Worst Case Scenario: Vampire Edition?

Halloween is just around the corner, and with that in mind, let’s talk vampires. I know, I know, it’s been way overdone in Hollywood recently, from sparkly (I still don’t get Twilight) to broody (Angel *sigh*) to remake-y (Colin Farrell in Fright Night, anyone?) to pretty darn creepy (see Supernatural episode “Family Matters”). If you’re a blood donor like me, you’re probably used to the effects of losing a pint, but not necessarily to the undead. So, how does one treat a vampire bite?

If you’re walking alone and come across a vampire, the first thing I would ask you is why you weren’t using the buddy system, silly. In any case, remain calm. I’m told they can smell fear, and unless you’re Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’re probably freaking out. If you’re bitten but manage to escape (or he just doesn’t like the taste of you), apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding, preferably with gauze or a clean cloth, but with your hands if necessary. Don’t remove the dressing if blood seeps; instead, add more absorbent material. Seek immediate medical attention. Once you’ve recovered, find Van Helsing and try to provide an accurate description of the vamp that bit you. And try to avoid alleyways in the future.

Remember, if the vampire tries to offer you his blood, politely decline, unless you want to spend eternity as a bloodthirsty, undead fiend who can’t tan.

P.S.: If you want more info on giving blood voluntarily, visit American Red Cross Blood Services and to learn how to treat vampire bites, as well as wounds in general, please consider taking a first aid class.

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All Shook Up

At 10:20 Thursday morning, every employee and visitor to our Orange County headquarters dropped to the floor, took cover under a sturdy piece of furniture and held on.  We then all exited the building and met up in the parking lot (many of us in hardhats). We weren’t looking for dust bunnies or to gossip about the latest episode of the Real Housewives, we were doing something much more important – participating in the Great California ShakeOut.

You may be wondering why we took the ShakeOut so seriously.  It’s because we, along with emergency managers around the country, know the importance of practicing our planning.  There is no way we can truly anticipate what we’ll go through physically and mentally in the event of a major quake, but we can prepare for it.

By practicing our response, our organization is doing what it can to ensure our employees know how to react, where to meet and how to get in touch following a disaster. What would you do if “the big one” happened at your office?  Does your company have a plan?  And, more importantly, do you know what it is? If not, you may want to add it to your to do list.  It just might save your life.

How to Find Your Way in the 19th Century

We at the Red Cross firmly hope that you and your loved ones never experience a disaster, but we also believe in being prepared just in case.  Our website has all kinds of preparedness fact sheets, we offer free preparedness classes and, on occasion, we find something preparedness-related as we troll the internet and decide it might be worth passing on.  The other day, we found an article that falls into the latter category.

What would you do if you were in an unfamiiar city and, for some reason, your GPS, phone and every digital device stopped working?  Although it it may be unlikely, a disaster or giant solar storm knocking out all electronics doesn’t fall entirely into the domain of cheesy movies – it is something that NASA and the scientific community admit could potentially happen.  So, how would you get home if the world’s technology suddenly reverted to 19th century levels?

The BBC recently posted an article on how to find your way should the worst occur (or you leave your map/phone in a coffee shop) and, although we suggest reading the full piece, here are a few of their suggestions:

  • Religious Buildings – churches are generally lined up east-west, with the main altar facing east; mosques contain a niche that indicates the direction of Mecca; and synagogues usually position the Torah Ark on the side of the building closest to Jerusalem.
  • Flow of People – in the afternoon, pedestrians tend to walk towards transportation hubs such as train or bus stations.  In the morning, the reverse is true.
  • Clouds – Determine which way you want to go, then note the direction the clouds are moving.  Unless there’s a dramatic change in weather, the clouds should continue to move in the same way.

Oh, and here’s one that wasn’t listed, but may help if all else fails… the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Pleased to Meet You

Hi.  Welcome to our blog.  We created this account so that we could chat in excess of 140 characters.  Okay, so we technically could do that on facebook too (and we do), but we figured it was about time we joined everyone else in the digital age and started blogging.

We should probably tell you all about ourselves, but we’ve read The Rules – we’re looking for a long-term relationship, not a date where we talk nonstop and you’re ready for the check by the time the appetizer arrives.

But we feel the need to tell you something…  hmm, maybe dropping a little bit about our history will pique your interest?  The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton and each year we respond to 70,000 disasters, large and small, across the country. But while we might occasionally talk about our national endeavors, for the most part this blog will be focused on our efforts in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

We hope you’ll stop by again as over the next few weeks, you’ll start seeing posts from various employees and volunteers throughout the region.  Sometimes we’ll offer preparedness tips, sometimes we’ll talk about our work and hopefully we’ll have a little fun.

Until next time…