Bill Bell: Disaster Action Team Update from the Field

January 7, 2009

Report from Bill Bell American Red Cross – Rock River Chapter Disaster Services:

The American Red Cross – Rock River Chapter Disaster Action Team responded early Tuesday Morning to a fire on Kenmore in Rockford. Red Cross provided assistance to a family of four for food, clothing, and temporary shelter.

Click here to see a story about it on WREX

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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.


Red Cross Shelter Work Shows ‘real need’ [from rrstar.com]

January 5, 2009

By Chris Green, Rockford Register Star

During the past four months, Dave Dinges has become quite familiar with the daily operations of the Cedar Street Red Cross Homeless Shelter and the vital role it plays in the community.

The Stenstrom General Contracting employee served as project manager of the agency’s recently completed $330,000 expansion and renovation project. However, Dinges said it was during the construction process when the project took on a special meaning for him. A woman looking to house a mother and her children mistook him as an employee of the shelter and made a request:

“This woman was looking for a place for them to stay,” he said. “That’s when I had my eyes opened to what the real need was here in Rockford – providing shelter to those who have no place to go.”

Dinges oversaw the completion of a 1,550-square-foot addition, which included a new heating and air-conditioning system, a larger dining and activity room, an area to prepare food, and plenty of storage space for donated clothing and supplies. More importantly, the former dining room was remodeled and has been designated to serve entire families, something Red Cross officials say they are encountering more of on a daily basis.

The shelter office also was expanded and equipped with new computers, filing cabinets and a one-on-one case management room.

Going the extra mile
However, Pat Ambrose, the shelter’s service coordinator, said she was most appreciative of the extra work provided by Dinges and his 16-year-old son, Eric.

When Dinges wasn’t on-site, he was in the community gathering thousands of dollars in donations, such as benches from Spider Manufacturing. The metal seats were installed in a newly created and heated waiting room.

He also gathered office furniture from Michaelsen Office Furniture in Machesney Park.

His son spent part of his Christmas break also in the community gathering donations from area businesses collecting 20 Rubbermaid large plastic tubs, most of which were filled with new bed linen, new socks and hats.

“They had this large storage space, and it was empty,” Eric said. “I just decided to go around and see if I could get someone to help fill it.”

‘A lot more room’
Richard Wooten, 42, and his fiancee, Kira Rhodes, and their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana, have lived at the 48-bed shelter off and on for several months.

They said the expansion couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s not congested in here now,” Wooten said.

Rhodes added: “There’s a lot more room and privacy now. The problem I had before was getting (Ameliana) to go to sleep at night with all the noise. That’s been eliminated.”

Since its opening in 1995, the shelter has housed more than 6,600 individuals, and more than 1,500 people have found permanent housing with assistance from the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Staff writer Chris Green can be reached at cgreen@rrstar.com or 815-987-1241.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Kira Rhodes and Richard Wooten stand with their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana Rhodes-Wooten, in a family area where Rhodes and her daughter have been staying Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. The shelter policy is for men to sleep in the mens area, even if they are in the shelter with their family.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Kira Rhodes and Richard Wooten stand with their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana Rhodes-Wooten, in a family area where Rhodes and her daughter have been staying Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. The shelter policy is for men to sleep in the men's area, even if they are in the shelter with their family.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Eric Dinges (right), 16, and his father, Dave Dinges, stand in a new storage room Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. Eric volunteered to solicit donations to the Red Cross by asking local businesses to contribute.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Eric Dinges (right), 16, and his father, Dave Dinges, stand in a new storage room Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. Eric volunteered to solicit donations to the Red Cross by asking local businesses to contribute.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM A new dining area Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes the larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM A new dining area Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes the larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms.

Click here to see the article on rrstar.com


Dracula Visits Red Cross

January 5, 2009

Something funny for you to watch in the New Year!


American Red Cross urges Preparedness for “Deceptive Killers” – Offers Wicked Winter Weather Safety Tips for Your Home and Vehicle

January 5, 2009

As temperatures drop across the country and we head full steam ahead into the winter season, American Red Cross is urging families to take the following actions now to prepare for hazardous winter weather.

