Thursday, March 15, 2012

A flood of safety tips...

As I write this, a Small Stream Flood Advisory has been issued for southern Erie, western Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties until 1:45pm today (Thursday). Spring brings so many good things, but it also brings the potential for flooding, and the time to prepare is now.

This is Flood Safety Awareness Week, and we're already seeing an example of why it's important to know the hazards flood waters can bring. The Red Cross is currently working in Louisiana, providing food and shelter to residents in Lafayette and Saint Martin parishes, where several people had to be rescued when their vehicles became trapped in high waters.

While flooding can happen anywhere at any time, with the shorelines for Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Niagara and Buffalo Rivers and numerous creeks and streams, it's a regular occurrence in this area. Therefore, it's important we keep in mind the dangers flood waters can cause. Did you know that just six inches of fast-moving water can sweep a person off their feet? Or that most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water?

During this flood safety awareness week, take a moment to make sure you and your family are prepared should the waters begin rising in your neighborhood. This Be Red Cross Ready checklist will help you, and you can learn more tips by scheduling a free disaster preparedness education program at your school, business or organization by calling (716) 878-2230.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Japan, One Year Later

Last year at this time, we were all watching the shocking images of the damage caused by a devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan on March 11th, 2011. As often happens when the media brings us the story of an unfolding tragedy, people around the world immediately began asking what they could do to help. In this case, the Japanese Red Cross was well equipped to respond to this disaster, but they did accept financial support, and the American Red Cross raised more than $312 million to support the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief efforts.

Of course, Western New Yorkers stepped up to help their neighbors in need. Channel 7 viewers pledged over $20,000 in just two hours during a live "Join Us to Help Japan" broadcast. Wegmans shoppers made contributions at the checkout, while the Wegmans Family Foundation contributed $100,000 to the relief efforts. Delta Sonic donated $50,000, and hundreds of other individuals and organizations made contributions the the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.

Now, one year later, you can see how that generosity is making a difference in the lives of the Japanese people affected by this disaster. Donations to the American Red Cross have helped to four temporary hospitals, one permanent hospital and a community health clinic, rebuild a Red Cross nursing school to train specialists in disaster health care, provide refrigerators and cookers to 316,000 survivors living in temporary housing and much more. A full Japan Earthquake and Tsunami one-year update is available here.

As always, thank you for helping the Red Cross turn heartbreak into hope down the street, across the country and around the world.