Fire Prevention Week: A Good Time to Make Your Family Red Cross Ready

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This post originally ran on October 4, 2013 but we felt, as we end Fire Prevention Week, that it was worth running again.  You can never be too prepared when it comes to home fire safety.  We hope you take some of these tips and use them in your own home.  It is possible to prevent fires! Remember, keep sofas, drapery and bedding three feet away from any heat! – Kelly Baker, American Red Cross New Hampshire, Volunteer Partner/Blog Writer 

 

Red Cross Offers Fire Safety Tips and Much More

by David Moore, American Red Cross New Hampshire Volunteer Blog Writer

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, fire departments respond to a fire every 23 seconds in the U.S. In fact, fires in private homes accounted for 79 percent of civilian fire injuries in 2012, and 84 percent of fire deaths.

The American Red Cross responded to about one fire every nine minutes last year, providing support and comfort to impacted families; which is, when you think about it, both a good news and a bad news situation – good news that the Red Cross is always there in times of need, but bad news that there is so much need.

Okay, we’ve been dealing with home fires ever since early man first carried a burning ember into the cave … so why aren’t we better at preventing it? The answer may lie in the planning, or lack of it. That’s why the American Red Cross of New Hampshire is celebrating National Fire Prevention Week (October 6-12) by helping families and businesses to learn how to better protect themselves and others from fires.

The focus of this year’s campaign is the prevention of cooking-related fires. Each year, cooking is involved in more than 150,000 structure fires, claiming nearly 450 lives and causing almost $1 billion in direct property damage, according to the NFPA.

Home Fires Campaign, Iowa 2014

 

“By making kitchen fire safety the theme for 2013 Fire Prevention Week, we can raise the awareness of the leading cause of house fires and provide lifesaving safety tips to improve the safety of everyone in the home,” said Maria White, CEO of Red Cross New Hampshire.

The following list of American Red Cross fact sheets links you to some good factual and organizational information covering fire safety and prevention tips, escape planning, CO poisoning and much more:

Business should be prepared, as well, because fire is the most common of all business disasters. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

 

 

Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference in Home Fire Safety

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by Sara Brown, Volunteer Blog Writer, American Red Cross New Hampshire

A fire in the home is the biggest disaster threat to American families, more of a risk than floods, hurricanes or tornadoes. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these responses are for home fires.

“A home fire can happen to anyone at any time,” said Maria Devlin, CEO of American Red Cross New Hampshire. “Now more than ever, it is important for Granite Stater’s to take steps to prepare their home and families to prevent home fires.”

Luckily, most home fires can be prevented. Here are some tips that you can use to prepare your home and family to prevent home fires:

* Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping

area, placing them on the ceiling or high on the wall.

* Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom.

* Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year.

* Get new smoke alarms every ten years.

* Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that

gets hot, such as space heaters, wood stoves and other heating sources.

* Never smoke in bed.

* Always turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep. 

 

Home Fires Campaign, Iowa 2014

You can also get even more prepared by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns. The app also has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.

Maybe you live in an apartment or condo. Don’t you worry; we’ve got some tips that are specifically catered to your needs:

• Learn the fire safety features of the building, including fire alarms, sprinklers and

evacuation plans

• Make sure all exits are clearly marked and not blocked

• Know the locations of all available exit stairwells on the floor, one or more of the

exists might be blocked by fire

• Identify a meeting place outside and away from the building

Here in New Hampshire, we also offer the opportunity for schools, businesses, and other organizations to get even more prepared to prevent home fires by having a Red Cross Preparedness Presentation. Specially trained volunteers who focus on preparedness can provide you with tips to Be Red Cross Ready for any emergency. To learn more about these opportunities, fill out the presentation request form on our web site!

Home Fires Campaign, Iowa 2014

Achoo! Cough Cough, Groan…Flu Season?

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By Sara Brown & Kelly Baker, American Red Cross New Hampshire Volunteer Blog Writers

Colder days are coming! That means so is flu season. That achy, sniffling, can I just say in bed feeling.  However, don’t fret. There are some easy ways you can keep yourself healthy this season and stop the spread of the flu virus.

1) Get the shot! A flu vaccine is available in the U.S. every year. Get your flu shot as soon as it is available for the best chance of protection.

2) Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

3) Stay away from others as much as possible when you are sick. Staying home from work or school helps spot the spread of the virus.

4) Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

5) Drink plenty of fluids. This helps your body’s resistance to infection. Chicken Soup is good for you!

It may be difficult to tell if you are suffering from the flu or another illness. If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about possible complications, consult your health care provider.

If someone in your household does get the flu make sure you:

-Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless they have been cleaned between uses.

-Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.

-Designate one person as the caregiver.

For more information on preventing the flu, check out our flu checklist

The American Red Cross wants you to be Be Red Cross Ready!  Plus, your family and coworkers will thank you!

Home Fire Preparedness – Today and Everyday

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by Sara Brown, Volunteer Blog Writer, American Red Cross New Hampshire

Making sure your house is prepared for a fire is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family. Here are the do’s and don’ts on home fire preparedness.

DO: Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year.

DON’T: Leave portable heaters on when you leave the room or go to sleep.

DO: Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.

DON’T: Wait to talk with all household members about a fire escape plan. Make sure to practice the plan twice a year.

DO: Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

DO: Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.

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If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for “Disaster” to register yourself and your family.

Meet Our Newest App – The Blood Donor App

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By Sara Brown, Volunteer Blog Writer, American Red Cross New Hampshire

The American Red Cross launched a first-of-its kind Blood Donor App that puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand.

The app allows users to schedule blood donations, track their total donations, get rewards and invite friends to join them on a lifesaving team. It continually encourages people to give blood and make a difference. The Blood Donor App is a great new way to help meet the constant need for blood.

 

Mary Brant, communications manager for the Red Cross Northern New England Region of Blood Services said, “The app sends a clear message to those who roll up a sleeve to give blood – you hold the power to save a life. The Red Cross is our nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products and is uniquely positioned to bring this cutting edge technology to blood and platelet donors.”

The app has cool features like convenient, easy appointment scheduling and rescheduling as well as receiving appointment reminders. You can also rate your blood donation experience and follow the blood donation journey from donation through delivery, when available.

The new app is free and available for download on iPhone and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play Store. Text “BLOODAPP” to 90999 to get a link to directly download the Red Cross Blood Donor App. For more information visit redcrossblood.org/bloodapp or redcross.org/mobileapps.

It’s Preparedness Month! Are You Prepared?

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by Sara Brown, American Red Cross NH volunteer blog writer

Disasters can strike at any time, and the American Red Cross, New Hampshire Region, encourages everyone to take the first step during National Preparedness Month and join America’s PrepareAthon, creating a disaster plan for their household that can help keep people safe in an emergency.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Maria White, Chief Executive Officer for American Red Cross New Hampshire. “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”
Part of that plan is making sure you have all the proper items for your emergency kit. Here are the top five items everyone seems to forget about but is important to have.
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Manual Can Openers- Having a can opener during an emergency might not seem important but it is. These handy little devices will help you open up all those canned goods you ran to the store to buy. This will make life easier.
Batteries- Making sure you have enough light is vital in the case of an emergency. Candles can be dangerous so make sure you have enough batteries for all your flashlights. Also, prepare to have some extra batteries for when your old ones die.
Cell phone chargers- A cell phone can only be useful if it’s charged fully. Have an extra phone charger in your emergency kit to make sure you never have to deal with a dead phone.
Games and activities for children- If you have to stay in one safe location during an emergency, children may become bored quickly. Have some fun games to keep them occupied.
Red Cross Apps – The Red Cross has developed mobile apps that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies, including a “Make a Plan” feature on how to develop an emergency plan. The free apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

Back to School: Are You Red Cross Ready?

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Written by: Paige Rachel, American Red Cross New Hampshire Intern

Whether you’re heading to college for the first time or strolling in as an upperclassmen, the Red Cross wants you to be prepared for anything that comes your way. College can be an exciting time in anyone’s life but there are many things to consider to make sure you are having the safest experience possible.

Highway Safety

Are you and your parents hitting the road for a long drive?  Do you have your essentials packed – the mini fridge, flatscreen TV and every sweatshirt you’ve ever owned?  Okay, okay Mom… I mean the textbooks, external hard drive and the printer.  Be sure to pack the car carefully and make sure you can still see through the rear window.  Also, do a simple safety check before you take off and check your lights, tire pressure and fluid levels.

Click here for more Red Cross traveling and moving tips.

