A Safer Way to Get that Candle Glow

By Jody Weyers, Communications Volunteer


The weekend after Thanksgiving I was so excited to get out all my holiday decorations and go to town decorating in a new space. I moved into a new duplex seven months ago and this was my first Christmas in my new place. What makes a place feel cozy and warm during the holidays –candles and lots of them.

I have been with the American Red Cross for almost 15 years, so I know candles are dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one-fifth of home decoration fires occur in December, and over half of these are started by candles.

This year, I transitioned to the battery operated candles. I know you are thinking, it is not the same…. But yes, it really is. Battery operated tea-lights are all over my house and you cannot tell the difference from a real candle. They are available in all sizes, shapes and colors. I went to Michael’s Craft Store and was floored by all the different varieties available. I know they don’t give off any scent, and part of the holidays I love is the smells of cinnamon, pine and vanilla so I also invested in an aromatherapy room mist in all my favorite scents and for when I have guests.

IMG_20151128_172634At first you might think they are expensive, but when you look at the cost of your house burning down or investing in battery operated candles, that price tag soon becomes a non-factor. They also provide peace of mind.  If I go to bed or leave my house with one of these candles still on, I don’t have to worry about it.

This is just one small change I am making this year so my holiday is a little safer. The Red Cross offers these additional tips to keep your home safe during the holiday season.

  • If you do decide to burn candles, make sure to keep them away from children, pets and decorations.
  • Choose decorations and artificial trees that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Place away from heat sources and exits. Water real trees daily.
  • Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.
  • Install smoke alarms.
  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
  • If hanging stockings on a fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires.

On average, 7 people die and 36 people suffer injuries from home fires every day. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it is too late. The Red Cross’s Home Fire Campaign works to reduce this number by urging American to follow two simple steps: check existing smoke alarms and practice home fire drills.

People can visit www.redcross.org for more information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones from home fires.

Girl Scouts donate blankets to Red Cross

Video provided by Nathan Phelps, Green Bay Press Gazette:

Click HERE to see video of story:

Girl Scout blanket donation: Girl Scouts with Troop 4202 in Green Bay donated tie-blankets to the American Red Cross in Green Bay Saturday for distribution to people in need, like fire victims.

Girl Scouts Troop 4202 members were on hand at Green Bay Fire Department Station 3 on Saturday to donated blankets to the American Red Cross.

The blankets are intended for distribution to people in need, such as people who have been displaced from their homes by fires.

Westfield School District Hosts “Hats on for HEROES” for Local American Red Cross

By Vicki Jenks, American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer and Board Member

Westfield Schools Brakebush Bros. HEROES 002

(Pictured left to right) Jon Brakebush, Lexi Brakebush, Judy Brakebush, Vicki Jenks, & John Eyerly, Superintendent Westfield School District

On Friday, March 15th, the Westfield School District assisted their local American Red Cross by hosting “Hats on for HEROES”.  A simple fundraiser in which a student pays $1 for the privilege of wearing a hat for the day, “Hats on for HEROES”—a first-time event, was extremely successful. 

All the funds will be utilized locally in Marquette County for Local Disaster Relief and Service to the Armed Forces. 

The most common disasters are RESIDENTIAL FIRES.  Every 9 minutes in the United States, a Red Cross Disaster Worker responds to a fire.  Due to the generosity of the American people, the Red Cross is able to provide temporary shelter, food, clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, and personal hygiene items.  They can also facilitate the replacement of prescription medications and eyewear.  But perhaps the most important gift Disaster Workers provide is INVALUABLE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. 

Service to Armed Forces is a new addition to the HEROES fundraiser this year.  Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the Red Cross relays urgent messages containing accurate, factual, complete and verified descriptions of the emergency to service members stationed anywhere in the world, including on ships at sea and at embassies and remote locations.

The Red Cross provides emergency financial assistance, volunteers in area VA Hospitals, and sees that military members arrive home for funerals and births.  This “personal touch”, again, is due to the incredible generosity of citizens like the Westfield students, staff and administration. 

Brakebush Brothers, well known as a philanthropic corporate citizen, stepped up to also become a HERO and facilitated the new Red Cross relationship with the Westfield School District. 

“Down the street, across the country, around the world—the Red Cross is there”, because of students like those who attend the Westfield Schools and generous corporations like Brakebush Brothers.

Waupaca High School “S.A.D.D.” Chapter Hosts “Hats on for HEROES” for Local American Red Cross

Waupaca HS S.A.D.D. Hats for HEROES 002

Pictured Left to Right: Elizabeth Olson, Vicki Jenks (Red Cross Board Member), Nichole Thorne, Christina Rasmussen, Dale Feldt (S.A.D.D. Advisor)

By Vicki Jenks – Red Cross Board Member and Disaster Volunteer –

On Friday, March 8th, Waupaca High School’s S.A.D.D. chapter (Dale Feldt, Advisor), helped their local American Red Cross by hosting “Hats on for HEROES”.  A simple fundraiser where students pay a $1 for the privilege of wearing a hat for the day, “Hats on For Heroes”, was also hosted at Chain O’ Lakes Elementary.

