When You Say WISCONSIN, You’ve Said…House Fires?

By Marytha Blanchard

What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? Beautiful lakes, tranquil forests, the Packers, Badgers, cheese, brats and beer? House fires probably don’t make your list. Unfortunately, they should.

As One Red Cross serving Wisconsin, between January 1 and March 31, 2015, we have responded to 391 fires alone! That’s an average more than four households being assisted each day! During the first three months of the year, disaster responders have helped individuals and families in 81 cities and towns across 44 counties and 1,040 people have received Red Cross financial assistance to help them start rebuilding their lives after a fire. Assistance can include lodging, food, clothing, emotional and medical support, information and referrals, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, guidance on where to begin to start picking-up the pieces and more. All assistance is provide free of charge and is delivered by caring volunteers that respond day or night, rain or shine to help neighbors and strangers alike.

So what can you do?

  1. Check your smoke alarms at least twice a year. Seven times a day someone dies in a home fire. Every 40 minutes an injury from a fire is reported. Working smoke alarms will alert you to a fire and allow you the maximum amount of time possible to escape. Going to have dinner at a neighbor’s? Visiting your kids or parents? Help them test their alarms while you are there. They might think you’re odd but who cares, smoke alarms save lives!
  2. Make an escape plan and practice it. From the time a fire starts, you will have two minutes maximum to safely exit your home. Make an escape plan. Determine two ways to exit from every room in your home. Practice your plan regularly. Include all members of your family.
  3. The Red Cross is always accepting new volunteers. There are many different volunteer roles. You could respond to fires and other disasters and work directly with those affected to provide comfort and assistance. You can work behind-the-scenes, helping to make sure volunteers are trained and have the supplies needed to respond.

JOIN our preparedness team! Take part in activities like our door-to-door smoke alarm installation events http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/prevent-home-fires

Teach youth to be prepared for disasters through the Pillowcase Project http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/school/preparedness-education/the-pillowcase-project).

To learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross and to start an application visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.

  1. Contribute to the #GIVEWHATFIRETAKES (https://www.crowdrise.com/givewhatfiretakes) campaign.

Fires are devastating and scary events for anyone who experiences one. There are steps you can take to make you and your loved ones more prepared and should you, your family, or your neighbor experience a home fire the Red Cross will be there, giving back what fire takes.

Brown County Do 1 Thing encourages individuals, families, and businesses to prepare for emergencies

By Anna Destree, MS, Brown County Do 1 Thing Project Manager

Do 1 Thing, based out of Lansing, MI, is an award winning and nationally recognized, web-based emergency preparedness program that enables individuals, families, businesses, and communities,  to prepare for emergencies.

In September of 2014, the Brown County Health Department, City of De Pere Health Department, Oneida Community Health Services, and Brown County Emergency Management, partnered together with local businesses and the Green Bay Press-Gazette to promote Do 1 Thing in Brown County.

Each month, Brown County Do 1 Thing features a Public Service Announcement with local organizations whose interests or goals are related to monthly Do 1 Thing topics. In March, Brown County Do 1 Thing partnered with Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive from the American Red Cross of Northeast WI Chapter to promote Emergency Sheltering.

Click on the picture to view psa: 

be prepared

American Red Cross was a natural fit to help Brown County Do 1 Thing promote Emergency Sheltering. The Do 1 Thing goal for March is to know how to respond safely when instructions are given to evacuate or take shelter. Participants are provided with three things they can do to prepare and are asked to do at least one of them.

The three things in March are:

1) Identify the best place in your home to stay safe from storms and practice getting there with your family

2) Learn how to safely shelter in place

3) Make a “Go Bag” for emergency sheltering.

In addition to being better prepared, Wisconsin residents who participate by completing a Do 1 Thing task can enter at greenbaypressgazette.com/do1thing each month for a chance to win great prizes from partnering Brown County organizations. Just click on the “Prepare and Win” story and fill in the short entry form.

Prizes include a monthly drawing for a $50 energy credit/gift certificate from Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and grand prize drawings including a $250 gift certificate from Festival Foods, a $250 gift certificate from Shopko, a $50 gift certificate from Kwik Trip, and a 7” Samsung WiFi Tablet from Cellcom.

To learn more about Do 1 Thing, visit www.do1thing.com or visit the Brown County Do 1 Thing site at www.greenbaypressgazette.com/do1thing

Red Cross Reminder: Check Smoke Alarms When Clocks Spring Forward

Nationwide home fire campaign aims to reduce the number of home fire deaths, injuries

daylight-saving-time-570Daylight Saving Time is this weekend and when everyone turns their clocks ahead, the American Red Cross reminds them to also take these steps to make sure their household is prepared for emergencies.

We urge people to take these steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.

