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.

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Children’s Safety Festival

Earlier this month, the parking area of the American Red Cross offices in Santa Ana briefly became a holiday festival for families in need. Approximately 1,000 guests received toys, holiday stockings and books along with Red Cross disaster kits. NearlyPicture 094 400 youth from 40 Red Cross Clubs throughout the region collected close to 1,200 toys. They also created and managed more than 40 activity booths.

Children and parents alike gained valuable information from exhibits such as the Red Cross Preparedness Puppet Show, Edison and Electrical Safety, bike safety, Quake Cottage, disaster preparedness and earthquake drills, compression CPR training and a disaster kit scavenger hunt. They also enjoyed time with the local Orange County Fire Authority firefighters, refreshments from Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers and holiday carols by Red Cross Emergency Services members.

Youth from the Red Cross Clubs were supported by staff and volunteers from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties along with AmeriCorps members. Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides also helped distribute children’s books with the team from Think Together.  Red Cross partners who contributed to the success of this annual event included Circle K, Disneyland, Edison International, Emulex, National Charity League, Orange County Fire Authority, Pacific Life, Printronix, Think Together and Westbound Communications.

Puppets Teach Preparedness Skills to Kids

(note: the following was written by Suzanne White, grants manager for the Red Cross serving Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties)

Believe it or not…20 kids, 8 to 11 years old, were sitting in a side room at the bowling alley.  No fidgeting, no talking, just rapt attention to information about Disaster Preparedness.  Ok, maybe they cheated a little.

Thanks to the support of Bandai, Disney Resorts and Disney VoluntEARS, the Schnurmacher Foundation, Southern California Edison and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California, Red Cross Youth Services in Orange County, California is able to offer hundreds of kids a Sesame Street Preparedness Puppet show.

Young people learn about preparedness at a Red Cross preparedness puppet show.

And I kid you not…these kids are really paying attention and singing along with the lyrics like “…stay low, roll out!”  I say – whatever works!  The point is to get them to remember how to stay safe in any situation.  The point is to save lives.  Thanks Sesame Street!

If you are interested in scheduling a preparedness puppet show, please email preparesocal@oc-redcross.org.

Red Cross Youth Volunteer Recognized with Community Award

(note: the following was written by Megan Pierce, an AmeriCorps member who is working as a youth adviser at our Orange County office this year)

Katherine Wu, 18, of Diamond Bar has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a state-level Certificate of Excellence from The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Katherine was nominated for this award by the American Red Cross- Orange County Chapter where she is the Youth Advisory Council Chair.

When asked to reflect on her role as the Youth Advisory Council Chair, Katherine revealed the following. “As the YAC Chair, I feel that it is my responsibility to guide and inspire my peers to collaboratively make our mark upon the community. I hope that I can help guide my fellow volunteers and change their lives the same way that my life has changed throughout my unforgettable experiences with the American Red Cross.”

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for outstanding community service activities. More than 345,000 young people have been considered for these awards since the program’s inception in 1995, making it the nation’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.