Friday, October 31, 2014

It's that time of year again...time to change our clocks.

By Lisa Price Waltman/American Red Cross

Years ago, for some reason my young son had replaced the phrase “Daylight Savings Time” with “Daily Savings Time” and in our home, it has remained just that.  When I thought about his unintentionally jumbled words I realized he actually had a great point.  Are we really “saving” daylight when we’re just moving the hands or the numbers around on a clock?  But because of a ritual we have in my home, we just might be saving something else, daily.

Setting our clocks back one hour on Saturday night (November 1) for the change that will occur at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is part of all of our fall back/spring forward routines of daylight savings time.  But in my home, when the times on the clocks fall back the batteries in my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are reduced as well…reduced to being recycled properly and replaced. 

It may sound like a waste of batteries and certainly replacing them prematurely is a little cost that might not need to be incurred if they were left to run out their little battery lives in the comfort of the detectors.  But saving lives are what smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all about and the small cost of replacing batteries to ensure they are empowered to do their jobs seems minimal when you consider their mammoth responsibilities.

Easy enough, right?  You reset the clock on the stove, the microwave, the timer on the thermostat (don‘t forget to swap out the dust-laden filter on the furnace while you‘re at it), maybe even tackle the always-blinking clocks on your cable devices.  And because of you’re newly adopted routine, you also climb up your little step ladder and check your batteries in your detectors.  Piece of cake….unless you are physically unable to do so.  What about your wonderful senior citizen neighbor Bob whom you know utilizes the help of another wonderful neighbor boy who for a few bucks, cuts Bob’s grass all summer?  Maybe, just maybe Bob might welcome the help of checking those detector batteries while you offer to stop in to change his clocks all the while being the hero who will wrestle with the computerized technology that are most clocks today.  Honestly, while I can scale a ladder like no one’s business, I still have to call my adult sons and ask them how in the heck I reset the clock on the high-tech stove that does everything but wash the dishes. 

So this Saturday when you’re moving around the numbers on the clocks and climbing up step ladders for battery checks, consider scooting down the block and offering to do the same for Bob or Betty who may not have the ability to do so and perhaps have not done so in years.  We know we cannot really save daylight but a casual visit with your neighbor just might be the visit that could be a daily savings of a life. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peyton's Record-Breaking Passing Pays it Forward

by Patricia Billinger
When Denver Broncos fans gleefully celebrated Peyton Manning's feat surpassing the all-time career passing touchdown record on Sunday, the folks here at the American Red Cross in Denver did an extra celebration dance.

We knew the historic moment not only was worthy of celebration in its own right, but also boded well for the thousands of families who turn to the Colorado Red Cross every year for help after disaster upends their lives.

As expected, the historic achievement -- and Manning's overall stellar performance -- earned him the fans' vote as the FedEx Air Player of the Week. And that, in turn, means that FedEx will be donating another $2,000 to the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter to support disaster relief right here in Denver.
Courtesy of

This is the second time this month that Manning has earned the honor (he also was nominated and won Air Player of the Week for his Oct. 5 performance ),  bringing the total donated by FedEx to our community thus far to $4,000. What can $4,000 do for Colorado families affected by disasters?

To give you an idea, with $1,000 the Red Cross can:
  • Provide 500 snacks for hungry residents and first responders
  • Serve 100 hot meals at shelters or delivered in disaster-affected communities
  • Provide food and shelter to 5 families for a day in a shelter
  • Or Supply 200 blankets that evacuees use to keep warm or pad their cot at a shelter. 
 Manning led the Broncos to another solid win last night. If he continues this solid performance -- one that already has some dubbing him the best quarterback of all time -- Manning will be a top contender for the FedEx Player of the Year. If he earns that honor, our generous supporters at FedEx will donate $25,000 to support disaster relief in Denver.

That's a huge reason to cheer -- and a reason to say "thank you, Peyton, for being the best." Every forward pass he completes potentially pays it forward to local residents who've lost everything to disaster.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Volunteers visit homes in Fort Collins most at risk for home fire losses

By Melody Storgaard
On October 18, volunteers from the American Red Cross, Poudre Fire Authority and Hope Worldwide went door-to-door in a Fort Collins neighborhood surrounding Putnam Elementary School in an effort to save lives. The group of volunteers were targeting 139 homes that were selected due to higher risk of loss caused by home fires. Their goal: to provide education and resources to help prevent those home fires in the first place and save lives and reduce property loss in the event of a fire.

