Friday, May 24, 2013

WNY Red Cross Volunteer Deploying to Oklahoma

Tornado relief will continue over Memorial Day Weekend
BUFFALO, NY, May 24, 2013 – An American Red Cross volunteer from Western New York is deploying to assist in the tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma. Tom Daley of Tonawanda is scheduled to leave Saturday and will serve in Client Casework, meeting one-on-one with affected residents to determine their needs. 

 A Red Cross volunteer gives supplies to a soldier from
Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma who is helping
families clean up after the tornado.
Photo by Jason Colston/American Red Cross 
The American Red Cross tornado relief effort in Oklahoma will continue through the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Emergency aid stations and shelters will be open and disaster workers will be handing out food and relief supplies to those affected by this week’s devastating storms.

Ten emergency aid stations are open where people can come to get food, relief supplies, health and mental health care and information about what other help is available. In addition, meals are available at feeding sites and being distributed throughout the community, along with relief supplies.

Red Cross and community shelters are open in Oklahoma and Texas following tornadoes over the past week, and more than 600 people spent Thursday night in those shelters. The Red Cross has also:

  • Provided more than 24,000 meals working with its partner, the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Distributed more than 5,000 relief items including personal toiletries and recovery items like coolers, buckets, gloves, dust masks, trash bags, flashlights, tarps, shovels, rakes and blankets.
  • Provided more than 200 health and mental health contacts. Health services volunteers are working with the Medical Reserve Corps to visit the injured in local hospitals and helping people replace prescriptions and other medical items at emergency aid stations. Mental health workers are providing emotional support in shelters and emergency aid stations.
  • Mobilized more than 350 Red Cross workers from all over the country to help the people in Oklahoma.
  • Deployed 41 Red Cross emergency response vehicles to distribute food and relief supplies throughout neighborhoods.
  • Helped comfort those affected through its spiritual care teams.
HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

Celebrate Safely This Memorial Day

These are busy times for us. Of course, our hearts go out to the people of Moore, OK and everyone affected by this week's devastating tornadoes. The Red Cross relief efforts will continue throughout the holiday weekend and the days and weeks ahead.

Here in Western New York, we're also getting ready for the 15th Anniversary of The BASH, which believe it or not is two weeks from today. During your long holiday weekend, take a look at some of the great auction items that will be up for bid this year, and then get your tickets for the party of the summer!

Of course, many people consider Memorial Day Weekend to be the unofficial kickoff to summer. Thousands of people will be hitting the roads, firing up the grills, and hitting the water (as hard as that may be to believe with our temperatures in the 40s right now). Here's some safety tips everyone can follow not just this weekend, but throughout the summer months ahead!

DRIVE SAFELY With more people on the roads, it’s important to drive safely. Be well rested and alert, use seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. If plans include drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink. Other tips for a safe trip include:
  • Give one’s full attention to the road.  Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Make frequent stops. 
  • Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive the headlights. 

GRILLING SAFETY The Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe while cooking those tasty cookout treats:

Ombudsman volunteer Ray Boehm safely works the grill
with fellow volunteers at a recent recognition picnic.
  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use, and make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Keep the chef safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
  • Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
  • Wash one’s hands in hot soapy water before preparing food, after touching raw meat and after any interruptions such as using the bathroom, handling pets, stopping to do something with children.
SWIMMING SAFETY Learning to swim is one of the best steps someone can take to be safe around water. People can contact their local Red Cross chapter and learn how to swim as well as get the facts about water safety, home pool safety, first aid and CPR classes. Other swimming safety tips include:
  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. 
POOL SAFETY It’s important to constantly supervise children when they are near water, and in WNY we've already seen an unfortunate example of the dangers this spring. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. 

The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergency at someone’s fingertips. The free app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.