It’s here…

Minnesota health officials have just announced that the Enterovirus 68, which has sickened over 150 people in 12 states, has been confirmed in Minnesota. Despite the somewhat scary news coverage, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your chance of coming down with this virus–or the flu, or colds, or most any other virus. Adopt these easy, Red-Cross-approved habits to stay healthy this fall and winter.

  • Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water and wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds. If you are in a public restroom, turn off the faucet with a paper towel. Use another paper towel to dry your hands and to open the door as you exit. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Always cough or sneeze into a tissue. Use the crook of your elbow or upper arm if you don’t have one. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands to prevent spreading germs.
  •  Disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as phones, computers, doorknobs, switches and toys. Avoid contact and sharing utensils, cups and bottles with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work to avoid spreading the virus.

There’s no way to guarantee that you won’t get sick, but following some simple steps can help improve your chances of a healthy fall and winter.

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We Remember

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today–

From Deborah Eisenberg’s “Twilight of the Superheroes”:

“O that day! One kept waiting for that shattering day to unhappen, so that the real – the intended – future, the one that had been implied by the past, could unfold. Hour after hour, month after month, waiting for that day to not have happened. But it had happened. And now it was always going to have happened.”

We can’t undo the significance of this day, or pretend it didn’t happen. But we can remember and honor the ones who died, and all of the incredibly courageous volunteers who came to help.

911

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Day of the Disappeared

“The last time he called us, my son Arcesio said that he was coming to see us,” said Ancízar Osorio in a faltering voice. That was eight years ago.

In Osorio’s country of Colombia, disappearances are a tragic normality; some 68,000 people are currently missing. Worldwide, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have disappeared due to war, natural disaster, and migration. For the family left behind, not knowing the fate of their loved ones is one of the hardest parts of the ordeal.

The American Red Cross, along with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world, work to reunite families with their missing loved ones. “When people disappear, there are two kinds of victims,” said Marianne Pecassou, who heads the activities carried out by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) for missing persons and their families. “The individuals who have gone missing and their families, torn between despair and hope, living with uncertainty and pain, waiting for news, sometimes for decades.”

The Red Cross offers guidance to families and authorities about searching for missing persons and works through its Restoring Family Links program to help reconnect those separated by war or natural disaster. Besides working directly with families of the missing, the organization instructs parties to conflict and other armed groups about the rules prohibiting the concealment of information regarding missing persons. The Red Cross is currently working to reunite over 52,000 people with their families.

August 30th marked the international “Day of the Disappeared.” Click on the link to find an interactive map and personal stories of some of the missing. When you support the Red Cross, you are helping not only your neighbor down the block cope with a house fire, but also your neighbor on the other side of the planet to reconnect with a missing loved ones. The Red Cross helps to ensure that the missing are not forgotten.

*The material for this blog post came from the American Red Cross website.

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September Classes

September is National Preparedness Month, and what better way to prepare than to take a class so you’ll be ready for an emergency? Go to redcross.org or call 800-733-2767 to register. Make sure to sign up early–classes may be cancelled for low registration.

Austin
• Saturday, September 20, 9a-3:30p–Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 2:30 and cost $90. If you do not need First Aid, your class will end and noon and cost $70.
• Tuesday, September 23, 6p-9p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, $110. This class has an online component that must be completed before class.

Faribault
• Tuesday, September 9, 6p-10:30p—Adult CPR/AED and First Aid, $90. If you do not need the CPR/AED portion, your class will end at 9p and cost $70.
• Saturday, September 20, 9a-3p—Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $90. If you do not need the First Aid portion, your class will end at 1p and cost $70.
• Saturday, September 27, 9a-3:30p–Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 2:30 and cost $90. If you do not need First Aid, your class will end and noon and cost $70.

