Friday, January 9, 2015

Download the Blood App for Blood Donor Month

Life (or afterlife) as a vampire just got easier thanks to the new American Red Cross Blood Donor App. The latest of many American Red Cross apps provides users with information to schedule blood donations, track their total donations, get rewards, and invite friends to join them on a lifesaving team.
“As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is uniquely positioned to bring this cutting edge technology to blood and platelet donors,” said Shaun Gilmore, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the Blood Donor App is a new way to help meet that constant need.”

Through the Blood Donor App, users can schedule and manage their donation appointments, track the lifetime impact of their donations and recruit friends and family to roll up a sleeve with them. Other features of the app include:
  • A blood drive or blood donation center locator;  
  • The ability to sync a blood donation appointment with the user’s calendar;
  • Personalized “selfies” donors can use as they share their donation experience through social media; 
  • Special badges donors can unlock as they interact with the app, make donations and spread the word; 
  • A chance for donors to come together to form teams, track their cumulative impact and view standings on the Blood Donor Teams Leaderboard; and
  • Uplifting donor and blood recipient stories that show the power of rolling up a sleeve to help save lives.
Blood Donor App users will also get unique “thank yous” from the Red Cross and its partners – exclusive offers and discounts from some of America’s best brands.

The Red Cross has become a leader in putting vital safety information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies, with its award-winning disaster and preparedness apps downloaded more than 5 million times over the past two years. The new Blood Donor App takes it one step further by helping people save lives through blood donations.

The Blood Donor App, along with the others, can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting or, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.

Eligible blood donors do not need a smart phone to schedule an appointment to give blood. Appointments can always be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve from Past to Present...

by Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor

New Year’s is coming around once again, and once again, we will celebrate it in our own unique way.

The celebrations started 4,000 years ago with the ancient Babylonians. This day was celebrated with the first new moon of the vernal equinox, and it was religious festival called Akitu.

As calendars advanced and went through different incarnations, it was Julius Cesar who initiated January 1st as the beginning of the New Year.

Typically, New Year’s celebrations begin on December 31, New Year’s Eve, and continue into the early morning hours of January 1. During this time, people enjoy meals and snacks thought to bring good luck for the coming year.

In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes right before midnight with hopes of good luck for the upcoming year.

Throughout the world, New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and bring financial success. In Italy, people eat lentils on New Year’s Day, and in the Southern United States, black-eyed peas are popular.

Another symbol of luck in the new year is the pig, which represents progress and prosperity in some cultures. In Cuba, Austria, Hungary, and Portugal, pork dishes are part of the new year’s menu. And in Sweden, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served. Whomever finds the almond can expect 12 months of good luck.

In the United States, our most iconic tradition is the dropping of the ball in New York’s Times Square, but it is not necessary to go to Times Square to experience a large celebration because many cities and towns have started their own celebrations to usher in the New Year. Throughout the world, watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the new year’s celebration.

Though many traditions exist, the overriding feature of all these celebrations is to welcome the New Year. Happy New Year!

PS: Making a New Years resolution? How about giving back? Resolve to volunteer in 2015!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Repost: Five Ways to Shop and Give This Holiday Season

December is always a time where everyone's thinking about gift-giving, and the inevitable shopping that comes with it. Of course, you can always Give Something That Means Something through our Holiday Gift Catalog, but if you want to go the more traditional gift route, we can help with that too, thanks to some of our amazing corporate partners. Check out the story below for more.

This story was originally printed on

Five Ways to Shop and Give this Holiday Season

This holiday season, Give Something that Means Something by supporting the American Red Cross while you shop.

Circle K West Coast and Florida Divisions, FedEx, Mazda and its Dealers, Target and AmazonSmile are all teaming up with the Red Cross to provide customers with an opportunity to give back during the holidays. Whether you are looking for special items for loved ones, stocking stuffers, or you need to ship gifts, these holiday sponsors are providing opportunities to give with meaning. The generosity of these companies, and their customers, will enable the Red Cross to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies every day.

Circle K West Coast and Florida Divisions

Throughout November and December, customers at Circle K locations on the West Coast and in Florida can make in-store donations to support the work of the Red Cross. Your spare change can add up to make a big difference this holiday season and year-round.


