Thursday, July 31, 2014

Save a Life During National Preparedness Month in September

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross is celebrating “Save A Life September” in honor of 100 years of saving lives in Colorado. During the month-long campaign, we encourage individuals, organizations and businesses to take simple steps that could save a life.

In addition to Red Cross events like the Rocky Mountain Business Preparedness Academy on Sept. 30 and the Loveland Emergency Preparedness and Family Safety Expo on Sept. 6, there many other community-organized preparedness events and trainings you can attend - and most are FREE!

We are maintaining an "unofficial" calendar of all of these events in order to make it easy for you to get involved, get trained, get prepared...and potentially save a life. Click on the calendar arrow buttons to advance the calendar below to September, or visit the full-sized Google calendar page.

NOTE: This calendar is updated weekly based on our knowledge of upcoming events, and includes both Red Cross and non-Red Cross events. Although we strive to make this calendar as accurate and inclusive as possible, we are not responsible for the quality or outcome of non-Red Cross events. If you would like your preparedness event added to this calendar, or would like to notify us of an inaccuracy in this calendar, please e-mail the event date, time, location and URL/registration information to

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Partnership Provided Weather Radios in Time for Severe Weather

With flood watches in place across much of Colorado today, residents in a number of mountain communities hit hard by last September’s flooding are better prepared to receive emergency alerts that could save lives, thanks to 100 weather radios that the communities received recently.

Receiving alerts about threatening weather conditions is essential in rural mountain communities where electricity, landlines, and cell phones can be unreliable during disasters. Additionally, conditions can change quickly, so residents need to be able to tune in to information that will help them decide whether to evacuate, shelter in place, where to go – and when.

A special partnership of local residents and disaster response agencies has provided the resources that ensure access to this vital information.

In addition to recovering and rebuilding after last year’s devastating floods, strengthening community resilience and emergency preparedness has been a key priority for Boulder County’s mountain communities. Foothills United Way and the American Red Cross have been working closely with these mountain communities since the Fourmile Canyon fire of 2010 in order to help before, during and after disasters.

Foothills United Way’s Boulder Mountain Resources partners with the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the InterMountain Alliance, consisting of representatives from mountain communities, to determine the unique needs of mountain residents. Following the county’s OEM recommendation, the communities determined they needed to procure a large number of all-weather radios programmed to receive All-Hazard Notifications providing geographic, region specific, emergency information.

 In the spirit of collaboration, Midland Radio offered to provide 100 all-weather radios at a 50% discount and the American Red Cross contributed the remaining cost for the radios, utilizing funds donated to support flood-affected communities. The Midland Radios will enable the remote mountain communities to receive real-time alerts regarding weather, fire, flood, evacuation, etc. Timely warnings make the difference between life and death in disaster scenarios.

These radios were distributed in recent weeks to mountain community leaders directly engaged in emergency preparedness planning in Allenstown, Gold Hill, Fourmile Canyon, Jamestown, Lefthand Canyon, Lyons, Nederland, Raymond/Riverside, Salina and Ward.

Every family should have a 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit which includes a battery-powered all-weather radio and spare batteries. To learn more about building a kit to help you before, during, and after a disaster visit any of these helpful sites:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Red Cross Youth Honored as Youth Volunteer of the Quarter

Alicia Rendon is a vibrant 14-year-old with a passion for helping people. She is a Red Cross Youth volunteer working this summer at Fort Carson’s Evans Army Hospital just south of Colorado Springs, Colo. Alicia was recognized recently for her volunteer work and was selected as the Youth Volunteer of the Quarter.

L-R Maj Gen LaCamera, Alicia Rendon Therese LaCamera,
Sgt Maj Joyce at Fort Carson volunteer recognition ceremony
The recognition ceremony was held at the Fort Carson 4th Infantry Division Headquarters. Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera , Commander of the 4th ID, his wife Therese, and Sargent Major Richard Joyce made the presentation to Alicia in front of other volunteers and their families. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization,” Maj Gen LaCamera said. “We couldn’t do our job without them.”

