Red Cross Begins Large Relief Operation

Urges People To Listen To Local Evacuation Orders

Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson on the groundVisit the Red Cross Disaster Online Newsroom for hurricane preparedness and response information, including photos, video and press releases.

Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are staging near Raleigh NC before Hurricane Irene's expected landfall. ERV crews stocked up Thursday with bottled water and snacks at a local warehouse store.

The American Red Cross has launched a major relief operation all along the eastern seaboard to help people in the path of Hurricane Irene. More than 13,000 people spent Friday night in hundreds of shelters opened across several states. Many more shelters are set to open throughout the weekend as the storm moves to the north.

 “We are putting the full force of the Red Cross behind our response,” said Gail McGovern, Red Cross President and CEO. People need to listen to local authorities and evacuate if told to do so. Many areas could be inaccessible after the storm and first responders won’t be able to get in right away or offer services. People need to leave when told and plan on caring for their loved ones for at least 72 hours.”

Thousands of Red Cross disaster workers are helping people fromNorth CarolinatoNew England. More than 200 emergency response vehicles have been mobilized, and tens of thousands of prepackaged meals moved into the area. Volunteers from partner organizations like AmeriCorps NCCC and the Southern Baptist Convention are working alongside Red Cross volunteers in some areas.

People trying to find a shelter should listen to their local media for shelter locations near them. They can also locate a shelter at www.redcross.org, or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app on iTunes. Those affected by the storm can let friends and family know where they are by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org. They can also call a family member or friend with internet access and ask them to do their registration.

Those heading to shelters should bring extra clothing, pillows, blankets, medications, personal hygiene items and important documents. They should remember special items for children infants such as diapers, formulas and toys, along with necessary items for family members who are elderly or disabled. People should not leave their pets behind, but the Red Cross cannot accept pets in its shelters except for service animals for people with disabilities. People should check if organizations are setting up animal shelters. Red Cross chapters have lists of pet-friendly hotels, kennels, veterinarians and animal welfare agencies that can accept pets during a disaster. It’s important to make sure pets are wearing secure collars with up-to-date identification.

Irene has forced the cancellation of dozens of blood collections along the East Coast. The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm and asks that people in the affected areas consider donating blood once the storm passes through and it’s safe to do so.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

If someone would like to help, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. They can also send contributions to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

 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.

State Red Cross chapters en route to help with Irene efforts

August 26, 2011: Written by Sarah Kloepping Herald Times Reporter

August 26, 2011 Long Island, New York.American Red Cross Volunteer Saul Linares checks up on Victor Montez,13, and provides him with blankets for his family. The Montez family lives in an area that has been put under mandatory evacuation in Long Island, NY. Among the first shelter inhabitants, Montez helped Red Cross volunteers assemble hundreds of cots as Hurricane Irene draws closer. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

MANITOWOC — Wisconsin chapters of the American Red Cross will aid victims of Hurricane Irene, which is slated to impact much of the East Coast beginning as early as today.

Red Cross spokesperson Barbara Behling said as of early Friday afternoon, eight trained Red Cross members from northeastern Wisconsin — including Manitowoc resident Rich Davis — were on their way to North Carolina, where the storm is expected to hit first. She said the number of trained volunteers is increasing and she anticipated at least a dozen by today.

“If a terrible storm hits Manitowoc, Wis., people are going to come to help, trained Red Cross volunteers,” she said. “They hug their wives and their kids goodbye and they run to help people in need. It’s the same thing when it happens elsewhere in the country. The goodhearted folks from Wisconsin drop everything and they go to help people in need.”

The Red Cross is planning to send about 600 Red Cross volunteers from across the nation to the East Coast.

“Once we know what the storm actually does, then we will be adjusting our figures,” she said. “If the storm would turn and head east … if Manhattan takes a direct hit, that’s certainly going to affect how we respond.”

Behling said sending area residents to a potential disaster site makes the local community stronger.

“They’re having an experience of setting up a larger shelter, feeding thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of people in a day, the distribution of supplies,” she said. “So it’s really an exercise in preparedness and response. And then our volunteers come back with that talent and knowledge.”

