A Triumphal 2nd Annual Operation Care Package

06.15.15 OperationCarePackageEvent 347The triple digit temperatures experienced during Operation Care Package didn’t prevent dozens of volunteers and hundreds of community members show incredible support to the second annual collection event in support of our military locally and abroad.

The event held at the Roseville Auto mall on Friday, June 12th was organized by Army Veteran and now Red Crosser Tobrin Hewitt who made sure the lines were straight and the boxes organized as soon as donors were dropping off loads of items outside the Toyota dealership.

The inaugural year was able to gather more than 4,000 care packages for our military members in Afghanistan and Kuwait. This year, we’re expecting to surpass that amount and send care packages for our service members deployed to the Far East in Japan and South Korea as well as to the Stork’s Nest program in the Naval Hospital located in Yokosuka, Japan.

“Opening a care package when you are deployed makes you feel like a million bucks,” said Tobrin Hewitt, Services to the Armed Forces Manager at the Red Cross Gold Country Region. “So, we’re sure to make a lot of our military members not only those deployed but our local veterans feel extra special.”

It was an exhilarating and exciting event, but it was also very hot and we’re grateful to our Red Cross volunteers as well as our partner volunteer groups like Blue Star Moms, Marine Families and Military Families of Yolo County who were sweating it out with us.

Sign with Lilly Tom and MilitaryThe support of our business community is making this event bigger and better each year and we’re grateful to all of our sponsors for their donations to make this event remarkable. We’d like to give a shout-out to Roseville Automall, Sutter Health, UPS, Walmart, Safe Credit Union, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Hanson Bridgett Law Firm, with a very special thanks to KCRA/KQCA for their time and constant promotion of this event live from the event.

Operation Care Package reached a total viewership in our Designated Media Market (DMA) of 545,588 with a total Local Market Publicity Value of $44,468.75.

Operation Care Package fans followed the action of the event through our social media channels with 20 posts sent from @RCSierraDelta with a twitter engagement of 13-17 retweets per post. Operation Care Package was also active on Facebook/RCSierraDelta as well as on Instagram RCGoldCountry.

Check out all the pictures from this awesome event! http://bit.ly/OCP2015

About the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Program.

The American Red Cross’ unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army. In the Gold Country Region, we are proud to carry on that legacy of service to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces. For more information, follow us on Twitter @RCSierraDelta or join the conversation on Facebook facebook.com/RCSierraDelta.

Red Cross Survey Finds 61% of Children, Including More than Half of All Teens, Can’t Perform Basic Swim Safety Skills

Used for the 2014 Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding course presentation and other materials related to this course.  Pictures depict lifeguards in a waterpark setting demonstrating the skills needed for lifeguards to get certified to work in this environment. Photo by Michael Del Polito/American Red Cross © Stock photo taken for the American Red Cross
Picture depict lifeguards in a waterpark setting demonstrating the skills needed for lifeguards to get certified to work in this environment.         Photo by Michael Del Polito/American Red Cross

Sacramento, CA – June 18, 2015 Even before the official start of summer, temperatures in the Gold Country region have been soaring, and the perfect way to cool down is by jumping in pool, lakes, and rivers or nearby beaches. But, can you swim well enough to save your life?

As part of a national campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent over the next three to five years, the Red Cross released national survey data that shows that most children and teens cannot perform basic swimming safety skills.

water-safety-survey-infographicThe survey, conducted for the Red Cross, found that nearly all parents (94 percent) expect that their children will engage in some sort of water activity this summer. However, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of these parents report that their child cannot demonstrate all five basic skills that could save their lives in the water. Of these, 65 percent are parents of children (ages 4-12) and 51 percent are parents of teens (ages 13-17).

These critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency,” are the ability to, in this order: step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

“We’re asking every family to make sure that both adults and children here in the Gold Country Region, from Modesto all the way to Redding can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Communications for the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.

Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – and 1 in 5 of them are children 14 or younger, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, the drowning rate is 62 per year according to the latest findings from 2013. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and fifth for people of all ages. In addition, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Other key survey findings are:

  • Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of adults who are not able to perform all five water safety skills expect to supervise a child near water this summer.
  • Fear is listed as the top reason for not learning how to swim both as a child and as an adult.
  • Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) report that they have had an experience where they were afraid they might drown.
  • Near-drowning experiences are more common among young adults (ages 18-24). And younger Americans are also more likely than those in any other age group to report that they know someone who nearly drowned (36 percent).

 water-safety-survey-secondary-infographicPlan ahead with these five steps to stay safe in and around the water:

  1. Adults: actively supervise children. And kids, be cool. Follow the rules.
  2. Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in.
  3. Learn to swim well enough that you can perform all five water competency skills. If you can’t look for Red Cross Learn-to-Swim classes.
  4. Don’t just pack it, wear your life jacket – always on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level.
  5. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair.

The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross April 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,024 American adults, including 201 parents of children aged 4-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education.  The margin of error for the total sample of 1,024 adults is ±3.1percent; the margin of error for the sample of 201 parents is ±6.9 percent.

Get the American Red Cross Swim App! Check out our video on how helpful it is:

“Feel Good Moments” by Leadership Council Member and Red Cross Volunteer, Ti Curry

Leadership council member and Red Cross volunteer  Ti Curry.
Leadership council member and Red Cross volunteer Ti Curry.


I served in the Army from 1969 to 1971.  Most of that time was spent in Viet Nam.  Because of my specialized training I served with a lot of different battalions such as the 50th APC Company, the 173rd or The Herd, as they were more commonly known, and the 9th Calvary.

My interest in the Red Cross peaked when I found out that they were doing Service to the Armed Forces.  Because of my service in Viet Nam I want to help the most unappreciated veterans in America.

Red Cross gave me that vehicle to help them and any other Vets I would come in contact with.

Some of the things I do for the SAF are: attend meetings with the local VFW, The VA Services, The Soldiers Project and the International Veteran Alliance. I also attend events where veterans will gather to hand out helpful veteran information and I have marched in the Veteran’s Day parade as a Red Cross Representative of the SAF.  I have also done follow-up phone calls on cases where an active service member needed to get home for an emergency.

Last but not least, I have followed up on a Veteran who needed help but was not responsive to our phone calls.  When I went to his house, I found that he was not responding to phone calls because he wore two hearing aids and he could not hear the phone ringing upstairs while I was interviewing him. He only had one phone, which was upstairs, and he spent most of his time downstairs.

My feel good moments with the SAF are every time I make a solid connection with a veteran and he thanks me for my service, that’s a good feeling.


Valued Volunteers Help Us Fulfill Our Lifesaving Mission – Join The Team!

Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.
Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.

When people see the Red Cross responding to emergencies, they often want to help but don’t know how. We want to help you get involved now, before a major disaster strikes.

Our volunteers respond to a local emergency every 11 hours. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes. We work in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.

Most of you have probably noticed reports of several fires in our region. With our record drought conditions, it will not be surprising to have many more, and the danger of a big fire is greater than ever.

The Red Cross has had a presence in the Gold Country region for over 100 years with a modest number of dedicated individuals. Now only a very small number of volunteers remain to provide initial help to folks who have lost their homes, who need a place to stay, food, and maybe critical prescription medications. These same volunteers are regularly the ones to start the process of setting up evacuation centers and shelters for large disasters.

If our local volunteers are not available because of vacations or illness, volunteers from Yuba City or Sacramento will respond, but driving time will insure it won’t be as prompt. Consider your family standing beside the ashes of what used to be your house without money, credit cards, car keys, phone and phone numbers, only the clothing on their backs – would waiting an extra hour or two for help make a difference?

Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014's Boles Fire in Weed, CA.
Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014’s Boles Fire in Weed, CA.

You can make a difference by volunteering with the American Red Cross. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Requirements are few: 18 or over, retired or with a flexible work/school schedule. We do require a background check of all our volunteers, We do this to ensure both our volunteers and clients have a positive interaction with the Red Cross .

We have several areas where you can get involved, from communications/public affairs to disaster response and recovery, fundraising, preparing the community for a disaster and general administrative support. For more information or to sign up visit: www.redcross.org/GoldCountry.

Sign up for the Team Red Cross App, which allows you to sign up to help, get an overview of basic tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in your community.

Red Cross “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign” – A Volunteer Experience

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From Heath Wakelee – Red Cross Volunteer

I have been a Red Cross volunteers for a number of years and are part of a Disaster Action Team that responds to calls to assist clients after a home fire. None of those calls are easy to experience, especially when there are major burn injuries and/or loss of life (human or pets.)

