Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lightning Safety Information

By Bill Fortune

It is that time of year when outdoor activities conflict with hazardous weather. Working with the National Weather Service, we thought it would be helpful to provide some discussion about outdoor lightning risk reduction.

Being outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm. Each year, nearly all people in the United States injured or killed by lightning were involved in an outdoor activity. They were struck while working outside, were at or participating at an outdoor sporting event, or were boating or fishing. Other examples include people struck while they were hiking, mowing the lawn or simply going to or from their car. Quite a few were on their own property when they were struck.


Unfortunately, there is no place outside that is safe from lightning. 

The only safe place to be when lightning is occurring is either inside a substantial building, or an enclosed automobile. Here are some important things to remember before venturing outdoors:

  • An informed decision will help you avoid being in an area where lightning is expected to occur. Before heading out, get an updated forecast. 
  • Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, check National Weather Service web sites, go to your favorite broadcast or print media, or access your favorite weather apps on your cell phone for the latest forecast. 
  • In Wyoming, it is important to remember that thunderstorms typically develop in the mountains after 11 am. So it is best to plan your climbing or hiking trip so that you are coming down the mountain by late morning. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, consider planning an alternate indoor activity or, if you still plan to be outside, make a plan which will allow you to quickly get to a safe shelter if a storm should develop. 
  • Once you are outside, keep up-to-date on the weather via your smart phone or portable NOAA weather radio receiver. Check for updated forecasts. Check if storms are near you by checking the latest radar imagery on your cell phone. There are now several smart phone apps you can purchase that show you real-time lightning activity in your area. 
  • Do not forget to simply look around you to make sure storms are not developing in your vicinity. 


Two outdoor lightning scenarios


  • Outside and shelter is nearby. If you are outside, such as a park, a lake, or an outdoor sporting event, know where the nearest safe location can be accessed.. A safe location is any substantial building (A substantial building is a structure which is fully enclosed and has electrical wiring and plumbing). Examples of substantial buildings include a business, a home, or a church. In addition, any enclosed hard-topped car or truck also offers excellent protection from a lightning strike. 
    • Once you hear thunder or see lightning, immediately stop what you are doing and quickly get to the safe shelter. Do not wait until the rain starts to seek safe shelter. 
    • Once inside a safe shelter, it is recommended you stay there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. Past history has shown that most people who were outdoors and were injured or killed by lightning had access to a nearby safe shelter. 
    • Do not wait to seek safe shelter when lightning threatens. 
    • When you hear thunder or see lightning, it is important for you, and your family, to act quickly. 
    • It is critically important to avoid shelters that are not safe from lightning, such as picnic shelters, bullpens, any type of tent, or any other small buildings that are open to the elements. 
    • NEVER...NEVER...get under a tree when a thunderstorm is nearby or overhead. 
    • It is important that all sports leagues and other outdoor groups have a lightning response plan that is understood and consistently applied for the safety of the participants. Part of the plan would include a designated weather watcher at each outdoor event with the authority to postpone or cancel the event due to the threat of lightning. It is also important that people know where to seek safe shelter if a storm should threaten. 
  • If no safe shelter is nearby. This situation typically occurs to people who are hiking or camping in the back country. Unfortunately, in this scenario, there is not much you can do to reduce your risk from being struck by lightning. 

    • The best thing to do is move away from tall isolated objects, such as trees. 
    • Stay away from wide open areas. 
    • Stay as low as possible with your feet close together if lightning is nearby. 
    • If you are with a group of people, spread out, that way if someone is struck by lightning, the others can offer first aid. 
    • If camping in the back country, place your tent in a low area away from tall isolated trees. 
Much of the material and the graphics for this article were provided by the National Weather Service. For more information about lightning safety visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov. For information about preparing for emergencies visit www.redcross.org. For detailed weather information anytime visit www.weather.gov.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Red Cross Helps 158 People after Disasters

American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming, June 8, 2017 — The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming responds to calls for assistance, on average, twice to three times a day across the two-state region. Of the 158 people helped, more than 60 were age 60 or older.

Breakdown of the CO & WY 87 county service area:
Mile High Chapter (MHC): 53 individuals received aid; 25 were children under 18 years old and one person was age 60 or older. The MHC response area includes 10 counties in the Denver Metro area.

Southeastern Colorado Chapter (SECO): 33 individuals received aid; ten were under 18 years old with two being over 60 years of age. The SECO response area includes 16 counties.

Northern Colorado Chapter (NOCO): 18 individuals received aid; ten were under 18 years old and one over age 60. The NOCO response area includes 11 counties.

