Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolution

Last year at this time, I asked that everyone make disaster preparedness a priority in 2010. In 2011, let's take it a step further. Get trained. The American Red Cross offers a variety of courses that were created to give you and your loved ones (Fido included) a sense of security no matter where you are. You can enroll in any of our Health & Safety courses by calling 561-3605.

In October the American Red Cross set a goal to train 5 million people in hands-only, a.k.a. "citizen CPR," by the end of 2011. Help us surpass that goal by watching the video below or by enrolling in a full CPR class at your local Red Cross.

Here's to a happy, and very safe, New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the season to serve those who serve

Yesterday, service men and women around the world began receiving cards from the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. The campaign is in its fourth year and was started as a way to send members of the armed forces a little piece of home while they are on base or in a military hospital.

The Fort Knox Service Center has its own way of thanking service members during the holidays through the Santa's Workshop program. The program's mission is to provide toys to military families at Fort Knox facing financial challenges this holiday season.

Beginning in October, the service center accepts applications from military families. Once a family is approved, they are invited to shop at Santa's Workshop where they can choose two brand new toys, a book and stocking stuffers for each child. Each family also receives a board game to encourage family togetherness.

This year, Santa's Workshop provided nearly 500 families with 6,500 toys and 16,000 stocking stuffers. Some of the toys given out included bicycles assembled and donated by Thornton's during the company's annual team-building humanitarian project.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Party & Wintry Mixes

The McKenzie family was left without a home after an apartment fire in November. One month later, they are thankful for what they have and are working hard to return to normalcy.

Monday night’s Holiday Party was a great way to ring in the season. Children and their families, some of whom experienced home fires as recent as last month, visited with Santa and received gifts thanks to the Louisville Professional Firefighters Union Local 345. See more photos from the event on our Flickr page.

Home fires aren’t the only threat to Kentuckiana families. Tonight meteorologists are predicting a “wintry mix”—weather reminiscent of the 2009 ice storm. While experts say it will be nowhere near as extensive, local residents can still prepare for dangerous road conditions and power outages.

To ensure you are prepared for a power outage, print off this checklist. If a power outage calls for the use of a portable generator, read over these safety tips first, and if you must travel, make sure you have a disaster kit in your car in case of an emergency.

For a full list of items to keep in your disaster kit, go to

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gift of Giving at OCMS

Growing up, Oldham County Middle School math teacher Daniel Schulz didn’t have the money to participate in the Angel Tree program, so when the opportunity presented itself, he developed a toy drive program at OCMS in Buckner, KY.

The program allows students to purchase a $5-$10 gift for a child age infant to 12. When the program started over 10 years ago, 86 gifts were donated. This year, under the direction of teachers Erin Sanford, Katie Stephens and the OCMS Student Council, 350 toys were collected and donated to the Oldham County Red Cross Service Center.

The Red Cross will distribute the gifts to qualifying families starting December 15. Dan said that in order to keep the gifts as anonymous as possible, students and school staff do not participate in the distribution phase.

“Every kid has their own imagination of how their present helps somebody,” he said. “They want to help out; it’s just showing them how they can help as kids that’s the big thing.”

OCMS students sort toys donated by their peers.

Students at OCMS also get a chance to work with the Oldham County Red Cross during their holiday food drive. In its 22nd year, the food drive has collected over 450,000 cans for the Red Cross food pantry, and Dan hopes to hit the half million mark this year!

You can support the OCMS food drive by taking part in “Oldham County Community Collection Day” Saturday, Dec. 11. Students will be colleting canned goods for six hours at Wal-Mart and Save-A-Lot in La Grange, KY. Last year the event brought in 3,000 cans. You can also make donations at various OCMS sporting events and student concerts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Most Busiest Time of the Year

Ok, so that may be grammatically incorrect, but so is most busy, and it doesn't have enough syllables. Since there is much going on at the chapter, I've decided to make this post a sort of wrap-up of activities. I imagine the Red Cross looks much like the North Pole during December. Wrapping paper covering the doorways, employees sneaking around masquerading as Santa and, of course, hundreds of toys being stored away for children attending the annual Holiday Party.

Red Cross volunteer Claudette Walker mans the Kmart check out line, while others shop and load up the toys.

Speaking of which, Red Cross workers and members of the Louisville Professional Firefighters Union Local 345 spent Friday morning at the Kmart on Poplar Level Road shopping for all the little girls and boys invited to this year's party. Over 200 children ages 12 and under will be attending the party with their families on Dec. 13. Each family was assisted by the Red Cross during a home fire during this past year. Some families are still in the recovering process, and the toys purchased will help replace belongings lost in the fire.

Sigma Chi fraternity member assists the winning group (Pi Beta Phi) build their fort at Wednesday night's Wrap Up America event.

