Red Cross assists seaside communities in Chile with preparation for earthquake

Seaside communities in Chile were able to evacuate safely with help from the Red Cross.

Seaside communities in Chile were able to evacuate safely with help from the Red Cross.

When an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile Tuesday night, seaside communities knew how to take action – thanks in part to Red Cross preparedness programs.

Aware that powerful earthquakes generate tsunamis, people up and down the Chilean coast evacuated their homes to seek higher ground, as part of government-led evacuation efforts.

Local Chilean Red Cross branches took immediate action to support the evacuation, including in the port city of Antofagasta, where Red Cross volunteers assisted the elderly to leave their homes swiftly. Along Chile’s coastline, some 900,000 people and 11 hospitals evacuated. The extent of damage caused by the tsunami is not yet known, but Red Cross teams are on the ground today, completing assessments in the area.

When people are prepared for natural disasters—earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and volcanoes—they take evacuation orders seriously and are often able to get out of harm’s way before disaster strikes. That’s been one goal of American Red Cross programming in countries across South America through its Latin America Risk Reduction Activities, in which the Red Cross trains communities to prepare for and respond to locally-prevalent threats.

In Chile—and other countries across Latin America—the Red Cross helps towns to identify and publicize evacuation routes, so that everyone knows where to seek safety. It also assists communities to create early warning systems, learn first aid, develop individual family emergency plans, and even trains volunteers to assist tourists in the event of a major disaster. Tuesday night, the local coordinators of projects in Chile and Peru reported that all the communities in which the American Red Cross works evacuated according to their action plans.

Chile’s major 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in February 2010 showed the vital importance of training and preparation for many coastal towns in the country.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling… you go to sleep one night, seeing everything as usual, then you wake up and it’s all gone,” said fisherman Alejandro Garrido of the disaster four years ago. Determined not to let that level of devastation happen again, communities have been working hard to prepare. Tuesday night, they put that preparation into practice.

Let your loved ones know you are safe with the “I’m safe” button on Red Cross mobile apps

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In an emergency, letting your loved ones know you are safe can bring them great peace of mind. The Red Cross has two easy ways to help reconnect with loved ones.

First, you can get in touch with loved ones by using the Red Cross “I’m Safe” button that is available on Red Cross mobile apps. This feature allows users to post a message to their social media accounts, which is a great way to make your friends and family aware you are out of harm’s way.

Second, you can visit the Safe and Well website that the Red Cross offers. This site is a secure and more private option than the “I’m Safe” feature on the mobile apps. In addition, the site allows people to list their own status and allows friends and family to search for messages from their loved ones.

Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

To register yourself or search for a loved one on the Safe and Well website, please visit redcross.org/safeandwell or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with your local chapter.

American Red Cross introduces New Flood App

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The American Red Cross introduced a new Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods.

The free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information. In addition, the app prepares you to so you know what to do before, during and after a flood.

The app includes location-based, audible NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings – even if the app is closed.

The app also includes other helpful features:

  • One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to send a message letting family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm to let others know where you are
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters
  • Real-time recovery resources for returning home and cleaning up
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks

The app, which offers content in English and Spanish, is the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. The expert advice in Red Cross apps, which also include apps for First Aid, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and other services, has been used to help save lives during disasters and medical emergencies. Red Cross apps have been downloaded on nearly 4 million mobile devices.

The Flood App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

Celebrate with us before heading out to the Tigers game on March 31

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The American Red Cross is having its inaugural Opening Day Party from 9 a.m.-noon on March 31, 2014 at the Atheneum Suite Hotel, which is located at 1000 Brush Ave. in Detroit.

Join us for fun and food before you head to the Tigers game!

A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping to provide Red Cross services to the community.

Purchase tickets by going to www.redcross.org/news/event/mi/detroit/openingday2014.

American Red Cross teams up with Channel 955 for Spot the Cross contest

Spot the cross for a chance to win Tigers tickets.

Spot the cross for a chance to win Tigers tickets.

March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the nation’s Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
Therefore, the Red Cross would like to invite you to ‘Spot the Cross’ in Metro Detroit this month.
Take a picture with any Red Cross (make one or find one!) and upload your picture for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the baseball game on March 31 in Detroit PLUS tickets to the American Red Cross party on March 31 at the Atheneum Hotel. The baseball grand prize includes 4 Tickets to the big game on March 31 and 4 tickets to the Red Cross Opening Day Party on March 31.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters of all sizes big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
Here in the Southeast Michigan area, the Red Cross has responded to 1250 local emergencies, assisted 2500 military families and trained 64,000people in lifesaving skills. And, people from this area donated 173,000 units of blood.

Please go to http://bit.ly/1nNTjMp for the official contest rules.

Bonnie Walker shares her Red Cross Story

Bonnie Walker, health and human services volunteer for the American Red Cross, began her journey with the Red Cross when she donated blood at a blood drive at her church. She said she asked the Red Cross representatives about volunteering opportunities while she was lying on the table, and she is glad that she did because she said it has been a very rewarding experience.

Walker said the staff was very warm and welcoming since the beginning of her journey, however; she believes the most rewarding part is having the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people and being able to participate in a variety of events to help the community.

She added that the Red Cross has given her the opportunity to go to events that she has never been to before, such as hockey, basketball and baseball games, and it is a great time to be able to attend these events while helping support the community through fundraising efforts.

However, she also said you have the opportunity to hear stories about how the Red Cross has helped families during times of tragedy and this reminds you of how great it is to be a part of an organization that strives to help make a difference in the community.

Walker said, “It is a fun place to work for and volunteering with the Red Cross has allowed me to give back to my profession since one of the things I do is provide field supervision to social work interns that are part of a master’s program.”

It is now up to you to go out and create your own Red Cross story to share with the world.

Red Cross Gives Assistance and Hope in the Wake of the Jason Apartments Fire

Residents of the Jason Manor Apartments on the West side of Detroit were victims of a large fire, which destroyed the entire building, Wednesday morning.  Some people were able to get out of the building quickly, others, jumped to safety but were injured and needed medical attention.

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All of the residents had one thing in common, all of their personal belongings were gone and they had nowhere to go.  The volunteers of the American Red Cross, Southeastern Michigan Region, sprang into action quickly and arrived on scene to assess the damage and figure out the best way to assist the residents.  It was 10 degrees outside and many people were left without proper clothing or shoes.  Two warming busses were on site for people to stay warm, while the Red Cross worked to find an area to interview the residents and provide help.  A local church was designated as a service center for the residents where they could get out of the cold, received assistance in the way of food, clothing, shelter and mental health services to deal to help cope with this disaster.  The church and the community came together with the Red Cross to provide a safe environment where the residents could receive the help they needed.

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Fifteen residents who were in need of overnight shelter were transported to a nearby recreation center, which was turned into a Red Cross shelter.  The residents were given warm meals, a warm bed and showers as well as a community atmosphere and mental health services to help get them through the next few days.  The Red Cross is working with other agencies to help the residents find permanent housing.

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Ed, a resident of the Jason Manor apartments who is staying at the shelter said, he doesn’t understand why this has happened to him, but that he is still here, so, he must be here for a reason and even though he has lost everything, he is glad to be sitting in the shelter, speaking with me.  He does not know what is in store for him;, but feels positive that he will be OK. 

A disaster can leave you with nothing, but a warm meal, a hug, and a safe place to sleep, can sometimes give hope.

The Red Cross Vision Statement Reads

The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action so that…

all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope;

…our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;

…everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products;

…all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed; and

…in an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.

 

 

 

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