Asheville-Mountain Area Wildfire Reponse

April 3, 2015

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Wildfire season is in full swing and the American Red Cross Asheville – Mountain Area is hard at work supporting the Forestry Service, Black Mountain Fire Department, area responders and families affected by a raging wildfire.

Since Tuesday evening, the Red Cross has had over 25 disaster volunteers on site providing safe overnight accommodations for several displaced residents, and serving more than 1,200 meals and snacks to the team of responders who continue their work to gain control of the blaze that has burned more than 590 acres. Though the blaze is now more than 80 percent contained, responders will be battling hot spots for several more days.
he Black Mountain fire began early afternoon Tuesday, March 31, and continues to rapidly spread burning more than 590 acres, and damaging and destroying several homes in the community of Ridgecrest. Fueled by humidity, the blaze is only about 25 percent
contained; therefore, responders will most likely be battling this fire for several more days.

The Red Cross plans to keep its support operation going as long as first responders are in need. A Red Cross evacuation shelter is also on stand by for residents in the Swannanoa community. When it is safe to do so, volunteers will work with community members to assess damages and determine any assistance needed for the recovery process.

Please be careful as high winds and dry conditions bring about more wildfires across parts of the country. Learn more about how to stay safe before, during and after wildfires. If you know a relative or friend seeking assistance after the wildfire, they can find their local Red Cross by visiting redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.


Five-Year Old Wakes Family to Escape from Burning Home Fire

March 17, 2015

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Early one morning, around 4:30a.m., 5 year-old Matthew was awakened for a second by the smoke alarm beeping, and then he went back to sleep. Matthew says, “I woke up then went back to sleep, I woke up then went back to sleep, I woke up then went back to sleep and then I saw fire at the bottom of our bed.”

Matthew immediately screamed to his brother, Daniel, Jr., who was beside him, “there’s a fire!” They both jumped out of bed, ran to their parent’s bedroom screaming there’s a fire.

Both parents startled from being in a deep sleep, immediately woke up and mom (Christie) ran into the boy’s bedroom to see what was going on – to find not only the ottoman at the bottom of their bed on fire, but the entire room was fully engulfed in fire in a matter of seconds. She ran back yelling for everyone to get out of the house now! She grabbed baby Maddie, dad (Daniel, Sr.) got the boys and they frantically ran out of the house. When they were all outside and accounted for, Dad called 911.

The fire department arrived and was battling the fire, and “we were just standing there in a daze watching our home burn to the ground within a matter of minutes,” said Christy. “Everything we have worked so hard for was in flames. It was all gone. And then I looked down at our children, and remembered it was because of the smoke detector that we were all safe. So I encourage everyone to make sure you have a working smoke detector in your home – it saved our lives.”

As they remained standing outside in the dark, the children were starting to get cold. They realized the only things they had were the pajamas they were wearing – not even a pair of shoes. “It was at that point that I comprehended we were homeless – no home, no clothes and no food – we had nothing,” said Daniel. “Then out of nowhere, a Red Cross truck drove up, and it was such a relief to see them. Because of the Red Cross, we didn’t have to sleep in our car. They made it possible for us to have a roof over our head – food to eat, clothes on our back and a great deal of support. We couldn’t have made it without them. Thank you, Red Cross. The work you do and the support you provide is awesome.”

Today, the family has moved into a new home, and they are slowly getting their lives back together. Matthew is still a little shy when talking about the fire. He holds his stuffed animal tightly when he talks. But most important to Matthew, and the only time he put his stuffed animal down was to express that he is now six years old. He isn’t five years old anymore.


Turn and Test for Daylight Saving Time

March 5, 2015

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Turn clocks ahead and test smoke detectors.

Daylight Saving Time kicks in at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, and the American Red Cross has a reminder for households across the country: TURN your clocks ahead one hour, and TEST your smoke alarms.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES When you turn the clocks ahead, take a few minutes to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check your carbon monoxide detectors.

