Safety Steps for Your Football Party as Flu Spreads Across U.S.

As fans across South Florida wait to gather for the biggest football weekend of the year, more and more people are sick with the flu. The American Red Cross says it’s not too late for folks to get their flu vaccine and has steps people can take to help avoid getting sick if watching the big game at a party.

Influenza is now widespread in 37 states and Puerto Rico with all the other states reporting people sick too. This is up from 21 states only two weeks ago. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the 37 states include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

STAY HOME One of the most important things you can do is stay home if you are ill or someone in your household is sick. While it’s hard to miss the party, people should act responsibly and stay home to avoid spreading illness.

If someone has the flu, they can infect others a day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after they become ill. People with the flu can spread the illness to others as far as six feet away by droplets spread when coughing, sneezing or talking or left on a surface.

WASH YOUR HANDS One of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands properly, especially after using the bathroom or when preparing food. For visibly soiled hands:

  • Wash with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
  • Continue to rub until the product dries.

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PARTY TIPS Other steps to help avoid getting sick include:

  • Hosts should provide a way for people to identify their drinks. People shouldn’t let anyone else drink out of their glass.
  • Give every dish a utensil for serving, including those snack dishes like nuts, pretzels, etc. This allows people to spoon out their portion instead of reaching in with their hands.
  • Do not share food. Avoid anything that involves sticking your hands into a bowlful of food.
  • Hosts should also make sure there is plenty of soap in the bathroom. Instead of the usual pretty hand towel, use disposable hand towels or a roll of paper towels.
  • If you plan to host a party and someone in your household becomes ill, move your event to a different location.

GET YOUR FLU VACCINE It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine now. Everyone six months of age and older should get a yearly flu vaccine to help protect against getting sick. Flu vaccine is available in many locations such as your doctor’s office, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments. Your vaccine will protect you throughout the current flu season. Several groups of people are at a higher risk for developing the flu, including young children, adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, nursing home residents and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease and others.

More information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected from the flu is available on this website and in the free Red Cross First Aid App.

We hope everyone will enjoy the game and stay well.

Ongoing Red Cross Efforts in Wake of Tornadoes and Severe Weather

MIAMI FL. January 26, 2017 – People in several southern states continue to deal with the devastation from severe storms and at least 60 tornadoes over 48 hours last weekend. The American Red Cross is with them, including a team of volunteers from South Florida, providing food, shelter and help with recovery. Red Cross workers will support those affected for as long as help is needed.

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Sharon Rogers and her husband were at home when the storm hit. “The storm took our window out and I thought it was over. Then I heard the trees cracking and that’s when I screamed as the tree came through our home,” says Sharon. Sharon frantically grabbed photos of her grandparents as the tree crashed into her bedroom and the guest room as she moved to the living room to wait out the storm. Sharon and her husband had to crawl through the rubble of what used to be their carport to escape their home. The Red Cross delivered meals in an Emergency Response Vehicle through Sharon’s neighborhood so the family would have something to eat. “They have been good,” Sharon says.

As of January 24, reports indicate more than 1,100 homes have been affected across Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. We anticipate this number could increase once all inaccessible areas are accessed. Over 130 people in Georgia and Mississippi are still seeking refuge in 7 Red Cross and community shelters. In Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, Red Cross and community partners have served over 30,000 meals and snacks, distributed over 8,000 relief items, and provided 900 Health Services and Disaster Mental Health contacts. The American Red Cross has mobilized over 500 workers to help those in need.

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In South Florida, Red Cross volunteers are providing recovery assistance and emotional support to 17 families, composed of 53 people – including 15 children impacted by severe weather that swept through the cities of Doral, Hialeah and Miami Springs early Monday morning.

“We are so grateful for the selfless dedication of our volunteers, our precious donors and incredible community partners. It is thanks to their support that the American Red Cross can bring help when needed most,” said Tina Labellarte, Interim Regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross South Florida Region. “We are out helping people across the affected communities and will continue to support them as long as we are needed.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Southern Tornadoes and Storms by visiting redcross.org, calling  1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word TORNADO to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP More than 2.5 million weather alerts were sent from the Red Cross Emergency and Tornado Apps over the weekend. These alerts help save lives by notifying people so they can gather household members and go to their safe place during severe weather. People can also learn what to do before, during and after severe weather events by downloading Red Cross apps in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross.