Red Cross workers were also out and about on Thursday night participating in Wrap Up America at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The event brought in over 2,500 blankets which will be given to organizations assisting the homeless. New blankets will be donated to the Red Cross to use when assisting people affected by disaster. The event also offered our community disaster educators, a.k.a. AmeriCorps, an opportunity to train participating groups in disaster preparedness.

Check out our Flickr page for more photos, and stay tuned for more Red Cross goodies throughout the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to get married...

I recently traveled to Brazil to get married, but the night before I found my soon-to-be, father-in-law, Paulo, in a bind. He owns a private technical school and the professor who teaches about jobs in the oil industry was not able to make it. A wonderful gift I received working for the Red Cross is to be like water and adjust easily to situations. I offered to give a CDE (Community Disaster Education) presentation as I normally would with Daya, my fiance, translating. I also modified the disaster kit presentation and plan for people who might work on oil platforms. Arriving at the school I was a little nervous because I was not sure what to expect.

The school occupied six rooms on the second floor of a building above a pet supply store and a beauty parlor. As the students began making their way in, I was surprised not only at the varieties of ages, but at their appearances. I was expecting a rougher looking group. On the contrary, everyone was very nice and from all walks of life. There were even a few girls. With Daya's help, I began asking their names and why they wanted to work in the oil industry. They all had the same basic answer, opportunity. They all had different backgrounds, but everyone wanted a chance for a better life.

In my introduction, I explained I was American and asked if they had any questions. First, I was asked why I was there and then about the Red Cross. Talking about the Red Cross was not a problem. I told them about how the Red Cross was created, about how the international Red Cross is set up, about the various Red Cross symbols and about the origin of the Red Cross logo. I explained how we are not part of the government or attached to a religion. I was a bit surprised by the misinformation which existed, but I was glad I could give them a little better insight and understanding of the Red Cross.

Once all the questions and answers were out of the way I talked to them about disaster kits. The main thing being, it is common sense. I say this because no two people will have the exact same disaster kit. Everyone is different and so are kits. The idea is to have one, to be prepared. We give basic ideas, but it is up to the individual to make it their own.

This, of course, was not my average disaster preparedness talk, not only being in another country but trying to modify the kits for people who may work on oil platforms. I don’t know much about oil platforms, so I asked what other suggestions people had. We had a great discussion, not only about the disaster kit but about being prepared. Through it all I emphasized preparedness.

The students ended up staying late so we could finish. It was fulfilling talking to people who are willing to listen, people who maybe will be a little safer and prepared because I was given an opportunity to talk to them. By the time Daya and I got home, we were both tired. The next day we went to court and got married.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


With You-Know-Who on the loose, Harry Potter knows he needs to be prepared for disaster at all times—whether it is natural, man-made or death-eater induced. Lucky for him, he has the ultimate disaster kit.

Used with the right spell, Harry’s wand can serve a multitude of purposes including but not limited to:
  • Light source (Lumos)
  • Water producer (Aguamenti)
  • Scissors/Knife (Diffindo)
  • Fire creator (Incendio)
Wands can even serve as a personal nurse practitioner, showcasing impressive First Aid skills to combat even the worst curses:
  • Repairs injuries (Episkey)
  • Heimlich maneuver (Anapneo)
But even Harry Potter can’t tend to the sick or injured without proper training. Not to worry. Just because you didn’t get your Hogwarts letter doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. The Red Cross is here to help us muggles prepare for emergencies. Enroll in a Red Cross health and safety course today by calling 502-561-3605.

Also make sure you’re prepared for disaster by packing your kit ahead of time. For a full list of disaster kit items, go to

Before departing on a mission to save the wizarding world in “Deathly Hallows,” Harry packs up his basic needs along with a few special belongings. What special item(s) would you carry with you during a disaster? Post your comments below.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Serving those who Serve

Louisville Area Chapter Call Center

A Red Cross branch of service that is sometimes overlooked is Services to the Armed Forces--SAF for short. The American Red Cross is Congressionally chartered to provide emergency communications to members of the military. The basement of the Louisville Area Chapter is home to a call center where volunteers help military members everyday.

To give you a better idea of the help provided, here is a story about Rhonda Mitchell, the mother of a service member recently assisted.

In February of 2010, Rhonda's grandmother, Florence Whiteside took ill, falling into a coma. Concerned with her grandmother’s state, Rhonda contacted the Red Cross to help bring home her son, Anthony Flemister, a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force who was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Rhonda and Anthony were very close to Florence as she helped raise them both.

Shortly after Anthony returned home, Florence made a miraculous recovery, and Anthony was able to spend time with her before returning to Japan.

Only a few months later, Florence’s sickness returned. On June 26, she passed away, and again the Red Cross was able to help Anthony return home in time to attend his great grandmother’s funeral.

To show their appreciation, both Rhonda and Anthony visited the call center on July 9 to thank Red Cross workers. Rhonda said that of the service they received from the Red Cross, she was most surprised by the follow-up calls from the call center and the empathy from the people she spoke with.

