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Gas or Charcoal?

The Washington Post‘s Wonkblog recently covered Americans’ growing penchant for gas grills. But we’re sure some of you still love a good charcoal-fueled cookout.

Whatever your grilling style, the American Red Cross has tips to help keep you, your family and your home safe.

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

For gas grill devotees: Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.

Everyone:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
  • Wash one’s hands in hot soapy water before preparing food, after touching raw meat and after any interruptions such as using the bathroom, handling pets, stopping to do something with children.

Susan’s Story: How Donating Blood Saved Her Life

A blood donation is one of the greatest gifts that a person can give. It is a selfless act that can have a long-lasting impact on another person’s life.

Susan, a committed Red Cross blood donor, regularly donated blood to help save the lives of others. Following one of her routine blood donation appointments, she received a message from the Red Cross that would help save hers.

Susan’s Story:

Susan's Blood Donation Story

I came in and gave blood (like every 8-10 weeks). It seemed perfectly normal, and I felt perfectly normal. But, the day after my last donation, the Red Cross called me, and told me I should go to the doctor and have my blood tested. They told me that my white blood cell count was very high, and that it needed to be evaluated. I went to my family doctor, and then an oncologist/hematologist. They drew blood and finally drew bone marrow. I was diagnosed with Leukemia (CML) and this has been very difficult, but if the Red Cross hadn’t told me about my blood being abnormal, I would not have discovered this by myself. I had NO symptoms and it could have developed over a much longer period of time. I’ll never know how much of a difference that would have made, but I’m very grateful to have found it quickly, thanks to the Red Cross.

I won’t be able to give blood for a long time – if ever, but I have told this story to all of my students, colleagues, friends and family members. They all recognize how good it is to give blood – not only for victims who need blood, but for the blood donors themselves.

 

Visit RedCrossBlood.org to learn more about the blood donation process and to find a blood donation center near you.

Spend Some Summer R&R with the Red Cross

Summer vacation may sound relaxing, but between packing for your trip to the beach and organizing barbecues, some of us might need a break from our summer break.

What’s the solution? It’s as simple as choosing your day. Make an appointment, kick back in a comfy chair, roll up a sleeve and donate blood. It’s a great activity (sunnies and beach towel optional) to add to your summer plans. The entire process takes about an hour; the actual blood donation takes about eight to 10 minutes. It’s perfect to fit in some much needed R&R (rest and relaxation)!

Giving blood isn’t just an appointment. It’s an activity that helps saves lives, which can easily fit before heading to the pool or grabbing ice cream. In fact, all eligible donors are encouraged to make and keep donation appointments to help maintain the summer blood supply and prevent a shortage.

Get an idea of what we mean with a peek at two Red Crossers giving blood in full summer regalia.

Reporting for Duty: A Retired Army Colonel at the Red Cross

Col Ben old photo

In October of 2010, Retired Colonel Benjamin F. Robinson retired from a second career in civil service. The following week, Robinson walked through the front doors of the American Red Cross and said he was ready to volunteer. No time for relaxing – he had work to do.

“There was no way I could sit at home and watch As the World Turns. I always said if I had the opportunity to pay back the Red Cross, I would,” Robinson said.

col ben closeup

For four years now, Robinson has been volunteering three days a week with the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, answering those very calls. While he describes it as an intense learning program, he is intrigued by the daily efforts of the surrounding staff and volunteers.

Read the details of how Col. Ben first encountered the Red Cross during his mother’s illness, how he worked with the Red Cross during his time in Vietnam and more with the full scoop on redcross.org.

Group (2)

I Think The Onion Has a Crush On Us…

I’m a huge fan of The Onion – it’s a great place to get some fake news and a giggle or two. However, I have recently noticed a growing trend of Red Cross specific articles…

Allow me to present the following evidence showing that The Onion may in fact, have a not-so-secret crush on the Red Cross:

1) STUDY: Nearly Half of Americans Can’t Swim

The article was based on the results from our Swimming Survey

swim

2) Then they published an article about Beach Safety Tips

Curious, we think they must have LOVED reading our own beach safety tips and decided to add a few of their own? Or maybe they were inspired by our aquatics program founder, Commodore Longfellow – aka “The Amiable Whale” (we’re sure inspired by this guy!).

longfellow

3) Apparently the best Lifeguards out there are named Blake and Kayla


Nation’s Blakes Cruise Easily Through Lifeguard Tryouts

Now, their latest piece of Red Cross love – that is actually a good reminder that we should all give blood during the summer.

700

So thank you, The Onion, we love you right back – even though your love for us is a little weird.

Capturing the Hearts of American Teens with International Humanitarian Law

I think I may be turning into an IHL nerd (Does that exist? Like a band nerd?). I just got an e-book copy of the Geneva conventions.

Soren, IHL Action Campaign Participant and New Roots Charter School Student via Facebook

In a world of ever-decreasing attention spans and instant connectivity, it takes something special to capture the hearts and minds of American teenagers and young adults. But getting them captivated about international humanitarian law? For three whole days? That’s really special.

Launched in 2013 by the American Red Cross, the IHL Action Campaign gets young people (ages 14–24) to learn about international humanitarian law by creating peer education campaigns to raise awareness about the rules of war. Focusing on the topics of child soldiers and international justice, this year’s campaign saw 26 teams of high school and college students—supported by eight different Red Cross Chapters—participate in the program. The top six teams went on to Washington, D.C. for the IHL Youth Leadership Summit where students presented their projects, developed their leadership skills, and increased their knowledge about international issues related to IHL.

Here’s just a few things that the students said after a whirlwind three-day experience that included simulation activities, panel discussions, and a powerful keynote by South Sudanese refugee, Deng Abiel.

