Top 4th of July Safety Tips for Travel, Grilling, and Fireworks

July 1, 2015

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This Fourth of July, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill, or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend. Millions of people will be on the highways over the fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers 5 tips to stay safe while traveling

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limitsImage result for red cross cars
  2. Do not drink and drive
  3. Pay full attention to the road–Avoid cell phone usage
  4. Use caution in work zones
  5. Clean the vehicles lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night

The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are 5 safety tips for people setting of fireworks at home

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud”
  5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammables Image result for red cross fireworks


Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. In order to remain safe while cooking up treats for the backyard barbecue always supervise a grill when in use, never grill indoors or any enclosed area, ensure that everyone, including pets stay away from the grill, keep the grill out in the open away from anything that could catch fire, and use long-handled tools made especially for grilling to keep the chef safe.


“Everyone looks forward to having fun over the fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday”

– Jennifer Franklin, Regional Communications Officer, Western North Carolina Region

Our Objective in all of our Humanitarian Work is to Alleviate Suffering of Those in Need

June 8, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of the American public, almost five and a half years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the          m7640078_HaitiChildrenAmerican Red Cross continues to make a difference in the lives of millions of Haitians who desperately needed help and humanitarian assistance.

With the fund, the American Red Cross has helped build and operate eight hospitals and clinics, stem a deadly cholera outbreak, provide clean water and sanitation, and move more than 100,000 people out of make-shift tents into safe and improved housing. When land was not available for new homes, the Red Cross provided a range of housing solutions including rental subsidies, repairs and retrofitting of existing structures, fulfilling our promise to ensure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. We also built and repaired schools, roadways and water distribution points vital to neighborhoods.

Despite the most challenging conditions, including changes in government, lack of land for housing, and civil unrest, our hardworking staff—90 percent of whom are Haitians—continue to work to meet the long-term needs of the Haitian people. While the pace of progress is never as fast as we would like, Haiti is better off today than it was five years ago.

The Red Cross is disappointed to see our work has been misrepresented in some media so please learn the facts about our recovery program in Haiti and to hear from those we have helped and continue to help, please visit We have also published 13 Facts about the Red Cross Response in Haiti which directly addresses the numerous inaccuracies in recent  media reports.

While the Red Cross has fulfilled our promise to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. There is still much         to do.

For 134 years, the American Red Cross has been there to help people in need; and we will still be there for the next disaster or emergency to help people here in the communities we serve and in other areas around the world.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Red Cross of the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina and the American Red Cross.


Angela A. Broome

Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region


Veteran of Red Cross volunteerism heads to Houston for flood relief

May 28, 2015


Annie Bynum has witnessed the ruin left by numerous natural disasters over 17 years as a Red Cross relief worker.
Yet one thing that never changes is the look on the faces of people who have lost everything they own, and very often people they love.
“I’ve seen so much,” said Bynum, who on Wednesday flew to Houston to aid flood relief efforts there. “Any time I leave home, it doesn’t matter where the devastation or the tragedy is. It’s all the same.”
Her understanding of that despondency is what keeps her going every time a crisis occurs.
“I enjoy what I do in helping people,” she said. “It’s about getting out and doing what I can to put a smile on a person’s face who has lost practically everything they’ve worked for their entire lives, or even lost a family member.”
As of Wednesday, massive flooding in Texas and Oklahoma had resulted in 19 deaths and 10 people going missing. Rivers and streams spilling over their banks have damaged more than 4,000 properties and left 2,500 vehicles abandoned in the Houston area alone.
Bynum, a 68-year-old, retired Gastonia native, was still working at WIX Filters when she joined the Red Cross as a volunteer in 1998. She made her first trip as a relief worker to Puerto Rico that same year, after Hurricane Georges caused massive destruction there.
She’s since built a veritable resume of missions, traveling to eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd in 1999; New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005; New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012; and most recently Washington state after a massive mudslide there.
She’s been to countless flood and tornado disaster scenes in Oklahoma and Texas. And helping victims in New York City after 9-11 also sticks out in her mind.
“Absolutely devastating assignments,” she said.
Bynum has handled every aspect of disaster relief in her volunteer career. In Houston, she’ll be in charge of purchasing supplies for the Red Cross that can be distributed to people in need. She’ll also likely help with the logistics of managing a supply warehouse, helping to catalog truckloads of donated goods that come in from around the country.
Bynum’s two daughters and six grandchildren, who all live in the Charlotte area, have become accustomed to her leaving for long periods of time as a Red Cross volunteer. She was gone six months during Hurricane Katrina. She’ll likely be in Houston for several weeks.
“You’ve got to be at one of these assignments to see what it really is like, with the devastation, and the sadness and sorrow of the people,” she said.
Being a “people person,” and knowing that she’s helping others to bounce back, give her the strength to keep going.
“I enjoy the thought of doing something that’s making a difference for somebody else,” she said. “It’s good for the soul.”

