Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today's Red Cross Response Part of Unusual Season


6 fires, 2 shelters, I-91 bus accident and this week’s train derailment place high demand on Red Cross disaster services over past two weeks

For the second time in 24 hours, Red Cross Disaster Services volunteers are responding to a fire in northwestern Vermont. The Franklin County Disaster Action Team of the Northern Vermont Chapter has responded to a request for rehabilitation services for area firefighters who are combating a major blaze on the Sheldon Road in St. Albans. Hydration and food will be provided in support of the first responders.

This assistance is on the heels of the support provided overnight by Red Cross volunteers to firefighters at the scene of a single family house fire in St. Albans. Four fire departments were on the scene at that fully involved structure fire. “The Franklin County Disaster Action Team is putting their training and Red Cross resources to the test,” said Tim Stetson, Chief Response Officer of the American Red Cross in Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley. “Thankfully, these are the times when the dedication and commitment of our volunteers really shines.”

The fires of the past 24 hours are just the latest in a series of emergencies that have prompted a response from regional American Red Cross volunteers over the past two weeks. The Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross has also provided aid at fires in Essex, Richford, Grafton and Charlotte. The Red Cross was also on the scene of a bus accident on I-91, opened warming shelters for those left without power in the wake of the recent wind storms and, earlier this week, responded to a train derailment in St. Albans.

Red Cross disaster services volunteers are organized in Disaster Action Teams throughout the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley Region. In addition to the rehabilitation services provided to firefighters and other first responders, individuals and families affected by disaster are interviewed to determine their immediate, emergency needs. The Red Cross primarily assists with emergency shelter, food, clothing, medical and disaster mental health services where a verified need exists and will support the families further by providing referrals to other community support resources.

While the need for Red Cross disaster services historically increases in the winter months, the start to this season has been unusual. “During this holiday season, too many of our neighbors have faced crises,” said Larry Crist, Regional Executive of the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. “As we each consider what we are thankful for this time of year, we hope that the community will keep in mind the work of the Red Cross and the work of our disaster volunteers.”

As a non-governmental organization, the American Red Cross relies upon the donations of community members to ensure that disaster services are available when called upon. American Red Cross emergency assistance is provided without charge to those in need. To help victims of disaster, donations can be made to the American Red Cross by sending a contribution to the American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323. Please specify Disaster Services in the memo of your check.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Disaster Services on Scene of I-91 Bus Accident

Disaster services personnel from the Green Mountain Chapter have responded to the scene of a serious bus accident on Interstate 91. A bus carrying University of Massachusetts students on a ski trip to Quebec ended up off the Interstate and down an embankment in the wake of the late afternoon crash. Reports indicate that there are many injuries, some quite serious. The American Red Cross responded and has provided support to emergency personnel at the scene in the form of hydration and food.

Busy Week Capped by Re-Opening of Hinesburg Shelter

High winds, fires and wintery conditions have made for a busy week for the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross.

Disaster services volunteers responded to house fires in Randolph, VT, Charlotte, VT, and Orford, NH, providing food, clothing and emergency sheltering as needed. Additionally, a number of families, several with special medical needs, were assisted with lodging and other necessities in the wake of this week's high winds and persistent power outages. Sheltering was availabe in Rutland and Hinesburg at various times this week.

With over four thousand in the Starksboro/Hinesburg/Williston corridor still without power, a warming shelter at the Hinesburg Town Hall on Route 116 is being reopened at 4pm today. The need for overnight sheltering at that facility with be assessed as the evening progresses.

The Red Cross would not have been able to respond to this scope of need without our volunteers. Thank you.

So that we remain prepared to help the next family, the next community that is in need, please ask those you know to keep the VT & NH Valley American Red Cross in mind during this holiday season.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Red Cross Poll Shows Signs of Hope in Tough Economy

Red Cross Survey Finds Three of Five People Planning Charitable Gifts this Holiday Season Will Give More Than $50, Even in Tough Economy

Donating to charity is an important holiday tradition, with many families planning to give at least $50 to charitable groups during this holiday season, according to a survey by the American Red Cross.