But a few weekends ago, I received a request to be more proactive in our Red Cross preparedness mission and to work with some outstanding young people.  The thought of preventing burns and suffering was even stronger than my desire to assist someone who had just experienced a home fire.

If I had it within my power to assist someone to get out of a burning home filling with smoke and fire, that would be forever rewarding.

Home fires are American’s biggest disaster threat. Every day the Red Cross helps people affected by more than 200 home fires. More than 90 percent of the 70,000 disasters the Red Cross respond to each year are fire related. Unlike other disasters, most home fires can be prevented. So, the Red Cross is committed to helping people understand how they can prevent home fires and protect themselves should they experience a fire.

The outstanding young people were volunteers with FEMA.  Many giving up school or delaying careers to help others.  It truly gives you faith in the future that not all of our youth are misguided.  The crew that I worked with is hardworking, bright-eyed and sincerely interested in preventing human suffering.

So what were we doing that day?  Going door-to-door asking for permission to check residents smoke alarms, to install free batteries if needed, to install free smoke alarms where needed and to install free carbon monoxide detectors.

Too often we entered a home to find the smoke alarm bracket in place, but the smoke alarm had been removed.  Other homes needed batteries replaced and while our installation team moved quickly, others educated the homeowner about being prepared in the event the family needed to evacuate quickly.

In the Gold Country Region have had success with this nationwide campaign.

  • Smoke detectors installed – 1,131
  • Emergency plans developed – 781
  • CO Monitors installed – 436
  • Batteries replaced – 339
  • Homes canvassed – 2,190

We have a lot of volunteer opportunities in the Red Cross and few are as rewarding as preventing suffering.  So keep current in your CPR training and I hope to work with you on a future preparedness event.

Saved by the Smoke Detector

Smoke Detector In the early morning hours on June 2, two homes on Tilden Drive in Roseville were caught on fire. Neighbors spotted smoke coming from the homes and called their local fire department, which arrived shortly after.

Homeowner Jim Meron was asleep when the fire broke out, but his smoke detector’s loud alarm alerted him to danger.

“It’s surreal,” Meron said. “You’re not awake and you can’t believe it’s happening. You’re awestruck. No doubt, no doubt, the smoke detector saved my life.”

The two-alarm fire completely destroyed one of the homes, and the other home was damaged by smoke. Thankfully, everyone made it out safely.

Incidents like this are a clear reminder of why the American Red Cross Gold Country Region is pushing to reduce the number of home fires with the Home Fire Campaign.

The number of residential fire death actually increased by nearly 15% in 2013. Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half, so the Red Cross is focusing the efforts of our coalition of organizations on installing smoke alarms in homes in some of the most fire-affected neighborhoods around the country.

We’re joining with fire departments and community groups to canvass neighborhoods, install smoke alarms and deliver fire prevention information in places we know have high numbers of fires.

The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to join us in taking the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.

Here are some alarming facts:

  • On average, seven Americans die in home fires every day.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because their batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Almost one-quarter of smoke alarm failures are due to dead batteries.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all fire deaths happen in homes that have no smoke
    alarms or malfunctioning units.

Our region’s goal was to install 1,000 Smoke detectors in 2014-15, and with help for our local fire departments and volunteers, we have been able to install 1,131! Our other accomplishments include:

-2,190 homes canvased

-781 emergency plans developed

-436 CO monitors installed

-339 batteries in smoke alarms and CO monitors replaced

Round of applause and a big ‘thank you’ goes out to everyone who made this happen.

People can visit redcross.org/GoldCountry to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire and find out the location of local smoke alarm installation event.

Six Red Cross Tips to Stay Safe When Temperatures Soar

Hydrate Sacramento, CA, Friday, June 12, 2015 — Dangerously hot weather is predicted for the Gold Country Region, and the American Red Cross wants to remind everyone of the steps they should take to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

“High temperatures, humidity and hot, indoor environments can quickly cause heat-related emergencies,” said Lilly Wyatt, Spokesperson for the Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

HeatGuyThe Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Slow down, take frequent breaks and drink more water than usual – even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If working outdoors, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.

LEARN MORE The free Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to expert heat safety tips. Users also have the option of receiving alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App has steps pet owners should take to help keep their furry friends safe during hot weather. People can find the apps in their app store by searching for American Red Cross and at redcross.org/apps.

People can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED or Advance Child Care Training course. A variety of online and in-class options are available. Course and registration information is available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

And also … don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!