Tag Archives: Volunteers

Silicon Valley volunteers install over 150 smoke alarms

red-cross-logo_420x279Almost 50 volunteers from the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross met at Fire Station Number 3 on Martha Street in San Jose on a rainy morning this past Saturday. After remarks by Captain Bien Doan of the San Jose Fire Department and superb training by Liz Dietz, Terry Unter, and Doug Moses-Batson, the teams — in spite of the rainy weather — visited a total of 52 homes in County Fair Mobile Estates and Village of the Four Seasons, in San Jose. The work was done as a part of the ongoing Red Cross “Sound The Alarm” activities.

The volunteers were divided into teams to install smoke alarms and provide training in several areas.

The team Educator helped families create an escape plans and learn about local safety hazards such as earthquakes and how to be prepared for them.

Each team had an installer responsible for the actual installation and an educator who provided training about the alarms, fire, and earthquake safety and the importance of escape routes. A documenter, who recorded the number of alarms installed and demographics of each family, rounded out the team.

The event was a great success in part due to the tremendous job of advance canvassing undertaken by Captain Doan.  Canvassing continued during the event with additional residents asking for the alarms before the event ended in the afternoon.

Overall, volunteers served almost 200 residents in over 70 homes and installed almost 170 smoke alarms.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death in half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. The Red Cross wants to end these tragedies and save lives; that’s why we launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

 

Red Cross response to Mendocino Complex Fire

As of Friday, August 17, 2018, 12:00 p.m.
For information on Red Cross services, call the 2018 Northern California Fire Storms Hotline at 855-558-1116.

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Jordan Innes, 8, is glad that he can be with his pets while he is staying at the Lower Lake High School shelter. (Photo: Virginia Becker, American Red Cross)

For more photos, please go to this Flickr site.

Read some of our client and volunteer stories from this disaster relief operation. 

 California Northwest Chapter Executive Director Jeff Baumgartner address concerns about the Red Cross response in this blog post.

Three weeks after the Mendocino Complex Fire erupted in northern California, the Red Cross is there as communities recover, making sure people get the help they need as they cope with the aftermath of these deadly fires. According to officials, the Mendocino Complex Fire, which includes the River Fire and the Ranch Fire, which is 76% contained, has burned more than 378,000 acres and destroyed 157 homes in Lake County.

Alongside many community members and partners, 374 Red Cross disaster workers, most of whom are volunteers, continue to support to people whose lives have been turned upside-down by these wildfires. Read more

Organization is key for this Red Cross volunteer

Donna Logan 420x279By Andrea Mendoza

For Donna Logan, the call to help came after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The devastation that this natural disaster left in the state of Louisiana and nearby states — and the effect that it had on the country as a whole — was enough inspiration for Logan to get involved with the Red Cross. She had been retired for about a year, and Logan was looking for causes in San Francisco with which she could get involved. With a master’s degree in organizational development and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Logan hoped to find a position in which she could use her experience and skills.

As a volunteer with the American Red Cross, Donna Logan has more than done that. And this year, she was honored for her many contributions and compassionate work when she received a Clara Barton Award at the annual Volunteer Recognition Event for San Francisco volunteers. Named after the organization’s founder, the award recognizes a Red Cross volunteer for service in a series of leadership positions held over a number of years.

“I got heavily involved when the Red Cross lost a lot of its primary staff because of budget cuts,” said Logan. “I realized that we had basic organization building to do so I ended up becoming a  full-time volunteer at the office in client casework.” This opportunity would lead Logan to other areas within the Red Cross until she eventually became the Disaster Chair. To her, seeing a lot of things accomplished and overcoming barriers within the organization is very rewarding.

According to Logan, what she likes best about her work is “the opportunity to take some initiative to make some improvements in different places,” as well as the opportunity to “be with individual families and being able to give a little boost to a situation in a time of crisis.” This is done by providing the basics that people need such as shelter, food, and comfort.

Logan believes that the Red Cross can provide a certain amount of support, but the more prepared people are, the easier it will be to recover from devastating disasters such as Katrina. This is what her unit strives to do, to better prepare people for a fast recovery.

Logan’s problem-solving skills continue to be in demand. “It’s always a challenge because our volunteer base fluctuates as does the leadership in our partner organizations.” Logan’s team takes on a great deal of the partnership building in San Francisco, and she believes that it “has become increasingly more important to try to get more and more people to support recovery efforts.”

Despite facing these challenges, it is the human interactions that Logan has appreciated the most during the years that she has been with the Red Cross. One particular memory she values is that of Mrs. Cooper, a woman who, despite losing everything to a fire, still found it within herself to give back and do something positive by fostering disabled children. For Logan, Mrs. Cooper symbolized finding strength through adversity, and she was very proud to have helped Mrs. Cooper recover after the fire had disrupted her life. “Probably the most important thing that you can do is sit down and try to bring some sense of order so the people can begin to think positively on how to move forward,” says Logan.

When asked what it meant to be a recipient of the Clara Barton Award, Logan said she only hopes that this helps to highlight what people can do for others. She believes the work to be gratifying and purposeful, not only for her but the community as a whole.  “[I hope] it brings attention to the kind of work we can do, [so that] somebody else might take notice and look at the work beyond the person,” says Logan. “I’m just one person in a really large community.”

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About the author: Andrea Mendoza is interning with the American Red Cross in the Santa Rosa office.

Become a Red Cross Volunteer: You can make a difference in San Francisco by becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Volunteers constitute about 94 percent of the total Red Cross workforce to carry out our humanitarian work. Red Cross volunteers are trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters, providing food, shelter, and comfort for families affected by major disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes as well as helping local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Email arcbav@redcross.org to get started.

Remembering last fall’s Northern California fires

north-bay-fires_full-sizeDuring the devastating Northern California fires this past October, every person who fled their homes — and in many cases, lost them —  has a story to tell. So do the many Red Cross people who heroically stepped up to help in response to one of the most destructive weeks of fires in the state’s history.

Read our 2017 California Wildfires Six-Month Stewardship Report

Read more

Silicon Valley Chapter supports San Jose’s Veteran’s Day Parade

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Youth volunteers Tina Hoang and Angie Le hold the thank-you cards that were given to veterans. (Photo by: Mark Butler)

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross had a strong contingent of more than 50 people supporting the Veteran’s Day parade in San Jose on Sunday, November 11. The parade was a special one because it marked 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Read more

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