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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Disaster. A Reason to Smile?

There is one thing disasters have in common with the American Red Cross: when it comes to impartiality, there is no doubt, both a disaster and our humanitarian response to it are equal. By our definition, impartiality is to "make no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions."
  
While a disaster shows no discrimination in inflicting suffering, loss, and chaos, the American Red Cross "endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress." 

Just as disaster isn't partial to who it affects, it also knows no holiday and will strike at any time, day or night; in this case, on Father's Day, as families were gathering to celebrate and enjoy their day together. On the afternoon of June 18, 2017 in Lakewood CO, 88 people were displaced by a roof collapse at Maplewood Village Apartment Complex.

 Working with the apartment complex property owner, Red Cross helped secure short term accommodations with a local Motel6 from June 19 through June 26. Red Cross and partner agencies, such as The Salvation Army, LDS Church, and Jimmy Johns, worked together throughout that time to provide meals and snacks each day while the families were sheltering at the local motel. "Jimmy Johns was a real treat," said Jael, who wanted to be sure were given a big thanks for being such great community partners. 

Additionally, Red Cross gave direct financial assistance to meet the immediate needs of  and provided for emotional and medical support to those who needed it. The property owner of the apartment complex had provided the motel rooms through the morning of June 26, while working diligently with contractors and city officials to determine next steps for the repairs of the two buildings. 


Unfortunately, the news was not what he had hoped for, and on Monday morning the residents were still unable to return to either of the buildings at the apartment complex. Volunteers were "Red Cross Ready" and a short-term shelter was opened for those who still had no place identified for long term housing. The shelter opened from Monday, June 26 to Friday, June 30 through a partnership with JeffCo School District. 

As part of the support and recovery process, St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church and American Red Cross hosted a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  The MARC brought together different agencies for clients to gather more information about housing, food, clothing, household goods, economic development, job opportunities, early childhood education, and provided customized resource information for each client through individual casework.  Translation services were provided by volunteers from St. Bernadette’s and the LDS Church. The agencies that participated in this one day event were: Jefferson County Human Services, Jefferson County Housing Authority, Father Woody’s, Mi Casa, Mile High United Way (211), City of Lakewood Family Services (ECE/HS), JeffCo Action Center and the American Red Cross. What a great example of how partners and the community all came together to give help and hope. We really are #BetterTogether
The MARC served 12 families, 45 people total, which is more than half the total number of residents who were displaced by this non-traditional disaster.

Moving forward, Red Cross caseworkers will continue to provide support to these families by doing follow up work to ensure individuals have a clear path to recovery. Housing continues to be the highest unmet need with concerns about storage being second, though many of the residents have secured housing and are already on the road to recovery.



The past few weeks have been filled with many challenges for the families who lost their homes on this Father's Day Disaster. Their lives have forever been changed, though they will move forward to embrace what will become their "new normal."


In this work, I meet people who inspire me. People who remind me our situations can truly make us bitter, or make us better; that our attitude is the only thing we can control through all the ups and downs of life. One of these inspiring people is Jael, who has been a true ambassador for her community through this entire disaster. When nobody knew who to call or where to turn for help, she remembered her mom telling her how the Red Cross had helped one of her family members years ago. She took action to help her neighbors and her family. As we sat and talked one afternoon at the motel, she said to me, "We're just taking one day at a time right now, but this week has given me an opportunity to really look at what the future could be for me and my husband and our little girl. Maybe a change is what we needed." 

Roy T. Bennett once said,  "Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people." It is the mission of the American Red Cross, while alleviating human suffering, to be the reason someone smiles. It is our hope that the generosity of donors and the power of volunteers will be the reason Jael and Samantha feel loved and believe in the goodness of people. 

*UPDATE 6/30/2017: Jael contacted Red Cross today to let us know that she and her husband and Samantha had been approved for a new apartment. They are very excited and thankful for all the help to get them started in this new place, moving in this new direction. 

Story and photos by: Nigel Holderby, Director of Communication American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming 
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossDenver 


Sending Volunteers To Help with Arizona Fires



Disaster Workers Deploying to Support Wildfire Response
Workers will bring help and hope to those recovering from devastating wildfires

Denver, Thursday, June 29, 2017 - The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming is sending disaster volunteers to help with the wildfires currently in Arizona and New Mexico.

Terri Faulkner, a volunteer from Greeley, CO with the Red Cross of Northern Colorado will travel to Arizona to be a shelter worker. As such she will work closely with people that have evacuated from the wildfire south of Prescott, AZ. This will be her first deployment to a large-scale disaster outside of Colorado.

Sylvia Raumaker, a volunteer from Jackson, WY with the Red Cross of Wyoming, will travel to Arizona to serve as a shelter supervisor for the shelters near Prescott, AZ. As such she will supervise shelter operations to ensure high quality service delivery for those in the shelters. This will be the ninth deployment for Sylvia.