 

Help and hope after a tumultuous weekend of severe weather.

Dozens of tornadoes and severe weather left a path of destruction in areas of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida over the weekend. In addition, southern California has been hit with another storm, bringing heavy rains, increased risk for landslides and leaving thousands without power.

In South Florida, local American Red Cross volunteers responded to help families impacted by severe weather that swept through the 300 block of West 10th street in Hialeah early Monday morning.

“Our first priority is making sure all affected families and individuals have a safe place to go,” said Carlos Castillo, Regional Disaster Officer of the American Red Cross South Florida Region. “The Red Cross is helping now and we will continue to be there as they recover from these storms.”

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The Red Cross brought help and hope by meeting the immediate and essential needs of 13 families, composed of 44 people, coordinating efforts with local authorities to ensure people have a safe place to stay, food, water and resources to begin their recovery. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, volunteers can provide access to safe shelter, food, relief supplies and emotional support due to damage to their residences.

WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross.

 

 

Flu Numbers Increase – Use Red Cross Safety Steps

The number of people sick with the flu is going up across the country and experts say that will continue over the coming weeks. The American Red Cross reminds everyone it’s not too late for people to get their influenza vaccine and has steps people can take to prevent the flu from spreading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the flu is now widespread in 21 states and Puerto Rico. These include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

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GET YOUR FLU VACCINE It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine protection to set in and it’s not too late to get your vaccine now. Everyone six months of age and older should get a yearly flu vaccine to protect against getting sick. Flu vaccine is available in many locations such as your doctor’s office, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments. Your vaccine will protect you throughout the current flu season. Several groups of people are at a higher risk for developing the flu, including young children, adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, nursing home residents and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease and others.

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PREVENT FLU SPREADING In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu. They include:

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Not only can you spread the flu by coughing, sneezing or talking, you can also leave the flu virus on surfaces or objects you may touch.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean surfaces you touch often frequently at home, work and school.
  • You can pass the flu to someone else a day before you have symptoms and 5 to 7 days after you are sick. Children can pass the flu virus for more than 7 days.

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WASHING HANDS

Kids have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses. Parents should teach children proper hand washing techniques and how to correctly cover coughs or sneezes. Washing hands properly is an important step to avoid getting the flu. Wash hands with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:

  • Wash for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry. Younger children can be taught to sing a short song like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” or the “Happy Birthday” song a few times, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
  • Continue to rub until the product dries.

 

More information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected from the flu is available on this website and in the free Red Cross First Aid App.

Join Our National Effort to Install 15,000 Smoke Alarms for King Day of Service.

Ongoing Red Cross Home Fire Campaign Has Already Helped Save 131 Lives

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Miami, FL, Thursday, January 12, 2017 — The American Red Cross South Florida Region will be a part of a nationwide effort to install almost 15,000 smoke alarms in homes across the country over the upcoming weekend surrounding the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The project is part of the ongoing Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.

The Day of Service occurs on Monday, January 16, to honor the life of Doctor King. Here in South Florida, Red Cross volunteers will join community partners and Fire Departments from across the region to install smoke alarms in homes in Broward, Port St. Lucie and Miami-Dade Counties.

