Rick’s got to get on a plane soon. So, let’s get right to this. Rick Emanuel (in the video below) is going south to support people affected by the powerful storm approaching the Gulf Coast.
This will be Rick’s third deployment to a major disaster response in just over a year. His first, last fall, was Hurricane Florence, where he worked at a shelter in Havelock, North Carolina. “Feeding, setting up cots, making sure everybody has what they need,” he says were the main things he did in his volunteer role supporting shelter operations for the American Red Cross. “And getting people to the right resources when they’re in crisis.”
In North Carolina, the water rose so fast in some areas that first responders, national guard soldiers and community helpers were bringing in people, especially the elderly, in massive dump trucks because those vehicles could reach them through the flood waters. “They were bringing in people as fast as they could,” he says. Supplies arrived anytime and needed to be off-loaded as fast as possible. Sometimes this was in the middle of the night when volunteers like him might get some sleep. “That was the biggest part of the deal, finding down time.”
With this deployment to Louisiana he’s even more ready to help others because he knows that “flexible is the word” when it comes to providing disaster relief.
If you would like to support disasters big and small, including training and deploying volunteers like Rick, visit redcross.org/mn.
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed to help replenish the blood supply as the Red Cross faces an emergency need right now. Blood from generous volunteer donors helps families like the Jolliffes.
In February 2018, Meghan Jolliffe suffered an amniotic fluid embolism. During childbirth her heart stopped beating for 14 minutes resulting in the need for an emergency cesarean section. Her organs began to shut down, and her blood would not clot.
Meghan received nearly 100 units of blood within a seven-hour period during her procedures. The doctors were able to stop the bleeding and stabilize Meghan’s condition. Over the next several days, Meghan underwent five surgeries, dialysis and more to repair the damage to her body.
After her son Sullivan was delivered, he went without oxygen for seven minutes. Doctors performed a process called therapeutic hypothermia, or whole-body cooling, to preserve his neuro function, and he also received several units of blood.
In all, Meghan and Sullivan received 109 units of blood.
“My family and I are forever grateful for the generosity of Red Cross volunteer blood donors,” says Meghan. “Donating blood is so important. You or a loved one may never need these lifesaving products, but I can assure you that someone, somewhere will.”
Please don’t wait to donate. You can make an appointment now to give blood or platelets by downloading our free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
We’re thinking ahead, and we hope you will, too, because we have three things for you to do before the Fourth of July weekend arrives. So, let’s get started…
One: Download the Red Cross First Aid App
This free and helpful app for your smartphone gives you instant access to the most common first aid emergencies like cuts, burns, and eye injuries. The app is free. Download it now from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Or text GETFIRST to 90999.
Two: Brush Up On Fireworks Safety
The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show presented by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:
Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Three: Prepare for Grilling Safely
Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
Never grill indoors – not in the 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.
During Hurricane Florence, John Decker was not at the shelter in North Carolina the night a woman died from an opioid overdose in September of 2018.
But he heard about the death almost as soon as it happened because for one month, at the onset of the response, Decker was in North Carolina serving as Disaster Health Services chief for the Red Cross relief effort. The young woman who died was her mother’s care-taker, he recalls.
Decker is a Red Cross volunteer who responds to major disasters across the United States. When home in Minnesota, he’s a registered nurse. Now, after ten years with the Red Cross, he’s often at the front lines of providing disaster relief in shelters.
That night in North Carolina their first concern, Decker says, was to support the young woman’s mother. Their second was to prevent more deaths. Decker connected with national Red Cross disaster leadership that was supporting field activities. Together, they set two immediate priorities: find naloxone and train shelter workers.
The CDC reports that around 130 people die from opioid overdose every day in the United States. During 2017, 47,600 people died from overdoses involving opioids. Those deaths were 68% of drug-related overdoses.
Decker found a local source for Narcan, one type of naloxone medicine that reverses overdose. There were only a couple boxes. Not enough, he figured. Plus, they were expensive. Then, his phone rang. On the line was a woman who worked with a relief partner. She had 2,500 – 3,000 doses. With help, Decker picked them up and got them distributed to more than 400 shelters.
The Red Cross and its partners supported more than 129,700 overnight stays for people displaced because of Hurricane Florence across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. During Fiscal Year 2018, the Red Cross and its partners provided more than 1 million overnight shelter stays for people affected by disasters.
Next up was teaching shelter workers the signs of opioid overdose and the steps to respond. Initially, some people resisted. They were comfortable delivering relief supplies, not giving someone a medicine requiring injection. The training transformed their feelings and their skills. At first it’s scary, and then we learn, and then it’s nothing, Decker says. “It’s good to get rid of the mystery. It’s no more complicated than a kid’s Legos.”
Since then, the Red Cross released an online class that helps people respond to opioid overdose emergencies. I took the course and learned a lot. It removed my anxiety and strengthened my confidence about helping someone during an opioid overdose emergency. Check out and take the class here. For a quick understanding of opioid overdose, watch this new video.
Do you know that only 3 out of 100 Americans donate blood each year, but every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood? To raise awareness for the need for new and current blood donors, we’re taking part in Missing Types. This international campaign highlights the missing A’s, B’s and O’s, the three main blood groups, from hospital shelves.
Here’s another surprise: blood donation can be super easy. Once you’re seated comfortably, the actual donation time takes only 8 to 10 minutes. To help bring more ease for new and continuing donors, below are six things we’d like you to know before donating blood.