“It was really something to shout on a mountain top about,” she said. “The people act like they really care. They made sure my needs were met.”

To find out more about Red Cross Services to the Armed forces, go to

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Need Help? There's an app for that.

Back in August, the American Red Cross hosted the Emergency Social Data Summit where emergency organizations gathered to discuss the usage of social media outlets during an emergency. Some tech savvy users have found that during times of need, shouting out to your Facebook friends or Twitter followers may get you help faster than a call to good 'ol 911.

While 911 is still the most endorsed form of action, experts agreed that social media outlets could be useful during emergencies. And for those of you attached to your smart phone, there may be a few apps out there that could prove to be life-saving investments.

Check out this article from for a list of helpful tools/apps.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lions, ninja’s and princesses oh my…

The Red Cross passed out close to 600 bags with candy and disaster preparedness brochures to kids attending the trick or treat at the Mall of St. Matthews and Oxmoor Mall Halloween night.

It was the second year I participated, and it was interesting, as always. It never ceases to amaze me the ingenuity of kids or how something as simple as a piece of candy can bring joy to a child’s face. Although we passed out candy, it wasn’t all for the kids.

We also passed out Halloween safety tips, fire safety brochures (October is fire safety month) along with brochures for making a plan and making a kit.

Overall it was a great experience and something I hope the Red Cross continues. Along with the candy the kids received, I hope the parents took home with them the understanding of the importance of being prepared for disasters and the knowledge that the Red Cross is here to help.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

As a kid, I had two go-to Halloween costumes: princess and cheerleader. Not only was it always super easy to find a costume, but it was easy on the budget. Each year I would change it up a bit. Once I added wings to be a fairy princess, another time I transformed into a zombie cheerleader with the help of a little make-up.

Another tradition I came upon early was falling down along the trick-or-treat path, which always led to scraped knees or sprained ankles.

It never hurt to be prepared for anything (including snowstorms). Here are a few tips to help you and your family have a safe Halloween.

The Lucky 13
1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, skateboards and brooms!)
6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And cross from the corner!)
8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a safety gamble!
10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (And don’t hide between parked vehicles).
11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
13. Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

Download a printable copy which includes a 10% off coupon for the Red Cross store.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Know Your A-B-C

Good news everyone! After further review of the AHA CPR guidelines, the American Red Cross has decided to stick with its current course layout. People electing to take a Red Cross CPR course will be trained in full CPR with chest compressions and rescue breathing. For a full statement on the decision, go to

Of course, the Red Cross recommends you renew your CPR certification each year, but at least those of you who have recently taken the course know that you were trained in the latest and greatest materials.

The Red Cross also announced that it is launching a Citizen CPR Campaign to train 5 million people in hands-only CPR by the end of 2011. The hands-only technique is meant to be used outside hospitals where a bystander witnesses someone else collapse. The course will be 30 minutes in length. More info on that to come later, but for those of you who would like to see what all the buzz is about, check out this two-minute video demonstration or download the free, instructional PDF.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


As you may have already heard, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiac Care. The one change that has caused a lot of buzz is the sequence of CPR steps. The American Red Cross currently endorses the following steps:


AHA has changed their sequence to:


The Red Cross is reviewing changes to the sequence and will soon decide whether or not to change its training and course materials. In the meantime, learning CPR is still of great importance, especially when it could mean saving the life of a friend or loved one.

Check out this clip from the film "Hood to Coast," which follows four teams participating in the world's largest relay race held annually in Oregon. Team Heart n' Soul had a life-changing experience when one of their member's was saved by CPR after she collapsed in the middle of her run.

Hood To Coast Movie - Red Cross CPR from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

For more on "Hood to Coast," go to

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Fire Hazard

While designer handbag knock-offs might make you look fashionable, purchasing some counterfeit products to save a few bucks could cost you more in the end. In 2007 UL (Underwriters Laboratories-a product safety certification organization) sent out a press release warning consumers of counterfeit surge protectors. So what's the big deal?

Well, the surge protectors in question were using undersized wire and insufficient insulation. On top of that they didn't have a ground wire or surge protection. This information may be Greek to you (it's Greek to me, too.) The main thing you need to know is that the product's failure to meet UL standards made it a fire hazard and put users at risk of electric shock.

Make sure you are up to date on product warnings and recalls by visiting UL's Public Notices page.

Also, for you savvy shoppers out there, electronics and handbags aren't the only products with a false façade. Check out this video from Yahoo Finance featuring the Top 5 counterfeited products. Warning! You may want to toss that designer impostor perfume you bought at the drug store.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Red Cross Responds to Apartment Fire

Red Cross workers responded to an apartment fire that affected multiple units this morning in Louisville. While only one apartment was destroyed, others suffered from smoke damage. The Red Cross is providing three families with their immediate emergency needs including food, clothing and temporary shelter.