FedEx customers across the country can check something off their holiday “to do” list when they Pack, Ship and Give this holiday season, and support the Red Cross at the same time. From November 28 through December 14, FedEx will give $1 to the Red Cross for every pack and ship transaction made at FedEx Office, up to $250,000.

Mazda and its Dealers

In the market for a vehicle this holiday season? Now through January 2, customers who purchase or lease a new Mazda vehicle may direct a $150 donation from Mazda to the Red Cross (among other participating charities) during the Mazda Drive for Good campaign.


Now through the holiday season, for every limited-edition TOMS for Target apparel, accessory and home goods purchase made, Target will donate a blanket, a week of meals or a pair of shoes. When a customer purchases select items from the TOMS collection, Target will donate $5 to Red Cross Disaster Relief to help provide a blanket to someone in need. Not only can you find stylish gift items for loved ones, but your gift also provides a critical service to someone in need.


Support the Red Cross from the comfort of your own home this holiday season and beyond! Through this ongoing, year-round program, you may designate the Red Cross as your preferred charity, and 0.5% of the price of eligible items you purchase at will be donated to the Red Cross. You can also watch this short video to see how the Red Cross is using donations from AmazonSmile to help families in need.

The Red Cross Holiday Campaign runs through December 31 and offers additional ways to Give Something that Means Something.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Target, TOMS and the Red Cross: Together, We're Making a Difference

by Sydney Holt, volunteer contributor

Listen up, Target and TOMS enthusiasts, because we’ve got news that’ll knock your socks (and canvas shoes) off: Target and TOMS are teaming up on a limited-edition collection for the holidays. Not only will you find pieces you’ll want to give – and get – but for each item purchased, you’ll be helping someone in need.

Even better, with your help, TOMS for Target has the potential to provide more than 11 million meals, blankets and shoes to those in need. Every TOMS for Target apparel, accessory and home good purchase results in the donation of a blanket through the American Red Cross or Canadian Red Cross, or one week of meals through Feeding America or Food Banks Canada. And for every TOMS for Target pair of shoes sold, a pair will go to a child in need. 

We're lucky to get the opportunity to join together with partners like TOMS and Target to make a difference in communities across the country this holiday season. Our Red Crossers are also joined together everyday to achieve our life-saving mission. In that spirit, Target sent us some of their TOMS "Together Sweaters," so our Red Crossers can really serve together this holiday season:

What can we say? Red Crossers really like working closely together. :) 

Join us in working together to make a difference to those in need. Start shopping here!

Source: A Bulls Eye View  (Behind the Scenes of Target)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Keeping the Thanks in Thanksgiving

by Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor

Quite a few years ago, fresh out of college and in my first house without roommates, I decided to host Thanksgiving. Instead of a boozy Friendsgiving of holidays past, I was going to invite distant relatives who lived in the area. My plan was to serve all the traditional Thanksgiving fare—turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. Never in my life had I attempted such a spread. I knew I could make mac and cheese, heat spaghetti sauce and order a mean pizza, but roasting a turkey? I wasn’t so sure. In my mind, it couldn’t be that hard, could it? After all, I had watched various family members roast turkeys for 20-some years. It still made me nervous, so I was relieved when one relative—lets call her Kimnay*—offered to bring the turkey. I was delighted! That way I was going to be able to focus on the sweet potato casserole recipe I found and taking a Marie Callender pie out of its box.

As one who has a preparedness mindset with the philosophy that it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, I ordered a small smoked turkey breast from a gourmet meat company. If anything, I could use it for sandwiches or send it home with my guests in doggie bags.

I woke up early on that memorable Thanksgiving morning eager to start my preparations and cooking. I wanted the house warm and smelling as if I had slaved over my oven since before the sun rose. My guests started to arrive and things started without a hitch. My timing was spot on with juggling my casseroles, potatoes and rolls in my small oven. When Kimnay finally showed up, she carried in a big roasting pan covered in foil that looked like it housed a decent 10 pounder. Knowing nothing about turkeys—it sure appeared that this one would feed an army! To keep it warm, we put it in the bottom rack and I continued finishing the rest of the nosh.

The time finally came to lay out the spread. The turkey—always the star of the show—I had left to present last. After arranging all the steamy sides, I went to the oven for the giant bird Kimnay had so graciously cooked and brought. I gently laid the roasting pan down on its rightful spot in the middle of the dining table and anxiously pulled back the foil, ready to carve the succulent, delicious fowl. The foil, pulled back and removed exposed an empty, rounded ribcage, two legs—in tact—and browned wings.

