The global Red Cross Red Crescent network’s 2018 World Disasters Report: Leaving No One Behind spotlights the global challenges involved in delivering aid to the most vulnerable people—along with solutions to help humanitarian actors better reach communities around the world.
Imagine if your town had suffered catastrophic damage in a storm but emergency responders and aid workers couldn’t get there to help because your community wasn’t on any maps.
While this may seen strange to Westerners, it’s a real problem in other parts of the world.
To help get relief into people’s hands, the American Red Cross and partner organizations have joined with the Missing Maps project. Using OpenStreetMap, volunteers have put millions of people from high-risk countries on the map since 2014.
This makes a lifesaving difference for disaster workers combating deadly health crises like the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged parts of Nepal in 2015, volunteers worldwide sprang into action to map affected communities and roads to support relief efforts on the ground.
But much work still lies ahead to put more families in the world’s most vulnerable communities on the map—before disaster strikes.
On Thursday, November 1, Red Cross volunteers from the Gold Country Region will join with our partners at Intel in Folsom for a a Mapathon session. Our volunteers will be among about 50 people working together on the day’s mapping challenges.
You can help too! All you need is a computer and an internet connection. Volunteer at home, attend a mapathon or host one with family and friends.
- Visit Missing Maps » to learn how to get started or to find a mapathon event.
- Contact your local Red Cross chapter » for opportunities in your community.
If you are intersted in volunteering with the American Red Cross or to make a donation, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
By Stacey Shell
Derek was sitting on the back of his truck on the main street in Marianna, Florida earlier this week. He and his mother, Charlotte, are from Pensacola and were affected by Hurricane Ivan several years ago. They were caught unprepared.
Derek vowed then that he would never again be caught unprepared and would be ready to help if a hurricane ever came to Florida again. He has a soft spot in his heart for animals and knew that was an area of need that he could help with.
Derek and Charlotte collected more than 250 pounds of fruit and pet food from his car club, church and community members. For the past two weeks they have driven down to Tallahassee to give it away to anyone in need.
The mother and son have been driving around the back roads of affected areas where there is still no water, no power and, in some cases, clearing of the roads has not begun.
They came upon one house that had been evacuated but still on the property were foru dogs and five puppies that were left behind. Derek dropped three bags of dog food to which all of the dogs came running because they were starving.
Once I heard this story I could not leave without making sure the dogs were rescued. We drove to the local animal control office where I met a gentleman named Ken. He was not an animal control worker, but happened to work next door.
None of the animal control people were there. I told him the story and asked him if he had any suggestions on how I can get someone out to the house to save the dogs. He got on the phone and called Karen who was a friend of his. I gave her the information and she promised that she would get someone out there.
As we were driving away, Ken drove up in his car getting our attention to let us know that the house was in a different county. I asked him if he had any contacts in that county so I could get help. He and Karen told me they would coordinate with the other county’s animal control department and they promised that the dogs would be taken care of.
Because of this mother and son team from Pensacola who were down here just to help, this Red Cross volunteer who believes no animal should be left behind, two local individuals willing to help, and the coordination of two county animal control groups, these dogs will not be forgotten and the puppies will have a chance to live a full life.
If you would like to contribute to the American Red Cross Hurricane Michael disaster response, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Stacey Shell is a Gold Country Region volunteer. She is on her first-ever deployment to to assist those affected by Hurricane Michael.
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 4 at 2 a.m. Turn those clocks back and remember it’s the perfect time to test every smoke alarm in your home.
Smoke alarms should be present on every floor of your home, in every bedroom, and in every hallway.
And remember, fire prevention should also include an escape plan. Find time with your family to review how you would escape your home safely in the event of a fire.
Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives, that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.
A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Red Cross volunteers, along with fire departments and other partners canvass at-risk neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms, replacing batteries in existing alarms, and providing fire prevention and safety education. In just three years, we’ve accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and prepared more than 1 million people against home fires through our home visits.
Thank you to Asheet Sharma of Chico Foods for the company’s generous donation to the American Red Cross’ California Wildfire Relief fund.
