Paws-itively the purr-fect partners

Furry Friends + Red Cross raise the ruff!

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

When disaster strikes, a furry friend can afford tremendous comfort to a family, and most pet owners do consider their pets to be part of their family. Keeping them together, therefore, necessitates being able to keep owners and pets as close as possible.

For Camp Fire survivors, there was room to shelter their pets immediately across from the men’s and women’s dorms in the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. While known for sheltering people, the American Red Cross turns to partner agencies to assist with pets.

Operating the temporary shelter and keeping the pets healthy is the responsibility of Furry Friends Pet Relief from Antioch.  Founded by Erin Piña of Oakley, California, Furry Friends began helping in mid-December and took over operation of the shelter on Christmas Eve.

A visiting veterinarian, Dr. Lauren Knobel, has been stopping in and helping set protocols to assure each animal is healthy and up to date on their shots.

Presently, the shelter is still housing over 30 pets, including dogs, cats, and birds. Assisting is shelter manager, Morgan Macy, of Yuba City, who has been here since the shelter first opened. “Thankfully, I can now say that all our dogs are happy and healthy again, and back in general population,” explains Macy.

The shelter is set up in a large A-frame building with dozens of cages of varying sizes. Birds and cats to the left and most dogs to the right. The exceptions are three pups and their mom, just to the left of the reception table.

Stealing the show are the three, fluffy, Alaskan Malamute pups, born on Halloween, shown here with (L-R) Morgan Macy, Grady Grammar and Demetra Poulos.

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If you are a cat person, then you are going to love Dinky, held here by Piña. She’s super friendly, and a crowd favorite.

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The shelter’s hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day and owners are encouraged to spend time with their pets whenever feasible. “If it were me,” says Macy, “I’d be spending as much time as possible with mine. They are suffering just like their owners, and they need to work together as the family members they are.”

If owners can’t walk their dogs daily, one of up to 20 volunteers takes care of walking each animal, three times each day.  Large fenced enclosures enable the dogs to play catch or run freely for exercise.

One owner, Dustin Lee, (R) enjoys playing around with his Pitbull, Hitch. “I got him about a month ago from the local humane society, and we love to horse around together,” says Lee. They enjoy having space outside where Hitch can run free in the enclosure.

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Presently seven AmeriCorps volunteers from San Jose are also assisting Piña and Macy with feeding, watering, walking and cleaning cages. Here every day, the volunteers work from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Shelter residents, as well as Red Cross workers, have been extremely complimentary about the pet shelter, and Furry Friends hopes to work with Red Cross again on future disaster responses that include pet-sheltering operations.

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Time to Evacuate? Be Red Cross Ready

As the Red Cross continues to respond to the Camp Fire disaster in Butte County, we want to make sure you have the items you need close at hand should you have to evacuate.

Preparation is important!

Listen to local area radio stations, watch local TV news, and check your city and county websites for the latest wildfire information. Check every 30 minutes to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape.

Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.

Identify nearby shelter sites and review directions to get there.

Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.

Keep your indoor air clean. Close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.

Stock up on N-95 air respirator masks to help block smoke particles.

Review the Emergency Kit List below to ensure you have everything you need should you have to evacuate your home in an emergency.

Once you build your emergency kit, it can be helpful to keep it in your car so it’s with you when you evacuate.

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit, as needed.

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Oroville Scouts Ready to Help Despite Camp Fire Anxieties

Boy Scouts from Troop 29 in Oroville arrived at the Oroville Red Cross shelter Saturday ready to pitch in wherever they could help. The enthusiastic scouts moved supplies to storage areas, sorted donations, picked up litter, even occasionally handled babysitting dogs for people at the shelter.

Drew, one of the scouts, said his home is safe, but others in his troop were not so lucky. One family is unsure of the status of its home and some others are in areas at risk. Drew said that he felt good that all of the people at the shelter were getting the help they needed.

Kullen, another scout from Troop 29, said he had spent many restless nights unsure of where the fire would go. He had worked with his family to pack up all their important and precious processions, just in case. But still he worried that they would not have enough room in their two cars for everything they needed.

Though Kullen had his own worries, he was also very concerned about the people he encountered at the shelter. He overheard conversations. “They could not stop talking about the fire. It was very heartbreaking,” he said.

The Red Cross appreciates the assistance and hard work of Oroville Boy Scout Troop 29 and all of the organizations that support the Red Cross.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross California Wildfire Relief effort, go to redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Gold Country Partners with Intel in Folsom for Missing Maps Project

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.

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.

Twice is Enough

By Georgia Duncan

“I couldn’t believe it could happen twice.” That’s how Heather Hournay, an Event Based Volunteer with the American Red Cross, began our conversation.

Heather and her family reside in Redding, California. She explained that on Friday the 13th in January, 2017 she and her family were sleeping when her husband awoke and discovered a fire in the ceiling of their daughter’s room. Just as the family had everyone and all the pets out of the house there was an explosion and the home was destroyed.

