Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another umbrella bites the dust!

Aside from just being a pain to walk and drive in, high winds can also cause downed power lines and trees, flying debris, power outages and damage to buildings, vehicles, and even people. If you've looked out your window or taken out your ear buds, you know that it’s pretty darn windy outside! Not that getting tossed around in the wind is anything that we’re not used to here in Buffalo, but when the weather channels start announcing High Wind Warnings I often wonder… how much more windy can it really get?! According to the National Weather Service though, this particular warning is calling for sustained winds between 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50mph.
How to prepare for high winds?
·         Remove dead trees
·         Remove overhanging branches near structures
·         Remove loose roofing materials
·         Make sure all of your outdoor lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other objects are secured to prevent them from blowing away
·         Make sure all of your windows and doors are securely attached and latched closed

What should you do during a high wind warning?
·         Stay indoors, it’s the safest place for you to be
·         If outdoors, watch for flying debris, falling tree limbs, and any objects that are not properly secured
·         Stay away from the roads and/or train tracks
·         Use handrails wherever available
·         Don’t touch anything near a downed power line, including vehicles, tree branches, puddles, and snow
·         Don’t touch anyone who has been shocked who could be in direct or indirect contact with a power line
·         If driving, keep both hands on your wheel and slow down! Cars, debris, and even people may come into your path 
o   If the wind is too severe for you to maintain control of your car, pull over onto the shoulder of the road, stop, and turn on your hazard lights… make sure that you’re away from trees and other tall objects that could fall
o   If a power line falls onto your car: 
§  Stay inside of your vehicle
§  Don't touch any of your car's metal frame
§  Honk your horn
§  Roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger
§  Call the police
§  Do not exit the car until help arrives
·   If your car catches fire, open the door and JUMP without touching any of the metal parts of your car and get away quickly
Wondering what the different levels of wind speed mean? Take a gander at the Beaufort Wind Scale to see how our local meteorologists define our windy weather!
Beaufort Wind Scale
·         25 - 31 mph: Strong Breeze
o   Large branches in motion
o   Whistling in telephone wires
o   Umbrellas used with difficulty
·         32 - 38 mph: Near Gale
o   Whole trees in motion
o   Resistance felt while walking against the wind
·         39 - 46 mph: Gale
o   Twigs break off of trees
o   Wind impedes walking
·         47 - 54 mph: Strong Gale
o   Slight structural damage to chimneys and slate roofs
·         55 - 63 mph: Storm
o   Seldom felt inland
o   Trees uprooted
o   Considerable structural damage
·         73 + mph: Hurricane
o   Widespread structural damage
o   Roofs torn off homes
o   Weak buildings and mobile homes destroyed
o   Large trees uprooted
Click here to learn more about the Beaufort Scale.
For more information on how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to wind related emergencies, visit us online or call us here at the Chapter at 716-886-7500 to schedule a presentation for your school, organization, or church.
Information for this article was provided by LIPA.  To learn more, visit them online!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Be "Red Cross Ready" For Potential Tornadoes

Tornadoes are not something that we generally worry about here in WNY, however the National Weather Service has just issued a Tornado Watch for all of Western New York until 10pm. 
Photo courtesy of
What does this mean?
Tornadoes are possible in and near this area. 

What should you do?
During any storm, residents should monitor radio and television news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings.  People should also be aware of the following tornado danger signs:

          Dark, often greenish clouds
          Wall cloud—an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
          Cloud of debris
          Large hail
          Funnel cloud—a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
          Roaring noise

Should a tornado threaten or a Tornado Warning be issued, SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.  Do not wait until you see the tornado.  The safest place to be in a tornado is an underground shelter, basement, or safe room.  Following a tornado, stay out of damaged buildings, watch for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and check for any injuries.
For more information on tornadoes, check out our tornado tip sheet online. 

Are you Red Cross Ready?

For information on how you and your family can be Red Cross Ready for any disaster, such as a tornado, fire, or flood, visit us online. 

For more information on how to be Red Cross Ready for a possible tornado, please contact the American Red Cross, Greater Buffalo Chapter at (716) 886-7500, or visit

Lend a helping hand

Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross
Jackson Tornado '08 Flickr
The American Red Cross is hard at work helping families return to their neighborhoods after deadly  storms ripped through the south.  Tornadoes caused devastation and left little remaining so we're there supporting residents, making sure that they have food to eat, a safe place to stay, and someone to listen.  
In addition to these disasters, wildfires have been burning and spreading for days across Texas, destroying hundreds of thousands of acres.   Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground helping the people who have been forced from their homes and making sure that all the emergency responders have enough food and water. 
Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers and nearly 50 Red Cross emergency response vehicles have fanned out across the wildfire and tornado disaster scenes, opening shelters, feeding those affected, and distributing personal hygiene items and materials to help with the clean-up.  Within the last week and a half they have served more than 43,000 meals and snacks with the support of community partners.
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to get help to people affected by disasters like these. Please consider making a donation today to help to those in need. Visit us online, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to:
American Red Cross
Greater Buffalo Chapter
786 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209

or to

American Red Cross
P.O. Box 37243

Washington, DC 20013
Interested in becoming one of our volunteers that responds to disasters? Visit us online to learn more about the courses that you need to take in order to respond to the next disaster, click here to view our course schedule, or call us here at the Chapter, 716.886.7500, to learn more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Are you looking to make a difference?

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity that will give you the chance to have an immediate impact on a community in need?

Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross of the
Los Angeles Region
At this very moment, Red Cross volunteers who have gone through our disaster response trainings are being deployed across the country to help aid residents who have been displaced by storms and other natural disasters. 
If you’d like a volunteer opportunity that will allow you to make a difference during the next disaster, visit us online to learn more about our DAT team and to see our upcoming training schedule,  or call us here at the Chapter,  716.886.7500, to learn more about how you can make a difference.    

To learn more about volunteers who have made a difference, click on their names below:

Monday, April 25, 2011

You can count on us 24/7!

Even when the calendar says that it’s a holiday, the American Red Cross is still prepared to respond when needed, which is exactly what happened this Easter evening.  While most people were spending the holiday weekend with their families, our Disaster Action Team was on call in case there were any disasters here in Western New York.  There happened to be three.
Photo courtesy of the Kadena County Chapter
of the American Red Cross

In the course of 24 hours, our Disaster Action Team was called to respond to three separate house fires.  The first was at approximately 6pm Sunday to assist a family of four following a trailer fire on Carefree Lane in Cheektowaga, the second at approximately 11:30pm to assist after a fire on Mayor Lane in Buffalo’s Riverside district, and the third at approximately 2:20am to assist after a fire at a boarding house on Plymouth Avenue on the city’s West Side.  We are now providing assistance to help meet the immediate needs of the 13 individuals affected by the fire, which is a service we provide to free of charge to individuals who have experienced natural or man-made disasters, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… even on holidays!
Our assistance includes:
·         Vouchers for food, clothing, and household goods.
·         Temporary housing.
·         Health services and referrals.
·         Referrals to housing and other social service agencies.
If you would like to learn more about our amazing DAT volunteers or how you can become one, please visit us online or call the Buffalo Chapter at (716) 886-7500.