“From thought provoking questions on gender, to the wonderful Deng Abiel discussing his life as a resettled refugee in the United States, to the panel on refugee organizations, the guest speakers reminded us all why we are here. We are active in IHL for our communities, the communities far away from us, and most importantly, humanity. Humanity is a very abstract word, and yet, this is such a great medium to be able to remind us and others that in spite of our differences, we are all human, and deserve identity, dignity, and security.”

-Joshua, Bradley University, Central Illinois Regional Chapter

Watch the video about Bradley University’s campaign here.

“I learned that there are so many ways to communicate an idea to people, and affect them in such a way that they are interested in learning more and finding a way to be active for a particular cause…The goal for all of these incredible campaigns is to not only make a difference, but to get other people to care and want to do something too. It is awesome to be able to get more people in the Orange County, CA community involved and interested in topics that are important to reflect upon.“

-Daniella, Oxford Academy, Orange County Chapter

How Do You Prepare for Hurricanes…in Haiti?

You might know how to prepare for a hurricane in the United States, but have you ever wondered how countries like Haiti prepare?

The 2014 hurricane season is here, and with the help of the American Red Cross, Haitians are cleaning ravines to prevent flooding, discussing evacuation routes, and testing their storm sirens.

The people in the neighborhood of Carrefour Feuilles help give a glimpse into the preparation details.Haiti hurricane flag

Joel Wilson Raphael, a resident of Carrefour Feuilles, was trained by the Red Cross to warn his neighbors about incoming weather. Using flags and sirens provided by the Red Cross, Joel and other volunteers take charge of sounding the alarms – which lets people know when severe weather is on the way.

Discover more unique preparations in Carrefour Feuilles on redcross.org.

A Unique Piece of History: Clara Barton’s Trunk Bed

Clara Barton’s inspiration for starting the America Red Cross was cultivated while caring for the sick and wounded on Civil War battlefields. As a unique artifact from her time behind the lines goes on display, it’s a great reminder to appreciate stories told through any medium – whether it’s on paper, through a photograph or even a foldaway bed.

Bed unfolded sideways

WHY THIS BED? Barton was determined to carry out the work she saw as necessary to help get supplies and medical care to the Civil War battlefields – so determined that she convinced the government and the Army to give her passes to go behind military lines.

According to Red Cross records, Barton’s situation led to an order to a firm in Philadelphia for a trunk bed, to be acquired by Barton for her use in battlefield relief.

CONSTRUCTION AND HISTORY Also called a camp bed, the piece is constructed to fold into a traveling trunk, complete with a wooden frame and tooled leather. To use the bed, Barton would have opened up the trunk into three sections – hinged on the short sides of the trunk as it opens – to reveal heavy canvas attached to the frame with nails.

Through conservation work on the bed in 2004, a sealed compartment was accessed to reveal slender poles that attached to the bed, and bright blue mosquito netting used as a canopy for additional protection.

sideview bed bluenetting

 

THE MOVE While Barton was not a trained nurse, she provided medical care for the wounded during the Civil War. Therefore, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland is a fitting location to display the bed in one of their galleries as part of a loan agreement with the Red Cross. This is the same museum that manages the Office for Missing Soldiers, an effort Barton started and ran out of the third floor of a building in Washington, D.C. after the Civil War ended.

  • Read more about Barton’s story and the bed on redcross.org.
  • Watch the move from the Red Cross to the museum on the Red Cross YouTube channel.
  • Stay tuned to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to find out when the bed goes on display.

 

Fourth of July Throwback: Service to the Armed Forces

This Fourth of July, we remember and commemorate all of the service members who sacrificed their comfort and freedom in order to serve our country. The American Red Cross has been a vital part of this story for more than 130 years – providing comfort and care for the wounded, ill and injured, but also ensuring military families stay connected during times of emergency.

Find out more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) today, and see the full slideshow of photos from SAF activities then and now on redcross.org.

Here’s a sneak peek:

line for food

WWI. France. Helen Parker of Washington, DC and Helen Ruff of St. Paul, MN are the Red Cross Recreation workers.

hospital

1917. Haute Marne, France. General view of Ward 1, Base Hospital No. 52, shows Capt. Frank Bird, dressing patient, nurses Miss L. Rodskapp, Miss Margaret Dell, and Miss Ruth Edmunds.

shuffleboard

November 1969. Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. “Airman 1st Class Ronald Ness, 507 Brookside Avenue, North Augusta, South Carolina, tries his hand at shuffleboard in Red Cross recreation room at the Tuy Hoa Air Force Base.

Rec Hut replacement

American Red Cross Recreation Hut near Paris.

looking at bombers

1944. Italy. With the US Army Air Forces. Their eyes are turned upward as they watch returning bombers circle the landing field.

One World [Cup], One Red Cross

2014 One World Soccer0025

The FIFA World Cup took the world by storm, and the American Red Cross scored great stories, videos and resources to fuel your soccer appetite.

The Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter has a distinction within the American Red Cross – they have had the most Restoring Family Links (RFL) cases of any chapter across the country for the past two years. To help serve their community in a unique way, the chapter’s international services department reached out to the Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship (IASPF).

The collaboration resulted in the Red Cross supporting a local soccer tournament hosted by IASPF, now in its second year. The tournament stretched over three weekends and had participants from refugee communities from: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Iraq and Somalia.

The Red Cross was on-site providing snacks and water for the players, leading family disaster preparedness activities for spectators and distributing information about how the American Red Cross helps reconnect families separated by conflict and disaster.

See the album on Flickr.

2014 One World Soccer0047

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other soccer-related Red Cross news, a World Cup Pinterest board was created to highlight to the competing teams and their associated Red Cross or Red Crescent society.

And don’t miss a couple terrific videos from our Richmond chapter on YouTube: