Be a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a disaster volunteer? Or, if it was right for you? NOW is your time to find out. The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin is hosting Disaster Services courses throughoutNE Wisconsin.

If you are interested in learning about the Red Cross and how you can become a volunteer sign up for one of these informational trainings: 

Disaster Services: An Overview

     When: Saturday, October 15, 2011

      Time: 9:00am-12:30pm

      Where: American Red Cross,1302 East Wisconsin Ave, Appleton

Disaster Services: An Overview

      When: Thursday, October 20, 2011

      Time: 6:00pm-9:30pm

      Where: Marquette County Sheriffs Department,77 West St. Montello

Disaster Services: An Overview

      When: Thursday, October 27, 2011

      Time: 6:00pm-9:30pm

      Where: American Red Cross,418 School St, Waupaca

]To sign up, click HERE

If you have any questions please contact Nick Cluppert, Disaster Services Training Director at 888-231-3590 (toll-free) or nick@ecw-redcross.org

“This is a Drill” —- Red Cross Participates in Kewaunee Co. Emergency Exercises

By Mauree Childress, Director of Development, Green Bay Office

“This is a drill.”  Last Tuesday (10/4), I was able to observe the Kewaunee County EOC as it was operational doing a full scale exercise for the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant. This Emergency Management exercise is a full practice run for all of the participating government agencies, the Red Cross, the ham radio operators and the Dominion Kewaunee Power Station showing what they would do in the case of a nuclear incident   There were many people there in the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) and many more people assisting offsite throughout the state. 

The EOC is a special secure place with back-up power, pre-planned for emergencies. Manitowoc County was also working on their role in an incident like this. We could see their EOC from a feed into a monitor in our room.  There were people from Dominion, emergency management, law enforcement, highway, fire, dispatch (911), public health, human services, public information office, UW Extension (agriculture), the National Guard, the State radiologist, ham radio operators, and the Red Cross.  There were observers from Virginia, the Canadian military, and State and Federal evaluators.   The evaluators assess how well the county did in the exercise of handling a nuclear emergency and what can be improved.

The day started with a report of an incident at the Dominion Kewaunee Nuclear Power Station.  All of the government and non-government agencies sprang into action, preparing for “the worst. “  They were on their phones and computers lining up the potential evacuations, preparing the routes, and information plan. Every conversation contained the words, “This is a drill.”  Maps lined the walls so everyone could easily see the 1 to 10 mile radius from the nuclear plant.  There were weather reports highlighting the wind directions.  When the winds shifted direction, the plans changed.   

(l-r) Bonnie Franz and Judy Gregory from the American Red Cross

Every half hour there was a general briefing.  The Power Plant reported on the situation and each agency gave their update.  The nuclear “incident” got worse and became a “General Emergency.” We were now evacuating from a 5-mile radius dependent on wind direction.   The sirens went off (drill) and a Code Red was issued.  Health workers took KI (Potassium Iodine) for radiation exposure.  Judy Gregory, Red Cross Emergency Services Director and Disaster Volunteer Bonnie Franz lined up the shelters in the Luxemburg Casco School System.  Judy worked with the human services and the Kewaunee highway department to arrange transportation for the at-risk population and school children.  Nancy Mirhashemi was back in Green Bay coordinating staffing needs and the shelter supplies like cots, bedding, food and water.  Contact was made with Regional and State Red Cross leadership to put them on alert in case additional assistance was needed. The public was informed through radio broadcasts.  Law enforcement and the highways department set evacuation routes, and roadblocks, while also attending to their usual job.  (There was an “Amber Alert” and domestic incident that required a SWAT team thrown into to the drill.) 

I could feel the tension in the rooms, and my own adrenaline increased as the situation escalated.  I was impressed at all the coordination the community exhibited.  The people from Virginia, and a Canadian military representative, had come because this is a well-executed exercise using up-to-date best practices. 

I was impressed by the preparation and coordination, by the collaboration and the expertise.  As a community member, I am comforted by the high level of plans and competence, of all the agencies.  I am proud to work for the Red Cross and the integral role that we play. 

I hope that we never hear, “This is not a drill.” 

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Help Save Lives with American Red Cross Fire Safety Tips- Install Smoke Alarms and Create a Fire Escape Plan

Red Cross helping out at an apartment fire in Denmark

Every 82 seconds a home fire breaks out, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Fires can cause irreparable damage to homes and businesses displacing families and employees. Last year, the American Red Cross responded to 63,000 home fires across the country and provided comfort and basic necessities to those affected. This October 9-15 the Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.

“Taking simple steps like installing smoke detectors and developing and practicing a fire escape plan can make a critical difference in saving lives, homes and workplaces,” said Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive, who recommends that every family and business develop and practice a fire safety plan. “Everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”

Additional recommendations include:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.

Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.

Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

In addition to helping families and businesses prepare their homes and facilities for potential fires, the Red Cross is there to help those in need when fires break out. Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin are responding, on average, to a fire every other day in our community.

“In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in Northeast Wisconsin, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community,” added Steve Hansen.

You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American 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.

Hello! From Your “NEW” Red Cross Intern

My mom and I in Central Park this summer!

Hi everyone! My name is Angela Rabe, and I am excited to say I am a new member of the Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross team! I will be interning this fall and helping out with social media and marketing updates for our region. 

I am currently a senior at UW –Green Bay majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Human Development. 

Outside of work and school, I love exercising, watching sports, and traveling when I can.  My outgoing personality often leads me to seek a new challenge or adventure, and I am thrilled to gain experience in the marketing field and share my classroom knowledge during my journey with the NEW Red Cross. 

I was particularly drawn to this internship because I know what a reputable organization the American Red Cross is.  I also know the importance of service and volunteering, having done mission work in San Diego, Boston, and Chicago, as well as being involved in various community projects. 

With just one week in, I can already say I am looking forward to working with the great staff and following the Dancing With the Stars event and whatever else comes my way!