Sickle Cell Fighter: Justina Williams

Justina Williams of Raleigh, NC

At age 27, Justina Williams is living her dream. She supports sickle cell warriors across the Carolinas, by helping them work through health-related challenges. It’s work she’s been passionate about since she was a child navigating through life as a sickle cell warrior herself.

Diagnosed with sickle cell disease SS at birth, Justina was six-months old when she experienced her first sickle cell crises. She required her first emergency blood transfusion at age three. Blood transfusion is a common treatment for patients whose red blood cells, which are usually soft and round, sometimes harden and form a C-shape, like a sickle.

“Doctors said they could have lost me had I not gotten to the hospital and got that transfusion.”

That was the first of many blood transfusions to help relieve Justina of the pain she endures during a crises.

“I was one of the sickest babies at Duke University Hospital,” Justina recalls.

After that frightening incident, life got better for Justina. She remembers a childhood filled with joyful experiences. Her parents and doctors supported and encouraged her to do try things that made her happy, so she began dancing and cheerleading.

To manage her sickle cell disease today, doctors require that Justina receives monthly blood transfusions. But the blood she receives can only come from volunteer donors, and to reduce complications sickle cell patients rely on donated blood from individuals with a similar ethic background.

“For the African American community, it is very important that we do donate due to our genetic makeup. I think it’s very important that we do donate a lot of blood, during these times and in the future as well.”

To date, Justina estimates that she has received blood on more than 100 occasions.

“I’ve been doing very, very well on blood transfusions so far,” Justina says of her monthly treatments over the last year. Not only is she an advocate for sickle cell patients, but blood donors too. She continues to rally family and friends to donate blood in honor of patients who depend of lifesaving transfusions.

Want to become a Sickle Cell Fighter? Click here to find out how to help patients like Justina today!

Story by: Maya Franklin | American Red Cross

Flood Affected Resident Brings Optimism to Red Cross Supported Shelter

By Courtney Wilson, Canadian Red Cross Public Affairs

“I’m happy, life is good,” says Bill Dixon, a flood affected individual from Goldsboro, North Carolina. This is the first thing Bill says to me as we sit down to talk and he repeats it multiple times throughout our conversation. I’m instantly floored by his positive outlook and sunny disposition in a time when it would be very easy for him to be anything but.

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Flood affected resident, Bill Dixon, 76.    

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Bill & Linda Hayes, Red Cross Shelter Manager

Just over a week ago, Bill woke up to find his home surrounded by water. He put on his boots and waded through the water to safety.  By ‘home’ Bill is referring to a van that he normally lives out of. “I’m a vagabond,” he says. “I like to travel and I love the freedom it gives me.”

Unfortunately, due to the floods, Bill has yet to return home and has been staying in a Red Cross supported shelter. “[The] people who set up this shelter are incredible” says Bill. “I’m deeply impressed.”

Chatting with staff, volunteers, and other flood affected residents staying at the shelter, it is obvious that it is not just me who is impressed by Bill. “He has such a positive outlook,” says Red Cross Shelter Manager, Linda Hayes. “It’s inspiring.”

As our conversation comes to a close Bill reminds me of his favourite life motto: “Your attitude determines your latitude providing you share your gratitude.” This quote is now posted in our Red Cross response headquarters, and I think it’s safe to say that there are many people who are grateful that we have people like Bill in this world.

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Meeting Bill definitely made my day.

When Help is Needed, Helen Miller, Onslow County Will Be There

Helen Miller
Helen Miller, Onslow County, awaiting her next assignment

Jacksonville, NC October 21, 2013—When the American Red Cross needs volunteers to respond to a local fire or teach a disaster class, you’re likely to find Helen Miller helping out.   Miller, a well-known asset around the Onslow Chapter, started volunteering with the Red Cross more than twenty years ago by answering the phones at the office.

Recently, Miller deployed to Colorado for more than two weeks to assist with the ongoing flood response.  Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to those affected by the devastating flooding.  As residents returned to their homes, Miller and other Red Cross caseworkers conducted interviews with families affected by the flooding to determine if they required any additional assistance for their disaster-caused needs.