To see the latest news about how you can help the Red Cross help the hundreds of people that have lost everything due to the wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico visit www.redcross.org.



Lightner Creek Fire Response

Update: Saturday, July 1, 2017, 8:30 PM -  As the needs of the Durango community in relation to the Lightner Creek Fire diminish, and evacuations have been lifted, residents have been advised by county officials of their ability to return home. Notification messages to residents began this evening at 6:00 pm as part of the county communication plan. Residents will return to their neighborhood in two waves, with the final re-entry being at 8:00 AM on Sunday, July 2. 
 
In coordination with La Plata County partners, the Red Cross shelter at Escalante Middle School in Durango will remain open until 10:00 am on Sunday July 2, 2017. Breakfast will be served to those who are waiting for the 8:00 AM re-entry. 

For the latest fire information see: http://durangogov.org

*Total Red Cross Support Statistics for this operation will be updated on Monday July 3, 2017.
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Update: Saturday, July 1, 2017, 10 AM - The Red Cross shelter remains open at the Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane, Durango, CO. Overnight there were 15 people residing in the shelter with a few people staying outside in campers.

Durango residents attend community meeting Friday evening
Photo by Gayle Dixon/American Red Cross
Progress was made on the fire bringing it 29% containment as of Friday evening, June 30. Some residents have been able to return to their homes while others remain on evacuation orders.

Red Cross support statistics -
Number of overnight stays since the shelter was opened - 31 through Friday with another 15 overnight.
Total meals provided - 254
Snacks provided - 628
Comfort/Hygiene kits provided - 177
Number of volunteers and staff supporting the community (including virtual support) - 20


The Red Cross continues to man the shelter with trained volunteers in an effort to provide comfort
Volunteer Janet Neil works at the hygiens supplies table.
Photo by Gayle Dixon/American Red Cross
and support. The shelter will remain open as needed to support the Durango community.

How can you help?
Please do not bring donations to the Red Cross shelter. There is currently ample supplies available to support those people impacted. If there is a need for additional supplies we will broadcast that information on traditional and social media.

Volunteer Clay Weathers holds a case of water. and shows
that there are plenty of supplies on hand. Photo by
Gayle Dixon/American Red Cross
The best way to help is to donate financially to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. A donation to Disaster Relief allows the Red Cross to respond quickly to disasters, big and small. To donate to the Red Cross go

to redcross.org and click on Donate. You can also call 1-800-RedCross and you can text the word redcross to 90999 and a $10 donation will be billed to your mobile phone bill.













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Update: Friday, June 30, 2017, 10 AM - The Red Cross shelter remains open at the Escalante Middle School in Durango. Overnight there were 12 people residing in the shelter with a few people staying outside in campers.

The Red Cross continues to man the shelter with trained volunteers in an effort to provide comfort and support. The shelter will remain open as needed to support the Durango community.

How can you help?
Please do not bring donations to the Red Cross shelter. There is currently ample supplies available to support those people impacted. If there is a need for additional supplies we will broadcast that information on traditional and social media.

The best way to help is to donate financially to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. A donation to Disaster Relief allows the Red Cross to respond quickly to disasters, big and small. To donate to the Red Cross go to redcross.org and click on Donate. You can also call 1-800-RedCross and you can text the word redcross to 90999 and a $10 donation will be billed to your mobile phone bill.

For more information about the fire and community support visit:

 http://durangogov.org/LightnerCreekFire  and follow the sites listed below.

#LightnerCreekFire

STAY SAFE – STAY INFORMED
Please stay updated on fire information and related community issues and resources by following the
social media links below:
Durango Fire & Rescue Facebook and Twitter
City of Durango Facebook page and Twitter
La Plata County Facebook page and Twitter
San Juan Basin Health Department press release for more information, and Facebook and Twitter

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Durango, CO, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 2 PM - The Red Cross has opened a shelter for those people evacuated due to the Lightner Creek Wildfire near Durango, CO.

The shelter was originally opened at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Wednesday evening. At noon on Thursday, the shelter was moved to the Escalante Middle School located at 141 Baker Lane, Durango, CO. The shelter will remain open for as long as the need continues.

La Plata County Fairgrounds will continue to be used but to house the firefighters and the Incident Command Team.

People with pets will need to take them to the La Plata Fairgrounds for temporary housing that is provided by the La Plata County Humane Society,

HOW YOU CAN HELP
The easiest and best way to help at this time is to make a financial donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can do that by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, going on line to RedCross.org or by texting the word redcross to 90999. The text will generate a $10 donation that will show up on your phone bill.

IN-KIND DONATIONS
Please do not bring donations to the shelter at the Escalante Middle School. At this time we have sufficient supplies to take care of those people in our shelter and to take care of the fire fighters. Should the need arise for donated items that information will be broadcast through social media and traditional media.

