Tuesday, July 21, 2015

We Have Moved!

 The Red Alert Blog has moved! We're now hosting our blog on WordPress.com at RedCrossDFW.wordpress.com. You can also access the site from http://www.redcross.org/dfw/blog.

While we have moved most of our archived stories to the new blog, we will be keeping this page live for anyone who would like to dig any deeper. We hope you'll continue to follow us and share our stories from our new page. We feel that this move will make our blog more user-friendly and enjoyable for YOU.

Check it out:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Beyond First Aid: Emotional Health

Bajen hacia abajo para leer el artículo en español
By Jenny Contreras, intern contributor

The rain has steered clear of North Texas for the past few days, and a few boats have even returned to Lake Lewisville after the spring storms flooded the area. While Texans are recovering from the damage left by the storms, one can’t help but wonder how the survivors are holding up.

Although the Red Cross is known for helping disaster-stuck areas by providing food and shelter, many do not know that the organization also provides free counseling and support after a disaster. Coping with the trauma from disasters is far from easy, but trained Red Crossers from Disaster Mental Health Services help people understand their situation and cope with their emotions.

After a traumatic event such as a disaster, strong feelings are expected. Some of these feelings include:
• Feeling of weariness (physically and emotionally)
•Having difficulty staying focused
•Feelings of frustration on a daily basis
•Arguing more with family and friends
•Feelings of sadness, loneliness and fatigue
•Going through changes in appetite and sleep patterns

These feelings are brief and with time they will go away. To help with the stress from the disaster, face the situation and look for ways to improve the well-being of your family in spite of the circumstances.
Preparedness is Valuable
To strengthen one’s emotional well-being before disaster strikes here on some tips to manage some storm-related fears and anxiety:

 Have a plan and implement it. Have a plan for you and your family (including furry family members) to be safe during the storm. Recent storms and other weather-related events have illustrated the importance of emergency preparedness.

 Get the facts. Gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable actions.
Download our free app. We have a few cool apps to help you track and prepare for any potential disasters (emergency, tornado, wildfire, hurricane and flood)

Stay healthy. A healthy body can have a positive impact on your thoughts and emotions, enabling you to make better decisions and better deal with any disaster.

Reach out to your children. Help children by restricting constant viewing of the news, giving them realistic assurances that plans are in place to keep them safe and maintaining their normal routines as much as possible.

Maintain a hopeful outlook.
Physical and emotional reactions to trauma are different with every person while some may come back on their feet while others have prolonged feelings of anxiety or sadness. However when these feelings persist and are affecting your relationships family, friends and others, reach out for additional help. Remember your friends from the Red Cross have the resources to help you heal.
To get free counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline, sponsored by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.
Más que Primeros Auxilios: Salud Emocional
Por Jenny Contreras, intern contributor

La lluvia ya está fuera del área. Hasta unos barcos regresaron a Lake Lewisville después de las tormentas que inundaron el lago. Mientras Tejanos están recuperando del desastre que dejo las tormentas, uno tiene que preguntarse, ¿cómo estarán los sobrevivientes?

Aunque La Cruz Roja es conocida por ayudando lugares destruidas por desastres naturales en dando comida y abrigo, muchos no saben que la organización también da ayuda en administrando asesoramientos emocionales y suporte después de un desastre. Afrentando los sentimientos uno tiene después de trauma no es fácil, pero voluntarios de La Cruz Roja de Disaster Mental  Health Services ayudan gente entender la situación en que están y los ayudan en enfrentando sus emociones.
Después de un evento  traumático como un desastre natural, fuerte sentimientos son esperados. Unos sentimientos incluyen:
• Sentimientos de cansancio (físico y emocional)
•Teniendo dificultad estando enfocado(a)
•Sintiendo frustración todo el tiempo
•Alegando con familia y amigos
•Sufriendo de sentimientos de tristeza, soledad y lasitud
•Cambios de apetito o hábitos de sueño
Estos sentimientos son breves y con tiempo se van a ir. Para ayudar con el estrés por desastres, trata de enfrentar la situación y mira por maneras para mejorar el bien estar de tu familia a pesar de la circunstancias.