Nepal: New Earthquake Hits Communities Struggling to Recover

May 16, 2015

Gail McGovern and the crew trek along to see destroyed houses along the remote hills near Dunche with Red Cross staff. Photo by Paula Bronstein/American Red Cross

Gail McGovern and the crew trek along to see destroyed houses along the remote hills near Dunche with Red Cross staff. Photo by Paula Bronstein/American Red Cross

More people will now be in need of emergency shelter…
Red Cross teams in Nepal are on high alert following today’s 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck near the town of Namche Bazaar, near the base of Mount Everest. Initial reports indicate that hundreds of homes have collapsed, many of which were already damaged by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country on April 25.
American Red Cross President & CEO, Gail McGovern, has just returned from her trip to the small Himalayan country where shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, health care and food remain priorities.
All American Red Cross staff in Nepal have been accounted for. American Red Cross team members deployed to the region in the wake of the April quake have been supporting emergency relief, cash transfer programming, information management, recovery planning and IT/telecoms. More than 80 international and local Red Cross workers based out of the Nepal Red Cross headquarters in Kathmandu, rapidly evacuated the compound when the earthquake struck and now face a night sleeping in a recently erected temporary warehouse until the aftershocks subside.
The Norwegian Red Cross rapid deployment hospital based in the town of Chautara, has seen a steady influx of injured people throughout the day and the support team working at the hospital are helping to set up a camp outside to provide shelter for local villagers, many of whom are too scared to return to their homes or have lost their homes altogether.
The Red Cross’s Maude Froberg was en route to the town of Tatopani close to the Tibetan border. Her convoy was forced to turn back to Kathmandu after worrying reports of landslides in the area.
“We were high up in the mountains. It was quite terrifying as there were about ten aftershocks and we felt that there could be a landslide at any moment,” she said. “Over the course of the afternoon we saw a lot of vehicles heading out of Tatopani towards Kathmandu.”
At the Canadian Red Cross basic health care unit located high up in the mountains in Dhunche, the team witnessed a dramatic landslide when a nearby hillside collapsed into the valley below. View a short video of the rock slide on YouTube –
“The combination of rains and aftershocks now makes our job even more challenging as the roads become highly perilous,” explains Martin Faller, head of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Asia Pacific. “Today’s earthquake has dealt a double blow to many of the same people who were hit by the 25 April quake. More people will now be in need of emergency shelter but they will also need support dealing with the trauma they have experienced. People are very scared.”
Reports coming in also indicate that there has been damage to areas in the Kathmandu Valley. The Nepal Red Cross has mobilized emergency first aid teams and are providing services to the injured including teams dispatched to Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, where ambulances are transporting the injured to hospitals.
Thus far, the American Red Cross has committed $5 million to help the people of Nepal recover from the devastating earthquake and aftershocks. In addition to the deployment of disaster specialists, the American Red Cross is contributing relief supplies such as jerry cans, tarps and kitchen sets, and is providing remote mapping and information management support, with nearly 4,500 volunteers contributing to mapping Nepal.
Tags:Nepal Earthquake.

Asheville-Mountain Area Wildfire Reponse

April 3, 2015

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 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


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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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