Monday, May 23, 2011

Safe and Well

Since March 31, the American Red Cross has responded to 25 large disasters across the United States. That statistic was true before this past weekend when Mother Nature struck once again, spawning tornadoes in Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. Like the tornado that struck Alabama almost one month ago, the tornado that hit Joplin, MO left behind destruction and many fatalities.

Disasters like these often lead to the loss of power and means of communication, making it a challenge to check in on loved ones in affected areas. To help alleviate this problem, the American Red Cross developed the Safe and Well website. There, individuals can register themselves as “safe and well” following a domestic disaster. The website is accessible via computers and smart phones.

Once individuals have registered, they have the option of entering a brief custom message which can include information on how loved ones can contact them. Registrants also have the option of sharing the custom message via Facebook and Twitter, making the site a one-stop shop for notifying loved ones of your safety. When registration is complete, loved ones can then search for those affected on the website.

The Safe and Well website is a great tool during a disaster, but it’s important to spread the word before disaster hits. Please visit to learn more about Safe and Well and please share with your friends and family.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Across the country

Here flood waters rise in West Point, KY, one of the Kentuckiana areas hit hardest by extensive rain in April.

The month of April lived up to its showery reputation this year, causing destruction throughout the U.S. by way of flooding and severe storms. Workers from the American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter are responding, not only at home, but throughout Kentucky and Alabama.

In Paducah, KY, flooding from the Ohio has kept residents out of their homes and Red Cross workers from completing damage assessment in the hardest hit areas. A shelter opened on April 25th and has hosted at least 19 people each night. Many Red Cross workers from the Louisville Area Chapter have deployed to Paducah to provide support in areas including damage assessment, client casework and fundraising. In the photo to the right, Bill Franz from LATA Kentucky presents a $6,600 donation on behalf of LATA Kentucky and its management team to Diane Davis (third from left), senior philanthropy advisor, and Kerry Graul (fifth from left), site director, of the American Red Cross surrounded by members of the American Red Cross team in Paducah, KY.

LAC volunteers, Paul Stensrud and David Vandermullen travelled to Cullman, Alabama in a Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV). The vehicle is equipped to set up emergency communications in areas where power and phone lines are out of service. Entire communities remain without power after tornadoes ripped through the state in late April. The vehicle will allow the Red Cross disaster operation to adequately provide assistance to those affected by the disaster.

As the Midwest flooding and tornadoes in the South have proven, disaster can strike at any time. Please prepare yourself and your family before disaster hits. Visit for more disaster preparedness tips.