El Valor de Preparación
Para fortalecer el bien estar emocional de uno antes de un desastre natural, aquí hay unos consejos para controlar unas preocupaciones que uno tendrá sobre tormentas:
Ten un plan e impleméntalo. Ten un plan para tú y tu familia (incluyendo a tus mascotas) para que estén seguros. Las tormentas que hemos tenido demuestran la importancia de estando preparados para emergencias.
Agarra los hechos. Congrega toda la información que te puede ayudar  en determinando los riesgos potenciales para que tomas acciones razonables.
Baja nuestra app. Tenemos apps que son bien impresionantes para ayudarte en preparándote por algunas desastres potenciales. (apps de emergencia, tornado, fuegos salvajes, huracanes y inundaciones)
Mantente saludable. Un cuerpo saludable puede tener un impacto positivo y como resultado puede uno hacer buenas decisiones cuándo se trata de tiempos de catástrofe.
Habla con tus niños. Ayudo a tus niños en restringiendo el visualización constante de las noticias. Dales confianzas y explícales que hay planes en su lugar para asegurar la salud de la familia.
Piensen positivo.

Las reacciones de traumas físicos y emocionales son diferentes con cada persona. Mientras unos recuperan más rápido que otros, unos pueden tener prolongados sentimientos de  ansiedad y estrés. Cuando estos sentimientos persisten y están afectando tus relaciónes con tu familia y amigos, agarra ayuda. Acuérdate que tus amigos de La Cruz Roja tiene las recursos para ayudarte  sanar. 

Para a obtener asesoramientos emocionales o suporte, habla al Disaster Distress hotline, patrocinado por el Substance Abuse& Mental Health Services Administration, a 1-800-985-5990 o text “TalkWithUs” a 66746.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Big Battle for a Little Girl

Written by Jan Hale, American Red Cross Blood Services
We most often hear of life-altering diseases affecting their victims later in life. While these are always hard stories to tell and to receive, they seem to be all the more heart-breaking when the life they are affecting has just begun.

At only 3 years old, Reece Griffin was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) on April 16, 2015. ALL is a potentially life-threatening illness that can cause bone or joint pain, reoccurring infections and fatigue. Reece has had to receive numerous blood transfusions since her diagnosis, and she still has a long way to go.

On July 14, the American Red Cross is operating a blood drive in honor of Reece. We would like to encourage area residents to honor her and all of the other patients in the DFW metroplex in need of blood this summer by donating at the event.

“We can never thank those that rolled up a sleeve to give the blood that Reece has already received,” said Reece’s mom, Roxxy Griffin. “But, we can help educate our friends, neighbors and others on the importance of giving blood, especially during summer.”

The summer is an especially difficult time to collect enough blood to meet the needs of hospital patients. Many regular donors are traveling and vacationing, so summertime donors are extremely vital to ensuring that our area hospitals receive enough blood to fulfill patient needs. Blood donors with all types, particularly O negative, A negative and B negative, are urged to make an appointment.

Donate Blood in Honor of Reece McKenzie Griffin
Tuesday, July 14, 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Math/Science/Technology Magnet School
450 Abrams Road, Richardson, Texas

To make an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org (Sponsor code: reecemckenzie) or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

15 Movie Characters Who Should've Turned Around

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

Rain, rain, go away come again some other day ... like in a year.

The Red Cross has flooded social media feeds for months about the importance of #TurnAroundDontDrown (thanks for the campaign, National Weather Service)! So much so I think it's safe to say you might be sick of hearing it.

To add some cheer to the drenched residents of Texas and to play off of the infamous hashtag, here are 15 movie characters who should've just listened and turned around. 

15. Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"
Why did Melanie check out the attic alone when she knew there were killer birds out there flapping around? Don't ever investigate a noise in a thriller movie!

14. Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist"
White noise coming from a television in the middle of the night? Little Carol why did you put your hand out?! Always pretend to be asleep and then tell your parents to hit the road tomorrow! Yikes!