The Red Cross encourages everyone to practice fire safety and prevention every day. Two ways to prevent home fires from occurring are to:

1. Install smoke alarms. There should be one on each floor of your home and outside each bedroom or sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace batteries once a year.
2. Create an emergency escape plan. Identify two exits from each room of your home, and pick a meeting spot outside of your home where members of your household can gather after an emergency. Practice the plan twice a year.

Members of Red Cross Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are made up of volunteers and are on call 24/7 to assist those affected by home fires. If you would like to join and help support others in their time of need, please call 561-3601.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fire Burnin'

New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits. Everyone knows that part of the story thanks to LFO (RIP Rich Cronin), but one of my favorite NKOTB stories has to do with a “new kid” allegedly starting a fire that threatened a treasured Louisville landmark—the Seelbach Hotel.

I’ll let you choose whether or not to read the whole story, but in a nutshell, back in 1991 “new kid” Donnie Wahlberg was accused of starting a fire outside another guest’s room in retaliation to a noise complaint. The fire left nothing more than a small burn on the hotel’s carpet. Unfortunately, not all hotel fires end so well.

Check out this footage from a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas circa 1980. 85 people died and 700 were injured. The fire triggered the creation of many new fire safety requirements. If you’re short on time, skip ahead to the 6:30 mark for a few tips on fire safety during hotel stays.

Thanks to NFPA for posting the video.

As for Donnie Wahlberg, while googling I was unable to discover the final charges in his case, but the “new kid” is currently starring in “Blue Bloods” on CBS. The Associated Press announced Monday that Donnie just finalized a divorce from his wife of ten years. Gossip sites are reporting that he doesn’t seem too upset. I guess the fire in their relationship had burned out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Trained

Disasters aren't always caused by mother nature. Sometimes they come in a much smaller, unexpected form, like, for instance, a heart attack.

Earlier this month I attended a Workplace Seminar on AED usage hosted by our Health and Safety department. During the seminar, a slide breaking down total response time was shown to the audience.

Recognize Emergency: 30 sec
Get to a telephone: 30 sec
Call 9-1-1, give info: 45 sec
9-1-1 dispatches info: 15 sec
EMS receives info, gets vehicle: 30 sec
Travel time: 1 min
EMS arrives, unloads/gets gear: 1 min
EMS evaluates person: 30 sec

Total Response time: 5 min
Total response time without travel: 4 min

Data from EMS in Flint, MI

Response time may be even worse depending on where you are located. By the time EMS arrives, it may be too late. That is why the Red Cross encourages everyone to be trained in CPR and AED usage. The Health and Safety department offers different combinations of training to fit your needs along with many other training opportunities.

For more information or to register for a class call 502-561-3605, or visit our website at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Make a Plan

So you’ve built your disaster kit and done your research on local emergency resources. You should be good to go for a disaster right? Not exactly. Laying out a plan is essential to preparing for a disaster, especially when you have more than yourself to worry about.

When disaster hits, you may have little or no time to react. In advance, sit down with all members of your household to decide on the following:

Meeting Places—1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency. 2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and how to get there (Google Maps!) and has a phone number for the home/facility.

Escape Plan—Draw out a floor plan of your residence marking the locations of doors, windows, stairways, furniture and emergency supplies. Identify two escape routes from each room. Windows do count, so if you or a member of your household does not live on the ground floor, consider purchasing a collapsible escape ladder.

Attention to Details—Don’t forget to plan for people with mobility problems. Make more than one exit wheelchair-accessible just in case the primary exit is blocked.

Drills—Practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you more able to deal with an actual emergency. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills each year. This will help you identify problem areas that could become an issue during real emergencies.

Find more on how to create your disaster plan at

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Dog Week

It seems nowadays there is a day dedicated to all the important people in your life. We have mothers day, fathers day and grandparents day, so shouldn't there be a day dedicated to man's best friend? What about seven days?

This week is National Dog Week, set aside just for your fetch-loving, tail-chasing, playful pooch. While your furry friend might seem fierce enough to handle his/herself, there might be a day when he/she needs more from you than just a bowl of kibble. The American Red Cross offers a pet first aid course that can give you all the skills you need to be there for your friend in his/her time of need. Here are a few upcoming dates for Pet First Aid at the Louisville Area Chapter.

  • October 12 (Tues) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • November 6 (Sat) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • December 29 (Wed) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

During the course you will learn CPR and rescue breathing during an emergency, symptoms and care for common ailments and emergencies, how to create a pet first aid kit, and tips on how to maintain your pets health and well-being.

Course fee is $30. Call 561-3605 to register. Also check out tips on how to prepare for your pets in case of a disaster.

Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Build a Kit

What would you do if your house burned down? Was hit by a tornado? Suffered major damage from a hurricane (a la Hurricane Ike windstorm)? What would you do if you lost everything?

The last major disaster to hit the Louisville area was the August flood in 2009. That was over a year ago, but the Red Cross responds to more than “major” disasters.