Dorm Life

Once you’re moved in, share your contact information and class schedule with your roommates in case of an emergency and also let them know of your emergency contacts like your parent’s information.  A simple first aid kit will definitely come in handy more than you think.  Whether you get involved with intramural sports or get a cooking lesson from someone down the hall, those bandaids and ace wrap will be helpful!

Click here for the anatomy of a Red Cross first aid kit!

As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, the fire alarm WILL go off.  Whether it’s just a test, someone burnt their popcorn, or a kid thought it would be funny at 2 AM, you WILL experience the fire alarm going off at least once in your dorm.  So check with your RA about the protocol and the emergency exits so you’re prepared no matter how late it happens.

Your school has probably already sent you hundreds of emails about the upcoming semester and you may or may not have opened them all but what is really important is that you sign up for email and text message alerts in case of an emergency on campus.  Double check that your email address and cell phone number is correct and up to date so you know what’s going on the minute it happens.

Volunteering

Getting involved around campus can be a great way to meet new friends and network for future internships or even a job!  The Red Cross has many locations – see where your local chapter is here.  You can either donate your time or you can donate blood!  Start building your resume through volunteering with the Red Cross and make a difference with your free time, there’s so much more to college than classes and Netflix.

App Downloads

Did someone say free?  Along with all of the campus freebies you’ll get when you get back to school, why not download some helpful Red Cross apps since you always have your phone on you?  No matter where you go on campus, you can have helpful information in the palm of your hand by downloading the Red Cross mobile apps, free on iTunes and Google Play stores.  Step-by-step instructions have never been more clear than with the First Aid app!  Depending on where your school is, whether you attend school down South or even all the way on the West coast, the Red Cross weather apps can be extremely helpful.  Topics like tornadoes, floods and hurricanes are covered through individual apps.

Getting to Know You: Margaret Wedge, Program Manager for Nurse Assistant Training Programs in NH and VT

“I am proud to be part of an organization whose mission is to provide help in times of crisis, and to educate people on how to prevent and prepare for a variety of natural and man made disasters.”

By David Moore, American Red Cross New Hampshire Blog Writer

If you stop by the Red Cross offices sometime and happen to spot a pretty girl wearing a Hawaiian shirt and gardenia in her hair, and strumming a ukulele, don’t break out in the Hula just yet … chances are that you’ve just met the subject of this month’s Getting to Know You blog posting.

Margaret Wedge is the Program Manager for the Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) Programs in New Hampshire and Vermont. A National Red Cross employee (one of just a handful of paid Red Cross staff in New Hampshire), Margaret is a former Red Cross Regional Business Manager and has worked with the NH Chapter Executive Director to regionalize the program.

As the NAT Program Manager, Margaret helped to develop the program’s Standard Operating Process and to implement an Educational Career School Model. However, she credits the program’s success to all those who work to administer and conduct these valuable educational classes.

“I work with an amazing team of dedicated school staff and instructors who always go the extra mile to help and guide our students,” Margaret said.

Margaret Wedge, Program Manager for Nurse Assistant Training Programs in NH and VT.

Margaret Wedge, Program Manager for Nurse Assistant Training Programs in NH and VT.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Margaret moved north to New Hampshire in 1988. She currently lives in Manchester with her husband, four cats and a dog. She is a grandmother of two: a grandson from her son’s family in Alaska and a granddaughter from her other son’s family in New Hampshire.

She loves to travel, and lived and worked in Antigua, West Indies, before settling down to come to work with the Red Cross in 2007. Margaret loves the ocean and spends summer weekends at the family camp on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Margaret also supports the Friends of Manchester Animal Shelter, and, just for fun, she sings and plays guitar, ukulele and the mandolin … in fact, she even performs as a singer/musician with the NH Ukeladies.

So, what makes Margaret tick? Well, the RCBlog asked her to answer some of our scientifically-designed, psychologically-probing, immaculately researched … well, basically, the best questions we could come up with on short notice … that we hope might give you some insight.

RCBlog: What song do you love to sing along with when it comes on the radio?

MW: I love to sing… so I sing along with most everything.

RCBlog: What book or movie can always make you tear up?

MW: “Love Actually” I love happy endings …

RCBlog: Who is your favorite celebrity and why?

MW: Tony Bennett- because he is a Talented Singer, a Humanitarian/Activist, and an Artist.

RCBlog: If you were to star in a reality television show, what would its title be?

MW: Proud Mom.

RCBlog: What do you like to do when you have some free time on your hands?

