Something Else to Add to Your Emergency Prepardness Kit – Tetris!

January 7, 2009
Photo by Micah Taylor

Photo by Micah Taylor

Something else to think about when putting together an emergency preparedness kit. Click here to learn what you should have in your kit according to the Red Cross. Below is part of an article from the Telegraph in the UK.

British researchers found that playing the popular computer game shortly after the trauma helped wipe out the bad memories and reduce distressing flashbacks.

The psychologists from Oxford University believe the discovery could lead to new treatments for accident victims in hospitals as well as those involved in war zones.

“This is only a first step in showing that this might be a viable approach to preventing post traumatic stress disorder,’ said Dr Emily Holmes of the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University, who led the work.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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American Red Cross Shares Holiday Fire Safety Tips

December 11, 2008

As the holiday season moves into full swing, the American Red Cross-Rock River Chapter urges families to follow simple safety tips to keep the season merry and to prevent holiday fires.

First, the Red Cross recommends keeping all potential fuel sources, including decorations and evergreen trees and wreaths, at least three feet from heat sources such as candles, heat vents, fireplaces and radiators.

In addition, holiday lights and candles need to be turned off or extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed, and especially before leaving home.

If you are entertaining guests, designate a responsible family member to walk around your home ensuring that candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished once guests leave.

During the winter holiday season the incidence and severity of home fires dramatically increases. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year nearly 47,000 fires occur nationally during the holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage. Many of these fires are caused by home heating sources, unattended cooking, and candles.

“Last year the Rock River Chapter responded to more than 100 home fires and provided families with immediate emergency assistance including shelter, food, counseling and more,” said Dave Pattengale, Director of Emergency Services. “In addition to following safety precautions with holiday lights and decorations, this is a great time for Rock River Valley families to make sure that their smoke alarms are functioning properly and practice their home fire escape plan.”

At a minimum, smoke alarms need to be installed outside of each sleeping area and on each level of your home. If you sleep with closed doors, install alarms inside sleeping areas too. Use the test button to test each smoke alarm once a month. All smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced once a year. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes for every room in the home. Also chose a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from your home. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year with all family members.

The Red Cross recommends following the below tips to help prevent holiday home fires:

Christmas Tree Care

  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees.
  • If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily boken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Use a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
  • Keep trees at least three feet away from heat sources, including fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that any light strings or other decorations for the tree are in good condition and follow manufacturer’s instructions for their use. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords.
  • Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.
  • Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove.
  • Safely dispose of trees as they become dry and needles begin to drop.
  • Dispose of trees through recycling centers or community pick-up services. Dried-out trees should not be left at home or in a garage, or placed against the home or garage.

Holiday Lights and Decorations

  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets by not linking more than three light strands.
  • Use decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
  • Place decorations at least three feet away from fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Holiday Candles

  • Remember that lit candles are fire. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from trees, evergreens, holiday decorations, and other items that can catch on fire like clothing, papers and curtains.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily, are made from a material that cannot burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Place candles only where they cannot be reached or easily knocked over by children and pets.
  • Consider using battery-operated “flameless” candles that are scented and have a flickering affect.

For more information on fire safety, or to learn more about American Red Cross programs and services please visit: www.rockriver.redcross.org or call: (815) 963-8471.


13 Lucky Last Minute Tips for a Safe Halloween

October 31, 2008

Ghouls and goblins will take over the night but even scary creatures need to be safe and celebrate Halloween right! Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and automobile collisions. The American Red Cross wants your family to have a safe Halloween so we’re providing these tips, the lucky 13:

  1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
  2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
  3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
  4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
  5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, skateboards and brooms!)
  6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
  7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And cross from the corner!)
  8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
  9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a safety gamble!
  10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (And don’t hide between parked vehicles).
  11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
  12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
  13. Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of Rock River Valley residents to respond to our neighbors who are affected by residential fires. You can help the Red Cross be ready to respond and help fire victims by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross Rock River Chapter. To make a financial donation please mail a check to American Red Cross Rock River Chapter at 727 N. Church Street, Rockford, IL 61103 or call (815) 963-8471, or donate online at www.rockriver.redcross.org.


“Traces of Hope” – Video Game for you to play and learn

October 29, 2008

brought to you by 

Vicious war in Northern Uganda has destroyed Joseph’s home and torn his family apart. He has one goal, to find out from the Red Cross if his mother is alive or dead.

Now he has arrived in the dangerous camp they call Hopetown, he has 24 hours to track down the Red Cross messenger and he needs you to be his guide.

He has a satellite phone, you have the web – together you’ll make a great team. Time is running out; guide Joseph through sickness, fire and violence as together you follow his traces of hope.

Click here to play now!

Let us know what you think of the game by commenting on this post.


