Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Costilla County Snow Emergency

Red Cross Closing Shelter for Costilla County Snow Storm

Alamosa, CO, Friday, January 27, 2017 - UPDATED - The shelter at Fort Garland, CO remains open today but will close at 8:00 P.M. this evening. Should there be a need to reopen the shelter the Red Cross has shelter workers on standby to make that happen.

Overnight there were no residents at the shelter and therefore the shelter was closed overnight but reopened at 7:00 a.m, 

More than 50 meals have been served since the shelter was activated Wednesday. 

People affected by the snow storm that are in need of sheltering are encouraged to go to the shelter location today to speak to a Red Cross responder about support for immediate needs.


Red Cross Shelter Remains Open for Costilla County Snow Storm

Alamosa, CO, Thursday, January 26, 2017 - UPDATED - The shelter at Fort Garland, CO remains open to support people affected by the heavy snow and high wind in Costilla County. 

Three people stayed in the shelter overnight along with two Red Cross volunteers. Since the shelter opened at 11 AM Wednesday, the Red Cross has served 21 meals. We continue to support the search and rescue efforts as the responders work to locate those in need of help.

How can I help? The Red Cross has ample supplies on hand and it is too soon to determine the needs of those being supported. Please do not bring donations to the shelter in Fort Garland.


Red Cross Opens Shelter for Costilla County Snow Storm

Alamosa, CO, Wednesday, January 25, 2017 –The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Fort Garland Community Center located at 17591 US Highway 160 in Fort Garland, CO. The shelter has been opened to support those families evacuated due to heavy snow and strong winds that have hit the area since Tuesday, January 24.
Shelter at Fort Garland Community Center

Anyone affected by the snow storm should go to the shelter or contact local emergency services in Costilla County for transportation to the shelter.

What is at the shelter? Red Cross volunteers are at the shelter to provide a warm, safe place to go during the hazardous winter weather. Cots and blankets are available along with food, snacks and water.

What should I bring to the shelter? Personal items that are specific to your needs including medications. Also, if there are children, bring along a comfort toy for them.

How can I help? At this time all needs are being met for those staying at the shelter. Please do not bring donations to the shelter.

The Red Cross has also been supporting the search and rescue teams with food and water as emergency personnel try to locate and evacuate residents in need of help.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Saving Lives with Smoke Alarms - MLK Jr. Day of Service 2017

Colorado and Wyoming volunteers along with a host of partners stepped up to provide a day of service in support of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and installed over 400 smoke alarms.

To quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'.” The American Red Cross and the thousands of Red Cross volunteers answer that questions every day. Whether it is helping a family recover from a home fire or helping hundreds of people affected by floods, wildfires or tornadoes, we have put our open hearts and open arms to those in need.

As a demonstration of our compassion, the Red Cross implemented a national campaign designed to reduce by 25 percent the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. The campaign began in the fall of 2014 and through the end of 2016 more than 500,000 smoke alarms have been installed across the country. Those installations, and the education that has gone with them, can be attributed with saving more than 130 lives.

The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service found the Red Cross deeply committed to saving lives through the Home Fire Campaign. Across Colorado and Wyoming teams of volunteers partnered with local fire departments, local organizations and individuals.

During the period of January 14 through January 21 the Red Cross and partners installed over 400 smoke alarms bringing the total number of smoke alarms installed in Colorado and Wyoming since October 2014 to nearly 10,000 with more than 5,000 homes made safer through the education portion of the campaign.

  • Saturday, January 14 Red Cross volunteers and the Arvada Fire Department joined with dozens of other volunteers to install 160 smoke alarms in Arvada.
  • Monday, January 16 the Red Cross volunteers in Wyoming joined with local fire departments to install 70 smoke alarms at the Wind River Indian Reservation.
  • Saturday, January 21 found Red Cross volunteers in Pueblo where they visited more than 100 homes and installed 175 smoke alarms.
  • Saturday, January 21, Red Cross volunteers in Fort Collins visited 43 homes and installed 15 smoke detectors.

