When a fire takes a home, it takes everything in it.

GWFT_FacebookPostShoesFire takes. Fire takes security. Fire takes a lifetime of cherished moments. Fire takes without regard to race, income, or social stature. When a home fire happens, it can take everything.

While we can’t begin to replace all the intangible things that make a house a home, we can begin to provide some useful items that offer immediate care and comfort to those in need.

We need your help! Become a fundraiser for the Red Cross and help us provide care and comfort to people in your community and around the country.   The dollars you raise could help us install smoke detectors, provide blankets, clothes and shoes or financial assistance for families. Your symbolic gift will help those affected by disasters like home fires.

Sign up to raise funds as an individual or a team with our Give What Fire Takes Campaign on CrowdRise today.


Resources to help youth prepare for emergencies

The Red Cross has free and easy resources to help young people and their families prepare their households for several types of situations from power outages to tornadoes:

  • monster-guard-flood-screenshotThe Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App provides 7-to-11 year-olds a fun, gaming environment to learn how to prevent emergencies, like home fires, and what to do if severe weather or natural disasters occur. Using the app is an exciting way for children to learn, practice the lessons and share the information with family and friends.
  • The Red Cross worked with Disney to develop the “Mickey and Friends Disaster Preparedness Activity Book.” The book teaches children and families how to prepare for and respond to a wide range of disasters and emergencies through interactive games and activities. The book is available to download in English and in Spanish.
  • Other Red Cross emergency preparedness apps contain a ‘Make a Plan’ feature that allows users to create their plan and share it with their loved ones.
  • A Family Disaster Plan Template is available to download.

This year, resolve to be more prepared for emergencies

What are your 2015 resolutions? Losing weight? Yep. Eating healthy? For sure. Preparing for emergencies? Um, no, you’d not thought of that, right? We ask that you do because we see every day the impact disasters–mostly house fires–have on people. So, below are 12 actions, one for each month, that you can take to become more prepared by the end of 2015!

  1. Download a Red Cross mobile app.m40340177_everyday_apps_763x260
  2. Learn about how to prevent fires in your kitchen (the number one cause of house fires).
  3. Talk with your family about having two ways out of every room in the house to ensure that each of you knows how to get out in case of a fire.
  4. Make a disaster plan with your family. By having a disaster plan each member of your family will know where to go if there is a disaster as well as having other important information on hand.fireescape_image
  5. Check your smoke detectors twice a year to ensure that they are in working condition.
  6. Complete the home fire preparedness checklist.
  7. Build a disaster kit, so you have the items you would need in case you have to evacuate.
  8. Learn how to prepare for members of your family with special needs like children, pets, individuals with disabilities and seniors.
  9. Purchase a weather radio so you can be informed during weather related disasters.
  10. Learn about the weather warning systems and what each warning means.m37640104_196x176-emergency-radio
  11. Put together a car kit that has items you might need if you get stuck during a winter storm.
  12. Tell your family and friends about the importance of being prepared and challenge them to take the steps above.

Report back about your success as you move forward. Want additional guidance? We’re here for you. Call us at (612) 871-7676 and ask for Jenn in Disaster Cycle Services.

Have a fabulous 2015!

2014 Disaster Cycle Services Highlights

By Megan Mrozek, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross Minnesota Region

During 2014, a year when disasters were not major headlines in Minnesota, our region’s Disaster Cycle Services team was hard at work. The team responded to 716 disasters and delivered humanitarian aid to more than 1,104 families, helped prepare 22,180 people for emergencies, and trained to make sure we’re ready to respond to disasters big and small here in Minnesota and, when needed, across the nation. Highlights of our year include:

  • January:
    • Cedar-Riverside Apartment Fire: Response teams worked with people in the affected community with recovery immediately after the fire and preparedness throughout year.NDSI_2
    • Round-Tables: We started monthly response and recovery round-tables with disaster leaders across the state, sharing best practices and lessons learned from responses throughout the region.
    • DAT Captain Training: We established an initiative to refine and develop the role of Disaster Action Team (DAT) captains, culminating in new training simulation for disaster response captains in December.
  • March:
    • Casework for DATs: We implemented a training course that enables Disaster Action Team members to help clients begin their recovery immediately after a disaster.
  • April:
    • Leadership Summit: Around 100 disaster leaders came together for two days of training, team building, and direction-setting for the year to come.
    • Board Preparedness Challenge: 100% of our regional board members took an action to become more prepared for emergencies.
    • CAS 2.0: We rolled out the new CAS 2.0 database for recovery information, as well as new forms and procedures for response and recovery.
  • May:
    • DSC_3633_cropLatino Community Partnership and Leadership Summit: We held our first partnership and leadership summit with Latino community leaders and advocates in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area.
    • Under One Roof: Co-sponsored the “Under One Roof” sheltering conference that included 250 participants from 5 states and Canada. Fifty-four Red Crossers attended. Our conference mission was to establish new relationships, to strengthen sustainable partnerships, and to learn about the latest developments, trends, and best practices related to sheltering and emergency preparedness.
  • June and July:
    • Flooding Response: On the US-Canadian border, 66 Red Cross volunteers served 1058 meals and 27,116 snacks; distributed 85 clean up kits; and provided 23 health services contacts to flood affected communities in 13 counties. In addition, disaster relief workers responded to flooding relief efforts in the Twin Cities metro area and southwest Minnesota.
  • August:
    • National Night Out: On this night, more than 1600 people were reached with preparedness messages from their neighbors.DSC_4013
    • Vigilant Vortex: At least 50 Red Cross workers took part in a 5-day, statewide exercise with the Minnesota National Guard and more than 30 other agencies practicing response to an epic string of devastating tornado touchdowns.
    • Minnesota State Fair: This year at the fair, 2,735 people completed disaster preparedness plans. Also, 12,876 people were reached through preparedness planning and blood pressure screening.
  • October:
    • North Star Disaster Training Institute: Our signature, annual disaster training program included 39 courses offered to 160 attendees during a 4-day period.
    • Shelters Mobilized: Disaster relief teams mobilized two shelters for people displaced by disaster in the Twin Cities and Marshall, MN.
  • November:
    • Statewide Meet-Up: For the first time, our former southern and northern region teams came together as the new combined Minnesota Region team.

IMG_0580I am incredibly thankful for the tireless effort from our Disaster Cycle Services volunteers and employees. Day and night, 365 days-a-year, they bring compassion, flexibility, and dedication to the important work of helping others during great times of need and making our communities more resilient before, during, and after emergencies. Here’s to 2015!

To learn more about getting involved with the Red Cross, click here.

This Holiday Give the Gift of Preparedness

fireescape_imageAs Red Crossers, we know disasters can strike at any moment and being prepared before they happen is vital for reducing their impact. We also know the most effective way to engage people with disaster preparedness is for them to hear the message from someone they know.

So, this holiday season we ask you to take the steps below and show your loved ones that you care by helping them prepare for emergencies.

  1. Take 30 minutes to talk through your family disaster plan with household members and that everyone has the same understanding of what to do if there is a disaster.
  2. Once your plan is complete, share with others outside your household the importance of being Red Cross Ready and having a family disaster plan, a disaster kit and downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App to their mobile device. You can use this list of disaster preparedness talking points to get the conversations started.
  3. Keep track of the people you talk with here. There will be a prize for the person who has the most conversations about disaster preparedness between now and January 2!

As a friend, neighbor, community member and Red Crosser, this is a great chance to join together and educate your neighbors, friends and family members about a topic that is very important. For additional preparedness materials and support, contact Jenn Hamrick at 612-604-3290 or jenn.hamrick@redcross.org.

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