Friday, February 18, 2011

Shelter-in-place? Like a blanket fort?

While checking in with some of the blogs we follow here at the Red Cross, I came across a really interesting article posted by the Disaster Preparedness Blog about sheltering in place.  Not really a topic anyone thinks about... but they should! Disasters can happen anywhere, and the fact that we have a power plant, major train lines, Thruways and a whole other country right next to us makes the chance of us having a disaster that causes particulates to be released in the air a pretty high possiblity! Does your household know what to do when a shelter in place warning is issued? 

What is sheltering in-place?
·    Shelter-in-place is an emergency precautionary method that is put in place if there is a situation where local government believes that hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere.
o   This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm!
§  Depending on where you are, there are different steps you should take.  The information below is focused on sheltering at home.    
Why might you need to shelter-in-place?
·   Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. Should this occur, information will be provided by local authorities on television and radio stations on how to protect you and your family.
How will you know you need to shelter-in-place?
·   Information will most likely be provided on television and radio, so it is important to keep a TV or radio on, even during the workday.
Where should you shelter in place?
·   You should select a small, interior room with no or few windows to take refuge in that has a hard-wired telephone and is above ground level
o   In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed 
How do you shelter in place?
·   Get your “home” emergency supply kit
o   Need help creating a kit? Visit us online for tips on what to pack!
o   Want your employees, co-workers, parishioners, tenants or students to learn more about getting prepared? Contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch at 716.878.2231 or to schedule a Be Red Cross Ready presentation!
·   Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
·   If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
·   Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
·   Close the fireplace damper.
·   Make sure that you have a radio and that it’s working
o   News stations will tell you if the shelter in place warning has been lifted or if you need to evacuate.
·   Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
·   Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
Watch this great Red Cross video that goes over sheltering in-place.

Remember that instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate!
For more information on sheltering in place, check out this great informational sheet provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or view the Red Cross’ sheltering in-place pamphlet below to know what to do when you're not home!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Those high waters are starting to look pretty good!

Although we love this warm weather, it doesn't exactly mix well with the snow and ice that has been piling up on our sidewalks, streets and lawns these past few months.  Flood watches and warnings are in full swing across WNY, which means it's a perfect time for all of us to make sure that we brush up on flood safety and also that we have our emergency supply kits ready in case we need to make a quick evacuation.

Flood Safety:
·         Know the lingo!
o   A flood watch means a flood is possible in your area
o   A flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area
o   A flash flood watch means flash flooding is possible in your area
o   A flash flood warning means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon
·         What to do in each?
o   A flood watch
§  Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home
§  Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued
o   A flood warning
§  Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible
o   A flash flood watch
§  Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice
o   A flash flood warning
              §   If you think flooding has begun, you may have only seconds to escape, act  quickly!
§ 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 car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
For more information on how to prepare for a flood, check out the informational pamphlet below!

In your emergency supply kit you should have:
·         At least a 3-day supply of food and water
·         Flashlight
·         Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
·         Extra batteries (be sure to keep all batteries out of electronic devices in your kit)
·         First aid kit and a 7-day supply of medications
·         Baby and pet supplies
·         Personal hygiene items and extra clothing
·         Emergency blanket and rain gear
·         Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, license, insurance policies)
·         Cell phone with chargers
·         Family and emergency contact information
·         Activities to keep you and/or your family occupied

For more information on making an emergency kit, visit us online and learn more about getting a kit, making a plan and being prepared!

Do you have flood insurance?
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, causing nearly $24 billion damage over the last ten years.  However, losses due to flooding are not covered under typical homeowner’s and business insurance policies.  Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Residents are encouraged to call 1.800.427.2419 or visit FEMA for more information on flood insurance.
For tips on making sure you’re covered, check out the pamphlet below!

For more tips on how to be Red Cross Ready for a flood or any other possible disaster, please visit us online, or contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at 716.878.2231 to set up a presentation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Analyzing your assets!