The funds were recently donated at Jack in the Box restaurants in Redding.
This is not the first time Chico Foods has stepped up to support us. Thank you!
The American Red Cross has launched First Aid for Opioid Overdoses – an online course to teach people how to respond to a known or suspected opioid overdose.
“An opioid overdose is a life-threatening emergency,” said Stephen Walsh, American Red Cross Gold Country Region Communications Director. “When you suspect an opioid overdose, it’s important to start providing care immediately.”
People can register and access the course at https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/opioidoverdose. Because an opioid overdose can lead to cardiac arrest, people are also encouraged to take a Red Cross CPR/AED course.
Recently, the Red Cross had the opportunity to share its commitment and efforts to help address this public health crisis at a White House opioids event. Learn more about the event, and the involvement of the Red Cross here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/year-historic-action-combat-opioid-crisis/
Red Cross has also prepared guidance on opioid use and overdose response for those working in the organization’s shelters during disasters. Recently, these efforts empowered a Red Cross volunteer to help save the life of a person in a shelter during Hurricane Florence.
The American Red Cross National Leadership Awards ceremony will be held this evening at American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Awards being given at tonight’s Leadership Awards Dinner are the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, the Susan Hassmiller Nursing Award, the Bob Hassmiller Excellence in Disaster Services Award, the Partnership Award, and the International Humanitarian Service Award. Other national awards will be presented at the spring ceremony.
Congratulations to all of the winners for this well-deserved honor!
This year the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, the highest recognition for volunteer service in the American Red Cross, goes to Allan I. Goldberg, MD. Allan’s involvement with the American Red Cross began in 1992 as a site blood captain for his employer. He then became Chair of his employer’s Blood Donor Program, and shortly after joined the Penn-Jersey Blood Region Board of Directors, where he also served as Chair.
In 2005, Allan joined the Board of Governors where he served until 2017, including serving as Chair of the Quality and Regulatory Compliance Subcommittee from 2007-2017. In this leadership role, Allan personally contributed to the continuous improvement of Biomedical Services processes and systems by providing oversight and solutions to improve donor and patient safety, which led to the Amended Consent Decree being vacated in 2015.
After the 2010 earthquake, Allan traveled to Haiti and worked in partnership with the American Red Cross to establish a blood bank in Segou, Mali. He also represented the American Red Cross at International Red Cross and Red Crescent meetings in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Throughout Allan’s 26-year tenure as a Red Cross volunteer, he has dedicated himself to ensuring the American public has access to a safe and adequate blood supply. His humanitarian service, selfless giving, and dedication to donor and patient safety leave a legacy that will have a lasting impact on the American Red Cross for decades to come.
The 2018 Susan Hassmiller Nursing Award goes to the American Red Cross of Dayton Area Ohio, which will use the proceeds to develop an online and board game called 24 Hours in a Red Cross Shelter. This game aims to increase student nurse volunteer understanding of sheltering operations, build on existing sheltering courses, and serve as a volunteer nurse recruitment and training resource.
24 Hours in a Red Cross Shelter will be a simulation experience for student nurse volunteers to understand processes and resources for managing a high volume of people needing care and assistance, including planning and prioritizing care for shelter residents with disabilities. The game will be developed in partnership with faculty at Wright State University College of Nursing and Health who will donate time to develop the game, train game leaders, coordinate campus-wide events, and facilitate the gaming experience for students. 24 Hours in a Red Cross Shelter is designed to be easily shared with other Red Cross units.
The Bob Hassmiller Excellence in Disaster Services Award goes to Kevin McCoy of Lakeway, Texas. Kevin has been volunteering with the American Red Cross at the chapter, regional, and national levels for 11 years beginning as a Disaster Services Technology (DST) Volunteer for the American Red Cross serving Central Texas in 2007.
He quickly took on additional roles including DST Regional Program Lead and DST Amateur Radio License Operator. In his role as a DST Amateur Radio Operator, Kevin reached out to the amateur radio community and recruited amateur radio operators to the DST team to help improve communications coverage in central Texas, which has large, open spaces with minimal cell phone coverage.
