Friday, July 29, 2011

Help refuel our tank!!

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As you may know, the American Red Cross provides more than 40% of the blood supply in the United States and the need for blood is constant.  
Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion, which means each donation a volunteer makes can save more than one life.  To help encourage volunteers to donate, the American Red Cross has started an exciting and new Donor Rewards program. 
Donors who give:
  • Red Cell (Whole Blood)  get 500 points per donation
  • Double Red Cell (Red Cell pts x2)  get  1,000 points per donation
  • Platelets get 250 points per donation

In addition, each new participant will receive 250 registration points after successfully reporting blood donation activity on the Red Cross Racing website, and you get more points by referring friends!

The more points you get, the cooler the rewards! To learn more, visit  

Looking to show your support? If you’re a Tweeter, use the hashtag #RefuelOurTank so more people can be in the know, and visit to set up an appointment to donate.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Glimpse World-wide

Something that we are often unaware of is the number of disaster happening across the globe.  They often get overshadowed in the news by a more geographically relevant story or a pop singer’s engagement to a no-body, which is just one of the many reasons working and being involved with the American Red Cross is such an honor.  Every day we are made aware of disasters, man-made and natural, happening across the globe that, for the most part, you won’t be hearing about on the regular 6 o’clock news.
For instance:

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In Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya water sources are dwindling, rural families are increasingly consuming untreated water, collected directly from streams and rivers, putting them at serious risk from waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Fields used by farmers for grazing livestock have dried up in the worsening drought, causing many families to uproot and migrate in search of viable food and water sources.
The rising cost of fuel and food as well as political insecurity in some areas of Somalia has also exacerbated problems.

“The need is dire at best as families grapple with the lack of food, water and health services, and the American Red Cross is eager to support our local partners that are tackling malnutrition, providing water and medical care, stabilizing livelihoods, and mitigating other consequences of this complex crisis,” said Apu Patel, regional director for Africa with the American Red Cross.

In the Philippines, Typhoon season has begun.  In the past 36 hours more than 645,000 people have been evacuated after Tropical Storm Nock-Ten caused major flooding and damage across the county. 
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“Thanks to our network of skilled and experienced volunteers, we have fulfilled our auxiliary role by supporting evacuation and rescue efforts of local disaster authoriti[es],” said  PRC Secretary General, Gwendolyn Pang.  “Our staff and volunteers are currently undertaking surveys on the ground to determine the extent and nature of assistance that may be needed by affected families.”

This storm is now heading towards Vietnam.  Local authorities have already been reporting high wind and rain, and warnings have been issued to local boaters and fisherman.  Preparedness is helping the Vietnamese breathe a little easier since 10,000 household kits (made up of blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and water containers) are available in-country and there is one water treatment unit on standby along with one million water purification packets.  

Visit the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies online to learn more about the international relief and disaster preparedness efforts happening across the globe. 

Visit the American Red Cross online to learn more about the relief and disaster preparedness efforts happening across the country.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Safely and swimmingly

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Water safety is always an important topic, especially during the summer months here in Buffalo.  The air is stifling and the humidity is often relentless which means we run to our air conditioner or the closest body of water.  What we need to be more aware of is which bodies of water we are flocking to.
“No Swimming” signs are always hung for a reason.  Whether there is a dangerous current, poor water quality, a steep drop off, no supervision, or a lake/pond floor that is too soft, swimmers should beware and steer clear of that water.  And these aren’t the only areas we should be cautious of. 

If you find a new pond or area of the lake that doesn’t say “No Swimming,” it still doesn’t mean that it is safe to swim in.  We should be limiting ourselves to bodies of water that are supervised by lifeguards and that say swimming is permitted. That way we know that when we enter the water, we are safe, and if something were to ever happen, a lifeguard would be there to help.

To learn more, tune into WIVB tonight to learn more about water safety, learn some of the basic skills you should know in case you need to save someone’s life, and check out this morning's segment that highlights some great safety tips!

Do you or a family member need to learn how to swim, want to become a lifeguard, or want to learn CPR/AED and basic first aid? Visit us online to learn more about our courses and when they are offered.

Looking for a local spot to swim? Try one of these below!

Kenmore Pool
255 Mang Avenue,
Kenmore, NY 14217
(716) 873-6225

Beaver Island State Park
2136 West Oakfield Road
Grand Island, NY 14072
(716) 773-3271

North Forest Pool
85 North Forest Road,
Buffalo, NY 14221-5229
(716) 631-7275

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Float on!

Coast Guard Approved Flotation Devices. Those are always the words that plague a parent who just wants to get into a boat with their kids! Why are life jackets so important for everyone to be wearing?! We can all swim, so we don’t need one, right?   
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Wrong! There is a big difference between jumping into a pool and swimming with your friends and family then being knocked or flipped off a boat in a river, lake, or ocean. So, I went and did a little research online at the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  They have great information about the importance of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD (for the purposes of this blog post I‘ll be referring to lifejackets solely as PFD)) and why individuals should be wearing them.  
So, the main question I wanted answered when on my research was one I always used to ask my parents when out on a boat… why do I need to where a PFD, I’ve been through all of my Red Cross swimming certifications! (Ok, I didn’t say that last part, but I did say that I could swim) My parent’s response never had to be very succinct, after all, they were my parents and if they said I needed a PFD on before I boarded the boat, I was going to have one on.  But, it now makes total sense why everyone should have one on.  
As the USCG website so perfectly states, “you need your PFD before you’re unconscious, otherwise, how would you put it on?” If you’re going over board against your will, you won’t have enough time to put on your PFD, and the chance of you hitting your head, going unconscious or just getting tired of treading water before help comes for you is pretty high.  Just think of a PFD as a seatbelt in the car.  Wearing one protects you IN CASE.  We would never be able to buckle ourselves in before the accident happens which is why we put them on before that could even happen.  
Something else I learned while looking through the USCG website is that kids often panic when suddenly put into the water.  This panic causes them to often flail and kick there legs, which does not allow a traditional PFD to do it’s job.  The child will stay afloat, but not necessarily face up, which could cause them to begin to panic even more.  The USCG urges parents to teach kids about their PFD and to practice using it once or twice in a pool so that they are comfortable in it and will know how to maximize it’s effectiveness if they ever need to use it in an emergency situation.  
Now that we all understand the importance of the PFD, I’m sure that you are ready to finally buckle down and purchase them for the safety of yourself and all of your boat mates! So, if you’d like to find some stylish ones, you can click here to see some USCG approved PFDs from Overton’s, Amazon, Jamestown Distributors, and Best Buy Pool Supply.  
If you would like to learn more about how to choose the PFD that is right for you and your family, click here to visit the USCG online.  
For more information on our Learn to Swim, First Aid or CPR/AED training courses, click here to visit the American Red Cross online.
Pets need PFDs too!!
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