Red Cross to Healthy Individuals: Give Blood Amid Coronavirus Concerns

(March 10, 2020) – The American Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, rise in the U.S.

Cold and flu season has already impacted the nation’s ability to maintain its blood supply. As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., the number of people eligible to give blood for patients in need could decrease further.

“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services.

“As fears of coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”

Please make an appointment to donate blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood donors with type O blood and platelet donors are especially needed right now.

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.

At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.

Blood drive hosts play important role
Blood drive hosts also play a critical role in maintaining a sufficient blood supply and are asked to keep hosting blood drives for patients who rely on lifesaving blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.

The Red Cross, with the help of its blood drive hosts and blood donors, can help ensure the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply for patients including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Keep giving, keep hosting blood drives,” said Hrouda. “Patients across the country need our help.”

To learn more about hosting a blood drive for patients in need, please visit RedCrossBlood.org.

Red Cross committed to blood supply safety

The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of our valued staff, blood donors and blood recipients, and we are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency.

There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

Nonetheless, the Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. Individuals are asked to postpone their donation for 28 days following:

  • Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea;
  • Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.

As the situation evolves, the Red Cross will continue to evaluate all emerging risks in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry partners to determine if additional intervention strategies are needed. Together, we stand ready to keep the American public informed and prepared.

Blood donation process

A blood donation takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about 8-10 minutes. Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer.

To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

Home Fire Campaign Celebrates 715 Lives Saved; How You Can Help!

The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is celebrating a milestone this week with the 715th life saved as a result of free smoke alarms being installed in homes around the country.

In all, we’ve installed more than 2 million smoke alarms nationwide since 2014 in hopes of reducing home fire deaths and serious injury by 25%.

This year in the Gold Country Region, our goal is to install 4,000 free smoke alarms — 1,100 of them on April 25 as part of our national Sound the Alarm event!

When a fire starts in the home, you have less than two minutes to escape safe. Smoke alarms can make all the difference. But we can’t do it alone! Sign up to join a team of installers by going to soundthealarm.org.

Looking for a Volunteer Opportunity That Could Save Lives in Sac/Yolo Counties?

Looking for a #volunteer opportunity in #Sacramento and #Yolo counties that will save lives?

The national Sound the Alarm event in the Gold Country Region is April 25! Our goal for 2020 is 4,000 alarm installations – 1,100 of those on April 25 alone!

As part of the Home Fire Campaign, Sound the Alarm is our largest community event!

To reach our goal, the region’s Preparedness Department is looking for a volunteer lead to oversee April 25 installations in Sacramento and Yolo counties.

This position is responsible for supporting and engaging the members assigned to the preparedness team, which includes ensuring assigned volunteers are provided with outstanding support and management.

Ability to build and lead a team using a collaborative leadership style and demonstrating traits of honesty, forward looking, competence, intelligence, and compassion. Capacity to envision the team’s impact in their area and inspire them into action. Ability to communicate how the team fits into the larger Disaster Cycle Services structure and how their actions can positively influence and support the DCS program as a whole.

#endhomefires

Additional Qualifications:

1) Ability to relate effectively with diverse groups and individuals
2) Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
3) Demonstrated ability to read, understand, and review program guidelines and tools

Interested in learning more? Contact Community Preparedness Program Manager Kim Christensen at
916-281-4315 or kim.christensen@redcross.org.

About the Home Fire Campaign:

Every day, seven people die in home fires, most victims in homes that lack smoke alarms. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives – that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

Sound the Alarm is a critical part of the campaign. In just six years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 2 million smoke alarms and preparing more than 2 million people against home fires.

Congratulations to Spirit of the Pacific Award Winner Liz Ford

Liz Ford Congratulations to Gold Country Regional Deployment Program Lead Liz Ford for winning the Spirit of the Pacific Award!

Liz was nominated by Disaster Workforce Engagement Program Manager Christine Yoo who recognized her for acting with a sense of purpose, having a passion for service and a willingness to go above and beyond.

All Red Cross team members are encouraged to work together and personify a set of cultural values and behaviors that exemplify these Pacific Division ideals. The Spirit of the Pacific Award is specifically designed to acknowledge and reward these
outstanding efforts on the part of employees and volunteers.

The award was created in 2016. This is the second time a Gold Country Region volunteer has won!

Take a look at Liz’s nomination:

As the Regional Deployment Program Lead, Liz has played an integral role in the successful development of our regional deployment team and has been actively engaged in recruiting and training every member from the very beginning!

Her vision and commitment to develop a volunteer-led and sustained program has greatly enhanced our region’s ability to provide our volunteers with more opportunities for deployment to disasters all across the country by ensuring that a dedicated volunteer member of our team is on duty each day to monitor the open positions as they are requested by the relief operations (7 days a week, 365 days a year).

She will often take on extra days if no other team members are available and even offers to do this while she is away on vacation or traveling across country! Not only that, she also enthusiastically took on the challenge for the deployment team to conduct debrief calls with each and every disaster responder that deployed during fall 2018 (and there were several hundred!).

From when it was first brought up, she was already on the same page with feeling that this is something we needed to start doing and promptly proceeded to devise a plan, communicate with the team to get everyone on board with the plan, and executed the daunting task – a true reflection of her dedication and passion for our volunteers’ experiences on deployments to be a positive one.

