault and covers more than 350 square miles.

A big earthquake has hit the lake bed about every 180 years. But when officials started damming the Colorado River to reduce floods downstream (including in the Salton Sea), the moderate earthquakes stopped for the Salton.

Sounds like a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Seismologists think the damming stopped moderate stress-relieving earthquakes on the Salton. Now, they fear the pressure is building and the area could be as many as 100 years overdue for a mega-quake quake, measuring 7.5 or larger.

This sobering news comes just as a new poll is released that details Californians fears about earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Natural Disasters Californians Fear Most:

Earthquake 57%
Wildfire 23%
Tsunami/Tidal Wave 9%
Flood/Mudslide 5%
Other/No Opinion 6%

Are You Red Cross Ready?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Save A Life This Summer, With CPR!

With temperatures rising and summer season around the corner more people are having heat-related illnesses. If you saw someone pass out at your workplace, in the mall, at dinner, or in a parking lot, would you come to their rescue? The better question is would you know what to do in a situation like this? It’s not just a matter of caring or having a heart to serve others, but the important part is being confident in knowing what you’re doing.

That’s why so many students take a CPR/AED and First Aid course from their local Red Cross Chapter. These are individuals who want to walk out of the classroom confident they could save a person’s life if the emergency occurred. A majority of the people who attend these classes go because they need certification or recertification for their jobs, but they all have different professions: nanny, stay at home mother, consultant, student, etc. No matter what profession you hold, knowing how to be prepared for emergencies is important, especially when it involves learning how to save a life.

Over 35,000 people in the Central Valley take a CPR class that’s administered by the Red Cross. But only 5% of emergencies that occur are reported. The people who come to this CPR class, take it, so that they do not fall into the 5% category.

Our Red Cross instructor stated that most people who get their training in our CPR class usually walk out confidently knowing they can save someone’s life. Those who are prepared have a better outcome in an emergency situation.

Upon completing the class, you’re certified for two years. I believe what helps so many people retain the information that they learn is through the interactive and hands-on assignments the instructors walk them through.

A brief overview of what is covered:
•Participants go through booklets and pamphlets
•Watch video series on the importance of CPR and demonstrations on what to do in different scenarios
•Learned techniques of how to be protected when coming in contact with someone who’s bleeding
•Using a breathing barrier and plastic gloves to prevent disease transmission
•Recognizing and caring for cardiac emergencies
•Practice on mannequins for a child and adult on how to assist a conscious and unconscious person

Attending a CPR class can not only benefit you, but benefit others you encounter on a daily basis whether it’s a neighbor, relative, parent, or child. More than 300,000 deaths are caused by cardiac arrest in the U.S. So knowing what to do in case of an emergency can reduce the number of deaths. Emergency care is now coming to you at the palm of your hands through an American Red Cross app that we have designed with Dr. OZ.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Prepare-aphernalia: Rain Level Boots

With Summer here we probably won't be seeing any rain for awhile, but that doesn't mean that one shouldn't be prepared by having these sweet boots in their preparedness kit. Or who knows, these boots may double up as good flood boots. Especially as the snow continues to melt leaving many areas in the Valley at risk for flooding.
So here it is, the Rain Level Boots. These nifty boots will allow you to track the rain level in centimeters, thanks to the funky gauge that is so cleverly placed on the sides. Designed in Italy, and sold by Regina Regis, these boots come in various bright colors,  and can bring a little joy to a gloomy day.
So get your pair today, and hit the streets. If you really want to complete your ensemble, don't forget such other fashionable prepare-aphernalia!

Wednesday, June 22, 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...