HOW CAN I MAINTAIN SMOKE ALARMS? Smoke alarms save lives. You should:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
• Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.
• Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

AM I READY IF A FIRE OCCURS? In addition to checking and replacing smoke alarm batteries, households should take a second important step in fire safety. Planning for fire emergencies is important, so all families should practice fire drills at home.

Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and set up a meeting place outside in case of a fire. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day.

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.


Red Cross Volunteers Go Door–to–Door to Raise Fire Safety Awareness Over the MLK Holiday Weekend

January 25, 2015

With home fires as the biggest disaster threat facing families, the American Red Cross (Red Cross) volunteers and staff members pounded the pavement with partners, HOPE Worldwide Charlotte Volunteers, in high risk neighborhoods to inform families how to be appropriately prepared in the event of a  home fire.  The fire safety information included creating a household fire escape plan and tips for cooking and heating a home safely this winter. Additionally, safety information was left for families who were not home or unavailable.

When smoke alarms are installed in the optimal locations, they can be vital to protecting families and homes against fatal fires. There should be a functioning smoke alarm on every level of the home (including the basement), in the hallway outside a group of bedrooms and/or inside bedrooms, on the ceiling at the bottom of stairways, and/or in the living room/family room.

The Red Cross participates in home fire preparedness and responsiveness because home fires are actually preventable. Fires in the home happen almost instantly and can devastate lives and homes in merely minutes. Home fires leave families with nearly nothing and nowhere to go. On average, seven people die each day from a home fire. Once a merciless fire begins in the home, families have a meagre two minutes to evacuate. For that reason, it is exceedingly important to discuss a fire evacuation plan with your family.

To be more prepared in the face of a home fire emergency, visit redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire.


Red Cross calls for blood donors as unique as the patients they help

January 22, 2015

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In honor of Black History Month this February, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who was the first medical director of the American Red Cross and a modern blood-banking pioneer, eligible donors as diverse as the patients who need their blood donations are encouraged to give blood to ensure a sufficient blood supply.
Blood from a donor with a similar ethnic background as that of the patient is less likely to cause complications, particularly for those patients whose chronic conditions require repeated transfusions. Sickle cell disease is one such chronic condition affecting as many as 100,000 people in the United States.
Prior to transfusion, blood type and Rh factor are matched between donated blood and the patient in need. In some cases, additional red cell markers in donated blood must be matched, as well. These markers are best found in blood from donors of a similar ethnicity.
With seasonal flu and inclement winter weather preventing many regular donors from giving, the Red Cross urges healthy, eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood in the coming days and weeks. All blood types are currently needed to help maintain a diverse and sufficient blood supply, especially types O negative, A negative and B negative.
To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
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Get CPR Certified for the Holidays

December 5, 2014

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During the holidays, one in four people will be in a situation where live saving skills such as CPR are required. Are you the one in four who is capable of administering CPR to save the life of a friend or family member?

CPR can save lives when administered properly and immediately to sudden cardiac arrest victims. The life you save with CPR is most likely to be someone you love or know. This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur.

During a cardiac emergency, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. Because of this, the Red Cross CPR Certifications are valid for only two years. So every two years, people who are CPR Certified must renew their certification.

To register for a class in your community, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcross.org/takeaclass.


Blood donations bring hope during the holidays

November 20, 2014

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The holiday season is a time for people to reflect on what makes them grateful. Family, friends and good health come to mind for many. However, countless patients strive for good health during the holidays, oftentimes in a hospital room, away from family and friends.

The American Red Cross asks eligible donors to make an appointment to give blood and bring hope to patients in need this holiday season. Holiday activities make it difficult for many regular donors to give blood during the holiday season, but patients still depend on lifesaving donations every day. All types are currently needed, especially O negative, A negative and B negative.

As a token of thanks from the Red Cross, presenting blood donors from Nov. 26 through Nov. 30 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross potholder stuffed with unique celebrity chef recipes, while supplies last. Thanksgiving recipes are courtesy of Mario Batali, Rocco DiSpirito, Alex Guarnaschelli and Mike Isabella.

Make an appointment to give something that means something this holiday season, by downloading the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


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