Tuesday, August 15, 2017

In Case You Missed It - Aug 14

The Red Cross and elected officials held a press conference in support of Briana's Law.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 47 adults and 17 children following 23 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • 7x a day, someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire. Help #EndHomeFires by joining Sound the Alarm. Save a Life., a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events. In addition to installing smoke alarms, there’s also a new way to help: peer-to-peer fundraising on CrowdRise! To join the team, click on your Red Cross chapter: Greater NY, Long Island, Metro NY North 
  • Aug 15, 18, 20, 21: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today. 
  • Aug 22-27: Do you like to volunteer? Do you like golf? If so, have we got an opportunity for you! Sign up today to volunteer at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY. For $75, you gain daily access to the tournament for you and a guest, a logoed polo shirt and baseball cap, and much more. Plus, your efforts will support the mission of the American Red Cross. Learn more here.
  • Nov 5: There's still limited amount of spots available on Team Red Cross to run the TCS NYC Marathon. Not only do you get to cross running the marathon off your bucket list, but you also get to run for an organization that's devoted to helping people who need help the most. You can register now at redcross.org/2017NYCMarathon

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Case You Missed It - August 7

Mayor Richard Thomas of Mount Vernon recorded a PSA on Tuesday in support of the Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. program.

Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 73 adults and 53 children following 42 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • 7x a day, someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire. Help #EndHomeFires by joining Sound the Alarm.Save a Life., a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events. In addition to installing smoke alarms, there’s also a new way to help: peer-to-peer fundraising on CrowdRise! To join the team, click on your Red Cross chapter: Greater NY, Long Island, Metro NY North
  • Aug 8-11, 14: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • Aug 22-27: Do you like to volunteer? Do you like golf? If so, have we got an opportunity for you! Sign up today to volunteer at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY. For $75, you gain daily access to the tournament for you and a guest, a logoed polo shirt and baseball cap, and much more. Plus, your efforts will support the mission of the American Red Cross. Learn more here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

These Red Cross Programs Will Help You Survive Sharknado 5


Since 2013, one of the biggest concerns for the U.S. has become the Sharknado. These menacing tornadoes lift man-eating sharks from the water into the sky and toss them into the streets of various cities. After creating havoc in Los Angeles, New York, D.C., Florida, and Las Vegas, the upcoming Sharknado will have a global effect, beginning August 6. It is predicted that multiple Sharknadoes will strike in cities all around the world. Officials have stated that no country is safe from this ‘global swarming.’

The Red Cross is an organization largely known for the assistance they provide during and after large disasters, but the Red Cross also promotes and encourages disaster preparedness, so residents can be more physically and mentally equipped to handle these emergencies. Here are five Red Cross programs that will help you become a Sharknado hero like Fin Shepard and friends.

Home Fire Campaign
If you are a someone who has who has taken advantage of our Home Fire Campaign, you already have some training that can help you survive a Sharknado. The Home Fire Campaign was created in an effort to reduce injury and loss of life due to home fires through the installation of free smoke alarms and fire safety education provided by trained Red Cross volunteers.

As part of the fire safety education, it is suggested that residents create a fire escape plan. Similarly, in case of a Sharknado, a shark escape plan is necessary.


To learn more about creating fire escape plans, read this list of tips developed by the Red Cross.

The Pillowcase Project
Children are a critical component of disaster preparedness. With The Pillowcase Project, children learn how to prepare for natural disasters, like Sharknadoes, through an interactive presentation with trained Red Crossers. Afterward, they receive a pillowcase that they can decorate and use to create their own personal emergency supply kits.


Refer to last year’s Sharknado survival guide for a list of essentials you need to build your own emergency Sharknado kit.

Red Cross Training and Classes
Receiving Sharknado preparedness education has never been easier than with the Red Cross’s Citizen Preparedness Corps. This free course will provide basic information about common disasters and provide ways to prepare, respond, and recover from them. Register today to learn what to do when a Sharknado strikes in your neighborhood.

Taking a first aid class through the Red Cross might also be a good idea in case you or a loved one cannot seek immediate treatment for a shark bite or other Sharknado-related injuries. The information you learn in this class can be useful in everyday life long after the Sharknado leaves your neighborhood.

