Author Archives: americanredcrossofcentralma

Superstorm Sandy – What a Birthday Present!

Red Cross Health Services volunteer, Cathy Stevens, chats with Marilyn during her stay at the Red Cross shelter during Superstorm Sandy.

Marilyn was scared as the winds howled in her Worcester neighborhood.  She was afraid of losing power  so she called the bus company to bring her to the nearest Red Cross Shelter. Marilyn had stayed in a shelter during an ice storm a few years ago and knew that she would be safe there.  ” The Red Cross volunteers are wonderful. The food is always so good.  I know they will take good care of me,” shared Marilyn. “Tonight has certainly been a memorable 85th Birthday! Thank goodness for the Red Cross”.

We’re so glad we were there for Marilyn and others who evacuated their homes during the storm. Just as we were there for our communities, Red Cross chapters in nine states are currently providing a warm place to stay, meals and emotional support to over 9,000 people in response to Sandy.

If you are concerned about the safety of loved ones in parts of the country that suffered the most destruction, please visit our Safe and Well website to see if they registered themselves as safe and well.

Many people are wondering how they can help. There are a couple of ways you can get involved. You can  make a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief to support communities as they rebuild from devastation caused by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Many families will return home in the next few days only to find their homes completely uninhabitable. They’ll need supplies to clean up their homes, a place to sleep at night while their roofs and windows are repaired, and food and water to keep them going until power is restored to their neighborhoods. They’ll need you. Recovery takes time – and it takes commitment, not only from those affected by disaster, but also from those who are willing to give it their all and help.

You can also give blood. Superstorm Sandy has forced the cancellation of more than 325 American Red Cross blood drives in 13 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 11,000 units of blood and platelets thus far. The Red Cross is urging blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm and asks that community members consider donating blood in affected areas once it’s safe to do so.
To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Red Cross Opens Shelters in Response to Sandy

We have opened three regional shelters across central MA   in response to storm Sandy. The shelters are located at:

Fitchburg Senior Center, 14 Wallace Ave, Fitchburg

Millville Elementary School, 122 Berthette Way, Millville

Worcester Technical High, 1 Skyline Drive, Worcester

Residents seeking shelter should be careful traveling as there are widespread power outages as well as downed power lines and trees. If at all possible, residents should shelter in place. Those seeking shelter in Red Cross shelters should bring pillows, blankets, medications, toiletries and other comfort items such as books, games and music.

The Worcester DPH tweets that transportation to shelters is available by calling 508-792-3252 until 9pm. Residents can call 2-1-1 for a complete listing of community shelters.

We Remember…

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the devastating attack that took place on September 11, 2001.  Everyone remembers that day; what they were doing, what they were wearing, and who they were with.  I am no different.  I was sitting in the my 7th grade geometry class, when suddenly my teacher began to cry.  Minutes later, an announcement was made that the Pentagon had been hit.  To me, this meant very little.  I had no idea what the Pentagon was and why everyone was so upset.  Then I saw the footage of each location that was hit.  I then realized, our country was under attack. 

I stayed the rest of the school day completely and utterly confused.  It still didn’t fully register that we were all potentially in danger.  I had never been to New York City, and did not know anybody there, but my heart hurt for strangers in danger.  Once I was home, my parents sat me down and tried to explain how big of an issue this attack was.  This day would be spoken about for years to come.  The textbook I was reading in history about the civil war would eventually have this attack listed as well.  As a 7th grader, I was extremely scared, and was wondering how will New York City ever come out of this.

I know the American Red Cross took a big part in helping with this horrible disaster.  25,000 volunteers joined together from all different regions to help with shelter, food, and most of all, brought hope to those in complete devastation.

Red Cross 9/11 disaster relief operations included:

  • More than 14 million meals and snacks served
  • 60 shelters opened for 3,554 families
  • 101 sites opened to deliver services
  • 292 emergency vehicles deployed
  • 57,434 Red Cross employees and volunteers assigned from all 50 states
  • 240,417 mental health contacts and 133,035 health contacts made either in person or by phone by Red Cross employees and volunteers

Today, we all remember those who have perished, those who have suffered  loss, and those who took heroic measures.  Today we reflect on what has happened, and what the United States has become; more united, and more caring. Not only in a time of disaster, but always.

By: Jocelyn Provo

Experiencing a Disaster

Disaster relief is not at all uncommon to hear about when you are a Red Cross employee.  In fact, you are constantly aware of every disaster at all times such as fires, severe weather, etc.  However, hearing about disaster response for Hurricane Isaac, and actually experiencing it is a whole other story.

