Red Cross News


Local News

March 31

Shepherdstown, WV – The Jefferson County DAT team, represented by Jill Randlett, responded to a chimney fire in a residence in Shepherdstown on Monday morning. The residents were awakened by their two dogs barking and scratching at their bedroom door. Once the dogs woke up their humans, the residents could hear the smoke alarm. Soon after waking up, the smoke alarm melted and shut off. They evacuated their house and called 911. The chimney fire had burned into the wall and attic. There was smoke damage to the house, and fire damage to one wall and attic. The residents were very thankful that they woke up, that the fire department responded so quickly, and that the damage to their belongings was minimal. The dogs got lots of treats!

March 24, 2008

St. Andrews Community Center, Mission Road — The Eastern Panhandle Chapter participated in a community meeting sponsored by the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security tonight regarding Emergency Preparedness.

This meeting was made possible by a grant from the Commission for National and Community Service and was hosted by Neal Nilson. Several members of the Community Early Response Team (CERT) were on hand to share their experiences with both CERT and preparedness in general.

Two of our DAT volunteers, Jill Randlett and Debbi Palmer, set up a display table featuring Red Cross first aid kits and preparedness literature. If your organization would like us to set up an informative display or do a presentation, please call our office at (304) 725-5015.

National News
Food and emotional support are the first steps to ensuring that tornado victims are on the road to recovery

By Maya Pai, Communications Associate, National Headquarters

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 — As Red Cross worker Amanda Christopher drove into the Burnett’s Mill neighborhood just outside Suffolk, Virginia, early today, the full extent of the damage caused by Monday’s powerful storms became apparent. The morning sun revealed that hundreds of homes and business had sustained heavy damage, and the need for American Red Cross relief services was evident.

“There is not one home untouched. It is just utter destruction,” said Christopher. “There were bikes everywhere, swimming pools, trampolines. It was unbelievable.”

Soon after the storms hit, the Red Cross formed a partnership with the City of Suffolk and provided much-needed shelter supplies. Today the Red Cross is starting its mass feeding efforts for storm victims, emergency workers, and clean-up crews. Mobile feeding vehicles have moved into the area to distribute food provided, in part, by partner agencies.

The Red Cross is also working with local public health authorities to ensure enough nurses are available to tend to those who lost prescription medications or may need basic first aid. Mental health workers are starting to meet with disaster victims and those who were injured.

“There was a feeding truck when we first went into the damaged area, and now there are mental health workers,” said Red Cross worker Jason Golden, who is traveling with Christopher. “It’s definitely been a comfort to people. Mental health is the number-one
need here right now.”

In addition to providing food and health services, the Red Cross is also assessing the condition of homes in the area. This information will help the Red Cross determine how many people need help and how much help they will need. That information is often shared with state, local, and federal government agencies to aid in their planning efforts as well.

Because local telephone lines are down, the Red Cross is encouraging local residents to use the Safe and Well service to stay in touch with family and friends. The
Safe and Well Website provides disaster victims with a confidential way to let their
loved ones know of their general location and status. It can be accessed at
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Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics Warns about Email Scam

Monday, April 21, 2008 — The Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics has been alerted to communications circulating via email claiming that the Red Cross, in collaboration with the Romania Government, is asking for donations to help the people in Tecuci, Romania. The email asks to make a wire transfer of over $100 to a bank account in Romania; or for donations under $100 to use a Pay Pal account addressed as

The American Red Cross does not advertise for donations to be sent to a Romanian Bank account. This is an email scam using the American Red Cross brand, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI has been notified. If you received this email, treat it with caution. To avoid becoming a victim of fraud, do not forward any personal information in response to unsolicited and suspicious emails.

If you would like to make a donation to the Red Cross, only use the authorized Red Cross Website, or
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Strong Waters, Stronger Friendships

A flood damaged homes in a Missouri town but couldn’t weaken ties among local neighbors
By Allen Crabtree, Public Affairs Volunteer, Southern Maine Chapter

Thursday, April 10, 2008 — By the time the angry, muddy waters of the Black River breached their banks in Piedmont, Missouri, in mid-March, heavy rains had been falling for a week, long enough to raise the river eight to ten feet above flood stage. Homes had floated off their foundations, propane tanks were bobbing like corks in the torrent, and campers had come loose from their connections far upriver and floated to rest in carports and back yards.

“There was no time to get out,” said Jimmy Morales, an unfortunate homeowner. “One of our dogs barked, and I looked out the door and saw the water coming in a wave up the street. We only had fifteen to twenty minutes before it was right at our doorstep.”

Jimmy and his wife, Jennifer, barely had time to flee as waist-deep water poured through their front door. As both their cars floated away, the couple scooped up their two cats and three dogs and took them to a neighbor’s two-story home for safety. They found the neighbor asleep in his recliner, sitting in water up to his chest.

“He was still watching TV, and when Jennifer woke him, he tried to change the channels,” Jimmy said. “We really had a hard time convincing him to move upstairs with us so he would be safe.”

As the group huddled on the second floor, Jimmy looked out the back window and saw another neighbor trapped in his single-story home with his wife. They were unable to open their door or windows and had taken refuge on the kitchen cabinets. Jimmy swam over to their house and smashed a window so they could escape.

As the waters continued to rise, the Missouri State Water Patrol and State Highway Patrol began launching boats to rescue people. One such boat ferried Jimmy, Jennifer, and their neighbors to safety. They were taken to a Red Cross shelter at the Harvest Baptist Church in Piedmont, where they were able to dry off, eat a hot meal, and contemplate what the future held for them.

Victims Helping Victims

After a few days, the flood waters of the Black River had partially receded and roads had become passable. Jimmy and Jennifer were able to return to their home, or what was left of it. They found one of their cars perched atop stumps in a neighbor’s yard; the other had floated to the very edge of the river. One of them actually started and appeared to be running fine, so the couple have transportation for the time being.

“Now that we have wheels again, we’re looking after our neighbors,” said Jennifer. “We talked the owner of a seasonal motel in town into renting all of us rooms, and we were able to move out of the Red Cross shelter after a few days. We appreciated all the help the Red Cross gave us, but we know we couldn’t stay there forever.”

When the Red Cross opened a Service Distribution Site in town, Jimmy and Jennifer were there to apply for emergency family assistance. Red Cross volunteer Kris Thompson interviewed them and issued them a Client Assistance Card so they could buy food, clothing, and prescriptions help pay for temporary housing and repairs. Later, they brought many of their neighbors to the Red Cross site so they could apply for emergency assistance as well and pick up some cleaning supplies.

Jimmy and Jennifer plan to stay in their neighborhood. They have no flood insurance and have lost nearly everything, but in the six years they have owned their home they have developed strong ties with their neighbors. With the emergency assistance they received from the Red Cross, they have been given a chance to catch their breath, plan their future, and return some of the good will they received by helping their neighbors.

 Posted by at 7:21 pm