13. Steven Spielberg's "Jaws"
A classic movie that terrified viewers with two notes, but Brody wanted to chum the waters. Why didn't you chug that tug boat to shore warp-speed after seeing the monster? You're crazy. 

12.  Joe Johnson's "Jumanji"
Yes, we understand you had to finish the game to end the nightmare, BUT after being thrown into a monsoon with a giant crocodile, why didn't you just say, "nope, I'm done, I need to get the rest of my life together!" 

11. Disney's "Little Mermaid"
Every time you watch Ariel give her voice to the sea witch, Ursula, you feel anxious. WHY WOULD YOU TRUST AN OCTOPUS?! Do you know how much easier it would've been to nab your prince had you just turned around!? 

10. Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow"
New York City is under another world altering natural disaster? NOPE. It never ends well! And who wants to freeze to death and dig their way out of snow piled up as high as skyscrapers? 

9. David R. Ellis's "Snakes on a Plane"
Um, I can deal with spiders, but slimy no leg slithering poisonous snakes falling out of every nook and cranny from an airplane? I don't think so. I hate heights and flying for that matter, but I would've grabbed a parachute and floated my behind right back down to snake-free ground. Peace out! 

8. William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" 1973
If I saw anyone who could turn their head around without the use of their neck ... I wouldn't be wasting any time on trying to save their souls -- bye, Felicia. 

7. David Yates's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" 
You can't have a list without the Harry Potter series. I couldn't let it happen. I'm glad they didn't turn around, and I'm happy they beat that bully Voldemort. (#HarryPotterForever) But, in order to include them with this list, here's Longbottom's scene with all those greasy death eaters. 

6. Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"
You're trying to tell me none of the Deetz's were scared when Barbra and Adam stretched their faces? It makes my eye sockets burn just thinking about it ... 

5. Colin Trevorrow's "Jurassic World"
No spoilers in this clip, but when the boys find the broken fence to investigate ... and then "Hello, super giant dinosaur"... Nope, nope, nope! Dinosaur + me in a small moving cube = definitely to the NOT. 

4. Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs"
Hannibal Lecter and his pack of misfit friends were beyond creepy. Clarice, when you left the jail you never should've looked back. The lotion does not do good for the skin.

3. John Hughes's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Poor Cameron, never should've let Ferris convince him to take out his dad's Ferrari. Then, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to knock it off its stand.

2. Howard Deutch's "The Great Outdoors"
Chet you should've just stayed home and forgot going to Wally's cabin. You had to have known the bald-headed bear was going to come looking for revenge!

1. Disney's "The Lion King"
Simba, why-oh-why did you have to go to Scar? Do you know grown adults still tear-up when your father, Mufasa, dies! Why couldn't you have just turned around!!!  

If ever in a pickle and you're not sure which direction to take, remember all of these fools who didn't turn around and ask yourself, "could this be turned into a GIF?"

There's a moral to every story, and you don't want to be the example. Don't attempt to drive through flooded streets and moving water, your life is much too valuable. Always remember turn around don't drown!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Crowd Surfing -- I Mean Safety

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

Finding yourself in large groups of people in one specific area means a lot of individuals bumping elbows, sharing sweat and blindly navigating through tons of event goers.  The DFW region hosts an array of outdoor events during the summer months, and it’s crucial to be prepared for the crowds. 

You must be aware of your surroundings. Don’t carry important items (I.D. or credit cards) in your pockets, and always keep your purse zipped shut. Don’t forget to hide any valuables you aren't carrying in a locked car before leaving the parking lot.

 After arriving with your family or friends to the event grounds, make sure to pick out a visible landmark to designate as a meet-up spot if anyone in your group gets lost. Recognize the exits of the facility in case of an emergency. While, technology is at the tip of our fingers, a dead cell phone battery is likely. Most young children don’t carry cellphones, so tt never hurts to have a back-up plan for your family if and when technology fails.

It’s hot outside, and you should expect it to be hot; it’s Texas. Stay hydrated by drinking liters of good ol’ H2O. There is nothing better for your body than cool water on a hot, summer day.  And, don't forget to dress appropriately and apply plenty of sunblock.

If you want to be extra prepared, bring a can of bug spray. All of the rain this year has super-sized the mosquitoes, and you don’t want to be their next meal!

If traveling with small children, take a photo of them individually on your smart phone. This way if they get lost, you have the most recent photo. In a moment of panic, you might forget what he/she was wearing. This eliminates that possibility.

Without scaring your child, explain “stranger danger”.  It also doesn’t hurt to practice what to do in case of separation with your child at home before you leave. 

The old saying is true, it's better to be safe than sorry, and having an un-used plan is better than scrambling to think of one in the moment. Think ahead, and don't forget to have fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stay Safe and Sound This Fourth Of July

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

What could possibly go wrong with explosives and a match?

This Saturday is the fourth of July, and most people plan to sit outside, barbecue something, relax with friends and enjoy a loud, colorful and explosive firework show as the night's finale.

Firework Safety

In Texas, you are allowed to purchase and ignite fireworks on your own property. The best way to safely enjoy the holiday is to attend a public firework show put on by licensed professionals, but if you decide to put on your show at home, we've got you covered.

Here are some safety tips for those of you setting off fireworks at home:

1. Never allow children to play to fireworks. 
2. Keep flames away from loose clothing and face.
3. Don’t make your own fireworks.
4. Always use fireworks outside. 
5. Keep a bucket of water or a water hose nearby just in case. 
6. Light firecrackers one at a time.
7. Never aim fireworks at other people or yourself.
8. Soak firework remnants in water before discarding in trash.
9. Only buy fireworks from licensed stores, tents and stands. Don’t purchase fireworks from persons on the street or at a home, usually these are transactions of illegal fireworks. Legal fireworks have bright colored packaging and a distinct warning label on the wrapping. Illegal fireworks aren’t packaged and are usually wrapped in brown paper.
10. Ignite fireworks away from the home, brush, leaves and other flammable materials.

According to the National Fire Protection Association approximately 50,000 fires a year are caused by improper use of fireworks.

Highway Safety:

Thousands of families will be on the road traveling over the weekend, so it’s essential to keep these tips in mind while road-tripping:

1. No texting while driving. This includes emails, Facebook and Twitter!
2. Always wear your seat belt.
3. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Use caution in work zones.
5. Follow the speed limit! 

We want you to enjoy the weekend with your families, and your safety is of great importance to those of us at the Red Cross. Stay safe this holiday weekend, and enjoy the bang! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bring The Heat

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

This is my favorite time of the year! I sun-kiss the skin of each person who spends time outside and burn those into a crisp who don’t wear any sunscreen.  I tend to be more dangerous than any other weather event throughout the year and regrettably affect the elderly and young children the most, often resulting in death.
I can make you feel sticky within minutes in Austin, Texas, or make you feel like a chocolate chip cookie being baked in an oven in Dallas. I especially like to cause embarrassing pit stains in pools underneath your arms... Sorry, not sorry.

If it weren’t for me, many of you probably wouldn’t consider cold showers or installing a pool, but without me you wouldn’t be able to enjoy those summer barbecues near the beaches and lakes.  I am harsher in the southern hemisphere because the tea is sweeter, and c’mon, the south is better!

Have you guessed what I might be yet?

Trees try to discourage me, but vehicles can’t hide from me. The Red Cross spends a lot of effort trying to protect residents from my reach, however not everyone listens. I’m a nasty pain in the summer, but I can’t help it, I am the summer heat.

During my peak periods, I can make the temperature stay in the 90’s for consecutive days on end. It’s imperative to your health to stay weather aware as I like to change my mood daily. I'm feeling extra cheery this morning and will you give some tips on how we can stay friends and not enemies over the next few months.  

If you plan on spending the day outside, make sure you have plenty of water on hand. Water is cheap y’all and essential to your fight against me. You should also wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin because I like to punish the ones who don’t. It’s not cute to look like a walking lobster, am I right?