The national survey, taken October 21-24, found that nearly six in 10 of those surveyed plan to donate to charities between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Of that group, 57 percent said they would give $50 or more, including 31 percent who said they plan to donate more than $100 this holiday season.

“It’s heartening to see that even in this tough economy, charitable giving remains important to people during this holiday season, and the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley Region is encouraging people to consider a gift to the Red Cross that can save the day for those in need,” said Larry Crist, Regional Executive.

In the last year, the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley Region of the American Red Cross responded to over 100 disasters, predominately coming to the aid of families put out of their homes by fire, but also opening community shelters during times of need. The Red Cross responded just yesterday to a fire in Randolph. Additionally, across our region, over 21,000 people received Red Cross training in live-saving skills such as First Aid and CPR. The Red Cross also provided assistance to members of the armed forces, especially important in a year when the Vermont Guard saw such a large deployment.

“We are working very hard to raise money now so the Red Cross will be there tomorrow with help and hope when people need it most,” Crist said.

Red Cross offers “Gifts that Save the Day” in Holiday Giving Campaign

With many people doing their holiday shopping online, the Red Cross is offering a range of more than 20 giving options in its holiday giving catalog ( for those who want to make a donation in the name of someone else. The Red Cross also offers a Spanish-language version of the online catalog (

The gift ideas include donations equal to the costs of providing food and shelter to someone in a shelter, vaccinations, blankets, and phone cards and comfort kits for members of the military.

The purchase of each gift item is a tax-deductible contribution to the overall mission of the American Red Cross. On the rare occasion when donations exceed the need in a particular area, we will use your contribution to help others where the need is greatest.

Helping Less Fortunate Important Part of Holiday Tradition

The Red Cross survey found that 78 percent of respondents said that helping someone less fortunate is an important part of the holiday tradition for them, and more than half (54 percent) said that donating to charity helps them get into the holiday spirit.

The Red Cross survey found that 86 percent of respondents said their personal finances were worse or the same as last year. However, 72 percent plan to donate more or about the same to charity this holiday season as last year.

Practical Gifts More Popular in 2010

The Red Cross survey found that more than a third (36 percent) said they plan to buy more useful and practical gifts such as clothing, gift cards and household items, with less than one in 10 (7 percent) planning to buy more unique and fun gifts. More than half – 51 percent – said their gift-buying would be about the same this year as last.

In addition, the Red Cross survey found that more than half (53 percent) agreed that a good way to give more to charities is to ask someone to donate to charity instead of buying gifts.

*These results are based on a national probability sample of 1,005 telephone interviews among adults 18 years and older living in private households in the continental United States, conducted from October 21-24, 2010. The margin of error for data based on total sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted by CARAVAN®, an omnibus service of Infogroup ORC for American Red Cross.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Burlington Apartment Fire Displaces Residents

Responding to last evening's apartment fire on South Meadow Drive in Burlington, Red Cross Disaster Services personnel provided aid to four affected families. Three members of the Northern Vermont Chapter's Disaster Action Team were on the scene. When the call came in to the Disaster Duty Officer, the volunteer Disaster Action Team personnel, including members skilled in client assistance, were dispatched to the incident scene. The Red Cross arranged emergency lodging and financial assistance was provided for food.

Red Cross disaster services volunteers are located throughout the region and are trained to provide disaster relief and emotional comfort. They are available to respond at any time, day or night, to disasters in their communities or surrounding towns. At every scene, familes are interviewed to determine their immediate, emergency needs. The Red Cross primarily assists with emergency shelter, food, clothing, medical and disaster mental health services where a verified need exists and will support the families further by providing referrals to other community support resources.

All emergency assistance provided by the American Red Cross is provided free of charge and made possible by donations from fellow community members. To help victims of this and other disasters, donations can be made to the American Red Cross by sending contributions to the American Red Cross, Northern Vermont Chapter, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323. Please specify Disaster Services in the memo of your check.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Disaster Action Team Responds to Multi-family Fire in Richmond

(Burlington, VermontNovember 1, 2010)  At this hour, Red Cross Disaster Services personnel are responding to the scene of an apartment building fire on Main Street in Richmond.  “The responding personnel are all members of the Northern Vermont Chapter’s Disaster Action Team program,” said Timothy Stetson, Regional Chief Response Officer for the Red Cross, “they are responding to meet the needs of multiple families displaced by the early morning fire and to support the rehabilitation needs of fire fighters and other emergency personnel on the scene.”

