Friday, February 11, 2011

Dinner with Clara Barton!

We here at the Chapter are blessed to be able to work every day here in the beautiful Clement mansion.  Last night, we invited a few friends over for dinner!  Over drinks and a delicious meal catered by Brodo, guests at the Clement House Supper said goodbye to a long-time member of the team, while welcoming Clara Barton to Buffalo.  Well, sort of, anyway!

After 12 years with the Red Cross, Tracy Sawicki took over as Executive Director of The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation last month.  Tracy returned to the Chapter last night, where she was honored for her immeasurable contributions to the Chapter over the years.  In appreciation of her efforts, our Executive Director, Nancy Blaschak, presented Tracy with a gorgeous portrait of the Clement Mansion painted by local artist Doreen Deboth.  Tracy is greatly missed here at the Chapter, but now she can have a reminder of her years here hanging on the wall in her new office!

As we said goodbye to Tracy, we also introduced the Clara Barton Society.  Named for the founder of the Red Cross, the Clara Barton Society honors individuals and families who generously donate $1,000 or more to Chapter's annual fund every year to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross.  Last night, the founding members of the Clara Barton Society were recognized and presented with a pin, a small token of our thanks for helping us serve the Western New York community.  To learn more about the Clara Barton Society and how you can become a member, contact Jerilyn J. Hickey at (716) 878-2383 or

As a relatively new member of the Chapter team, the highlight of the night for me was hearing long-time staff members share their stories of the Red Cross.  Nancy shared several stories, including one about some flash flooding in the town of Derby.  She was doing some grocery shopping with her family when the Red Cross was asked to open a shelter for people who had been forced out of their homes by the rising waters.  Nancy was close by, so she got to the location before our Disaster Action Team volunteers.  Several people had already come at the shelter, looking for help and nervously wondering what to do next.  When Nancy and her family walked in, one of the emergency personnel on hand recognized her and said, "The Red Cross is here!  Everything's going to be OK!"  Even though no food or emergency supplies were available yet, just hearing that the Red Cross was helping was enough to calm the nerves of the people who needed comfort.

It's stories like this that make me feel honored to be even a small part of this amazing organization!  Please take a moment to send your Red Cross Moment to  I look forward to hearing what the Red Cross means to you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A burrito in your emergency kit?!

What in the world is that? Tinfoil? A burrito? All valid answers.
But the correct answer is… a survival blanket! 
These blankets are tough, durable, waterproof and totally compact. Granted, they are quite noisy--imagine wrapping your body in tinfoil!  But unlike tinfoil, these blankets are made of mylar.... Much like everyone’s favorite birthday balloons.  Because of this, when wrapped up in one of these blankets, up to 90% of your body heat is reflected back to you, so if you’re without a heater, you can become your own personal one!
Now of course, no one would ever replace their favorite warm and fluffy blankets on the couch with these, but they're a great tool to have in your car or emergency kit. And in this cold and wet weather, you'll appreciate having one around if your car breaks down.
Wondering what else you should be keeping in your emergency kit to be prepared? Check out some of our suggestions online for making a kit and getting prepared or visit our store to purchase your own kit!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What can you do to thwart the flu?

As a self proclaimed flu-aphobic, I refuse to come down with the flu each year… and so far my own self reliance has done well for me, knock on wood.  But as always, as I was sitting down to ponder about a good blog article, I realized, I don’t even really know what the flu is! Which isn’t a good thing, “know thy enemy” after all! And now that I do, hopefully I will yet again be successful at defeating that pesky virus this year and, after you read below, you will as well!
Influenza, or as us simpletons call it, the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of viruses.  Here in the United States, we have a flu season that begins every fall and ends every spring, which is when people catch the “seasonal flu.”  On average, the flu affects 5-20% of our population, minus you and I this year!, with symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening.  It is spread from person to person when someone with that has the flu coughs and/or sneezes without properly covering their nose and mouth. 
What can you do to thwart the flu?
·         Get your flu shot every year for the best chance of protection
·         Always practice good health habits to maintain your body’s resistance to infection
o   Eat a balanced diet
o   Drink plenty of fluids
o   Exercise daily
o   Manage stress
o   Get enough rest and sleep
·         Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
·         Avoid or minimize contact with people who are sick
o   A three feet distance is recommended
·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
·         Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow
·         Stay away from others as much as possible when you are sick
o   Anyone with a fever or other symptoms of the flu should stay home from work or school until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone (without medications)
For more information on the flu, please visit us online!!
Can’t get your kids, or maybe your co-workers, to wash their hands or cough and sneeze properly? Call us to learn more about our Scrubby Bear presentations! We’ll make hygiene fun!
To schedule a presentation or to learn more, please contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at (716) 878-2231 or 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blood? Platelets? Plasma? What?!

When we go out in the community, people often ask us questions about blood.  Now, working closely with the Chapter means that I don't really hear that much about blood, but since I do work with the Red Cross I SHOULD know the difference between red blood cells, platelets and plasma right? Well, I now do!
Red Blood Cells- help treat anemia or acute blood loss and carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.  Red Blood cells last up to 42 days.
Platelets- help control bleeding; replace platelets destroyed by disease or cancer therapy.  Platelets must be used within 5 days.
Plasma- supplies nutrients to cells, used to replace fluids in shock and burn victims.  Frozen plasma may be kept for up to 1 year.
What else have I learned through my educational journey you ask?
·  An average adult has about 10 pints of blood in their body.
·  Type O negative red blood cells can be transfused to patients of all blood types.  It is always in great demand and often in short supply
·  Whole blood contains: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets suspended in plasma
·  There are 8 common red blood cells types
·  One unit of blood= about 1 pint of blood
If you’d like to learn more about the different blood types, what to expect when donating blood, volunteer opportunities or to find an upcoming blood drive, please visit us online!