The effort is part of a new, nationwide campaign by the American Red Cross to achieve a 25% decrease in fatalities caused by home fires. In Colorado, volunteers are going door-to-door in the highest-risk neighborhoods, asking to test smoke alarms, providing replacement batteries, installing smoke alarms and providing safety tips and preventative information.

Before heading out for the day, the Fort Collins volunteers got a brief training detailing the campaign’s procedures, specifics about smoke alarms being used that day, and important information about the carbon monoxide detectors that Poudre Fire Authority was providing. Everyone gathered their supplies and off they went into the neighborhood to go door-to-door.

When homeowners welcomed the volunteers into their home, the volunteers tested the fire alarms and checked that they had been correctly placed in the homes. When needed, the volunteers replaced batteries or the entire smoke alarm. They also talked to homeowners about being prepared for home fires -- covering the importance of having an escape plan, communication plan, and a meet-up point.

 In one of the homes visited on Saturday, volunteers found that the home had smoke alarms, but the alarms were not working. The volunteers removed the “old” alarms and replaced them with new ones, then tested the new alarms to make sure they worked. The volunteers noticed that the date on one of the non-functioning alarms was 2014!

Yes, you read that right! The smoke alarm had been installed this year. The alarm was not working even though it had been recently installed.

“This is a good example of why you need to always test smoke alarms,” said Susan Ferrari from Poudre Fire Authority. “You never know when one has a problem.”

The Red Cross recommends testing your smoke alarms once a month by pressing the “test” button. If you can’t reach the button, try using the end of a broom stick. Having smoke alarms and knowing that they work could save your life – in fact, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms, according to The National Fire Protection Association.

The outreach campaign reached more than just the homes near Putnam Elementary – as they delivered messaging and supplies during the campaign, the volunteers found themselves talking about the smoke alarms in their own homes. They discussed when (and sometimes if) their own smoke alarms had been checked – and then started to make plans to replace the batteries or update the alarms in their own homes.

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign launched on Oct. 11 and will continue over the next five years as the Red Cross and its partners reach out to communities all over Colorado, including additional neighborhoods in Northern Colorado.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Western Colorado Volunteers Train to Serve Community through Red Cross

Instructors teach the fundamentals of Disaster Assessment at the
Disaster Academy  in Grand Junction learn about Disaster 
 The American Red Cross is always looking for dedicated volunteers to help carry out their mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. Once enrolled a new volunteer needs to be trained so that they can respond when called. Training and recruitment are ongoing efforts at every Red Cross chapter.

In western Colorado those two efforts came together when they held Disaster Academy - 2014 in Grand Junction. During the weekend of Oct. 10-12 volunteers, both old and new, came together to learn how they can play a stronger role in the Red Cross mission. 

Each day was filled with instructor led classes covering many different topics. Friday featured classes about shelter operations,  supervision and  public affairs. Saturday was a full day of workshops on topics like, Disaster Action Team,  client casework, logistics and disaster assessment. Volunteers learned how the Red Cross is structured during a disaster response and how we collaborate with our community partners.

Instructor Bill Fortune presents the Intro to Public Affairs
at the 2014 Disaster Academy
Sunday, the final day, was packed with knowledge featuring classes such as psychological first aid, First Aid/CPR and training for our Red Cross nurses to better understand how they will participate in a disaster response.

This was the second Disaster Academy held in Grand Junction. The first was roughly a year ago and many of the attendees at this year's academy were there as the experienced volunteers helping to train the "newbies". 

First Aid/CPR class was offered at the Western Colorado
 Disaster Academy  to ensure that our volunteers  are
skilled and ready to respond
Thirty volunteers attended the 2014 Academy in Grand Junction. There were 11 different courses taught with a total of 40 hours of instruction.

Many of the attendees were brand new volunteers and all were excited about learning new skills and meeting new people. "These training academies truly help build the capacity of the Red Cross to respond to emergencies," said Eric Meyers, Executive Director for the Western Colorado Chapter. "The three days provided an opportunity for both new and veteran volunteers to gain the skills and training they need to be Red Cross volunteers."