Blood Services
The American Red Cross strives to ensure that every person in need of blood has their needs met. For obvious reasons Sharknadoes can increase demand for blood.


However, the Red Cross is currently facing a critical blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save lives. Before the Sharknado arrives, find a local blood drive to help the Red Cross maintain sufficient blood supply.

Emergency Services
If your home is destroyed or you have to evacuate your home during the upcoming Sharknado, you can find refuge at a local Red Cross shelter. The shelters will also provide food, water and physical and mental health services. In addition, Red Cross volunteers can help locate family members separated during the shark disaster.


To find a nearby Red Cross shelter, iPhone and Android owners can download the Red Cross Emergency app.

A large percentage of the programs and services provided by the Red Cross are led and conducted by volunteers. They are an important part of our mission and our disaster response. If you would like to get more involved and help those in need in your community during the Sharknado, you can apply to become a Red Cross volunteer.

Monday, July 31, 2017

In Case You Missed It - July 31


Greater NY Red Cross published a guide with "survival" tips from three Red Cross experts for the NYC transit "Summer of Hell,"
 caused by repairs at Penn Station. (Photo: Eleanor Rigby)

Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 126 adults and 30 children following 54 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

  • Greater NY Red Cross and community partners, FDNY, FDNY Foundation, and MIRA USA were back in Queens on Saturday installing free smoke alarms and promoting home fire safety, a continuing effort and commitment in reducing home fire related injuries and deaths.
  • Metro NY North Red Cross volunteers were present at the Putnam County 4H Fair to share the efforts of the Red Cross in the area, as well as the opportunities offered to those who wish to volunteer.
  • On Friday, Greater NY Red Cross visited Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a champion of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and his constituents. The assemblyman recorded a PSA for our Sound the Alarm Save a Life program, coming this fall. Similarly, on Tuesday, Senator Gustavo Rivera also recorded a PSA to show his support for Sound the Alarm and spoke about his experience on a ride along with a response team from the Greater NY Red Cross.
  • On Thursday, Greater NY Red Cross published an interview with Disaster Training & Exercise Manager, Stephanie Hagans, who developed and coordinated the full-scale disaster exercise, in which over 200 Red Crossers participated last month. The interview provides more information on the exercise, as well as reflection on its execution.
  •  PSEG Long Island partnered with LI Red Cross on Thursday to end home fires by installing free smoke alarms and promoting fire safety for residents in and around Amityville.
  • On Wednesday, Greater NY Red Cross published a Red Cross survival guide to the commuter "Summer of Hell." The guide contains six tips from Red Cross preparedness, safety, and mental health experts to help the public keep safe, cool and calm while commuting or traveling around NYC this summer.
  •  Early Wednesday morning, Greater NY Red Cross provided emergency relief to 19 residents in the Bronx following two fires.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • Aug 1, 3-4, 7: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • Aug 2: The township of Hempstead on Long Island is holding its annual Swim-A-Cross fundraising event for the American Red Cross on Long Island at the Newbridge Park Pool. 
  • Aug 22-27: Do you like to volunteer? Do you like golf? If so, have we got an opportunity for you! Sign up today to volunteer at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY. For $75, you gain daily access to the tournament for you and a guest, a logoed polo shirt and baseball cap, and much more. Plus, your efforts will support the mission of the American Red Cross. Learn more here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Red Cross Survival Guide to the Commuter ‘Summer of Hell’


by Gabrielle Deonath, American Red Cross

Wanting to find a fulfilling way to spend my summer before the chaos of my senior year of college, I applied as an intern at the Greater NY Red Cross. Since I have lived and attended school in Long Island for a majority of my life, my commute for this internship has been my first consistent experience with the New York City subway system and the Long Island Rail Road. However, my internship commute happened to overlap with two-month long Amtrak repairs at Penn Station that were anticipated to be so disruptive that Governor Andrew Cuomo deemed it the ‘Summer of Hell.'

