Help on the Ground and From Six Thousand Miles Away

Typhoon Soundelor destroyed homes, toppled trees and snapped utility poles on the 48-square mile island of Saipan. The island is close to six thousand miles away from Stanislaus County, but distance doesn’t play a role in how the Red Cross provides assistance to the people affected by this disaster.

As part of a new virtual deployment program, Red Cross volunteers from this region are now helping people affected by natural disasters across the country and around the world without ever leaving their homes.

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Volunteer Kathy Pascoe has been serving and helping our communities through the American Red Cross for 21 years. Thank you Kathy!!

Kathy Pascoe lives in Ceres.  She has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for 21 years and is part of the Disaster Action Team that responds to local disasters. Kathy is trained in health services, nursing and client case work, among other things.

From her home in Stanislaus County, Kathy is helping process paperwork online for families affected by the tropical storm. Those documents are necessary to get funding and other resources approved for the disaster victims. This is a more cost-effective way of offering assistance.

“Typhoon Soudelor is the biggest storm to hit Saipan in 30 years, and the situation is desperate,” said Kathy Pascoe, Red Cross Volunteer.  “Being virtually deployed is a great opportunity for volunteers that either can’t take time off from work to deploy, or for family reasons… they can still help those in need.

Kathy has done more than 200 case reviews from the comfort of her own home, for both the Typhoon and a month earlier for the flooding disaster in Texas.

The Red Cross responded immediately to support sheltering, feeding and damage assessment efforts by deploying numerous volunteers to this part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shortly after the typhoon. We opened close to 1000 cases and provided over 22,000 meals and snacks, more than 2,000 health and mental health contacts and over 38,500 emergency relief items to the residents affected by this disaster.

Because of the extensive damage, the Red Cross created a robust relief plan to get immediate help to people who need it. The virtual support program delivers financial assistance with critical supplies to help people leave emergency shelters and begin recovering from Soudelor.

How You Can Help

Residents can help people affected by disasters like Typhoon Soudelor and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Go online or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

You can also become a Red Cross Volunteer. Like Kathy, you can train to help virtually and / or respond locally. Search now for opportunities to volunteer – we are always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents, and skill levels.

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“Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today” – National Preparedness Month

124421 NPM 2015 Social Media Tip1This September, the American Red Cross joins in celebrating National Preparedness Month (NPM) 2015. The national theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month (NPM) is “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today”. Across the country, people are being asked to make their disaster plan now. Full details are available on the national campaign on the Ready.Gov NPM campaign page.

View President Barack Obama’s 2015 National Preparedness Month Presidential Proclamation: http://1.usa.gov/1JJZb6k

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region encourages everyone to be ready for emergencies like home fires by creating a disaster plan for their household during National Preparedness Month.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Lilly Wyatt, Red Cross Gold Country Region Regional Communications Director.  “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”

HOME FIRES National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. They should test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.

MAKE A PLAN Everyone in the household should help put the emergency plan together so they know what they should do if something occurs. Because everyone  may not be together at home when a disaster happens,  the plan should include ways to contact one another and two places to meet – one near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.

Any emergency plan should also include decisions about where to go if ordered to evacuate and what route to take to get there. It’s a good idea to include alternate routes in case roads are closed. Don’t forget family pets. Make sure to include plans for them such as pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross has developed mobile apps that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies. The all-inclusive Emergency App and other preparedness apps have a “Make a Plan” feature on how to develop an emergency plan. Users can develop their plan and share it with household members through the apps.

People can also download the Monster Guard App so 7 to 11 year-olds will have a free, fun gaming environment to learn how to prevent emergencies like home fires and stay safe in an emergency or severe weather. The free apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.