Nominate your Hero for the 2008 Heroes Breakfast Awards!

(Looking for the 2009 Nomination form?  Click Here)

Each year, the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Red Cross recognizes 10 local heroes, nominated by the people of Santa Cruz County. We are now accepting nominations for our 2008 event!

Click here for a nomination form.

2008 Hero Nominees may be:

  • A friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, etc.
  • A professionally trained life saver such as a paramedic, doctor, fireman or policeman
  • A Good Samaritan or a role model that has had a significant impact on the community

Criteria for Nominations:

  • Nominees must live or work in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act does not need to have occurred in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act must have occurred after January 1, 2006
  • If you have submitted a nomination form within the last two years and your hero has not been selected to receive an award, he or she is still eligible. Please re-submit your nomination for consideration.

How to Nominate your Hero:

Complete a nomination form. Please mail, email or fax your nomination form to:

American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County Chapter

2960 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

Fax: 831-462-5996


All forms must be received no later than April 1, 2008. Forms are also available on our website:

Proceeds from the Heroes Breakfast will benefit American Red Cross lifesaving programs and services within Santa Cruz County.

If you have further questions, please contact Lindsay at 831-462-2881 ext. 14.

This year, Change a Life – Starting with your own.

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution you won’t want to go back on? Join the American Red Cross family!

When we say that YOU are the American Red Cross – it is not just some goofy tag line. Did you know that the staff of the American Red Cross nationwide is 96% volunteer? Each chapter, in fact, is lead by a 100% volunteer board. The American Red Cross is a civilian organization, where ordinary people can step up and do extraordinary things!

It really is easy to become a part of the Santa Cruz County Chapter. You can do something as simple as give blood at one of our regular local drives, or you can become a Disaster Services volunteer and be deployed to local and national disasters, from single home fires to massive disasters that affect entire communities. You can help members of the military connect with their families in the States while they are overseas. You can learn how to teach CPR and First Aid or our Babysitter’s Training class and teach countless individuals how to save a life. You can help low income and elderly individuals by transporting them to their medical appointments. You can even come to our office and help us file papers. All of these things help the Santa Cruz County Chapter continue to serve our area.

Don’t wait until the next big disaster hits! The more training you have with us, the more you’ll be able to help. All of our disaster training is free – and you’ll have fun working with our team. You can choose to be deployed across the country or stay right here in the county. We will work with your schedule the best that we can.

Want to be reminded of your resolution? We can do that! Just click HERE and we will send you a reminder. Or, give our chapter a call at 831-462-2881. You can also walk in… we are located at 2960 Soquel Avenue (the frontage road to HWY1) in Santa Cruz.

Storm relief volunteers in the news

Yesterday, the Register-Pajaronian printed this fantastic article, complete with pictures, on the work our volunteers were doing in the county.  Check it out here:

PG&E provides their tips for Power Outage Safety

Storm Season Tips and Information from PG&E

During storm season it is important to have the right information on hand for yourself, friends and neighbors. When individuals experience a power outage they should call PG&E’s outage information line at 1-800-PGE-5002 to report the outage and/or to get updates on the power restoration efforts in their area. Calling this line is the most efficient way to get updated outage information.

What you should have in case of a power outage:

– Battery operated radios with fresh batteries ready for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
– Battery operated flashlights with fresh batteries on hand
– A cell phone, or hard-wired, single line telephone. Cordless phones will not work without power.
– PG&E and the American Red Cross recommend that individuals do not use candles because of the risk of fire.
– Fill used liter sized plastic soda bottles with water and place them in the freezer. During an extended outage, transfer them to the refrigerator to prevent food from spoiling. Open the refrigerator only when necessary, keeping warm air out and cool air in. If food is exposed to warm air for an extended length of time, please reffer to the chart below to assess the food’s edibility.
– If you have a generator, call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5000. Make sure your generator is installed safely and properly. If it is not, you risk damaging your property and endangering yourself and PG&E line workers who may be working on power lines some distance from your home. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on PG&E’s website:

What you should know in case of a power outage:

– If you see a downed power line, assume that it is “live” or carrying electrical current. Do not touch or try to move it and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines and other electric emergencies immediately by calling 911 and PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5000.
– If your power goes out, turn off and unplug all electric appliances. When the power is restored, several appliances may turn on at once and overload your circuits. Heat generating appliances left on may pose a fire hazard. Leave a single lamp on to alert you when the power returns.

Information given on behalf of PG&E, Central coast and Southern Santa Clara county, 2008

Santa Cruz Red Cross provides help to powerless

The Santa Cruz County Chapter has been providing a canteen service to those affected by the power outages caused by the massive storm that recently barreled through Santa Cruz County. During a canteen service, Red Cross volunteers drive to affected neighborhoods and distribute food, beverages and other goods. This canteen service includes coffee and tea, hot soup and blankets. Meals are served from the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), which is clearly identified as an American Red Cross vehicle. Brewed coffee and hot water for tea have been donated by Peet’s Coffee and Tea of Santa Cruz and Starbucks of Scotts Valley.

