March is Red Cross Month

MIRCM blog

It’s Red Cross Month and we would like to recognize our Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.

These everyday heroes are our volunteers who help disaster victims get on the road to recovery. They give blood to help someone in the hospital. They brighten the day of an injured service member in a hospital far from home. They take our classes and step forward to help someone having a heart attack or to save a drowning child.

March is also a great time to become part of the Red Cross. It’s easy. Household members can work together on a preparedness plan. People can sign up to take a class or volunteer their time. They can give blood or make a financial donation.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

In 2013, Red Cross offices across Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties responded to 462 emergencies, served over 3,600 military cases and trained over 53,000 people in lifesaving skills. And, people from across this area donated more than 70,000 units of blood.

Red Cross Month is observed in dedication of everyone who supports our mission. We are grateful to people for their generosity which enables us to continue our work, and encourage everyone to become an Everyday Hero during Red Cross Month by helping their neighbors.

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Do You Know How to Respond to Typical California Disasters?

By: Kyana Nguyen
Eleanor Roosevelt High School Red Cross Club
Riverside Y.A.C.

 By now you have heard numerous ways to get prepared for disasters; however I want to share with you a bit about what to expect from the three most common natural disasters we face living in Californians.

FIRES

Living in an environment that is prone to dry weather, fires are a prominent hazard. Fires range in size; however the effects of its flames may be felt near and far and could impact firemany surrounding areas. If you live in an area that is prone to fires be sure you have a pre-identified escape route and 2 safe meeting places – one outside your home and one outside your neighborhood should you need to evacuate. Be sure to practice this route with your family to ensure everyone knows where to go.

Although California is currently experiencing a drought, floods can easily happen and many areas of the state are at an increased risk due to wildfires. After a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation hasflooded sign burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater, which increases the risk of flooding and mudflows. Floods are often severe and hard to control. During a flood, you can expect the water to be dirty, and depending on the severity of the flood, the higher the water raises and the longer it stands there is a possibility for disease to spread. Preparing for a flood includes having an evacuation plan, knowing where to go and what to bring. When evacuating your home remember to turn-off the utilities and be cautious of objects that require electricity. If you are in a vehicle abandon the car and move to higher ground, and always remember that running water has the ability to disrupt any movement at six inches.

Since the San Andreas Fault runs throughout California, earthquakes are a reality and something everyone needs to be prepared to experience. During an earthquake it is earthquakeimportant to drop, cover and hold-on as items that hang from the ceiling, or furniture not secured to walls are likely to move or fall. It is also possible for trees to become uprooted from the ground and wires to drop, so if you are outside find a clear space to drop to the ground, cover your head and neck with your hands and hold-on. Earthquakes happen all the time, some are so small they are not felt, while others can be large enough to collapse buildings. Like fire and flood preparedness, earthquake preparedness requires a plan, supply kit and an out of area emergency contact.

To find more information about preparing, responding and recovering from disasters please go to http://www.redcross.org/prepare or download Red Cross mobile apps at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps and prepare yourself today.

Everyone should know how to save a life

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By Christopher Riley
American Red Cross of Orange County, Youth Public Relations Liaison

 Do you know how to perform CPR or even know what CPR stands for? Can you swim or are you prepared to help someone who may not? Do you know the various opportunities that the American Red Cross can provide you?  If your answer is no to one or all of the above statements, then the American Red Cross has got some amazing opportunities for you!

The American Red Cross serving Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties offers trainings in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AED (automated external defibrillation) and First Aid, as well as many other classes like basic caregiving and babysitting skills, Lifeguard and swimming certifications and even Pet First Aid. We encourage both youth and adults to learn these life-saving skills and become prepared to help save a life.

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Perhaps you’re wondering how you will find the time to be trained in these skills or think you don’t need to know basic lifesaving skills. Our response is that you need to make the time to learn how to save a life. These skills are simple to learn and one class won’t take too long, especially when you realize how easy it is to help others in time of need. Classes are easy to sign-up for and you can always find one offered in a central location to where you live, work and play. Go to redcross.org/take-a-class to get started.

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Setting aside a few hours to train yourself in a lifesaving skill is more than worth your time. These skills will stay with you for a lifetime and can help you save a loved one or a complete stranger; whether it is the need for resuscitation or helping someone who isn’t comfortable in the water, being trained will allow you to help when someone needs it most.

So, we ask you to spread the word and bring your friends and family to a Red Cross lifesaving skills class near you. You never know what to expect during a disaster or when someone will need your help, so learn how to be prepared for any disaster that comes your way.

If you are already certified, we would like to extend a friendly reminder to update your certification every two years, as some methods may have changed. Feel free to contact us with any questions or go to RedCross.org for more information.

Red Cross Partner Helps Promote Preparedness and Deliver Holiday Cheer to Local Children

On Saturday December 14, nearly 300 American Red Cross youth volunteers donned elves hats, readied activity booths and prepared to greet 800+ children and their families who eagerly awaited the Red Cross Annual Children’s Safety Festival.  The festival has become a signature community event that brings holiday cheer and safety and preparedness lessons to many Orange County families.

In addition to receiving a toy, children participated in a scavenger hunt – gathering preparedness and safety information and supplies from various booths hosted by local Red Cross High School clubs.  Participants learned about first aid, compressions-only CPR and what to do in case of a house fire, earthquake or other emergencies.  They also received items such as flashlights and masks to help them begin building an emergency kit and encourage preparedness at home.  Volunteers from community partner El Fenix hosted bike safety presentations and children were entered into a drawing to win two bikes. 

The event also provides an excellent opportunity for corporate partners looking to provide employees a way to give back to their community and to help spread the Red Cross mission of helping people be better prepared. 

Edison International has played a vital role in supporting this event by providing volunteers and interactive activities for children to learn about electrical safety. During this year’s event, children were able to learn about electrical safety through the Edison Hazard Hamlet, an interactive demonstration portraying potential electrical hazards such as flying kites around power lines and electricity near water. The interactive booth taught children how to safely handle each situation and provided information for families to take home with them. 

Connie Kama, an Edison employee was at the event because she feels it is important to give back to her community.  “I have kids and grandkids of my own that are a part of this community and I think it’s important that we help our friends, family and neighbors be better prepared. I am  proud that Edison aligns itself with organizations like the Red Cross and provides me the opportunity to volunteer in areas that are important to me,” said Kama, adding that she has had the opportunity to learn more about the Red Cross mission due to the volunteer work she has done through Edison. Edison International supports the Red Cross mission far beyond the Children’s Safety Festival.  As founding partner of PrepareSoCal, a Red Cross campaign to create more resilient communities that are better equipped to help each other prevent, prepare for and respond to life-threatening disasters, Edison understands the importance of preparedness.

“We recognize the importance of preparing our communities for disasters and other emergencies,” said Tammy Tumbling, director of Philanthropy and Community Investment at Edison International.  “We feel that training our friends and neighbors to be able to respond during times of disaster and emergencies is a shared responsibility and that is why we are proud to support the Red Cross through the PrepareSoCal partnership.”

As part of Edison’s commitment to preparedness, nearly 150 employees have been trained in emergency shelter support under the Red Cross corporate volunteer program, Ready When the Time Comes. Edison volunteers have responded to many disasters, like apartment and house fires in local communities and to larger emergencies across the country like Supertstorm Sandy.

To find out more about corporate partnership and volunteer opportunities, contact David Martinson at (714) 481-5367.