Here at the Red Cross we’re always saying, “Be Red Cross Ready”! Which means you need to make a plan, get a kit and stay informed… but something that I always get hung up on is getting the kit.  How much food do I really need? What is the nutritional value of that food? How much food and what types of food do I need to feed everyone in my household while keeping them nutritionally healthy? Well, I wonder no more! While checking out some of the blogs that we follow, I stumbled upon the Food Storage Analyzer on Preparedness Pantry’s blog. 
This analyzer lets you add food and/or order food from their pantry so that you can be prepared.  In addition to that great feature alone, it also calculates the nutritional value of all that food and tells you how much food you have for how many people, for how many days.  Well, you may ask, what if they don't have the food you have in your pantry?  Don't fret! There is an option for you to type in all of the nutritional facts from the box/can/bottle yourself so that you can be a little more informed about what you actually have in storage.  So, if you don’t see the specific type of macaroni and cheese you have, your secret comfort food stash of Snickers bars or the water you have stashed away, you can click on “Add Your Own Items” to make sure that you are as up to date, prepared and aware of your current food storage situation as possible!!  Here’s what my analysis looked like:
This is a great tool for households to start tracking what they have, what they need and how nutrtionally prepared they are to brave a disaster! Curious to see how prepared you are? Click below and try out the Food Storage Analyzer yourself! And if you have a blog, be sure to follow the steps to get a free $10.00 gift card!
Gift Card Giveaway
Don't know what all the hoopla is about being "Red Cross Ready"? Schedule a Be Red Cross Ready presentation for your school, work, church or community center, by calling or e-mailing Denise Herkey-Jarosch at 716-878-2231 or
For tips on how to better prepare now so that you’re ready for the next disaster, visit us online.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Row for the Red Cross

Tired of the same old workout routine? Sick of running in a circle around an indoor track? Itching for the next marathon? Craving that competetive edge? Well we have the perfect solution for you! Join Team CrossFit Buffalo to compete in the Row for the Red Cross fundraiser!

What is Row for the Red Cross?
Row for the Red Cross is a one-day event, which will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2011. You can stop by Buffalo's CrossFit gym at 3820 Union Road, Cheektowaga NY, 14225, or any CrossFit gym across New York State to row part of or an entire 5K on a Concept2 Rowing machine!  Participatants are asked to seek individual sponsorship for the distance that they choose to row, and all proceeds will benefit your local American Red Cross Chapter!  
Individual Prizes!

•The individual that raises the most money, over $1000, will receive a certificate good for admission to a CrossFit Endurance Trainer certification class, courtesy of CrossFit Endurance.
•The top three fundraising individuals will receive a $50 gift certificate from Ranger Up.
•Any individual that raises over $1000 will receive a certificate for a free CPR/AED class offered by your local New York State Red Cross Chapter.
•All rowers who raise at least $100 will receive an event t-shirt from Ranger Up (pictured above!).
What is a CrossFit gym?
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability, which makes it a perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. They have used the same routines, which dabble in combat, survival and different sports, for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. They scale load and intensity; they don't change programs.

Intimidated? Don't be! The CrossFit gym is a great place for individuals of all levels to come and work out, which is why we here at the Chapter are thankful to have them participating in this great fundraiser.
For more information about this amazing fundraiser, visit Row for the Red Cross online and to join the Buffalo CrossFit team, click here!
To see more about all the great work you help us do through fundraising, visit us online

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be our valentine

Valentine's Day is all about friendship, appreciation, and giving, which is why we consider all of our volunteers here at the Chapter our valentines!! Our amazing valentines give their time and monetary support not to us, but to you, their neighbors.  They are the reason that we have such a strong, positive presence in the community, and they are the reason that we are able to continue to do all of the good things we do for our Buffalo neighbors. 
So when you see our valentines out responding to a fire, helping your elderly neighbors, relaying messages to our soldiers overseas, or any of the other services that we provide locally, please remember to say “thank you.” 
Want to become one of our valentines? Visit us online to see all of the opportunities available to help us in Buffalo, whether it is through volunteerism, blood donation or financial assistance.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at the Chapter!!