What When Where                   (Meeting Point) Times/Notes
Home Fire Campaign –
Boulevard Gardens Park, Fort Lauderdale FL.
Sat 1/14/2017 313 N.W. 28th Terr Fort Lauderdale FL 33311 From 8:30a to 2:00p at Boulevard Gardens Park (near the community center).
Home Fire Campaign –
Village Civic Center, Sunrise FL.
Mon 1/16/2017 6800 Sunset Strip, Sunrise Fl 33313 From 8:30a to 2:00p at Fire Station #39.
Home Fire Campaign –
Spanish Lakes, Port St. Lucie FL.
Thu 1/19/2017 100 West Caribean, Port St. Lucie FL 34962 From 8:30a to 1:30p at Spanish Lakes Golf Village.
The Pillowcase Project –
West Dade Regional Public Library, Miami FL.
Sat 1/14/2017 9445 Coral Way, Miami FL 33165 From 1:30p to 3:00p at the West Dade Regional Public Library.
The Pillowcase Project –
Miami Beach Regional Public Library, Miami Beach FL.
Thu 1/19/2017 227 22 Street, Miami Beach FL 33139 From 1:30p to 3:00p at the Miami Beach Regional Public Library.
Home Fire Campaign –
Boardwalk Mobile Home Park, Homestead FL.
Sat 1/21/2017 100 N.E. 6th Avenue, Homestead FL 33030 From 10:00a to 1:00p at Boardwalk Mobile Home Park.
The Pillowcase Project –
Breakthrough, Coconut Grove FL.
Sat 1/21/2017 3575 Main Highway, Coconut Grove FL 33133 From 10:30a to 12:00p at Breakthrough Coconut Grove

While smoke alarms are being installed here, thousands of Red Cross volunteers, fire department members and partners from coast to coast will visit homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires to install smoke alarms and educate residents about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.

“The Red Cross responds to almost 66,000 disasters across the United States every year and most of these are home fires,” said Carlos Castillo, Regional Disaster Officer for the Red Cross South Florida Region. “Here in South Florida, we responded to 709 home fires in 2016. These home fires are devastating for the people involved and also responsible for a number of deaths and injuries. That is why our Home Fire Campaign is so important. We want to help save lives by installing smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them and educating people about home fire safety.”

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131 LIVES SAVED The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, launched in October 2014, is a multi-year nationwide initiative to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and its partners have helped to save at least 131 lives and installed more than 619,000 smoke alarms in 8,400 cities and towns nationwide.

Working with more than 3,700 partners, the campaign has reached more than 721,000 people and made nearly 263,000 households safer, replacing more than 39,000 smoke alarm batteries and helping create more than 220,000 home fire escape plans. Through programs like The Pillowcase Project, the campaign has also helped teach more than 657,000 young people about home fire preparedness and safety.

WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO? The Red Cross is asking every household in America to join us in taking two simple steps that can save lives – practice fire drills at home and check existing smoke alarms.

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The Red Cross responds to approximately 66,000 disasters each year, most of them home fires, and it could not fulfill its crucial mission without the generous support of the American public. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to our Regional office in South Florida, 335 S.W. 27th Avenue, Miami FL. 33135, attention Financial Department, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from corporate partners and the hundreds of local partner organizations and volunteers nationwide.  Special thanks to Nationwide for generously supporting the Home Fire Campaign and Kidde for its generous donation of smoke alarms.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross

 

Red Cross and Harlem Globetrotters Partner to Bring Help and Hope to Families at Risk for Disasters

MIAMI, Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – The American Red Cross South Florida Region has joined forces with the Harlem Globetrotters as its official charity partner through the team’s Great Assist initiative to help communities across the country prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small.

Known globally as the Ambassadors of Goodwill, the Harlem Globetrotters’ Great Assist initiative, which was launched in October 2015, promises to spread 100 million smiles over the next decade through sportsmanship and service. As part of a two-year partnership, the Red Cross will engage the Harlem Globetrotters in all aspects of its mission. During the first year, the team will join the Red Cross, along with local fire departments and other community partners, as the organization works to install its one millionth smoke alarm by October 2017 to help Americans stay safer from home fires. The Red Cross has already installed more than 500,000 smoke alarms nationwide, and saved at least 116 lives.

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The Harlem Globetrotters will feature the Red Cross at more than 300 games throughout the basketball season, including in Miami on February 26, 2017.

“We’re honored to join forces with the Harlem Globetrotters in Miami through our disaster response efforts and much more,” said Tina Labellarte, Interim Regional Chief Executive Officer. “The fun and interactive way the team engages with the community will help to build greater awareness around our mission and the critical need to help people at risk for and impacted by disasters every day.”

