Friday, July 15, 2011

Nothing like a Clean Sweep

Photo courtesy of
It’s “Clean Sweep” here at the Chapter today, which means it’s time to organize, clean, and get ourselves back into top notch working order!  Since most of us here consider this building our home away from home, you can imagine the amount of stuff we collect between Clean Sweep days, and, even better, the stuff that we thought we lost, but find! 
Another great thing that I like to incorporate into “Clean Sweep” days is my emergency kit.  We always suggest that people go through there emergency kit about 1 time a year to make sure that:
  •         Nothing in your kit is expiring within the next 2-3 years
    •         If it is, substitute the older items out for newer items
    •      Remember to check you water’s expiration date!
  •         Nothing is leaking
  •        All of your flashlights and radios work
  •        Your batteries are still sealed and haven’t broken
  •        No one has resorted to sneaking your emergency kit food since your cupboards were empty

Just this quick check will make sure that the time you took to make and maintain your emergency will not be for naught, AND  if an emergency comes, you won’t be stuck risking your life eating expired food, drinking expired water or stuck in the dark because you failed to check to make sure your flashlight was still in working order. 
For more information on making and maintaining an emergency kit, click here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sun tans in Buffalo?!

An amazing sun umbrella I found!
 It can tell the time!!
Planetary Parasol Designed by Kota Nezu, Photo courtesy of

As our festival season pushes forward and we continue to try to get the most out of the sunshine and snow free sidewalks and grass as possible, the temperature and humidity just don’t seem to want to give us a break!  But heat and humidity aren’t enough to keep us indoors here at the Red Cross! We embrace summer and all of its quirky temperature spikes and never ending humidity, and we do it safely, thanks to Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.  He’s given us some quick and easy tips to make sure that we all stay safe this summer!   

  •          Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol- they dehydrate the body!
  •          Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing in layers and avoid dark colors that absorb the sun’s rays
  •          If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks to hydrate and cool yourself. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day
  •          Protect yourself from sun exposure even on cloudy or hazy days. In addition to dressing for heat, apply a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and reapply as indicated, wear eye protection (wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection) and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  •          Never leave a child or pet in a parked car – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees
  •          Be a good neighbor. Check in on the elderly, young children and pets to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.

With these tips in mind, everyone can safely go outside without the fear of dehydration, heat stroke, and/or sunburn which means nothing will be slowing you down from making the most out of your summer!
Additional heat safety tips are available at
Learn how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses by attending a Red Cross First Aid course. Visit to learn more.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As people grow older it seems as if whistles get less and less fun.  I remember happily deafening myself throughout my childhood to make that shrilling noise and now I jump a foot in the air, search all around to find out who’s making the ruckus, breathe a sigh of relief when I realize it’s just a kid having fun, and then cringe at the endless piercing.  
Photo courtesy of

But as an emergency preparedness promoter I cannot say that I wish I could ban all whistles from the face of the earth.  Besides the fact that sports games would be a complete mess without that resounding noise, they are also a fabulous way to draw attention to yourself.  This is why during every presentation I give in the community, whistles are always on my agenda.  Why you ask?

Say that you are sleeping in your room one evening and you awake to the sounds of fire alarms.  When you get to the door, it’s hot, and smoke is beginning to enter the room.  What do you do? If it’s not possible to get out through another door or safely exit a window, you should, if you have a phone in your room, call 9-1-1 and tell them that your house is on fire and that you’re are stuck.  You can then crack a window (DON’T open it all the way unless you are going to jump or be rescued immediately) for fresh air, grab your trusty whistle (which we advise everyone to have in each bedroom of their home) and blow it.  Not only will the noise of the whistle travel much farther and much louder than your voice but it will also prevent you from inhaling as much smoke as you would be yelling. 
Aside from by your bedside, we also advice you to have a whistle in your emergency kit incase you’re ever trapped or need to get someone’s attention quickly during an emergency and/or disaster as well as have a whistle on your keychain so that you will always be able to draw attention to yourselves if you need help.

For more information on what else you should pack in your emergency kit, click here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What do you keep behind your ID?

As I was helping put together materials for a fantastically fun scavenger hunt we’re participating in at the end of the week, I was racking my brain for more things to put in the mock emergency kits, when I realized… what about emergency information!! After this almost too obvious answer to my question, I couldn’t help but feel that we have been slightly neglecting that topic in this blog. So, I fully plan on rectifying that situation right now!
If you were to collapse or were somehow injured and unable to communicate, would people know how to contact your loved ones? For me, that answer is yes.  And not just because I never part ways with my cell phone.  My phone does have ICE programmed in and I have all of my families information plugged in as well, however, I also carry an emergency contact sheet in my wallet.  That way, when first responders are looking for my identification, they’ll pull out my ID and see everything I need them to know about me.  On this sheet is my:
·         Name
·         Date of birth
·         Address
·         Medical history
·         All of my doctor’s phone numbers (Whether you have a foot doctor, back doctor or general physician, ALL of your doctors should be listed, you’ll never know who you need!)
·         Medication I take, including the dosage and frequency I take it
·         Allergies
·         Blood type
·         Emergency contact information for 3 individuals (2 local and 1 out of the area)
Because of this, I feel much safer and secure walking and driving around, because if something were to happen to me, I know that I have a much better chance of receiving the proper medical care and the people that are important to me will be contacted so that they aren’t wondering why I never made it to brunch.
So now comes the question, do you have all of this information written down and in your wallet, bag, purse, or book bag?

If you DON’T have all of this information near your I.D. already, I highly suggest clicking one of the following links for a template, OR, just typing out your information in a word document!
·         Template 1
·         Template 2
·         Template 3
·   If you change addresses, develop more of a medical history, begin to take new medications, develop new allergies, or want new emergency contacts, be sure to update your sheet!!
·   Be sure that your emergency contacts KNOW that they are your emergency contacts.
·   Once you fill out this sheet, photo-copy it and stick a copy in your emergency kit, your car, and anywhere else that you spend a lot of time.
o   Don’t have an emergency kit? Click here!
If you DO have all this information already near your I.D. and your emergency kit packed an updated, awesome job!! You are Red Cross Ready.