Sarah Kloepping: (920) 686-2105 or skloepping@htrnews.com

Local volunteers help prepare for Hurricane Irene

 

GREEN BAY – Local Red Cross volunteers are headed to the East Coast to help those in the path of Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years.

An Emergency Response Vehicle, or ERV, from Green Bay and another from Stevens Point will be leaving this morning.  A volunteer from Manitowoc will be flying out for Rhode Island today to serve as a damage assessment supervisor.

Jerry Prellwitz of Green Bay will drive one of the ERVs along with another volunteer from Neenah.

“I just want to help people,” said Prellwitz. “I just feel this is my way of giving back and if somebody can use my help, I’ll lend it and I’ll give it to them.”

In addition, more than 200 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are heading towards the coast to help people in the path of the storm. Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast.

“The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “While we’re getting ready at the Red Cross, we want everyone in the storm’s path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations.”

Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm’s arrival.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year.

If someone would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Red Cross Opening Shelters, Mobilizing Equipment

Residents urged to heed evacuation orders.

Hurricane Irene is headed toward the East Coast and the American Red Cross is mobilizing disaster workers and equipment along much of the eastern seaboard to help those in the path of this powerful storm.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, and could threaten several big population centers. A hurricane watch has been issued for theNorth Carolinacoast and the Red Cross has opened shelters in the state as evacuation orders go into effect. In addition, more than 200 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are heading towards the coast to help people in the path of the storm.

“The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “While we’re getting ready at the Red Cross, we want everyone in the storm’s path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations.”

Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast. People can find open Red Cross shelters by viewing an interactive Google map at www.redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app for their iPhone from the iTunes store. A mobile-friendly version of the Hurricane Safety Checklist is now available for smart phone users to download at www.redcross.org/mobile.

It’s important that those affected by the storm stay in contact with loved ones and the Red Cross Safe and Well website can help them do that. Safe and Well is a secure, easy-to-use online tool to help families connect in an emergency. People can register by visiting the Red Cross web site or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).    

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions could be a threat within 48 hours. An upgrade to a hurricane warning will mean hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Those in the affected area should finish their storm preparations and evacuate if authorities ask them to do so.

Hurricane Irene has caused significant damage in the southern Bahamasand the Bahamas Red Cross is managing shelters and helping people displaced by the storm. A regional disaster management expert is headed to theBahamastoday to assist with disaster assessment and response. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Red Cross is mobilizing volunteers as flooding, damage to homes and impassable roads are left in the storm’s wake. The United Nations is reporting hundreds of homes have been damaged and it is difficult to communicate with many localities.

In addition, Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm’s arrival. Donating blood now, before the storm, will help ensure blood is available in the aftermath of Irene should conditions prohibit people from traveling to blood collections.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at www.redcrossblood.org.

Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) members support Red Cross disaster efforts by pledging donations to the Red Cross in advance of major disasters to ensure an immediate response to help people affected. ADGP members responsible for these generous donations include 3M, Altria Group, Aon, Caterpillar, Cisco Foundation , ConAgra Foods , Costco Wholesale Corporation, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group , FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation , John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Optum, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year. If someone would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or sending contributions to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

 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.

Packers Training Camp Blood Drive a Success

More than 250 loyal donors show up to support the Red Cross, 238 pints of blood donated

On Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23, the American Red Cross and the Green Bay Packers teamed up for the 2011 Packers Training Camp Blood Drive. The community response was outstanding with 238 pints of blood donated through the Red Cross during the two-day event held at Lambeau Field. We also want to thank the 68 volunteers who showed their support by giving of their time to help at the two-day event.

“We are extremely thankful to the loyal Packers fans who stepped up to help save lives these past two days,” said Michelle Otero, American Red Cross donor recruitment representative. “The blood collected on Monday and Tuesday could potentially help save up to 714 lives.”