All the funds from various HEROES functions throughout not only Waupaca County, but also Waushara, Green Lake and Marquette counties, will be utilized for Local Disaster Relief and Service to the Armed Forces.

The most common disasters are RESIDENTIAL FIRES.  Every 9 minutes in the United States, a Red Cross Disaster Action Team responds to a fire.  Volunteers—due to the generosity of the American public—are able to provide temporary shelter, food, clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, and personal hygiene items.  They can even facilitate the replacement of prescription medications and eyewear.  Most important is the INVALUABLE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT rendered on site and for months to come.

New with HEROES 2013, is the donor choice of SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES.  Whether relaying emergency messages to service members—24/7—, volunteering at VA Hospitals, providing emergency financial assistance, seeing that a military member arrives home for a funeral or birth, the AMERICAN RED CROSS provides that “personal touch”.

“Down the street, across the country, around the world—the Red Cross is theresm”, because of students like the members of Waupaca High School’s S.A.D.D. chapter.  Congratulations, students!!  Thank you for helping your local American Red Cross.

HEROES - Jenks

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Princeton Steps up to be Heroes for the Red Cross

Pastor Daniel Heiderich is shown presenting the HEROES donation to Vicki P. Jenks, American Red Cross in NE Wisconsin Board Member and Disaster Action Team volunteer.

Recently, the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Princeton, stepped up and became HEROES for their local AMERICAN RED CROSS.  Hosting the food booth at the Princeton Flea Market, they raised $1,000 to be used for disaster relief and preparedness in Green Lake County.

The most common local disasters are residential FIRES.  When the Red Cross is called in for support, trained volunteers provide immediate needs ranging from personal hygiene items, a place to stay, a hot meal and a shoulder to lean on.  The Red Cross also supports first responders with hydration, food and respite.

Your AMERICAN RED CROSS–96% volunteers–arrives with hearts filled with compassion and a plan to support families in a very emotional time.  Thank you, St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Princeton community!

Red Cross Responds to Two House Fires over the Weekend

Fire Crews at the East Mason Street Fire on January 6, 2011. Nine people displaced, and Red Cross assisted eight.

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to a house fire in Wrightstown around 6:30pm on Saturday, January 8, displacing six people. Two Red Cross volunteers were on the scene to assist the three adults, two teens, and one child with their immediate emergency needs.

We provided hotel stay and monetary assistance for clothing and food. We also provided comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and homemade quilts to all family members.

This morning around 6:30am we received another call of a house fire on Doty St on the East side of Green Bay affecting 9 adults. Two Red Cross volunteers assisted 8 adults with monetary assistance for clothing and food. All clients also received comfort kits and homemade quilts. They all had friends or relatives to stay with.

One individual did not utilize Red Cross services.

This makes for the fourth fire response the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter has assisted at since the New Year. In total from the four incidences we have helped 27 people with their immediate emergency needs

We need your help! 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.

Firefighters have been busy lately; Winter typically the busiest time of year

Reporter: Beth Jones, WLUK Fox 11 – Click HERE to view video of the story.

GREEN BAY – Thursday morning’s fire in Pulaski, which displaced a family, was one of four other emergencies The American Red Cross responded to within 24 hours.

Since last month, the Lakeland Chapter has responded to 17 incidents, the majority of them fires, assisting 79 people.

But all four Red Cross chapters across the region have been busy.

“When we look at it since Thanksgiving, we’ve responded to some type of disaster every single day,” explained Red Cross Communications Director, Jody Weyers. “So not only are we out there providing support for the families, but we’re also there as a resource to the emergency crews.”

And it’s been tough to keep up.

“It definitely puts a strain on our resources as well as our personnel and volunteers, as well as financially, with having so many incidents back to back,” Weyers said.

Area fire departments, like Green Bay, have been busy too. They’ve responded to 9 residential fires since Thanksgiving.

“What’s unfortunate, that’s about on average for us,” said Lt. Nick Craig.

While the number may seem excessive, Craig says the department usually responds to about 10 fires at least by the first of the year.

December, January, and February are the busiest three months of the year for fire departments across the nation.

In fact, the National Fire Protection Association says one third of all fires and fire deaths occur during those months.

But there are ways to prevent becoming a statistic.

“We’ve seen several wood stove fires, chimney fires in the area and one of the big things we want people to remember is make sure you have them checked out by a certified chimney sweep to make sure they’re in good working condition before the heating season starts,” Craig explained.

One more thing, check your smoke detectors. Craig says over half of all residential fires they respond to, don’t have working smoke detectors.

The Green Bay Fire Department does offer free smoke alarms to residents who need them.