Liz has also continued to step up time and again when those disasters have occurred in our very own backyard, taking on leadership roles in Staff Services in the chaos of the initial phases of standing up an operation to support our workers as they serve our impacted communities and she often stays on for weeks until the job is done. Not only during disasters but throughout the year, she is committed to building our regional cadre of trained Staff Services volunteers and gladly makes herself available to instruct the Staff Services Fundamentals course all over our region!

Liz is someone that we count on to step in when the unforeseeable happens, as with last July’s institute, when both the volunteer and paid staff lead for the event were unexpectedly taken out of commission days before the event. She graciously stepped in to pick up the reigns and provide coordination on site at the event, along with the other members of the planning team, to ensure that the event proceeded as planned.

Having the privilege of getting to work with Liz in all these roles has truly been a joy and honor – I couldn’t imagine where we’d be or what I’d do without her!

Congratulations, Liz! Thank you for all you do for the American Red Cross.

Once a Recipient of Red Cross Assistance, Volunteer Steps Up to Help

Tammy ArtolaTammy Artola had not anticipated needing the American Red Cross’ assistance when she headed up to Truckee with her family for some time away.  She was with her daughter and grandson while her daughter’s boyfriend had stayed home to work.

At 2 a.m. she got a call that the mobile home on their 15 acres was on fire and that the flames were heading toward their home.

She remembers two members of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) who were called in to help. They comforted the family and helped with what was needed in alleviating the stress of all that was going on.

In the weeks that followed, they sorted through losing the mobile home, a workshop and many valuables. Tammy’s daughter and her family struggled to figure out where to go and how to process it all and ended up moving to Alabama in order to be near her boyfriend’s family. Their departure was incredibly hard on Tammy and she struggled with not being near her family.

Tammy was depressed for several weeks after her family left, and realized that she needed to add something to her life. She wanted to give back to those who might be in need and decided to call one of the DAT responders who had helped them through their ordeal.

Tammy has been a Red Cross Volunteer for a year now. She has received training in sheltering and is now a member of her local DAT team. In addition, she has gotten involved with Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and has taken on a lead role in her local Sound the Alarm campaign.

One of the hardest parts of volunteering for Tammy is that she struggles with letting go after helping a client. She says she wants to follow up and provide as much care as possible, often wondering about the people she’s helped long after assistance is provided.

She experienced this on her first DAT call after helping a gentleman who experienced a fire at his mobile home. She recalled that it was a bit unsettling a first, not being sure of what to expect as she traveled into the park on a single access road. The gentleman was waiting for her team at the home of his landlord.

Tammy spent much of the time listening to him talk and providing a needed distraction from all that was going on. They were able to call a nurse to help with the man’s needs and found transportation to get him started on the next steps.

Tammy stated that she wished they could have done more and still wonders how he is doing from time to time.

Through the process of volunteering, Tammy feels that she has learned better listening skills, how to be prepared, and has gleaned so much from the volunteers around her.

Tammy says she enjoys volunteering for the Red Cross because it makes her feel good helping others and it reminds her of how lucky she is. She would encourage those who are thinking about volunteering to attend a local meeting to meet other volunteers and ask questions.

Even though a lot of training is involved, Tammy advised new volunteers to stick it out because it is so worth it.

Story by Americorps member Lauren Crutchfield

American Red Cross Issues California Wildfire 1- and 2-Year Report

46199329612_92a96b9053_cOver the last two years, multiple devastating wildfires have brought disruptive evacuations, terrifying escapes and heart-wrenching losses to families across California. For months on end, relentless blazes—including the deadliest and most destructive wildfires ever seen in the state—threatened cities, towns and rural areas, forever changing lives.

Whether in Paradise or Santa Rosa, Ventura County or suburban Los Angeles, I’m proud that, wherever there was suffering, dedicated American Red Cross workers were there, bringing vital aid to tens of thousands of wildfire survivors.

Powered by the remarkable generosity of our donors, they helped deliver safe shelter, food, water and essential supplies for individuals and families in need, along with health services, emotional support, spiritual care and more.

Thanks to our donors, we’ve provided millions of dollars in financial assistance to meet the urgent needs of residents who lost homes and belongings to the flames. We’ve also awarded millions more in grant assistance to partners doing important work in the affected communities—from rebuilding homes, to providing mental health services for survivors and preparedness training for children and their families.

Gail McGovern

American Red Cross President an CEO

(Excerpt from California Wildfires: 2017-2018 ONE & TWO-YEAR UPDATES)

Click on the links below to learn more about the American Red Cross efforts to assist those affected by wildfires in California over the last two years.

California Wildfires 1- and 2-Year Update

American Red Cross Long-Term Recovery Program: What Is It?

American Red Cross Year-End Appeal

year End appeal

pic2Our work is powered by a workforce of more than 90% volunteers and generous public donations. The Red Cross is proud that an average of 90 cents of every dollar we spend is invested in delivering care and comfort to those in need. Your financial support can make a lifesaving difference.

From disasters like the Camp and Carr fires to support for veterans’ families and those displaced by home fires, your donations helped us provide services to so many people during 2019 Impact Report.

Please take a moment to read our Year-End Appeal and download a Regional Donation Form. As a faithful partner, you can help us deliver hope and help to thousands of people in the year ahead!

Thank you!