Eastern NC native reflects on home fire

Kelcey Ashworth was having dinner at her father’s home in Pinehurst when she got a call kelceythat her mother’s house was on fire.

Kelcey, a sophomore in high school at the time, recalls arriving on the scene of the fire in 2002. There were a multitude of first responders, she said, among them, the American Red Cross.

“[The Red Cross] was there. They stayed with us,” she said. “The offered us a place to stay and provided a [financial] voucher to get essentials…they were a huge savior to us.”

The fire, which started from a faulty electrical wire, consumed the garage, living room, and kitchen, Kelcey said. Her family ultimately had to tear down the home and sell the property.

“A lot of people think it won’t happen to them,” Kelcey said. “But it’s more common than people think.”

In Eastern North Carolina, the Red Cross responds to about five home fires every day. Keep your family safe this winter by following two steps: 1. Practice a 2-minute home escape drill and make sure your family can safely exit a home in under 2 minutes. 2. Test your smoke alarms monthly.

For more information about home fire safety, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

Red Cross stays busy as it wraps up 2016

December 2016 proved to be a busy month for the Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina! And we couldn’t do our work alone.

Thank you to everyone who donated their time, talent and money to the Red Cross last month. To learn more about our work or to find out how you can help, visit www.redcross.org/enc

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Red Cross has severe winter blood shortage, urges donors to give now

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PLEASE SHARE: The Red Cross has severe winter blood shortage and is urging donors to #GiveNow to help save patient lives.

Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.

Making an appointment is easy: redcrossblood.org, Blood Donor App at 3cu.be/blood or 1-800-RED CROSS.

Prepare your family for inclement weather this winter

Kentucky Ice Storm

We’re still weeks away from seeing signs of spring in Eastern North Carolina.

With winter weather still a real possibility in the forecast, the Red Cross recommends a few tips and tricks to prepare for inclement conditions:

Safely Heat Your Home
Here are six ways you can stay safe from home fires during this winter season:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke alarms once a month, and change them if they’re not working.
  • Create an escape plan that includes two exits from each room and practice it until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
  • Follow the three feet rule and keep children, pets and flammable items at least three feet from heating equipment. Turn off portable space heaters when you leave the room and when you go to sleep.
  • Use gas wisely and never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. Four percent of Americans admit to having used a gas stove to heat their home.
  • Use flashlights, not candles because battery-operated flashlights or lanterns are safer than candles during power outages.

Protect Yourself from Freezing Temperatures

Avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold. Be aware of both the temperature and the wind chill when planning outdoor activities. When you prepare to go outside in severe cold weather, please remember the following:

  • Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears, as most heat is lost through your head
  • Dress in layers to help retain heat; remove layers as needed if you become too warm.
  • Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you suspect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Create a disaster supplies kit — Get together lifesaving items in both your home and vehicle. Visit www.redcross.org/prepare for more information on disaster preparedness.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Many homeowners may not be ready for frigid weather either. Now is the time to protect your house pipes from freezing and bursting. With the cold weather upon us, preventive action may make all the difference.

  • Let the cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes or pipes in exterior walls. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage or in walls adjacent to the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
  • More information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes is available here.

Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

Visit www.redcross.org/prepare for more information on preparing for cold weather.

 

Red Cross and Team Rubicon Celebrate Veterans Day Serving North Carolinians

The American Red Cross and Team Rubicon have unique missions, but often join forces to support their common goal of helping those affected by disasters. This Veterans Day, both the Red Cross and Team Rubicon celebrate their veteran volunteers who are continuing to serve their country by helping North Carolinians, devastated by Hurricane Matthew just over a month ago.

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Red Cross honors the veterans among them, including a special guest from Team Rubicon, during the morning meeting at the Goldsboro disaster headquarters. Photo by Greta Gustafson/American Red Cross.

“There is no better way to spend Veterans Day than continuing to serve,” said K.C. Baney, Incident Commander for Team Rubicon’s Operation Seymour Action.

Throughout the response to Hurricane Matthew, the Red Cross has provided over 100,000 overnight shelter stays, almost 1.5 million meals and snacks, hundreds of thousands of relief supplies and helped those affected identify resources available to them to take the next step forward in their recovery. Team Rubicon, comprised mostly of veterans and first responders, has helped over 50 families begin the rebuilding process by mucking and gutting flood-ravaged homes and removing downed trees.

“It is particularly rewarding to do something for another veteran,” said Team Rubicon’s Curt Kronberg on the various people they have helped. Though Team Rubicon helps everyone in need, they focus on targeting veterans, the elderly and low-income populations.

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Team Rubicon on-site at a home in Goldsboro, working together to move a large portion of a tree that fell on a homeowner’s property during Hurricane Matthew. Photo by Larry French/American Red Cross.