“Even with the cooler temperatures of late fall, fighting a major fire such as this one takes a toll on those emergency responders conducting firefighting and lifesaving tasks,” says Mass Care Activity Lead Steve Pernicka, “Our mass care/rehabilitation personnel are there to help with the rehydration and electrolyte replacement so desperately needed by them as they conduct their fireground operations.”  Pernicka, a veteran disaster volunteer goes on to say, “Our role is to help them stay safe as they perform their very important jobs.” 

The call came in to the Northern Vermont Chapter’s Disaster Duty Officer at approximately this morning and immediately volunteer personnel, including team members skilled in mass care, and client assistance were dispatched to the incident scene.

At every scene, families are interviewed to determine their immediate emergency needs.  The Red Cross is primarily able to assist with emergency shelter, food, clothing, medical and disaster mental health services where a verified need exists and will support the families further by providing referrals to other community support resources.

The mission of the American Red Cross is to provide relief to victims of disasters and help our community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The chapters also teach children and adults how to save lives through first aid, CPR and AED training, water safety instruction, and community safety education.

All emergency assistance provided by the American Red Cross is provided free of charge and made possible by donations from fellow community members.  To help the victims of these and other disasters, contributions can be made to the American Red Cross by sending a contribution to the American Red Cross, Northern Vermont Chapter, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT  05401-3323.  Please specify Disaster Services in the memo of your check. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sad News - Red Cross Life Member and Great Friend Passes Away

We are sad to let everyone know that Ann Coffrin, a Life Member and great friend of the Northern Vermont Chapter passed away yesterday in Burlington.  Ann served the Red Cross tirelessly in many different ways over her lifetime and her desire to serve and help people also carried over to her family with her daughter Nancy and son James also serving as members of the Board of Directors of the chapter. 

Ann will truly be missed.  Here is additional information as published in the Burlington Free Press.

ELIZABETH ANN COFFRIN BURLINGTON - Elizabeth Ann Coffrin, 87, died peacefully on Sept. 27, 2010. Ann was born in New Boston, TX in 1922, grew up in Oklahoma City and managed never to lose her southern twang over 65 years of living in Vermont. She was a "war bride", meeting her husband in Seattle and marrying Albert W. Coffrin, a fifth generation Vermonter, in 1943. Albert predeceased Ann after 50 years of marriage in 1993. Ann served her community tirelessly her entire life. She was a chairman of the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, President of the Klifa Club and President of the Burlington Garden Club. She was a trustee of Trinity College. She was a member of the Burlington Civic Beautification Committee, the Mary Flather/MCHV Auxiliary, the B.E.A.M. Development Council, Fortnightly book club and The Neighbors. She was also on the Board of Directors of the YMCA and YWCA, the Converse Home, the Burlington Tennis Club, and the United Way of Chittenden County. Ann won many awards throughout her life. In 1972, she received the Vermont Distinguished Service award from Governor Deane Davis for her work with children and youth. In 1990, she received the Vermont Award for Community Service from Governor Madeleine Kunin and the Governor's Commission on Volunteers. In 2005, she received the Red Cross lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of outstanding service. She also won the Bert Kusserow award at the Burlington Tennis Club for outstanding sportsmanship. All this, and yet, what many think of when they think of Ann is her entertaining skills. She entertained often, introducing newcomers to the area and maintaining the wonderful friendships she developed through so many years. She loved young people and enjoyed entertaining her husband's many law clerks. She had an abundance of energy and was an avid tennis player, swimmer, walker, skier and bridge player. Ann was very proud of her family and loved them all dearly and they will all miss her. Ann leaves her son, Peter, his wife, Sue, and their children, Nikolas, Daniel, Alex and Will; her son, Albert/Buddy, his wife, Deb, and their children, CJ, Scott and Jane; her son, James, his wife, Jill, and their children, Seth, Kevin and Laura; her daughter, Nancy Furlong, her husband Michael, and their children, Graham and Emily. She also leaves her brother, James MacCornack of New Jersey and his wife, Elizabeth, and their children, Jonathan and Katharine; and a cousin, Ann Vinson of Texas, and her family, and her god-grandson, Tanner Howe. Dr. Joseph Foley was a very special friend in her later years. The Coffrin Family would like to thank Dr. Frank Landry, the caregivers in the Gardenview Memory Care unit at the Converse Home and the Starr Farm Nursing Center for taking such good care of Ann. An announcement for a memorial service will be made at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ann's name to the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Ave., Burlington VT 05401.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on September 28, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Strong Red Cross Showing for CATEX

