El Niño is Predicted to Bring a Wet Winter – Now is the Time to Prepare!

Sacramento, CA – November 30, 2015 –  The forecast for a strong El Niño is making news with an El Niño weather pattern that could be one of the strongest on record. While there are no guarantees, there is the potential for a significant wet winter.  Thus, American Red Cross is encouraging residents to prepare their homes and property for the coming wet weather and to arm themselves with safety tips- before significant storms arrive.

“With the threat of El Niño ahead, it is important for every family to be prepared for flooding, landslides, power outages and more,” said Gary Strong, CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Make sure everyone in your home is prepared for disasters big and small. Have an emergency kit always ready to go with essential items like food, water, medications, and flashlights.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for El Niño:

Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App to your mobile devices: The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live. The app also includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.

Creating and practicing a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your flood app or visit redcross.org/shelter. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.

Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family.

Heeding Storm Warnings:  A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the designated area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information.  A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Keep children and pets out of the water, as they are curious and can be harmed by flowing or contaminated water. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Respond During a Landslide: Stay alert and awake. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping. If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department. Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly. Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow. If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you. Consider a precautionary evacuation of large or numerous animals as soon as you are aware of impending danger.

We urge you to share these Red Cross preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time. For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, landslide and more, please visit redcross.org/prepare.

About the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Gold Country Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/GoldCountry or follow us on Twitter @RCSierraDelta and @RedCrossNECal.

Would you accept an offer of a Free Smoke Alarm?

RobertAlbonicoMy name is Robert Albonico.  I am a Volunteer Preparedness Specialist as well as a Disaster and Emergency Services Volunte

When I first learned about the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, i had no idea what it was.  Some days later, someone told me.  This a campaign to install smoke alarms in low-income neighborhoods throughout the Sacramento area.  It has the ability to not only save property, but lives as well.  However, this was not always the case.  This happened years ago while we were living in the Philippines.  We had a very minor fire that caused no damage, but the fire department was called as a precaution.  I kept saying, “what if this had happened while we were all sleeping.”  This would have been an entirely different matter.  The American Red Cross was available at the time, but no one though of them as they do today.  If given the opportunity, the Red Cross will definitely help.

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign begins on Saturday December 5, 2015.  There will be notifications delivered door-to-door the day before.  I hope everyone accepts this generous offer without reservations.

Day 1:Providing Emergency Messages to Service Members

Day 1

Being separated from family is difficult, especially in times of an emergency. We help deliver urgent messages to service members who may need to return home during a family crisis. The Red Cross is the only organization trusted to provide verified reports of family events, such as births, illnesses or deaths, enabling service members and their commanders to assess the need to return home.

Major Andy Anderson was one service member who was helped by our emergency messaging services while he was deployed to Iraq. Hear him tell his story about how he was able to return home for the birth of his child thanks to this important message.

American Red Cross to host fire safety programs in Sacramento

The American Red Cross invites volunteers to participate in the nationwide smoke alarm installation and Home Fire Safety Education initiative, to be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 5 in 17 Sacramento neighborhoods.

Participants must be 13 or older and are asked to bring a battery-operated drill, a Philips-head screwdriver and a step ladder. Teams of five will work on smoke alarm installation, home fire safety education, data collection and neighborhood canvassing.

For locations and to register, visit http://bit.ly/Goal1000 . The deadline to sign up to volunteer has been extended to December 2! Sign up now!

A to-do list you don’t have to write

GivingTuesdayLIstHappy day before Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday of them all. A day for family, great food, football, family games and just sit around and remember the year that we’ve enjoyed, the ups and downs that helps us grow and learn. It’s also a time to reflect how we are so blessed.

Hopefully you are all ready for tomorrow with your recipe list and shopping list! (I know, I  don’t have to worry much, because I have an awesome mother-in-law who spoils everyone on Thanksgiving!)

