Earthquake App Brings Safety Information to Mobile Devices

The American Red Cross released its official Earthquake App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit earthquake prone areas.

This free app—available in English or Spanish—is the third in a series created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. The Earthquake App comes on the heels of the highly successful First Aid and Hurricane apps, which have more than 1 million users.

“This app gives users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after earthquakes,” said Dr. Steven J. Jensen, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Committee, and a professor in emergency management at California State University at Long Beach. “The new, simplified ‘Shake Zone Impact Maps’ provide users with personalized local impact information on the status of their community in order to help them make crucial decisions.”

Features of the app include:

  • Earthquake epicenter location, impact magnitude and local geographical impact data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey;
  • Personalized push notifications, monitoring both magnitude and geography;
  • A “Shake Zone Impact Map” that provides real-time, simplified impact assessment when available;
  • Comprehensive reporting of all seismic activity for every geographic area in the United States;
  • Options to view the app in English or Spanish based on user handset settings;
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Information on events that may happen after earthquakes such as fires and tsunamis;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

“The new customizations and introduction of the ‘Shake Zone Impact Map’ can help individuals and families gain a better understanding of the effects of earthquakes both near their homes or where friends and family reside,” said Jack McMaster, president of Preparedness and Health and Safety Services for the Red Cross. “With more than 1 million downloads and high praise from the digital community, the Red Cross has established itself as a leader in mobile apps that put critical information in people’s hands when they need it most,” McMaster added.

National Red Cross experts in health, safety and preparedness have thoroughly reviewed and field tested the information and advice provided in Red Cross apps. A recent Red Cross survey found that apps have tied social media as the fourth most popular way for people to get information during emergencies, making the Red Cross app development effort even more important.

The Earthquake App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

Volunteers Needed: Green Bay Packers Spooktacular Event

Recoveron Tailgate Party Raises $1,000 for American Red Cross

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Event Coordinator, Andy Kaye, president of Recoveron and Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive

A special tailgate party hosted by Recoveron Restoration & Industrial Services earlier this month helped raise $1,000 for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. Dozens of people came together September 9th to both celebrate the start of a new season and support a good cause.

“The outpouring of support from those who attended the tailgate party is tremendous and will help the Red Cross continue to provide much needed services to victims of disaster,” said Andy Kaye, president of Recoveron. “As a local restoration company, we work with individuals, families and businesses that have just experienced a significant disaster in their lives, including fires and floods.”

During local – and national – disasters, the Red Cross provides basic emergency needs such as shelter, food, medications, baby formula and more. This is on top of the emotional support and health services the Red Cross provides at the scene of disasters; most of which are local fires. “With support from business like Recoveron, we are better prepared and ready to respond around the clock,” said Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin.

Recoveron Restoration & Industrial Services is a full-service restoration company, specializing in fire, water and mold restoration for both commercial and residential losses. Recoveron also provides a variety of industrial applications. Recoveron serves all of eastern Wisconsin with locations in Green Bay and Plymouth, WI. For more information, go to: www.recoveron.com

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/newisconsin or join our blog at http://newredcrossblog.org.

Welcoming our Newest Board Member, Tom Rettler

By Lauren Lindstrom, American Red Cross Communications Intern

We are excited to introduce one of the new additions to the Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross Board of Directors, Tom Rettler.

He’s an Appleton native who returned to the area four and a half years ago after more than 20 years in Milwaukee. He serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Menasha Corporation.

A busy man in the office and at home, Tom is married with three kids, two in college and one beginning kindergarten in the fall. He says his hobbies include fishing and golf, but most of his limited free time is spent enjoying time with his family.

Tom calls himself a “periodic blood donor” who saw an opportunity to get more involved with the community in another way. He is also a board member on the Menasha Corp Foundation, and felt he could also assist the NEW Red Cross with his skill set and career history.

Why Red Cross?

“It’s an efficiently run organization,” Rettler said. “As a CFO, using donor dollars well is something I am sensitive to…people want to see the money go to the problem, not overhead.”

Kewaunee Celebrates our Veterans and Active Military

By John Kost, Regional Manager, Service to Armed Forces

Saturday, September 15, representing the Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program I was with the community of Kewaunee celebrating Veterans and the work and sacrifices they have given to our country.  It is amazing to be in a close community such as this that takes time to honor and remember those who have served and continue to serve. Local veterans from past and current wars are coming through and sharing their experiences with each other and if you are lucky, as I am, they share a part of their service with you.

Long Serving Fond du Lac Volunteers Retire

We want to say THANK YOU to two of our longer serving volunteers from Fond du Lac who have recently retired from their volunteer work. Sherrie Wittkopf (left) has served for 15 years and Judy Bender, RN for 10 years. Thank you ladies for your service and commitment to the American Red Cross.

More than One Million Download Red Cross Mobile Safety Apps

The American Red Cross today announced that over the past three months, more than one million smart phone users have downloaded the recently released First Aid and Hurricane Apps.

These free apps are part of a series created by the American Red Cross for both iPhone and Android platforms. The apps provide users with real time information on what to do before, during and after emergencies.

