Archive for the ‘National News’ Category

Although they rarely make front-page news, home fires, which displace thousands of people, and can cause serious injury and/or death, represent the vast majority of disasters that affect the residents of Greater New York each year. Between January and September 2009, the American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) responded to 1,327 home fires in the five boroughs of New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley, and helped more than 7,300 adults and children affected by those fires with financial assistance, emergency housing and emotional support.

The good news about home fires––while they represent the greatest number of the Chapter’s responses, they are one of the most preventable. ARC/GNY urges families to prepare and take action to prevent home fires during National Fire Prevention Week, October 5–9. This preparation doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or training, and Fire Prevention Week is a great time to get started. In addition to having working smoke alarms on each level of your home, one of the easiest ways to prevent a tragedy is to develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that every family member knows how to escape quickly and safely.

For more information on how you can get prepared, please read our Fire Safety Guide. You can also follow us on Twitter to learn about the many fires the Chapter responds to daily.

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The following information shows our total service delivery since the beginning of the Red River floods:

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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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Here are the latest staggering numbers of the ongoing relief effort in the Gulf Region:

  • 914 Shelters Opened
  • 357,801 Shelter Overnight Stays
  • 2,881,092 Meals Served
  • 2,794,316 Snacks Served
  • 18,062 Red Cross Workers
  • 519 Emergency Response Vehicles Deployed
  • 31,893 Mental Health Contacts
  • 96,292 Comfort Kits distributed
  • More News: Red Cross continues to serve areas hit hard by Gustav and Ike

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    Since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike pummeled the Gulf Coast just weeks apart, the American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) has deployed 100 people – 25 volunteers, 9 AmeriCorps members, 41 FDNY Disaster Assistance Response Team members and 25 employees – to Red Cross relief operations in Louisiana and Texas.

    Greater New York workers, along with thousands of American Red Cross staff, are now offering shelter, food, and comfort to the millions of people affected by Ike. In Texas, more than 2,000 American Red Cross disaster workers saw more than 17,000 people seek refuge in 144 shelters. Throughout the Lonestar State, Red Cross has served more than 130,000 meals and snacks to people displaced by the storm.

    In Louisiana, almost 2,000 people were provided a safe haven in 19 shelters. About 1,900 Red Cross disaster workers have served more than one million meals and snacks to those feeling the affects of not only Hurricane Ike, but those still trying to recover from Hurricane Gustav.

    The Red Cross is working quickly to locate additional shelters for those people who cannot return to their homes.

    Consolidated information for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike Relief Operations:

    • 883 Shelters
    • 295,946 Shelter overnight stays
    • 1,478,297 Meals served
    • 1,365,494 Snacks served
    • 394 Emergency Response Vehicles deployed
    • 60,038 Comfort Kits distributed

    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 between $40 and $70 million helping those affected by Hurricane Gustav, and the cost of the Hurricane Ike relief effort could easily surpass that. 

    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 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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    Click image above to view video

    Click image above to view video

    New Yorkers are no strangers to helping those in need. Disaster victims across the country and world have long known of the Big Apple’s compassion. Many from our area are preparing to lend a hand to our neighbors down south.

    Hurricane Ike’s fury was witnessed first hand by Red Cross Volunteer and Murray Hill resident Sue McKeown.

    Link: CBS2 News

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    • More than 2,000 Red Cross disaster relief workers are already on the ground, and we are moving an additional 1,400 relief workers into the impacted areas
    • Last night more than 20,000 evacuees found safe haven in 155 Red Cross shelters, and we will be opening additional shelters as needed
    • Red Cross has more than one million ready to eat meals ready for distribution
    • More than 120 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are on the ground and will begin delivering food, water and bulk supplies; additional ERVs are en-route
    • After the storm passes, more than 25 kitchens will be moving into the impacted area and ramping up to serve up to 500,000 meals per day

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    Update on Hurricane Ike

    Latest News

    Get Prepared

    Red Cross advises those living in the storm’s projected path to get ready now. Evacuate if you are told to do so.

    If a Storm Watch is issued:

    • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
    • Bring things indoors that could cause damage to your home, such as outdoor furniture.
    • Turn off electricity and water. Leave natural gas on; turn off propane gas service.
    • If high winds are expected, cover the windows.
    • Protect your valuables; Make a visual or written record of all of your household possessions. Record model and serial numbers.
    • Gather essential supplies and important papers.
    • Fill your car”s gas tank.
    • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
    • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications. 

    A watch means storm conditions are possible in your area within 36 hours.
    A warning means storm conditions are expected within 24 hours.


    In anticipation of Ike’s landfall as a major hurricane, the Red Cross is moving relief supplies to Texas, including more than 1,200 disaster workers and 100 mobile feeding trucks and tens of thousands of cots, blankets and comfort kits. The organization is ready to open shelters and support the shelter hub system in Texas and planning for a capacity of 500,000 meals a day. Become a Red Cross volunteer by registering for the next Orientation should there be a call for additional volunteers in the days ahead.


    The Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund is depleted from all the recent hurricane activity. The Red Cross will need to raise $100 million to meet the expected costs of responding to the hurricanes of 2008. Make a donation here.

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    Terry Bischoff said:

    “We all lived here through this storm, eating the same thing. It was ‘all for one and one for all.’”

    Scott Graham said:

    “Nobody lost their cool, and everyone stayed focused on the mission.”

    Link: LSU AgCenter

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    We must now get ready for Ike

    I’ve just returned from dinner on a beautiful summer evening. We finally have a chance to take a breath, but not too long of one. Gustav has passed and people are getting back home. That is not possible for everyone and we are still working to ensure that everyone has a place to stay. Our shelter has been closed to allow the university to do the construction work required to fix the problems with the sewer pipe. Our focus now is to get the place ready to receive evacuees from the coastline, clearly at risk from this rapidly approaching new storm. It is hard to imagine that people who have just returned to their homes after evacuating for Gustav will once again experience the tension and anxiety of not knowing what the future will bring.

    My day started at 6am, I had to make the trek out of our dorm, down the stairs, out the back door and around the corner into the showers and bathrooms in one of the shelter areas. The bathrooms near our sleeping area were closed to allow the major repairs later in the morning. It wasn’t that much later when at 7am the drills and jackhammers got to work. As the University repaired the sewer pipe, the Red Cross got the facility ready to receive another 3,000 evacuees. We have the luxury of time, this time, to get ready. Checking the inventory and placing orders for what is needed, cleaning the cots, writing procedures for a mega shelter. I thought it would be a relatively slow day, but here I am at midnight.

    A major challenge for the day was to find a safe place for the last dozen or so evacuees. Each one had a difficult situation, a lost job, an abusive relationship, an eviction and no one to turn to. I am very proud to be a part of an organization that does not rest until we help each client. The creativity of our team was demonstrated throughout these challenges, but I was most impressed by the compassion that each of our team brought to the situation.

    I just looked at the storm track on the National Hurricane Center web site. It looks like the storm may be heading more to the west. perhaps Louisiana will be spared. In any case we will be ready. I’ll check the tracking first thing in the morning.

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