Since taking another mode of transportation was not an option, I had to come up with ways to cope with the schedule changes, reduced service and their repercussions like overcrowding and extended commute times. All of this had to be dealt with on top of the more regular inconveniences like subway changes, outages and the occasional derailment. As I thought about how to prepare, I realized I intern at an organization heavily focused on preparedness and safety. So I talked to Red Cross safety, preparedness and mental health experts and compiled a list of tips to help all traveling into and around NYC stay safe and sane throughout the rest of the summer.

1. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Red Cross spokeswoman and first aid expert Lipica Shah says that one of the biggest concerns on crowded platforms or train cars is heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially in the summer.

Even if you yourself are not experiencing any such symptoms, it’s important to know the signs of these conditions in case a fellow passenger is in need of help. The signs for heat exhaustion include perfuse sweating, a flushed face, swaying (a sign someone may faint), extreme tiredness, and feeling light headed.

Heat stroke is different from heat exhaustion because it can be life-threatening. Identifiable characteristics of heat stroke are a person who stops producing sweat but looks unwell and overheated, developing inconsistent breathing patterns, and experiencing vision problems and panic.

To learn how to help yourself and others when experiencing these signs and those of other illnesses, download the Red Cross Emergency app or attend a Red Cross first aid or CPR class.

2. Have water and snacks at your disposal.


Especially with the high summer temperatures sometimes reaching above 90 degrees, staying hydrated is a vital way to keep yourself safe and healthy on the train. In addition to keeping your body cool, water also increases brain function and can allay anxiety, according to Red Cross Greater NY Regional Advisor for Mental Health, Dottie Brier. For these reasons, be sure to grab or fill up a 16-oz. water bottle before getting on the train.

Due to the uncertainty around commute times and train schedules this summer, keep some light snacks with you like nuts or an energy bar containing protein and another bar that will provide you with sugar energy. These will keep you full and give a boost to your energy levels until you reach your destination.

3. No one ever regretted having a little extra phone juice.


Whether you want to entertain yourself on a long commute by catching up on the latest “Game of Thrones” episode, responding to work emails, or keeping your friends on Snapchat updated on your train misery, make sure you have a fully-charged portable battery on hand. Your charger can’t revive your phone if it doesn’t have any power itself.

And while “We the People” are created equal, battery packs are not, in terms of quality. Faster-charging battery packs are more suitable for commuting, especially during this time when you may need to check changed or delayed train schedules more than usual.

For faster charging, iPhones need a battery that outputs at least 2.4A amps, and those who own Androids should use a battery with quick-charge technology (if your phone supports it).

4. The key to managing anxiety is reassurance.

Stuck on a train, running late for work or an appointment, too crowded for comfort, anxiety can be one of the first feelings to take over. Reminding yourself that all will be fine can bring your mind back to a state of peace. A physical approach that may work towards helping you overcome your momentary anxiety is taking a series of deep breaths.

According to Red Cross Regional Advisor for Mental Health Dottie Brier, once you have your own anxiety under control, you should provide reassurance to those around you if needed. If you see someone panicking on the train, listen to them, don’t minimize their panic, give them the information that you know and suggest deep breathing. A kind, calm personality is helpful to others, but do not engage with or approach passengers who are exhibiting aggressive behavior. 

5. Keep your cool with a fan, a cooling towel or your imagination!

The summer heat and heavy summer air in subways can cause an increase in body temperature. In addition to water, you want to have some alternative ways to keep yourself cool and avoid heat exhaustion.

Portable fans can help generate refreshing air in hot temperatures. Rather than cheap plastic fans with batteries that often need to be replaced, mini USB fans are adjustable and can be plugged into your handy portable charger for power.

Perhaps a cooler alternative, in both the literal and figurative sense, are cooling towels, usually made from fabrics and technology that maintain their relieving cool feel for hours.

Also, Red Cross Regional Advisor of Mental Health Dottie Brier said that visualizing cool drinks and places with cool climates can actually help your body feel cooler.

6. Your summer ‘must-have’: backpacks

According to Red Cross preparedness expert Alexander Poku, this summer’s essential accessory for train riders is a backpack. Backpacks, rather than just a briefcase or a purse, are important to bring with you on the train during this time because they will be able to hold all your necessary belongings, as well as additional supplies to be prepared for unpredictable delays and schedule changes.