As a volunteer at Evans Army Hospital, Alicia has gained skills and done things that even she hadn’t expected. “My biggest highlight this summer was to work in the Mountain Post Birthing Center,” Rendon said. “I got to witness the birth of a baby boy.” Her other duties included helping out at the reception desk, making patient charts, answering phones, running labs and setting up baby sensors. She also helped the nurses by picking up patient trays, setting up bassinets and stocking supplies.

Alicia Rendon (r) stands with her mother Wendy Rendon
before receiving her award as Youth Volunteer of the Quarter
Alicia plans to continue volunteering with the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Program at Evans Army Hospital. She hopes to pursue education and a career in the medical field. “My experience as a volunteer has allowed me to see what all was involved in a birthing center,” Rendon said. “I get to see the teamwork that is involved.”

According to Alicia, it is all about giving a “helping hand.” “It’s the little things that make a big difference even if you volunteer one day,” Rendon said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Red Cross Story: I Would Have Been Lost

Desire McGarvey was a military spouse whose husband had just deployed to Korea when his father died. With such a recent arrival overseas, her husband had not set up any means of communication and she had no way to reach him -- until she turned to the Red Cross. Find out what happened.

Share your Red Cross story at

My Red Cross Story: Grateful My Son Was Home to Offer His Strength

Thank You to The Red Cross and US Navy for making it possible for my son James Ian Bell attend his grandmother's funeral.

My mom (Jamie's grandma) passed away on June 25, 2014.

The American Red Cross's fast notification to the Newport RI US Navy Base Security Department where my son is stationed, made it possible for my son to be by his grandmother's side before she passed.

I'm very proud of my son. Jamie has always been very responsible and loving presence in our family. Having him with me during this sad time was a blessing for me. Jamie helped me in making funeral arrangements including picking out the most beautiful burial plot for his grandma. All of this perpetration had to be done in short order.

I don't think me and Jamie's sister's could have gotten through this if not for my son helping us and offering his strength. He stayed strong and focused for me and my family. Thank You So Much!!!

Many Thanks, MA2 Bell's Mom
Jackie Allmendinger

Monday, July 21, 2014

Red Cross of Colorado Sending Disaster Workers to Help with Washington Wildfire Response

 Monday, July 21, 2014 –

The American Red Cross in Colorado is responding to the devastating wildfires in eastern Washington that have forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Dana Goldsmith from the Pikes Peak Chapter will travel to Wenatchee, Wash., to provide support for Red Cross Staff Services. Goldsmith has been a Red Cross volunteer for 14 months. She began her volunteering with the Pikes Peak Chapter in June 2013 at the beginning of the Black Forest Fire response. “I know that the people in eastern Washington are suffering,” Goldsmith said. “Some of their volunteers helped us during the Black Forest Fire so I am excited that I will be able to help them get through this disaster.”

Les Orser from the Western Colorado Chapter in Grand Junction will travel to Wenatchee, Wash., to support the Disaster Mental Health team as they work with individuals and families during this difficult time. Orser has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2012. This will be his 11th disaster deployment one of which was the recent mudslide near Oso, Wash. He has served in a variety of capacities as a Red Cross volunteer and will bring a wealth of experience to the disaster response.

"Deploying to a disaster is never easy,” said Gino Greco, CEO for the Colorado & Wyoming Region. “We are proud that our volunteers have stepped up to help.”

Typical disaster deployment is 14 to 21 days depending on the needs of the disaster and the availability of the volunteer.

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 join our blog at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Frequent Evacuation Center Openings-Are we crying wolf?

Does it seem like the Red Cross is opening an evacuation center in Manitou Springs a lot this summer? Well it is true and there is a good reason for it. August 9, 2013 heavy rain fell on the Waldo Canyon burn scar. The heavy rain pushed mud and debris across US Highway 24 into the town of Manitou Springs. Dramatic video showed cars being pushed like toys as the water surged down the highway. People were stranded in cars for hours waiting for the water to recede. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. The American Red Cross was called to open a shelter for those affected by the floods and to provide support for recovery efforts.

