How to Turn Your Home Into a Safehouse

Do you know what to do if you need to shelter in place? Check out this segment on Good Morning American to learn how!

Click HERE for video.

American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

Contact: Public Affairs Desk
FOR MEDIA ONLY
media@usa.redcross.org
Phone: (202) 303-5551

The tsunami swiped away the gas station causing a fire which burn down the whole town. Photo: Japanese Red Cross

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

Within 10 minutes of the earthquake, the Japanese Red Cross Society called its disaster management task force to national headquarters to begin mapping the response to the crisis. Photo: Tatsuya Sugiyama/Japanese Red Cross

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”

More than 100 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses have been providing assistance in the most affected areas through mobile medical clinics. Trained nurses with the Japanese Red Cross are also offering psychosocial support to traumatized survivors.

While the damage is undeniably severe and needs enormous, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives post-disaster. Investments in early-warning systems and disaster preparedness and other training programs, including those from the American Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, paid off in the Pacific Basin last week. The Japanese government’s own system helped hundreds of thousands evacuate to the approximately 2,000 shelters supported by the Japanese Red Cross before the first tsunami waves reached the mainland. And Red Cross societies in Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Palau and Fiji undoubtedly saved lives by alerting and evacuating residents when the tsunami warnings sounded.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and service victims of other crises.

In the coming weeks, the American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid Japan’s relief and recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward. Donations received by the Japanese Red Cross from people within Japan will be pooled and managed by an independent grant disbursement committee, which will include the Japanese Red Cross. The grants will be disbursed in installments in order to responsibly and effectively respond to the country’s evolving relief and recovery needs.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

— The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Red Cross Advisers Arrive in Tokyo; Medical Needs Prevail Following Earthquake

 

The first team of Japanese Red Cross Society to come into this devastated town. They are calling Japanese Red Cross Society medical teams to come up north. Photo: Japanese Red Cross

Monday, March 14, 2011 —

A disaster expert from the American Red Cross arrived today in Toyko to serve on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Within days, she will conduct assessments from some of the hardest hit areas in the north.

Since early Friday morning when the earthquake struck off shore, triggering a tsunami that spanned the entire Pacific Basin, the American Red Cross has been in close contact with its colleagues in the region to offer our support. Given widespread damage and enormous humanitarian needs, the Japanese Red Cross indicated that it would accept financial support from the American Red Cross for its role providing first aid, emotional support and relief items to those displaced.

Authorities estimate at least 370,000 people have been evacuated or displaced—many of which have evacuated to the 2,000 shelters operated by the government and supported by the Japanese Red Cross. Local Red Cross volunteers in Japan have handed out more than 46,000 blankets so far, and nearly 28,000 more have been sent to the affected area for further distribution.

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million volunteers nationwide. It has deployed 95 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses.

“The Japanese Red Cross operates 92 hospitals throughout the country,” said Stacy Ragan, manager of the American Red Cross international response operations center. “In the last three days, the hospital has received more than a thousand patients from the surrounding area, and every inch of floor space is occupied with the sick and wounded.”

In the small town of Ishinomaki on Japan’s northeast coast, the Red Cross hospital has been like a magnet, drawing people in from miles around, many of whom simply find comfort in being able to sleep in a warm corridor with strangers. With all other local hospitals flooded or damaged, this hospital is a beacon of hope for thousands of local people whose lives have been shattered by the tsunami that slammed into the Japanese coastline.Most of the injured are brought by civil defense helicopters and buses, while others manage to limp in or are carried through the doors. The trauma is evident on the pale faces of many who have seen loved ones swept to their death.

“It is the elderly who have been hit the hardest,” said Patrick Fuller, Red Cross spokesperson working from the disaster zone. “The tsunami engulfed half the town and many lie shivering uncontrollably under blankets. They are suffering from hypothermia, having been stranded in their homes without water or electricity.”

At night, the town is plunged into darkness and is bitterly cold. The night sky is penetrated by the searchlights of civil defense helicopters, which continue the round-the-clock search for stranded households.

Dr. Takayaki Takahashi is a surgeon who leads one of the five mobile medical teams that operate out of the hospital. He’s been on call for 48 hours straight. Each day, he heads out with another doctor and three nurses to run clinics at the evacuation centers set up in public buildings where thousands of people have been sheltered.

