$5 can buy Hope.

Everyone knows money can’t buy you love… but did you know that you can buy a big barrel of hope for only $5.00?

When you give that $5.00 to the American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County Chapter, it’s true.

Just $5.00 can provide bedding for a family at a Red Cross Shelter, or blankets to the victims of a home fire.  If you give only $10.00, you provide a day’s worth of meals to a disaster victim.  Pretty slick, eh?  Any donation to the Red Cross assures that we’ll be there when the community needs us, providing services that help rebuild lives.

Helping the Red Cross in its humanitarian mission is as easy as giving up 1 trip to the coffee shop.  Or, using a coupon the next time you order a pizza.  Or, finding that random $5.00 bill that went through the wash in the pocket of your jeans (I LOVE when that happens).

As always, you can send your donation or come in to 2960 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz, visit our website at www.sccredcross.org, or give us a call at 831-462-2881 to make your donation.  We also have some awesome community partners that have agreed to take donations on our behalf!  Check out the following locations, and drop some hope in the bucket:












Tornado Preparedness

“Tornado, you say..?”

Yep,  I say.

Did you know there was a Tornado Warning in Orange County today?  The storm passing through California has not only the ability to cause Mudslides and flooding, but may be powerful enough to produce a tornado…even in Santa Cruz County.  Knowing what to do in a tornado can be the difference between life and death.  So, because we care, here’s a quick cram on what to do during a tornado, in the unlikely event of a Watch or Warning here in Santa Cruz County.

Tornado Preparedness

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornado intensities are classified on the Fujita Scale with ratings between F0 (weakest) to F5 (strongest). They are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. Although severe tornadoes are more common in the Plains States, tornadoes have been reported in every state.
Know the Difference

Tornado Watch
Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom) and Duck and Cover (just like you would in an Earthquake).

What should I do to prepare for a tornado?
  • During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings.
  • Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.
  • Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA Web site athttp://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/rms/rmsp453.shtm.
  • Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish clouds-a phenomenon caused by hail
    • Wall cloud-an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
    • Cloud of debris
    • Large hail
    • Funnel cloud-a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
    • Roaring noise
What should I do if a tornado is threatening?
  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
  • If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
    • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds.
    • Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home.
  • If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately.
  • Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
  • Do not wait until you see the tornado.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
    • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
    • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
      • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
      • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
    • Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.
What do I do after a tornado?
  • Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.

National Vaccination Week! Wooo!

Ok… not as exciting as National Hug Week… and far less comfy (in most cases).  But it’s still important.

I wonder if these guys have had their vaccination?

Even though news about H1N1 has started to trickle, it is still a threat; And now the vaccine is available, likely at your local drug store.  So why not take a step to protect yourself and your family?

As with the seasonal flu, high risk groups and their families should be vaccinated for H1N1.  These groups include:

  1. Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
  2. Pregnant women
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    1. Health care workers
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    3. Household contacts and caregivers of children <5 years of age with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children <6 months of age (these children are at higher risk of flu-related complications



FRIDAY AUGUST 21ST, 2009 – In an effort to provide enhanced service to the residents of the Monterey Bay Area, the Carmel and Monterey-San Benito Area Chapters of the American Red Cross will merge effective September 1, 2009 to create the American Red Cross, Monterey Bay Area Chapter.   This newly formed Chapter will also work closely with the Santa Cruz County Chapter with the goal of consolidating functions across the three Counties to facilitate quality service delivery for these communities.

The combined chapter operations will serve approximately 750,000 people on a budget of $2.1 million dollars. There are 16 paid staff members and over a 1,000 registered volunteers. Over 500 of the volunteers are also members of the highly trained Disaster Services Human Recourses (DSHR) team who respond to over 150 local disasters each year, predominately single family fires, as well as deploy to help with major national disasters. The local chapter also annually certifies, over 15,000 people in CPR, First Aid and other health and safety courses. The American Red Cross has been serving the Monterey Bay Area for 112 years.