CHINA: The Red Cross Society of China has deployed an emergency water unit to provide clean, safe drinking water to the flood hit Hubei province.
TURKEY: As the numbers fleeing unrest in Syria the continue to rise, Turkish Red Crescent is responding to their immediate needs, providing shelter, meals, health and psychological support in government-run camps close to the border.
SENEGAL: In cooperation with the Bignona medical district, the ICRC has helped build and equip a new maternity facility in an area hit hard by armed violence. "Until now, there was nothing but a basic sheet-metal shelter set up for childbirth," said a nurse from the village.
NIGERIA: A total of 31 teachers from 20 Nigerian universities gathered in Abuja to attend a three-day training course on international humanitarian law organized by the ICRC.
SOMALIA: The ICRC has just completed a distribution of seed and tools for more than 95,000 people in drought-stricken areas.
KENYA: Water from a rock - The Red Cross has completed the Kawalash rock catchment system, a new water project that will benefit some 5,000 residents of the Ol Donyiro area in northern Kenya.


It's A Cruel, Cruel Summer!

So yesterday marked the first day of Summer, and coincidentally it was also the first day we have had temperatures reach the 100's in the Valley. I would have blogged about Summer Safety or Heat Wave Tips, but I was too miserable to even type!
Yesterday, while complaining about the heat, I had mentioned bringing in a small kiddie pool and placing my chair in the center of it so that I can stay cool all summer long. The kindhearted people I work with mentioned that it may not be a good idea, because young children can drown in just a few inches of water. I took no offense to that statement as I imagine that they are simply jealous of my youth, but instead took this as inspriation for a blog topic.
So I did some research on portable swimmings and found out that these pools, especially inflatable models pose serious risks to young children.
In a study that was done, researchers found that about every five days a child drowns in a portable pool in the United States. More than 40 percent of the drownings occurred when the child was being supervised; 39 percent happened with no adult supervision; and 18 percent were blamed on a lapse of supervision. The worst part is that all of this occurred in a wading pool that was no more than 18 inches deep.
Why is this becoming a more common occurrence?
Because these pools are inexpensive and easy to assemble, many parents may not consider them as big a risk as in-ground pools. The greatest risks are for children younger than 5 years, researchers found.
So we at the Red Cross ask all parents to never underestimate the power of water and take precautions to prevent these unfortunate mishaps. An easy way to be prepared is to follow this simple saying: Lock, Look, Learn.
  • LOCK: Erect fencing at least 4 feet high with a self-latching gate and keep it locked at all times unless an adult is present.
  • LOOK: Parents and caregivers should watch children in or near the water at all times, and not socialize, read or sleep.
  • LEARN: Adults should learn to swim themselves and provide swimming lessons to their children from an early age.  They should also know how to respond to an emergency -- use rescue equipment, call 911 and perform CPR.
To register for a CPR class in your area visit us online or contact your local Red Cross Chapter at (559) 455-1000.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Workplace Fire Safety Failure

We at the Red Cross believe that every workplace should make an effort to prepare for disasters and have employees certified in CPR and First Aid. However, on occassion we come across some epic failed attempts at safety like in this photo. If you want to help build a safer and healthier workplace for you and your staff, join the over 700 businesses who are making the committment to become Red Cross Ready by using the Ready Rating Program. 

The Ready Rating Program is a completely FREE program from the American Red Cross, which will help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in your organizations safety plans and offer ways to improve. It's free, it's easy, and necessary. Join today!

A New Fault Line Discovered in California

You'd think in a seismically active area like California that every potentially earthquake-producing fault to be found would've been identified. It turns out there are plenty of such faults hiding in the ground, and one of them has just been found.

And this fault holds the potential of producing more than just an earthquake — it could also release a flood from a nearby dam.

Scientists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were inspecting the Martis Creek Dam, which sits just outside Truckee, Calif., and about 35 miles upstream from Reno. It is one of 10 dams in the United States that has “urgent and compelling” safety concerns, according to the Corps, which owns the dam. Data from the most recent evaluation revealed that, not only does the dam have significant leakage, it also lies in close proximity to not two, but three fault zones. 

