Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two from Western & Central Red Cross Deploying to Help in Winter Storm Relief

UPDATED: A third Regional volunteer is also deploying to assist in the efforts

A third American Red Cross volunteer from the Western and Central New York Region is deploying to Boston, MA to help in the winter storm relief efforts. Diane Sargent of Lockport will be doing Disaster Assessment, going into affected areas to gauge where help is needed most.

Sargent joins Regional Disaster Program Officer Kenneth J. Turner of Buffalo, who will serve as Divisional Management Response Team (DMRT) Director, and volunteer Sarah Perkins of Pittsford, who will serve as Disaster Assessment Lead. All three recently served in leadership roles during the response to the Western New York Snowstorm in November 2014.

As people begin to dig out from the Northeast blizzard, the American Red Cross is helping, making sure people have food and a safe place to stay. The Red Cross opened or supported 24 shelters in Massachusetts, where more than 340 people spent Tuesday night in Red Cross and independent shelters. Red Cross workers also served more than 4,800 meals and snacks in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

While this storm did not affect Western & Central New York, the American Red Cross urges everyone to take this time to prepare themselves and their loved ones for disasters like winter storms. The Red Cross is partnering with New York State to offer free Citizen Preparedness Corps Training. A trained Red Cross representative will provide a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made disasters. A 15-minute online version of this program is also available at  (select Red Cross from the referral dropdown menu), or to schedule an in-person Citizen Preparedness Corps training, please contact Individual and Community Preparedness Specialist Veronica Chiesi Brown at 585-241-4405 or

The Red Cross relies on financial contributions to provide help and comfort to disaster victims anywhere, anytime. You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms, home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

We know how you feel, East Coasters!

Hopefully, things won't be as bad for our East Coast neighbors
as they were for many Western New Yorkers in November
Unless you've been under a rock the past 24 hours or so, you know the East Coast is bracing for what they're calling a "potentially historic" blizzard over the next 24-48 hours. This storm is expected to largely miss our Region, and after November 2014 the people of Western New York may be having a hard time thinking of two feet of snow as "historic". But as we learned all too well, road closures and travel bans can leave people stranded in their homes or cars, and this storm has the potential to affect millions of people. 

While our volunteers standby to return the favor and help our downstate and East Coast neighbors as they helped us last November, we need to remember that winter is not over. Our turn could be coming again sooner than you think, and the time to prepare is now! Think about how much these simple steps could have helped your family get through "Snowvember": 

  • Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Weather conditions and travel bans may force your family to shelter-in-place at your home. Make sure your kit includes at least three days water and non-perishable food, as well as essential medications. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
  • Keep an Emergency Preparedness Kit in your Car: Remember, many people thought they could make it to their destination and ended up stranded in their car for hours. Make sure your car preparedness kit includes high-protein snacks and water, as well as a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing for each family member.

Click here for 15 minutes that can help your family stay safe!
Want more tips on how to help prepare your family for emergencies such as a blizzard? Take 15 minutes and take New York State's free, online Citizen Preparedness Corps training (choose "referral from the American Red Cross" on the drop-down menu). We can also send a trained instructor to provide this potentially life-saving information in-person at your school, business or organization. Just contact Preparedness Specialist Veronica Chiesi Brown and she'll hook you up. Remember, this storm may be missing us, but that means this is a great time to gear up for the next blast!