Last night we housed more than 5,000 individuals in 80 shelters.  Today more than 3,800 Red Cross responders will feed all those people and many, many more.  This storm brings back terror and worry for those on the Gulf Coast who are still struggling with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 7 years ago. Families affected by Irene are still recovering and are being extremely brave through this time as they are leaving their home behind once more and being relocated to one of our shelters. American Red Cross has been very successful providing shelters to families to be relocated out of harms way.

At this time we have multiple volunteers deployed to different locations to help with hurricane Isaac.  Our very own Don Cawrse of Western MA was recently deployed to Florida, and now is located in Mississippi doing shelter work.  You as well can help is this disaster by donating to American Red Cross.  Please follow the link to donate or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod10002

Red Cross Prepares For Isaac

The Red Cross has launched a large disaster response that could last for weeks across multiple states along the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Isaac threatens millions of lives with strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and coastal surges.  

Just as our neighbors in the south answered our call after Hurricane Irene last year, we are willing and able to help them in their time of need. Eight of our local Red Cross workers have gone south to help with sheltering, emotional health needs and feeding. Additional paid and volunteer staff will continue to travel to help as the needs arise. 

As our neighbors continue to prepare for this storm, it’s always a good reminder that we all need to be prepared at home for storms and other emergencies. Please feel free to visit our newly designed preparedness page at www.redcross.org/prepare.

Also, If you have a smartphone, please be sure to install these free mobile apps from the American Red Cross by visiting  http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps 

HOW TO HELP: You can always help by  making a donation by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross Chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Be “Red Cross Ready” During the Upcoming Storms

The American Red Cross offers the following checklist to help you “Be Red Cross Ready” in the event that local authorities issue a severe thunderstorm warning.

Before Lightning Strikes

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing winds. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

When Storm Approaches

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightening.)
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

If Caught Outside

  • Go to low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not flooding.
  • Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.

Clara Barton: The Beginnings of American Red Cross

Ever wonder how American Red Cross came to be? Watch this informative video on Clara Barton and feel more connected to the American Red Cross!

Keep it Safe When You Head Back to School

  As we prepare for another school year, the American Red Cross has steps that everyone can take to make the trip back to the classroom safer. “When kids go back to school, parents should make sure the child knows his or her home phone number and address, parents’ work contact information, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1,” said Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and pediatric expert. “Parents should also teach their children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know,” Markenson added.

Bus Safety

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps for students include:

• Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed you to get on.

• Only board your bus and never an alternate one.

• Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.

• Cross the street at the corner, obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.

• Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.

Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean:

• Yellow flashing lights— the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.

• Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign — the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Driving

If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving. All drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones.

Biking and Walking

Students who ride their bike to school should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride on the right in the same direction as traffic. Those who walk to school should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children and children taking new routes or attending new schools at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Thereafter, arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

Take a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course so you’ll have the knowledge and skills to act if an injury or emergency happens. Find detailed class information at http://www.redcross.org .You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid app at http://www.redcross.org/firstaidapp so you’ll always have first aid information at your fingertips. The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

The American Red Cross of Central MA Assists Families Following Fires in Webster and Brookfield

The American Red Cross of Central MA responded to two fires early this morning. A team of 7 volunteers went to assist families displaced by a fire at 31 Prospect Street in Webster. The team assisted six families (12 adults, 7 children) at the scene with comfort kits and food; five of the six were also assisted with shelter. The sixth family had alternate shelter. One family also received resources for clothing.

Another team of Red Cross volunteers dispatched to 34 Quabog Street in Brookfield this morning to assist those affected by a multi-unit fire. The team has already assisted six adults with shelter, bedding, food and clothing and will be meeting with two more adults later this afternoon to determine their needs. The Red Cross will be in contact with everyone displaced by the fire to offer emotional support and continued services.

Red Cross disaster services will be in contact with all families and individuals in the coming days to assist with recovery.

‘Go to Bat’ for the American Red Cross Team!

Would you like  an opportunity to win $18,000 for American Red Cross and a VIP trip for two to the 2012 World Series? You are in luck!

 On July 9th, State Farm and Major League Baseball Association activated their 3rd annual “Go to Bat” fundraiser/game. This game gives you  the capability to play baseball online, or through your smart phone with your favorite charity. To play online, click this link  www.statefarm.com/gotobat and choose American Red Cross as your team.  By doing so, you could be the player that is randomly selected to win $18,000 for your team, as well as a VIP trip for two to the 2012 World Series.