It did not cross my mind to question how Kimnay had so cleanly removed the meat without breaking the bird’s chest cavity; it didn’t take me put a few seconds to burst out laughing. This was a joke, right? I exclaimed, “Well this is funny!” When I looked over at Kimnay and saw she wasn’t smiling, my good humor was lost in an instant. Where was the breast meat? Was this some new way to carve and serve a turkey?

“Kimnay,” I asked. “Where is the white meat?” Straight-faced, Kimnay replied, “Oh. I left the good parts at home.” She was dead serious.

Kimnay had cooked her turkey, removed the white meat and purposely left it at her house. In the fridge. 50 miles away.

Kimnay had brought me a turkey carcass.

Thankfully, I am a ready-minded person. We all got a slice of turkey breast instead of having to fight over the two legs and wings left of our Thanksgiving turkey.

Now, admittedly, I was devastated, in shock and in mild disbelief at the time. My good humor did not return that afternoon. However, two good things did come of that Thanksgiving. One of those distant relatives who attended and I have become close friends—and no it is not Kimnay—and now I have a hilarious, horribly true story that will never get too old to tell over and over again.

Some may say that Kimnay’s actions were crazy. And they slightly were. Nevertheless, that day was not a full loss. I thoroughly enjoy telling the story now and it makes everyone laugh every time.

I am convinced that every family is a little bit nuts. You can choose to be frustrated, grumpy and argumentative. Or you can choose to embrace their quirkiness. I mean, after all, you are one of them. Love them for their zany antics; embrace the friendly rivalry when they root for the Eagles. Even give them the last piece of white meat.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D has studied gratitude for over 10 years. Through scientific research him and his University of California Davis team concludes that being grateful
  • Boosts our immune system
  • Makes us more resilient to tragedy
  • Helps us feel less physical pain
  • Lowers our blood pressure
  • Gives us more joy
  • Creates resistance to stress
  • Fosters compassion

I challenge you—before sitting down with the family on Thursday—to take a few minutes and make a mental list of things you are thankful for. Your list doesn’t have to include huge things either for it to improve your mood. It can be as simple as, “I am thankful I woke up this morning,” or “I’m thankful I got a kiss from my dog.”

There are many in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex that will be affected by disasters and suffer loss this holiday season. They will struggle with finding reasons to be thankful. To learn how you can help, visit The American Red Cross

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Family Volunteer Day - November 22nd

by Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor

When we, as adults, see the overall selfishness in society, we worry about today’s children. We wonder how they will learn the spirit of giving to others and caring about others. We wonder what we can do or if there is anything that we can do. Luckily, there is something that we can do to build this trait, and that is volunteering as a family.

Points of Light has designated November 22 as Family Volunteer Day. This is a day in which families volunteer to give back to their community. This day gives parents a chance to show by example the acts of giving and caring. In return, children learn from their parents these traits, and they learn by doing not by lecture. In addition, Family Volunteer Day is a wonderful way for families to bond and create lasting memories by helping others.

So, you are now convinced that Family Volunteer Day would be a pretty cool way to spend quality time as a family. Now, you ask, “What can we do as a family? Will it be difficult? Will it be inconvenient? How do we get started?”

To get started, go to the Points of Light website.

If you are the planning and creative type, there are instructions that guide you as to how to set up your family volunteer project. If you are not so sure about volunteering and you would like some ready-made ideas, you can also find these on the Points of Light website.

There are many different projects that are a good fit for many families. For example, you can volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter or you can create a care package for a troop overseas or you can read to preschool-aged children and give them books. These are just some examples of the many possible family projects.

Once you and your family have completed your project, you will learn what many social scientists have discovered – helping others makes us happy. So…what is your family project this year?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dallas Youth Volunteers Take Their Humanitarian Spirit Overseas

by Amy Yen, Digital Communications Manager, American Red Cross North Texas Region

Brothers Hamza and Rayaan Akbar are 16 & 14 years old respectively. But while kids their age usually spend their spare time playing video games, the Akbar boys give their time to the Red Cross.