In 2016, the Red Cross responded to 15 major disasters—50 percent more than the year before—making it a particularly devastating year for thousands of families affected by historic floods, hurricanes, raging wildfires, tornadoes, home fires and more. In fact, the Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes, most of which are home fires. Each year, more people are affected by home fires than major disasters, and on average, seven people die every day from a home fire.

1480707073467“This partnership brings two great American organizations together in order to achieve a common goal—to help people in need and to put smiles on people’s faces,” said Howard Smith, President of the Harlem Globetrotters. “We look forward to helping the Red Cross achieve their goals by incorporating their messaging into everything we do on and off the court.”

The Harlem Globetrotters will feature the Red Cross at more than 300 games throughout the basketball season, including in Miami on February 26, 2017. The game will feature a Red Cross PSA and in-game player announcement.

Harlem Globetrotters Legacy

For more than 90 years, the Harlem Globetrotters have been a leader in fun and wholesome family entertainment, and committed to being Ambassadors of Goodwill across the world. Every year, the team travels to hundreds of schools, children’s hospitals and overseas military bases, bringing people together through acts of kindness. The Great Assist initiative continues the legacy of giving back by providing the Red Cross a new platform to build awareness and deliver on its critical mission throughout the year.

harlem-globetrotters-partnership_ledscreen-imageFor more information about donating to the Red Cross, visit Redcross.org/Globetrotters. Poeple in South Florida can also support the Red Cross by texting ASSIST to 90999 to make a $10 donation, and by visiting RedCross.org/SFLVolunteer and joining our team. To learn more about the Harlem Globetrotters, please visit Harlemglobetrotters.com.

* Text Disclaimer: $10.00 donation to American Red Cross. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 90999 to STOP. Text HELP to 90999 for HELP. Full terms and privacy policy: redcross.org/m.

About the Harlem Globetrotters:

The Harlem Globetrotters® are legendary worldwide, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills for the past 90 years. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans – among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents – over nine thrilling decades. The American Red Cross is the official charity of the Harlem Globetrotters. Sponsored by Entenmann’s Donuts ®, Ticket Galaxy and Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters’ official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com and follow them on Twitter @Globies.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross

A Century in Aquatics: Making the water safer for everyone.

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For the past century, the American Red Cross has helped millions of people, kids, teens and adults learn to swim, become lifeguards and instructors and be water smart. Find out more or get involved here. 

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The American Red Cross created the first national water safety program in the U.S. – and today it’s still the gold standard for aquatics training. All of that training is making a difference. In the last century, we’ve helped to reduce accidental drownings by nearly 90% nationwide.

Download the Red Cross Swim App!

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TEXT ‘SWIM’ to 90999 or download at the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace.

 

Learn more about water safety, including simple steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your family in a variety of environments, such as home pools and the ocean.

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Take the Water Safety Quiz

Join us as we champion water safety for the next 100 years. With programs based on the latest science, and new ways to learn in the water and online, you’ll be ready to get your feet wet.

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Make Safe Happen: A Founding Partner in the Centennial Campaign

Avoid the Crowds, Give Something that Means Something

You can give something that means something this holiday season and help the American Red Cross bring hope to people in some of their darkest hours – someone who has lost everything in a disaster, a hospital patient who needs blood, or a military family facing an emergency.

Please support the American Red Cross 2016 Holiday Giving Campaign and give a gift of support, strength and hope to someone who needs it while honoring someone in your life.

Honor friends and family with a unique gift. Your donation is a tax-deductible contribution to the Red Cross. Simply choose unique gifts in honor of the people on your list; send them a free holiday greeting or e-card to announce your gift and know your donation will help people when they need it most.

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The Red Cross responds to as many as 66,000 disasters every year – small disasters like a fire in someone’s home to large disasters like this year’s flooding in Louisiana and the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Matthew in the southeast. Your support of Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services during this holiday season can help bring relief to victims of disasters when they need it most.