Western Colorado Chapter (WCO): 38 individuals received aid; 15 were under 18 years old and two were over age 60. The WCO response area covers 27 counties, serving all of western Colorado and the San Luis Valley.

Wyoming Chapter (WYO): 16 individuals received aid; six children and one person over 60 years of age were among those assisted. The Wyoming Chapter response area covers all 23 counties that make up the state of Wyoming.


The families and individuals were provided a place to stay, money for clothes, food and medicine. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame, Red Cross volunteers will continue to provide support to these families going forward, by doing follow up work to ensure all needs are met and the individuals have a clear path to recovery from this personal disaster. 

For the latest news about the Red Cross response across the country visit our national website at redcross.org

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Better Together; Partnerships Prepare Communities


The Wind River Indian Reservation has seen disaster numerous times with past flooding, and this year will be no exception. When the Red Cross responds to flooded homes it's not just another house, but community members who have immediate needs.

"It's a great feeling when you can come alongside and offer assistance. It's an even better feeling when we have can join forces with partners to prepare a community in advance; to try and prevent loss of life and property," said Kaleigh Good, Disaster Program Manager for Red Cross of Wyoming.

Red Cross is proud to have been invited by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes into a partnership for pre-flood mitigation. The partnership extends well beyond this pre-flood mitigation, as Red Cross frequently collaborates with Northern Arapaho Emergency Manager Harvey Spoonhunter and Eastern Shoshone Emergency Manager Vernon Hill. Together, Red Cross, Team Rubicon Region VIII, and Tribal Emergency Management officials are advocates for emergency preparedness and positioning the community for a stronger, more resilient place to call home.

On day one of the mitigation project, Team Rubicon Region VIII Members gathered around for a morning briefing. "We are here to help protect life and property today; to hopefully keep some families from having to worry about the flooding that may occur," said the Team Leader. Team Rubicon Volunteers were thankful to the Red Cross for providing the support that allowed them to be part of the efforts and will spend the next few days filling sandbags in efforts to prepare the community in advance of the snow melt.

Many members of the community began stacking sandbags several weeks ago as they prepared for severe flooding; the current snow water equivalent is more than 300% the normal range in the Wind River Basin.

"This is my first mitigation. It's hard to come in and see the aftermath so this is nice to be here to hopefully help prevent some of that loss, " said Ashley Crandall, Team Rubicon volunteer who came in from Texas to help support the community. Many of the volunteers from Team Rubicon have traveled a great distance to be here helping this community, whose families see and experience some level of flooding every year. Take, for example,  Crawford, who has lived on the Wind River Reservation his entire life. He and his family, which consists of more than 100 brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles are all part of this tight knit community on the reservation. "We are a lot more prepared now than we were in 2010," he said as he shared with us his experience of past flooding in the community and what they are doing to prepare for what they know is on the way. "It's great to see all the people who are coming together to help each other and to help their neighbors get ahead of it this year," he said.

"We thought it was done snowing...but then we got more. That means more water in the rivers when it starts to melt and it all flows right down here," Crawford said.

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. The Red Cross provides several tools such as a free Emergency App which can be set to alert you to potential threats like flash flooding. You can learn more by clicking HERE, or from your mobile phone, Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999.

Learn more about flood safety and preparedness, as well as what to do before, during, and after a flood event, or how YOU can help those who are affected by flooding this year at redcross.org.

Photos By: Red Cross Volunteer, Nigel F. Holderby

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

By Nigel Holderby

American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming: May 25, 2017 — Many folks will spend the upcoming Memorial Day weekend taking a road trip, having their first picnic of the season or enjoying that first dip in the lake or pool. Follow these American Red Cross tips to stay safe and relish all the long holiday weekend has to offer. 

DRIVING SAFETY 

  • Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. 
  • If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink. 
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones. 
  • Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways. 
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. 
  • Make frequent stops. 
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights. 
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. 
  • Let someone know where you are going, your route and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. 

GRILLING SAFETY 
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. 
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area. 
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.  
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe. 
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. 
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills. 

WATER SAFETY  
The following tips are layers of protection that will help people stay safe in, on and around the water: 

video
  • Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. 
  • Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules. 
  • Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates. 
  • Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision. 
  • Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair - everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. 
  • Reach or throw, don't go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR. DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Red Cross Helps 133 People After Disasters in 2017

American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming, May 3, 2017 — The American Red Cross of
Red Cross responder in front of apartment fire.
Photo:American Red Cross
Colorado & Wyoming responded to calls for assistance, on average, twice to three times a day to disasters of all types. From flooding and house fires, to several homes collapsing from being hit by a vehicle. Of the 133 people helped by Red Cross, at least 40 were children under the age of 18 including several infants. Nearly 20 of those assisted were age 60 or older.  