This has helped to ensure that each chapter within the region has a working amateur radio station with local and long-distance capability and that shelters and other remotely-located facilities have multiple methods of communication during a disaster. As DST Regional Program Lead, Kevin led a tremendous effort during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey response by conducting site surveys for command centers and rapidly installing the critical technology resources required for communications across multiple headquarters locations for the disaster relief operation.
In addition to his formal role, Kevin took on additional responsibilities in onboarding 4,000 event-based volunteers in Austin and putting volunteers who were unable to travel to coastal locations to work filling unmet needs in Austin. In addition to the 11 key volunteer positions he holds in the Central & South Texas Region, Kevin has volunteered for 20 regional and national disaster relief operations. Over the years, Kevin has become known for his dedication to volunteer safety, developing practical solutions to problems, and bringing out the best in those around him.
The 2018 Partnership Award is being presented to Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, vital and innovative partners to the American Red Cross for more than a decade. During the responses to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Walmart quickly activated a customer donation program, which raised more than $5 million in just over 24-hours.
Walmart customers, associates, and the Walmart Foundation ultimately donated more than $60 million to relief efforts. In addition to its financial donations, Walmart partnered with the Red Cross to distribute financial assistance as part of the Hurricane Harvey Immediate Assistance program, helping to put more than $100 million of Red Cross funds directly into the hands of the people who needed it most. Walmart also supplied the Dallas and Houston mega-shelters with Walmart pop-up stores providing shelter residents with free clothing, hygiene products, baby food, diapers, wipes, strollers and much more.
In response to Hurricane Florence earlier this year, Walmart again activated a customer donation program, giving $4 million to the American Red Cross to help those affected by the storm and quickly donated $1 million after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the southeastern U.S. just a couple of weeks ago. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation partner with the Red Cross in other areas by training nurse assistants, sponsoring Reconnection Workshops for members of the military and their families, supporting the installation of more than 50,000 smoke alarms, preparing Gulf Coast businesses and citizens for disaster, training Red Cross logisticians, providing social media expertise, and investing in RC View, the Red Cross geospatial mapping system that has resulted in faster, more efficient disaster responses.
The International Humanitarian Service Award will be presented to the Mexican Red Cross for exemplifying the humanitarian values and principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Mexican Red Cross has been a longstanding and valued partner of the American Red Cross, participating in annual leadership meetings and helping to launch the North American Humanitarian Response Summit, which represents a unique effort to improve the effectiveness of cross-border response to a potential catastrophic disaster in North America.
In addition, the Mexican Red Cross regularly sends trained staff to assist during disaster response operations in the United States including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the California Wildfires of 2007, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and flooding in Texas in 2015. In 2017, the Mexican Red Cross was tireless in its support of communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, dispatching volunteers to help meet the needs of Spanish-speaking communities. When two devastating earthquakes struck Mexico City, volunteers from the Mexican Red Cross remained in the United States to continue their Hurricane response mission, even as their colleagues at home were mobilizing an emergency response across multiple areas within Mexico.
Throughout these disasters, the Mexican Red Cross and its volunteers embodied the principles of humanity, impartiality, unity, and voluntary service.
Halloween, one of the most popular holidays in this country, is just a week away. Little witches, ghosts, pirates and super heroes will soon take to the streets for trick or treat fun, and the American Red Cross has tips to help everyone stay safe while enjoying the festivities.
Here are the top tips for parents to keep in mind while getting kids ready for Halloween:
- Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. – Use face makeup instead of masks. Masks can make it hard to see. Give kids a flashlight to light their way. – Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing.
- Use flame-resistant costumes.
- Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance – make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door in neighborhoods.
- It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Only visit homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
- Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars. Use extra caution if driving. The youngsters are excited and may forget to look both ways before crossing.
- Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.
- And finally, for those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps: Light the area well so young visitors can see. Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, goblin or super hero has a mishap. Use the Emergency App for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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.