As youth volunteers at the Dallas chapter, they’ve helped organize blood drives at their school, participated in a call-a-thon to raise funds for disaster relief and helped collect signed holiday cards for service members at Dallas Cowboys Rally Day. But they specifically chose to volunteer for the Red Cross so they could volunteer even when they’re away from home.

“We travel every few months and we wanted to volunteer somewhere where we could continue to volunteer when we travel, like we did this summer. The Red Cross is everywhere,” explained Hamza.

Dallas youth volunteers Hamza and Rayaan Akbar volunteered for the
Indian Red Cross over the summer.
When they visited India over the summer, they took their volunteering overseas and lent their time to the Indian Red Cross. Volunteering for the Dehradun chapter, they helped provide relief to people affected by floods and landslides in the area. They cleared out a warehouse, organized supplies and transported them by bus to make sure they got to the people who needed them. 

“There’s obviously always people willing to help, but they can’t give everyone what they need in a disaster. The Red Cross is always able to get people what they need,” said Hamza. “Some people lost all their kitchenware & some lost blankets & beds & chairs. We got them what they needed.”

Speaking with the Akbar boys about the challenges of working in a relief effort in the unstable political environment of India, it’s easy to forget neither boy is old enough to vote or have a driver’s license.

“We had to make sure everyone got what they needed equally, no matter who they are,” explained Hamza.

Hamza and Rayaan also got to visit three hospitals while they were in India. They spoke with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and got a donation of books to distribute through the Red Cross to residents at the hospitals. 

The Akbar boys present donated ophthalmology books to
residents at an Indian hospital.
“That was my favorite part. I like meeting the residents because they were so happy to get the books. They didn’t have those kinds of books. We thought it was a good idea because many of them want to go to America to study, and this is a good way to get background,” Hamza explained.

Now that the Akbars are back in the States, they want to look at starting a Red Cross Club at their school and possibly organizing a 5K run to benefit the Red Cross.

“I feel good when I get to help someone who needs it,” said Rayaan.

Both boys encouraged other young people to consider volunteering.

“If you want to help others, volunteering is great. You can do a lot of stuff with your time, but if you actually want to help & make your time worth it, you should volunteer at an organization like the Red Cross,” said Hamza. “I get to help people, and I think that’s cool. It makes me feel good. It’s a good use of your time.”

Thank you, Hamza and Rayaan, for your service and for being such inspirational young leaders in our community!

Know a young humanitarian who might want to join the Akbar brothers in volunteering? Learn more about our youth volunteering opportunities.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Don't be Scared -Be Prepared!

by Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor
It is widely believed that our tradition of Halloween originates from the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain (pronounced SAH-win). Samhain, beginning on October 31 marked the end of summer for the ancient Irish people. This time was the end of harvest and when people prepared for the long winter ahead—a season often referred to as the “darker half.” It was during these few days the Celts believed the line between the two worlds of the living and the dead blurred and ghosts and witches roamed freely in the world of the living. To them, this night of spirits was not particularly scary or malevolent like we tend to thing of the supernatural. In fact, those who celebrated Samhain would set places at the dinner table or around the fire to welcome the ghosts of dead loved ones. At night, they would light candles and bonfires and feast. Since then, throughout history, cultures all around Europe continued the tradition of a feasting around harvest time and light fires in order to guide the ghosts as they roamed.
As Christianity spread, religious leaders tried to do away with pagan rituals and traditions, Samhain being one of them. In attempt to replace Samhain, Catholic leaders declared November 1 the day of the feast of All Saints. When that didn’t work, the Catholic Church declared November 2 as All Souls Day, a day to pray for those who had died, thinking that perhaps it would appease the Celts. All Saints Day—also known as All Hallows Eve—is where we get the name Halloween. To this day, October 31 is celebrated by recognizing all things creepy such as ghosts, witches, ghouls, and goblins.
Many of our modern day Halloween traditions are deep-rooted from the ancient festival of Samhain and the traditions picked up along the way. We dress up in costume as some did to confuse the spirits, we trick or treat- a tradition starting in the Middle Ages where people would entertain others in return for food. Many of our symbols stem from this ancient harvest festival as well- corn stalks, pumpkins and scare crows.
Though costumes range the span of superheroes and Disney characters, the most popular costumes for adults are scary like witches, vampires, skeletons or other bloody character. The paranormal still dominates Halloween despite all the silly and “sexy” costumes. We decorate our homes with fake gravestones, body parts and spooky lighting. We serve hot dogs made to look like severed fingers and red cocktails served over dry ice to mimic drinking blood. Halloween allows us to be morbid and seek out that which frightens us. Though there is no record of Samhain being a night of frights, we Americans sure have made turned into that. Indeed, we also know we aren’t going to starve during winter.
Unlike our other major holidays, there is not one thing Americans will agree on that we are actually celebrating on Halloween. Are we celebrating the dead? The undead? That seems morbid. Do dentists feast because they know we’re keeping them in business? As the second most profitable holiday in America, what exactly IS Halloween?
If it is the night spirits walk around in our world, we sure have stretched the imagination of what the other world consists of, haven’t we? The Celts welcomed and warded off spirits, fairies and witches. Besides those, we also have to ward off vampires, werewolves, zombies, headless horseman and dead or undead manic serial killers who just won’t die. Ever.  Boy, Halloween is a busy night for America’s underworld. After the candy is eaten and the Jack O’Lantern candle is blown out and the witching hour is nigh, I have a suggestion on what you need to be prepared instead of scared.
For $45, The American Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Starter Kit has every thing you need to get through these next few days of the dead.
Flashlight and batteries-If you have watched one episode of Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters, you know that ghosts really only like the dark.
Am/FM Radio- Listening to your favorite station will drown out the howls from coming outside your bedroom window. In addition, you won’t miss any emergency broadcast in case the zombie apocalypse begins or aliens attack.
Reflective blanket-Bloody Mary-free!
First aid kit- You will want to wrap sterile gauze around those two bite marks you got on your neck.
Food packs- Fighting ghouls takes energy.
Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap-Zombies don’t have the best hygiene!
Breathing mask-Rotting flesh doesn’t smell anywhere close to roses
Rain poncho-Drape this over your head to disguise yourself as one of the ghosts to confuse them.
Whistle-As one of the most practical items in the kit, use your whistle to let others (living others) know you need help.
Water- Water in a preparedness kit should be self-explanatory. You can only go about 100 hours without drinking water. Without this, you will join the ranks of the dead.
Without a kit, I can only wish you good luck and Godspeed!
Halloween is all good and fun, but remember to stay safe. Children are four more times likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year. Trick or Treat in groups, with at least one adult to supervise. Start out early to avoid running around in the dark, walk only on the sidewalk and cross the street at designated crosswalks. Carry flashlights, glow sticks, wear a blinking light, or attach reflective tape to children’s costumes. And remember, if they look like a zombie, act like a zombie and smell like a zombie, they probably are a zombie.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Piper, My Hero

by Carmen Wright, volunteer contributor

Right now I am 4,948 miles away from my dog. On a regular basis, we are usually only a few rooms away, and at night she is usually crowding me out of my spot on the bed. Now that I am studying abroad in Belgium, I feel her absence all the time--I miss her furriness, her floppy ears and her expressive eyes.

At times like these, I wish I had my childhood collection of stuffed animals surrounding me. When I was younger, their furriness brought me comfort and their happy expressions cheered me whenever I felt sad, much like my dog brings me happiness when she’s snoring beside me. As an adult, it seems strange that a toy could have ever become so important that I couldn’t go anywhere without it. But anyone who has had a favorite stuffed animal knows how great it is to hold something warm and soft when you feel alone. Plush animals are the heroes of our childhood--they just seem to make every situation better.

And of all the plush animals out there, Piper the Puppy is probably one of the best. As a dog-lover, I can’t help but find his expression adorable and inviting, and as a Red Cross volunteer, I can see how his floppy, mismatched ears can help cheer children in emergencies. On a dark night when when their home is being engulfed in flames and they feel confused, children can hold onto Piper for comfort. And even when the worse they face is a dark room at bedtime, they can know that Piper has been there for them in every situation.

So on this Plush-Animal Lovers Day, recall your favorite stuffed-animal and consider granting a child a new best friend and a hero in an emergency by sponsoring Piper the Puppy. Find out more at

Thursday, October 16, 2014

National Boss's Day

by Munira Syeda, volunteer contributor

For National Boss's Day, I spent some time chatting with our very own T.D. Smyers, CEO of the American Red Cross North Texas region.

