Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring into preparedness!

If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change! Friday, I walked my son to school in the snow, then had to put my sunglasses on during the drive to work minutes later. While the weather continues to shift between sun and snow, an annual sign spring is almost here to stay comes this weekend.

Photo courtesy:
Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2am on Sunday. Now, you probably won't wake up to change your clocks at exactly 2am, but will prepare for the "spring forward" by doing so before going to bed on Saturday. Since you're preparing ahead anyway, take some time this weekend to make sure you and your family are prepared in case of emergency.

The batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be changed annually, and this is a great time to do so. You don't forget to turn the clocks ahead an hour each year, just change the batteries at the same time! At the very least, you should test your alarms to make sure they're working.

Have you or your friends and family moved in the past year? Make sure your emergency contact information is up-to-date, and includes someone from out-of-town in case disaster causes your family to be separated. Check your emergency preparedness kits to ensure none of the food or water has spoiled, and that there's at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water. Change the batteries in the flashlight and radio, and update any medications. This is a good time to replace those winter clothes in your kit with spring and summer supplies such as suntan lotion and insect repellent as well.

We all want to to be able to enjoy the spring and summer, and taking a few moments at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time to prepare can help us do so safely. For more information on how to Be Red Cross Ready, or to schedule a free emergency preparedness class at your school, business or other organization, contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch at or (716) 878-2231.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

This Saturday is a day many of us here at the Red Cross have marked on our calendars. No, I'm not talking about the start of Daylight Savings Time (actually, I'm planning on talking about that tomorrow!). March 10th is also National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. It helps organizations across the country come together to offer support, encourage discussion, and teach women and girls about prevention of HIV, the importance of getting tested for HIV, and how to live with and manage HIV/AIDS.

It's interesting that this observance comes smack in the middle of Red Cross Month, considering that our local Chapter has been providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and services since the 1980's. Just one of the programs we coordinate is the Women's HIV/AIDS Prevention & Care Initiative, which aims to reduce the rates of HIV infection in women of color. In fact, our HIV/AIDS Services Department is starting a new workshop series called "SISTAS", or Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS. The group will meet for five straight Mondays, starting March 12th, to have fun and discuss HIV/AIDS educational information. Contact Nadia Pizarro at (716) 878-2164 for more information about the workshop.

If you'd like to learn more about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, click here. And don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors while turning back your clocks!! (Don't worry, we'll talk more about that tomorrow!!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's Red Cross Night at the Galleria!!

If you're like me, you're looking out the windows of your office longing to get out in the sun and relative warmth of our first real spring-like day of the year. So why sit inside when the work day is finally over?? Head on out to the mall and support a great cause while enjoying a great meal!

As the title suggests, tonight is "Red Cross Night" at the Walden Galleria, but what exactly IS "Red Cross Night", you ask? Starting at 5pm, three Walden Galleria restaurants-Bravo, Gordon Biersch, and The Melting Pot-are donating 10% of customer's bills this evening to the American Red Cross. No flyers or coupons are necessary, so all you have to do to support our mission is sit and eat!

You didn't want to cook on a beautiful evening like this anyway, so get out and celebrate Red Cross Month with the Walden Galleria! Our thanks to the Walden Galleria, Bravo, Gordon Biersch and The Melting Pot for their support...we'll see you there tonight!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"City of Good Neighbors" coming through again

March is Red Cross Month, a time when we celebrate all of our supporters for helping us make a difference in the communities we live in, while encouraging more people to Join Us as a donor or volunteer. While we here in Western New York are also celebrating a sunny day and a warm forecast, Mother Nature has not been so kind nationwide.

Red Cross workers in Henryville, IN.
Photo courtesy: Daniel Cima/American Red Cross
 The Red Cross has sheltered hundreds of people displaced by tornadoes in 11 states since last Wednesday, and as we have come to expect, Western New Yorkers are once again stepping up to help our neighbors in need. Disaster Mental Health volunteer Marieanna Elliott of Hamburg will be flying to Louisville, KY on Tuesday to provide emotional support as area residents try to cope with the devastation the storms left behind. Marieanna recently provided similar services during a deployment to Alabama in January, and dozens of local volunteers and staffers provided assistance to those affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in the fall. As the disaster assessment following the recent series of storms continues, additional volunteers from this area stand ready to join Marieanna if called upon.

As we celebrate Red Cross Month, we want to take a moment to celebrate all of our volunteers who, like Marieanna this week, sacrifice so much to help us turn heartbreak into hope in times of disaster here at home and across the country. And we also celebrate our donors, whose support makes our mission possible.

You can see more about what the Red Cross is doing in Kentucky and North Carolina, and visit for first-hand stories from those who lived through these storms, and how you can help us celebrate Red Cross Month by supporting our disaster relief efforts.