Back in my day (and place), every town had sponsored firework displays on the 4th of July.  Not so in Santa Cruz County.  sparklerScotts Valley has a show which is a big hit for families – and it was canceled last year, so you can bet it will be packed with onlookers this year.  But, lets be frank… there are those that aren’t down with the SV crowd.  You know who you are… you’re going down to the beach, aren’t ya?  Don’t lie.  You picked up some fireworks on a trip to Montana or some such place, and you’re going to set those suckers off.

I know.  I can hear your thoughts.

I suppose I don’t have to remind you that setting off fireworks is illegal here in Santa Cruz County… or that we’re in wildfire prone area… or that setting off fireworks can be really dangerous to your person.  What I can do is give you some tips from my neck of the woods that can help keep you a bit safer.  Of course, we recommend that you find an alternative to this dangerous and illegal activity, which takes a huge amount of resources away from our law enforcement and fire officials every year to contain.  Check out this PDF from the Denver Red Cross chapter for more facts about the amazing amount of injuries that fireworks cause every year [PDF]  (There are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission).

You could have a bonfire… you can’t roast marshmallows on a firework!


  • Make your own fireworks.
  • Re-light an ineffective firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Have any part of your body over fireworks.
  • Carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Light fireworks indoors.
  • Never give fireworks to small children
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.


  • Have an adult present
  • Wear eye protection
  • Use earplugs if you have sensitive ears
  • Properly dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and then depositing them in a trashcan.
  • always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close-by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection and is an adult.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.

Just in case you didn’t get my drift the first time, here’s an article reinforcing firework laws in the County care of the Mid-County Post: http://www.mcpost.com/article.php?id=1998

RE: Rumours gives us a cut

Due to an unforeseen event, the Red Cross days at Rumours Salon will be changed.  We don’t have a date yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do!

What (else) we do.

When people think about the Red Cross, they generally think of only one thing at a time.  Like Blood donations, or disaster relief.  But we do SO MUCH MORE than that.

Here are our top 4 least known, but not least important programs:

Some of our Youth get ready for SafeRides

Some of our Youth get ready for SafeRides

1. Non Emergency Medical Transportation for elderly and low income patients.

We take people who would otherwise have great difficulties getting to their medical appointments over the hill to hospitals such as the VA, Stanford and UCSF.  This service is the only lifeline for many of our clients.  The service is free and the program is funded entirely by donations.

2. Service to the Armed Forces and their families

One of our oldest service lines is our service to the armed forces.  We help deliver emergency messages to military members abroad and offer the families services such as counseling, financial aid, and more.  In the event of a family emergency, we help bring military members home to be with their families.

Visiting Troops in the Hospital

Visiting Troops in the Hospital

3. Youth Services

Thanks to our Youth Services Manager, Katie Radvanyi, we have a flourishing Youth Services Department.  The department helps high school and college students create and implement youth run programs including events for the Measles Initiative and Safe Rides for Teens, a program offering rides home to youth who find themselves in a dangerous situation.  In the past, Youth Services has done programs such as Operation: Care and Comfort, which sent donated items to military oversees.  Youth Services even has its own core of disaster services volunteers who are learning how to work in a Red Cross shelter.

4. Holocaust Tracing

The Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center is a national clearinghouse for persons seeking the fates of loved ones

The Bay Area Red Cross Chapter helped Rosa (Pictured) find out what happened to her parents and baby brother during WWII

The Bay Area Red Cross Chapter helped Rosa (Pictured) find out what happened to her parents and baby brother during WWII

missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath.  It assists U.S. residents searching for proof of internment, forced/slave labor, or evacuation from former Soviet territories on themselves or family members.

  • All tracing services are free of charge.
  • They use the worldwide network of more than 180 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and the Magen David Adom in Israel.
  • They also consult museums, archives, and international organizations to further facilitate tracing requests.
  • Cases remain open, and if new information becomes available, it is immediately shared with the inquirer.

As a chapter, we facilitate communications between this important branch of the Red Cross and people who may need the service in our area.

See anything you’re interested in?  There are volunteer opportunities!  Shoot us an email at volunteer@sccredcross.org

Rumours Salon gives us a cut


Need an excellent haircut?  Want to help the Santa Cruz County Chapter?  Well then, have we got the event for you.

Rumours Salon and Spa will be having 2 Red Cross days at the end of the month, June 29 & 30.  Stylists have donated their time for those days so that 100% of the profits will go directly to our chapter.  Now that is some stylish giving.

Rumours Salon and Spa

4210 Capitola Road

Capitola, CA

Call for an appointment: 476-4444

Loma Preita, 20 years later

I wasn’t here in 1989.  In fact, I was 2200 miles away from here.  I was also far too preoccupied with My Little Ponies to watch the national news or the World Series (I was 8).  Hence, I didn’t even know that it had happened.  But in October of 1989, this town that I’ve come to call home was shaken to its very core.

We’re working with our fellow area chapters including the Monterey-San Benito Chapter, Carmel Chapter, Silicon Valley Chapter, Sonoma & Mendocino Chapter, and the Bay Area Chapter (SF) to plan some preparedness activities for our region… but I personally feel behind the curve.  While most people here remember the Loma Prieta Earthquake well, I have no recollection of it.  So, as so many of us do nowadays, I’ve turned to the inter-tubes to help me.

If you happened to be playing with your G.I. Joes or My Little Ponies (respectively) and missed the Loma Prieta earthquake, and now you live on the Central Coast, maybe this video will convince you to prepare. I encourage you to check out other Loma Prieta videos on YouTube. Remember, the Loma Prieta Earthquake’s epicenter was in Santa Cruz County, despite the fact that the earthquake is sometimes referred to as the San Francisco Earthquake. The destructive force was felt far away… this particular news clip comes from a channel in Sacramento.

Remember that preparing personally for the next earthquake as well as encouraging your workplace and community centers to prepare can help keep you safe. If you need help putting a plan together, let us know (it’s free)!