Red Cross volunteers register Scott Townley at the
Historic Congregational Church in Manitou Springs
August 10, 2013. Photo by Denise Brill/American Red Cross
Since the floods that came in August 2013, the Red Cross has opened an evacuation center in Manitou Springs eight times and while to some it might seem like "crying wolf" in reality it is a significant effort to make sure that people have a place to go if they need to ride out the storm. "We worked closely with Manitou Springs, the National Weather Service, El Paso County officials and with the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop a response plan that would help keep people safe," said Sally Broomfield, Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter. "Anytime floods threaten or they close roads due to the potential for flooding we will have the evacuation center open."

Red Cross has worked closely with the Historic Congregational Church in Manitou Springs to recruit volunteers and to ensure that the church is available and ready for activation. They have also placed a cache of supplies at the church including cots, blankets and cleanup supplies just in case they are needed. Reverend David Hunting from the Historical Congregational Church in Manitou Springs has been an important part of the process. "The Red Cross has given us some excellent training about keeping the public safe," Reverend Hunting said. "The Red Cross has a name that is known around the world and it is great to have that symbol so visible in our community."

Far from crying wolf, these activations provide a tangible reminder to residents to take every flood threat seriously – you never know which storm will be the one – and opening the evacuation center not only provides for a safe place to ride out the storm, it also gives volunteers training and practice so they’re prepared for the worst. Check out the video below about recent volunteer training in Manitou Springs, Colo. The video was produced by Charlie Mussi of the Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Guest speaker examines Israel-Palestine conflict during monthly Lunch & Learn

University of Denver's
Dr. Karen Feste
In recent weeks, a precipitous rise in conflict between Israel and Palestine has brought the region’s continued struggle to attain peaceful progress back into the world’s headlines. The half-century conflict between Palestinians and Israelis over recognition, resources and security has so stubbornly resisted any kind of resolution that it has nearly become synonymous with “intractability.” Meanwhile, the conflict poses a humanitarian crisis as the death toll rises – including children and teens.

While the world’s leaders and diplomats struggle to find solutions for the troubled region, scholars like Wednesday’s Red Cross Lunch & Learn speaker, Dr. Karen Feste, have endeavored to study the conflict and provide educated suggestions for moving forward.

Dr. Feste, a Fulbright Scholar and a professor at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies, has extensively written on the subject of Israel and Palestine. Her book credits include Terminate Terrorism: Framing, Gaming, and Negotiating conflicts, Plans for Peace: Negotiation and the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Intervention: Shaping the Global Order. Dr. Feste founded the Conflict Resolution Institute at DU and serves as its graduate director.

Feste’s Lunch and Learn presentation will focus on the history of the conflict, promoting a greater understanding of the complex challenges that have traditionally stood in the way of resolution, and recognizing the role of organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross in mitigating the effects of the long-term struggle between the two groups.

The Lunch & Learn lecture will be presented Wednesday, July 16, from noon to 1 p.m. at the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St. RSVPs are requested by 12 p.m. Tuesday, July 15 to Tim Bothe at Webinar options are also available for remote audiences. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Service to Armed Forces Program Supports Warrior Transition Battallion

The American Red Cross has been providing support to U.S. Armed Forces for over 100 years – more than a century of service in peacetime and in war.
Warriors from the WTB pose with two recumbent bicycles
and with Red Cross volunteers after the Commander's
Challenge at the USOC in Colorado Springs.
Photo by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross
Recently the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program in Colorado provided direct support to the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Carson, Colorado, through the donation of customized recumbent bicycles. The bicycles were modified and maintained by technicians at Angletech of Colorado Springs, who also teach proper techniques to best utilize the bicycles.

The WTB supports more than 200 soldiers recovering from combat injuries.  Some of the soldiers will transition to civilian life and some will return to active duty. The WTB works with the soldiers to make that transition successful.

Battalion Commander, LTC Aaron Termain is passionate about the service that the WTB provides and very appreciative of the support given by the Red Cross.  "Every day we receive soldiers with complex circumstances and you never know what therapy works,” he said.  The WTB works on a combination of mind, body and spirit therapy, using adaptive reconditioning to help soldiers improve their day-to-day lives.   “What the Red Cross in Colorado is doing is helping soldiers work through their issues in a way that boosts their self-confidence,” LTC Termain said.