Dress in light colored clothing that is loose fitting and lightweight. I am attracted to dark clothing, I like it when it's tall, dark and handsome. I turn up the heat to make sure you know my presence, so stick to light and airy materials.  

Slow down on strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. I’m not as angry after 7 p.m. and still too tired between 4-7 a.m. to burn you. If you have to be outside because your job requires you to see me, wear a hat and stay hydrated. You need to replenish what you lose in sweat!

Common Heat Sickness Symptoms:
·         Feeling nauseous
·         Flushed and/or pale skin
·         Dizziness
·         Heavy sweating
·         Severe headaches

If I’ve caused you to have any of these symptoms (sorry in advance!) go to a cooler area in the shade or in an air-conditioned building. Administer cool cloths directly on to your skin and drink cool water slowly, approximately one glass every 15 minutes. Loosen any restricting clothing and try to relax. If symptoms continue to worsen call 9-1-1 immediately!
Nothing makes me sadder than when individuals leave children or pets unattended in vehicles, even if it’s for a few minutes. Don’t do it, please! The inside of a vehicle heats up quickly and rapidly becomes a death trap for anyone left inside.

Heat Related Terms You Should Know:
·         Heat Cramps are muscle tremors and pains that can affect the calves, abdomen, back and arms. It’s an early sign your body is having trouble with the hot temperatures. They are painful spasms that need to be treated if cramps continue well after an hour.
·         Heat Exhaustion is when the blood travels to your skin cells and not through your vital organs. This can cause your brain to go into mild shock if left untreated. This occurs in victims who frequently work outside for their job or exercise outdoors. Profuse sweating results in fluid loss, so always carry extra water to replenish!
·         Heat Stroke occurs when the body’s natural temperature control system fails and sweating won’t help cool the body down. This is life threatening and must be treated immediately! Please call 9-1-1 for immediate attention!
Common Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
·         Hot, red and dry skin
·         Loss of conciseness
·         A rapid or weakened pulse
·         Shallow breathing
I have given you all that you need to know, so don’t ignore it! I might not be this nice again. Summer is for enjoying fun and friends, don’t let me ruin it! I just get too excited sometimes when I see you all enjoying my rays!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Learn To Swim And Where

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

Did you know Texas is ranked number one in the country for pool drownings? Tarrant County is ranked number two in the state. And the statistics haven’t changed for the past few years according to the Fort Worth Drowning Coalition.

The leading cause of death for children under the age of 4 is drowning, and it’s the second leading accidental death for children 14-years-old and younger according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  

For every child that drowns, another five receive medical attention for water-related injuries. 

Swim lessons can be expensive especially if you have more than one child, but we have a solution for you. The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition offers swim lessons at a number of locations for only $5!

Safe Swim Schedule: 
  • June 16-19, June 23-26 2015 at Westside YMCA 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.  
  • July 28-31, Aug 4-7 2015 at Southwest YMCA 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.  
  • Aug 25-28, Sept 1-4 2015 at Marine Park Pool 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. 
  • $5 for 8 swim lessons 
You can register for classes here. Take advantage quick as slots will fill up!  
The YMCA’s in both Dallas and Fort Worth also offer special scholarships to those who qualify for swim and fun summer programs.  Here are the links for both applications: 

The Red Cross team has also put together a number of resources and tips to help keep your family safe over the summer. Here are the some quick tips to stay safe: 

Water Safety 

  • Never leave children unattended near water 
  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards 
  • Never assume someone else is watching your children 
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses 
  • Stay off of cell phones, give your attention 100 percent to supervising your children 
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and first aid kit 
  • Enroll in Red Cross first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies  
Boating Safety from SafeKids.org: 
In 2011, 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.  
  • Have children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats. Make sure life jackets sit snugly. Have the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol while operating a boat. A huge number of boating accidents each year involve alcohol consumption. 
  • Infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so if you bring a baby on a boat take extra steps to keep them warm.  
Swimming is great exercise and the perfect way to tire out the kiddies during the summer. Take the necessary precautions to insure the safety of your children this summer and each summer to come.