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Tag Archive | "American Red Cross"

Critical blood shortage: Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to give now 


 

LANSING, Mich.—While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Todd Kulman, External Communications Manager of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”

Every two seconds

In the U.S., every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.

“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin.

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

All blood types urgently needed

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood donor app (redcross.org/bloodapp), visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of an online health history questionnaire (redcrossblood.org/rapidpass) are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

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Red Cross responds to deadly West Virginia floods 


 

Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Michigan sends volunteers, supplies to support relief efforts; help urgently needed 

The American Red Cross is responding to a massive flooding disaster in West Virginia. There have been at least 24 deaths reported, and thousands are still without power, gas service and even water. As many as 60 roads are closed to flooding and flood damage. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared state of emergencies in 44 counties, and President Obama declared a Disaster Declaration for the state. Dozens of people have had to be rescued and search and rescue missions are still ongoing. Officials continue to estimate that thousands of homes have experienced damage from these tragic floods.

Red Cross workers opened numerous shelters in Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Roane counties, and are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected, as well as meals for first responders. On Saturday night, June 25, the Red Cross opened or supported 17 shelters where more than 400 people slept overnight.

This is a difficult time for many families unexpectedly forced from their homes. Red Cross workers are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected as well as meals for first responders, while disaster mental health workers are helping people cope. Health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.

“Our Michigan volunteers are already helping people affected by the terrible flooding in West Virginia,” said Kimberly Burton, Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer. “We have been mobilizing much-needed resources since these devastating storms hit and are monitoring the situation with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need.”

HOW TO HELP: These are large relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now. Financial donations are the quickest way to get people the help they need. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-

RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org.

Or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Red Cross offers summer scholarship program


OUT-Red-Cross-logo

This summer, high school and college students can win a scholarship by hosting an American Red Cross blood drive through the Leaders Save Lives program. Registration is now open to host a participating blood drive between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2015.

The Leaders Save Lives program encourages community-minded 16- to 24-year-olds to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply over the summer months. Students who participate as a blood drive coordinator are eligible to win a scholarship up to $2,500 for higher education and to earn a gift card.

“The Leaders Save Lives program is a great way for students to learn valuable leadership skills while helping hospital patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Red Cross spokesperson, Todd Kulman.  “Summer can be a challenging time to maintain a sufficient blood supply. With this program, students are helping the community by recruiting their friends and family to donate during this crucial season.”

A total of 10 scholarships will be awarded via drawing to students who achieve 100 percent of their blood drive collections goal. All students who achieve the designated blood drive goal will receive an electronic gift card to giftcertificates.com

For more information and to register to host a Leaders Save Lives blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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Red Cross seeks blood donors 


 

*N-Blood donors needed redcross-logoDonations decline during summer months

The American Red Cross asks eligible donors to help ensure blood is available for patients in need by giving blood in May before the busy summer season kicks in.

Blood and platelet donations often decrease when regular donors are vacationing and school is out of session, but the need for blood is constant. Donors are needed in the weeks leading up to summer to help alleviate this seasonal decline.

Donors of all blood types—especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative—are needed to help ensure blood is available for patients this spring. Those who come to donate blood between May 23 and May 25, 2015, will receive a limited-edition Red Cross-branded RuMe® tote bag, while supplies last.

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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Spring into action and donate blood with the Red Cross 


 

The American Red Cross encourages eligible blood donors to make a difference in the lives of patients this spring by giving blood.

Donated blood is perishable and must be constantly replenished to keep up with the demand. Red blood cells, with a shelf life of only 42 days, are the most frequently transfused blood component, and are always needed by hospitals.

Eligible donors can give red cells through either a regular whole blood donation or a double red cell donation, where available. Double red cell donations yield twice the usual amount of red cells in a single appointment and are accepted at select donation locations. Double red cell donors must meet additional eligibility criteria, which will be determined at the donation appointment.

Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, and double red cells may be donated every 112 days, up to three times per year.

To find a donation opportunity or make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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American Red Cross issues new Pet First Aid App


App helps dog and cat owners provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available 

HEA-Red-Cross-PeticonPets are an important part of many families, and a new Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

The 99-cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies.

“Pet owners learn how to recognize health problems and when to contact their veterinarian,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the American Red Cross of West Michigan. “The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies.”

Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls and what to do for cold and heat related emergencies.

Other features in the app allow pet owners to:

Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.

Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.

Use “click-to-call” to contact their veterinarian.

Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the “animal hospital locator.”

Locate pet-friendly hotels.

Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.

History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans. Pet owners may also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course so they can practice the skills and receive feedback. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.

