Archive for October, 2008

From the New York Daily News:

LT John Eccleston (c.) is joined Staten Island, FDNY Ladder Co 79 firefighters (from l.) Dennis Smith, Frank Connolly, Michael Hansen, Anthony Reina, Joe Guarneri and Anthony Gagliardi.

LT John Eccleston (c.) is joined Staten Island, FDNY Ladder Co 79 firefighters (from l.) Dennis Smith, Frank Connolly, Michael Hansen, Anthony Reina, Joe Guarneri and Anthony Gagliardi.

Fire Lt. John Eccleston was in Mississippi for a week last month, after Hurricane Gustav hit, as a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance Response Team.

The DART team spent the time unloading trucks of supplies to stock warehouses in flooded areas.

“We usually load up a truck with food, water and supplies for repairs and go neighborhood to neighborhood and distribute them,” Eccleston said.

Gustav didn’t wreak the havoc that was predicted, so his team was sent home.

“Thank God, Hurricane Gustav wasn’t nearly as bad,” Eccleston said. “But I’m glad to be in a position to help.”

For 10 years, Eccleston, 50, has put himself in disaster spots all across the nation and in Puerto Rico, helping people re-cover from hurricanes, tornados and floods.

That’s aside from a 25-year career with the Fire Department.

“He is a model of volunteerism,” FDNY Chief Salvatore Cassano said.

For his tireless efforts and putting himself in harm’s way to help restore ruined lives, Eccleston is the Daily News Hero of the Month.

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Since August 28, there have been 123 deployments of American Red Cross in Greater New York (AR/GNY) employees and volunteers to Gulf area recovery efforts for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. They include 34 volunteers; 11 AmeriCorps members; 47 FDNY Disaster Assistance Response Team members; and 31 employees. Eight of the total are serving their second deployment in the Gulf.


ARC/GNY relief workers join thousands of other Red Crossers who are helping those affected by the massive hurricane. Although the recent storms impacting the Gulf are gone, the relief efforts will continue for months. In September alone, the Red Cross opened more than 900 shelters, served more than 11 million meals and snacks, deployed more than 18,000 volunteers and provided health and mental health services to more than 80,000 people. Additionally, we must be ready to face any other disasters that strike our community and our nation.


As of October 17, consolidated disaster-relief operations in the Gulf for Gustav and Ike totaled:


·  916 Shelters Opened

·  401,972 Shelter Overnight Stays

·  5,814,205 Meals Served

·  8,353,658 Snacks Served

·  22,235 Red Cross Workers deployed

·  525 Emergency Response Vehicles deployed

·  51,956 Mental Health Contacts initiated

·  103,965 Comfort Kits distributed

Despite this active year for disasters, Red Cross continues to believe that hope is more powerful than any disaster—and we continue to provide that hope. Our Disaster Relief Fund is depleted, and it is essential that we raise enough money to help disaster victims. Red Cross estimates we will spend more than $100 million helping those affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

To ensure the Red Cross continues its help for disaster victims, we need your help. Please make a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund by visiting http://www.nyredcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767); Spanish speakers can call 1-800-257-7575. You can also Text “Give” to “2HELP” (24357) to donate $5. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).



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American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) responders provided help to those affected by two deadly fires over the weekend that killed seven people, including four children.

Chapter relief workers rushed to the scene of a tragic apartment fire at 401 W.18th Street between Ninth & Tenth Avenues early Saturday morning, October 11. Five members of one family, including three children, perished in the blaze. Fire officials said a smoke detector in the apartment appeared to have been deliberately disabled. A 10-year-old boy who survived that fire was rushed to the hospital.

Red Cross relief workers registered 15 people – 6 adults and 9 children – for emergency services. The response team provided psychological first aid, support and comfort to neighbors who had unsuccessfully attempted to rescue the family from the burning apartment, and who witnessed attempts to resuscitate the victims. An ARC/GNY mental health worker will attend the building’s tenant meeting later this week to provide additional support and comfort.

On Sunday, October 12, Chapter relief workers registered 8 adults for emergency services after a 1-alarm fire destroyed an apartment 1214 Hancock Street in Brooklyn, leaving a man and his nephew dead. The Chapter provided emergency overnight housing for one adult at a local hotel.

Tragedies such as these point up the need for all New Yorkers to be understand how to make their homes fire safe. ARC/GNY’s Fire Safety Guide can give anyone the   information they need to do so.

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The American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) today released results of a survey showing the majority (79%) of Americans are concerned about the rising cost of heating their homes, and many will use an alternative heating source to reduce their bills this winter.  The survey identified additional behaviors related to appliance maintenance and cooking that could also present home fire hazards this winter.