Just a few days ago, a Team Rubicon strike team was at a home in Goldsboro, N.C. cutting a massive tree that fell across the homeowner’s driveway. Working as a very tight-knit team, the crew used chainsaws to tackle the massive project in a way no one person could do alone. All of the volunteers expressed that the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose Team Rubicon provides is exactly what they are missed after leaving the military.

“Mission, purpose and community,” said Kronberg.

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Team Rubicon showcases their pride by carving their logo into the stump of the tree they are working to remove. Photo by Larry French/American Red Cross.

 

Team Rubicon and the Red Cross collaborate exchange information throughout disasters. For example, Team Rubicon refers people in need of additional resources to the Red Cross, and the Red Cross supplies enabling resources such as cots, blankets and meals to Team Rubicon. Both organizations conduct damage assessments and share their information to target and support the families and communities that are in need.

As Team Rubicon’s Director of Field Operations, David Burke, has said of partnering non-governmental organizations, “There’s greater need out there than any one organization can answer alone. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to strengthen our partnerships and be a small part of scaling the whole community’s ability to provide aid to those affected by disaster.”

Nine-year-old girl dresses as American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, assists with hurricane relief

Over a month after Hurricane Matthew’s landfall, residents of Eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the storm and hundreds of volunteers continue to respond to the hard-hit areas. From working in shelters to delivering meals and hosting donation drives, volunteers are pitching in any way they can.

Cadence is no different. The 9-year-old wanted to help storm victims in her own way. After doing a school project on Clara Barton, the nurse who founded the American Red Cross, and seeing the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, she decided to host a donation drive to help the Red Cross with its disaster response.

Following the drive, Cadence donned her Clara Barton dress and delivered a trailer of cleaning supplies to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Headquarters in Goldsboro on Nov. 5.

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Cadence, her sistern Delia and her friend Graysie stand in front of the trailer of supplies Cadence collected from the donation drive she organized at her school.

“I saw a lot of pictures, I learned about it, I learned about Hurricane Matthew, so I guess from all the pictures and all the damage, I wanted to help that and change people, change the way people’s homes look,” Cadence said on what inspired her to take action.

While all of the Red Crossers at the site were overjoyed with her visit, including the job director who gave her a coveted Red Cross challenge coin for her hard work, her parents were even more proud of their little girl.

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Cadence shows off her Clara Barton outfit and a teddy bear given to her by a Red Cross member.

“I’ve always known she has such a huge heart, so to see her come up with an idea like this, we know how special she is and I think it lets her know that she can make a difference one day,” her mother, Kim Adamson said.

Her father, equally as proud of his generous daughter, said, “Cadence is always humble and caring and this opportunity has given her a chance to combine that with some confidence and taking charge and putting herself out there and we love that. It’s been a really good experience for her and a good thing, too.”

Cadence’s caring and compassionate act of generosity is proof that anyone can make a difference, no matter your age, size or even sense of style!

For more information about how to donate or volunteer at the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.

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Red Crossers in Goldsboro enjoy Cadence’s visit and donation of cleaning supplies.

 

By: Emma Kirkpatrick/Photos by Greta Gustafson

Your Condition is Not Your Conclusion: The Wells Family Take their Next Step

Story and Photos by Greta Gustafson/American Red Crossamanda-1

Red Crosser Amanda Murdock stands in front of School Street School shelter where she has been volunteering for the past week.

After staying almost a month in shelters following Hurricane Matthew, Lamont and Denise Wells and their son Tyrese will be moving into a new place this week. The family was so excited about their new home that they came back to the shelter showing everyone photos, and were especially thrilled about their new backyard.

“It was a pretty specific day, I could tell something was going on,” reflected Red Cross volunteer Amanda Murdock. “Denise had her red dress on with polka dots, her hair was looking all pretty, they both just had a very specific look in their eye and they left for a couple hours and upon coming back in their eyes were just glowing their smiles were so big.”

According to Murdock, the Wells have always had a positive attitude in the shelter, despite their challenging situation.

“They didn’t have many options but it didn’t stop them, it didn’t stop them at all,” said Murdock. “They have kept a very great attitude, they have been nothing but wonderful the entire time that I’ve spent talking to them.”

 

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Lamont Wells stands in the hallway at School Street School shelter ready to take his next steps forward to his new home.

Lamont hopes that his family’s success will inspire others to keep their heads up in a difficult situation. “Everything changes, nothing ever stays the same, even with a butterfly,” said Lamont to the rest of the shelter residents. “Your condition is not your conclusion.”

Murdock confirms their excitement has definitely influenced others around them.

“There’s other folks around that have noticed that and saw the change in their pace and have kind of started to apply it to themselves, you know?” said Murdock. “And it just meant a lot to me, it meant a lot to see one person’s changes and it kind of gives the rest of them hope.”

Even as the Wells are taking their next steps, they can’t help look back at the positive experience they had with the Red Cross.

“I’m going to kind of miss the staff,” said Lamont, “but I gotta go on. Everybody leaves places like high school and when it comes to moving right there everybody gets to crying, but it’s a nice kind of cry.”