Now, we want to help you with your #GivingTuesday to do list to get your friends, fans, family, and followers ready to give this holiday week:

  • Wednesday:  As you travel this week, take time to share on social media how you are giving and why.  Post an #UNselfie with a pledge to give on #GivingTuesday.  Write a Facebook or blog post about your ideas to give.  Lots of people will be tuning in to social today – let’s make the conversation about giving.
  • Thursday:  Enjoy your Thanksgiving by sharing what you are thankful for.  Invite your friends and family to join you in saying thanks and have a discussion about how you can give to others on #GivingTuesday.
  • Friday:  As you get amazing deals, remember to think about those who cannot afford gifts this season.  Track how much you save and donate back some of those savings to charity on #GivingTuesday.
  • Saturday:  Connect with your local small businesses about how they serve your community.  Ask them to talk to customers about how they can support local charities on 12/1.
  • Sunday:  Rest up and share one act of kindness or story from the weekend that inspires you to give.  This can be from conversations at Thanksgiving to someone opening a door for you at a store.  Celebrate this kindness and spread the giving spirit.
  • Monday:  Go online and tweet, post, record, and share how you are giving back on 12/1. People will be sharing deals.  Let’s share plans for #GivingTuesday and making giving go viral!
  • Tuesday:  It’s the big day!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.  We’re so excited to have you on board this #GivingTuesday.  YOU make this movement a reality!

ARCSA Happenings

Hey guys, just me Sophie again! I am just going to give you all a quick overview of the events we have done this semester and how we plan to finish up.

We have had quite a busy semester so far. Back in October we had our third annual haunted house; we have this event to provide a safe environment for kids of all ages to have a safe environment to go ‘trick-or-treating’ to each booth where they also get to play games. There is also a maze that is frightfully fun. Another event (well series of events, I guess) we have done is volunteer for Safe Rides at our school. Our student government provides this service for students to ensure that they receive a safe ride home. The service runs Wednesday through Saturday and from 9pm-2am. Clubs that volunteer five times a semester receive funding for their club. It is actually quite fun volunteering for this event. There is one driver and one navigator (we call them navis for short); normally we switch around being partners every night so members can get closer to each other and not just hang out with their one friend every time they volunteer together. Also, earlier in the semester we volunteered for the Alzheimer’s walk. At the walk we were placed towards the finish line to encourage walkers to finish strong. We have also volunteered for the Causeway Classic Blood Drive at our school. The blood drive is a competition that Sac State and UC Davis has every year to encourage more student participation. Unfortunately, I am unsure of who won this year.

Some upcoming events we have include our last Safe Rides of the semester on November 20. We will definitely be volunteering again next semester! Also, we will be volunteering for the Home Fire Preparedness event on December 4th and 5th. The 4th we will be precanvasing with some local high school Red Cross clubs for the actual event on Saturday the 5th. What we will be doing is installing free smoke alarms in underprivileged areas of Sacramento for free. Our goal is to install 1000 smoke alarms that day!

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Day 8: It’s Never too Late to Help Save Lives with the Red Cross


As the urgent need for many blood types continues, American Red Cross blood donors demonstrate it’s never too late to roll up a sleeve to help patients in need.

HELPING SAVE LIVES FOR 60 YEARS Jack Hefley started giving blood when he was a teenager. Now, he’s working on his 23rd gallon of blood donated through the Red Cross. Sixty years later, Jack continues to donate and help save lives.

“Some people don’t give because it hurts, but it doesn’t bother me,” said Hefley. “I give becaJack Hefley 1use it is just something to help someone else and give back.”

Roll up a sleeve today. The Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for eligible blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood to give now. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Individuals with these blood types are urged to make and keep donation appointments as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply.

Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed to help ensure the shelves are stocked for patients in need. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, surgical patients and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation. Donors with type AB blood are also urgently needed to restock the plasma supply. Type AB donors have the universal plasma type, which can be given to patients of all blood types. Plasma is often needed for burn, trauma and clotting deficiency patients. Plasma can be collected during a blood or platelet donation.

