By Don Underwood
American Red Cross
When Effie Collins of Aurora signed up for a free smoke alarm from the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri she thought it was to win a single device. But the smoke alarms installed in her house may have saved Michael and Donald Collins.
Effie attended a Safe & Sound event sponsored by Springfield television station KYTV. Instead of a drawing for a single free smoke alarm, she learned she was signing up for an installation appointment.
The smoke alarms — as many as her house needed — were part of the national Home Fire Campaign by the Red Cross. The free alarms were installed in May by the Aurora Fire Department.
In August, Effie wasn’t home but her son Michael was leaving for work and Donald was in a closed back room when they heard the alarms sounding. Michael reacted to warn his father and call the fire department. They fled the house as it filled with heavy smoke.
“A fire is like a death. You lose part of you,” Effie said of the fire that damaged a sewing room and the kitchen.
The Home Fire Campaign started in October 2014 with a goal to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent in five years.
The Campaign recently presented a national Red Cross award acknowledging that two lives were saved by the smoke alarms in Effie’s home. The award will be given to the Red Cross chapter in Springfield.
Julie Stolting, Red Cross disaster specialist, responded to the house fire and assisted the Collins family. The family’s only previous interaction with Red Cross had been in donating at blood drives. After the fire Effie said she received several follow up calls to assist in the disaster recovery.
Of the Red Cross help, she said, “You don’t realize how involved they are until something happens. Then you realize, ‘That’s a good organization.’
Effie is considering volunteering with Red Cross in the future. “Red Cross is awesome; very loving people,” she said.
In Southern Missouri, the Red Cross chapter provided more than 1,300 smoke alarms from July, 2015 through June of 2016.
Here’s a link to the KYTV story about the fire:
By Jackie Kennedy
American Red Cross
The Joplin office of the Red Cross partnered with KSN TV16, the local NBC affiliate and the Joplin Fire Department to host the Living Well show on October 19 to bring awareness to the Home Fire Campaign.
The Red Cross brought volunteers and set up a call center to take requests for free smoke alarms to be installed in homes during the live broadcast, and the audience was shown the number to call several times during the broadcast.
Jackie Kennedy, Red Cross Community Relations Coordinator and Executive Board member in Joplin, kicked off the show explaining the Campaign and why it is so important for families to have a fire preparedness plan.
The national campaign started in 2014 with the goal of reducing home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent by 2019.
Red Cross disaster specialist Julie Stolting did a segment on volunteers and the Red Cross’s continual need. Red Cross volunteer Joan Brown was interviewed and explained why she decided to volunteer and why it is so important.
After the interviews, the Joplin Fire Department was outside the TV station with a couple of demonstrations about fire safety. Capt. Terry Steen gave a demonstration on how to use a fire extinguisher and Fire Marshal Dale Brooks explained how to maintain smoke alarms in the home.
It was a successful campaign, and attracted 15 calls from viewers requesting smoke alarms to be installed in homes.
The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors in the Western Missouri Region to give blood to help stock the shelves before the busy holiday season.
Many regular donors delay giving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day because of holiday activities. This often causes a drop in donated blood available for patients. Therefore, more donations are needed in the weeks leading up to the holidays to help ensure the blood supply is sufficient through the winter months.
Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to save time when donating.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 603 N. 8th St.
Nov. 1, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Basehor-Linwood High School, 2108 N. 155th St.
Nov. 3, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Immaculate High School, 600 Shawnee St.
Nov. 1, noon-5 p.m., Kansas State School for the Deaf, 450 E. Park.
Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Ismaili Community Center, 13480 S. Arapahoe St.
Nov. 15, noon- 6 p.m., Mid America Nazarene University, 2030 E. College Way.
Nov. 3, 1 p.m.-6 p.m., City Auditorium, 439 Main. St.
Nov. 12, 8 a.m.-noon, Abdallah Shriners Hall, 5300 Metcalf Ave.
Nov. 13, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 12251 Antioch Rd.
Nov. 11, 1 p.m.- 5 p.m., Millard Lumber, 701 N. Lincoln. St.
Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Hy-Vee, 8301 N. Saint Clair Rd.
Nov. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Hy-Vee 64th Street, 5330 NW 64th St.
The American Red Cross is asking everyone during National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, to take simple steps to help prevent home fires and save lives.
Home fires can be deadly because they happen so quickly. A fire can double in size within 20 seconds and on average a person has maybe two minutes to get out of a burning home safely.
The Red Cross and partners across the country have set a goal to install 45,000 free smoke alarms in homes during October as part of the ongoing Home Fire Campaign.