Looking for a good way to remember what the Rock River Chapter of the Red Cross does? – It’s all about HERBS

October 23, 2008

It’s not the herbs your thinking of, but it’s a handy way to remember what the Rock River Chapter does in the community. HERBS stands for:

H – Health & Safety

E – Emergency Services

R – Rock’n for the RED our annual fundraiser

B – Blood Donation

S – Service to the Armed Forces


O hai. CPR Made “I Can Has Cheezburger”

October 10, 2008

Something funny for you on a Friday. This was originally posted by Red Cross Chat.

From icanhascheezburger.com

You too can practice your CPR.  By taking a course at the Rock River Chapter or find one here.


Myths and Legends about the American Red Cross

March 20, 2008

Clara Barton

If you were 126 years old, chances are there would be a lot of stories about you—and some of them wouldn’t be true! Here are some of the most common myths and legends about the American Red Cross and the services we provide.

Government

Patriotism

The American Red Cross is unpatriotic.

That would be a surprise to the president of the United States, who serves as our honorary chairman!

Like the other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies all over the world, the American Red Cross is required to be neutral. To maintain the confidence of everyone who may need our assistance, we cannot take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

From time to time, decisions made in an effort to avoid controversies are in themselves controversial—for example, one chapter received criticism for asking that a choral group avoid religious or patriotic musical selections in its performance. Such missteps are the exception.

Ties to U.S. Government

The American Red Cross is an agency of the U.S. government.

The Red Cross is not a government agency. We are a nonprofit humanitarian organization that relies on voluntary contributions—of time, money, and blood—to do our work. The confusion about our status probably arises from the fact that the American Red Cross is chartered by the U.S. Congress to perform certain functions, such as responding to the needs of disaster victims, that are performed solely by the government in many countries.

Among the fundamental principles under which all Red Cross and Red Crescent societies operate are independence, neutrality and impartiality. These principles require that we maintain our autonomy, refrain from political controversy, and provide assistance based on need, without regard to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Military Services

Coffee and Donuts

The Red Cross sold coffee and donuts instead of giving them away to military personnel during World War II.

This unfortunate policy came into being because service agencies in Britain helping British military personnel were less well-financed than the American Red Cross. Thus, these agencies were forced to charge British military members for the same items that American service members were getting free from the American Red Cross.

To avoid further embarrassment to the British, who were playing host to thousands of U.S. troops, the U.S. Secretary of War requested that the American Red Cross begin charging American service members for such items as coffee and donuts in its canteens. The Red Cross interpreted this request as a wartime demand and complied so that it could continue aiding U.S. troops. However, the Red Cross sold items at or below cost and never profited a penny from these sales.

Since the end of World War II, the American Red Cross has not charged military personnel—not in the Korean, Vietnam, or Persian Gulf conflicts, for example.

Blood Services

Cost Recovery

The Red Cross shouldn’t charge money for blood given by donors.

A lot of things must happen to your donated blood before it can be given to a patient who needs it. The Red Cross must collect, test, process, store and transport the blood to area hospitals and transfusion centers. Each unit must be tracked carefully along the way. There are significant costs associated with each of these processes, and we must charge hospitals to recover these costs.

Discrimination

Red Cross blood donation policies discriminate against gay people.

It’s important to understand that blood safety is a public health issue, not a social policy issue. The Red Cross is required by law to follow all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and recommendations for the blood industry, including the current deferral of men who have had sex with other men. Along with other members of the blood banking industry, the Red Cross supports a data-based reconsideration of deferral criteria. Read more about blood donor eligibility.

Charles Drew bled to death because a hospital refused to give him a blood transfusion because he was an African American.

This myth has persisted for more than half a century despite efforts by eyewitnesses and Drew family members to set the record straight.

Dr. Drew, the first medical director of the first American Red Cross blood bank and a pioneer in the field of blood plasma preservation and storage, died of injuries sustained in a car accident in 1950. He was taken to Alamance Hospital in North Carolina, where he was treated by three surgeons for an hour and a half before being declared dead. He was not denied treatment or blood transfusions because of his race.

To this day, the American Red Cross continues to celebrate Dr. Drew’s legacy of achievement. The Charles Drew Institute, named in his honor, is the centerpiece of the Red Cross biomedical training system.

Safety

If I donate blood, I could get a disease.

HIV and other transmissible diseases cannot be contracted through blood donations. A sterile needle is used for each donation and discarded after one use.

If I receive a blood transfusion, I’ll get a disease.

The top priority of the American Red Cross is to provide the safest possible blood supply for patients who need blood. There are multiple layers of safety that help protect the blood supply, which include self-deferrals, completion of the blood donation record, health history screening, testing, and post donation information.

Tests for infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1 and HIV-2), human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-I and -II), the hepatitis C virus (HCV), West Nile Virus and Chagas’ disease are conducted on each unit of donated blood. The Red Cross also utilizes a technology called nucleic acid testing (NAT) that can detect genetic material of hepatitis C and HIV more quickly and more accurately. In addition, the American Red Cross has the capability to filter red blood cells to reduce leukocytes, or white blood cells, which can cause transfusion complications in patients with weakened immune systems.

