Monday, January 15, 2018

In Case You Missed It - Jan 15

Councilmember Vanessa Gibson lends a hand installing smoke alarms with Sound the Alarm.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 635 adults and 175 children following 75 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
  • Jan 16, 19, 22: 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. 
  • Feb 10: Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. fire prevention event will be in Manhattan. To schedule a future free smoke alarm installation and/or to volunteer to help make your community safer, please visit soundthealarm.org/nyc.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In Case You Missed It - Jan 8

@LIRedCross volunteers responding to canteen at this multi-alarm house fire in Glen Cove
as well as a firefighter funeral for Sea Cliff Fire Dept. -@disasterbuff
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 231 adults and 87 children following 79 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
  • Jan 8, 9, 12, 13, 15: 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. 
  • Jan 14: Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. fire prevention event will be in the Soundview section of the Bronx. To schedule a future free smoke alarm installation and/or to volunteer to help make your community safer, please visit soundthealarm.org/nyc


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

In Case You Missed It - Jan 2

Red Crossers rushing to aid stranded ferry passengers in the frigid cold.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 255 adults and 118 children following 73 local disasters. 

Last Week in Review

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Year End Review: Unprecedented Year of Delivering Hope: Preparing the Community

by Stan Frank

During a year marked by unprecedented emergencies, American Red Cross volunteers from NYC, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley have answered the call to help around the country and right here in the Greater New York Region.

The statistics are impressive -- delivering emergency relief to approximately 8000 residents following more than 2200 disasters; installing over 27,000 smoke alarms; training over 7800 children in vital disaster preparedness skills. But numbers alone do not tell the story of all the Red Cross does to deliver hope and help in our communities. Over the next few blogs, I will share stories from the field about the lives our Red Cross staff and volunteers have touched across the region in each line of service: Disaster Response, Home Fire Preparedness, Services to the Armed Forces, International Services, and Preparedness.

Emergency Preparedness

The American Red Cross works to build resilient communities by training adults and children how to prepare for emergencies. In the Greater New York Region, Red Cross volunteers and staff deliver various preparedness programs to the community, including the Home Fire Campaign, which installs free smoke alarms; the Citizens Preparedness Corps, which trains New Yorkers ages 16 and up how to prepare for any disaster; and The Pillowcase Project, a national program, sponsored by Disney, which teaches children children coping skills to help them deal with an emergency situation and also offers tips and tools to help them prepare for emergencies.

John Waldman, Regional Senior Director of Government and Community Relations, highlighted two memorable events that took place in 2017.

The Pillowcase Project at P.S. 105 in Brooklyn 

In April, Red Cross teams visited P.S. 105 in Brooklyn, ready to train over 600 students how to prepare and respond to disasters. The Pillowcase Project teaches students the best ways to stay safe and create their own personal supply kits by packing essential items such as a first-aid kit, a water jug, a flashlight, a small battery-powered radio, etc. into a pillowcase or “Go Bag” for easy transport during a disaster. Students have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcase and share what they have learned with friends and family.

Coincidentally, this visit to the school happened just a few days after a tragic fire in Queens that claimed the lives of three young children. Said John, “I feel fortunate to have been able to provide children’s preparedness training the day after such a tragedy. The level of engagement from the participating children was extremely heartening. I’m proud that the Red Cross is able to bring this lifesaving program to the most vulnerable in our society and teach children how to avoid and respond to such terrible tragedies.”

The Boro Park Home Fire Campaign Partnership

Developing strong partnerships with local community organizations is vital for the Red Cross to deliver its mission. In 2017, the Red Cross is proud to have joined forces with the Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) to help protect the community against home fires. Boro Park has a population of more than 100,000 residents and stretches over 200 blocks in Brooklyn. It is home to one of the largest Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish populations in the country.

