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.

Chapter will remain open this Weekend

Just a quick note to let you know that we’ll be open this weekend from 10 AM to 4 PM, taking donations for the International Relief Fund.  If you’d like to stop by or call, you can find us here:

2960 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

831-462-2881

You may also text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 via your monthly cell phone bill.

Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support during this relief operation!

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

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.

Remembering Loma Prieta

[We’ve been going through some pretty hefty changes around the chapter!  Please forgive us for not supplying you with your weekly dose of disaster preparedness information.  We’ll be back on the blog-train just as soon as we can.]

This October marks the 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Often called the San Francisco earthquake, the epicenter of the quake was actually smack in the center of Santa Cruz County.  The destruction of the Pacific Garden Mall and many historical landmarks, not to mention the loss of lives was catastrophic to Santa Cruz County.

As a remembrance, we’ve opened up the archives and found some of the many news articles our volunteers collected during this disaster.  Click on the link below to be taken directly to the slide show.

1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

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