Strong Red Cross Showing

The Barre Auditorium (shown right) is just one of many locations across the state where Red Cross Disaster Services Volunteers and staff went into action today as the statewide CATEX drill continued. As mock shelters were opened in Barre and Jericho, other staff participated at the Emergency Operations Centers in Waterbury and other locations around the state. With actors playing roles as shelter residents, a wide variety of scenarios were played out. Shelter staff addressed the need for interpreters, helped an unaccompanied minor, provided disaster mental health services, assisted the press and more. Throughout, with the simulation creating cell phone blackouts, communications volunteers helped throughout. Much was learned and all volunteers put in loads of hard work. Thank you.

Friday, September 24, 2010



As CATEX, Vermont’s Catastrophic Full-Scale Exercise gets underway, these watch words – *** THIS IS AN EXERCISE *** -- begin and end every communication. This is just one of many safety precautions in place for this exercise as over 750 emergency responders; local, state, and federal employees; private businesses and community volunteers such as the Red Cross mobilize.

The simulation involves heavy rains hitting our region as a hurricane roars across New England. Red Cross volunteers from each of our three Chapters are spread throughout a number of sites across the state, including shelter operations at the Barre Auditorium and the National Guard facilities at the Ethan Allen Firing Range, as well as representation at the State Emergency Operations Center. Red Cross shelter, feeding, communications, disaster mental health and many other services are just some of the resources being brought to bear. Featured in this picture are disaster volunteers as they load in 200 cots at the Barre Auditorium.

Thanks to all who have made it out today and will be helping tomorrow so that the American Red Cross can put its best foot forward.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Regional Volunteer in Staten Island During Powerful Storm

Regional Mass Care Activity Lead and Northern Vermont Chapter Disaster Volunteer Steve Pernicka was on Staten Island, NY last night when a powerful storm that has been reported as a tornado ripped through New York City.

The storm was reported as hitting Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island around 5:40 pm.  During the storm Staten Island suffered wind speeds that were estimated at 70 mph and parts of Brooklyn saw sustained winds of 60 mph according to the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar.

The National Weather Service has not yet declared the storm a tornado however there have been a number of trained spotters who reported seeing a funnel cloud about two miles north-northeast of Staten Island's Huguenot neighborhood.  Today National Weather Service officials will inspect the storm damage to determine if, in fact, a tornado hit the city.

Check out Steve's storm photos here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blood Drawing at Northern Vermont Chapter Headquarters

The American Red Cross invites you to Donate Blood at the Northern Vermont Chapter's Headquarters building located at 29 Mansfield Avenue – Burlington, VT on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 from 10 am – 2 pm.  You can Walk-in or for an appointment, visit or by call 1-800-RED CROSS. 

Remember for the month of September all presenting donors will be Automatically Entered to win a pair of tickets to see the Boston Red Sox VS. the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on October 2nd (Includes gas card – Tickets non-transferrable/non-redeemable for cash) and will receive a FREE movie pass to the Essex Cinemas.


Network Installation in Emergency Communications Trailer

Matt Bessette and Michelle Loveday, members of the Regional Disaster Services Technology Team (DST) spent the day on September 16th moving PCs, running cables, connecting monitors, loading software and testing everything in the Emergency Communications Trailer headquartered in Burlington.  They were doing all this work as part of the computer network installation being done in the trailer to increase the capabilities of that response resource during times of emergency.

The network setup consists of a server and two workstations in the trailer with the capability to allow others to connect to the system whenever the trailer is on a disaster site. 