T.D. was hired in January 2012, right after the first phase of Red Cross’s reorganization went into effect. Since then, one of T.D.’s biggest and toughest jobs has been to lead his team through this massive change. The nationwide reorganization aims at reducing costs and
Red Cross stays within an operational budget.

T.D. says his leadership role regarding reorganization in the North Texas region has involved efforts on three fronts:

1. Frequent and open communication with staff and volunteers.
2. Encouraging a work/life balance and a positive spirit among his team members.
3. Keeping one’s eyes on the prize, in other words – where we’re going and ensuring that we come back strong.

Toward that end,
one of T.D.’s instituted programs has been the Staff Council, which is comprised of several members of the North Texas Team which work to contribute to the enhancement of fun experiences and opportunities within the region. Together, members work to better understand the wants, needs and goals of regional coworkers--and from that--build meaningful programs that impact Red Crossers professionally, personally and for years to come. This way, Red Cross is not just a place to work, but a place to connect, grow, and have fun as individuals and as one united team. T.D. is whole-heartedly invested in the mission of the program and is always open to and pushing for ideas that are creative and innovative in order to make Red Cross a great place to work and connect.

T.D. has also instituted weekly phone meetings with all staff and improved the structure of these meetings. He says this regular communication has helped staff share their anxieties and worries, while allowing T.D. to comfort them and address their concerns.   

T.D. is also a leader who likes to utilize his subject matter experts. He has a vision that entails understanding by pulling in key players to make important decisions means that you need to hear their voice. He asks for feedback from every staff or volunteer team member from every level to executive level and is genuinely interested in their thoughts.

The reorganization effort at the Red Cross is divided into three phases.
The first phase, implemented in 2011, involved standardizing and enhancing the mission and ensuring that Red Cross services are consistent with the mission. The second phase, implemented in 2013, involved disaster re-engineering; the Red Cross streamlined its disaster cycle (disaster preparedness and response) and also aligned it with the incident command center (which is the system utilized by first responders during a crisis). The third phase, which is the most significant and difficult, involves staff reductions and enhancing volunteer engagement.

Last week, as part of the third phase, 13 paid staff were let go in the north Texas region. This included both long-time employees as well as recent hires.

As he and the Red Cross team stand ready to tackle further challenges associated with the reorganization, T.D. says, “A team that has a high morale is a team that performs better.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In Honor of Columbus Day - Discover new skills at the Red Cross

What the Red Cross offers? 
by Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor
·         You want to babysit for your neighbors, but you are a teenager and are having a hard time convincing your neighbors that you can care for their children just as well as an older adult. What do you do?
·         Summer is quickly approaching, and your children are at the age where they will receive invites to pool parties. The problem is that your children don’t yet know how to swim. You can’t afford to pay the prices of private swim teachers. What do you do?
·         You are in charge of planning a school camping trip. You know that you need chaperones with a medical background or medical training, but you don’t have volunteer with this training. What do you?

In all three cases above, you contact the Red Cross.

Often people of think of the Red Cross as the volunteers who bring food and medical supplies to areas hit by a natural disaster. However, this is simply one role that the Red Cross plays. The other role is to provide education opportunities so that people are prepared if an emergency occurs. 

Childcare Classes: If you are new to babysitting or you want your babysitter to have additional childcare training, the Red Cross offers online and face-to-face Babysitting classes. Some topics covered in the online course include playing with children of all ages, caring for children, and handling emergencies. The face-to-face class provides hands-on training in topics that include, but are not limited to, how to respond to an emergency with first aid and rescue breathing. This class also teaches how to manage young children and how to feed, diaper, and care for infants.

Swim Classes: Many people know that the Red Cross trains swim coaches, instructors, and life guards because the Red Cross emblem is observed at many life guard stations. In addition to this life guard and swim teacher training, it also teaches the basics of home pool and hot tub safety and maintenance.

Preparedness Classes: Also, the Red Cross offers a Wilderness and First Aid Course if you are preparing for a camping trip. In this class, some of the topics include bone and joint injuries, burns, and allergies and anaphylaxis. This list is not all inclusive, so please go the Red Cross website for additional information.These are some of the classes that the Red Cross offers to the public. Please visit the Red Cross website for additional classes for home, school, and workplace safety.

Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Prepare for a Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

by Emily Ergas, intern contributor

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day will be released in theaters nationwide today. The movie is based off the children’s book by Judith Viorst of the same name. The book’s storyline centers on Alexander, who wakes up one day, only to have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things happen to him. Some of the horrible things include:

Gum in his hair
Tripping on a skateboard
Not getting the window seat in the carpool
No dessert in his lunch bag
An elevator door closing on his foot
Getting pushed in the mud
Losing his marble down the drain

These are just a few of the awful things that happen to him. (Yikes.)

Now, the movie version is set to follow a similar storyline. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, however, occurs not just for him, but for his entire family including his parents, played by Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell. Here’s the trailer if you’d like to check it out: 

If you’d like to avoid such a day, here are 5 steps to help you and your family prepared for any disaster.

1. Get a kit: make an emergency or buy one at the American Red Cross store. Alexander’s should include some scissors for the gum in his hair and band aids for his scraps and scratches.
2. Know how to use the kit: make sure everyone in your family knows where the kit is stored and how to use everything inside it.
3. Personalize your kit: have each family member add a few personal touches to the kit. Alexander would probably add a marble or dessert.
4. Make an evacuation plan: determine two or three locations that are safe and learn the safest and quickest ways to get to them. If he had had a plan, Alexander probably could’ve avoided that skateboard.
5. Be informed: know what type of disasters are most likely to occur in your area, read through the appropriate Disaster and Emergency guides and watch the weather. If Alexander had looked at the forecast, maybe he would’ve known to watch out for the mud. 

For more information, visit and check out Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on October 10th!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fire Prevention Week: Show Us You're #FireSafe!

Across North Texas, the American Red Cross helps an average of five families every day after home fires. Unlike many disasters, most home fires can be prevented. In honor of Fire Prevention Week, we want to see your steps to prevent a home fire in action. Snap, caption and post your fire prevention plan for your household!

Show off your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or other fire safety equipment and post a picture to your favorite social network (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) with the hashtag #ImFireSafe. The photo depicting the best fire prevention and preparedness will win a 3-day adult emergency kit, like this one:
*This contest will run from October 9, 2014 through October 12, 2014. Winner will be selected and announced on October 13, 2014.*

Don't forget to review home fire safety tips this week to reduce your risk!
The winning photo will win a 3-Day Adult Emergency Kit, which includes: 2,400 calorie food bars x6, 4.2 oz. water pouches x24, 12 hour light sticks x4, ponches x4, LED flashlight w/batteries x2, AM/FM radio w/speaker, headphones & batteries, 8 ounce hand sanitizer, hygiene comfort kit x4, leather palm work gloves, wrapped respirator masks x4, 2.5 gallon water storage bag, first aid kit, emergency blanket x4, whistle x4, 9'x12' plastic sheeting, duct tape, 2 rolls of toilet paper and sanitary napkins x6. All packed in our ARC 24" deluxe duffel bag.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is Your Workplace Prepared if a Catastrophe Occurs?

by Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor

Quite often we go to work, and think everything will be okay. But what if it isn’t? Is your workplace prepared? This is a discussion that needs to take place before a natural disaster or another catastrophe occurs.

Many workplaces have a plan in place, but the problem is that the employees don’t know about the plan. Thus, the first step in workplace disaster preparedness is to talk to a supervisor to determine if there is a plan.

If there is a plan, make sure that everyone in the office knows the plan. Some workplaces have a video or PowerPoint that employees can and should watch.

If your place of employment is smaller and/or there isn’t a plan in place, then a plan needs to be created. This can be a group or individual endeavor. Regardless of how the plan is created, make sure everyone knows the plan in the end.

When making a plan, make sure the following questions are answered:

1. Where do we go if there is a fire or a tornado in the building? For a tornado, find the part of the building that is designated a safe area. For a fire, designate a meeting place outside.

     2.  Who is the contact person? This is the person to contact in case of a disaster. This person has employee emergency contact information, and this is the person everyone checks in with to make sure everyone is accounted for. Make sure everyone in the office has this person’s contact information.

    3. Where are important files kept? Can they be accessed from a remote location if for some reason the office is not inhabitable?

4.   Where do employees work if they are unable to work in the office? Do they work from home? If so, do all employees have online access to important information if working from home becomes necessary?

The above questions are some questions that need to be answered. Visit the American Red Cross for additional information and classes that are available to prepare your workplace if a disaster occurs.