We want to give a huge shout out to all of our partners including local fire departments, churches and other organizations, as well as hundreds of individuals who also volunteered.

If you would like to be part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign in Colorado and/or Wyoming visit our website, or

Monday, January 23, 2017

Colorado Volunteer Heading to Southeast U.S. Tornado Response

The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming is sending a disaster volunteer to support the response to the devastating tornado damage in the southeast U.S.  Typical deployments are 14 to 21 days depending on the needs of those affected by the disaster.

Hannah Price will depart today from Denver and travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi where she will be assigned to serve as a supervisor for Case Work. In that position she will coordinate activities that work directly with people who have been affected by the tornadoes helping to determine their needs and how the Red Cross can provide support. Price is a very active volunteer and has deployed to nine large scale disasters since 2012. She volunteers with the Mile High Area Chapter in Colorado.

Tornadoes ravaged several locations across the southeast U.S. Saturday and Sunday. Red Cross disaster workers were on the ground immediately providing support for those affected and those responding. As of Monday morning there were 6 shelters open, 2 in Mississippi and 4 in Georgia. Total population was over 110 people in the 6 shelters. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Red Cross Postpones Home Fire Campaign Due to Winter Weather

New Home Fire Campaign Date to install free smoke alarms is January 21, 2017

Pueblo, CO, January 15, 2017 – The American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado has decided to postpone the Home Fire Campaign scheduled for Monday.January 16, 2017 due to the potential for hazardous winter weather. The date of Saturday, January 21 has been set for the makeup date with the same time schedule and meeting location. People who have registered to receive a free smoke alarm will be contacted to schedule on the new date.

NEW Details:
What: Smoke Alarm installation (home visit takes about 15 minutes)
When: January 21, 2017, 08:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Staging area at Belmont Fire Department Parking Lot, 1551 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo 81001

Registration not required but encouraged at

Want to preregister for a smoke alarm inspection/installation at your home? Visit and click on the preregister link or call Laura at 719-785-2721.

Red Cross is also in need of organizations and individual volunteers to help with the home fire campaign especially on January 21. If you want to volunteer visit and click on the volunteer link or call Laura at 719-785-2721.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Red Cross Helps with Wind Storm Damage

Homeowners across Colorado Springs assesses the damage as
winds toppled trees over during the wind storm
 that passed through on Jan 9, 2017.
 Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross
By Bill Fortune

Strong winds pummeled the southern I-25 corridor on Monday taking down trees, ripping roofs and causing power outages. El Paso county was particularly hard hit as winds were clocked near 100 mph but other communities suffered as well including Pueblo County, Huerfano County and western Las Animas County.

Red Cross Disaster teams were called out early Monday to help people with medical equipment problems as the winds knocked out power. Our teams responded to a call from one person who was without power which caused the oxygen equipment to fail. We were able to work with the medical equipment provider to provide portable oxygen tanks.

American Red Cross volunteers assist Israel Argueta
after winds destroyed the roof of his home in Colorado Springs.
 Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross
Homeowner Ross Sprinkle assesses the damage done to his
 home as winds caused a tree to fall on it during the wind storm
 Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross
Several homes were heavily damaged including one apartment building that displaced people from two apartments. The apartment management found hotel rooms for three days while repairs were being made and the Red Cross helped them with food and medical needs.

A mobile home in Colorado Springs had a tree fall on the roof. That caused roof damage and Red Cross provided for over night lodging and help with food for the two adults living in the mobile home.

Red Cross was in contact with local emergency management from Monument to Trinidad trying to assess damage and needs within the communities.Shelter teams were put on standby late Monday but no shelters were opened. Overall, 6 people were supported directly after the wind storm.

Many people are reeling from the damage and debris caused by the storm. If you need help cleaning up the debris or making repairs please check the Facebook and Websites for local government to find local, reputable, contractors ready to help.