Miller has been on many national deployments but indicated that the Colorado deployment was different because there were people of so many socioeconomic backgrounds affected.  Disasters do not discriminate and disaster recovery is a long and involved process whether you live in small trailer or a large mansion.  Miller was humbled by the gratitude expressed by the disaster victims for the support they were provided whether it was a hot meal, a roof over their heads or food to kit to clean up their flooded homes.

While her husband was serving our country in Desert Storm, Miller became a Red Cross disaster volunteer and the rest is history. “I became a volunteer because I figured my husband did his duty defending our freedom so I needed to do my part for our people,” said Miller.

Miller can often be found at the Onslow County Chapter office teaching a class or preparing to respond to a local disaster like a home fire.  When she’s not helping out locally you will likely find Miller on a national disaster response; she has deployed to more than forty responses throughout the United States.  During a large-scale disaster, the Red Cross can bring in additional resources from other chapters throughout the country and even the world as we saw during the Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy responses.

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Miller’s primary volunteer duty is mass care, providing shelter and food during a disaster although she is experienced in other areas of disaster response and is always willing to learn a task.  During Superstorm Sandy, she was trained to drive a forklift and conduct warehouse operations in the New York City area.

Having been a long time Red Cross volunteer, Miller says that she likes mentoring new volunteers to be prepared for disasters and to teach the community to be prepared.  Her guiding tenet is to always be ready to assist in any situation where  people need feeding, sheltering and a shoulder to lean on.

Miller reflected on her most memorable deployment- volunteering in Louisiana and Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina.  For thirty-three days, she was in Louisiana feeding people every day.  On one of her two days off, she joined other Red Cross volunteers to fill sandbags in the bayou to reduce the impact from future storms.  After returning home for a short period, Helen returned a month later to Mississippi for two more weeks to continue helping feed Hurricane Katrina victims.

“The best thing about being a Red Cross volunteer is giving people hope and encouragement to get through a disaster and giving them a hug,” remarked Miller.

When she’s not at the Red Cross, Miller volunteers with the Disabled American Vets driving veterans to their hospital appointments in Fayetteville and Durham.  Miller is a small lady with a big heart that never stops giving.

Office Opens on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

Story by Tara Humphries, Chair of the Board of Directors, Wayne County American Red Cross / Thursday, August 9, 2013

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – American Red Cross and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base representatives came together Friday, Aug. 9, to kick off a new chapter in an old tradition.

SAF Opening at SJAFB
Cutting the ribbon to open the new American Red Cross office on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are (l-r) Col. Lamar Pettus, 4th Figher Wing vice commander; Col. Greg Gilmour, 916th Air Refueling Wing commander; Bill Brent, Red Cross regional chief executive officer; Josh Cain, regional director of SAF; Margaret Taflinger, lead SAF volunteer; and Tammy Forrester, community executive officer for Wayne/Greene and Lenoir County Red Cross Chapters.

Officials from the Red Cross, 916th Air Refueling Wing, and 4th Fighter Wing cut a ribbon and opened an American Red Cross field office on the base, continuing the commitment Clara Barton first made to members of the U.S. military more than 130 years ago.

After providing supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War, Barton was inspired to do more to alleviate human suffering and that led to her founding the American Red Cross. The mission was further reinforced by a charter granted by the U.S. Congress and that charge continues to drive more than 500,000 Red Cross volunteers like the ones who will staff the Seymour Johnson office.

Margaret Taflinger and her husband, Lt. Col. Norm Taflinger (USAF ret.), and Bill Hewitt, a U.S. Navy veteran, will staff the office 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

They will provide Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) core services to the men and women of Seymour Johnson and surrounding area. These services include education, information, referrals, family resiliency programming, and emergency services.

One of the leaders in the effort to open the office, Col. Greg Gilmour, the 916th’s wing commander, knows first hand about SAF.

“The Red Cross really provides services to our members. I saw it when I was with the Navy, and now with the Air Force,” Gilmour said. It was the Red Cross that contacted him with news that his grandmother had passed away. Later, when he was stationed in Turkey, SAF helped a colleague get home when his family needed him.

“That’s why I didn’t know why there wouldn’t be a permanent office on the base,” Gilmour said. “Having a presence here on base makes sense.”

“It is great to have y’all here,” he said, noting that the new office, which is located in the 916th’s headquarters building, is ‘down the hall from my office’.”

