Author Archives: Cynthia Shaw

Red Cross Offers Safety Tips as Students Head Back to School

The school bells are calling students back to the classroom and the American Red Cross wants to make sure your student is safe as they head back to school.

While safety is a top priority for all students, there are special steps for parents of younger kids and those headed to school for the first time. Make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1. Teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.back-to-school-tw

 SCHOOL BUS SAFETY 

  • If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.
  • Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Teach your student to board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed them to get on.
  • Kids should board their bus only, never an alternate one.
  • Make sure your student always stays in clear view of the bus driver and never walks behind the bus.

GETTING TO SCHOOL BY CAR, BIKE, ON FOOT

  • If children go to school in a car, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
  • If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not text or make calls use their cell phone and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.
  • Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.
  • When children are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

DRIVERS, SLOW DOWN!

Drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones. Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off.

Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. This includes two and four-lane highways. If physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES Know what the emergency plan is at your child’s school in case a disaster or an unforeseen event occurs. Develop a family emergency plan so everyone will know who to contact and where to go if something happens while children are at school and parents are at work. Details are available at redcross.org/prepare.

TAKE A FIRST AID CLASS The Red Cross First Aid App provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies whether it be before, during or after school. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. Learn and practice First Aid and CPR/AED skills by taking a course (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you can help save a life.

Coping Tips After Recent Mass Shootings

imageAfter events like the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, people may have feelings of fear, anxiety, grief, and helplessness. These are all normal feelings after this type of event. Something like this is upsetting for everyone. People near the emergency are affected, as well as people all over the country who may have family in the areas; who may know someone who was affected; or people who are watching the media coverage of this tragic situation.

Children are especially at risk as they may become afraid that the event will happen again, or that they or someone in their family may be injured or killed. The injuries and fatalities are difficult for them to understand. How a parent or other adult reacts around the child following a traumatic event can determine how quickly and completely the child recovers.

This is difficult to understand why something like this happens and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. The Red Cross offers the following tips to help people stay strong:

  • Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows what could potentially happen next. Remember that it’s okay to feel nervous.
  • Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events, especially for children. Children are especially vulnerable to stress reactions related to media.
  • Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety.
  • Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support. Hug one another and listen.
  • Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends, and children. Get help from others if needed.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and get enough rest.
  • To reach out for free 24/7 crisis counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish) or (800) 846-6815 (TTY) or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at text ‘TalkWithUs’ or ‘Hablanos’ (for Spanish) to 66746. 

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Additional Resources

 

Follow these Red Cross Steps for a Safe 4th of July Holiday

The 4th of July holiday is just around the corner and many of us will take time off to enjoy a long weekend of summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a great holiday and offers safety steps people can follow.

FIREWORKS

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

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If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”

BARBECUE SAFETY

grillingKeep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. Wash your hands before preparing the food. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Never grill indoors — not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open and away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.

HEAT SAFETY

heat-strokeNever leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

 WATER SAFETY

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Be “Water smart.” Children and adults should learn to swim so, at a minimum, they achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, find an exit, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.

Prevent unsupervised access to water. A person who is drowning has a better chance of survival if these steps are followed:

  • Recognize the signs of someone trouble and shout for help;
  • Rescue and remove the person from water without putting yourself in danger;
  • Call 9-1-1;
  • Begin rescue breathing and CPR; and
  • Use an AED, if available, and transfer care to advanced life support.

Here are a few more steps people can take as we approach the holiday:

  • Go to www.redcross.org/watersafety for water safety courses, tips, and resources.
  • Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on how to treat bleeding, burns, insect bites, and stings, and more.
  • Give blood. The number of people donating blood often drops during the summer when people are on vacation and schools are closed. Visit www.redcrossblood.org or download the Red Cross Blood App for more information or to schedule your donation.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Brenda!

Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors Chair Jonathan Velline, Brenda Isaula-Cordon, and Interim Regional Executive Teresa Caver

At last week’s American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors Meeting, Brenda Isaula-Cordon was honored for her 25th anniversary. 

Brenda began her career with the American Red Cross in May 1994 as an assistant in the Human Resources Department. She has also worked as an Accounts Receivable Specialist in the Finance Department and as a Chapter Management Assistant, working for Harold Brooks.