The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to donate at upcoming area blood drives to help ensure sufficient blood supplies before and after the Labor Day holiday weekend. From August 29 through September 7, all presenting blood and platelet donors will be automatically entered to win a $500 gas card. All blood types are needed to help maintain a stable blood supply, and there is a special need for types O negative, B negative and A negative.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Emergency Social Data: Alabama in Need

This guest post was written by Jeffrey Biggs from Dothan, Alabama and posted on the National Red Cross Blog. I had the pleasure of working with Jeffrey on my first national deployment in September of 2008 to Houston,TX for Hurricane Ike. In the Spring of 2008 he was deployed to Southern Wisconsin to assist in public affairs for the floods. Thank you Jeffrey for sharing your knowledge and in site on this changing world of communication during disasters. – Jody Weyers, Northeast Wisconsin Regional Volunteer and communications Director

Jody Weyers and Jeffery Biggs on deployment in Houston, TX.

 You’re sitting at home and feeling a bit helpless. All you see on the television is destruction taking place right before your eyes. You flip on your computer and you see the same thing. The local radio stations have quit playing your favorite tunes. Instead, they are interrupting normal programming to bring you the latest on the devastation taking place 200 miles to the northwest. Again, you feel like you can’t do anything but watch. You have friends and family directly in the path – and you’re in pain because you can’t help. No, I’m not reliving the events of September 11, 2001. I’m reliving the events of April 27, 2011.

April 27 was the day a horrific deadly tornado ripped a jagged scar across the state of Alabama from the Mississippi line on into Georgia and up into South Carolina. And I was sitting at work, and later at home, watching the events unfold on television and online. Concerned for my family and friends in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Gadsden. Wondering aloud to my co-workers, “What can we do?”

And that’s when I started communicating – or at least attempting to. I immediately called my cousin in Birmingham to check on them. No answer. Of course not, cell phone towers were probably down. So I sat and waited for a bit. Then, my phone rang. My cousin, his wife, and their daughter were ok. My aunt and uncle – ok. My other cousins, ok. Relief was starting to creep in. But then, my cousin’s wife said one thing, “What’s going on? We know a tornado just went through, but we can’t really communicate with anyone. We don’t know what’s happening or if anything else is coming.”

And that’s when I knew I had a job to do. I could be the eyes and ears of those who were in the path of the dangerous storms. I had access to the weather in Birmingham. I could watch the news from Birmingham. I could lend a hand. And that’s what I did. I relayed information to friends and family in the Birmingham metro area from my house just outside of Dothan. And I posted it on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. Spreading information – accurate information – was vital in this time of crisis.

And then, an interesting thing happened. I got a Facebook message from my good friends in Washington DC regarding the weather north of me, and one very simple question, “Are you able to help?” Of course, my answer was “YES! Let me help those in my own backyard, please.”

And that’s when a unique experiment in social media communication began. As the majority of the world was fixated on events taking place across the Atlantic Ocean in London’s Westminster Abbey, the American Red Cross was focusing its energy on helping those throughout the southeastern United States who had just been impacted by the biggest natural disaster to heat the area since Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. Because the destruction was so widespread and the infrastructure in many areas so heavily damaged, it wasn’t feasible for everyone to travel to an area affected. Thanks to the advances of technology and the explosive growth of social media, someone had to monitor what was being said. Someone had to help spread real, vital, potentially life-saving information to those around the globe – and most importantly, in the disaster zone – who were transfixed on the events in my backyard.

 I could be that person. I have high-speed Internet at my house. I have access to television stations from Montgomery to Panama City, Fla., and thanks to that same high speed Internet, I have access to television and radio from the affected areas. And then, there was the little matter that I am a “power” Facebooker and adept Twitter user. I could monitor the action, stay in communication with the Red Cross workers in the field and in Washington DC, and help guide people to the right places at the right time.

You see, the little experiment turned out to be remotely harnessing the power of social media to actively lend a hand to those needing it most in the disaster zone. And it was a tremendous success. I was able to monitor the action in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and other areas of the state and find out what was being said – and by whom. If wrong information was out there, I had the resources to correct it. If people were in need in a certain area and had not seen Red Cross assistance, I was able to help guide either the person to the Red Cross, or more importantly, the Red Cross workers to the people who needed them most.

