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If the Need is There, So Are We

OutsideFlorida, hundreds of Red Cross clients remain sheltered from the elements provided a safe environment, food, and disaster relief supplies. WithinFloridatwo shelters remain open providing the same for 49 sheltered residents and several hundred in their homes. This, two weeks following the ravaging of Tropical Storm Debby.

Today Red Cross volunteers from as far away from Sacramento, California remain joined in the Lake City, Florida area staffing shelters, manning disaster relief supply points of distribution, and filling back side roles to support the 350 members of DR 642-12.

A Red Cross warehouse worker moves disaster relief supplies at the Lake City, Florida DRO warehouse

Red Cross clients continue to receive bulk disaster relief supplies comprised of clean-up kits, comfort kits, water, tarps, and heater meals. Additionally, client caseworkers continue to provide services to clients including financial assistance where appropriate.

As Red Cross, FEMA and community partner assistance is provided, TS Debby shelter resident numbers continue to decline. However, with elevated levels restricting access to several neighborhoods, recovery will be a long term process.

The Red Cross and community partnership team remains dedicated to providing recovery assistance to the greatest extent possible while helping the clients and residents of the area move forward. As it is throughout the nation’s affected areas “thanks for your help is heard”, followed by the Red Cross reply of “we’re happy to be here”.

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A Shelter Resident Tells His Story

Bruce Johnson at a shelter in Lilve Oak, Florida

 Bruce Johnson is a young retired 77 year old who was caught in one of life’s surprises. 

In late June 2012 Bruce was traveling north fromPine Island,Floridato visit family inGeorgia. Along the way he camped at various scenic sites. One of those was the banks of theSuwanneeRiverin the vicinity ofWhite Lake,Florida.

On the evening of June 25th Bruce settled in for a third night of rain from Tropical Storm Debby. It was this evening the tent started leaking and Bruce retreated to his vehicle for shelter and a night’s sleep. As he settled in he noticed the river was 15 feet below his camp site. During the evening, Debby drastically changed the situation.

 Bruce woke to find water lapping at the door of his Jeep. Deciding he should get out of the area he soon found driving out was not an option. He called the local law enforcement to let them know his location and grabbing his computer and cell phone, Bruce headed for dry land. Soon the water was up to his chest and instead of walking out, the seventy-seven year old was forced to swim to safety.

 As the police arrived Bruce climbed an embankment and escaped the floodingSuwannee. Following treatment by emergency medical personal and a short visit to the local emergency room Bruce was taken to the American Red Cross shelter located next to the hospital. With the exception of medications and the remains of his computer and cell phone, Bruce lost everything.

On Monday July 2nd, Bruce was able to renew his driver’s license and start making arrangements for his immediate future. During his stay at the shelter Bruce witnessed the growth of the operation from limited staff members serving many clients to a well run comfortable environment where the residents are safe and receiving their immediate needs of shelter and feeding.

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A Long Overdue Update on the the North Florida Flooding

Hey all! Sorry we’ve MIA lately but believe me its been for a very good reason. You see we got a visit from a lovely little lady named Debbie that unfortunately didn’t turn out to be so lovely, or so little. On June 25th Tropical Storm Debbie barreled through the North Florida region doing damage in 44 counties. Due to the scale of the disaster our Red Cross chapter, along with the support of American Red Cross volunteers from around the nation, are providing continuous support for the seven counties affected in our region- particularly Suwannee and Columbia county that continue to deal with the aftermath of significant flooding and high levels of standing water. Though it has been a difficult time for many of the members of these communities it has been a great time to see the dedication and committment of the Red Cross to helping to restore the community.

Make sure you check back regularly over the next few weeks because we’re going to have some great stories for you!

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The Sacrifices We Make

This story is a very beautiful and very sad example of the sacrifices that individuals sometimes make in order to do something that they believe in, to do something to make the world better for others.  We would like to take this time to honor the sacrifice made by Hussein Saleh a Yemeni aid worker with the International Federation of the Red Cross  who lost his life on his way to provide aid to one of Yemen’s southern called Abyan. Yemen is a fairly small country that shares it’s northern boarder with Saudi Arabia.