 “The advances in smart phone technology have allowed the Red Cross to revolutionize how the public gets its safety and preparedness information,” said Jack McMaster, president of Preparedness and Health and Safety Services for the Red Cross. “We’ve moved from having volumes of general information sitting on shelves to putting emergency-specific information right in people’s hands.”

Early evidence suggests that this is making a difference in emergency situations. In online reviews of the app, people have reported using the First Aid App to respond to everything from cuts and sprains, to choking, seizures and strokes. According to one user, “I was in my friend’s car with two others when suddenly my friend started having a seizure. I immediately looked at this app for help while calling 9-1-1 on another phone. I told the police about it and they said that there’s a good chance the information in this app saved my friend’s life. Thank you, American Red Cross.”

 “As Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast, our Hurricane App was put to the test,” McMaster added. “Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the app and spent an average of 30 minutes using the app – demonstrating its value to consumers.”

Nearly 2 million weather alerts were issued and usage of the Shelter Finder feature doubled during and after Isaac. People also used the app to send “I’m Safe” messages to their loved ones.

National Red Cross experts in health, safety and preparedness have thoroughly reviewed and field tested the information and advice provided in Red Cross apps.

Apps can help prepare people for emergencies, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

 About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Princeton Steps up to be Heroes for the Red Cross

Pastor Daniel Heiderich is shown presenting the HEROES donation to Vicki P. Jenks, American Red Cross in NE Wisconsin Board Member and Disaster Action Team volunteer.

Recently, the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Princeton, stepped up and became HEROES for their local AMERICAN RED CROSS.  Hosting the food booth at the Princeton Flea Market, they raised $1,000 to be used for disaster relief and preparedness in Green Lake County.

The most common local disasters are residential FIRES.  When the Red Cross is called in for support, trained volunteers provide immediate needs ranging from personal hygiene items, a place to stay, a hot meal and a shoulder to lean on.  The Red Cross also supports first responders with hydration, food and respite.

Your AMERICAN RED CROSS–96% volunteers–arrives with hearts filled with compassion and a plan to support families in a very emotional time.  Thank you, St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Princeton community!

9/11: National Day of Service and Remembrance

In 2002 the nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed, in partnership with leading service-based organizations, proposed a simple yet powerful way for Americans to honor the September 11th victims, survivors, and emergency responders.  This initiative – the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance – would offer all those willing and able to participate an opportunity to pay tribute while simultaneously playing a role in our country’s physical and emotional recovery.

After all, what better way to remind the world, fellow Americans, and ourselves that we – the United States of America – were not, are not, and will never be defined by this tragic event, and that those whose lives came to an end on September 11th did not die in vain, than to offer support, a helping hand, and hope to American people and communities in need.

The United States Government agreed, and in 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under bipartisan law and tasked the Corporation for National and Community Service with supporting associated volunteer efforts nationwide.

According to the CNCS United We Serve website, “This year, more than 1 million Americans are expected to serve in their communities in honor of 9/11. Service projects will range from food drives to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities.”

You can be one of those 1 million people.  Visit the United We Serve website for more information about this special day, to register a project and recruit volunteers, and/or to learn more about volunteer opportunities in your area.

Or if you’d prefer, visit the American Red Cross website for more information about how to volunteer for your local chapter of the organization.

But whatever you do, go out and do good.  Set an example for others by serving your community and showing the world – or your little corner of the world – that you remember.

Alario Kitchen story (Southern Baptist partnership)

by Tom Breister & Virginia Hart

Dennis Nagan overseeing Kitchen #5. by Tom Breister

As he has done many times before during disasters, American Red Cross volunteer Dennis Nagan from Appleton, Wisconsin, is preparing to transport meals to disaster-affected clients.

Meals are prepared by the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Kitchen #5 at the Alario Center in Westwego, LA. Food is then stored in large cambros (insulated containers that keep the food piping hot) and American Red Cross workers load them into the back of American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV). ERV’s are then dispatched to different neighborhoods that are desperately in need of hot meals and water. Each ERV can serve over 600 hot meals, plus water and snacks, each time it is dispatched. Depending on need, the ERV’s can service up to 5 routes per day.

ERV drivers are specially trained in Red Cross Chapters across the nation. During a disaster, ERV’s from all over the United States, driven by Red Cross volunteers, mobilize to help feed communities devastated by disaster. The hometown and state of each ERV is imprinted on the side of the vehicle.

Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief often partners with the American Red Cross to provide hot meals immediately following a disaster. They are expert in preparing mass amounts of food. Their state of the art food preparation vehicle costs $450,000. Several of these vehicles can be deployed following a major disaster. Southern Baptist manager Jack Sellers said his organization can produce up to 25,000 meals per day at that one kitchen.

Even though he has been deployed as an ERV coordinator in several past disasters, Nagan laughs and says that he always says “but this one is the best.” “The partnership between the Red Cross and the Southern Baptists is critical in delivering services after a disaster,” Nagan said.

Southern Baptist volunteers prepping meals. photo by Mar Tobiason

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