Mankato
• Monday, September 8, 6p-10p—Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, Review class, $90. If you do not need the First Aid portion, your class will end at 9p and cost $70. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 8:30p and cost $55.
• Wednesday, September 17, 6p-9p—First Aid, $70
• Thursday, September 18, 6p-10:30p—Adult CPR/AED and First Aid, $90. If you do not need the First Aid portion, your class will end at 9p and cost $70.
• Monday, September 22, 9a-3:30p–Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 2:30 and cost $90. If you do not need First Aid, your class will end and noon and cost $70.
• Tuesday, September 30, 6p-9p—Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 8:30 and cost $90. This class has an online component that must be completed before class.

Rochester
• Saturday, September 6, 9a-3:30p—Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the First Aid portion, your class will end at 1p and cost $90.
• Monday, September 8, 6p-10p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, Review class, $90.
• Tuesday, September 9, 4:30p-10p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, $110.
• Saturday, September 13, 9a-4p—Babysitter Training, $85
• Tuesday, September 16, 6p-10p—Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED, $90. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 9p and cost $70.
• Saturday, September 27, 9a-3:30p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, $110.
• Tuesday, September 30, 6p-9p—First Aid, $70.

Winona
• Saturday, September 13, 9a-3:30p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, $110.
• Thursday, September 25, 4:30p-10p—CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, $110.
• Saturday, September 27, 9a-3:30p–Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, $110. If you do not need the pediatric portion, your class will end at 2:30 and cost $90. If you do not need First Aid, your class will end and noon and cost $70.

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Get Tech Ready

Maybe my living room, if I’m lucky. That’s the only place at home that I can get a cell phone signal. If I lean against the window and stand on one foot… As great as technology is today, it’s not perfect. At the American Red Cross, we’ve come to discover that especially in times of disaster, phones may not be of much help. But more and more people are getting information online, and, luckily, text and data services seem to be more resilient than a plain old phone call.

Here at the Red Cross, we’re pretty big on preparedness. Our website, redcross.org, has lots of ways that you can prepare your home, your family, your workplace and even your pets for disasters. But have you ever thought about what you can do with your data and devices? We have! Find some great tips here to be Tech Ready before, during and after a disaster.

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Day 86 already?

American Red Cross blood services launched a campaign this summer, “100 days of summer, 100 days of hope.” There just happened to be 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year, and the campaign urged people to #ChooseYourDay to give blood and save lives. On the landing page at redcrossblood.org, there’s been a countdown all summer long. I am in total denial that today is day 86, and there are only two weeks of summer left. Where did it go? I hope you’ve had a chance to relax and enjoy the too-short season.

With the end of summer, of course, comes back-to-school time. Often, that can mean that kids spend some time alone at home, before Mom or Dad get home from work. The Red Cross has some tips to make that a safe and comfortable experience for kids and parents alike. Some things to consider if your child will be home alone.

Enjoy the last 14 days of official summer–and get prepared for busy fall schedules!

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Fire and Rain

Every morning on our internal web site, the American Red Cross publishes the “Morning Report.” The report covers all of the places and events in which the Red Cross has an active disaster response going on. This morning–just an average Thursday–we had disasters in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts, not to mention American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico. They covered just about any weather condition you can image–tropical storms, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, multi-family fires. No blizzards, earthquakes or sharknadoes today, but we’d be ready for those, too. Nationwide, we had 204 people staying in 5 shelters last night–again, just your average day with the Red Cross.

It’s pretty well-known that the Red Cross responds when disasters strike–like the ones in the Morning Report and all of the “smaller” disasters like house fires that may never hit the news. Ideally, though, we can help you prepare BEFORE disaster strikes–that’s part of the core mission of the Red Cross, too.

One of the ways we work to do that is through our suite of free apps. Whether it be fire or flood, tornado or earthquake, Red Cross apps offer detailed information and safety tips for before, during and after a disaster, right in the palm of your hand. We teach basic First Aid and CPR through apps that are loaded with practical advice, preparation tips, safety tips and videos. We even teach you how to perform First Aid for your pet, or how to volunteer with the Red Cross in times of disaster.  Be prepared BEFORE you need us. Download our apps today!

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