“Winter storms can be ‘deceptive killers’ since the majority of winter-related deaths are caused by events related to the heavy snowfall, high winds, and freezing rain that often accompanies them,” said David Pattengale Emergency Services Director. “People can become trapped at home without utilities or other services. Motorists can become stranded in their vehicles. Walking and driving can become hazardous. But people can stay safer if they listen to the advice of local authorities and take action to get prepared ahead of time.”

The Red Cross recommends everyone prepare for severe weather conditions in the following ways:

Get a Disaster Supplies Kit For Your Home:

  • Three-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene).
  • Three-day supply of non perishable, high-energy food and a manual can opener.
  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
  • Flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificate, title/deed to home, insurance policies, etc) in a water-proof container.
  • Get a Disaster Supplies Kit For Your Vehicle: (all of the above plus)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type).
  • Compass and road maps.
  • Shovel.
  • Tire repair kit and pump.
  • Flares.
  • Extra clothing to keep dry.
  • Sack of sand or cat litter (for tire traction).
  • Tow rope.

Make a Winter Storm Plan:

  • Be prepared to shelter at home in case of severe weather. Have additional food and water stored to last seven to fourteen days.
  • Have extra blankets on hand.
  • Ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a hat, and water-resistant boots.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your home and vehicle.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before the weather gets severe.
  • Decide how you would communicate with your family members should you be separated and unable to travel when a winter storm hits.

Be Informed:

  • Learn how you would receive information from local officials should hazardous winter weather affect your neighborhood.
  • Know the difference between a winter storm WATCH (a winter storm is possible in your area) and a winter storm WARNING (a winter storm is headed for your area).
  • Consider getting first aid and CPR training in case you need to respond in an emergency before professionals arrive on the scene.

If the Power Goes Out:

  • Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
  • Use items in the refrigerator first, then freezer, then non-perishable foods.
  • Use generators correctly If you have a portable generator and the power goes out, always plan to keep the generator outdoors. Never operate it inside, including the basement, garage, and carport or near any open windows. Connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring.

Hazardous Winter Travel:

The American Red Cross strongly urges everyone to monitor weather reports and follow the directions of local authorities. If travel is absolutely necessary during potentially dangerous winter weather, inform someone of your travel route, destination and expected arrival time. Store a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle and remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid ice building up in the gas tank and fuel lines.

In Case of Snow or Black Ice:

  • Stay with your vehicle. Do not try to walk to safety as you risk developing hypothermia and/or frostbite.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the vehicle and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the vehicle.
  • As you sit, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to help you stay warm.
  • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
  • Leave the overhead light on inside the vehicle when the engine is running so you can be seen.
  • After the snow has stopped falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.

In Case of a Flood:

Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.

If your vehicle stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

For more information about how you can prepare for a variety of winter weather-related disasters including winter and ice storms, power outages and floods contact your local American Red Cross office at: (815) 963-8471 or visit: www.rockriver.redcross.org.


Tomorrow! Record a Video Message to the Troops at Culver’s in Dixon, Illinois

January 5, 2009

If you’re in the Dixon, IL area and want to record a message to send to a loved one who’s serving out country at home or abroad you can at Culver’s tomorrow from 11am-6pm. You can record up to a 2 minute message and all you need is the person’s email address to send them this message.

You can even re-record your message if you don’t like the message you recorded the first time! See below a video sent at our last Viditalk event.


Homeless Shelters in Rockford Illinois During the Winter Season – WTVO

December 23, 2008

frank-shelter-story

The recent bitter cold weather is causing many homeless shelters to be filled to capacity. The poor economy was already giving local shelters too much business. But now with this arctic cold weather the last few days, many are scrambling to find enough room for the homeless.

Click here to watch the story.

If you’d like to find out how you can help local homeless shelters by making a donation you can call the American Red Cross at 815-963-8471 or www.rockriver.redcross.org.