The community suffered three devastating fires during the fall, where both BPJCC and Red Cross responded to provide comfort and hope to the affected families. BPJCC's leaders knew it needed to act to prevent such tragedies in the future. Forming a partnership with the Red Cross was a perfect fit. On November 8, 2017, Boro Park residents, community leaders, elected officials and members of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) gathered in front of the BPJCC headquarters to announce their new partnership with the American Red Cross in Greater New York. The new fire-safety and emergency-preparedness partnership plans to hand out and install thousands of free smoke alarms to residents. There will also be an ongoing fire safety awareness campaign tailored specifically to the Jewish community’s needs and challenges. In addition, the campaign will include local tabling and canvassing events, and outreach efforts online throughout the year.

Initial reports are of a successful partnership, with over 400 households requesting smoke alarm installations in the first six weeks!


Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners, and supporters who help the Red Cross prepare communities to respond and recover form disasters. To learn more about our preparedness programs, visit our website


HOW YOU CAN HELP

Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross. Please consider making a donation today. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes to its programs and services, which includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance, as well as supporting the vehicles, warehouses, technology and people that make help possible.
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year End Review: Unprecedented Year of Delivering Hope: Responding to Local Disasters


by Stan Frank

During a year marked by unprecedented emergencies, American Red Cross volunteers from NYC, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley have answered the call to help around the country and right here in the Greater New York Region.

The statistics are impressive -- delivering emergency relief to approximately 8000 residents following more than 2200 disasters; installing over 27,000 smoke alarms; training over 7800 children in vital disaster preparedness skills. But numbers alone do not tell the story of all the Red Cross does to deliver hope and help in our communities.

Over the next few blogs, I will share stories from the field about the lives our Red Cross staff and volunteers have touched across the region in each line of service: Disaster Response, Home Fire Preparedness, Services to the Armed Forces, International Services, and Preparedness.


Responding to Disasters Big and Small

The American Red Cross Greater New York Region serves more than 13 million people in New York City, on Long Island, in the Lower Hudson Valley counties of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan, as well as the community of Greenwich, Conn. After an emergency, Red Cross teams deliver hope and relief, including shelter, food, clothing and emotional support. On average, this happens 5 – 25 times a day in the Greater New York region. In 2017, teams responded to more than 2200 emergencies and disasters including home fires, building evacuations, floods and more, providing assistance to over approximately 8000 local residents in need.

Four Alarm Fire in Yonkers, New York

John Cascone, Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Metro New York North Chapter since 2001, described one of the major disasters in the chapter in 2017. On November 6, 2017, at about 5 a.m., a massive 4-alarm fire broke out in a densely populated residential community on Oak Street in Yonkers. The fire completely destroyed a 3-story apartment building and jumped to two adjacent wood-frame houses, causing major damage to one and minor damage to the other.

Quickly, more than 25 Red Cross volunteers mobilized and arrived on the scene. They set up a Reception Center -- a warm and safe place for families -- at the nearby Nodine Hill Community Center. Here, the volunteers were able to interview the 23 families displaced by this fire. Red Cross volunteers have a variety of skill sets, including speaking various languages, and 7 bilingual team members helped to translate for many families.

Many people arrived at the Center with only the clothes they were sleeping in. Red Cross volunteers quickly set up a shelter and provided blankets, clothing, food, and mental and emotional health support, as well as financial assistance to the residents.

Summing up the response Cascone said, “I was very proud of our response to this devastating fire. Our training and organization kicked in as soon as we were alerted and we were on-site helping victims almost immediately. Our volunteers, the Mayor’s Office, the OEM (Office of Emergency Management) and local social service agencies all worked together to help ease the pain of the 23 families who were displaced. That’s what the Red Cross is all about.”

Five Alarm Fire in Elmhurst, Queens

I also spoke with Uikki O’Bryant, Senior Disaster Program Manager for New York City, who recalled the events of a devastating spring time fire in Queens.

