Friday, May 27, 2011

Are you 15+ looking to be near the water all summer?

Photo courtesy of the
University of New Hampshire
Are you 15 or older and looking for a great summer job or a challenging career? The American Red Cross Lifeguarding is the best place to start!
Lifeguarding puts you in an exciting position, working as part of a team to help people safely enjoy the water.
·         May 29th

·         June 5th
You can search for local courses here, register for a course online, or by phone 716.878.2377. 
What the course entails:
·         Prerequisite skills are done the first day of class.
·         Candidates who do not complete the prerequisite skills to the instructor’s satisfaction will not be eligible to participate in the remainder of the course.
o   Most facilities do not offer refunds to participants who do not pass the prerequisites skills.
o   Check with the facility manager before participating in this course.
  • Candidates must be 15 years of age on or before the completion of the class.
  • Candidates must be of mature and dependable character.
  • Candidates must swim 300 yards continuously, using these strokes in the following order:
    • 100 yards of front crawl using rhythmic breathing and a stabilizing, propellant kick.
    • Rhythmic breathing can be performed either by breathing to the side or to the front
    • 100 yards of breaststroke using a pull, breath, kick and glide sequence
    • 100 yards of either the front crawl or breaststroke
    • The 100 yards may be a combination of front crawl or breaststroke. (Note: There is no time requirement for this skill.)
    • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards using the front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 7-10 feet,
    • Retrieve a 10-pound object, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point while
    • Maintaining two hands on the object and exit the water without using a ladder or steps, within 1
    • Minute, 40 seconds.
  • Lifeguard candidates must attend every session at the times listed by the facility. Attendance in the course does not guarantee Lifeguard certification. Candidates must pass written and practical exams.
If you aren't interested in becoming a lifeguard, but want to keep your home pool safer this summer, the American Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation have teamed up to offer an online pool safety and maintenance course.  Click here for more information and to register.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 716.878.2377.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Red Cross' response in the Midwest

The American Red Cross’ top priority when responding to disasters is to provide food, shelter and emotional support for the people whose lives have been disrupted.  This is why after disasters, it is our goal to open shelters in the damaged areas within hours so that we can begin to provide people with food, water, and a safe place to stay.

Photo courtesy of MSNBC
More than 100 people spent Monday night in a Red Cross shelter in Joplin after the tornadoes tore through the Midwest and more than 50 people sought refuge in Minnesota on Sunday.  We know that meeting these basic needs of people is extremely important to their recovery, but what is often over looked after disasters are the individual’s mental health.  This is why we encourage trained health services and mental health workers to join the Red Cross as volunteers so that we can be sure that they are being deployed to areas where they can help people cope in the aftermath of disasters.
All of this couldn’t be done without the financial support of the Red Cross’ communities across the country, and currently the Red Cross estimates that it will spend as much as $41 million responding to the disasters which have occurred since March 31.  To date, about $33.6 million has been raised in donations for these responses, which includes  the Red Cross’ responses to the myriad of disasters which have hit the United States this spring, including the wildfires in Texas, the tornadoes which devastated areas of the South, the Mississippi River flooding response, and helping people affected by this past weekend’s tornadoes
Any donation, large or small, will help with our relief effort. For example, $3 can provide a comfort kit for someone in a disaster. $6 can cover the cost of a blanket, $10 the cost of a hot meal.

To watch an interview with Red Cross volunteer, Janet Bartee, click here!

To make a donation, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
For more information about volunteering, please visit us online or contact Mary Walls at or 878-2140.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Responding to the deadly Midwest tornadoes

Just hours after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the Midwest last night, the American Red Cross opened shelters in Missouri and Minnesota to help those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.   

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “The Red Cross already has people on the ground to help in these communities, and we have more on the way today.”

Shelter’s were opened in Joblin, Missouri at Missouri Southern State University, which had approximately 110 people on Sunday night and is capable of holding up to 1,000 people, and another in Minneapolis where 200 people spent the night on Sunday.

Hundreds of relief supplies are being moved from Red Cross warehouses to Joplin and other affected areas, which include comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies. The Red Cross is also sending in additional staff, concentrating particularly on trained health and mental health workers, including two Buffalo Chapter volunteers. Jan Bartee, of Kenmore, NY, and Peggy McGee-Smith, of Kenmore, NY, will be leaving tomorrow afternoon for Joplin, Missouri. 

In addition to volunteers, emergency response vehicles will help transport supplies to the shelters and an emergency communications vehicle due to damage sustained on area infrastructure. 

As the Red Cross’ response in the Midwest begins, it continues its relief operations across the South in response to April’s tornadoes and the continued flooding along the Mississippi River. This spring, more than half of the country has been affected by damaging weather, disrupting people’s lives from North Dakota to the East Coast. Since March 31, Red Cross disaster workers have provided thousands of overnight stays in shelters, distributed thousands of cleanup and comfort kits and served more than 1.8 million meals and snacks.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

If you would like to donate your time as one of our amazing volunteers, please visit us online or contact Mary Walls of the Buffalo Chapter at 716-878-2140 or