Since September 1, the Louisville Area Chapter has responded to 14 home fires, 6 of which occurred at an apartment complex or boarding house where multiple families lived. Many of the residents affected lost all of their belongings; this includes clothing, food, photos and other precious items.

What if you only had a few moments to grab everything you needed? Wouldn’t it be easier if you already had your basic necessities packed and ready to go? This is exactly what the Red Cross recommends. Every family—scratch that—every individual, should have a disaster kit packed and ready in case of an emergency.

While the pack should mainly consist of basic survival items like clothing, non-perishable food and water, packing your kit ahead of time allows you to think of the not-so-obvious items like copies of important documents, medications, gloves or, my personal favorite, a can opener. A girl’s gotta eat, and so do you.

Don't forget to put together a kit to keep at work or in your car.

For a full list of items you should include in your disaster kit, go to

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be Informed: Know your emergency numbers!

Normally the first step in our guide to preparedness is "Build a Kit," but I decided to change things up a bit after reading an interesting CNN article by Amy Gahran. Everyone knows (or should know) to call 911 in case of an emergency. Now that the majority of Americans carry a cell phone on their person at all times, it's hard to imagine not being able to get help. But have you ever wondered how your call gets to the nearest dispatcher?

Take my cell phone for example. Be it stubbornness or laziness, my area code remains Colorado based. To make things even more complicated, I live in Southern Indiana, but work in Louisville. So if for some reason I needed to call 911, who would be fielding my call? Would they even be in the same state?

Most 911 calls are directed to a number determined by the tower you are nearest when you make the call. To ensure you have all bases covered, Gahran's article recommends that when calling 911, you begin by giving the operator your location (street names, landmarks, or mile markers). Always be aware of your surroundings. Also give the 911 operator your number just in case the call drops.

She also recommends you have alternative emergency numbers (non-911) in your cell phone for all cities in which you spend a lot of time. Remember this suggestion is for emergency calls from a cell phone, not a land line. Each police department is different, so do your research. When in doubt, dial 911.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

National Preparedness Month

With hurricanes and tropical storms looming off the East Coast, it’s time to get serious about disaster preparedness. And what better time to do so than Preparedness Month! That’s right people; it’s time to break out those old back-packs and fill them with your basic emergency needs; it’s time to sit down with your family/roommate to discuss your emergency evacuation plan; it’s time to do a little research on your local emergency resources.

This month the blog will focus on preparedness, highlighting three basic steps: build a kit, make a plan and be informed.

For daily preparedness tips throughout the month of September, become a fan of our Facebook page at

And just in case you’re still unconvinced of the importance of preparedness, here’s a message from the White House, signed by one President Barack Obama. ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Disaster Tested, Mother Approved

Growing up my mother was a preparedness guru in her own right. She always had drinks and snacks prepared for long road trips, she kept a back pack of first aid materials in each vehicle along with three or four blankets, she carried a tube of Neosporin and Q-tips in her purse along with a bottle of Tylenol, and perhaps most importantly, she always stocked up on plenty of canned food.

Every time we made it to the grocery store (usually once a month) my mom would buy bulk canned corn, green beans, soups, chilies and fruits along with other packaged snacks. While it was just as much about price and convenience as preparedness, I know that had we become somehow trapped in our house by a snowstorm (happened once for a week) or the power went out along with our electric stove (happened too many times to count) we would have something to eat.

While I don't buy BULK canned goods, I still make sure I have a few around just in case, especially for that night when I just can't bring myself to fire up the stove.

With that said, I'd like to take this post to honor the canned good. Happy 200th Birthday, and here's to many more!

Denver Post: Canning food turns 200 years old

Monday, August 23, 2010

Remember Fire Safety

It's not quite fire safety week, but a weekend fire in Louisville resulting in two deaths is a grim reminder of the importance of practicing fire safety every day.

Research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. die every year in home fires. From 2003-2006 two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms. Keep yourself and your family safe using the following tips:
  • Install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and in each bedroom or sleeping area
  • Test smoke alarms once month by pressing the "test" button
  • Replace batteries once a year
  • Create an emergency escape plan
  • Know two ways to exit every room in your home/apartment
For more on fire safety, visit

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keep your friends close

As a transplant Louisvillian, I tend to worry about family and friends back in Colorado. What can I say; I'm my mother's daughter. I ask myself questions like:

What will happen to them if they get hurt?
Who will ride with them to the emergency room?
Who will help nurse them back to health?

I would love to have the ability to immediately be by their side in case of an emergency, just like this guy was for his friend who had just been electrocuted.

Miracle in Mayberry

While AED's aren't always accessible, having the ability to save your loved ones is just a phone call or e-mail away. Contact the Louisville Area Chapter Health & Safety office for information on CPR, First Aid and AED classes.

Call 561-3605 or e-mail

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eternal Optimism of the American Mind

A recent study reveals Americans are quite the optimists when it comes to disaster risk. Posted in Risk Analysis, results from the study showed that between 365 mental health workers from Japan, Argentina and the U.S., Americans had the lowest risk perceptions for terrorism.