In the 62-county Western Missouri Region from January through August, the Red Cross installed 2,593 smoke alarms, including 1,328 by the Southern Missouri Chapter in Springfield; 846 by the Greater Kansas City Chapter and 419 by the Northwest Missouri Chapter in St. Joseph.
On Oct. 14-15 in Warrensburg, Mo., Red Cross volunteers will install smoke alarms for those who have called requesting them. Anyone wanting a free smoke alarm should call the Johnson County Emergency Management Office at 660-747-2666.
The multi-year installation campaign kicked off in October 2014 with a goal to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during the five years of the campaign. In the last two years, more than half a million smoke alarms have been installed as part of the Campaign.
Remember, the best first line of defense are smoke alarms that cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.
Be sure to test smoke alarms once a month and change batteries once a year, if required. Also, be sure to replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year. Everyone should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of fire. Discuss the plans with all household members and practice it until everyone, including children, can escape in less than two minutes.
Download the Red Cross Emergency App that includes content on how to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs. Parents can download the Monster Guard App to help their children learn what to do and how to protect themselves. Both apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or by going to redcross.org/apps.
People can join the Red Cross effort to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on needless losses from home fires by making a financial donation to the Home Fire Campaign by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800 REDCROSS or texting FIRE to 90999. Their gift to Home Fires enables the Red Cross to provide critical services to people impacted by home fires along with the lifesaving tools and information to support home fire prevention efforts. People can also help by becoming Red Cross volunteers.
Additional information on home fire safety and the Home Fire Campaign is available at redcross.org/homefires. The Red Cross also partners with a wide variety of partners that support the “Fire is Everyone’s Fight” initiative to work together and reduce home fire deaths and injuries.
As Hurricane Matthew nears the southeast coast of the United States, the American Red Cross is on the ground helping people who are in the path of this life-threatening storm.
As many as 3,600 people spent Wednesday night in 84 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. This number is expected to grow as Matthew closes in on the United States and evacuation orders continue to be issued.
In addition to shelters, the Red Cross has more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles ready to help in the affected states and more help is standing by. The Red Cross has also prepositioned more than 30 trailer loads of shelter supplies, ready-to-eat meals, clean-up and comfort kits.
The Red Cross is closely monitoring the storm and working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to make sure people get the help they need.
“Hurricane Matthew could leave widespread devastation in its wake and untold amounts of need for food, shelter and help,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “This is a time for neighbors and communities to come together and support one another. We are proud to stand alongside our partners to serve those in need of our help.”
Red Cross blood drive cancellations have more than doubled in the past 24 hours as the storm nears. Already, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 30 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia and South Carolina resulting in nearly 1,200 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. Dozens of additional blood drive cancellations are possible along the southern East Coast depending on the path and impact of the storm.
With blood drives being cancelled, those living in the Red Cross Western Missouri Region are urged to give blood or platelets to help ensure there is a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Here are the scheduled blood donation sites in the Kansas City Metro Area.
Oct. 19, 3 p.m.-7p.m., Leawood at State Line, 2140 W. 137th Ter.;
Oct. 21, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Mission 106 Luxury Apartments, 3701 W. 106th St.;
Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Creative One, 11460 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy.
Oct. 24, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Domain City Center, 8800 Penrose Ln.;
Oct. 28, 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Park Edge Apartments, 8201 Renner Rd.;
Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Healing Arts Center, 15545 W. 87th St.
Oct. 20, 1 p.m.- 5 p.m., Olathe Indian Creek, Santa Fe Square Shopping Center, 13511 S. Mur-Len Rd, Suite 129;
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., The Healthcare Resort of Olathe, 21250 W. 151st St.;
Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Rawhide Harley-Davidson, 725 N. Rawhide Rd.
Oct. 25, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Residences at Prairiefire, 5750 W. 137th St.;
Oct. 28, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., Valley View Bank, 7500 W. 95th St..
Oct. 17, 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Platte County Community Center South, 8875 Clark Ave.
Parkville: Oct. 27, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Park University, 8700 NW River Park Dr.
There are approximately 1 million people currently in shelters in Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. The overwhelming number of these is in Cuba. There are 20 confirmed deaths in Haiti, where 80 percent of all homes in the western part of Haiti have been damaged. Extensive flooding continues, which is leading to fears of cholera, as well as damaging crops, agriculture and livelihoods. Fortunately, the airports have reopened, allowing for the UN to fly in much-needed supplies.
Working with our partners, Red Cross staff will continue to work throughout the affected Caribbean to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies, relief, and care.
Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts, preparedness information and shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn’t maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.
The best way to help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.