Office Opens at SJAFB
Margaret Taflinger, lead SAF volunteer, and Wendy Dyer, Service to the Armed Forces state manager for NC, VA and D.C., welcome a visitor to the new SAF office on SJAFB (l-r).

Joshua Cain, director of Service to the Armed Forces for the Eastern North Carolina Region, also pointed out that the office is “right around the corner.” Armed Forces members do not have to go off base to receive services.

“It is a great partnership with the 916th, that they are hosting our office so we can serve the entire base through our Service to the Armed Forces mission,” Cain said. “We’re here to meet the needs of the military and their families.”

“I personally feel that there is no greater calling or worthy cause than taking some time out to support the military and their families,” said Cain.

If military personnel or their families have a need during hours that the base office is not manned, they can go to the Red Cross office at 600 N. George St. in Goldsboro or call the local chapter number: (919) 735-7201. There is also a 24-hour hotline at 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722).

Planning and Partnerships a Critical Part of Kinston Towers Fire Response

KINSTON, NC, July 17, 2013— More than three weeks after an apartment fire displaced nearly 150 people in Kinston, the American Red Cross continues to provide support as residents prepare to return home.    Volunteers from around eastern NC have served meals, distributed supplies, and met with residents to ensure needs are cared for.IMG_1663

“Disaster assessment is critical in the beginning to determine the needs and collaborate with partner organizations to develop a plan to serve the clients,” said Victoria Kling, Regional Response Manager for the American Red Cross of Eastern NC.

The Red Cross has served as a leader for collaboration and coordination, partnering with other local organizations to ensure that the needs of residents are met while avoiding duplication of services.  This leadership has allowed the agencies to determine the expertise and ability of each organization to provide for their clients.

“I am amazed at the outpouring of offers for assistance from the local community from churches, to restaurants to sororities,” said Tammy Forrester, CEO for the Lenoir County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Instead of having one organization take on the greatest load of work, the Red Cross convened with a number of local organizations to discuss what support they could offer in the response.  This collaboration along with the backing of a volunteer-led workforce provided the action plan for assisting residents affected by the fire.

DSC00402Important partners included the Kinston Housing Authority, Kinston Fire and Safety, Lenoir County Emergency Management, the NC Baptist Men, and the Bridge Church of Goldsboro, and Burning Bush ministries. Another great partner organization was the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Kinston and Goldsboro who made snack packages for the residents.

A key relationship during disasters is the long-standing partnership between the American Red Cross and the Southern Baptist Men.  During the initial response, the Red Cross worked with local restaurants to provide meals.  In order to best utilize donated dollars and provide consistency, the Red Cross reached out to local representatives of the NC Baptist Men to help to assist with feeding efforts for the rest of the operation.

The Baptist Men utilize a standardized menu which offers foods to complement a balanced diet at a cost of about $1 a meal.  The Red Cross purchases food from U.S. Foods and the NC Baptist Men prepare hot meals which are delivered to residents by Red Cross volunteers. The Kinston First Baptist Church, which has an industrial kitchen, was used to prepare the meals.

Throughout the Kinston Towers response, community members have expressed their desire to help their neighbors that have been displaced by this fire.  The Red Cross and partner organizations welcome support in the form of financial assistance and volunteer time.

“Red Cross is a family of volunteers from everywhere and the assistance is always appreciated,” said Forrester.  “Around here, one size fits all whether it is the gift of time or money.  Our clients know us and trust us to take care of them,” remarks Forrester.

As always, Red Cross assistance is free and provided to all who are in need when disaster strikes.

Holiday Fire Safety

Include Fire Safety on Your Holiday Wish List

American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips to Prevent Holiday Home Fires

Your holiday decorations need proper care so your Christmas doesn't go up in flames.
Your holiday decorations need proper care so your Christmas doesn’t go up in flames.

EASTERN, NC, December 3, 2012 — As the holiday season moves into full swing, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross urges families to follow simple safety tips to keep the season merry and to prevent holiday fires. 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 156,000 fires occur nationally during the holidays claiming more than 630 lives, causing more than 2,600 injuries, and costing $936 million in property damage. Many of these fires are caused by home heating sources, unattended cooking, and candles.