The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. The Pet First Aid App and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

 

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Red Cross safety tips to prevent home holiday fires


The American Red Cross urges residents to take extra precautions with cooking and decorating around the holidays.

“Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, and as people are cooking and entertaining this holiday season, we’re urging that they take safety measures to ensure that their homes and loved ones are safe from the threat of fire,” said Chip Kragt, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross of West Michigan.

Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and Thanksgiving are the top three days for cooking fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster on average every eight minutes, and the vast majority of them are home fires. The Red Cross has some simple steps everyone can follow to prevent home fires around the holidays:

Holiday Entertaining 

Test your smoke alarms.

Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

Enforce a “kid-free zone” in cooking areas. Keep children at least three feet away from the stove.

Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, oven or any appliance that generates heat.

Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen.

Holiday Decorating 

Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.

Keep children, pets and decorations away from lit candles.

Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.

Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands to connect. Some strings of lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.

Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

People should also download the free American Red Cross First Aid app, which provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

People can test their knowledge on how to prevent home fires by taking the Fire Safety Quiz, and can learn more about fire prevention by visiting redcross.org.

 

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Red Cross Kicks Off Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign


 

The American Red Cross launched its annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program on Monday, September 30. The Red Cross invites residents of West Michigan to express their appreciation to service members, veterans, and their families by sending them holiday cards filled with messages of gratitude and support.

This is the seventh year for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Last year, more than 1.8 million cards were distributed to the troops and their families as a part of the annual Holiday Campaign. For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has provided comfort and support to members of the United States military.

“This is a great way for people to give something that means something this holiday season,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the Red Cross of West Michigan. “The Red Cross helps millions of service members each year and this program gives our communities an opportunity to offer their support as well.”

To take part in the program, those interested can send their notes of thanks and holiday cheer to the following address by December 6, 2013:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. For a detailed list of what will and will not be accepted, see the Card Guidelines.

For more information on how to give, get

trained or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit: redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

 

Holiday card for heroes guidelines

 

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

• Ensure that all cards are signed.

• Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.

• Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.

• Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

• Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

• Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.

• If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

 

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Safety tips for Labor Day weekend


OUT-Red-Cross-logoFrom the American Red Cross

 

Many people view Labor Day as the end of summer and their last chance to travel, hit the beach, and fire up the grill. The American Red Cross offers safety tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

“While many people will spend the Labor Day weekend traveling and spending time with family and friends, no one should take a vacation from safety,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the American Red Cross of West Michigan. “It’s still important that people work to remain vigilant on the road, at the beach, and at cookouts.”

Tips for Safe Travel 

Carry an emergency supply kit in your trunk.

Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive.

Buckle up and observe speed limits.

Don’t drink and drive.

Tips for Safe Swimming 

Check weather and water conditions beforehand and throughout the day.

Always swim with a buddy in a designated swimming area supervised by a lifeguard.

Provide constant supervision to children in or near the water and always stay within arm’s reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers while they are in the water.

Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

Tips for Safe Grilling 

Keep the grill away from the house, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep children and pets away from the grill.

Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

The American Red Cross First Aid App for smart phones and tablets provides users with expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores and at redcross.org/mobileapps.

For more information on emergency preparedness, go to redcross.org. Additional water safety tips are located at redcross.org/watersafety.

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Safety training for sports activities


OUT-Red-Cross-logoFrom the American Red Cross

Back to school also means back to practice for thousands of student athletes and coaches. The American Red Cross has training and resources available for people to learn how to treat a variety of emergencies and injuries that may occur throughout the sports season.

“School and neighborhood coaches, athletes and spectators should know how to help prevent and respond to common sports injuries such as strains and sprains, fractures, cuts and concussions,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the American Red Cross of West Michigan.

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that every 25 seconds a child is hurt playing sports and that more than 1 million emergency room visits are made due to sports injuries each year. Sports injuries account for about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits for young people, according to their study.

Red Cross has developed a number of resources for everyone involved in sports and recreational activities:

First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches is an online program for teens and adults who coach at any age level. Developed with the National Federation of State High School Associations, this course covers first aid skills including breathing emergencies and injuries to muscles, bones and joints. Coaches are encouraged to take a CPR/AED course as well.

Family First Aid and CPR is an online course for those not required to have OSHA-compliant certification. Participants learn how to treat cardiac, breathing and first aid emergencies until help arrives. Pediatric modules are also available.

American Red Cross First Aid App is a free app for smart phones and tablets. It gives users instant access to information on how to handle the most common first aid situations.

Information on courses and additional resources are available at redcross.org. A variety of Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

“Heat can be especially hazardous to anyone exercising or playing outdoors this time of year. People should avoid scheduling workouts and exercise during the hottest times of the day,” added Hudson. “Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.”

For more information on how to give, get trained or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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