Heather said her church contacted the Red Cross and a Disaster Action Team arrived at her home. Red Cross volunteers offered the family comfort, gave them much-needed hugs and offered them assistance to get through the next few days. The family began their road to recovery.

Fast-forward to Thursday, July 26, 2018. The Carr Fire began moving toward her new home. Heather and her husband gathered their children, their pet rabbit, Guinea pig and dog and fled to a friend’s home.  As of today she is unsure if she has a home to return to.

Knowing her family was safe, Heather began searching for a place she could help others affected by the fire. She found the shelter at Shasta College that was helping evacuees. She found the Red Cross new volunteer intake area and applied. “It only took about 15 minutes and I was an official Event Based Volunteer,” reported Heather. Immediately she began talking to evacuees, offering a sympathetic ear and when appropriate, a hug. Heather said she has laughed and cried with other in the same situation she finds herself.

When asked she had decided to volunteer, Heather said, “I just had to work and serve to get through this.”

Red Cross Helps in Texas as Floods Devastate Communities Once Again


Sacramento, CA (June 1 2016)
— Texas residents are once again facing devastating flooding and the American Red Cross is there, helping those affected. Since the beginning of the year, numerous storms flooding (1)have ravaged the state, displacing thousands of families and devastating homes and businesses.

Some parts of Texas have already received as much as 19 inches of rain and the threat isn’t over – weather experts predict flooding will continue for several more days.in the Red Cross has 15 shelters open in Texas.. Emergency officials estimate that some 6,000 homes may be affected as mandatory evacuations continue.

Red Cross volunteers have mobilized once again, and our local region is helping with this national disaster by deploying volunteers. The Red Cross is also providing meals in coordination with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other local partners. Red Cross volunteers will also be delivering relief supplies as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Texas has been having a tough year. Disasters volunteersfirst hit the area as the year began and again in March, April and earlier this month,” said Robin Friedman, Regional Disaster Officer. “Many families have suffered repeated loss from several floods just this year alone. Red
Cross workers have been helping from day one and will remain in the affected communities in the weeks and months ahead to make sure people get the help they need.”

HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by the Texas Floods and Tornadoes by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word TXFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Texas Floods and Tornadoes will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.

FLOODING SAFETY INFORMATION With the threat of more flooding in the region, the Red Cro
ss has steps people should follow to remain safe:

  1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and heed evacuation orders when given. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  2. Stay away from floodwaters.
  3. 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.
  4. Keep children out of the water.
  5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY With the threat of more severe weather, people should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in 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.

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, please visit redcross.org/GoldCountry or cruzrojaamericana.org. Stay up to date by following us on Twitter (@RCSierraDelta | @RedCrossNECal) or join the conversation on Facebook’s Sierra-Delta Chapter Page or Northeastern California Page.

Gold Country Volunteer Making an Impact Across the Country

Henjeremiah 6ry Braxton was among the first to assist the American Red Cross when he and his neighbors were caught in the path of rising water in the Natchez, Louisiana, area. Every day for nearly a week, he did whatever he could do to lend a hand, from helping to distribute cleanup kits to showing volunteers flood-damaged areas.

“The Bible says put my hometown first and put myself last, and I think God will bless me for that,” Henry said one recent evening at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Natchez, where the Red Cross offered hot meals, cleanup supplies, emotional support and casework assistance.

He was among dozens who attended, but he wasn’t there to seek help. Rather, he assisted people carrying cleanup supplies and other items to their vehicles.

Inside the church, Henry reached into his pocket and pulled out a Red Cross challenge coin that he received for his efforts—a coin that few receive and even fewer have ever seen. When he displayed the coin, it was obvious to Red Cross volunteers that Henry was a person who had been singled out for recognition.

“It was a high honor and brought tears to my eyes. I was just doing the best I could to help the people needing help,” he said.

Henry, a big man with rippling muscles and an infectious smile, said his late mother raised him to be kind to others and to go to church. To honor her, Henry said his philosophy is simple: “Any way I can help out, I will.”

As he talked, it was clear that Henry deserved more than the thanks of a grateful Red Cross. Henry said he hadn’t signed up with the Red Cross for help, and with that, he

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Jeremiah Norrell, a volunteer from Sacramento assisting Henry in Louisiana

was introduced to Jeremiah Norrell, a Red Cross Jeremiah Norrell, a Red Cross caseworker from the Sacramento, California area. Henry explained how he had lost his refrigerator, stove and furniture to rising water, which soaked his floors. Yet he hadn’t asked for anything.

Henry indeed qualified for Red Cross immediate assistance, as he and Jeremiah together checked a map to see that his home was in a flooded area. He was eligible for supplemental Red Cross assistance and in position to be referred to various partner agencies for things such as clothing and furniture.

As he left, Henry stopped and hugged volunteers who helped him get assistance. When he walked out the door, he turned around, waved and smiled before disappearing into the night.

—Carl Manning/American Red Cross