“Not only are we providing this daily assistance in response to disasters, we also had a lot of people get trained in live saving skills,” said Gino Greco, Regional CEO for Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming. In the Denver Mile High Chapter office alone, there were more than 70 training classes held during the month of April.

Breakdown of the CO & WY 87 county service area:
Mile High Chapter (MHC): 33 individuals received aid; Eight were under 18 years old. The MHC response area includes 10 counties in the Denver Metro area.

Southeastern Colorado Chapter (SoCO): 22 individuals received aid; Nine were under 18 years old. The SoCO response area includes 16 counties.

Northern Colorado Chapter (NoCO): 27 individuals received aid; Seven were under 18 years old and six were age 60 or older. The NoCO response area includes 11 counties.

Western Colorado Chapter (WeCO): 35 individuals received aid. 11 of those helped were under 18 years old. The WeCo response area covers 27 counties, serving all western Colorado and the San Luis Valley.

Wyoming Chapter: 16 individuals received aid; Five were under age 18. The Wyoming Chapter response area covers all 23 counties that make up the state of Wyoming.


The families and individuals were provided a place to stay, money for clothes, food and medicine. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame, Red Cross volunteers will continue to provide support to these families going forward, by doing follow up work to ensure all needs are met and the individuals have a clear path to recovery from this personal disaster. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Disaster Workers Deploying to Missouri


Workers will bring help and hope to those recovering from devastating floods

The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming is sending disaster staff and volunteers to Missouri to help with the flood recovery efforts.

Darcie Wisehart will deploy to serve on the Disaster Mental Health team. Her role is to work with the people affected and the deployed Red Cross volunteers to support their emotional needs. Wiseheart is a volunteer with the Red Cross Wyoming chapter and lives in Greybull, WY. This will be her third deployment in less than 12 months.

Patricia Cook is a Red Cross nurse and will deploy to Missouri to help those affected and Red Cross volunteers deployed to the region with their health and wellness needs. Cook is a volunteer with the Red Cross of Western Colorado and lives in Montrose, CO. This will be her second deployment.

The Red Cross responds to 66,000 disasters each year. The best way to help people affected by disasters, both big and small, is to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. People can donate to our Disaster Relief Fund at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or www.redcross.org, or simply text the word redcross to 90999 to donate $10 through your mobile carrier. Charges will apply to your mobile phone bill the following month.

To see the latest news about how you can help the Red Cross help the hundreds of people that have lost everything due the recent tornadoes and floods go to:

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Severe-Weather-Impacts-Multiple-States-Red-Cross-Responds

Monday, May 1, 2017

Red Cross Mile High Youth Advisory Board Seeking Applicants - Deadline May 31, 2017

2016-2017 Mile High Youth Advisory Board
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Everybody can be great because everybody can serve." The great thing about this statement is it doesn't say "if you're old enough" or "if you're young enough"...it says EVERYBODY. 

Here in the Mile High area we are calling all students with a passion for community service, taking initiative in their leadership positions, and enthusiasm for working with others to produce a positive means of changing their community.

The American Red Cross Mile High Youth Advisory Board is looking for rising freshmen and sophomores. As a part of the American Red Cross, accepted applicants will be a part of one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world at the highest level in Colorado AND Wyoming. 

Accepted applicants will oversee Red Cross youth activities across the Colorado-Wyoming region, working closely with regional headquarters in Denver. Students will have opportunities to gain professional development, leadership, project planning and facilitation skills. Accepted applicants will be able to work with a wide range of Red Cross personnel, planning activities for fellow youth volunteers, and leading in non-profit setting. Thinking of college? Seeing the American Red Cross name on any application will greatly boost one's chances of being accepted and receiving scholarships!

Accepted applicants must commit to monthly meetings at Mile High Area Regional Headquarters in Denver (444 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203), be it by virtual or in-person means. Prospective applicants must also commit to continuous correspondence with other board members through group messaging, conference calls, and/or email between meetings. 

Interested?
  1. Visit www.redcross.org/volunteer and complete the online orientation.
  2. Register on Volunteer Connection here. Scroll down and click "Youth Application". Follow this process. 
  3. Start your application in the meantime and submit before the deadline, regardless of whether you are done registering.
More information on the Mile High Youth Advisory Board can be found here, and take a look at www.redcross.org to learn more about the organization, its values, and lines of service.

The application can be accessed at: MHC Youth Application

Applications are due on May 31st, 2017, 11:59 MST - Please email Ashley Turner prior to the deadline for additional information regarding the submission process.