In the last year, the Eastern NC Region has responded to 513 fires in our community and assisted 1,784 residents with immediate emergency needs such as shelter, food and clothing.  Since November, the Red Cross has begun to notice the seasonal increase in home fires caused by things such as  improper heating or cooking.

To prevent holiday home fires, 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 to ensure that candles are properly extinguished once guests leave.

At a minimum, smoke alarms need to be installed outside of each sleeping area and on each level of your home. Use the test button to test each smoke alarm once a month, and replace all smoke alarm batteries 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:

Holiday 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 broken. 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.
  • Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove.
  • Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.
  • 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.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of local residents to respond to our neighbors who are affected by home fires. You can help the Red Cross continue to be ready to respond and help fire victims by becoming a volunteer or making a financial contribution. To become a volunteer and to make a donation, visit redcross.org.  For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit http://www.redcross.org/homefires.

 

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Revolution Stars Support the Red Cross

Wilmington, NC- On October 30, 2012, two stars from the hit NBC show revolution- David Lyons and Tim Guinee-  stopped by the American Red Cross, Cape Fear Chapter to show their support for the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy response.  Being from New York, this storm hit close to home for Guinee.  He stopped by the local chapter to make a donation and find out how he could help support the cause.

Helping HMS Bounty Survivors

Red Cross Provides Assistance to HMS Bounty Survivors

Photo from TIME
Amanda Hall / Robert Harding / Getty Images
Replica of H.M.S. Bounty and Sydney Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales (N.S.W.), Australia, Pacific
Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/29/14-rescued-from-hms-bounty-2-remain-missing/#ixzz2Aj9swHiC

ELIZABETH CITY, NC, Monday, October 29, 2012Representatives from the American Red Cross Greater Albemarle Area Chapter, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, met with the survivors of the HMS Bounty. Early this morning, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people from HMS Bounty some 90 miles off the coast of Hatteras, NC amidst treacherous winds and seas.  The HMS Bounty- a 180 ft. sailing ship featured in movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean– was traveling from Connecticut in route to Florida when they sent out a distressed signal Sunday night.

The Coast Guard contacted the local Red Cross (the two organizations work in partnership on many kinds of disaster responses) to arrange a meeting with the 14 individuals rescued from the ship. Red Cross disaster volunteers spoke with each of the clients offering their comfort and support as well as providing them with food, clothing, and shelter, and assisting with other immediate needs as necessary.

“We support our community during all types of disaster whether that’s a hurricane, a home fire, or in this case, an ocean rescue,” said Carolyn Self, Executive Director for the Greater Albemarle Area Chapter.

In addition to supporting this Coast Guard rescue mission, the Greater Albemarle Area Red Cross has been headquarters to the local Hurricane Sandy response operation since early last Friday. Red Cross workers there are supporting shelters, doing damage assessment, and providing food and supplies to residents throughout the northeastern part of NC.

“We rely on the support of the community, through donations of time, money and blood, to ensure we are always there when help is needed,” said Self.

If you would like to help people affected by these disasters, you can make a donation today to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org

Hurricane Sandy Response

Red Cross Continues Hurricane Sandy Response,  Readies Volunteers to Move to Affected Areas

People Can Support Response by Giving To Red Cross Disaster Relief

EASTERN NC, Monday, October 29, 2012— The American Red Cross continues preparedness and response efforts for Hurricane Sandy across multiple states along the East Coast.

Sunday October 28, 2012.Red Cross Shelter at Pleasantville High School – Pleasantville ,New Jersey. Identical twins Patty (left) and Cathy DeBeer of Ventnor, N.J., were tickled to get “comfort kits” of hygiene supplies supplied by the Red Cross.

The effects of the storm have already been felt by most North Carolina residents as Sandy continues to pound down on the Outer Banks and across the northeastern part of the state.  The major threat to our area has been high winds and coastal flooding which has already shut down roads and caused power outages.

From the Eastern NC Red Cross, hundreds of local disaster volunteers have been called to respond. Three emergency vehicles stocked with supplies are staged in damage-prone areas. Over the weekend, two evacuation shelters were opened in flood prone areas near the Pamlico Sound with 76 residents seeking shelter and comfort from the storm. Household clean up kits and comfort kits with hygiene items have been given to 30 families whose homes experienced wind and flood damage, more supplies will be distributed throughout the next few days.

