Friday, August 10, 2012

Making that "Night Out" a little safer for everyone

On Tuesday, various communities across Western New York and the nation joined together for the 29th Annual National Night Out, designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and strengthen neighborhood spirit. What better way to increase that spirit than to make sure community residents know what to do in case of an emergency??

Louise Porter discussing important safety tips during
West Seneca's "National Night Out" event at Southgate Plaza

The American Red Cross was proud to take part in two area National Night Out events Tuesday--at the Lincoln Arena in Tonawanda and the Southgate Plaza in West Seneca. In Tonawanda, Regional Preparedness Coordinator Denise Herkey-Jarosch and volunteer Bonnie Klein provided attendees with materials designed to help them prepare for various emergencies, and Denise even demonstrated hands-only CPR! Prepared and Ready coordinator Louise Porter joined with intern Nicole Roma to let the community in West Seneca know what the Red Cross can do for them.
At Lincoln Arena in Tonawanda, Bonnie Klein teaches a
youngster about the importance of emergency preparedness

In all, well over 450 preparedness materials were distributed on the night, covering topics ranger from water safety to how to perform hands-only CPR. The Red Cross thanks the agencies responsible for National Night Out for inviting us to be a part of the evening, and hope that we have done our part to make these communities a little safer for everyone.

If you'd like to schedule a FREE emergency preparedness education program at your school, business or other organization, just contact Denise at or (716) 878-2231.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dealing with Disaster

It seems that every story on the news lately has been about one of two things: The 2012 London Olympics, or tragedy. Just today comes the news that the suspect in the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That disaster came on the heels of the Colorado Theater shooting. Closer to home, the Niagara County community of Wilson continues to recover from a fatal house explosion last month that left the surviving family members homeless and grieving.

Here at the Red Cross, we are blessed to have a team of trained, talented and experienced Disaster Mental Health volunteers on call to help our disaster clients deal with their emotion response to a traumatic situation. However, as we saw with the Wilson tragedy, the surrounding community can be deeply affected by the situation as well. Friends and classmates of the teenage girl that passed away and her siblings, extended family members, friends and acquaintances, even emergency personnel that responded to the scene were all touched by this situation. People who didn't even know the family may find themselves disturbed or depressed by the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.

While our Disaster Mental Health services focus on the victims themselves, it's important for the rest of the community to know that it's normal to feel anxious, stressed or depressed following a disaster, and that it's okay to seek help. One great resource for community members touched by tragedy is the Disaster Distress Hotline. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide emotional support and local referral information for those experience distress following a disaster. Just call 1-800-985-5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66746 to reach their regional call center.