“Today we went to Miyoto, which is only about 10 kilometers away by road, but the bridge from the mainland had been swept away,” Takahashi said. “We had to get there by helicopter as it is still surrounded by water. We treated 100 people and left three days rations of food and water for 700 people who are sheltering in a school.”

All along this coastline, people continue to emerge from the debris. Some have been marooned in their homes, surrounded by the lakes of seawater left behind as the tsunami retreated. The stories the medical teams return with bring home the enormity of this disaster. In some areas, the tsunami destroyed everything in its path—the teams no longer venture northeast of the town as they know there were no survivors.

Many of the wounded are burn victims whose homes caught fire when the diesel from sinking fishing boats ignited the mass of debris being carried inland by the tidal surge. In one area, local residents are now too afraid to stay in their homes at night because of the frequent aftershocks and the fear of a repeat tsunami. Instead, they sleep in their cars on the second story of a car park.
Based on this trauma, the Japanese Red Cross is also offering psychosocial support to the survivors. The Japanese Red Cross has 2,369 nurses trained nationwide to give emotional comfort following major emergencies.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by this disaster.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.


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Videos: Frequently Asked Questions about International Disasters

Commonly asked questions regarding international disasters and how the American Red Cross responds.

Red Cross Assists Families from Two Different Apartment Fires in Green Bay over the Weekend

Fire crews working on the fire at the 12-unit apartment building on Rutgers St. in Green Bay.

Green Bay, WI – The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter was called out at 11:30 am Saturday, March 12, to assist residence of a 12-unit apartment building on Rutgers St. in Green Bay. Seven volunteers worked with Green Bay Fire and Green Bay Transit, who provided a city bus to shelter the individuals from the cold and snow.

Volunteers provided blankets, lunch, and comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) to the residents while it was determined from Green Bay Fire what units were safe to return to.

The American Red Cross did provide two adults with hotel stay, monetary assistance for food and clothes. All other residence where stayed with family or were able to return to their apartment.

Sunday, March 13, the Red Cross was called again at 12:15 pm to assist families displaced from fire in a 10-unit apartment building on S. Norwood St in Green Bay. Seven volunteers worked with three families (six adults and two teenagers) to provide them hotel stay, monetary assistance for food and clothes. We also provided the families home-made quilts, and comfort kits.

Seven residents were able to return to their units after the power was restored.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter for local disaster relief. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit www.arclakeland.org.

Crews battle another blaze at complex

Published : Sunday, 13 Mar 2011, 3:27 PM CDT – Click HERE for video of WLUK Fox 11 news story.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay firefighters battled a blaze at an apartment building Sunday for the third time in the past few months.

Crews responded to the fire around 11:30 a.m. at 1413 S. Norwood Avenue. Officials say upon arrival, heavy smoke and flames were showing.

Everyone inside the complex was evacuated by the time crews arrived. Battalion Chief Paul Arvey said the fire was brought under control in approximately 15 minutes. Three units of the 10 unit apartment were heavily damaged by fire.

Land records show the value of the building at $238,600. The cause and origin are under investigation by GBFD Fire Marshals. Several residents were displaced and assisted by Red Cross. No injuries were reported. No damage estimate was available.

Fire in basement displaces residents of Rutgers Street apartment

–Charles Davis/Press-Gazette

Investigators are looking into the cause of a basement fire Saturday at an apartment building on Green Bay’s west side.

Nineteen personnel responded to the fire about 10:37 a.m. at 417 Rutgers St., said battalion chief Mark Mandich.

The fire was put out within 15 minutes and crews made sure the fire didn’t spread and limited damage.

Ten residents of the two-story building were evacuated by the time crews arrived. Two women were still inside and later helped to safety.

No one was injured and Mandich said the fire does not appear suspicious.

The Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting residents of the 12-unit structure.

 Mandich said most residents should be able to return, but two or three apartments may be not be livable.

 Damage estimates were not yet available.

 The property is owned by Packerland Properties & Investment Company and valued at $364,200, according to Brown County land records.