You do not need to know your blood type. A national survey conducted earlier this year for the Red Cross revealed that54%of people believe they need to know their blood type to donate blood. Find more eye-popping results here.
You should be well-hydrated. Blood has a lot of water. To promote a good flow during donation and to prevent dizziness during or after, we recommend drinking an extra16 oz.of liquid before donating. Hydrate after, too. Check out our fave water bottle that will help keep you hydrated on the go.
You should eat a healthy meal rich iniron and vitamin Cwhile avoiding high-fat foods just prior to donation. Your body needs iron to make new blood cells, replacing the ones lost through blood donations. Vitamin C promotes iron absorption. Find a list of iron rich foods here. Yum!
You should wearcozy clothes. Whatever’s on top should be loose and comfortable with short sleeves or sleeves that can be easily rolled up above the elbow during your donation. Find our classic T-shirt here in many colors.
You can speed up your appointment time. Complete aRapidPass® on the day of your donation, prior to arriving, and you’ll save time completing your health history that’s required before your donation can begin. Click here for more.
You should remember to bring apicture ID. Your ID can be one primary ID, such your Red Cross blood donor card or state driver’s license; or two other forms of secondary ID. Click here to check for acceptable forms of ID.
Now that you’re feeling more confident about blood donation, click here to schedule an appointment near you. Need more tips? Watch this video of some pro blood donors. They make it look easy, because it is. Thanks!
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
Which grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.” – Moina Michael
Around this time of year, you may see American Legion members distributing handmade red flowers, but may not know why. These are remembrance poppies, created and shared for Memorial Day to remind us of those who have fallen in war.
Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, was created as a day to remember the approximately 620,000 troops who lost their lives during the Civil War. In 1971 it was declared a national holiday and was expanded to honor those who have died in all American armed conflicts, which has now totaled to over 1.1 million lives. It is for those 1.1 million lives that we pause to remember their sacrifice.
The American Red Cross pays tribute to those who have given their lives and works to aid the service members, veterans, and their family members within our communities. Our Service to the Armed Forces volunteers and staff work hard to provide services starting at the day of enlistment, on through their life journey.
The Red Cross was founded as a response to the damages of war, standing firm to protect the rights and dignities of those who were casualties. This drive of humanity has remained at the core of the Red Cross through time as we never forgot those who fought and sacrificed. From this need to prevent and alleviate human suffering, the organization has grown to further serve the needs of our communities.
Today, the American Red Cross provides multiple assistances to our service members, veterans, and their families. We provide 24/7 global emergency communication services for military families, home comforts and community services, and community outreach to name a few. Our resiliency training workshops, taught by licensed and experienced instructors, are designed to help prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service.
We would like to thank not only those who have volunteered their time to serve those who have served our country, but to all those who volunteer with the Red Cross; because of you we can combine our efforts to help those who need us. Most of all, we want to thank and honor those who gave the greatest sacrifice.
Post by Alex Smith, Services to the Armed Forces Director for the American Red Cross Minnesota Region. Photo of Clara Barton by Matthew Brady, c. 1865; now in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Elizabeth A. Hylton.
Congratulations to our 2019 Heroes Awards recipients. They’ve made the world a better place and we’re thankful for that. Check out their stories.
Good Samaritan Hero
Melissa Goble and Kimberly Hartung did not know each another when they encountered a man in cardiac arrest along the path of 10K race in Nisswa in April 2018, but they both stepped up and put their training as nurses into action. Click here to watch Melissa’s and Kimberly’s story. Our 2019 Good Samaritan Hero Award is presented by CenterPoint Energy.
First Responder Hero
Paul VanVoorhis and Steve Kritzeck found an injured man in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and traveled about a mile with him to get to safety. They provided him with crucial lifesaving first aid until emergency help arrived. To watch Paul’s and Steve’s story click here. Our 2019 First Responder Hero Award is presented by Abbott.
Give Life Hero
Kirk Albright has donated platelets every other week for nearly thirty years. He doesn’t do it for recognition or for awards, but simply because he knows there is a great need. To watch Kirk’s story click here. Our 2019 Give Life Hero Award is presented by Deluxe Corporation.
Cassandra Holmes is a vital part of the Little Earth United Tribes and East Philips neighborhoods in Minneapolis, serving in many roles that illustrate her commitment to the Native-American communities. Click here to watch Cassandra’s story. Our 2019 Community Hero Award is presented by Eide Bailly LLP.
Thirteen-year-old Ella and fourteen-year-old Collin Hintze-Belland were watching their six-year-old sister at their home in Stillwater in August 2018 when a fast-moving fire swept through their house. Watch Ella’s and Collin’s story here. Our 2019 Youth Hero Award is presented by Medica Foundation.
Dan Couture, 20-year veteran of the Minnesota Army National Guard. Couture puts his military experience to work everyday fighting tirelessly to reduce veteran homelessness in St. Louis County, Minnesota. Click here to watch Dan’s story. Our 2019 Military Hero Award is presented by APi Group, Inc.
The 2019 Heroes Awards were given at our 2019 Heroes Breakfast, which was presented by Land O’Lakes, Inc., and held at Radisson Blu, Mall of America, on May 3. Many thanks to Slumberland Furniture for sponsoring and producing this year’s Heroes videos. Click here for the complete playlist. Thank you to Marathon for supporting our Heroes VIP Reception. All photos are by Lara Leimbach for the American Red Cross Minnesota Region.