Santa Cruz Rocks

Where were you last night at approximately 8:04 p.m.?

The strongest earthquake since the Loma Prieta quake of 1989 struck the bay area last night, a magnitude 5.6. I was at the Del Mar Theatre, watching Nosferatu. What I assumed was a large truck rumbling the building became quite a bit stronger – lasting for 30 seconds. What was really surprising was that in a town where earthquakes can be a major hazard, why did so many people head outside? It occurred to me that perhaps the last earthquake was so long ago that people have forgotten the correct steps to take to keep themselves safe in an earthquake.

Our blog has never received so many hits in one day. We are thrilled that people are reaching out to take the steps necessary to prepare themselves for the next quake. Here are some EASY steps you can take to make sure you and your family are prepared during and in the aftermath of an earthquake:

Prepare a Home Earthquake Plan

  • Choose a safe place in every room–under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
  • Practice DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there’s no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Choose an out-of-town family contact.
  • Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation and other structural mitigation techniques.
  • Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Keep your training current.
  • Get training in how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire department.
  • Inform babysitters and caregivers of your plan.

Eliminate Hazards, Including–

  • Bolting bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Installing strong latches on cupboards.
  • Strapping the water heater to wall studs.

Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit For Home and Car, Including–

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
  • Keeping essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.

Know What to Do When the Shaking Begins

  • DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Identify What to Do After the Shaking Stops

  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it’s leaking. (Remember, only a professional should turn it back on.)
  • Listen to the radio for instructions.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

Learn how you can be “Red Cross Ready”
We would be thrilled to help you put together your family emergency plan! If you have any questions, give us a call at 831-462-2881.

25 Santa Cruz County volunteers called to help in So. Cal.

Copyright American Red Cross

25 of our disaster relief volunteers (Including 2 Board Members, 2 Mental Health Professionals, 4 Registered Nurses, 16 Shelter and Mass Feeding Workers and 1 Mass Care Bulk Distribution Specialist) have been called to help with the relief operations in Southern California, and that number continues to grow. Volunteers deployed so far are:

Rick Daniel, Anita Salem, Ray and Joy LeClair, John E. Schultz, Suzanne Carlton, Norman Turner, Janet Packer, Ralph Reyes, Armando Arias, Lee Yamada, Clyta Amadeo, Carmen Mulholand, Virginia Ledesma, Wendy Ostrow, Douglas Anderson, Cherry Roberts, Steve Hibbett, Paula Zabbattini, Susan Champness, Kenneth Llacera, Ellen Dellamora, Sharon Hightower, James Hobbs, Kate McCarthy-Lewis

Here is a snapshot of Red Cross services as of midnight, Tuesday:

• The Red Cross and its partners have opened nearly two dozen shelters across the region.
• 40 trucks full of supplies have arrived, bringing thousands of cots, blankets, toiletry kits and
other needed items.
• 50 Mobile feeding vehicles have arrived with 25 more en route.
• Cleanup supplies are also en route. Supplies include rakes, shovels and other useful
equipment to help with cleanup in the affected communities.
• A large feeding kitchen will open today at Petco Field to support the shelters, mobile feeding
and the feeding to the emergency workers.
• The local chapters have trained more than 1500 local volunteers to help with the effort.
• The national Red Cross has moved nearly 2000 additional workers to the area to help with
feeding and sheltering efforts.

If you have any questions about the local response to this disaster, please feel free to give us a call at 831- 462-2881.

Copyright American Red Cross

Santa Cruz Film Festival partners with Santa Cruz County Chapter for “Nosferatu”

Looking for something to do on Halloween Eve?

On October 30th, 2007, the Santa Cruz Film Festival (SCFF) will host a showing of “Nosferatu”, the original vampire movie, complete with a live and original score by local composer Phil Collins of New Music Works.

SCFF was kind enough to invite the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Red Cross to join this event. We will be taking pledges for blood donations at the door. Our fabulous UCSC Red Cross Youth Club will also be there and happy to answer any questions you might have about our new Youth Initiative.

It’s been great working with SCFF, and this promises to be a fantastic event! For ticket preorder, visit and click on the “event” tab.

Questions? Call Lindsay at 831-462-2881 ext. 14.


Trick or Treat?

Image Hosted by
By Rodoni Farms (

Only a few weeks until all the littlest ghosts and goblins flood the streets in search of their feast of sugar! Halloween has been one of my personal favorite holidays since I was dressing up like Strawberry Shortcake in the mid 80’s; But, let’s be frank… Santa Cruz can get a little crazy around Halloween – especially for the little ones. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can keep your little monsters safe!

