Germs are Bad Rappers.

Have you noticed that something seems to be going around Santa Cruz County?  2 of my neighbors are sick, at least 2 of our regular volunteers, and this very AM, I woke up with that particular sensation in the back of my throat that says, “You’re gonna wish you were in bed ALL DAY.”

There’s been some pretty big talk about the flu this year.  So much so, that you’re probably reading this blog post and thinking, “Not AGAIN!”

Still, it’s always a good idea to follow a few simple rules to keep yourself healthy… and if you aren’t healthy, to keep others around you from picking up what you’re putting down (if you know what I mean).  You can check out some tips here: Red Cross Flu Checklist (PDF).

Or, you can take the hint from an old Red Cross friend, Scrubby Bear.  We still offer this program, but thankfully, since this video… there have been some updates.

$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:

TONY AND ALBA’S PIZZA

PIZZA ONE

LIVE OAK FARMER’S MARKET

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY BANK

LULU CARPENTER’S COFFEE HOUSES

ANGEL SWEETS

PALO ALTO MEDICAL FOUNDATION

SC41 FURNITURE

SAVEMART

STAR BENE RESTAURANT

CHAMINADE RESORT AND SPA

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

Kitteh has a smart.

funny-pictures-cat-has-an-earthquake-drillThis kitty has it half right.

To be “Preparedness Geek Specific,” kitty should:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

But, we still give the little guy props for covering his head, not running outside, AND for performing a drill so that he could plan for an emergency.

If there was an earthquake right now, do you know what you would do?

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)!

“Resolved, I will no longer be a sink-easy”

I’m sure that the day will come when people look back on our primitive blogging and say, “I can’t believe people used to talk that way!”  Of course, they’ll say it in a crazy futuristic language.

Anyway, I was looking for some information on water safety for summer, when the PDX chapter (Portland, OR) beat me to the punch again with their seemingly endless energy for Google searching.   Here’s their latest find, a Learn to Swim article circa 1921 – I can’t believe people used to talk that way.

click for large version

click for large version

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