"Although participants from the USA had a higher exposure to terrorist events than those from Japan and Argentina, they believed they were least vulnerable to them." -

Authors of the study think the optimism can be attributed to the United States' position of power in the world.

For more on the study go to

And for more on the latest news in public preparedness, check out In Case of Emergency, Read Blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pakistan Floods affect Millions

At least 12 million people have been affected by recent flooding caused by monsoon rain in Pakistan. The American Red Cross has committed $250,000 to relief efforts. The money will be used to buy tarps, blankets and kitchen sets for the estimated 540,000 people displaced by flooding. Pakistan's Red Crescent Society is on the ground providing food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.

For more on what the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are doing to help those affected, go to

Monday, August 9, 2010

Modern Day S.O.S.

From robberies to sinkholes, social media is changing the way we report emergencies. A survey recently conducted by Infogroup and ORC found that social media sites are the 4th most popular source for emergency information, coming behind television news, radio and online news sites. Here are a few more interesting tidbits from the survey.

  • 1,058 adults surveyed
  • 1 in 5 would try to contact responders through e-mail, websites or social media, if unable to reach 9-1-1
  • 69% said emergency responders should be monitoring social media sites to quickly send help
  • Nearly half believe a response agency is probably already responding to any urgent request they might see

An Emergency Social Data Summit scheduled for August 12 will address just how American Red Cross and other emergency response groups are working to keep up with this growing trend.

Check out for more on the survey results.

Have you ever used social media to reach out for help during an emergency?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Safe and Well: Register yourself or search for loved ones.

New additions to the American Red Cross "Safe and Well" website include a screen which allows users to update their Facebook and Twitter pages with one click. The "Safe and Well" website is used during disasters to inform families and friends of your safety.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Photo by

This morning the weatherman confirmed my fears: today will be the hottest day of the year. The temperature is said to reach 100 with a heat index of anywhere from 105 to 115—hot and muggy, of course. This is the mid-west after all.

It's quite a change from where we were one year ago. Many were stranded on roadsides, their windshield wipers no match for the downpour that throttled Kentuckiana during the morning commute. Those who did make it to work trudged through giant puddles of rain—puddles that quickly turned into fast moving streams weaving through Louisville’s streets.

But Louisville wasn’t the only affected area. Up in Southern Indiana, I was sitting in an auto repair shop along with four others who had also failed at driving through the rain, our poor vehicles taking a beating in the attempt. Unfortunately, having been with the Red Cross for only 21 days, I had yet to hear the famous “Turn around, don’t drown,” mantra.

The national weather service reported that 5 inches of rain fell in 90 minutes. That week I experienced my first disaster relief operation first hand. Check out the Flickr photos from our response to the August 4th flood.

And remember, the next time you’re on the road when the sky opens up—Turn Around! Don’t Drown!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Are you duct tape savvy?

One of my first lessons as a college student was the importance of duct tape. Duct tape is a magical tool that can be used to fix just about anything.

Is the binding on your organic chem book coming apart?
Slap on some duct tape!

Are your flip flops in serious need of replacement?
No problem! Just fix them up with a little duct tape.

Most recently, I watched a fellow AmeriCorps turn a fashion emergency into a fashion statement with two pieces of duct tape. Speaking of fashion statements, check out the winners of this year’s “Stuck at Prom” contest, which challenges contestants to create a prom ensemble using duct tape.

You may not have time to create anything that elaborate, but the next time you make a trip to the supermarket, pick up a roll of duct tape for your disaster kit. Actually, pick up two—one for your kit and one for your purse ;)

For a list of items to keep in your disaster kit, go to

How has duct tape helped you in the past? Post your comments below.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vote for our Pepsi Refresh Project!

The Red Cross Hardin/LaRue Service Center in Elizabethtown, KY is in the running to win a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh program. They plan to use the money to develop Red Cross disaster shelter kitchen kits. The Disaster Kitchen Starter Kits will allow shelter partners to have on hand the items they will need to immediately open a shelter kitchen if needed. The kits will contain items required by the health department for... the operation of a shelter kitchen.

Fans of projects can vote online from now until August 31. Up to 10 of 25K projects will win a grant. Last month the Hardin/LaRue project made it into the Top 100 allowing them to compete in August. This time let's put them in the Top 10!

To vote, and for more information on the Red Cross project, go to

Once you have created a sign-in name, you will receive 10 votes per day. You are only allowed to vote for a project once per day.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chef Challenge Menu Revealed

Without further ado, I present to you Chef Railey's final menu for "An Oldham County Dining Adventure." I probably should have posted this after lunch; now my stomach won't stop growling.

