Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weekly Worldwide Wrap-up

Wondering what has been happening around the world with the Red Cross and Red Crescents? Well, thanks to Kate Swartz, an amazing Red Cross/Blog Master from the Oregon Trail Chapter, you can find out! Below, she's compiled a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of the work we do internationally

Photo courtesy of
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Flooding caused by two typhoons is affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Hundreds have been killed and thousands left homeless as the flood waters rose. IFRC societies are busy addressing their local concerns and learning the extent of damage.

LIBYAOver the past week the ICRC has been stepping up aid for 10,000 people near the conflict area of Sirte. Locals have been fleeing their homes and heading towards the desert or nearby villages to the east and west. On October 1st a medical team reached Ibn Sina hospital, inside Sirte, with urgently needed surgical supplies. Two days later additional equipment was delivered.

SOUTH PACIFIC: After six months of little or no rainfall, several South Pacific island nations are facing a water crisis. The New Zealand Red Cross’ International Operations is working to deliver thousands of collapsible water containers, hand sanitizers, water capture devices, and emergency desalination units.

SOMALIA: The situation in Somalia remains highly critical as the struggle against food insecurity continues. Livestock has been decimated and there is no hope for an improvement in the situation until the next harvest in December. TheICRC is working to strengthen support for the Somali Red Crescent’s therapeutic feeding centers. In July and August they distributed one-month rations to over 162,000 people in the areas hardest hit by drought.

AFGHANISTAN: The ICRC issued a summary of operations during July and August, as additional emergency assistance has been needed to assist thousands of people fleeing conflicts in their villages. 10 years after the conflict began access to heath care in rural areas remains difficult, as rising prices and lack of job security are taking a toll on ordinary people’s lives.


ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross

IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fire Prevention Month

October is Fire Prevention Month, and it couldn't come at a more perfect time! The temperatures are cooling down which means the furnace is kicking on, the space heaters are coming out, our fireplaces are being lit, and the risk of having a house fire is going up.  
Nationally, the American Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 fires annually, and here in Buffalo, we respond to more than 250 fires, and those numbers always begin to increase during the colder months.  Because of this, we urge individuals to take certain precautions to prepare now, because it could be the difference between life and death later.
You should:
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month (burning dinner doesn't count!)
  • Replace your smoke alarm's batteries at least once a year (we recommend doing this when you turn back/forward your clocks)
  • Create and practice fire escape plans with your whole household (you should have TWO ways out of each room... create scenarios where you can't use a certain exit to test your escape plan)
  • Have your fireplace checked by a professional to make sure it is in working order
If you have kids, make sure that:
  • Matches and lighters are out of their reach
  • Don't leave the kitchen when baking, frying, broiling, or grilling food
And if you ever have a fire in your home, make sure once you're out, STAY OUT.  Call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's phone if you don't have your cell phone on you (Don't assume that your children know that this is what they should do, be sure to talk to them about this).

For more information about Fire Prevention Month, visit the American Red Cross online to learn more.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dipping temps

As the temperatures begin to dip, it's time to start preparing for that season we dread and push from our mind all spring, summer, and fall... winter.  Here in Buffalo though, we know that it's better to prepare now, because that white stuff has a way of sneaking up on us (i.e. the October Surprise).  So, here are some quick and easy tips to get prepared for that chilly weather:

Photo courtesy of
Be extremely careful when using candles- Although they warm the atmosphere of a room, and normally smell amazing!, they can be easily forgotten and the open flame makes them an obvious fire hazard! Use sparingly and never use an open flame as an emergency light source.

Inspect fireplaces and wood stoves- If you have one, you probably haven't given it a second thought since last February, so use caution before you light it the next chilly evening.  Have it inspected by a professional to make sure it is in working order.

Check smoke alarms- Since heaters, fireplaces, and stoves are all being used more to warm up our cold homes, it is imperative to make sure that we have working smoke alarms throughout our homes and outside all sleeping areas. This is a safety measure that could save lives and is worth the 10 minutes it takes to test all the alarms in your household.

Update your emergency supply kit- Now that cold weather is settling upon us, it is important to make sure that our emergency supply kits are stocked with items such as gloves, a coat, extra socks, and hats.

For more information about what items to pack in your kit to prepare for the cold weather, and tips on how to dress to stay warm, visit us online.

To schedule a free presentation (click here to learn more) that goes over how to be Red Cross Ready for a winter storm, please contact 886-7500 and ask for Denise Herkey-Jarosch or Louise Porter.