She took training in disaster casework where her Spanish language skills have been invaluable with local fire responses. Also, she deployed on several two-week Disaster assignments, including:

  • October 1991 – Caseworker for wildfires in Redding, CA
  • September 2001 – Spanish interpreter in New York for the 9/11 hotline after the World Trade Center attacks
  • October 2004 – Caseworker for Hurricane Ivan in Florida

Nowadays, Brenda supports the San Francisco office, ensuring the office runs smoothly and that both external and internal customers are received with a warm welcome.

Congratulations, Brenda, on achieving this anniversary with us! We know you have worked hard for this accomplishment and you have been such a significant part of our team. We truly appreciate your dedication. We couldn’t imagine our workplace without you!

Help now: Type O blood shortage

May 2019_Type O Shortage_blog graphicSpring is a busy time of year for many people, but the need for blood and platelets doesn’t let up. Last month, more than 11,500 fewer donations were collected than needed as spring break schedules and end of the school year activities contributed to a low turnout of blood donors. As a result, the American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges type O donors to give now to ensure blood is available for patients in need of lifesaving treatments or facing traumas.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms – where it can be most critical. Type O donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in. Type O blood is the most needed blood group by hospitals but is often in short supply.

All eligible donors – especially type O donors – are urged to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible. In thanks for helping meet patient needs, those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross May 1-June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply, see amazon.com/gc-legal. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Don’t wait – help now!

  1. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting our website or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  2. Let your friends and family know there is a type O #BloodShortage and ask them to give now.
  3. Bring someone to donate with you.

Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors across the country are needed to help save lives. Your support can help ensure that blood products are there for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

Make an appointment to give now.

Red Cross supports residents affected by current storm

Thursday, February 14, 10 a.m. — The series of storm systems that have pummeled California this week are causing flooding and mudslides in some of the Northern California counties that make up the American Red Cross’s Northern California Coastal Region (NCCR).

Red Cross disaster teams in our region opened two evacuation centers in the past 24 hours due to weather-related issues. Here are reports received this morning related to those incidents and other incidents:

In Marin County: A mudslide in the middle of the night caused a home in Sausalito to slide into a vacant home below it. One woman was rescued. About 50 homes are currently evacuated in the area as a precaution while officials determine the stability of the rest of the homes on the hill. Red Cross is operating the evacuation center at Sausalito Fire Station 1. Twenty-five to 30 residents are currently at the evacuation center. Red Cross volunteers are on site providing care and comfort to the residents awaiting word from officials.

In Santa Clara County: The Weather Service issued a flood warning for the portion of the Guadalupe River in the middle of the City of San Jose at 2:30 a.m.  Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Willow Glen Community Center at 3:30 a.m. An evacuation advisory was issued at 4:21 a.m.  The evacuation advisory was lifted at 6:45 a.m. today. In total 20 people, three dogs, and three cats (managed by our partners) took refuge at our evacuation center.

In Santa Cruz County: A large oak tree fell on a home in Boulder Creek this morning, displacing residents there; the home is also being deluged by water from intense rains in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The local Red Cross chapter’s Disaster Action Team has provided support (emergency lodging, food, and clothing) to a family of four (2 adults and 2 children). There were no injuries reported.

Many thanks to the dozens of amazing Red Cross volunteers from our region who answered the call overnight and this morning to help those in need of shelter in the middle of this most recent storm.

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With winter storms affecting residents in California and elsewhere in the U.S., please take a few minutes to read this Red Cross story, which includes important tips on staying safe.

Red Cross provides support following gas line explosion in San Francisco

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See full-size photo and the incident photo album.

A gas line explosion in San Francisco on Wednesday, February 6, resulted in a three-alarm fire and displaced residents and workers. The explosion occurred around 1 p.m. at the corner of Geary Blvd. and Parker Ave. in the city’s Jordan Park neighborhood; the ensuing fire was brought under control about three hour later.

Six mixed-use commercial/residential buildings have been red- or yellow-tagged as a result of the incident.

An evacuation center was opened at Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough St. for individuals in need of shelter or impacted by PG&E’s need to shut off power to the affected area.

Red Cross volunteers also responded with an Emergency Response Vehicle to provide water and food to first responders and evacuated residents at Mel’s Diner. Two muni buses were requested as additional warm spaces for evacuees. Dinner was ordered for first responders and residents at the evacuation site and for the shelter.

The volunteers have collected information at the evacuation site from six families whose residences were affected by the fire. All other impacted individuals or families have found their own lodging.

Red Cross personnel closed the shelter today (Thursday, February 7) and are continuing with traditional casework and referrals to our partners.

Residents displaced by the gas line explosion and fire may call 415-427-8010 to register for Red Cross assistance and referrals.

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