Grilled Vienna & Spam Skewers with Hosin Sauce
Potted Black Bean Patty with Pico de Gallo
Ham Spread Canape with Pineapple Salsa

Vichyssoise (Cold Potato Soup)

Crunchy Ramen noodle

Salmon & Spinach Souffle with Red Pepper Sauce
Roast Beef wrapped Asparagus with Horseradish Spread & Demi Glace reduction

Served with Duchess Potatoes & Veggies

Krispy Kreme & Devil Food Pudding with Cranberry Sauce

If you haven't made your reservation yet, call the Oldham County Red Cross at 502-222-0308.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dessert anyone?

Thanksgiving is coming early, and it's even better. For dessert you'll get a helping of cranberry sauce on top of a well known morning treat. DOH! I may have given away too much!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things are getting fishy.

Who wouldn't be a fan of mermaid endorsed fish? But just in case your tastes stray away from sea creatures, there will be not one, but two main entree choices at this year's Chef Challenge. Last hint posts tomorrow, and we've saved the best for last.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Last Chance

Today is the last day to support your local Red Cross at Tumbleweed Tuesday! Don't miss out on a great opportunity to have fun and give back. Print off the coupon above, present it to your server, and 10% of you bill will be donated to the Louisville Area Chapter. What better excuse for a night out?

. . . or Salad?

How about both! Sure, Ramen in a soup would make more sense, but how much fun would that be? Up next, the main dish. Don't miss it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who says good deeds aren't rewarded?

Now you can feel even better about giving back to the community. Ice cream mogul Ben & Jerry's teamed up with Target to promote volunteering. From now until Dec. 31 if you sign up for a volunteer opportunity with, you will receive a coupon for free Ben & Jerry's ice cream, (while supplies last) so hurry and sign up before they run out!

The two qualifying flavors are Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder. Sounds "berry" good ;)

Soup . . .

In my house potatoes offer endless possibilities. I bake them, boil them, mash them and yes, I am guilty of frying them, too. Chef Railey will concoct a delicious soup with potatoes and ... well, you'll just have to wait to find out the rest.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Appetizing Appetizer

First off, I would like to apologize for the blurriness. The camera was being a bit temperamental in the dark lighting, but I suppose it just adds to the mystery .... This photo is your first "An Oldham County Dining Adventure" clue. Check back on Monday for a soup-er tip off on your second course.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disaster Kit friendly foods

So, I am absolutely addicted to Yahoo! Articles, especially the ones that can save you money and calories, but check out this one that could save your life during a disaster.

The top foods you should keep in case of an emergency

The list includes commonly known items, but a few may surprise you. Oh, and as our community disaster educators know well, when you are compiling food for your disaster kit, don’t forget the can opener!

For a full list of items you should include in a disaster kit go to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Introducing Chef Railey

Chef John Railey
Executive Chef at Glen Oaks Country Club
Sullivan University alumni

Railey began his career in cooking 16 years ago in the military, but he also has experience in canned goods, Ramen noodles and other common pantry items having experimented with them as a kid.

Chef Railey on creating the menu for "An Oldham County Dining Adventure":

I’m definitely not afraid to get into the canned goods and potted meats. My dad was a military man as well for 36, 37 years. When I was a kid, he would come home from summer camp with the canned meats, so it was always fun to come home and get rewarded with the leftovers he brought back. We always played with the things that he had. With the military it was always mystery meat, so you sit there and play with whatever was in the package. It may say SPAM, but when you opened it up, it was something green. You don’t know if it had sat there or if it was a vegetable, but you would always make the most of it, and you made a meal out of it.

Even when I was on my own and trying to make ends meet, I can remember one of my first meals of Ramen noodles I thought was so awesome—I melted cheese in it. And I thought I was really cooking then, with Ramen noodles and melted cheese, but I really kicked that up a notch.

I want the challenge to show people that what they have in their pantries they can make a meal out of, and be just as tasteful as going out and spending 30, 40 dollars for a family or for other groceries to bring into the house. I look at this to be fun as well as an educational experience for the individuals that are going to attend the fundraiser.

Be on the lookout for menu hints as we get closer to the event date.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

LAC responds to Pike County flooding

Volunteers Robert and Kenny prepare for the drive to Pike County in our emergency response vehicle.

Local Red Cross staff and volunteers have been deployed to Pike County where flooding damaged many homes over the weekend. Currently our 13 Red Cross workers are aiding the Big Sandy Red Cross as they conduct damage assessment and distribute emergency relief items such as water, clean-up kits, first aid kits and comfort kits.

Red Cross workers are also working with community partners to distribute food to affected residents using Red Cross emergency response vehicles, two of which were sent by the Louisville Area Chapter.

One Red Cross shelter is currently open at Pike Central High School where an average of 25 residents have stayed while recovering from the disaster.

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how the Louisville Area Chapter is assisting those affected by the Pike County Floods and for information on how you can prepare for floods and other disasters.

Monday, July 19, 2010

No home is too small . . .

Imagine living in a house that comes with all the basics: a bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen; it even has room for a bookshelf. This may not seem unusual, unless of course you consider that the house is only 89-square feet.