Although this fault is technically over 250 miles North East of the Central Valley, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be prepared. As science is improving we are able to detect new faults all the time. For all we know, a new fault could pop-up along any of the 7 dams in our region. We can never predict when disaster will strike, but we can be prepared for when it does. Learn more how you can Be Red Cross Ready today!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Getting Hot, Hot, Hot!

If you haven't sent your friends at least 25 someecards yet, you are a horrible friend! Today someone managed to send me this card and while I could have taken offense, I just laughed and decided to blog about it, because's sort of true!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate, hate, hate the summer. I just don't get the concept of sweating. So as the temperatures begin to rise this week remember to stay hydrated and avoid any lengthy exposure to the sun, or in my case, all exposure to the sun. In case you need more reminders, check out these great
Red Cross tips!

Is Your Emergency Preparedness Kit Gluten Free?

Raise your hand if you have some sort of food allergy or dietary restrictions. Or know someone who does.
By now I'm pretty sure we all have our hands raised.

Just a reminder: If you or someone in your household has dietary restrictions, make sure you account for that when packing your emergency kit.

I, myself, am an animal who feels that every meal must have meat. So I've made sure that my kit has lots of  yummy protein sources. (Side note: after having recently discovered the deliciousness of  "the tactical sammich" I'm totally planning to toss some of them in there!)

While a meat-junky or a vegetarian diet is fairly easy to accommodate, gluten-free can be a little more challenging. Luckily, we recently came across the Gluten Free Insider's handy list of foods they recommend for a gluten-free kit. So share it with your gluten-free friends! I'm going to.

Ultimately, whatever your food allergy or dietary restriction, just make sure to read the labels of any packaged food you pack in your kit. And it's a good idea to pack some extra allergy meds just in case.

P.S. Need to get started on a basic kit? We've got a few to choose from in our online store.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Can You Buy With A Dollar?

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. We at the Red Cross believe that a dollar is worth a thousand "thank you's."

A massive wildfire in eastern Arizona that has displaced as many as 11,000 people calmed overnight and did not grow in size, with officials giving no new evacuation orders on Thursday. But with zero percent containment, over 3,000 firefighters have been working tirelessly to stop the inferno from spreading.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Blue Ridge High School in Northeastern Arizona and has been providing many with food, clothing, and most importantly a place to sleep until many can return to their homes. When you donate just $5.00 to the Red Cross you are able to provide a family with a comfort kit, which includes toiletries and personal hygiene materials. Your $10.00 will feed a person in our shelter three full meals. Lastly, your $25.00 donation will feed a family of four dinner as they prepare to spend a night away from their home.

At the Red Cross we understand the value of a dollar. We are not a government agency, and do not receive federal funding. We rely on individuals like you to aid us in our mission. So make a donation today and a help someone recover from one of the worst days in their lives. 

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: The ICRC continues to addressurgent humanitarian needs, and - in a joint operation with the Mines Advisory Group - has started destroying hundreds of unexploded devices in the city of Ajdabiya.

YEMEN: Four months of civil unrest have taken their toll, with dozens of people killed or wounded. The ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent are evacuating the wounded and the dead in Sana'a, and helping to supply water to the population. Elsewhere in the country, they are providing first aid for people affected by the violence.

TUNISIA: In the border area of south-eastern Tunisia, a massive influx of refugees from Libya is putting huge pressure on water resources already stretched by increased needs resulting from the onset of the dry season. The ICRC is providing support for the national water board to boostthe supply of drinking water in areas of that have been particularly hard hit.

LIBERIA: As Ivorian refugees continue to seek safety in Liberia, the Red Cross is providing seeds and tools to enable the host communities to replenish their depleted food stocks.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm Ready To Save Your Life.

Every morning, I get to work, I turn on my shiny Mac and I google "American Red Cross." Why? You might ask...well I do this to see what news is happening across our Nation and if there is any good blogworthy opportunities. However, I stumbled across this picture this morning and it struck me as extremely interesting.

I know nothing about it, other than that it's fairly old. How do I know this? Because it uses a tagline -- Together, We Can Save A Life -- that's not on our materials anymore.