Photo Credit: Viv Moy
At about 6:30 p.m. on April 11, 2017, a 5-alarm fire broke out on the top floor of a large 6-story brick apartment building on 94th Street in the Elmhurst section of Queens. The ferocious fire spread quickly through the wooden roof frame before 200 firefighters from all over the city arrived at the scene. The fire completely destroyed the top floors of the building and displaced 67 families (144 adults and 31 children) and their many pets.

Red Cross teams responded quickly and worked with NYC Emergency Management to establish a reception center and temporary shelter at P.S. 13Q, just across the street from the fire building. Here volunteers provided food, beverages, health assistance, and, most importantly, emotional support. Many of the residents arrived with only the clothes on their backs. Some carried their children and pets - including dogs, cats, and turtles -- in their arms.
Photo Credit: R.Rigos


"The fire was so large that it was truly a regional response with volunteers, community organizations and governmental agencies from all over the city and across our region pitching in to help," said O'Bryant. We are grateful to count among our partners New York City’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCEM), and Tzu Chi, one of our most active community partners. We also collaborated with Animal Care Centers (ACC), which helped find temporary homes for displaced pets.

Within days, a multi-agency resource center was established and Red Cross case workers joined with City agencies and other nonprofits to provide additional assistance and help these families start to take their next steps. Kevin Rojas, a resident of the building for 33 years, shared his story in this video.

Thank you to all of our volunteers and partners who help the Red Cross to deliver hope and help down the street, across the country, and around the world.


HOW YOU CAN HELP

Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Please consider making a donation today. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes to its programs and services, which includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance, as well as supporting the vehicles, warehouses, technology and people that make help possible.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year End Review: Unprecedented Year of Delivering Hope: Home Fire Campaign

by Stan Frank

During a year marked by unprecedented emergencies, American Red Cross volunteers from NYC, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley have answered the call to help around the country and right here in the Greater New York Region.

The statistics are impressive -- delivering emergency relief to approximately 8000 residents following more than 2200 disasters; installing over 27,000 smoke alarms; training over 7800 children in vital disaster preparedness skills. But numbers alone do not tell the story of all the Red Cross does to deliver hope and help in our communities. Over the next few blogs, I will share stories from the field about the lives our Red Cross staff and volunteers have touched across the region in each line of service: Disaster Response, Home Fire Preparedness, Services to the Armed Forces, International Services, and Preparedness.

Home Fire Campaign
In 2015, the American Red Cross in Greater New York, as part of its national Home Fire Campaign, joined forces with the FDNY, the FDNY Foundation, the Office of the NYC Mayor, the NY City Council and local businesses to launch #GetAlarmedNYC, the largest smoke alarm giveaway and installation in the nation. Its goal was to provide the free installation of 100,000 combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to city residents in the five boroughs that pose the greatest risk from fire according to FDNY statistics and analysis.

Since 2015, as part of this partnership, the Red Cross installed over 70,000 smoke alarms in neighborhoods known to have a history of home fires in New York City. In 2017 alone, volunteers and partner groups of the program installed 23,700 alarms in New York City and over 27,700 across the Greater New York region.





“We have several documented cases of lives saved due to this program. We know that smoke alarms save lives," said said Joe Spaccarelli, Program Director for New York’s Home Fire Campaign.

Team Effort
One of the memorable Home Fire Campaign events of 2017 was when the employees of Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), a corporate partner and supporter of the Red Cross, teamed up with us for a day of service. They have been a tremendous partner of the Red Cross as part of our effort to help #EndHomeFires. Two years ago, during a day of service, BBH employees established an all-time record for smoke alarm installations in Greater New York that has yet to be surpassed when they installed 1000 smoke alarms in East Harlem in one day. This past May, their team returned to East Harlem and installed 510 free smoke alarms -- another record making day!
Thank you to BBH and to all of our partners for your support for this life saving program! 