Being prepared for hazardous weather is extremely important this time of year. If you have medical equipment that is dependent on electricity, be sure that you have portable units to get you through the power outages. Make sure your in-home disaster kit is complete and up to date. Have a plan to keep food from spoiling. For more preparedness information please visit You should also download the free Emergency mobile app so that you can keep track of hazardous weather and locations of shelters that might be opened.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Volunteers Make Things Happen; Highlights for week of January 9, 2017

Volunteers respond to Denver Apartment Fire
New Years Eve: 12/31/16
The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming responds to calls for assistance, on average, twice a day. 

Disaster knows no holiday, nor does it acknowledge a time of day. Volunteers respond 365 days a year, at all hours of the day or night. At this time of year, we are responding to freezing temps, flooding, home fires, and damage from wind storms. 

From Dec. 26 - Jan. 8, Red Cross got nearly 30 calls for emergency assistance, helping 68 people. At least 22 were children under the age of 18.

Volunteers make this level of response happen on a regular basis; in addition to all the other amazing things our volunteers do every day. Keep reading to learn more: 

  1. HUGE NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS for MLK Day of Service! 
  2. Join Us for our Staff Services Institute, January 28 and 29
  3. Volunteers: Reminder to Log Your Hours
  1. HUGE NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS, Saturday, January 14, 2017

  • We are hosting a Home Fire Campaign to celebrate our annual MLK Day of Service on Saturday, January 14th and we need your support.  A networking event will also follow this event. This year we are partnering with Arvada Fire Department to focus on an area where they have responded to four home fires in the past year, one of which a life was saved by a smoke alarm. Interested volunteers will be able to register themselves and any groups they are a part of here.
  • MLK Day of Service Home Fire Campaign event in Pueblo, CO on Monday, January 16, 2017. This Home Fire Blitz is supported by Pueblo Fire Department and other local organizations. Similar to other campaigns, teams will install smoke alarms as they canvas home-by-home in selected areas. 
  • Find out more about other events happening in your area by contacting your local Red Cross office. You can find our contact info here:

  1. Join Us for our Staff Services Institute, January 28 and 29
Would you enjoy being behind the scenes?  Talking to other volunteers?  Supporting both local and national disasters without leaving home? If you answered yes, Staff Services is looking for you!

Staff Services is responsible for getting the right people, at the right time, where they need to be to support a disaster response, and to ensure our staff and volunteers needs are met. Tasks may include deploying volunteers to another state to assist in hurricane recovery, calling local chapter members about a shelter opening from a nearby wildfire, managing event based volunteers during a local DR, coordinating lodging, and so much more. Also, much of the work we do is from the comfort of our own home!  

If you are interested, there is some work to do ahead of time, but it won’t take much more than an hour or two. Request for instructions for pre-work and/ or to RSVP, can be sent to

  1.  Reminder to Log Your Hours
Having a record of volunteer hours is really important to us. We ask that you remember to please log your hours for any time spent volunteering, training, and meeting, as well as traveling to and from any activities.  We appreciate all you do and recognize your time is valuable. In fact, it has a direct impact on the financial well-being of the organization in the eyes of our supporters. If you have any trouble logging hours, please feel free to contact your Volunteer Services lead.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Red Cross Issues Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips

By Nigel Holderby

Driving in a winter storm presents its own unique challenges. The Red Cross has steps people can follow to get their vehicle ready for winter as well as what they should do if they are caught in a winter storm.

“Check your vehicle and stock it with some emergency supplies,” said Mike Masto, Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer, “The best thing you can do is stay off the roads during a winter storm.”

GET YOUR VEHICLE READY FOR WINTER: Plan ahead. Have a mechanic check your tires, battery, brakes and antifreeze levels. Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, shovel, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.

DRIVING IN WINTER While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you have to drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:
  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.

If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:
  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open - away from the blowing wind - to let in air.

WEATHER ALERTS AND FIRST AID TIPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to winter storm tips and weather alerts for their area and where loved-ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at

For more information about winter driving in Colorado, visit

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit