American Red Cross Issues New Pet First Aid App

Pets are an important part of many families, and a new Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

The 99 cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies. Pet owners learn how to recognize health problems and when to contact their veterinarian. The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies. Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls and what to do for cold- and heat-related emergencies.

Other features in the app allow pet owners to:

•Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.

•Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.

•Use “click-to-call” to contact their veterinarian.

•Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the “animal hospital locator.”

•Locate pet-friendly hotels.

•Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.

History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans. Pet owners may also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course so they can practice the skills and receive feedback. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register. The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. The Pet First Aid App and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapp.

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Ways to Prepare in Propane Shortage that has affected Wisconsin & Upper Michigan

propaneGovernor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency on Saturday, January 25th in response to the propane shortage impacting Wisconsin, and in advance of the dangerously cold temperatures expected to move across the state in the upcoming week.

All state agencies have been directed to be on alert and assist as needed.

“The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority and this declaration gives us the necessary resources to protect the residents of Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker. “I will do everything I can within my power to help our friends and loved ones relying on propane to heat their homes or businesses during this challenging situation.”

The propane supply shortage in the upper Midwest has caused delivery delays and reduced delivery amounts for propane customers in Wisconsin, as well as all Midwestern states.

Experts say the propane shortage has been caused by unusually cold winter temperatures, the temporary closure of a major pipeline that supplies propane to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, and a wet fall season which increased propane demand for grain drying.

About 250,000 Wisconsin residents use propane to heat their homes or businesses. Residents are being urged to check on friends, neighbors and loved ones during extreme cold weather to make sure everyone has a warm place to stay.

“The American Red Cross is working with the County Emergency Managers and Public Health Departments in the counties heavily impacted by the propane shortage,” said Doreen Martinez, Regional Disaster Program Officer.  “We are preparing our organization to assist with supporting the community and assuring no one is left out in the cold or living in a dangerous situation. We are coordinating our activities with county officials”.

Here are some additional tips you can follow to conserve your propane use:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn the furnace lower at night or when there is no one home
  • Use cold water when washing clothes
  • Wear wool
  • Dress in layers, wear thicker clothes
  • Wear socks or slippers
  • Leave the oven open after you bake
  • Open curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun in
  • Close curtains and blinds at night to keep out the cold
  • Use a humidifier. Humid air feels warmer
  • Shut bathroom fans off as quickly as possible to prevent heat loss
  • Run ceiling fans in reverse to push warm air back down to the ground
  • Use rugs on bare floors
  • Block drafts with weather stripping, rolled up towels or homemade draftstoppers
  • Keep your fireplace flue closed when you don’t have a fire to prevent unnecessary heat loss
  • Make sure heat vents, registers and radiators are free of obstructions. If they’re covered with furniture, the warm air won’t reach you – even though you’ve paid for it

Red Cross Promotes Fire Safety with MLK Day Service Project

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With home fires as the biggest disaster threat facing families in Northeast Wisconsin and the Michigan Border communities, the American Red Cross, multiple fire department, State Farm agents, Girl Scouts, and several other groups will be going door-to-door in local neighborhoods on Saturday, January 18th and Monday, January 20th to discuss fire safety with residents and to distribute fire safety information.

This collaborative fire safety outreach is being done in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service  @MLKDay  in which community partners are making our communities safer.  Red Cross teams are meeting at central locations  for the orientation, receive route maps (targeting neighborhoods with the highest numbers of fires) The event will wrap-up around noon. Additional volunteers may contact Lisa.Stanchfield@redcross.org or 920-922-3450 to participate.

Participating cities include and pre-arranged groups include, in addition to Red Cross responders are: Freedom, Green Bay, Hortonville, Montello, New London, Watertown, Waupun & West Bend. Additional locations with special notes include: 

  • Fond du Lac – Fire Department & Girls Scouts
  • Kaukauna – State Farm agent & Fire Department
  • Mayville – 1:00 – 3:00p.m. with the fire department & State Farm
  • Ripon – 9:00a.m. Beckie Pinnow’s Girl Scout Troop tours the Fire Station & canvass
  • Green Bay – Partnering with Green Bay fire and other local businesses distribution on January 20th
  • Waupaca – Partnering with Fresh State program distribution on January 20th

In the past year, our local Red Cross Chapter has provided food, shelter, comfort and hope at 182 separate disasters with the vast majority being residential fires. Although each disaster situation is different, we provided financial assistance to 795 individuals with additional support for emergency basic needs such as food, shelter, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, infant supplies and clothing along with health and emotional support as they begin the recovery process. A few larger disasters of note include the downtown Ripon Fire, several tornadoes & Hilltop Apartment fire in Allouez and 51 people were displaced in the Howard fire. Sadly, fires have been fatal as well.

“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by half,” stated Steve Hansen, the local Chapter Executive, “To honor the legacy of service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are working together to educate the community by providing vital information on fire safety and the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms.”

Red Cross staff & volunteers, along with partners from multiple fire departments, Girl Scouts and State Farm agents, to name a few community partners, are going door-to-door to talk with residents about fire safety and hand-out fire safety door hangers in English and Spanish with information on smoke alarms, creating an escape plan and cooking and heating safely at home.

When a home fire or other disaster occurs, the Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort and hope to meet the immediate needs of those affected. People can support those in the local community affected by home fires by making a donation to the local Red Cross by going to redcross.org/donate or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Those wishing to learn more about home fire safety should visit redcross.org.

7 Steps to Prevent the Flu

TRUE or FALSE?
The flu virus spreads from person-to-person in droplets of coughs or sneezes.
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Answer is: TRUE!
The virus can also spread if a person touches droplets on another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands.

The most important step someone can take is to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older.
Follow these 7 steps to help prevent the spread of the flu virus:
1.     Stay home if sick.
2.     Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
3.     Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If that’s not possible, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands. People with the flu can spread it to others about six feet away through coughs and sneezes.
4.     Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
5.     Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
6.     Disinfect surfaces used commonly such as door knobs, switches, phones, computers & remote controls.
7.     If someone has the flu they should avoid contact with others as much as possible.

DO I HAVE THE FLU? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children). If someone thinks they have the flu, their health-care provider should be consulted. Someone should seek medical care immediately if they develop any of the following symptoms:m8740094_167x82-flu-grey

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
    • Children – not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting. Fever with a rash. No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the free Red Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices.You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting redcross.org/FluTips.

Are U Up For a Challenge?

In the recent weeks, many blood drives have been rescheduled and/or cancelled due to the winter storm and below zero temperatures. In Wisconsin, the Badger-Hawkeye Region had 14 drives canceled, resulting in 566 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The Red Cross has an urgent need for blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to give.

To help ensure a we_challenge_u_bannersufficient blood supply this winter season, the American Red Cross is partnering with colleges and universities for the We Challenge U blood drive program. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, 2014, students at participating schools are challenged to help boost the blood supply. All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. When inclement weather and cold and flu season traditionally impact donors’ availability to give blood, let’s meet the challenge!

Here’s your chance to make a difference! On Thursday, January 16th, Bay College West is hosting a blood drive from 10:30a.m. to 2:30p.m. in the Conference Room. The campus is on 2801 N US 2, Iron Mountain, MI 49801.

Are you ready for this? Challenge accepted070731-205752

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Pets and Disaster

Thank you to all the staff at Countrycare Animal Complex for our support. and delivery of these much needed kits.

Thank you to all the staff at Countrycare Animal Complex for our support. and delivery of these much needed kits.

Pets enrich our lives in more ways than we can count. They are members of the family. In turn, they depend on us for their safety and well-being.

When Red Cross responders are at residential fires or other disaster our priority is to take care of people. When you have an emergency plan for your pets, (link to arc info) we are truly ensuring their well-being, security and safety too. Having identified the resources and having adequate equipment will help your family care for pets and provide peace of mind during a very stressful situation. Just think of the comfort and compassion your pet will feel when you are prepared!

It’s also through partnerships like ours with the Countrycare Animal Complex, in Green Bay, who has provided emergency pet support. They learned how our responders work with clients and often times they do not have a plan for their pets. Therefore, they supplied us with 100 dog and cat kits to be used in disaster situations. We were surprised when they were all distributed so quickly that they provided another 100 kits. The box kits carry supplies and it can also be used as a carrier for small animals.

  • The dog kit contains: food, bowl, toy, blanket and a leash.
  • The cat kit contains: food, bowl, toy, blanket, litter and  litter box.

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Nancy Mirhashemi, a Red Cross responder, has presented these kits to disaster clients. “They families are always so appreciative. We’re very fortunate to have the Countrycare Animal Complex as our partner so together we can provide comfort and support to the pets and people impacted by a disaster.”

Countrycare is raising funds for the next 100 emergency kits. Please contact them for details on how you can help at (920) 863-3220 and www.countrycareac.com

You Wore WHAT to Go Sledding?

By PaKou Lee, Social Media Intern

I can’t remember the last time I went sledding. I know it has to be at least more than five years ago because I’ve lived in Green Bay for four years now and I haven’t gone yet. With the holiday spirit still into play, I went sledding with my family two weekends ago. We headed for Triangle Sports Area right on Beverly Road near Baird Creek.

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Look at that view! That’s the hill that my family and I sled on. Can you imagine walking all the way back up after a speedy downhill? Luckily, the park had a tow rope to pull us up!

I was wearing my black, fashionable boots from Target and my toes were feeling super cold already. I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive the whole day of sledding. I didn’t think it would be too bad since I haven’t had any issues wearing them when shoveling the snow previously. Little did I know, just how cold it was going to get for my little toes.

After the first down hill and walking back up while dragging the tube, I couldn’t feel my toes anymore. I knew I wouldn’t be able to last another five minutes outside. I had my brother, Pheng, take me home to change my boots. I am so thankful that my niece Nevaeh, 10, and I share the same shoe size (Don’t judge my small feet… we share the same size for only certain types of shoes, haha). I wore her extra snow boots. I made sure to double my socks and changed my jacket too! The zipper was broken so I couldn’t zip at all. My sweater was little protection from the cold. Not sure what I was thinking when I got dressed. Probably because I didn’t have my coffee but I definitely learned my lesson.

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Jada, 6, all ready for a day of sledding and hot coco! Check out her cute owl hat!

So with my learning experience, I want to show you a prime example of what you should be wearing for sledding. Jada, my 6-year-old niece was my sledding partner. She was definitely more prepared than me!

  • Winter jacket
  • Hat
  • Face mask
  • Scarf
  • Mittens/Gloves
  • Snow pants
  • Snow boots
    And of course, always LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!!!

I also want to encourage you to watch a video of Dr. David Markenson, chair of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, provides winter weather tips to keep you safe when you are active outdoors. For more winter weather safety, visit redcross.org.