Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just Visiting

On a tour of U.S. emergency response organizations, emergency managers from the Ukraine stopped by the Louisville chapter today to learn how the American Red Cross works with the government during disaster operations. With the language barrier breeched thanks to the wonderful translators, everyone was able to communicate clearly, and in spite of the serious subject matter, more than a few jokes were shared.

CEO Keith Alvey gave our visitors a crash course on disaster preparedness, response and recovery, but the area they were most interested in was the recruitment of disaster volunteers. At our chapter over 2600 volunteers not only help provide assistance during a disaster, but they help complete important everyday tasks as well.

To find out how you can help by volunteering at the Red Cross, click the Volunteer Match link on the right. To see more with our new friends from the Ukraine, check out our Flickr page.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's not easy being green.

This morning, I gave my first Community Disaster Education (CDE) talk at Yum Inc.

A CDE is an educational program given by the Red Cross to prepare individuals and companies for disasters.

Yum asked us to present a CDE due to September being "Disaster Preparedness" month.

I was not sure if I was ready, but it was something I had to do.

As a new Americorps member part of our job is to present CDEs. A CDE covers a range of disaster topics from fires to winter storms.

While the CDE covers a variety of disasters the presentation focuses on two areas.

The presentation consists of making both a disaster plan and an emergency kit for your home, business and travel.

I was nervous but it was not as scary as I was expecting. I still have work to do but I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Go Your Own Way

Garmin is not your friend. That’s something AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator, Keisha Mabry and I learned when we embarked on our visits to some of Louisville's regional community chapters located in Bardstown, Bowling Green, Paducah, Murray and Madisonville with our GPS “buddy” in his place on the windshield. But we soon found out this popular piece of technology was no friend of ours.

We were sure the winding yet scenic trip from Bardstown was a blip, but two weeks later it almost doubled our estimated travel time to Paducah and Murray.

Eventually Keisha and I decided it was in our best interest to ignore Garmin’s instructions. The rest of our trip, spent on Pennyrile Parkway and I-65, was met with constant protests including “re-calculating” and “turn around”, but we made it to our last destination in ample time.

Each visit was met with enthusiasm for new ideas and projects, and the feedback we received from the other chapters was worth the drive, but for future visits, I think we’ll stick with Google Maps.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Knock, Knock ...

Long time no blog, but there has been plen-ty going on in Disaster Services. Today we kicked off a canvassing project to raise home fire awareness. Each year the Louisville Chapter responds to an average of over 400 family fires in Kentuckiana; 40% of those fires occur in West Louisville.

Earlier today, Red Cross volunteers as well as volunteers from our project partner BB&T went door to door handing out bags containing information on fire safety and prevention as well as a 9 volt battery for smoke detectors. Groups will go out every Friday and Saturday in September with a goal of reaching 3,000 homes in the area; 25,000 by the end of National Red Cross Month in March. So keep an eye out. We just may be coming to your neighborhood.