HOW TO DONATE Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), 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 have to meet certain height and weight requirements. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Day 9:Pizza Boy Turned Pizza Man


In the spirit of #GiveWithMeaning, we’re counting down the stories that inspired us, humbled us and make us proud to be Red Crossers.

Our first story is about 19 year-old Anson Lemmer, a pizza delivery boy. When he went on a routine pizza delivery run, his Red Cross babysitter training was far from his mind. But that delivery turned into a chance for Anson to save a stranger’s life using the CPR skills he learned from the Red Cross. His unforgettable quote – “I left a pizza boy and returned a pizza man” leaves us applauding, and wondering: Who is the next Anson? You could end up saving the life of someone you love dearly – or the life of a total stranger. Find Red Cross courses available in your area.

Behind the Scenes with ARCSA

IMG_0458Hello all! My name is Sophie Amirrezvani and I am the president of the American Red Cross Student Association (ARCSA) at Sacramento State.

We are dedicated to fostering a volunteering community within our club. We do a lot of events both on and off campus. I am a second year at Sac State and I remember coming into college knowing that I wanted to be involved on my campus but had no idea what I wanted to do. At the beginning of my first semester I checked out a few different clubs and the only one that really stood out to me was the ARCSA. I really loved Thursdays because not only was it one day closer to the weekend, but I got to go to see my Red Cross friends.

Last year, the club was short on officers so the officers recruited a historian and a secretary. I ended up being secretary and look where that got me. By being an officer I have learned so much more about the Red Cross and all the wonderful services we have to offer. This year I am also a board member, representing Sac State. It is truly inspiring to meet so many people that are so dedicated to helping their community.  I have been volunteering for the Red Cross for just over a year now and have loved every minute of it. If you have not already done so I highly encourage becoming a volunteer! It is a wonderful experience and you get to meet so many amazing peopleIMG_0461

Whenever my mom asks me what I am up too other than school, my natural response is that I’m either volunteering for a Red Cross event or I plan on hanging out with my Red Cross friends. I am so happy to have joined such a wonderful and diverse club. Most people assume that our club consists solely of science major, although for myself that is true, I am a biology major. However, we have members that are majoring in a wide variety of subjects, ranging from criminal justice to computer science to gerontology. Fun fact: there is only one gerontology major in our club and she is awesome!!

Holiday Mail for Heroes 2015

holidaymailWith many service members and veterans separated from their families the holiday season due to deployments and hospital stays, the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes (HMFH) program empowers people to “Give Something That Means Something” by sending a card of thanks and support to the members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

This year, the American Red Cross Gold Country Region is once again participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The program gives organizations, companies, schools, and individuals the opportunity to honor our local service members and veterans by sending cards filled with holiday wishes, encouragement, and thanks during the holiday season.

Collected cards will be distributed to local military and veterans facilities throughout our region during the month of December.

If you are interested in participating, please keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Create your own cards by hand, or use cards you may have on hand or purchased
  • Use generic titles in your message, beginning cards with “Dear Service Member, Veteran, or Military Family”
  • Do not use cards with glitter as some cards will be distributed to hospitals where glitter may interfere or aggravate existing health issues.
  • We ask that you not include your personal contact information, or enclose any items with the holiday cards
  • Consider writing heartfelt, meaningful messages as you sign your cards, and encourage a “quality over quantity” approach to cards this year.

We are also partnering with local companies and creating holiday banners so their employees can write special holiday messages on the banner.

The banners will be delivered to military units within our region.

Please also reach out to us before planning your activity so we can provide further information and guidance.

All cards should be sent or delivered to the American Red Cross Gold Country Region:

Attention: Tobrin Hewitt

1565 Exposition Blvd,

Sacramento, CA 95815

Cards can be sent to us now through December 4th.

For more information, please contact Tobrin Hewitt @ Tobrin.Hewitt@redcross.org