To See and Be Seen – A Look at Costumes

Whether your child wants to be frightful or delightful, ghoulish or goofy, costume selection criteria should include how safe it is for the wearer. The Red Cross offers these tips to help keep your little monster trick-or-treating for many years to come:

  • Masks can restrict peripheral vision and hearing. If choosing a mask, ensure it fits well, offers good ventilation and has large eye holes. Or, go with non-toxic face paint instead.
  • Big hats, helmets or scarves can be problematic as well. If you kids must have them, have them try hats on to ensure proper fit and secure hats and scarves well to prevent slipping.
  • Select light-colored or reflective costumes to be seen by drivers. The same goes for props. If necessary, add reflective tape or trim to brooms, swords, scythes and the all-important candy bag.
  • Purchase fire-retardant costumes. Check tags and labels to ensure they are flame-resistant .
  • Large or loose costumes—including billowy skirts, sleeves or capes—can cause falls and may pose a fire risk. Select appropriately-sized costumes and keep trick-or-treaters away from candles.
  • Don’t clown around with oversized shoes. Choose sturdy shoes that fit and be sure that shoe covers will remain secure while trekking around the neighborhood.
  • Check costumes and accessories for loose pieces or parts, such as buttons, that might be choking hazards.
  • Accessorize with care. Look for soft, flexible—not rigid or sharp—toy swords and other props. Select props and costume accessories at an appropriate scale for children.

Since teenagers and adults enjoy dressing up as well, the same basic rules apply for making smart, safe costume selections.

Getting to Know Jack

  • Take proper precautions when preparing “Jack” (O’Lantern) for his autumnal debut:
  • Select a stable, flat surface with good lighting for carving your pumpkin.
  • Use blunt tools with serrations specially designed for cutting thick-skinned pumpkins.
  • Grown-ups should do the cutting, and supervise children at all times during the activity.
  • Draw and follow patterns on the pumpkin instead of freehand carving. Or, forego slicing up Jack and use paint, markers and other materials to decorate your pumpkin—not only is it safer, but it also means less mess from pumpkin “guts” and provides a longer lasting display.
  • Consider battery-operated or electric lights for an interesting and safe way to illuminate your squash creation this year. One-use glow sticks also work well as an alternative to candles.

Avoiding Frightful Accidents Inside and Out

  • Clear porches, lawns and sidewalks of any debris, tools, etc., that could cause visitors to trip and fall.
  • Have a well-lit path and consider adding a temporary fence around decorations—spooky decorative styles are available these days—if you have lawn decorations that could cause a fall, ruining an otherwise ghoulishly good time.
  • Place jack o’lanterns away from doorways or landings.
  • If electronic decorations have short cords, use a surge protector with a longer cord to reach outlets and plug into it, then use care in placing that cord so it is out of the traffic path. Be careful not to overload circuits, and for decorating outside only use items that are rated for outdoor use.
  • Check and discard holiday lights or electronic decorations with broken or frayed cords or plugs.
  • Keep exits and steps clear of decorations and other obstacles.

Treat Visitors to a Hauntingly Safe Time

  • Consider string lights or other electronic or battery-operated lighting in lieu of candles to decorate your haunt. If you do choose candles, keep them away from all flammables (fake spider webs, paper streamers, dried cornstalks, etc.) and never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Plan party menus with care. Avoid small, hard foods that pose a choking risk. While particularly relevant to small children, anyone eating while talking and laughing at a party could find a bite “going down the wrong way.”
  • Select treats that are soft rather than hard candies that can get lodged in a child’s throat. According to the National Confections Association, most kids prefer chocolate anyway!
  • Decorations also need to be age appropriate and hung correctly. Watch not only for objects that children might swallow but also for decorations that could trip or entangle visitors or have rough or sharp edges that cut or poke.
  • Children aren’t the only ones looking to score sweet treats at Halloween. Before, during and after the holiday, store candy, particularly chocolate, where canine family members can’t get it. Even a small amount of chocolate can be fatal to dogs.

A Word or Two to Mummies (and Daddies)

Don’t wait until Halloween to teach children about safety. In the excitement of the costumes and anticipated sweet booty, your pint-sized pirates and princesses may forget instructions if given just minutes before departing. By talking with your children now, you can improve the odds of them remembering advice later. Try associating it with a holiday activity and repeat it often while preparing for the big day…or night.

For example, take a few minutes while…

  • Carving pumpkins to review the rules of stop, look and listen for crossing the street and stop, drop and roll in case a piece of clothing were to catch on fire.
  • Shopping for candy and costumes to talk with children about only going to houses they know with lights on and waiting to eat their candy until its been checked by an adult.
  • Decorating your home or lawn to go over important rules such as not hiding between cars or darting into the street.

Finally, now is a good time to learn first aid and CPR. The Red Cross offers child and infant CPR classes that help caregivers recognize and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies in infants and children 12 and younger. Also learn to recognize the signs of choking and the proper steps to help them.

Remember, being prepared isn’t about not having a good time – being prepared for an emergency will give you the confidence of knowing what to do should an emergency happen. Having that piece of mind will keep you monster-mashing all year long.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 6 other followers

  • October 2007
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep   Nov »