Owner and builder, Jay Shafer, chose to minimize his stress by minimizing his space. I doubt anything goes on in Jay's house that he doesn't know about, including a fire, but it's still important to have escape routes planned. You know, just in case.

Keep the following tips in mind when creating your own emergency escape plan:
  • Plan two escape routes from each room.
  • Make sure your plan includes all floors and rooms including garage, stairways and elevators.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers and utility cut off points.
  • Decide on a meeting place for all members of your household to gather during an emergency evacuation. Make sure EVERYONE knows where it is.
  • Practice your emergency evacuation twice a year with all household members.
For more tips on disaster preparedness, visit

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Man Vs. Food

Ok all you Food Network junkies. Here is your chance to witness a food challenge first hand. Join the Oldham County Red Cross and Glen Oaks Country Club executive Chef John Railey for “An Oldham County Dining Adventure.” There Chef Railey will present a 5-course meal consisting of food items that can be found in the OCRC food pantry.

Don’t worry; you won’t end up with canned corn and baked beans. I promise. If you are interested, call the OCRC at 502-222-0308 to make reservations. Dinners are $75 per person, $600 per table of eight. Sponsorship packages are also available for $500.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Supporting our Armed Forces

Flemister (top, right) with call center staff and volunteers.

Last Friday, members of the Louisville Area Chapter's Community Emergency Services received a surprise visit from a military member recently assisted by LAC volunteer Nicholas Johnson. Staff Sergeant Anthony Flemister said he was able to return home for a family emergency in less than 72 hours with help from the LAC call center. Currently, Flemister is on active duty on Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. This is the second time he has been helped by the hardworking members of our Red Cross services to the armed forces.

Red Cross services to the armed forces assists military members and their families during emergencies. Last year the LAC call center assisted more than 160,000 military families across the United States and over 1,200 in the Louisville area.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Haiti: Six months later

Thanks to donors across the world, including those in the Kentuckiana area, the Red Cross has raised a total of $468 million for Haiti relief and recovery efforts. During the first six months 1/3 of the donations have been spent as follows:

38% on food and emergency services
35% on emergency and transitional/semi-permanent shelters
10% on livelihoods and host family assistance
8% on health and disease prevention programs
5% on on disaster preparedness activities
4% on providing clean water and sanitation

The shelter and financial assistance agreements to be signed in the next several weeks will add another $71 million in spending.

A lot of work has been done, and there is still so much more to do. Red Cross will use the remaining funds on long-term recovery spanning the next 3-5 years. Spending plans focus on health, shelter and financial assistance.

For a detailed report on the progress in Haiti and future relief plans, check out the full press release.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blood+Donation=Saving Lives

Help others like Danny by donating blood today! Stop by the WHAS11 Health and Fitness Expo July 9th and 10th. While there, you can donate blood and visit with our Disaster and Health and Safety departments about training opportunities with the Red Cross.

The Expo is from 10am-5pm both July 9th and 10th at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

American Red Cross 10% Tuesday!

Every Tuesday throughout the month of July, head to any area Tumbleweed, (that includes our Hoosier neighbors to the North) and 10% of your bill will be donated to the Louisville Area Chapter. Enjoy fresh Tex-Mex with an ice cold drink all while supporting your local Red Cross!

Just print off the coupon pictured above, and bring it in to your nearest Tumbleweed. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your friends!

Check out Tumbleweed’s menu before you head out.

The LAC serves the Kentuckiana community via its main office in Louisville and six service centers in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The heat is on!

People across the Kentuckiana area are feeling it. Near record-breaking temperatures are causing everyone to flock indoors. Luckily, humans don't melt in 99 degree weather, but other heat related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be just as dangerous. Stay safe and cool by taking the following precautions:

• Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of fluids; avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol.
• Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
• Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. (Monopoly anyone?)
• Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
• NEVER leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
• Check on your animals frequently to ensure they are not suffering from the heat.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, choose a place to go for relief during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, malls).

The best way to prepare for heat-related emergencies is by getting trained in first aid. Contact the Louisville Area Chapter at 589-4450 for more information on first aid courses, and visit for more tips on heat safety.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heroes on the Town

The Heroes Campaign continued this past weekend with two major events that attracted the strong, brave and single alike. Our call center’s Yellow Ribbon Warriors hosted “Win a Date with a Service Man” at the Red Star Tavern Friday night. Dates with fifteen of the military’s finest were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Participants also accepted push-up challenges from ‘civilians.’ Those who brought their A-game left with Red Star gift cards.

Saturday 10 brave cyclists took on our chapter’s first “Ride for the Red” at Cherokee Park. Riders began at 6 p.m. Saturday and concluded at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Our chapter’s own Logan McCulloch completed 50 laps at “Ride for the Red”—that totaled 119 miles!

Together the two events raised over $1,400 for the Heroes Campaign!