Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Easy to Help Victims Affected by Recent Flooding

It is great to hear that many of the local Red Cross chapters across the country are helping their fellow Americans by traveling to volunteer in the areas affected by the recent floods. Due to the current disasters, The Red Cross expects to be spending $15 million in damage. This will be the biggest flooding operation the Red Cross has aided with in 15 years. While not all of us can pick up and go to help the victims in the Midwest, there are many other ways you can provide much needed assistance to those devastated by the floods.

The Disaster Relief Fund is a great way to help those whose lives have been forever altered. Donating to this fund will enable the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling, and other assistance to victims of disaster. You can have your donation go to a certain disaster, you just have to specify at the time of your donation where you want it to go.

The devastating impact may spread to more than 500,000 people in Wisconsin and Iowa down the river. I cannot believe that we are still only two weeks into hurricane season and this much damage has already been done. The Red Cross is continuing to help the victims whose lives have been forever changed because of the floods. Please take the necessary precautions to protect your families and loved ones before a disaster strikes. You can check out the RedCross.org for more tips on how to get yourself ready!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert: Thoughts about CPR

Many people were saddened by Tim Russert’s death this weekend from an apparent heart attack. My first thoughts were as a writer—He was a young man, only 58, and I always enjoyed watching him on Meet the Press. He was respectful, but also critical when other journalists were throwing softballs.

And, of course, my second thoughts were as a writer for the Red Cross. We think a lot about heart attacks here—how common they are, and how to be ready to respond to them with CPR and AEDs. Though I’ve worked here for several months now, this is the first time it’s occurred to me that my mom and dad, both in their 50s, probably don’t know CPR.

Reports say that an intern in Russert’s office began applying CPR almost immediately, but that an AED wasn’t used. I’m so glad that someone nearby was ready to help him. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be there when someone is suffering and not know what to do.
There’s been a lot of buzz about this on the internet. Dr. Douglas Zipes, of the Krannert Institute of Cardiology at Indiana University, emphasized that that "AEDs should be as common as fire extinguishers."

I hope some more people are inspired to get trained in CPR and AEDs because of Russert’s death, and to do so out of respect and care for others. You never know when the health of other amazingly talented people might be in your care.

Visit our website to sign up for classes, or view an online tutorial demonstrating CPR and AED techniques and see video accounts of real stories of lives saved.

-Kristin Claes is a senior writer for the Greater Chicago Red Cross. She writes for the website www.chicagoredcross.org.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Were you affected by storms in the Central U.S.? Let us know you are OK!

Storm Ravaged Residents Urged to Register with Safe and Well!

People in storm ravaged communities across the Central United States are urged to register themselves and their loved ones on the Safe and Well website, to allow family and friends around the country know of their status. Safe and Well is an easy way to assist people seeking to locate those who’ve registered their status during this emergency.

The Red Cross has developed this online tool to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency. Letting your family know that you are safe during an emergency can bring great peace of mind.
The Safe and Well website is easy to use:
  1. Visit RedCross.org, and click on the Safe and Well link.
  2. If you are currently being affected by these disasters, click: “List Myself as Safe and Well”, enter your pre-disaster address and phone number, and select any of the standard message options.
  3. If you are concerned about a loved one, click “Search” and enter the person’s name and pre-disaster phone number OR address. If they have registered, you will be able to view the messages that they posted.
  4. If you don’t have internet access, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information. The Red Cross is currently providing disaster relief throughout several states dealing with the onslaught of rain, tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, offering sheltering, feeding, emergency assistance and other support.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off to Capetown!

One of our volunteers is leaving for Capetown, South Africa this evening. He's going to spend a month there helping the South African Red Cross raise funds to aid 30,000 people in refugee camps in their country-what a cool opportunity! He is going to check in with updates from the field-we'll keep you updated. Here's a link to the South African Red Cross Society web site if you are interested in what they do http://www.redcross.org.za/

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is the Week! CPR and AED Awareness

Learning CPR makes people happy. Seriously. Look at these smiling faces. (Scroll over the notes to see their stories)

We’re right at the beginning of National CPR/AED Awareness week, and you can get to the happy that these women found spot by taking a class with the Red Cross. It really does feel good to know that you’re preparing to help people when they need it most.

To celebrate, if you take a CPR class with the Greater Chicago chapter this week, you’ll receive a free AED training with your class. You can call 1 800 SAFETY or visit our website to register.

When I attended our huge CPR Training Days event this winter (which is what these photos are from), people told me they were motivated to learn CPR for lots of different reasons, but what I heard most often was the phrase: “You never know when you’re going to need it.” Your friends, neighbors and family are your life, and in many ways, CPR and AED is life insurance. It’s assuring yourself and your family that you’ll do your best to take care of them.

That must be why these Red Cross students are so happy.