But whether it's old or current, the ad still has a good message. It also reminds me of a sad point made in our 2010 summer survey:

Americans say they are most comfortable giving CPR to family members, friends and coworkers, with less than half very likely to perform CPR on a stranger. The survey showed that physical appearance was a significant factor when people are deciding to perform CPR on a stranger, and men with a disheveled or sloppy appearance were the least likely to receive assistance, with only half of respondents saying they would very likely try to give them CPR.

Bottom line, training (and a breathing barrier) should make you feel comfortable saving ANYONE'S life when it's needed, no matter who they are or what they look like. Are you ready? Take a class today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Must For Every Android User, The S.O.S. Emergency Support App!

So I particularly am not too pleased about blogging about the new S.O.S. Emergency Support app from the American Red Cross. Why? You ask. Well, because as of now, it is not supported on the iPhone, so I post this for all of you Android users out there. I certainly hope one of you is around should I ever need emergency assistance. Back to business, this week the American Red Cross released this brand new app to help those respond in emergency situations.

Once activated, app users are guided through a victim assessment and receive step-by-step video narration and follow-along demonstrations by Dr. Mehmet Oz. 3-D animations are included for the more complex protocols, specifically Hands-Only CPR and Choking along with an audio and visual counter for real-time CPR compressions.

The Resource Guide covers more than 50 common emergency care situations with easy to understand instructions for treating seizures to broken bones.

In addition to the emergency protocols and resource guide, the S.O.S. app features 9-1-1 dialing that auto-launches a map with location information, while on the call with the emergency dispatcher.

Thursday, June 2, 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...
HONDURAS: The ICRC is helping to mitigate the effects of violence in schools with a training workshop on humanitarian principles and first-aid in the city of Tela.
Côte d'Ivoire: Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by fighting, other violence and looting over the past few months. The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire have begun to distribute food, seed and other emergency aid in 35 villages east of Bangolo.
AFGHANISTAN: Fighting has been ongoing west of Qaysar since early May, displacing thousands of people from more than 20 villages and triggering a distribution of emergency aid by the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society in this highly volatile, hard-to-reach part of north-west Afghanistan.
LIBERIA: The ICRC donated a complete sets of books on international humanitarian law, the branch of international law that governs armed conflict, to both the Ministry of Defence and the Liberian armed forces.
ICELAND: When Grimsvötn, a sub-glacial volcano in southeast Iceland, erupted last week Red Crossers immediatley opened two shelters, activated a 24-hour helpline and mobilized psychosocial support teams to help those affected.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let's Celebrate National CPR/AED Awareness Week!

In December of 2007, Congress declared the first week of June each year as National CPR/AED Awareness Week. June 1-7, 2011 will mark the fourth National CPR and AED Awareness Week with the goal of encourage states, cities and towns to establish organized programs that provide CPR and AED trainings and increase public access to AEDs. 

The American Red Cross has stepped up to the challenge and set an organizational goal of reaching 250,000 people nationwide during this one week with the vital knowledge and skills to respond to a life-threatening situation with confidence.

Through this outreach, we hope that we can raise the public awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, suffered by more than 300,000 people each year and increase the chance of survival that can be achieved by having at least one person in each household trained in CPR and the use of an AED.

In less time than you think, American Red Cross training can give you the vital knowledge and skills to respond to a life-threatening situation with confidence.

The Red Cross is also empowering individuals with the skills to act in times of emergencies. Which is why in 2011, the Red Cross is launching our "Hands-Only CPR" initiative. Most individuals who suffer from cardiac arrest are helped by a bystander, so check out this awesome compression-only video and get started on your training today!

To register for a CPR/AED class in your area visit us online or call your Regional Office at (559) 455-1000. 

Red Cross Responds in Joplin, Missouri

"We don't just have wounded bodies, we have wounded spirits."
-- Nurse and Red Cross volunteer Christine Stockwell, on the ground in Joplin, MO.