SAF activities in Kuwait and Iraq 2010

  (L) December, 1967. Hector Sanchez, assists a serviceman in Saigon, South Vietnam.          (R) May, 2010. Brittany Reynolds assists a soldier at Balad Air Base Medical Facility in Iraq. (Photo Credits: American Red Cross. L-Mark Stevens. R-Peter Macias)

During this holiday season you can help support members of the U.S. military and veterans through our Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program. The Red Cross has been helping members of our country’s armed forces, our veterans and civilians for more than a century. Today the Red Cross provides more than 352,000 services to members of the military and veterans every year.

Kenya Measles Campaign May 2016

Children show off their marked fingers, signs of being vaccinated in the Mathare Informal Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo Credit: American Red Cross/Niki Clark

Vaccinations save children’s lives around the world. Help vaccinate a child overseas and provide protection for life. You can help educate families about the dangers of both measles and rubella, and provide the easy solution available to prevent the loss of an estimated 430 people every day, most of them children.

By supporting the Holiday Giving Campaign, you can

 

  • help the nearly 66,000 people who turn to the Red Cross every year for help during a disaster
  • help the members of the military, veterans and civilians who receive about 352,000 Red Cross services every year
  • help the patients in hospitals and transfusion centers across the country who depend on Red Cross blood donors to help them regain their health.

 

Support the American Red Cross 2016 Holiday Giving Campaign and remember all those who look to the Red Cross for help – give something that means something.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross.

Two Reasons To Be Especially Thankful

As a former Red Cross certified lifeguard and CPR instructor, Christina Theiss is no stranger to the importance of health and safety training.

On Sunday, May 8th, Christina, her sons and a friend were enjoying the day at Ocean Reef Park when her friend noticed two boys being pulled out by a rip current, their heads dipping below the water. “Lifeguarding 101 –- don’t put yourself in danger – look for a buoyant object to help. But there was nothing around, so I had to either go in or watch those boys drown,” said Theiss. And so, without hesitation Christina swam out and rescued the boys.

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Christine Theiss

On Tuesday, November 29th, Ms. Theiss will be awarded with The American Red Cross Certificate of Merit, the highest lifesaving award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Health and Safety Services training course. From 1928 to the present, the Certificate of Merit has borne the signature of the President of the United States (who traditionally serves as the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross) and the Chairman of the Red Cross.

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Swimming is a great recreational sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. But it’s important to know how to be safe in and around the water. The American Red Cross offers these important swimming safety tips:

RIP CURRENTS Be aware of the danger of rip currents. If caught in a rip current, remember the following:

  • Remain calm – think clearly.
  • Don’t fight against the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward the shore.
  • If you can’t swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim toward the shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats – a life jacket, cooler, inflatable ball. Yell instructions on how to escape the current. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit RedCross.org for information on Red Cross training or to sign up for a class.

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Free, fun and informative apps for parents and kids.

DOWNLOAD APPS Download the Red Cross First Aid App for instant access on how to treat common emergencies as well as a hospital locator which is helpful for travelers. The Emergency App is a single ‘go-to’ source for weather alerts and safety tips for everything from a power outage, to a severe thunderstorm, to a hurricane. All Red Cross apps can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Honoring Our Own on Veterans Day

Story and photos by Roberto Baltodano for the American Red Cross.

South Florida Red Cross volunteers Alain Gutierrez and George Doughty share a unique story of patriotism, commitment and a love for humanitarian work. They were born, grew up and in their teens joined the military on opposite sides of the world, not knowing what life – and the Red Cross had in store for them.

Alain was born to French parents in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (West Africa), and at the start of the Chadian-Libyan conflict, was drafted by the French for his 3-year national service. After basic training, Alain joined and for the next 10 years served with the French Special Forces or 1er Régiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marine, 1er R.P.I.Ma before retiring in 1980, when he went on to work as Logistics Specialist for a French government contractor in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. This would bring him closer to George, and the Red Cross.

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Pau, France 1965 – Alain’s first Paratrooper jump  (Front, Second to last L-R).

George was born in Long island, NY. In 1953 he joined the U.S. Air Force and the next year was deployed to Inchon, Korea, where he served with the 25th Air Defense Command as a Fighter Jet Mechanic specialized in Air Structure and Hydraulics. Upon completion of his tour in Korea, George returned to Portland AFB where he served with the 503rd Air Defense Group (or Material Squadron). In 1970 he joined the ARMY reserves as a Transportation Specialist. This would bring him closer to Alain, and the Red Cross.