Of Hussein it has been said by his colleagues that “He was a very motivated and devoted staff member. He played a tremendously crucial role within his team helping hundreds of thousands of people in the south, and lost his life while performing humanitarian work.” (Washington Post) He was killed on June 20th and leaves behind a pregnant wife and four young children.

The goal of this article is not to sadden you but to inspire you. It is to make you aware that heroes can be found in every corner of this earth. And to make you aware that the Red Cross is not only in areas impacted by floods or wildfires, its in areas wrought with war and conflict as well.

Here is the original article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/red-cross-says-staff-member-killed-in-yemen-airstrike/2012/06/20/gJQAqnSoqV_story.html

*We do not own the above photographs.

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Its that time again…Summer Ready Swim Safety Tips!

Pool Safety

Learning to swim is one of the best steps you can take to be safe around water. Almost two million people of all ages learn to swim each year through Red Cross programs. You can contact your local aquatic facility to find out when Red Cross Water Safety programs are offered.

Here are some steps you should follow to stay safe around the water:

  • Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Prevent unsupervised access to the water. Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub.
  • Maintain constant supervision. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children even when lifeguards are present.
  • Know what to do in an emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Have the appropriate rescue equipment, a phone, life jackets and a first aid kit near the pool.

Watch the Kids
It’s important to constantly supervise children when they are near water. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.

  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
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196 Countries in the World, 187 National Red Cross Groups, 1 Mission

Get ready to cruise around the world!! No not literally I’m sorry to say but in this post we will be checking out what the Red Cross is doing around the globe.

On Wednesday June 13th the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.  The award noted the work the Red Cross has done in conflict affected regions like Syria and Somalia and in disaster affected areas like Haiti and Japan. The award was accompanied by a price of 50,000 euro (63,000 USD) and a sculpture by artist Joan Miro. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2012/06/13/red-cross-wins-spanish-intl-cooperation-prize/

The Red Cross Society of China has donated 100,000 USD to Taiwan in order to provide aid to the city of Taipei. The area has been impacted by flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains and the funds will be used to evacuate and shelter people as well as to purchase relief materials.  http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-06/18/content_15510341.htm

The Red Cross of Liberia in conjunction with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has begun distributing seed rice, assorted vegetable seeds, and farming equipment to refugees in Liberia. The distribution began this year in 2012 through the IFRC supported West Africa Population Movement Recovery Program and has been joined by the Liberian National Red Cross Society. The refugees, many of whom are women and children, have expressed great gratitude at the assistance they have been provided with.  The project is said to be impacting approximately 22,000 people in three counties.  http://allafrica.com/stories/201206180706.html

In Syria, three Red Cross aid workers were injured when their convoy was caught in a roadside explosion. The aid workers suffered minor injuries and it was the first time aid workers have been injured since the start of the violence in Syria.http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iCKXV_lTyY76kOjh-BtzPZD0BE5A?docId=008459d1d8964f2a9e4569374779474e

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New First Aid App Now Available!

Today is an excellent day for smartphone users! Available as of last Thursday (June 14th) the Red Cross released a free app available for users of the Iphone and the Android that features a ton of useful first aid information. However, this isn’t the boring ol’ first aid information you’re used to getting, this app provides practical and visual information about what to do in a variety of first aid situations.It shows you step by step how to deal with everything from broken bones to hypothermia and some instructions even come with short videos!

On top of that this app even shows you how to prepare for these emergency situations as well as various disasters including fires, floods and even volcanoes, plus it provides quick, fun quizzes that you can take to test your emergency knowledge. And last but not least this app has a section that you can use if you’re interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross, making a donation or if you have an interesting story involving the Red Cross that you would like to share.  All-in-all this is a really great app for smartphone users of all ages to download and explore, oh and did I mention its free.

Just in case you need a little bit more convincing, take a look at this article that provides even more information about what this app can do. http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.94aae335470e233f6cf911df43181aa0/?vgnextoid=c0d8ae0c897e7310VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

** Also, I know all of our readers are intelligent and careful but we still want to make sure that we stress that this app does NOT replace formal first aid training or care from a trained medical professional.

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