Installing the 1 millionth Alarm

Since the launch of the Home Fire Campaign in 2014, the American Red Cross in Greater New York has installed over 80,000 smoke alarms across our region. Our work is part of a national effort, where Red Cross teams across the country are working to Sound the Alarm about home fire safety and save lives. This year, 2017, marked a milestone for the campaign: The installation of the 1 millionth smoke alarm! 

Long Island Red Cross volunteer, Craig Cooper, helped to install the 1 millionth alarm with local New York City talk show host, Wendy Williams, in her hometown of Asbury Park, NJ.

In November, Red Cross team members were thrilled to join with our FDNY partners to appear on Good Morning America to celebrate this milestone and share important fire safety tips. 


To learn more about the Home Fire Campaign, to sign up for a FREE smoke alarm, or to get involved to help #EndHomeFires, please visit redcross.org/NYCFireSafety

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Year End Review: Unprecedented Year of Delivering Hope: Service to the Armed Forces

by Stan Frank

During a year marked by unprecedented emergencies, American Red Cross volunteers from NYC, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley have answered the call to help around the country and right here in the Greater New York Region.

The statistics are impressive -- delivering emergency relief to approximately 8000 residents following more than 2200 disasters; installing over 27,000 smoke alarms; training over 7800 children in vital disaster preparedness skills. But numbers alone do not tell the story of all the Red Cross does to deliver hope and help in our communities. 

Over the next few blogs, I will share stories from the field about the lives our Red Cross staff and volunteers have touched across the region in each line of service: Disaster Response, Home Fire Preparedness, Services to the Armed Forces, International Services, and Preparedness.


Service to the Armed Forces
Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1863 to provide aid and comfort to soldiers wounded in battle. Those efforts have continued to this day. In 2017, the Greater New York Red Cross chapters alone provided more than 6145 individual services to veterans. Anthony Incarnato, Regional Program Specialist, provided a few highlights for the year.


New York City Veteran’s Day Parade
The Veterans’ Day Parade took place on a chilly and windy Saturday, November 11, with more than 40 Red Cross volunteers marching and canteening. Included were five special guests -- therapy dogs who are all well known at West Point for their service to vets. The volunteers assembled at Madison Square Park where they distributed more than 1100 hot and cold beverages and 1400 snacks generously donated by JetBlue. Then the Red Crossers marched alongside dozens of veterans groups up Fifth Avenue to 57th Street to salute our nation's veterans. For more photos, please visit here.


Northport VA Hospital Stand Down
On September 21, the American Red Cross participated in the annual Northport V.A. Hospital Veterans “Stand Down.” Red Cross volunteers distributed “Totes of Hope” Comfort Kits to homeless or at-risk veterans along with information regarding Red Cross services. The kits contained toiletries such as tooth paste, tooth brushes, soap, and shampoo. Veterans also received resources and referrals for assistance from other veterans agencies, including Samaritan Village, Military One Source, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans (IAVA), and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  


MEDEVAC Bags for Walter Reed
For the fourth year in a row, board members from the American Red Cross Metro New York North chapter assembled nearly 200 MEDEVAC Bags for patients arriving from overseas to receive care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Board members put the totes together with items donated by local businesses and community members as a way to say "Thank you" to our brave military men and women serving our nation. In addition, this year the Board also donated 100 electric razors for patients who are on blood thinners and hundreds of new popular magazines. Metro New York North CEO Mary Young transported the bags to Walter Reed personally.


This is just a small glimpse into the many missions led by the Service to the Armed Forces team members across the American Red Cross Greater New York Region. When asked what he finds most satisfying about his work, Anthony said, “Since it’s inception more than 100 years ago, The Red Cross has supported our veterans. Through our local community outreach efforts and the Hero Care Call Centers, we continue to support them in every way we can. And I’m proud to say that the Red Cross to this day continues to serve those who have served us.”
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HOW YOU CAN HELP

Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross. Please consider making a donation today. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes to its programs and services, which includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance, as well as supporting the vehicles, warehouses, technology and people that make help possible.

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