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Sergeant Doughty.

Alain and George graduated as non-commissioned Officers, and based on merit, were promoted to Lieutenant and Sergeant respectively. During their military careers, both men specialized in Logistics, and on that capacity, in 1990 were deployed to serve as part of the American-led coalition in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield (Gulf War).

While deployed in Saudi Arabia, Alain served as a french civilian contractor responsible for offloading and evacuating equipment off the port as soon as it arrived. George was with the 1569th Light Medium Transportation Battalion, supporting the 18th Airborne, 82nd Airborne and the 24th Infantry by hauling the heavy military equipment to the front lines.

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Troupe De Marine Lieutenant Gutierrez, Alain (L) and U.S.A.F. Sergeant, Doughty George (R)(2016)

During the first Gulf War, Alain and George worked in the same theater of operations for almost a year, but it was while volunteering as Logistics Specialists for the Red Cross’ Hurricane Matthew response that they finally met. While helping move supplies to the many shelters that were opened across South Florida, these two soldiers realized they had one important mission in common: A desire to help when needed most.

On veterans day we honor and celebrate all of our men and women in uniform — those who served and continue to serve, our partners, staff and volunteers who have served our nation and fought to protect our freedoms.

At its core, the Red Cross mission is about people — the people we serve, and the people who serve with us. Our partners, staff and volunteers are humble servants, many of them veterans who come to this work with an open heart and a passion for helping others.

They are people like Alain and George, and those listed below. We thank you all for your service, and for choosing the American Red Cross to continue to serve your country and your community.

 

