Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What did you do on your weekend?

By Jennifer Marsh

So how did you spend your weekend? Most of us might say we ran errands, did some home improvement, went for a hike, run or ride, had a date or attended a school event. Or, just maybe, we might admit that we took a nap.

Colorado Red Cross had a busy weekend and napping was not on the agenda. Our weekend included evading zombies and helping our communities become more prepared.

Academy Cadet Maxwell installs a smoke alarm at a
home in Colorado Springs, Colo. Photo by
Joan Green/American Red Cross
Friday started the weekend off with a beep, as we partnered with the Air Force Academy on our Home Fire Campaign. Over 400 cadets supported by over 45 Red Crossers installed nearly 700 smoke alarms in homes in 6 counties and 24 communities in a matter of hours, the second largest Home Fire Campaign event in the United States. Some Red Crossers were up before the sun and did not reach their homes until after 10:30 at night.

Friday also saw Red Cross workers at Peterson Air Force Base, at a preparedness event aimed at 1500 people, asking them, "On a scale of 1-10, how prepared are you?" Many people stopped, admitted they were in the 1-2 range, and talked with our volunteers, Rod Gardner and Paula Gregory. "Lots of people were interested in the apps," said Rod, referring to the range of Red Cross emergency apps. Red Cross was at a second preparedness event on Petersen AFB on Saturday, where 3500 people, including families, learned preparedness techniques by playing the "Wheel of Disaster" game with Gardner and fellow Red Crosser, Drew Phillips.

Red Cross was also in Manitou Springs on Saturday, at the Manitou Springs Fire Open House, with our other Wheel of Disaster. People spun the wheel to select a type of disaster and answered a question about how to be ready in the event of that type of incident. They also had the opportunity to sign up to have smoke alarms installed in their homes, and 20 families took advantage of the opportunity.

Volunteers Adam Rae and Ken Briggs teach first aid
to boy scouts as part of the 2015 Family Safety and Emergency
Preparednessr Expo Expo in Loveland, Colo.
Photo by American Red Cross
In Loveland the Red Cross participated in the 2015 Family Safety and Emergency Preparedness Expo at The Ranch on Saturday. They taught the Pillowcase Project and CPR/First Aid classes and how to make an emergency plan. Hundreds attended to learn from the Red Cross and other supporting agencies.

Beulah citizens visit the mock Red Cross
shelter during the evacuation exercise
 in Beulah, Colo.
Photo by Thea Skinner/American Red Cross

In Beulah on Saturday, citizens came to participate in a mock wildfire exercise and tour a shelter. Officials from the Red Cross, Highway Patrol, Pueblo County, the Pueblo Police, Beulah County Fire Protection and Ambulance District, Pueblo County Animal Response Team (CART) and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) were on hand practice their responses and to answer questions and help familiarize people with what community services are available.

And we did mention zombies... If you were one of the lucky runners who made it through the zombies in the Family Emergency Preparedness Event and Zombie Run put on by El Paso County, you would have seen the Emergency Response Vehicle at the finish line and may have received water from a FEMA Corps volunteer, one of two Air Force MPs or Russ Weeks, a Red Cross volunteer. We also had a preparedness booth for runners, family members and friends to peruse after their bout with the undead.

Sunday, Sep. 27, found Red Cross volunteer Gayle Dixon installing smoke alarms in Pagosa Springs. Red Cross workers along with 14 fire fighters and volunteers from Rotary installed 60 smoke alarms in homes at the Vista Mobile Home Park in Pagosa Springs.

While all of this was going on our Disaster Action Teams across the state were standing by to respond to home fires or other emergency needs. Saturday, Sep. 25, our teams helped a family displaced by a home fire in Lakewood.

So, a Red Cross weekend means helping those in need, saving lives with smoke alarms, preparing people for disasters and training our volunteers to better respond. That’s what the Red Cross does and we need more volunteers to make it happen. Don't you want to help your community and escape zombies at the same time? If you want to volunteer, go to and click on volunteer. Napping is so overrated.

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