Monday, July 27, 2015

In Case You Missed It - July 27

Smiling baby at Peekskill Shelter. (Photo: Caroline Sherwin)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 149 adults and 47 children following 49 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

Monday, July 20, 2015

In Case You Missed It - July 20

Long Island Red Cross staff and volunteers installing free smoke alarms at the Sinnecock Nation.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 110 adults and 45 children following 43 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review
Upcoming Events 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lessons Learned: 6 Steps You Can Take to Prepare For and Survive Sharknado 3

By Alice Ding & Matthew Hurst

This week marks the one year anniversary since Sharknado 2 invaded New York City. For those who don’t remember the phenomenon, a Sharknado is a tornado which scoops up sharks and flings them from the sky in every direction. As the latest storm, Sharknado 3*, hits the entire East Coast on July 22, we've updated last year's survival guide with lessons learned from past storms that can help keep you safe in any emergency.

1) Take the Citizens Preparedness Training Class

In the wake of last summer’s Sharknado, New York state officials responded by developing a free online Citizens Preparedness Training program open to all residents. For those that have never practiced preparedness, this training gives a comprehensive review of how to prepare for all kinds of common disasters (even Sharknados*), what to do when disaster strikes, and what actions you can take to help recover.

To take the online training and/or schedule an in-person training session for a community group, please visit our website.

2) Make an Emergency Communications Plan

Emergency preparedness always begins with making a communications plan. As we learned from the previous storms, these sharks are not friendly messengers. During Sharknado 2 we learned the story of one family reunited by agreeing to meet at the same location. Regardless of when Sharknado 3 storms across the coast, you’ll need to know where your family and friends will go and how to meet them. 

As in any emergency situation, you should have contacts outside of the city. During an emergency, local phone lines might be overloaded or out of service with the flooding which a Sharknado brings. In many cases, it’s often easier to call long distance, helping everyone know when you’re safe.

3) Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Because these sharks will try to bite, it’s crucial to have a survival kit ready. We learned from the first Sharknado is that having a chainsaw is essential for cutting sharks in half and escaping from inside a shark should you be eaten whole.

Here are some other essential items you might want to include in your emergency kit:
  • Potable Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
    Just it keep away from the waterfront.
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit (We will talk about this more in detail later.)
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Emergency blanket (to pull over your head when a shark is heading your direction)

4) Know your Flood Zone

Sharknados cause heavy rainfall which floods the streets, sometimes accompanied by storm surges as well. To avoid becoming a midnight snack for the sharks, check the New York City Office of Emergency Management’s evacuation zone map to find the shelters closest to you.

5) Download free Red Cross Disaster apps

After planning using the prior steps, download the free American Red Cross emergency mobile apps on iOS and Android smartphones for tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, first aid and more. When severe weather looms, you want to stay informed.

Our mobile apps provide lifesaving tips and real-time information about severe weather threats. In fact a recent update to our Tornado app will play an audible siren whenever the NOAA issues a tornado/sharknado warning in the NYC metro area. Download these apps in English or Spanish.

6) Take First Aid Training

Every hero needs to take Red Cross first aid classes. You’ll need to perform some basic first aid techniques when others have been wounded fighting sharks or when your family members have been injured while evacuating. 

Having a first aid kit ready is also helpful during Sharknados. You can purchase a premade kit from the Red Cross Store, and if you choose to assemble your own first aid kit, make sure to include the following items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide) + 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) + 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet
By following these tips, you and your family should be safe during the next Sharknado. Like any severe weather condition, the key is to be prepared — and remember to avoid falling sharks!

*Of course Sharknado is a fictional event, but our tips will still help you in real-life emergency situations!

Monday, July 13, 2015

In Case You Missed It - July 13

Red Cross Staff and Volunteers installing free smoke alarms in Brooklyn. (Photo: Ronnie Rigos)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 63 adults and 32 children following 33 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming events (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events
  • July 13: The Town of Hempstead is holding a fundraising Swim-A-Cross event in Bellmore, N.Y.
  • July 14-15: Disaster Cycle Services is holding its summer All-Hands Meeting throughout the GNY region chapters over the course of three days. Red Cross volunteers should check their emails to RSVP.
  • July 15, 17: Red Cross blood drives; 1 to 7pm; 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • June 18: Volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods in Westchester and Long Island to teach fire safety and install free smoke alarms as part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. If you are interested in a full-time leadership position to help prevent home fires in New York City, check out the following listings: Regional Individual and Community Preparedness Manager, Operations Manager, Manager, Information & Planning, Lead Specialists for Brooklyn Operations and Bronx Operations.

Monday, July 6, 2015

In Case You Missed It - July 6, 2015

Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 98 adults and 39 children following 40 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming events (see below).

Supplies for our Home Fire Safety event in Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
(photo credit: Caroline Sherwin)

Last Week in Review
  • Early last week Raul Rivera Nunez, Greater NY Disaster Cycle Services Regional Director, returned home after a month-long deployment to Nepal. Stay tuned for more info on Raul’s work in South Asia.
  • Last Tuesday, Metro NY North volunteers installed nearly 30 smoke alarms in homes and apartments in Mount Vernon, N.Y. The event was part of our Home Fire Safety Campaign.
  • Last week, Maria Millan was one of five Greater NY staff members lending a hand to support the Red Cross response to the Texas storms. 
  • It was a busy 4th of July for the Red Cross in Greater NY. From Westchester to Brooklyn to Manhattan, our volunteers answered the call, helping more than 30 local residents following fires and other emergencies. Thank you to all who put your holiday plans on hold to help your neighbors in need.
  • While on assignment in Haiti last week, our very own Communications Officer, Michael de Vulpillieres, posted some more photos and personal accounts from the field.
  • Last week our friends at the French Red Cross, also coping with scorching temperatures, provided a purrrrfect reminder to hydrate, advice that will come in handy here in Greater NY these next few days. Here are some more summer safety tips, this time in English.
Upcoming Events 
  • July 11, 12, 18 and 25: Volunteers are needed to support the upcoming Home Fire Safety Campaign events in Brooklyn, Suffolk Co., Westchester Co., Orange Co. and Queens. The campaign aims to reduce injuries and deaths due to home fires by installing free smoke alarms and disseminating fire safety info. If you’d like to volunteer for the campaign, sign up on our website by selecting “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Volunteer.” Current volunteers should sign up through Volunteer Connection.