September 11

After 9/11, the Red Cross collected so much blood that it had to throw much of it out.

Blood is a perishable commodity, with a shelf life of about 42 days. Typically, between 1 percent and 3 percent of units collected reach their expiration date before they are used. That rate was only slightly higher (5 percent) for blood units collected from people anxious to help after 9/11, including more than a quarter-million people who gave blood for the first time.

In the uncertain days following the terrorist attacks, having a robust supply of blood available seemed prudent. It takes two to three days for blood to be collected, tested and processed, and only blood already on the shelf can be used in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

Cost Recovery

Blood

The Red Cross shouldn’t charge money for blood given by donors.

A lot of things must happen to your donated blood before it can be given to a patient who needs it. The Red Cross must collect, test, process, store and transport the blood to area hospitals and transfusion centers. Each unit must be tracked carefully along the way. There are significant costs associated with each of these processes, and we must charge hospitals to recover these costs.

Disasters

The Red Cross charges people for services they receive during disasters.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, regardless of the type of assistance (sheltering, food, clothing, mental health counseling, etc.) or the size of the disaster. The American Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters every year, and most of them are house fires. Read more about what you can expect from the Red Cross in a disaster.

Disaster Services

Hurricane Katrina

The American Red Cross should have sent its helicopters and boats to help rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The American Red Cross doesn’t have helicopters or boats and does not conduct or participate in search-and-rescue operations. Our job during disasters is to take care of people by offering food, clothing, shelter and comfort, and most of this work is performed by volunteers. Rescues must be conducted by trained emergency personnel. Read more about what you can expect from the Red Cross in a disaster.

The American Red Cross refused to help the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In any hurricane evacuation, the job of the Red Cross is to care for victims in buildings that are safe from winds and water. When government officials ordered the evacuation of New Orleans, the Red Cross followed that evacuation order and provided shelter to evacuees in safe locations throughout Louisiana and other states. Planning with state and local officials for many years had shown that there were no safe shelter locations within the city of New Orleans.

We were prepared to re-enter New Orleans to provide relief services, but the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness asked that we not send people and vehicles into the city because of their concerns that doing so would disrupt rescue efforts and impede further evacuation efforts. The responsibility for caring for those remaining in New Orleans was assigned to first responders and the National Guard, not the Red Cross. The American Red Cross is not a “first responder” and plays no role in rescue or evacuation.

As soon as evacuees were allowed to return to New Orleans, the Red Cross immediately set up feeding sites, mobile feeding routes and bulk distribution sites in the city. The Red Cross also continued to provide food and shelter and meet other disaster-caused emergency needs of those who could not return home. Read more about our response to the 2005 hurricanes.

September 11

The Red Cross misused money contributed after 9/11.

False. All contributions have been used exclusively to meet the immediate and long-term needs of people directly affected by the September 11 tragedies. Read more about the ways the Red Cross is helping those affected by the tragedies of September 11.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the then-president of the American Red Cross proposed spending some of the donated funds to prepare for future disasters. When that proposal proved very unpopular, it was abandoned. The Red Cross has since instituted a number of changes to make sure donors are aware of how their contributions will be spent and when the Red Cross has enough contributions to pay for its response to a particular disaster.

Fundraising

Dixie Chicks

The Red Cross turned down a million-dollar donation from the Dixie Chicks.

Untrue. In 2003, following a political controversy that erupted on a London stage during a live performance, the Dixie Chicks’ management approached the American Red Cross and inquired about a promotional partnership for their forthcoming tour. There was no offer for an unrestricted donation to the Red Cross; rather, the “offer” was actually a business proposal.

Prior to the controversy, the Chicks’ management ignored two successive invitations to join the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet. Should the Dixie Chicks ever decide to make an unconditional financial donation to the American Red Cross, we would gladly accept it and put it to work toward our lifesaving mission.

September 11

The Red Cross misused money contributed after 9/11.

False. All contributions have been used exclusively to meet the immediate and long-term needs of people directly affected by the September 11 tragedies. Read more about the ways the Red Cross is helping those affected by the tragedies of September 11.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the then-president of the American Red Cross proposed spending some of the donated funds to prepare for future disasters. When that proposal proved very unpopular, it was abandoned. The Red Cross has since instituted a number of changes to make sure donors are aware of how their contributions will be spent and when the Red Cross has enough contributions to pay for its response to a particular disaster.

International Services

Guantanamo Prison Visits

Guantanamo detainee visits mean the American Red Cross is anti-American.

The American Red Cross is definitely not anti-American, and it doesn’t visit detainees or prisoners of war, either. Those visits are the unique responsibility of the Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a neutral, independent organization whose humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence.

The Geneva Conventions require that all detainees or prisoners of war, without regard to nationality, be visited by the ICRC to help assure the world that their treatment is humane. The ICRC visits almost a half-million detainees and POWs in about 2,000 locations around the world each year. Learn more about the role of the ICRC and the other organizations that make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.