Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sending Volunteers to Help with Arizona Fires

Disaster Workers Deploying to Support Wildfire Response
Workers will bring help and hope to those recovering from devastating wildfires

Denver, Thursday, June 29, 2017 - The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming is sending disaster volunteers to help with the wildfires currently in Arizona and New Mexico.

Terri Faulkner, a volunteer from Greeley, CO with the Red Cross of Northern Colorado will travel to Arizona to be a shelter worker. As such she will work closely with people that have evacuated from the wildfire south of Prescott, AZ. This will be her first deployment to a large-scale disaster outside of Colorado.

Sylvia Raumaker, a volunteer from Jackson, WY with the Red Cross of Wyoming, will travel to Arizona to serve as a shelter supervisor for the shelters near Prescott, AZ. As such she will supervise shelter operations to ensure high quality service delivery for those in the shelters. This will be the ninth deployment for Sylvia.

To see the latest news about how you can help the Red Cross help the hundreds of people that have lost everything due to the wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico visit

Lightner Creek Wildfire Response

Durango, CO, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 2 PM - The Red Cross has opened a shelter for those people evacuated due to the Lightner Creek Wildfire near Durango, CO.

The shelter was originally opened at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Wednesday evening. At noon on Thursday, the shelter was moved to the Escalante Middle School located at 141 Baker Lane, Durango, CO. The shelter will remain open for as long as the need continues.

La Plata County Fairgrounds will continue to be used but to house the firefighters and the Incident Command Team.

People with pets will need to take them to the La Plata Fairgrounds for temporary housing that is provided by the La Plata County Humane Society,

The easiest and best way to help at this time is to make a financial donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can do that by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, going on line to or by texting the word redcross to 90999. The text will generate a $10 donation that will show up on your phone bill.

Please do not bring donations to the shelter at the Escalante Middle School. At this time we have sufficient supplies to take care of those people in our shelter and to take care of the fire fighters. Should the need arise for donated items that information will be broadcast through social media and traditional media.

Information about the progress of the fire and evacuation requirements are available from the Durango community hotline at 970-385-8700 and at the La Plata County Facebook page at Follow the Red Cross on Twitter using @WCORedcross and follow La Plata County usinf @LaPlataCountyCO. 

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 For information about preparing for emergencies visit For detailed weather information anytime visit

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