The chapter is also providing Counseling to those who request it, as well as help with necessary medical needs that have been interrupted by the power outage.

We are asking our community for monetary donations at this time, as our budget has been hard hit by a record number of home fires this year in Santa Cruz County. A donation to the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Red Cross will stay in Santa Cruz County and help your local chapter respond to local emergencies year round, from single home fires to massive disasters that affect the entire community. The American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County Chapter is not a government agency, nor do we receive our funding from National Red Cross. We could not perform our lifesaving services if not for the generosity of the people of Santa Cruz County.

Remember, your Red Cross is always available to answer any questions that you may have. Please call us at 831-462-2881.

Quick info about floods and mudslides


Reduce Potential Flood Damage By . . .

  • Raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
  • Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.


Floods Can Take Several Hours to Days to Develop

  • A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
  • A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.


When a Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.


When a Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.


When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

  • Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.


When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

  • Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
  • Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.



How to Protect Your Property

·         If your property is in a landslide-prone area, contract with a private consulting company specializing in earth movement for opinions and advice on landslide problems and on corrective measures you can take. Such companies would likely be those specializing in geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, or civil engineering. Local officials could possibly advise you as to the best kind of professional to contact in your area. Taking steps without consulting a professional could make your situation worse.

·         Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings will be less likely to break.


What to Do Before Intense Storms

·         Become familiar with the land around you. Learn whether landslides and debris flows have occurred in your area by contacting local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology. Knowing the land can help you assess your risk for danger.

·         Watch the patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes near your home, and especially the places where runoff water converges, increasing flow over soil-covered slopes. Watch the hillsides around your home for any signs of land movement, such as small landslides or debris flows, or progressively tilting trees. Watching small changes could alert you to the potential of a greater landslide threat.


What to Do During Intense Storms

·         Stay alert and awake. Many debris-flow fatalities occur when people are sleeping. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or portable, battery-powered radio or television for warnings of intense rainfall. Be aware that intense, short bursts of rain may be particularly dangerous, especially after longer periods of heavy rainfall and damp weather.

·         If you are in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows, consider leaving if it is safe to do so. Remember that driving during an intense storm can be hazardous. If you remain at home, move to a second story if possible. Staying out of the path of a landslide or debris flow saves lives.

·         Listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of flowing or falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. Moving debris can flow quickly and sometimes without warning.

·         If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. Such changes may indicate landslide activity upstream, so be prepared to move quickly. Don’t delay! Save yourself, not your belongings.

·         Be especially alert when driving. Embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flows.


What to Do if You Suspect Imminent Landslide Danger

·         Contact your local fire, police, or public works department. Local officials are the best persons able to assess potential danger.

·         Inform affected neighbors. Your neighbors may not be aware of potential hazards. Advising them of a potential threat may help save lives. Help neighbors who may need assistance to evacuate.

·         Evacuate. Getting out of the path of a landslide or debris flow is your best protection.


What to Do During a Landslide

·         Quickly move out of the path of the landslide or debris flow. Moving away from the path of the flow to a stable area will reduce your risk.

·         If escape is not possible, curl into a tight ball and protect your head. A tight ball will provide the best protection for your body.


What to Do After a Landslide

·         Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.

·         Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.

·         Help a neighbor who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.

·         Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.

·         Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same event.

·         Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.

·         Check the building foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage. Damage to foundations, chimneys, or surrounding land may help you assess the safety of the area.

·         Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

·         Seek the advice of a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk. A professional will be able to advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce landslide risk, without creating further hazard.


Stormy weather leaving you in the dark?

The biggest storm that Santa Cruz County has seen in 2 years in bearing down on the central coast threatening flooding, wind damage and power outages.  If your power goes out, here are some steps you can take to keep your family safe.

  • Use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer to keep your food as fresh as possible.
  • Do not run a generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as your home, garage, basement, or crawlspace. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your gas range, oven, or dryer as a source of heat.
  • If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.
  • Use a portable radio for updated news and weather forecasts.
  • Leave one light on so you know when the power returns.

Everyone can prepare ahead of time for disasters like a power outage by taking the following actions:

  • Build a disaster supplies kit. Your kit should include at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items and water (one gallon per person per day), a flashlight, a battery-powered or crank radio, as well as batteries, can opener and special items such as medications, diapers, and infant formula.
  • Have a communication plan ready. If you have a telephone that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone or answering machine), plan for alternate communication, including having a cellular telephone, radio, or pager.
  • Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Be sure to keep a key to your house with you, in case the garage door does not open. If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
  • Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible.

How to keep food safe during a power outage 

Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they are prolonged. Perishable foods should not be held above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, you need not be concerned, but how do you save your food when the refrigerator is out for longer times? Being prepared can help. By planning ahead, you can save your perishables.

What do I need?

  • One or more coolers. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers can do an excellent job as well.
  • Shelf-stable foods, such as canned goods and powdered or boxed milk. These can be eaten cold or heated on the grill.
  • A digital quick-response thermometer. A digital thermometer should be a necessity in your kitchen anyway. With these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food for doneness and safety.