During the course of events, we even discovered someone making false accusations and misguided directions to individuals in need. Because of the speed of social media, we (and I mean we in the term of American Red Cross disaster relief workers) were able to right a wrong. And most importantly, during the flow of events, we were able to bring a little bit of comfort to those hurting so greatly.

Yes, it was an unconventional way to bring assistance to those hurting – and let’s face it, not everyone had the luxury of sitting in their living room during such a brutal ordeal – but it worked. It was a grand experiment that proved the power of social media and its ability to be that vital link between those hurting and those who are willing and able to help. Having worked with the Red Cross in disaster zones and utilizing social media in the field, it was interesting to see how it could work remotely. And it worked. It continues to work. And the power of social media continues to work in Alabama. A group of citizens have rallied together to harness the power of social media and our state’s intense football rivalry between The University of Alabama and Auburn University by creating Toomers for Tuscaloosa on Facebook – a site that continues to harness Facebook’s power and lend a hand throughout Tide and Tigerland.

The Chambers new face behind the graphic design

We wish Dana all the best in her new graphic design role at The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The Red Cross was very lucky to have Dana share her time and talent with us for the past two years!!!

The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the addition of Dana Jacobson as graphic designer.

Jacobson obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 2002 and an associates degree in marketing and graphic communications from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in 2011.

Her prior experience includes identity creation for the 2010 and 2011 American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter’s Firefighters Bucket Brigade events, the 2011 Dancing with the Stars program and a complete design overhaul of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Tech Camp program. In addition, Jacobson also recently completed a design internship with NWTC.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be working as graphic designer for the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce,” Jacobson said. “It is an honor to work with such a talented and passionate team of professionals. It is the work and the people here that are going to provide a constant source of inspiration. I am looking forward to using my marketing and graphic design skills to assist the Chamber in leading economic and community development.”

Outside of harboring a passion for brand elevation and design of all kinds, Jacobson enjoys painting, spending time outside and restoring her vintage home.

American Red Cross Receives Donation from 4th of July for Volunteer Support!

Jeff Mirkes, executive director of Downtown Green Bay Inc. presenting check to Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, American Red Cross

July 4th the American Red Cross had 90 volunteers give of their holiday to support the Festival Foods Fire over the Fox 4th of July event in downtown Green Bay. This was the 5th year the Red Cross has supported this event with staffing the two Festival Foods food tents located on the east and west side of the Main St. bridge. 

The American Red Cross received a $5,000 donation from the event for providing the staffing and leadership required to support these two tents.

THANK YOU to all the volunteers for your continued support of this event and to Festival Foods, Downtown Green Bay Inc. and Event Pro for your support of the American Red Cross.

Packers blood drive at Lambeau Field

Green Bay Press Gazette

American Red Cross will hold the Green Bay Packers Training Camp Blood Drive from noon to 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Legends Club Room on the fourth floor of the Lambeau Field Atrium, 1265 Lombardi Ave., Green Bay.

The event is being held in conjunction with the football training camp for the Packers, who have practices scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. both days.

All presenting donors at the blood drive will receive a Red Cross tote bag and can enter a raffle to win Packers merchandise. Donors 21 and older also will be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Orlando, Fla. Free refreshments will be served.

All blood types are needed for the drive, especially O negative, B negative and A negative. For information or to make an appointment, call (800) 733-2767 or go to www.redcrossblood.org.

Donor still giving at the age of 105!

Sherry Holmes with Margaret Walters.
By Sharon Nevins Holmes, Ph.D

The American Red Cross is thankful for our long term donors and at the age of 105 Miss Margaret Walters is still giving. Miss Walters has been a loyal supporter of Red Cross because she believes we are an organization that is there when the need arises.  The American Red Cross is proud to honor Miss Walters with her Clara Barton Society pin and certificate. While visiting Margaret and her sister Lois, who is 103, I tried to find out their secret to longevity, let’s just say, it must be their giving nature! Both women are quite remarkable and we are proud to honor them as part of our Red Cross family.