Red Cross workers have set up a command center in Elizabeth City and have volunteers ready to provide services and conduct damage assessment in affected areas across our region.  Once the threat in NC has passed, the Eastern NC Region will support the larger response operation along the east coast.

“We anticipate moving volunteers and supplies by the end of the week,” said Victoria Kling, Response Manager for the Eastern NC Red Cross. “Once it is safe to mobilize our teams, we will send resources further north to support the Hurricane Sandy response.”

Although NC will be spared the big hit from Hurricane Sandy, this large and powerful storm could affect as many as 60 million people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The Red Cross has workers and relief supplies in place to provide help to people in the path of Sandy. Almost 100 Red Cross emergency vehicles are mobilizing to distribute meals and relief supplies after the storm passes. Thousands of ready-to-eat meals and relief supplies such as cots and blankets are also being sent into the region.

HOW TO HELP  “This will be a large, costly relief response and we need help now,” Kling said. “People can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief online, by text or by phone.”

Donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The storm has already caused the cancellation of Red Cross blood drives in the region, and more cancellations are expected. This has resulted in the loss of several hundred units of blood and platelets so far. The Red Cross has shipped blood products to hospitals in the affected area in advance of the storm as patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather. If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.

To schedule a blood donation or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health.

Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them.  Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Red Cross Stands up Satellite Communications in Elizabeth City and Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

ELIZABETH CITY, NC, Saturday, October 27, 2012 Before the severe weather started yesterday evening, Red Cross disaster workers from Wilmington, NC headed to the northern part of the state to assist with preparedness efforts for Hurricane Sandy.  Response Manager, Victoria Kling and Lead Disaster Services Technology Volunteer, Chris Nienow, loaded up a trailer with supplies, including a VSAT, and made their way to Elizabeth City, NC.

Chris Nienow (right) and Kerry Karusse (Emergency Communication Coordinator with ARES) worked to set up the VSAT

A VSAT (short for very small aperture terminal) is an earthbound station used in satellite communications of data, voice and video signals.  These satellites are strategically located at 40 Red Cross chapters in hurricane risk areas from Texas to New York. Using these devices, a chapter in an area where the infrastructure has been affected can reestablish communications to share vital information with other Red Cross units. Each site represents approximately $65,000 in technology investment.

The VSAT, typically housed at the Cape Fear Chapter in Wilmington, was transported to the Greater Albemarle Area Chapter in Elizabeth City where flooding and power outages are expected.  Disaster volunteers assembled the satellite equipment in the chapter office which will now have a communications infrastructure in place to support the response operation even if cable and telephone lines are knocked out.

The American Red Cross Eastern NC Region has mobilized hundreds of volunteers along with vehicles and supplies in preparation of and in response to Hurricane Sandy.  Trained Red Cross disaster volunteers stand ready to feed, shelter and provide supplies as well as provide comfort and emotional support to residents along the east coast. Relief supplies like cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals and snacks have been moved into place to support response efforts.

Weather experts predict the massive storm could affect residents up and down the eastern region of the United States for several days and the Red Cross is working with government officials and community partners to coordinate a wide-ranging response. Sandy is expected to bring as much as ten inches of rain and flooding in some areas, winds gusting up to 80 miles per hour, extended power outages and even several feet of snow in the higher elevations.

Chris Nienow and Victoria Kling load up supplies along with the VSAT and make the 5 hour drive to Elizabeth City.

BE READY The Red Cross has information on its website about how to get prepared for the storm, including steps for hurricane and power outage emergencies. Videos are also available to help get prepared, including information on severe weather preparedness and how to get ready for winter weather.

RED CROSS APPS People should download the free Red Cross Hurricane and First Aid apps for mobile devices to have emergency information at their fingertips. The Hurricane App provides real-time hurricane safety information such as weather alerts and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media sites to tell family and friends they are okay.

The Hurricane App can be downloaded in Spanish by changing the language setting on someone’s smart phone to Spanish before downloading. The First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

HOW TO HELP To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The Red Cross is moving shipments of blood products to hospitals along the coast in advance of the storm as patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather. Sandy could affect the turn-out at Red Cross blood drives. If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.

To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

 

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org