Haiti Earthquake Update

From the American National Red Cross Blog, here is some up to date information on the Disaster Response to yesterday’s Earthquake in Haiti.

On Tuesday, January 12, less than one hour before sunset, a 7.3 earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port au Prince, causing catastrophic damage and loss of life.

· Initial estimates are that up to 3 million people may be affected.

· Government offices, including the Presidential palace, have collapsed. Hospitals and the local Red Cross office have sustained major damage.

· Many areas remain accessible as roads are covered with debris and bridges have collapsed. Telephone lines and electricity are still out in many places.

· The next 48 hours are critical for life-saving operations such as search and rescue and first aid.

The American Red Cross is contributing an initial $1 million to support the relief operation.

  • We committed $200,000 last night, and increased that amount this morning to $1 million.
  • The American Red Cross also is releasing supplies from our warehouse in Panama that will be able to meet the immediate needs of 5,000 families. Included are tarps, mosquito nets and cooking sets.
  • The American Red Cross is deploying six disaster management specialists to the disaster zone to help coordinate relief. These join the staff we already have on the ground there.

In Haiti, the local Red Cross worked throughout the night to rescue people from their trapped homes and provide first aid.

· Priority needs now are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.

The American Red Cross already has seen an outpouring of support and concern from the public.

  • People who want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake can make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at Redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
  • The Red Cross is also receiving money through a third party mobile fundraising effort sponsored by Mobile Accord. Mobile donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross. The funds will go to support the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
  • To date we have not received any request for blood products from the government of Haiti. We will respond to any request that we receive for blood products based on availability.
  • At this time, we are only deploying Red Cross volunteers specially trained to manage international emergency operations. Please consider supporting your community’s local needs by volunteering with your local Red Cross.

The American Red Cross had staff in Haiti when the earthquake struck.

· The American Red Cross has a 15-person office in Haiti focused year-round on HIV/AIDS education and disaster preparedness.

· We have had limited contact with our staff in Haiti, but do know that they are safe and responding to the survivors’ needs.

We know that people in the United States may be very concerned about loved ones living or traveling in Haiti.

  • Telephone, Internet and other communication lines are often disrupted in times of disaster.
  • If your loved one has citizenship in Haiti, please be patient and continue to call or contact other family members who live nearby.
  • If you’re trying to reach a U.S. citizen living or traveling in Haiti, you should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747.

And, we’re back!

You know… the world is full of surprises.  We’ve had more than a few here at our chapter in the last couple months.

But here we are, on the other side of uncertainty… ready to provide you with an endless supply of random but useful preparedness information.  And sometimes, just cute pictures of cats.

Oh, how I’ve missed the cute pictures of cats.

We just might have a few happy surprises coming down the road as well.  Stay tuned, friends.



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.

What’s better than Strawberry Shortcake?

Strawberry Shortcake served by Red Crossers, of course!

We’ll be at the Watsonville Strawberry Festival in Downtown Watsonville this August 1 & 2 from 10 AM to 7 PM, helping you get your shortcake fix.  $5.00 will get you a delicious strawberry shortcake served by our fantastic volunteers.

Plus, the Watsonville Strawberry Festival is an admission free event with music, arts and crafts, pie eating contests and more.  Come support your Red Cross and get all sugared up on one of Santa Cruz County’s most popular Red Crops (see what i did there?).



Silly Vampires, Blood is for the Red Cross!

Happy Friday, everyone.  This PSA wasn’t produced by the Red Cross, but boy is it entertaining.  And it includes a vampire, which I hear is quite the rage these days.  Check it out… and if you get a chance, search “Red Cross” on YouTube.  There are tons of awesome videos from our chapters around the globe.

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?


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

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