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.

 

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.

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!

Four Heroes and an Unforgettable Bus Ride to Save Their Students

On October 16, 2019, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Friese Foundation honored Kevin McKay, Mary Petersen Ludwig, Abigail Gerspacher-Davis and Allyn Pierce for their heroic actions in helping students and patients evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

Their story made headlines around the world.

This week, the Gold Country Region is reflecting on the people who were directly affected by the Camp Fire, and the many Red Cross volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly to help them in their recovery.

Red Cross Monitors Fires Across State as Fall Fire Season Takes Shape

As much of California continues to wait for power to be restored during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), we saw some 275 fires break out across the state Thursday.

Here in the Gold Country Region, Disaster Program Manager Patricia Davis is representing the Red Cross at the State Operations Center as we monitor developments statewide.

Of note are the Sandlewood Fire in the Desert to the Sea Region and the Saddleridge Fire in the Los Angeles Region.

Desert to the Sea opened a shelter with an overnight population of 16.  They have a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) up and running and have all of the resources they need, according to Division Disaster Executive Denise Everhart.

The Los Angeles Region has opened four shelters, two of which have reached capacity and they are prepared to open more.

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“While it may seem that wildfires are a way of life in California in the fall, people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night, the smoke is affecting everyone, and the fear is real,” noted Everhart in message to Pacific Division leadership.

“Some people have lost everything, but as always, the Red Cross is there helping alleviate suffering in the face of these wildfires by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

With these developments comes this guidance from the American Red Cross: Be prepared. Disasters unfold very quickly and can leave little time for last-minute decision-making if you are forced to evacuate.

Be Prepared

Wildfires can be nearly as impossible to prevent, and as difficult to control, as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. The fall wildfire season typically begins mid-October and continues through December. Fires can happen any time of year, but there is a higher risk during this period because of low-humidity and other fire-conducive conditions.

With millions of homes near woodlands, the American Red Cross offers tips on what to do if a wildfire threatens so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS

A wildfire can spread very quickly, giving you little time to evacuate to safety. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Obey evacuation orders from officials.

  • Back your car into the garage or park it outside in the direction of your evacuation route.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust – keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor pollution such as candles, fire places and gas stoves.

If you are trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.

  • Do not put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose. Moist air causes more damage to airways than dry air at the same temperature.
  • If there is no body of water, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks. Lie flat, face down, and cover your body with soil. Breathe the air close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs or inhaling smoke.

Do not return home until officials say it is safe to do so.

  • Inspect the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
  • For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks throughout the home, including the attic. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause fires.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

If you would like to support the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts with a financial donation, please visit redcross.org.

 

Red Cross Shelter Housed 12 After Stockton Apartment Ceiling Collapse

Stockton Apt Shelter

The American Red Cross sheltered 12 people Sunday night after a ceiling collapsed at a Stockton apartment complex.

Damage at the Meadow Green Apartments was caused by excessive water after weekend rains, according to local media reports.

Anyone who was directly affected by the incident who needs a place to stay is welcome at the shelter which is located at the Arnold Rue Community Center,  5758 Lorraine Ave, Stockton, CA, 95210.

The Red Cross provides for immediate needs at our shelters, including a place to sleep, food and beverages.

You can support the Red Cross by making a donation at redcross.org.

Have a Passion for Disaster Preparedness and Like to Talk to Kids? Check Out the Pillowcase Project

The American Red Cross Pillowcase Project is a free, interactive preparedness program designed for youth ages 8 to 11. The program aims to increase awareness and understanding of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills, and personal preparedness.

Through instructor-led presentations, students learn the best ways to stay safe and how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during a disaster. Students also have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases and share what they’ve learned with friends and family.

The curriculum meets many of the Common Core State Standards for grades three to five.

You may request The Pillowcase Project one-hour presentation for your school or youth program by selecting The Pillowcase Project here.

The Gold Country Region is also always looking for volunteers to lead Pillowcase Project presentations. Go to redcross.org to sign up and help!