WILDFIRE INFORMATION
Information about the progress of the fire and evacuation requirements are available from the Durango community hotline at 970-385-8700 and at the La Plata County Facebook page at facebook.com/LaPlataCo. Follow the Red Cross on Twitter using @WCORedcross and follow La Plata County usinf @LaPlataCountyCO. 



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lightning Safety Information


By Bill Fortune

June 18 to 24 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week in Colorado. Working with the National Weather Service, we thought it would be helpful to provide some discussion about outdoor lightning risk reduction.

Being outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm. Each year, nearly all people in the United States injured or killed by lightning were involved in an outdoor activity. They were struck while working outside, were at or participating at an outdoor sporting event, or were boating or fishing. Other examples include people struck while they were hiking, mowing the lawn or simply going to or from their car. Quite a few were on their own property when they were struck.

Unfortunately, there is no place outside that is safe from lightning. 

The only safe place to be when lightning is occurring is either inside a substantial building, or an enclosed automobile. Here are some important things to remember before venturing outdoors:

  • An informed decision will help you avoid being in an area where lightning is expected to occur. Before heading out, get an updated forecast. 
  • Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, check National Weather Service web sites, go to your favorite broadcast or print media, or access your favorite weather apps on your cell phone for the latest forecast. 
  • In Colorado, it is important to remember that thunderstorms typically develop in the mountains after 11 am. So it is best to plan your climbing or hiking trip so that you are coming down the mountain by late morning. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, consider planning an alternate indoor activity or, if you still plan to be outside, make a plan which will allow you to quickly get to a safe shelter if a storm should develop. 
  • Once you are outside, keep up-to-date on the weather via your smart phone or portable NOAA weather radio receiver. Check for updated forecasts. Check if storms are near you by checking the latest radar imagery on your cell phone. There are now several smart phone apps you can purchase that show you real-time lightning activity in your area. 
  • Do not forget to simply look around you to make sure storms are not developing in your vicinity. 

Two outdoor lightning scenarios


  • Outside and shelter is nearby. If you are outside, such as a park, a lake, or an outdoor sporting event, know where the nearest safe location can be accessed.. A safe location is any substantial building (A substantial building is a structure which is fully enclosed and has electrical wiring and plumbing). Examples of substantial buildings include a business, a home, or a church. In addition, any enclosed hard-topped car or truck also offers excellent protection from a lightning strike. 
    • Once you hear thunder or see lightning, immediately stop what you are doing and quickly get to the safe shelter. Do not wait until the rain starts to seek safe shelter. 
    • Once inside a safe shelter, it is recommended you stay there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. Past history has shown that most people who were outdoors and were injured or killed by lightning had access to a nearby safe shelter. 
    • Do not wait to seek safe shelter when lightning threatens. 
    • When you hear thunder or see lightning, it is important for you, and your family, to act quickly. 
    • It is critically important to avoid shelters that are not safe from lightning, such as picnic shelters, bullpens, any type of tent, or any other small buildings that are open to the elements. 
    • NEVER...NEVER...get under a tree when a thunderstorm is nearby or overhead. 
    • It is important that all sports leagues and other outdoor groups have a lightning response plan that is understood and consistently applied for the safety of the participants. Part of the plan would include a designated weather watcher at each outdoor event with the authority to postpone or cancel the event due to the threat of lightning. It is also important that people know where to seek safe shelter if a storm should threaten. 
  • If no safe shelter is nearby. This situation typically occurs to people who are hiking or camping in the back country. Unfortunately, in this scenario, there is not much you can do to reduce your risk from being struck by lightning. 

    • The best thing to do is move away from tall isolated objects, such as trees. 
    • Stay away from wide open areas. 
    • Stay as low as possible with your feet close together if lightning is nearby. 
    • If you are with a group of people, spread out, that way if someone is struck by lightning, the others can offer first aid. 
    • If camping in the back country, place your tent in a low area away from tall isolated trees. 
Much of the material and the graphics for this article were provided by the National Weather Service. For more information about lightning safety visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov. For information about preparing for emergencies visit www.redcross.org. For detailed weather information anytime visit www.weather.gov.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Third Annual Sporting Clays Invitational

By Bill Fortune
The third annual Sporting Clays Invitational was held June 10, 2017 at the Peaceful Valley Scout
Getting ready to start at 2017 Shooting Clays Invitational.
Photo by David Hayden/American Red Cross
Ranch near Elbert Colorado. Participants were greeted with a warm spring day as they converged on the scout ranch to begin the day of sport shooting.