Continue to read more about the survey and be sure to take a minute to review the ARC/GNY Fire Safety Guide.

Source: nyredcross.org

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In the month since Hurricane Gustav made landfall in the United States the cleanup has started for Louisiana and Texas residents. But time hasn’t lessened the need for food, shelter and emotional support. The Red Cross has been there every step of the way, providing a massive amount of services to people whose homes were damaged or destroyed; to thousands who stayed in shelters; and to countless numbers who received hot meals when they were left without power.

Shelters remain open in Louisiana and Texas in what will be a lengthy relief operation on the Gulf Coast. More than 20,000 Red Cross relief workers have been deployed at those shelters, assisting those in need. Approximately 36 of those workers currently on the ground are American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) volunteers and employees; others from our Chapter are prepared to deploy if necessary. 

To date, ARC/GNY has sent a total of 116 responders to participate in Gustav and Ike hurricane relief efforts: 29 volunteers; 9AmeriCorps members; 47 FDNY Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) members; and 31 employees. Five of the 47 DART members who have participated are currently on their second deployment to Red Cross hurricane operations.

Additionally, the New York National Disaster Call Center has been activated at ARC/GNY Headquarters in Manhattan three times in support of Red Cross hurricane relief efforts, taking calls from people who were affected by Gustav and Ike:

  • Sept. 4-10: 36 Greater New York Chapter volunteers and 4 employees took 823 calls over 72 hours
  • Sept. 16-23: 26 volunteers and 2 employees took 465 calls over 48 hours
  • October 1: 7 volunteers and 1 employee took 87calls during a 4-hour activation  

Latest stats for ongoing American Red Cross relief efforts in the Gulf region:

In Texas:

  • The night of September 30, almost 2,000 people sought refuge in 14 shelters.
  • The Red Cross to date has served more than five million meals and snacks to those affected by Hurricane Ike.
  • More than 2,800 Red Cross disaster workers and volunteers are on the ground to assist.
  • 195 Emergency Response Vehicles are in state

In Louisiana:

  • More than 150 people were provided safe haven in 4 shelters on September 30.
  • More than 790 Red Cross disaster workers and volunteers are on the ground to assist.
  • The Red Cross to date has served more than 4 million meals and snacks to those affected by Gustav and Ike.
  • More than 30 Emergency Response Vehicles are in state

Totals for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike to date:

  • There have been more than 385,000 overnight shelter stays.
  • More than 12 million meals and snacks have been served.
  • More than 20,000 Red Cross disaster workers and volunteers have helped on the ground.
  • More than 200,000 clean-up kits and comfort kits have been distributed

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No one wants to think about their homes being burned down, but this blog post from My Kids Mom, reminds us of how important it is to be prepared for any emergency and how something like a simple house fire can dramatically change our lives in an instant. 

Since our house burnt to the ground on June 18, our life as we knew it changed completely. Even though we lost our house and everything that was in it, I know it could have been a lot worse. I know God was watching over us and I know he still is. The lady from the Red Cross told me the day of the house fire, “That I would soon realize who my true friends are” and that is so true! I am grateful for the people who have helped us. Either by donating clothing, money, helping with the kids, or just calling to make sure we are doing OK. We also appreciate everyone’s prayers. Most of the people who donated clothing and money we don’t even know. I have been so overwhelmed with how helpful complete strangers have been. I have never gone through anything like this before. The night of the fire my husband and I were thankful just to get a toothbrush. The day of the fire and the days after the fire I felt like I was walking around in a daze. I know this has been even more dramatizing for my kids. They don’t understand how they could go from having from what I use to say was too many toys to not have much of anything. I have tried to keep my kids busy since the fire by taking them to the park, the movies, or going out for lunch. Nick’s birthday was at the end of June, so he has the most toys. Someone gave Celie a Tinker Bell purse, and she takes it with her every where she goes. She even sleeps with it. I try to stay up beat for my kids and even for David. I know everything is just as hard if not harder on him now. After living with my parents for over a month, we are now living in a one bedroom apartment that my parents own. It use to be a building they used for their office. We have two sets of bunk beds that were donated to us on one side of the living room. That is where the 4 kids sleep. I’m not complaining. I’m thankful! Everything that we now own was given to us. When you lose everything you own you are thankful to get anything, even if it’s something that is 30 years old.

I know we go through things in life for a reason. Going through this I have learned a lot about people. I know I am thankful for everything I have and I want to do more to help others.

Source: My Kids Mom Blog

To learn more about how you can better prepare for this emergency, check out the Red Cross Fire Safey Guide.

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