Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Saving Lives with Smoke Alarms - MLK Jr. Day of Service 2017

Colorado and Wyoming volunteers along with a host of partners stepped up to provide a day of service in support of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and installed over 400 smoke alarms.

To quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'.” The American Red Cross and the thousands of Red Cross volunteers answer that questions every day. Whether it is helping a family recover from a home fire or helping hundreds of people affected by floods, wildfires or tornadoes, we have put our open hearts and open arms to those in need.

As a demonstration of our compassion, the Red Cross implemented a national campaign designed to reduce by 25 percent the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. The campaign began in the fall of 2014 and through the end of 2016 more than 500,000 smoke alarms have been installed across the country. Those installations, and the education that has gone with them, can be attributed with saving more than 130 lives.

The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service found the Red Cross deeply committed to saving lives through the Home Fire Campaign. Across Colorado and Wyoming teams of volunteers partnered with local fire departments, local organizations and individuals.

During the period of January 14 through January 21 the Red Cross and partners installed over 400 smoke alarms bringing the total number of smoke alarms installed in Colorado and Wyoming since October 2014 to nearly 10,000 with more than 5,000 homes made safer through the education portion of the campaign.

Add caption
  • Saturday, January 14 Red Cross volunteers and the Arvada Fire Department joined with dozens of other volunteers to install 160 smoke alarms in Arvada.
  • Monday, January 16 the Red Cross volunteers in Wyoming joined with local fire departments to install 70 smoke alarms at the Wind River Indian Reservation.
  • Saturday, January 21 found Red Cross volunteers in Pueblo where they visited more than 100 homes and installed 175 smoke alarms.
  • Saturday, January 21, Red Cross volunteers in Fort Collins visited 43 homes and installed 15 smoke detectors.

We want to give a huge shout out to all of our partners including local fire departments, churches and other organizations, as well as hundreds of individuals who also volunteered.

If you would like to be part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign in Colorado and/or Wyoming visit our website, www.redcross.org/colorado/firesafety or www.redcross.org/wyoming/firesafety.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Red Cross Issues Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips

By Nigel Holderby

Driving in a winter storm presents its own unique challenges. The Red Cross has steps people can follow to get their vehicle ready for winter as well as what they should do if they are caught in a winter storm.

“Check your vehicle and stock it with some emergency supplies,” said Mike Masto, Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer, “The best thing you can do is stay off the roads during a winter storm.”

GET YOUR VEHICLE READY FOR WINTER: Plan ahead. Have a mechanic check your tires, battery, brakes and antifreeze levels. Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, shovel, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.

DRIVING IN WINTER While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you have to drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:
  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:
  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open - away from the blowing wind - to let in air.

WEATHER ALERTS AND FIRST AID TIPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to winter storm tips and weather alerts for their area and where loved-ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps. 

For more information about winter driving in Wyoming and to sign up for real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit http://www.wyoroad.info/