MW: Take a pottery class.

RCBlog: If you built a time machine, where would you want to go first?

MW: Rome during the Renaissance

RCBlog: What is your favorite quote and why?

MW: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Gandhi … I think that everyone has the power to make a difference in a positive way in their own lives, in their community, or even in the world.

 

Bank of New Hampshire Purchases AED Machines From American Red Cross

By: Sara Harper, American Red Cross New Hampshire Communications/External Relations Intern.

On June 24, 2014, Bank of New Hampshire received 22 Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines from the American Red Cross. Bank of New Hampshire is a corporate partner of American Red Cross New Hampshire, and the purchasing of the AED machines contributed to this partnership.

Vickie Routhier, SVP – Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Bank of New Hampshire said, “We decided to go with the Red Cross for the AED machines because we are a supporter of the Red Cross not only in the Lakes Region, but throughout the state and we felt that they [Red Cross] would be a great partner for us not only supplying AEDs but helping us create a training program.”

Donna Stevens, American Red Cross Health and Safety Account Executive pictured with Vickie Routhier, SVP – Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Bank of New Hampshire display a Red Cross Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines. Bank of New Hampshire purchased 22 AED machines for their locations.

Donna Stevens, American Red Cross Health and Safety Account Executive pictured with Vickie Routhier, SVP – Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Bank of New Hampshire display a Red Cross Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines. Bank of New Hampshire purchased 22 AED machines for their locations.

The realization of needing AED machines came to Bank of New Hampshire when there was a situation at one of the bank’s offices. This situation took place maybe a year and a half ago where an AED machine was needed. The fire department was close by and was able to respond quickly to the incident and they were able to revive the person.

“We would like to thank Bank of New Hampshire for being one of our partners and purchasing AED machines through the Red Cross,” said Donna Stevens, American Red Cross Health and Safety Account Executive. “We look forward to helping out with getting Bank of New Hampshire’s employees trained on how to use the AED machines.”

Bank of New Hampshire has partnered with the American Red Cross for a variety of different events. This is just one of the partnerships that they have done. Others include fundraisers, social media voting help and getting the word out about blood drives that are happening through the Red Cross.

Volunteer Spotlight: Fred Coolbroth, Jr., Executive Committee and Board of Directors Member

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Okay, so most of us are used to seeing Red Cross shelter tents and brightly-colored volunteers at disaster sites, blood drives, and public service events across the New Hampshire region and wherever people are impacted by disaster in the US and around the world.

Let’s call this the Public Face of the Red Cross.

But there are a few volunteers, like Fred Coolbroth, Jr., who do important Red Cross work that most people never even think about. These are the faceless few who organize and manage everything from budgets and fundraisers toeducation and testing programs, medical transportation, personnel recruitment and disaster response resources.

Leading the way in this behind-the-scenes work is the New Hampshire Region’s Board of Directors, a group of professionals, business owners and community leaders from across the state who form the backbone of American Red Cross New Hampshire.

Let’s call this the Private Face of the Red Cross.

“As a member of the Board of Directors, these volunteers are often somewhat removed from our day to day mission work. They don’t work with disaster victims or meet military families who request our help, and they don’t always see the work of the Red Cross in action,” said Maria White-Devlin, CEO of Red Cross New Hampshire. “Instead, Board Members like Fred have faith that this organization is serving the community in unique and amazing ways. Without the hard work of dedicated people like Fred, we would not be able to help those who need us during their most desperate times.”

So, who is this Fred Coolbroth, Jr., guy?

Good question. The first thing you ought to know is that Fred is actually the second “Fred Coolbroth” to sit on the Board of Directors. Fred Coolbroth, Sr., was a longtime Red Cross volunteer and a member of its Board of Directors for many years.

“I learned about these opportunities through my father,” the younger Fred said. “I deeply believe in the American Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Fred Coolbroth, Jr., has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2008.

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Fred lives in Concord with his wife, Lexie, where he is a successful tax and corporate attorney at Rath, Young and Pignatelli, P.C.Prior to joining the New Hampshire Region Board of Directors, Fred was a member of the Board of Directors of the Granite Chapter. And each year he still comes out from behind the curtain to volunteer at the annual Heroes Breakfast, honoring ordinary citizens and groups from across the state who took extraordinary measures to help out a neighbor in need. The local impact of the Red Cross work is especially important to Fred.

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