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The Disaster Action Room displays the latest information about Red Cross disaster activity from active Red Cross social media accounts and official updates from the ground. Use the navigation tabs to view different types of content related to disasters, and click on a disaster tab to look at posts related to specific ongoing responses.

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Community Partnerships a Must in Helping People Recover from Disaster

by Nick Cluppert, Disaster Program Manager, American Red Cross 

Nick Cluppert, Disaster Program Manager, presenting  to volunteers and community partners in West Bend.

Nick Cluppert, Disaster Program Manager, presenting to volunteers and community partners in West Bend.

Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) are a newer concept that can be used following a disaster to provide services to clients. MARCs are locations that are set up where different organizations come together under one roof to provide services to those affected by the disaster. The MARCs allows clients to come to one place to receive services, and prevents that client from having to go to multiple places to receive services to help with their recovery efforts.

The Red Cross has been doing a number of informational sessions on MARCs that volunteers and community partners have been invited to attend to learn more information. Three separate sessions were held in West Bend, Neenah and Fond du Lac in September and October. Between the three sessions 81 volunteers and community partners attended to learn more about MARCs and how they can benefit the community and individuals following a disaster. By holding these informational sessions we were able to educate our partners on what MARCs are, so when a disaster happens they will already be familiar with the concept. New partnerships and agreements are being formed because of these sessions. It is exciting to see the collaboration that had developed between agencies by bringing people together with a common goal – helping disaster clients with their recovery.

We will continue to work with the partners that have come to these sessions, as well as those that did not come to continue to develop plans and procedures on how we will bring a MARC together following a disaster.

There will be additional MARC informational sessions planned for the future. If you or your agency are interested in learning more please contact Nick Cluppert, Program Manager, at 920-231-3692 x19 or nick.cluppert@redcross.org 

Harvey Lorenz – Dedicated and Engaged Legacy Society Member

m16140841_legacy-society_137x135We are very proud of Harvey Lorenz and the incredible work he does in the field and his long term planning to ensure the future of the American Red Cross critical services and programs.  Harvey and his wife Margaret, were featured in the Summer 2014 Legacy newsetter published by the American Red Cross.

You can read his entire story here.  

 

By Harvey Lorenz, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Soon after I retired in 1995, a church friend who served on the board of the local Red Cross chapter recruited me to join the board as its treasurer. After two terms as treasurer, I served as chair of the nominating committee and then served three terms as local chapter chair. During this time, I became active in the local disaster response team, mainly by being called out as a “caseworker” in the middle of the night to assist various families experiencing home fires.

Typically, I’d receive several of these calls every month, and my wife Margaret became known as the most awake and cheerful person to answer the phone in the middle of the night.

harvey LorenzIn 2005, my heart went out to the many victims of Katrina and I quickly volunteered to go south. I was sent to Mississippi where I was an intake interviewing caseworker helping to determine what kind of aid displaced families and individuals could receive and counseling them on how to receive additional assistance from other community resources or their own insurance companies. So often these people had left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they had no rapid access to any savings because their banks were flooded and not operating, and/or they didn’t remember the names of their insurance agents (or those agents had been displaced as well). I talked to one woman who had given birth the day after fleeing her home, had named her baby Katrina, and was staying in the mass shelter with her week-old infant. Another put her two-year old in a laundry basket “boat” and swam to safety, pulling him behind her. Her friend who left their flooded house with her never made it to dry ground. Several people had been pulled off their roofs by helicopter crews, and others had lost touch with family members or were grieving relatives who had died.

These interviews were hard on me personally. There were times when I had to put a “closed” sign on my table in the shelter hallway for a few minutes while I went outside to clear my head.

When I came home after three weeks in Mississippi, I knew I wanted to keep helping on the national level, but I also knew I wasn’t good at being a caseworker in such extreme situations. I immediately signed up for classes in disaster assessment and financial/statistical information gathering and reporting.

Right away, over Thanksgiving in 2005, I was able to use some of the assessment skills in Florida after Wilma, and most of my responses since then (14 more national disasters in all, generally two to three weeks each) have been related to the financial/statistical responsibilities, often as a supervisor and even as “state manager” in New Hampshire after Ike-related flooding. Some of the other national calls have involved Kansas ice storms, flooding in southern Wisconsin, and multiple tornados in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I responded after Superstorm Sandy twice actually, once initially (over Thanksgiving again) and then about three months later when the Red Cross was making a big push to permanently relocate everyone who’d been in temporary housing since the storm. I’ve stayed in gymnasiums, church shelters, converted warehouse shelters, a Boy Scout camp, motels with barely dry rooms and no other services, and low-end walk-up big-city hotels.

On the local level, disaster services has been reorganized so that now I am captain of a team that’s on-call about one week out of six, and that has meant fewer late-night phone calls. Additionally, I’ve responded as shelter worker for a couple of regional flooding situations, doing disaster assessment after a tornado in our own city, and—last year two weeks after my total knee replacement, when I couldn’t walk anywhere on rough terrain–I served as the phone liaison between the Red Cross and County Emergency Services. I have been active on fundraising committees and also serve as a kind of a 24/7 back-up to the local staff disaster manager during those times when he might be out of town or on vacation.