LTC Termain presents Certificate of Appreciation
to Tim Bothe, Service to Armed Forces Manager at
a ceremony on Fort Carson.
Photo by Arnett Luce, American Red Cross
The custom-designed bicycles give soldiers the opportunity to participate in a rigorous exercise program specifically tailored to their needs and abilities. They allow more soldiers to participate in programs like Ride for Recovery, which organizes group rides “on Post” and in Colorado Springs to build confidence and camaraderie.
LTC Termain recalled an Apache helicopter pilot who came to the WTB feeling like he had let the Army and his country down. “He was in pretty rough shape when he came to us,” Termain said. “But now he is back out there with family and friends, happier and healthier.  We couldn’t do that without the kind of support we get from the Red Cross.”

Since 2012 the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program in Colorado has provided the WTB with a variety of equipment, including 50 FitBits bracelets, five indoor bike trainers, 10 pieces of compound archery equipment, three cycling videos for spinning, helmets, safety equipment, hydration pumps, 15 bicycles including 5 recumbent bikes.

SPC Rosa Holder with one of the recumbent
bicycles provided by the Red Cross.
Photo by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross
The equipment that has been provided by the Red Cross has allowed soldiers to become active again and engage in a new hobby or lifestyle. According to SFC Peter Kieliszewski, Assistant S3 Operations NCOIC, “It gets them engaged with friends and family, which is all part of the recovery process. “

The recumbent bicycles were of particular interest to SPC Rosa Holder. Holder is recovering from injuries she received while serving in Afghanistan with the 218th Medical Detachment. "This is so exciting. I always loved to bike ride but I can’t ride a regular bike now,” Holder said as she sat on one of the bikes. “But I can ride one like this so my physical therapy is going to be so much more fun. This will be awesome!"  

Holder's story reflects the stories of many service members who have been helped by the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program across the country and around the world. You can see other photos of the support for the Warrior Transition Branch on our Flickr page at Warrior Transition Battalion Support. You can learn more about volunteering for our Service to Armed Forces program at Supporting Military Families.

LTC Termain, Battalion Commander, stands with WTB members to say
"Thank You" to the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Program.
Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July

The smell of hamburgers on the grill, the flags on parade and the excitement of fireworks…things that tell you it is the Fourth of July, Independence Day, our nation's birthday. The perfect time to celebrate with great family outings and outdoor fun that can provide some wonderful memories.
Ashtyn Austin wears protective eye covers and gloves before lighting a sparkler
Ashtyn Austin wears eye protectors
and gloves before lighting a sparkler

However, in order for the memories to be good ones the American Red Cross urges everyone to be especially careful with fireworks and to recognize some important tips for fireworks safety.  If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in kids and adults. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home — period. Attend public fireworks displays, enjoy the loud booms and bright sparkles, but leave the lighting to the professionals. Lighting fireworks at home isn't even legal in many areas, so if you still want to use them, be sure to check with your local police department or fire marshal first.

Here are some tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety and

Wearing protective gear, Ashtyn enjoys the sparklers.
  • Kids should never play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are just too dangerous especially for small children. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C).
  • Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled).
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Make plenty of space — fireworks can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone.
  • Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
  • Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
  • Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
  • Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured.
  • Always have a first aid kit handy anytime you are around fireworks.
If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately get medical help. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. For minor injuries flush the eye with cool, clean water and check for foreign objects. For more serious injuries seek emergency medical help. To keep hands off of the injured eye cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye and immediately seek medical attention — your child's eyesight may depend on it.

If it's a burn you should quickly run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). If clothing is stuck to the burn do not try to remove it. Run cool water over the burned area and seek medical help quickly.

One easy thing you can do is to download the Red Cross First Aid app. It is available for iPhone/iPad and for Android phones and tablets. It can provide you with some quick response instruction in the event that something goes wrong. You can find out more and download the First Aid app from You can also get the app from the AppStore and Google play. 

For some additional tips about holiday travel, grilling and fireworks visit our website at Safety-Steps-For-Travel-Grilling-and-Fireworks.

If you would like to learn more about first aid and CPR procedures go to