Adams, Chris Garcia, Jacob Neal, Sabrina
Albero, Carl Garland, Gael Newhouse, Brian
Altidor, Samuel Goldberg, Carol Nye, Richard
Amell, Gary Gonzalez, Faith Obeidy, A Andrew
Aram, Paul Goodall, Al Oconnor, Kevin
Archangel, Alicia-Nicole Gorny, Michael O’Hearon, Julie
Armbrust, Mary Green, Justin Ohleyer, Lawrence
Arnold, Lorraine Guglielmino, Brad O’Rourke, Christopher
Arnott, Kaitlynn Gullo, Angeline Ortiz, Carlos
Artola, Richard Gutierrez, Alain Owens, Eston
Baldelomar, Joe Halleran, Paul Pagan-Alsina, Rafael
Ballard, John Handy, Victoria Palermo, Dianne
Ballard, Leonard Hanseder, James Palmer, Jill
Bayer, Stephen Harbaugh, John Parish-Ramon, Rose
Becerra, Jaime Harris, Frank Pekar, William
Beck, Julie Hauser, Vincent Perez-mccown, Marilyn
Bell, Daisy Hawley, David Petrescu, Ashley
Bellucci, Ben Hernandez, Arnaldo Phillips, Betty
Benitez, Charles Hernandez, Tzaicel Pittman, John
Bernier, Wade Herrero, Jorge Polese, Joseph
Bibeau, Ellen Hill, Barbara Polkinghorne, Paige
Blum, Ilyssa Hill, Rory Porter, Barry
Bocock, Miranda Hixson, Brian Pratt, Cherise
Boderck, Vernae Huffman, Kathleen Price, Bryon
Bogle, Annette Hughes, Edward Pringle, Katrina
Bravo, Cristina Hughes, Michael Purdy, Gary
Bridgman, John Hughley, Travis Quinn, Sally
Brodeur, L. Phillippe Hungerford, Harry Quinones, Amber
Broskus, Nancy Hylton, Dionne Rall, Leonard
Brown, Annie Iglesias, Brandon Ramon, Cathryn
Brown, Anthony Irwin, Alison Reibold, Robert
Brown, Bethanie James, Melva Remelius, Matthew
Bruzdowski, William Janto, Armund Rico, Raquel
Bunting, Danielle Jimenez, David Rios, Vivian
Burdick, Jayne Jimenez, Steve Robinson, Robert
Burkett, Wayne Johnson, Janica Rodriguez, Alejandro
Cafouras, Jason Johnson, Luecinda Rodriguez, Kasie
Camacho, Evette Johnson, Martelle Rodriguez, Sergio
Capp, Bob Jones, Walter Rojas, Daniel
Cartagena, Madelyn Kaszuk, Melinda Romero, Beatriz
Cartwright, Jan Kelley, Karen Rosa, Melvin
Chapin, Kenneth Kennedy, Tiffany Rose, Rachelle
Chapman, R. Michael King, Richard Ruiz, Sara
Clarke, Dominique Kirk, David Ruy, Daniel
Clinton, Louie Kleeman, Francis Ryan, Patricia
Colliton, John LaBounty, Heather Sacca, Nicholas
Cordoba, Veronica LaBrecque, Amy Schiff, Ruby
Cortorreal, Amada Lans, Daniela Schoner, Ron
Cosgrove, Dennis Larison, Royce Scott, Donovan
Cruz, Andres Lauer, Wesley Sementelli, Anthony
Cuesta Rodriguez, Lizandra Lewanski, Michael Senda, Mark W.
Daniel, Esther Lewanski, Ruth Shurts, Robert
Darner, Patrick Lima, Marisol Silver, Howard
Davidson, Jon Lindahl, Michelle Smith, Katherine
Deaza, Aaliyah Lipnick, Melissa Smutnick, David
DeCastro, Lisa Lipscomb, Rebecca Snyder, Fred
Diaz, Martha Litsky, Helen Speed, Gaenor
Diaz, Wilfredo Logan, G. Jean Spitz, Thomas
DiBattista, Vincent Logan, Kimberly Steenburg, Maggie
Dolce, Erline Lohse, Gleason Sterling, Cinthea
Dominique, Cynthia Lopez del Castillo, Melissa Stewart, Sylvia
Donovan, Michael Lopez, Isabella Stewart, Syreeta
Doughty, George Lopez, Jose Stroud, Amy
Dubose, John Lopez-Solorzano, Nestor Talbert, Miguel
Dumaine, Pierre Lukas, Patricia Taylor, Aleshia
Duncan, Duane Lynch, Thomas Testman, Faatimah
Dunn, Rachael Madden, Chalee Thorne, Julian
Dweck, David Maharajh, Devi thurston, catherine
Eck Czarnecki, Christine Malpica, Stephanie Timblin, Gloria
Edwards, Kimberly Mapp, Gary Torres, Brian
Elmer, Paul Marino, Bobbi Turner, Alicia
Encalada, Hoysse Martin, Jonathan Turner, Glyn
Erstein, Paul Matusiak, Robert Tyrrell, Margaret
Espinoza II, Espy Maurat, Masha Van, Kamilah
Esposito, Colleen Mayweather, Randolph Velasquez, Joseph
Fanska, Emiel McConnachie, Robert Vigil, Desiree
Farrell, Judy McElwee, Justin Vigoreaux, Jose
Fay, Sean McGowan-Sewell, Ashley Voronov, Vladimir
Felix, Seymie Mcgrath, David Wade, Carl
Fernandez, Kylie McHale, Edmund Walker, Ronnie
Fields, William McLeary, Kerry-Ann Wallace, Julianne
Figueroa, Hector Merrell, Michael Walton, John
Flaherty, Martin Mike, Bianca Watson, Melissa
Fleener, Tacy Milia, Mark Weber, Lou
Fleurijean, Stacey Miller, Michael West, Holly
Fontela, Wendy Morales, Angela Whitney, Patricia
Foss, Tiffany Morales, Fany Willenborg, Cynthia
Frank, Keenan Moreschi, Albert Williams, Jade
Frank, Lana Morris, David Wolcott, Thomas
Frier, Richard Morris, Diana Woody, Daryl
Frierson, James Mou, Hafsa Young, Al
Fries, Elizabeth Murnan, Ashley Young, John
Gaitan, Cinthia Nash-Wade, Judy Young, Zachary

The above data was collected from Volunteer Connection as of 11-09-16


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