Although Margaret has never accompanied me on any of my responses, she says she feels that she is contributing a bit too, as she never complains about my being gone over holidays and family events, and she takes over my at-home responsibilities with our own two dogs and our volunteer fostering of rescue dogs. We can’t really identify when, how, or why, we changed from sending Red Cross minimal yearly contributions and became larger donors. That and designating the American Red Cross in my will just seemed the right things to do in order to continue to respond to local and national disasters. I’ve seen the good we can do.

If you would like information about how you can support our mission and help those in need by creating your own legacy like Harvey and Margaret Lorenz have done, please contact our Gift Planning Office at 1-800-797-8022 ext 5,  giftplanning@redcross.org or log on to http://www.redcrosslegacy.org 

Top 10 Songs You Need in Your Life During Fire Safety Month

Here is a clever re-post from  Erin Hunt Miller, Regional Communications Director at American Red Cross, Central Illinois Region

October! Its a month of spooky stuff, football games and, because it is National Fire Safety Month, fire prevention.  I took a very unofficial Red Cross poll of staff and volunteers across the Midwest, and they ranked the following songs as the best fire songs of all time.

10. Rooms on Fire by Stevie Nicks – “Every time that you walk in a room” in your home remember the two ways to escape in case of a fire. Everyone in the family should know this for every room in your home.

9. Fire by the Pointer Sisters - Fire can “have a hold on you right from the start”, so in case of a fire… Get out, stay out and call 9-1-1.

8. I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” may be on fire, but he doesn’t want you to be.  Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

7. Fire by Jimi Hendrix – An awesome song to remind you to “stand next to your fire”.  Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

6. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis – An oldie but a goodie is a great illustration of the unpredictable nature of fire.  If your home is on fire, remember that once you are out of the house, do not go back in to retrieve ANYTHING.

5. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple – The song with (in my opinion) one of the best intro guitar riffs of all time reminds you about the power of smoke. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

4. We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel – Maybe Billy didn’t start the fire, but who could?  Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

3. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash – “Love burns, burns, burns like a ring of fire”, and so can potholders, towels, plastic and clothing.  So, be sure you keep those items far from the stove while cooking.

2. Light my Fire by The Doors – Where should you “light your fire”?  Not indoors because carbon monoxide can kill.  So never use a generator, grill, camp stove or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or any partially enclosed area.

1. Burning Down the House by The Talking Heads – Fire can quickly burn down the house so make sure your family is notified quickly.  Stop reading this post and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Do this at least once a year.

For more Red Cross fire safety tips, click here.

Colorado Floods – One Year Later!

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

It is hard to believe one year ago today, I was boarding a plane for Denver, CO to help tell the story of so many that were impacted by the devastating floods. Here’s a look back at the many faces who touched my life and the stories I wrote about during my deployment experience.

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

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Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Deployment – Day 1 

Colorado Floods – Telling our Story: Part 1

 

Click HERE to the American Red Cross one year update report.

Never Forget

We all remember where we were on this day 13 years ago. It is a day that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Thoughts of comfort and support go out to the many families that lost loved ones on this tragic day.

To look back, and to never forget, here is a story from Carl Ducharme, of Green Bay, who was deployed to Ground Zero as an American Red Cross volunteer. We thank Carl, and all the volunteers who gave of their heart and soul to help those in need.

September 11 1

Kerrie Forester Volunteer Award goes to the Extraordinary Territory 3 Disaster Team

June 24, 2014 the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin hosted our spring Celebration of Support event.  We had 260 staff, volunteers, blood donors and community members attend this annual event. Every year we honor a few volunteers who have gone above and behind. Here are their stories.  

Congrats to our entire Territory Three Disaster Team award with the Kerrie Forester Emergency Services Award.

Congrats to our entire Territory Three Disaster Team award with the Kerrie Forester Emergency Services Award.

The Kerrie Forester Volunteer Award each year goes to a Disaster Services volunteer who has shared their time and talents above and beyond the high expectations of Disaster Response team members. This award is named after Kerrie Forester who symbolized all this and more, and left us way too soon.

This year we could not pick one single person, because an entire team stepped up when faced with multiple adverse conditions and challenges.

First, our weather – It may be warm and sunny now, but I am sure you remember multiple sub-zero days, wind and snow. No matter what the weather was like, the team was there because they knew help was needed.

Second, thirteen year Disaster Program Manager, Judy Gregory, left on Christmas break and due to a serious medical issue was unable to return to work until April 14th. 

The Red Cross story states we are an agency run by volunteers and this is a prime example of volunteers being leaders.

“It was amazing to see how the volunteers stepped up to the plate, coordinated amongst themselves, and filled in every gap to meet the challenge in Judy’s absence. Whether a large apartment fire, a single family response, or administrative tasks, they exemplified what it means to be a volunteer-led organization.”  Said Travis Waack, Regional Manager, Direct Services

These wonderful volunteers went out of their way and pulled together to continue providing exceptional care to people directly affected by a Disaster.

Congratulations and thank you to our ENTIRE Territory 3 Disaster Team.

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