Be ReadyWisconsin when you Spring Forward

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2am on March 13th. We “spring forward” meaning we set our clocks forward by one hour.  But along with moving the big hand up an hour, this is also a great time to check the things that keep us safe and ready for emergencies. ReadyWisconsin and the Red Cross urge you to check these items:

Smoke Detectors– This is a perfect time to check and replace batteries if needed and to make sure the devices around your house are working properly. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that about 16 million homes in the country have smoke alarms that do not work. In most cases, the batteries are dead or missing. Nearly 2,700 people die and more than 15,000 are injured each year because of fires that started in their homes.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors– Make sure you have CO Detectors and they are working.  All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have carbon monoxide detectors.  That law took affect on February 1st, 2011. The measure requires detectors on every level of the home, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Any dwelling that requires a building permit will be required to have carbon monoxide detectors directly wired to the electrical service with a backup battery. Existing buildings can use stand-alone battery-powered detectors. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room and nearly 500 killed each year from overexposure to the gas.

Emergency Kits– Everyone should have a basic emergency kit in their home with supplies such as food and water to last you and your family for at least three days. Other items like a battery powered or crank radio, flashlights, first aid kit should also be included. Daylight Saving Time is a perfect time to get a kit and if you already have a kit check it to make sure food and other items are not near or past their expiration dates.  Emergency kits are available from the Red Cross store online.

For more tips on how to prepare you and your family, please go to www.redcross.org or  http://readywisconsin.wi.gov. You’ll find great information on how to get a kit and make a plan when disaster strikes.

For additional safety tips and information, visit ReadyWisconsin on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin) or Twitter ( www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin ).  ReadyWisconsin is a preparedness initiative from Wisconsin Emergency Management.

Fire destroys home on Knight’s Lane in Howard

Three Red Cross volunteers assisted the family with comfort kits, home-made quilts and after the fire packs. Chief Ed Janke is a member of the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter board of directors.

By Charles Davis/Press-Gazette: Click HERE to view video.

 

HOWARD — A 21-year-old man escaped serious injury this morning in a fire that destroyed a Howard home.

Firefighters from six departments fight a stubborn fire in a house on Knights Lane in Howard Friday, March 11, 2011. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette

Jayson Blake was alone in the lower level of the home at 3149 Knight’s Lane when he woke up surrounded by smoke about 8 a.m. Blake escaped out the front door before crews arrived to flames and heavy smoke coming from the home. He was taken to a local hospital as a precaution but did not appear to be injured, Howard fire Chief Ed Janke said.

 The fire is believed to have started in the garage and crews took nearly two hours to put it out. Two cars parked in the driveway were not damaged.

 The ranch-style house is described as a total loss.

 The home is owned by Kevin and Marla Van Lanen and valued at $144,700, according to Brown County land records. Blake is Marla Van Lanen’s son.

 Kevin Van Lanen said he lives there with his wife and three sons. The family has fire insurance and will stay with relatives, he said.

 The Pulaski, Hobart, Green Bay, Suamico and Denmark fire departments assisted.



American Red Cross Responds to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Residents survey the devastation from a tsunami wave at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011 The American Red Cross stands ready and willing to assist following  a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami that affected other countries in the Pacific region.

The Japanese Red Cross Society has extraordinary disaster response capabilities, and has mobilized eleven teams to heavily-damaged communities to provide assessments and first aid and prepare to supply emotional support and relief. The American Red Cross is in communication through its global partners with the Pacific nations that sustained the most damage, and stands ready to provide assistance as needed. To date, the Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the United States State Department.

With potential danger headed to the west coast of the United States, Red Cross chapters are on alert and stand ready to provide assistance as needed in their communities in coordination with local and federal response partners. Red Cross warehouses in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), California, Washington and Hawaii are mobilizing resources; and approximately 100 mobile feeding vehicles are on standby. Evacuation shelters are open with additional locations on standby in Oregon, Washington and California.

The Red Cross does not collect blood in Hawaii but has reached out to other blood collection agencies to offer services and is on standby to support any blood needs across the mainland as well.

 The best way to contact or locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to assist Japan with restoring family links.

In addition, with ongoing evacuations in the United States, the Red Cross Safe and Well website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies like tsunamis. There are several easy ways to register yourself or search for a loved one on the Safe and Well website: from a computer, visit www.redcross.org, from a smartphone visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or from any phone, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for help registering.

 Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

 About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.