Monday, March 12, 2018

Red Cross Disability Integration Helps Indiana Volunteer Serve

EDITORS NOTE: Regional Communications Officer Jay Bonafede recently returned from a one-week deployment to Indiana, working with the flood relief operation.

“My husband and son are disabled, so advocacy is something I’ve been doing on their behalf for years,” says American Red Cross volunteer Dana Goldsmith. “To do so on behalf of the Red Cross is really exciting.”

Volunteers J.R. Raines of Indiana and Dana Goldsmith of Colorado
are leading Disability Integration during the Indiana flood response
in spring 2018. "This is long overdue, and it overlaps with
everything I learned in other activities," Goldsmith says. "We talk
to everyone on a relief operation." Photo and story by:
Jay Bonafede, American Red Cross
Goldsmith is advocating as the Disability Integration lead for her home Red Cross chapter, region, and division at home in Colorado. In late February 2018, she deployed to Indiana to help lead Disability Integration during the flood relief operation, along with local volunteer J.R. Raines.

“There’s an expertise level that comes with people that live with it every day. Who to call, where to find resources,” Goldsmith says. “It’s about bringing that disability piece to the table in everything we do. That’s our goal.”

Disability Integration, which the Red Cross began about a year and a half ago, means more than simply making sure shelters are accessible. In Indiana, for example, Goldsmith and Raines are putting together a resource guide for the region to identify additional support available for people with disabilities that will help long after this disaster response is wrapped up, and are working to build relationships with the Center for Independent Living to use their facilities for future training.

“We’re trying to make volunteerism more inclusive,” Goldsmith says. “Training, classes, locations, it all has to be accessible. People want to help, but there’s not a lot of agencies that can do that. We can.”

“I do a lot of positions with the Red Cross,” says Raines. “Disaster Action Team, Services to Armed Forces. I wanted to be in the military, this is my way to be in the military.”

Shelters open up after a winter storm

Shelters opened across the Western and Central New York Region due to a winter storm and power outages. Following up on this recent storm, The American Red Cross has closed eight storm shelters. Shelters were closed on Sunday, March 4th, as residents have been able to return back to their homes. Anyone that is still in need of additional assistance is encouraged to call his or her local Red Cross Chapter.

Thank you to Red Cross Volunteers whom operated at these following storm shelters:

CENTRAL NEW YORK CHAPTER (Chapter phone: 315-234-2200):
  • Oneida Recreation Center
  • 217 Cedar St., Oneida
SOUTHERN TIER RED CROSS CHAPTER (Chapter phone: 607-785-7207):
  • Owego Free Academy
  • 1 Sheldon Guile Blvd., Tioga County
  • Windsor High School
  • 1191 Route 79, Broome County
  • Chenango Forks High School
  • 1 Gordon Dr., Binghamton 
WESTERN NEW YORK CHAPTER (Chapter phone: 716-886-7500):
  • Bolivar-Richburg High School
  • 100 School St., Bolivar
  • Alfred University
  • 1 Saxon Drive, Alfred 
  • Ellicottville High School 
  • 5873 Rt. 219, Ellicottville
FINGER LAKES CHAPTER (Chapter phone: 607-936-3766):
  • Canisteo High School
  • 84 Greenwood St., Steuben County

How the Red Cross encourages families to stay safe during a winter storm:
  • Minimize travel outdoors. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. If possible, try to stay indoors. 
  • Visit for more information on how to make an emergency kit! 

-Angela Lorusso
Communications Intern 

Turn Clocks Ahead for Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Saving Time was this past weekend and the American Red Cross wants to remind everyone to TEST the batteries in their smoke alarms as they TURN their clocks ahead an hour. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying from a home fire in half. 

The American Red Cross urges people to take these steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.

  • Checks smoke alarm batteries. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year- if your model requires it. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. 
  • Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn't have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one of every level of the home, inside the bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
  • Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.
  • Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.
  • Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur. 
RED CROSS APPS: People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

SOUND THE ALARM: The Red Cross asks everyone to help Sound The Alarm in Western and Central New York, and be part of the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross is joining with fire departments and community groups nationwide to install free smoke alarms in homes that need them. For more information, or to schedule an alarm installation, please visit

WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO: People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fires. They can become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting or by contacting their local chapter. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

-Angela Lorusso
Communications Intern

Monday, March 5, 2018


     75 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt first proclaimed March as Red Cross Month to raise awareness of the organization and its critical humanitarian mission. During Red Cross Month the goal is to inspire people across the country to be a hero by giving blood, or becoming a volunteer. You can also #help1family on Giving Day which is on March 28th by making a financial donation to help provide hope and relief to people who need it most.

            This March, the Red Cross salutes everyday heroes who make a difference in their local communities by donating blood or platelets to support hospital patients, volunteering to help a family devastated by a disaster, taking a first aid or CPR class to help in an emergency situation, and providing comfort to a member of the military, a veteran or their family.

            On average, each year the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters across the country providing hope and comfort to people in need.  The Red Cross collects nearly 4.9 million units of blood from more than 2.8 million volunteer donors to meet the needs of patients at hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

             The American Red Cross is asking everyone to join us in supporting families impacted by disaster and #help1family on GivingDay- Wednesday, March 28th. Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross, helping people across the country in need of emergency support.

            Here in the Western New York Region, volunteer heroes who deliver and help year-round power your local Red Cross. For example, during Hurricane Harvey, local volunteers have provided immediate financial assistance for more than 573,000 affected households, served more than 4.5 million meals and snacks, provided over 414,800 overnight stays in shelters with partners, and distributed over 1.6 million relief items like diapers, cleaning supplies, coolers and comfort kits.

             This March, become a hero in your local community by joining with the Red Cross to give back to those in need. Provide hope after a disaster and #help1family by making a financial donation at Donations can help provide urgent relief such as food, blankets and other essentials to people who need it most.

            Red Cross events to look forward to coming up in the months of March and April are the Red Cross Fire and Ice Gala in Rochester. This event will take place on April 14th. The Early Bird BASH tickets are also on sale now until March31st and this event will take place on June 1st.

-Angela Lorusso 
Communications Intern