  • Check smoke alarm batteries. When turning the clocks ahead, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
  • Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.
  • Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.
  • Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.

Home Fire Preparedness Campaign The Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters across the country every year and most of these are home fires. Tragically, some people lose their lives in these fires, countless others are injured. The Red Cross has launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years.

The campaign is happening all over the country and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

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Help the American Red Cross Save Lives!

10710893_10152718411990071_1668250310886687572_nSeven times a day in the United States, someone dies in a home fire. Even more frequently, American Red Cross volunteers provide help to families who have lost their homes to devastating fires. It is more important than ever that we all join together to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on needless losses from home fires.

We are asking you to join us in this nationwide public initiative that aims to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 25 percent within five years.

Register today for the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in Green Bay, WI! Dates we are looking for volunteers to help with this campaign:

  • Saturday, February, 21st, 9am – 11am (distributre  door hangers)
  • Saturday February, 28th, 8:30am – 12pm  (install smoke detectors) 

For both of these dates we will have volunteers meet at Fire Station #3, 885 Shawano Ave. Green Bay, 54303

Click the button to sign up!

click_to_register

 

The Pillowcase Project — Learn. Practice. Share.

imageOrigin:
The Pillowcase Project was created by the American Red Cross’s Southeast Louisiana Chapter and implemented in New Orleans schools following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans CEO, Kay Wilkins, had learned that Loyola University students carried their valuables in pillowcases when they were evacuated for Katrina. This inspired Wilkins and her team to work with an art therapist to create a program in which children living in makeshift communities across New Orleans during Katrina recovery decorated pillowcases to hold their belongings. Soon, their Pillowcase Project became a preparedness education program for elementary school students, and in just a few years had been adapted and implemented by several other Red Cross chapters with substantial success.

In early 2013, the Walt Disney Company funded the design and development phase of a multi-year effort to build on this success by creating a standardized, state-of-the-art preparedness education program. As a result, the Pillowcase Project can now be customized for use by Red Cross chapters across the United States.

Vision:
To create a generation of children who understand the science of hazards, are empowered to take action by practicing how to prepare for emergencies, and understand that by sharing what they have learned with family and friends, they can help create a prepared community.

Goals:
The Pillowcase Project is a multi-year effort that aims to:
• Increase youth awareness of hazards and the importance of personal preparedness
• Build skills in hazard-specific protective actions to reduce the impact of emergencies on youth and their families
• Increase coping skills to manage emergencies and build resilience in youth
• Increase household preparedness levels
• Incorporate preparedness education into the elementary school curriculum

IMG_0202.JPGLearning Objectives:
Students who participate in The Pillowcase Project will be able to:
• Increase youth awareness of hazards and the importance of personal preparedness
• Use their knowledge to act as advocates for emergency preparedness in their homes and communities
• Identify the best ways to stay safe during emergencies that occur in their region
• Use coping skills to help manage stress during emergencies and in every day situations
• Gain confidence in their abilities to be prepared for emergencies through hands-on activities
• Create an enhanced sense of community through collaborative preparedness activities
• Discuss the role science plays in emergency preparedness
• Understand and communicate the work of the Red Cross in their community

To learn more about the Pillow Case Project check out the segment on Oshkosh Today!

To sign up to be a volunteer click here.

To have a presenter come to your school or group contact Bob Mayer, Disaster Program Specialist at robert.mayer@redcross.org or 920-227-4281.

Top Ten Red Cross Cold Weather Safety Tips

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As temperatures drop this winter, the American Red Cross offers ten steps people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.

  1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
  2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
  8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

For more information on how to stay safe during the cold weather, visit winter storm safety.

Home Fires Become Top Disaster Threat

Home fires top list of disaster responses throughout Wisconsin

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This year, the Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Locally trained workers responded at all hours of the day with food, blankets and comfort to help more than 3,451 people with nowhere else to turn after home fires from January 1 to December 1, 2014.

During that same timeframe, the Red Cross also provided financial support to 1,064 households after home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.

Within December alone, we have already responded to nearly 50 additional fires as this is our busiest month of the year including several large apartment building fires in Milwaukee.

“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Marytha Blanchard, the states Disaster Officer. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears, every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”

Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires

Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. In the Wisconsin Region, we’ve already reached 599 people by installing 342 smoke alarms in Beloit, Chippewa Falls, Kaukauna, Stevens Point and Milwaukee. Based on 5-year historical data, additional neighborhoods are being coordinated for 2015 outreach.

Other Notable Disaster Responses

Within the state, we have responded to numerous other disasters this year, including the Platteville and Verona tornadoes, flooding and even power outages. In addition, our trained responders have also traveled across the country to assist in the California & Texas wildfires, Buffalo blizzard, Oso mudslide, Pilger tornadoes and longer-term casework for the Illinois tornado/flood.

Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

 

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