However please be considerate and take your backpack off while in the train. This gesture will reduce crowding and create more room for others. Backpack slings can be more convenient than traditional backpacks, as they are more compact and easier to move to the front of your body and out of the personal space of others around you.

If you’re looking for other ways to be considerate on the subway or train, please refer to viral puppet sensation Johnny T’s helpful video

Bonus tip

Now an ‘expert’ commuter, I leave you with one of my own tips that I may or may not have learned the hard way: Use the restroom before boarding a train. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a crowded car during an unusually long commute with a full bladder.

 
 
 

Monday, July 24, 2017

In Case You Missed It - July 24

Red Cross employees and interns participated in the Tough Mudder Long Island
obstacle course on Saturday to raise money for the SAF program.(Photo: Vivian Moy)

Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 149 adults and 53 children following 43 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • 7x a day, someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire. Help #EndHomeFires by joining Sound the Alarm.Save a Life., a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events. In addition to installing smoke alarms, there’s also a new way to help: peer-to-peer fundraising on CrowdRise! To join the team, click on your Red Cross chapter: Greater NY, Long Island, Metro NY North 
  • July 25, 27-29: Red Cross blood drives will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greater NY Red Cross building located at 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • July 29: The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is coming to East Flushing and Queensboro Hill to help make the community safer one home at a time. Volunteer to help out, or sign up to get a free smoke alarm installed in your home.
  • Aug 22-27: Do you like to volunteer? Do you like golf? If so, have we got an opportunity for you! Sign up today to volunteer at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY. For $75, you gain daily access to the tournament for you and a guest, a logoed polo shirt and baseball cap, and much more. Plus, your efforts will support the mission of the American Red Cross. Learn more here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#MyRedCrossLife by Erin Patrice O'Brien

by Kylie Davidson, American Red Cross in Greater New York

This month we’re honored to partner with Erin Patrice O’Brien, a Brooklyn-based professional portrait photographer who has volunteered with us the past couple months documenting the stories of Red Cross volunteers and employees. Throughout her accomplished career, O’Brien has shot for People Magazine, Comedy Central and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few. For the rest of the month, O’Brien will be “taking over” our Instagram account, highlighting some of our inspiring staff as part of our #MyRedCrossLife series.


How did you become connected with the Red Cross?

In January of 2017, I photographed 101-year-old Red Cross volunteer Blanche Baudin for AARP Magazine. I was moved by Blanche and her service and by the other volunteers at the Green Bay Wisconsin Red Cross Chapter, so I decided to volunteer as a photographer with the Red Cross in Greater New York. At first I went on a few “ride-alongs” to disaster responses throughout New York City to witness the work of the volunteers in the field. I was able to see the compassion and service they were able to give New Yorkers in a time of need, so I decided to focus on portraits of the volunteers. The volunteers are very special people. They give their time to take care of and serve people in need. I find that very admirable.

Who do you photograph? What kind of projects do you do?

For work I photograph portraits of different celebrities and personalities for various publications and advertisements.

Can you compare photographing celebrities with photographing volunteers?

Celebrities are used to having their pictures taken. They tend to have a styling team to make them look like stars. The volunteers I photographed are beautiful people who don’t need glamorous props. Their faces reflect compassion and integrity.

Have you volunteered with other organizations?

Yes, recently I have done some work for the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy School and for Planned Parenthood.

What are you trying to capture when photographing volunteers? Do you have a process that you go through?

I am trying to capture their essence. When I photograph them, I ask them about their life stories. I want to know exactly why and how they came to the Red Cross. I learn life lessons from them.

What has surprised you most since you’ve started volunteering with the Red Cross?

What has surprised me is how kind everyone in the organization is. It’s like a big corporation but since most of the people are volunteering and want to be there giving their service, it is uplifting to be around the people.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?

The most rewarding part has been hearing the volunteers’ stories and seeing them in action. It’s rewarding to know that they are volunteering their time and treating people who are in challenging situations with dignity and respect and to hear someone say that have been doing this for 10-15 years and still see a smile on their face.

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