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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Are You Ready for Winter?

Tips provided by: Wisconsin Emergency Management

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“Get an emergency kit in your car. It could save your life”

Governor Scott Walker has declared November 4-8, 2013 as Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin.  The annual campaign, sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), its ReadyWisconsin preparedness program and NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), is to remind people to be prepared for winter conditions that could threaten their safety.

“The number one thing to do: make sure you have an emergency supply kit in your car – it could save your life,” says Brian Satula, Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator

winter_car_kitReadyWisconsin will air Television and Radio Public Service Announcements in November, urging viewers and listeners to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles. Starting November 1st, Wisconsin residents can sign up for a chance to win a winter survival kit on the ReadyWisconsin website: readywisconsin.wi.gov.

Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. For example, in the last five years Wisconsin has averaged 50,000 motor vehicle crashes during winter months. An average of 45 people are killed and more than 5,000 injured on icy or snow-covered roads.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a danger. 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.

Now is the time to winterize your car and home, gather items for an emergency kit in your car, and make sure you have a NOAA Weather Radio with fresh batteries. Additional winter weather tips and how to put together a winter emergency kit are available at the ReadyWisconsin website. or www.redcross.org  In addition, there are numerous winter storm maps and a history of Wisconsin’s winter weather produced by the National Weather Service.

We Knew it Was Going to Come Sometime….SNOW!!

Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind­driven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

What should I do before a winter storm?

  • Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears).
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non­frozen drinking water.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • All fuel­burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.

American Red Cross Urges Preparedness As Damaging Winter Storm Threatens About 100 Million People

Blood donors needed as winter weather continues to affect supply

The American Red Cross is preparing to respond to the destructive winter storm that is bearing down on the country from just east of the Rocky Mountains to the coast of New England. The storm could impact a third of the population of the United States, and it threatens to bring blizzard conditions and heavy ice and snow.

This latest winter blast could further impact the Red Cross blood supply which has already seen more than 18,000 expected blood donations go uncollected over the last several weeks due to bad winter weather. People are asked to make an appointment to give blood by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting www.redcrossblood.org. Those who live in the path of the storm are asked to schedule a donation time when it is safe to travel. All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for donors with O-Negative, A-Negative and B-Negative blood.

People have been responding to the call for blood donors, and the Red Cross is grateful to those who are stepping up to donate blood to help build the blood supply back to where it should be. The Red Cross distributes blood products to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the United States.

“We are grateful for the upswing in donations which has occurred since we issued the call for people to give blood,” said Richard Benjamin, Chief Medical Officer, American Red Cross. “However, this latest storm is expected to further impact our ability to hold blood collections. We continue to need the public’s help to rebuild our blood inventory back to a safe and adequate level.”

Red Cross chapters all across the country are preparing to respond to the storm as needed. The Red Cross is working with state and local government officials and calling disaster workers, getting them ready to respond if necessary.

Weather experts are predicting the storm could affect about 100 million people. Heavy snow will make travel impossible at times, with snow drifting as high as eight feet in some locations. Some areas will experience a crippling amount of ice which could lead to power outages for hundreds of thousands of customers. Dangerously cold air could give way to wind chills reading below zero. Southern states will not escape the storm’s fury, as severe thunderstorms are predicted to sweep across the region, accompanied by damaging winds.

If possible, people should stay inside and avoid unnecessary travel. The Red Cross offers these steps people can take to stay safe and warm:

  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat the home.
  • Place space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface.  Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. 
  • Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home. 
  • Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.

 If someone must go outside, they should wear layered lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Covering the mouth will protect the lungs. Other safety tips include:

  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain footing in ice and snow.
    • If shoveling snow, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Avoid overexertion.
    • Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if someone must be out on the roads …
      • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
      • Keep the car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
      • The traveler should let someone know where they are going, the route being taken and expected arrival time. If their vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the predetermined route.

 For more information on how to stay safe and warm during this latest onslaught of winter, visit www.redcross.org.       

 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 Urges Residents to Get Ready For Winter Weather

With heavy snow and freezing temperatures predicted throughout the week the American Red Cross recommends taking a few steps that will help you stay safe despite the winter weather.

 “Winter storms can knock down power lines, make travel difficult because of icy road conditions, and keep people isolated in their homes for several days,” said Steve Hansen, the Regional Chapter Executive. “That’s why now is the perfect time to get ready before this winter storm hits our area. Make sure you have the food and supplies on hand now that you may need if it’s not safe to travel or if the power goes out.”

The Red Cross recommends stocking up on easy-to-prepare foods, medications for family members, diapers, baby formula, pet food, extra-batteries for flashlights, and hygiene items like toilet paper and tissues. Make sure you have enough wood or coal for fireplaces or coal-burning stoves.

In addition, the Red Cross offers the following ideas to help stay safe during winter storms:

Tips for Staying Safe at Home

  • Be careful with candles – do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
  • Don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement or garage. Locate unite away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Prevent frozen pipes – when the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing. Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature.
  •  Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  •  If you plan on using a fireplace to stay warm, keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a lit fire unattended.
  •  If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from your space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
  •  Avoid overloading electrical outlets.
  •  Check on your animals and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. If possible, bring them indoors.

Tips for Protecting Yourself While Outdoors and Traveling

  •  When possible stay indoors during the storm.
  •  Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks and stairs.
  •  Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.
  •  Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
  •  Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  •  If you shovel snow, be extremely careful. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated and avoid overexertion.
  •  Minimize travel whenever possible. If travel is necessary keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle with extra food and blankets.
  •  Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
  •  Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  •  Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  •  Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

Visit Redcross.org for more information on how to keep safe and prepared for any emergency.