What to do…

  • Do not open the refrigerator or freezer. Tell your little ones not to open the door. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a couple of hours at least. A freezer that is half full will hold for up to 24 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.
  • If it looks like the power outage will be for more than 2-4 hours, pack refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, gravy, stuffing and left-overs into your cooler surrounded by ice.
  • If it looks like the power outage will be prolonged, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.See “Power is Out” download guidelines (PDF file)

Q’s and A’s
What should be discarded after a power outage? As soon as the power returns, check temperatures. If the food in the freezer has ice crystals and is not above 40 degrees you can refreeze. Perishable foods in the refrigerator should not be above 40 degrees F. for more than two hours. Use this chart to see what has to be discarded and what can be kept.

What if I go to bed and the power is still not on? Before you go to bed, pack your perishables into your coolers if you haven’t already done so and put in as much ice as you can. Also, when you go to bed, leave a bedroom light switched on. When the power goes back on, it will wake you, so you can check the condition of your foods in the freezer.

What if the power goes out while I’m at work or out of the house and it has been more than a few hours before I get home? Try to determine how long the power has been out. Check the internal temperature of the food in your refrigerator with your quick-response thermometer. A liquid such as milk or juice is easy to check. Spot check other items like steaks or left-overs also. If the internal temperature is above 40 degrees, it is best to throw it out.

What if the power goes out and comes back on while I am out? If your freezer is fairly full and you know it was not longer than 24 hours, the food should be OK. There will be loss of quality with refreezing, but the food will be safe. If the refrigerator was out for more than 2-4 hours, you are best to discard the perishables.

Prepared by Giant Food, Inc., Landover, Maryland, June 1999. Used with permission. Original content adapted from “Help, Power Outage!” Food News for Consumers, Summer 1989, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. ARC 1098 September 1999

Frozen Foods
Meat and Mixed Dishes: Still Contains Ice Crystals. Not Above 40° F Thawed, Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, ground meat and poultry Refreeze Discard
Casseroles with meat, pasta, rice, egg or cheese base, stews, soups, convenience foods, pizza Refreeze Discard
Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products Refreeze Discard
Dairy: Still Contains Ice Crystals. Not Above 40° F Thawed, Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Milk Refreeze Discard
Eggs (out of shell) egg products Refreeze Discard
Ice cream, frozen yogurt Discard Discard
Cheese (soft and semi soft) cream cheese ricotta Refreeze Discard
Hard cheese (cheddar Swiss parmesan) Refreeze Refreeze
Fruits and Vegetables: Still Contains Ice Crystals. Not Above 40° F Thawed, Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Fruit Juices Refreeze Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell or sliminess develops.
Home or commercially packaged fruit Refreeze Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell or sliminess develops.
Vegetable Juices Refreeze Discard if above 50° for over 8 hours.
Home or commercially packaged or blanched vegetables Refreeze Discard if above 50° for over 8 hours.
Baked Goods Baking Ingredients: Still Contains Ice Crystals. Not Above 40° F Thawed, Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Fruit Juices Refreeze Refreeze
Flour, cornmeal, nuts Refreeze Refreeze
Pie Crusts, Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (no custard fillings) Refreeze Discard if above 50° for over 8 hours.
Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling, cheesecake Refreeze Discard
Commercial and homemade bread dough Refreeze Refreeze
Refrigerator Foods
Dairy/Eggs/Cheese: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Milk, cream, sour cream buttermilk evaporated milk yogurt Keep Discard
Butter, margarine Keep Keep
Baby Formula, opened Keep Discard
Eggs, egg dishes, custards puddings Keep Discard
Hard & processed cheeses Keep Keep
Soft cheeses, cottage cheese Keep Discard
Fruits & Vegetables: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Fruit juices, opened; Canned fruits, opened; Fresh fruits Keep Keep
Vegetables, cooked; Vegetable juice opened Keep Discard after 6 hours
Baked potatoes Keep Discard
Fresh mushrooms, herbs spices Keep Keep
Garlic, chopped in oil or buffer Keep Discard
Meat, Poultry, Seafood: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Fresh or leftover meat, poultry, fish, or seafood Keep Discard
Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Keep Discard
Canned meats NOT labeled “Keep Refrigerated” but refrigerated after opening Keep Discard
Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated” Keep Discard
Mixed Dishes, Side Dishes: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Casseroles, soups, stews, pizza with meat Keep Discard
Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad Keep Discard
Cooked pasta Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinegar base Keep Discard
Gravy stuffing Keep Discard
Pies, Breads: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Cream or cheese filled pastries and pies Keep Discard
Fruit pies Keep Keep
Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads Keep Keep
Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough Keep Discard
Sauces, Spreads, Jams: Food Still Cold, Held At 40° F Or Above Under 2 Hours Held Above 40° F For Over 2 Hours
Mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Keep Discard
Opened salad dressing, jelly, relish, taco and barbeque sauce, mustard, catsup olives Keep Keep

Prepared by Giant Food, Inc., Landover, Maryland, June 1999. Used with permission. Original content adapted from “Help, Power Outage!” Food News for Consumers, Summer 1989, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. ARC 1098 September 1999

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