Preparedness Playlist 2

As you know, part of the mission of the Red Cross is preparedness. Most people immediately think of getting ready for natural disasters, disaster relief, etc. But what about being prepared for a medical emergency? Would you know what to do if one of your loved ones stopped breathing? I recently had to renew my CPR certification as part of my job at a daycare and realized that it is so important that everyone have some kind of training in this life saving skill. You never know if you could end up saving the life of a stranger or a close friend. Maybe even become a hero to someone and their family. So, check out and enroll yourself (and friends) in a CPR class. It could be something fun you do together. While you’re at it, check out the songs that inspired this blog post:

  1. How to Save a Life-The Fray
  2. Savin’ Me-Nickelback
  3. Save You-Simple Plan
  4. Someone Saved My Life Tonight-Elton John
  5. Hold On-Good Charlotte
  6. Bring Me to Life-Evanescence
  7. My Hero– Foo Fighters
  8. Your Guardian Angel-Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  9. Hero-Superchick
  10. Stayin’ Alive-Bee Gees (Bonus: You can keep beat to this song as you do chest compressions.)
  11. I Will Survive -Gloria Gaynor
  12. Hero Heroine-Boys Like Girls
  13. Just Breathe-Pearl Jam

Climbing a Mountain for the Red Cross

The Finish Line

On a crisp Coachella Valley morning, John Williams, an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader hiked up Bump and Grind Trail with a backpack filled with 100- pounds of sand. Casual observers would question the logic of such an effort until they discovered his deep commitment for the Red Cross.

“Through the Red Cross, I am fulfilling my personal mission of helping change a life in crisis into a life of hope,” said Williams. “America’s spirit shines when everyday people do extraordinary things. This is the spirit that shines in the work of the Red Cross.”

Williams made the 2.5 mile climb to support Hope 365, a grass roots campaign where supporters pledge to raise funds for the American Red Cross of Riverside County. He also wanted to test his resolve by proving to others his ability to accomplish things he did as a younger man.  

When Williams reached the summit, a beautiful panoramic view of the California desert awaited him.   Besides fulfilling a personal endeavor, he raised funds and awareness for the Red Cross. Along the journey, the 30-year public safety veteran reflected how the Red Cross has presented him many opportunities to help people in need.

Responding to Residential Fires

Williams serves as a Red Cross DAT Captain and Chapter Duty Officer for Riverside County. He sees the work of the DAT, particularly during residential fires, as “curb service.”

“We provide comfort and hope to families sitting on the curb in front of the ruins of their burnt out homes,” said Williams. “As volunteers, we sincerely care for those who have lost everything and lift them up off the curb.”

From offering hugs, comfort kits and a place to stay for the night, the work of the DAT is completely people-focused. This high level of compassion in a crisis has always made a deep impression on Williams who began serving the Red Cross as a disaster relief volunteer during Hurricane Katrina. Seeing this major disaster unfold on the news impacted him to the point where he had to do something.

Thanks to the support of donors and community partners, Williams and other DAT volunteers were able to assist more than 582 families who experienced residential fires and other disasters in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in fiscal year 2012.

Hey SoCal, Are You Ready?

Are you ready for any disaster? And I’m talking completely prepared for anything Mother Nature decides to throw at you. According to, only 6% of households in L.A. are truly prepared. So chances are you need a little help getting your family ready for a disaster. Well, lucky for you, the Red Cross is here to help you out. The Red Cross, partnered with Edison International, has created this incredibly informative website called Prepare SoCal. Yes, the one I mentioned above-a little foreshadowing anyone?

This site breaks down getting prepared into 3 steps:
1. Get a Kit : Maybe you are thinking where do I start? This website offers tips on what to include for whatever your needs are-from mini-kits and basic kits to the ultimate preparedness kit. If you don’t have the time or energy to put together your own kit, the Red Cross has got you covered there, too. Their online store offers kits in different sizes and levels-from basic 1 person to deluxe family kits.

2. Make a Plan: Knowing exaclty what to do in the event of a disaster can take the panic out of a situation, not to mention potentially save lives. Your family disaster plan should include a communication plan, disaster supplies kit, and an evacuation plan. Only four steps to a disaster ready plan:

  • Find out what could happen to you
  • Make a disaster plan
  • Complete the checklist (click the link and scroll down to see it)
  • Practice your plan

3. Be Informed: From earthquakes and wildfires to pandemic and terrorism, whatever it is, this site has got you covered. Use this resource to learn what disasters can affect you. Topics covered include how to prepare, what to do during a disaster and other related information. There are even first-aid tips on common injuries that may happen during that particular disaster.

Not a fan of reading? No problem. This site also has PrepareTV-short videos on different topics related to preparedness. So you can watch and inform yourself that way. (Psst… It’s a great tool if you’re teaching your kids about preparedness.)

Wanna go the extra mile and take a class? A little CPR training perhaps? You can find out more about that on this website, too.

No Cell Phone? No Thank You!

Imagine this: A disaster strikes. Cell phone towers are down. There is no access to the internet. This, to me, sounds like the end of the world. What am I supposed to do without my cell phone? Better yet, how will the Red Cross be able to do their job effectively without the help of modern communication?

Enter Disaster Services Technology, or DST, the unsung heroes of the Red Cross. This team of tech savvy volunteers is able to bring back communication through satellites; enabling the Red Cross to do what they do best-help people get through disaster.

Here, students from the DST training are seen setting up satellites.

Here, students from the DST training are seen setting up satellites.

Currently, there are 25 volunteers from our region (as well as L.A., San Diego and Sacramento) participating in a 3 day training. One of the ten trainings Red Cross National Headquarters is putting on. The best part: no background is required. That means any Red Cross volunteer can become part of DST.

Ed Finley, Customer Service Officer for DST with National Headquarters, said of the training, “They’re taking it from cradle to grave.” During a DST training, students experience what it would be like doing this job during an actual disaster (minus the actual disaster, of course).

Inspired to become a volunteer yourself? Visit for more information.

A Red Cross volunteer is learning about satellite use and maintenence.

A Red Cross volunteer is learning about satellite use and maintenence.