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.