This is third event of this type and, as in the past, was focused on raising money for the American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces program. The event was coordinated by Tom Gonzalez, Executive Director for the Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. “This is a very important event for us and it serves a very worthwhile program, supporting our military, their families and veterans,” Gonzalez said. “We have a large military component in our territory who will benefit from the funds raised.”
Shooting action at the Shooting Clays Invitation. Photo by
RW Firth/American Red Cross
Teams from all around Colorado joined in for the competition that began early on with warm up games like Flurry, 5-stand and Crazy Quail. That was followed by an opening presentation and a safety briefing. The fun stared officially following the safety briefing as the teams proceeded to their assigned target.

The participants were all shooting enthusiasts and there was a sense of excitement and comradery as the targets were pulled and the shooting began. There were several shooting stations along the course that afforded challenges for all levels of enthusiast. 

The winning team from Eaton Steel Mfg in Pueblo
Photo by David Hayden/American Red Cross
This was the third annual Sporting Clays Invitational and since the event began more than $350,000 has been raised to support the work of the Services to Armed Forces program of the American Red Cross. To learn more about the Services to Armed Forces program, how it helps our service members, their families and veterans and how you can be part of this humanitarian movement, visit our web site at redcross.org.

If you would like to see more photos from the 2017 Sporting Clays Invitational visit our Flickr album.

Red Cross Opens Shelter for Residents of Maplewood Village Apartment



UPDATE --- Denver, Monday, June 19, 2017 - The shelter opened for the Maplewood Village Apartment Complex will close at 5:00 P.M., June 19, 2017. Accommodations have been made for all displaced residents. A full update will be provided at the apartment complex at 5:00 P.M. The Red Cross feeding vehicle will be on scene at that time to provide food water and snacks. 
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UPDATE ---- Denver, Monday, June 19, 2017 - On Sunday, June 18, residents of Maplewood Village Apartment Complex were provided information regarding sheltering for overnight to meet their emergency needs for food and shelter. There were three residents who took advantage of the shelter opportunity. At this time Red Cross has been in contact with our partners at the city of Lakewood Office of Emergency Management, as well as the property owner, to determine the best solution to meet long term needs of the residents who were displaced by the roof collapse. 

Red Cross will continue to work with the partners this afternoon to provide support. Outreach to displaced residents will be made by property management and Red Cross will be on scene at the Maplewood Village Apartment Complex at 5:00 pm this evening with our Mobile Feeding Unit to provide sandwiches, water and snacks. 
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Denver, Sunday, June 18, 2017 — On Sunday afternoon, American Red Cross was notified of a building collapse at the Maplewood Village Apartment Complex in Lakewood. Disaster Action Team members responded to the scene and met with residents to assess their immediate needs. There were more then 56 people in need of emergency assistance. Working with City officials, Red Cross has opened a shelter, located at the Green Mountain Recreation Center, 13198 W Green Mountain Dr. Lakewood CO 80227, for those residents who were displaced. 

A meeting was held with the members of the apartment complex, at the scene, where residents were advised the location of the shelter and resources they could expect, along with the opening time of the shelter being 10:30 pm. 

This facility will support the residents this evening with accommodations for food and rest overnight. People are being provided with blankets and comfort kits, which include hygiene items. Moving forward Red Cross will work with City and County officials, property management, and partners to determine the next steps for the residents.


Updates will be provided as the situation continues to unfold in the next 24 hours.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Red Cross Installing Free Smoke Alarms in Pueblo’s Saddleback Community



Pueblo, CO, 1:00 p.m., Friday, June 16, 2017 — Saturday, June 24, 2017, Red Cross volunteers, the Westlake Fire Department and other volunteers will be in the Saddleback community going door-to-door to install free smoke alarms.

Research shows that having working smoke alarms increases your chance of survival by 50 percent. Home
RC Volunteer Roger Ortiz places
a reminder on a home in the
Saddleback Community
fires occur in Colorado on the average three times each day. Most of those are single homes but, often they are multifamily homes. Recent home fires in Colorado have brought to our attention the importance of working smoke alarms in every home.

  • What: Free Smoke alarm installation
  • When: Saturday June 24, 2017- 9 AM- 1PM
  • Where: Saddleback Community, 5000 Red Creek Springs Rd, Pueblo, CO 81005
  • Point of Contact: Larry Cornett (719) 306-2925

“With more than 150 homes in the Saddleback Community, our goal is to install smoke alarms in every home,” said Larry Cornett, Disaster Program Specialist for American Red Cross in Pueblo. “However; we still need volunteers to help complete our goal.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to help install smoke alarms on June 24 should contact Larry Cornett at larry.cornett2@redcross.org or at (719) 306-2925.

The Home Fire Campaign is a nationwide program, that began in 2014, with goals of reducing fatalities caused by home fires by 25 percent. Across the nation we have installed over 840,000 smoke alarms; in Colorado, more than 10,000 have been installed since the beginning of the program.    


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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.