Sharon Crino has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed Monterey Bay Area Chapter.   Previously the CEO of the Carmel Area Chapter, Crino will provide leadership and oversight to the Monterey Bay Area Chapter and will also serve as the Chief Operating Officer to the Central Coast Region which includes Chapters in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.  The CEO of the Santa Cruz County Chapter, David Wright, continues in his current Chapter role and will have supervisory responsibilities within the Tri-County Area.

“There are a number of changes occurring within the American Red Cross, both financially and organizationally.  In an effort to embrace the National changes while retaining our ability to fulfill our critical mission, it is necessary to adapt our structure, to better face these challenging economic times,” said Crino.   “Our new structure projects one American Red Cross organization as the provider of comprehensive and innovative programs and services that meet the needs of all residents and to empower our local communities to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.  We have a large diversified community, with shared visions and goals.  The local Red Cross has been supporting our communities for 112 years and we know with our new structure and our dedicated donors we will be able to continue our services for many years to come.”

Sharon Crino began her tenure as the CEO of the American Red Cross, Carmel Area Chapter April 1, 2008 which marked her entry into the non-profit business sector. She comes to the Red Cross from a varied career with Eastman Kodak Company where she was a Corporate Vice President. Previously Sharon held a number of senior management positions with Eastman Kodak including Area Business General Manager and Vice President, Health Imaging, Europe, Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Russia. She has extensive international experience, profit and loss management, and leadership and change management skills.

“Our local merger reflects the national goal of “One Red Cross.”  Our community will receive stronger and broader programs and services; the management of which will produce a more efficient use of donor contributions, expanded volunteer opportunities for the public and offer the community greater resources for disaster response and preparedness education,” Crino explained.

The Monterey Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is not a government agency and receives no government, national or United Way funding.  All assistance provided to the Chapter is due solely to the generosity of the American people and in particular the citizens of our community for its financial support.  Voluntary contributions are key to our ability to respond when help cannot wait.

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)!

Swine Flu information and resources

Don’t be afraid of the Swine Flu!  Be prepared!

Everyone at the Red Cross knows that the best way to keep your anxiety in check about emergencies is to be prepared for an emergency.  And with all of the media-hype surrounding the outbreak of Swine Flu, you might need something to bring your nerves back to ground level.  This morning, I actually saw a blog that said, “If there’s a Swine Flu case near you, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!”

Don’t do that.  That’s lame.  Just take the steps to be prepared and protect your family.

Here are some tips from the American Red Cross on preparing for an epidemic, should the Swine Flu spread. Local information can be found at the Santa Cruz County Public Health Website.

The Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering the following tips to ensure you stay healthy.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

This is a good reminder to prepare for life’s emergencies. The Red Cross recommends you take this opportunity to prepare your family for any disaster by getting a kit, making a plan and being informed. More information is available on the kits are available at your red cross chapter, or on this website.

Up to the minute updates on the swine flu can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.  People seeking information on human swine flu should visit the CDC web site or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Heroes: You have them, We want them.

Please help us honor our local heroes!  Each year the Santa Cruz County Chapter calls for the community to nominate their heroes for our Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards.  We are currently accepting nominations (ONLINE! :D) and the deadline for nominations is April 10.  Please share your hero’s story with us (capes and masks are, as always, optional)!

Categories Include:
  • Animal Rescue
  • Education
  • Good Samaritan
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Medical Professional
  • Military
  • Rescue Professional
  • Workplace
  • Youth (under 21)
    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, 2007
  • If you have submitted a nomination form within the last two years and your hero has not been ed to receive an award, he or she is still eligible. Please re-submit your nomination for consideration.

To get you in the mood to nominate a hero, I have totally and without remorse stolen the following ad from the Greater Chicago Chapter.  Oh, how I love their sense of humor.  Also, before I came to Santa Cruz I worked at the RC Chapter directly to their north… so i feel as if they should let me use this ad (Remember, visit www.sccredcross.org to nominate your hero).

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