California Wildfires: Greater Los Angeles Ready for Wildfires

September 1, 2009

>> View the entire photo set from the Greater Los Angeles Red Cross chapter

Wildfire Season Preparation

 Wildfire Season Preparation

Wildfire Season Preparation

California – After opening a shelter at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School on August 27 to provide a safe place for those under mandatory evacuation in the Palos Verdes area, wild fires in La Canada and Hemet ignited a day later — making it clear to the Greater Los Angeles chapter and it’s volunteers that fire season has arrived.

In anticipation of more wild fires and the call for Red Cross assistance, over 50 volunteers gathered on August 29 to review the readiness level of the chapter’s emergency shelter trailers. The chapter maintains Disaster Action Teams and supplies on standby at each of its district offices so that when the call for a shelter comes from emergency officials it is as simple as hitching a trailer and getting on the road to provide an immediate response. A shelter trailer contains all of the supplies needed to open a Red Cross shelter including cots, blankets, administrative supplies, toys for children, and comfort kits. Seven of our shelter trailers convened from as far as Commerce, Torrance and Canoga Park to chapter headquarters in West Los Angeles. The importance of these activities were underscored by the 95-degree heat and two plumes of smoke which arose from the East.

“We have seven disaster response hubs within our region of 37 cities and we must be prepared to deploy our trailers at a moment’s notice should there be a need to open a shelter,” said Eric Brubaker, manager of logistics at the chapter. That moments notice came three different times on Saturday evening in response to mandatory evacuations due to the growing Station Fire – a shelter was opened at Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga just to the South of La Canada, Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita Valley and Highland High School in Lancaster. Through the dedication of these amazing members of our communities, who recognize the importance of the Red Cross mission of preparedness, all supplies were inspected, reviewed and updated when necessary to maintain the standardization which is critical to an efficient response.

“Our shelter team was put on standby at about 8 pm in the event that there were evacuations in the Santa Clarita area. I felt very confident that our material supplies were ready as earlier in the day we were getting them ready. Our work is very important,” said Ron Ross, volunteer and logistics co-lead. Within four hours, Ron and others had opened a Red Cross shelter at Golden Valley High School checking-in displaced residents and providing a safe place to those displaced by the disaster.

 Help people affected by disasters like the current wildfires, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.  On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

Tropical Storm Felicia: Photos 8.11.09

August 11, 2009

All photos are available for media distribution. Please click the photo for caption and courtesy information.

Red Cross volunteers preparing for storm.

Red Cross volunteers preparing for storm.
Red Cross volunteers preparing for storm.

Press Release: Parents Lack H1N1 Info from Schools

August 7, 2009


Red Cross Poll Shows Parents Still Lack H1N1 Information from Schools

The poll results come on the heels of the federal government’s new H1N1 guidelines for schools

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2009 — A poll conducted by the American Red Cross shows that while a majority of Americans are planning to take precautions against the H1N1 virus, more than a third of parents (39%) have received no flu information from their children’s school or daycare.

“With children going back to school and another flu season on the horizon, parents should talk with their children’s school or daycare about what measures the school is taking to plan for a potential flu outbreak,” said Suzy DeFrancis, Chief Public Affairs Officer for the American Red Cross. “The spring H1N1 outbreak was a clear signal that everyone needs to prepare—and that parents and schools should have plans in case the virus returns in the fall.”

As part of a family’s overall emergency planning, the Red Cross urges parents to seek out information proactively from schools regarding plans for the H1N1 virus and teach children how to lessen the spread of the virus. Teaching children simple things such as good hand washing practices or how to cover their cough or sneeze can go a long way in reducing the spread of seasonal flu and H1N1.

The Red Cross offers information about H1N1 and the seasonal flu at This site contains video resources, preparedness tips and information about how to lessen the spread of the flu virus.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

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Hurricane Felicia: Photo 8.6.09

August 7, 2009

All photos are available for media distribution. Please click the photo for caption and courtesy information.

Volunteers Set Up Cots

Red Cross volunteers in Honolulu, Hawaii help prepare for Hurricane Felicia.

Handout: Flood Safety Checklist

May 16, 2009

Be prepared for flooding before, during, and after the storm:


Click the image to view the PDF

Swine Flu: Press Release 4.29.09

April 30, 2009


Red Cross Urges Families and Communities to Prepare During Swine Flu Outbreak

Washing Hands, Recognizing Symptoms Key to Prevent Spread

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, April 29, 2009- Washing hands and paying close attention to symptoms of illness are just some of the things the public can to do help reduce the risk from the swine flu (H1N1) outbreak, the American Red Cross said today. “This is a serious situation that has the potential to spread, and it is a good time for families, businesses and organizations to follow good public health practices and to review and update their preparedness plans,” said Scott Conner, Senior Vice President of Preparedness and Health & Safety Services at the American Red Cross. “Taking steps to prepare for potential emergencies in advance can go a long way in making families feel safer.”

The American Red Cross urges the public to remember these simple actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol- based hand sanitizers are also effective when soap and water aren’t available. 
  • 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 close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are feeling sick.

Children have been greatly impacted by this outbreak, and need to know how to properly wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs. The Red Cross has partnered with NSF International’s (NSF) Scrub Club® to educate children about the importance of hand washing to protect them against influenza. The Scrub Club Web site ( is an easy, online tool to teach kids how to wash their hands and why it’s important. If families are asked to stay home during this outbreak, it’s important to have a plan and supplies in place before that happens. The Red Cross recommends:

  • Stock extra food, water and supplies at home to reduce the need to go out should swine flu become more     widespread, limiting potential for exposure to the virus.
  • Be sure to include household necessities such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc. Select foods that are easy to prepare and store.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of essential medications and medical items for all family members.
  • Include non-prescription medications as well.

Other preparedness steps that can be taken include:

  • Plan for what you would do if you had to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick.
  • Find out your employer’s plans to keep the business open if key staff can’t come to work.
  • Ask your child’s school or day care if there are plans to encourage sick children to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease.
  • Identify how you can get information, whether through local radio, TV, internet or other sources.

For more tips on how to prepare yourself, your family and community for this and other potential emergencies, visit

 (Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross subject matter expert)

Swine Flu: Simple Actions to Stay Healthy

April 29, 2009

How to avoid swine flu
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy and stop the spread of germs.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid or minimize contact with sick people (a minimum three feet distancing is recommended).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough and sneeze.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • Stay away from others as much as possible when you are sick.

For general flu preparedness tips, see the American Red Cross Seasonal Flu Checklist in English and Spanish [PDF].

For more information on Human Swine Flu (H1N1), visit the CDC information page on swine flu (H1N1) or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).


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