Next, the team will be installing a Cradlepoint MBR1000 3G/4G Mobile Broadband N Router which will provide the trailer with the capability to have internet access using aircards.  A great use for this connectivity is having laptops in a shelter connecting to the Red Cross "Safe and Well' Website when there are no internet capabilities in the shelter facility itself. 

There is more to come and we will be sure to keep you updated here on the Regional News and Notes.  You can check out the project photos on our Flickr site by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Disaster Training Courses Being Offered in Williston

Here are a couple of Disaster Services training courses that we are offering next week at the Williston Town Hall Meeting Space in Williston, VT:

Tuesday Sept 21st at 6pm-9:15pm: Mass Care an Overview
Wednesday Sept 22nd at 6pm-9:15pm: Shelter Operations

Please email Danielle Beaudoin at or call 660-9130 ext. 108 to RSVP.

Welcome New Regional Executive and CEO

We are pleased to announce that longtime Vermont health and human services leader Larry Crist will be joining the American Red Cross as Regional Executive of the Vermont/New Hampshire Valley Region and CEO of the Northern Vermont Chapter effective September 27th.   

In the course of his career, Larry has managed organizations with budgets ranging from $100,000 to $40 million and staff teams ranging for 17 to 400 employees.  He began his career with community-based organizations engaged in reform within the corrections system in New Orleans and Boston.  Larry moved to Vermont in 1986, and since that time, his work has been valued by several administrations in the Governor’s office.  Larry was Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health from 1990-91, and from 1991-96 served as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Aging & Disabilities, during which time he successfully led long term care reform efforts in the state.  Larry rejoined the Vermont Department of Health in 1996 as Director of the Division of Health Protection and has been Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness & Emergency Medical Services since 2007.  Larry has worked tirelessly with and on behalf of communities across the state, building coalitions with diverse constituencies, managing and mobilizing community-based volunteers, and advocating for vulnerable and underserved communities.  He has partnered extensively with the Red Cross through his work leading Vermont’s response to the H1N1 Pandemic, and in roles such as Incident Director of the State Operations Center and Chair of the Vermont Terrorism Task Force.

Larry holds a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University, a Master of Science and Social Services from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Nicholls University.

Please join us in welcoming Larry to the American Red Cross. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Catastrophic Exercise Coming Soon!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, long, relaxing weekend once the threat of Hurricane Earl passed us. A HUGE thank you to those of you that gave us your availability in case the Vermont and New Hampshire Valley Region was called upon for Hurricane Assistance.

The Catastrophic Exercise (CATEX) is coming up soon! The Red Cross will be participating in one of the largest drills ever held in the state of Vermont. Our primary participation locations are Barre where we will be setting up, managing and closing the mass care portion of the Regional Med Surge – Mass Care facility and exercising our Emergency Communications Trailer; Ethan Allen Firing Range where we will be setting up, managing and closing shelters in three mock towns as well as setting up and operating a Mobile Kitchen; the St. Johnsbury Regional Coordination Center where we will have EOC Liaison staff and the State Emergency Operations Center where we will have EOC Liaison Staff (the State EOC will be operating overnight on the 24th as well).

Some of you have already mentioned you would like to participate in passing, but in order to keep the numbers clear I would like you to send email or call me if you are interested and available if you have not already done so.

Dates/Times: Friday, September 24th, 3pm-7pm
Saturday, September 25th, 8am-4pm

The CATEX will be a great chance to participate in a Red Cross event and practice our disaster response skills! Proper Identification must be worn. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks! –Danielle

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Computer Network Installed at Rutland Headquarters

The American Red Cross, Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley Region, Disaster Services Technology Team installed a new network server, desktop workstations and supporting equipment in the "newly-reopened" headquarters building of the Central VT/NH Valley Chapter.  Thank you to all the team members who gave up their entire Saturday on the 6th of September to make this project happen.  Check out the photos here Rutland Computer Install.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sgt Tristan Southworth Visting Hours and Funeral Support Photos

The Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross was honored to have been asked to provide support at the Visiting Hours and Funeral for SGT Tristan Southworth in Hardwick.  Please check out our photos from that detail by clicking

News Release - Local Red Cross Anticipates Earl: Assesses Local Needs, Provides Volunteer Support to New England Neighbors

(Burlington, Vermont – September 3, 2010) With Hurricane Earl approaching New England, Disaster Services staff and volunteers with the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross are working hard to plan and respond. A hurricane cannot be prevented, but the Red Cross knows that steps can be taken to prepare. Hurricanes are unpredictable and in case of a westerly turn; the Red Cross here in the Vermont and New Hampshire Valley wants to be sure that they are ready for whatever comes their way. Plans are being reviewed and contingencies are being considered. This includes marshalling all available Red Cross disaster services volunteers, looking at the options for potential shelter locations and ensuring supplies and resources are where they need to be.

