Author Archives: larrydietz

Over half of homes in Silver Creek Mobile Estates made safer by ‘Sound the Alarm’ event

On October 19, 2019, a team of over 100 American Red Cross and Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers supported by Council Member for District 7, Maya Esparza, San Jose Fire Department worked in teams to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

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The Silver Creek Mobile Estates is a community of 240 homes located in San Jose, California. Captain Bien Doan of the San Jose Fire Department working with Terry Unter, Disaster Services Volunteer at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, directed a coordinated campaign to canvass the community and pre-book Saturday morning appointments for the installations. Following the installation, everyone regrouped for lunch: subs from Lee’s Sandwiches.

Volunteers were greeted with welcoming remarks from Council Member Esparza and San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr. Chief Sapien stressed how important this work was to the safety of citizens of San Jose and recalled an incident in August where a mobile home resident was awakened by a smoke detector and was able to safely evacuate the home along with the other resident living there; that smoke detector had been installed in February 2019 during an earlier Sound the Alarm event.

STA SVC Blog 420x280 2Initial training was provided by Terry Unter, Liz Dietz, and Doug Moses-Batson. After instruction on how to install smoke alarms and provide training to residents, teams of four were deployed to visit the homes in the community. Each team was composed of an Educator, an Installer, an Assistant Installer, and a Documenter.

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Red Cross Service to Armed Forces supports San Francisco Fleet Week

San Francisco has a long and proud maritime history. A highlight of San Francisco’s celebration of its connection with America’s sea services is Fleet Week (SFFW)which began in 1981. The event has taken place every October since then. A major attraction of Fleet Week has been the Humanitarian Village on the Marina Green.

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The Red Cross tent at the Humanitarian Assistance Village during the San Francisco Fleet Week 2019.

The Humanitarian Assistance Village (HAV) is a showcase for civilian and military organizations to help the public understand their roles and provide education on a variety of topics related to cooperation and knowledge among civilian and military Humanitarian Assistance personnel.

The Red Cross SAF has been a vital part of the Humanitarian Village for many years. This year was no different. Under the Leadership of Go Funai, Regional Director for SAF, and Workers in Charge Liz Dietz, Jolinda Sim, and JJ Lara, a team of about 90 volunteers from across the Bay Area manned the Red Cross area on the Marina Green on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (October 11, 12 and 13, 2019).

During that period the team had over 1,500 interactions with the public. This included providing disaster preparedness information to 491 people, teaching 351 people about Stop the Bleed, 310 people about hands only CPR and 264 people about fire safety and the Red Cross Sound the Alarm program. In addition, over 100 people were provided general information about Red Cross services.

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Hands-only CPR and Stop the Bleed were two trainings offered at the Red Cross tent during Fleet Week.

Volunteers came from all over the Bay Area and ranged in age from High School Youth volunteers to those who have been volunteering with the Red Cross to those who have been Red Cross volunteers for over 40 years.

The mission of Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces is to provide humanitarian support to service members, veterans and their families around the clock, around the globe, under a trusted symbol. The 2019 San Francisco Fleet Week serves as a great event for people to share in the history of this great City and learn how to be prepared in the case of a disaster.

To learn about the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces in the Northern California Coastal Region, visit our website. Additional photos from the San Francisco Fleet Week 2019 may be viewed on our Flickr page.

Howard Hinkson Returns From 4th Service to Armed Forces Deployment in Iraq

You could say Howard Hinkson was born to serve having been raised in a Navy family moving around the US much of his childhood. Howard started with the Red Cross as a volunteer supporting the 1989 Earthquake. He worked logistics, sheltering, and mass care. He served in a variety of capacities, including volunteer, reserve, and paid staffer. Howard had just come off what he called ‘his second retirement’ when he decided that he needed to return to Iraq. Howard is no stranger to Iraq having deployed previously to COB Speicher, Balad and Camp Victory.  The American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) deployment overseas can be “laborious, tedious and dangerous” Howard said. As it turns out, the rewards outweigh all of that. Read more

Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Supports 129th Rescue Wing

The 129th Rescue Wing is part of the California Air National Guard, and is based at Moffett Field, California. “That others may live.” Is the motto of Air Rescue and typifies the wartime mission of combat search and rescue and the peacetime missions of finding and rescuing distressed people on shifts, lost or injured hikers and medical evacuations. The unit consists of over 1,000 members, 700 of whom are part time California Air Guard Members. Read more

Red Cross Support to Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting Relief Operation

Family Assistance Center welcome sign

On Sunday, July 29, 2019, a tragic mass casualty event occurred at about 5:30 PM, in the closing hours of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Shortly after midnight that evening, the City of Gilroy Fire Department and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) formally requested American Red Cross support for a city shelter providing refuge for people who were not able to retrieve their personal belongings, vehicles and or identification. The Red Cross opened a shelter at Christopher High School in Gilroy and operated that shelter until Thursday, August 1 during which time Red Cross volunteers and community partners provided health, mental health, feeding and recovery planning services. Read more

Silicon Valley Chapter, American Red Cross thank FAST for a job well done

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Red Cross volunteers Liz Dietz, left, and Peg Geringer were among those supporting FAST’s work in 2017 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Go to this album to see photos of FAST members at the San Jose Jazz Festival that same year.

On February 19, almost 50 people attended the last official meeting, dubbed the “FAST Finale,” of the Silicon Valley First Aid Services Team, or FAST. The Silicon Valley FAST was founded in 1959 and was the most active of the few FAST groups remaining in Red Cross regions throughout the country. This dedicated local team of professionals served almost 25,000 hours just from the period of January 2015 through February 2019.

During its tenure, the local FAST had become a welcome sight at many of the area’s major public events such as the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the Obon Festival, Cinco de Mayo events, the San Jose Jazz Festival, and the Nike Women’s Marathon.

The Silicon Valley team provided a variety of services from stations, carts, and even bikes and walking teams. Team members applied their medical skills to perform a wide range of treatments, from first aid for minor injuries such as blisters, scrapes, and strained muscles to major medical or trauma events. The team coordinated responses with Advanced Life Support and transportation with regional EMS units.

In addition to treatment, the team provided a range of complementary services and supplies, including blood pressure checks, stroke awareness education, sunscreen, diapers, and more than a dozen over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Benadryl.

The team’s leadership included a chairperson, Peg Geringer, and a licensed physician, Dr. Ian Brown, M.D., from Stanford University, who served as medical advisor. At the time of its disbanding, the local FAST had 125 members. Reportedly at its peak, FAST had over 400 members. Team members consisted of Emergency Medical Technicians, Emergency Medical Responders, Registered Nurses, and other trained personnel.

Some past highlights included the use of AEDs to save a life at the Bay To Breakers in San Francisco, saving a dog from dehydration at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, supporting the Women’s March in 2016, and providing first aid to pigs, horses, and goats at the Santa Clara County Fair.

The team was a sterling example of a volunteer organization. Team members took responsibility for all operations, whether that be training, logistics, or rendering care. The team was composed of a diverse group of dedicated professionals of all ages and served selflessly for half a century.

The community and the Red Cross owe the local Red Cross FAST a great deal of gratitude for their dedication and service. Each of the team members contributed to the welfare of the community and to accomplishing the team’s mission.

We hope that FAST members will continue to volunteer their valuable time in service to the Red Cross and the community.

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About the author: Larry Dietz is a Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Reserve, as well as a dedicated Red Cross public affairs volunteer in the Silicon Valley Chapter.

Helping people is a team sport

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The American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter office in San Jose was the site of a well-attended training “boot camp” on January 20 that introduced local members of Rotary International and other attendees to the many volunteer opportunities available through the American Red Cross. (Photo: Sasha Boyko)

For more photos of the day-long event, please go to this Flickr album.

Two of the world’s leading service organizations — the American Red Cross and Rotary International — joined forces on Sunday, January 20, for an all-day “Red Cross Training Boot Camp.” The session, held at the Silicon Valley Chapter in San Jose, was designed to provide Rotarians and other attendees with “Shelter Fundamentals” training and to expose them to the many Red Cross volunteer opportunities. Read more

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