Local volunteers are on alert should their services be needed in Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley and one local Red Cross volunteer has deployed to the area expected to be at the heart of Hurricane Earl. Janet Ducharme of Lebanon, NH headed out this morning for a Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation Headquarters in Warwick, Rhode Island. Ms. Ducharme is prepared to put her training in disaster assessment into action in southern New England as Red Cross chapters throughout the Northeast bring their resources to bear on the affected areas.

“Janet’s work is a great example of Red Crossers and their commitment to supporting people in need whether it is right here at home or in a state next door,” said Tim Stetson, Chief Response Officer for the Vermont & New Hampshire Valley Region of the American Red Cross. He added, “Janet is just one of many volunteers in our region who spend most of their time responding to the needs of their neighbors in their hour of greatest need, whether a single family fire, flood or other local disaster. This national assignment is simply an extension of that training and commitment.”

The American Red Cross is on the ground in fourteen states along the East Coast with shelters poised to be opened in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in conjunction with emergency planning that continues in 12 other states along the coast. The Red Cross recommends three steps to take now to be prepared for disasters like Hurricane Earl – build a kit, make a plan and be informed.

The mission of the American Red Cross in Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley is to provide relief to victims of disasters and help our community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The Red Cross also teaches children and adults how to save lives through first aid, CPR and AED training, water safety instruction, and community safety education.

All emergency assistance provided by the American Red Cross is provided free of charge and made possible by donations from fellow community members. To help the victims of this and other disasters, contributions can be made to the American Red Cross by logging onto the web site – or by sending a contribution to the American Red Cross, Disaster Relief Fund, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323. Please specify Disaster Services in the memo of your check.


Relief Teams, Travelers Keep Eye On Earl - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh

Relief Teams, Travelers Keep Eye On Earl - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh

Vermont Red Cross Prepares For Hurricane Earl - FOX44NOW.COM - Burlington/Plattsburgh News, Weather and Sports

Vermont Red Cross Prepares For Hurricane Earl - FOX44NOW.COM - Burlington/Plattsburgh News, Weather and Sports

From the Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley Regional Disaster Operations Center Daily Operations Unit Watch Floor

Conference Call-A-Mania

You hear us talking about all the conference calls that we participate in when we are in an intensified state of readiness and we thought we would give you just a quick overview of the number of calls that we will be participating in today.

First thing this morning we will be participating in the FEMA Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster conference call; followed by a call with all the State Support Functions (SSFs) and Vermont Emergency Management.  At 12:30 we will be hosting our regional  Disaster Leadership Team conference call and will then participate in the National Disaster Operations Center (NHQ-DOC) call with all of the northeastern states.  These are the calls that are currently scheduled and we are always prepared to participate in any others that occur during the day.

The calls are a very essential part of the Intel Gathering and Situational Awareness that provides the foundation for our being ready to respond to whatever need occurs as the result of any of the storms that we are following.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Red Cross Ready to Respond to Hurricane Earl

Glen Beasley, Executive Director of The American Red Cross Cape and the Islands Chapter shows some of the supplies that have been pre-positioned on Cape Cod and the Islands in advance of Hurricane Earl. Cots, comfort kits, and blankets are some of the items clients will be able to utilize at shelters.

Photo Credit: Donna Morrissey/American Red Cross
WASHINGTON, September 2, 2010 – The American Red Cross is on the ground in fourteen states along the East Coast as Hurricane Earl heads toward North Carolina with sustained winds of 140 mph.

Red Cross shelters are expected to open this afternoon in North Carolina, and additional shelters are poised to open in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with emergency planning continuing in ten other states along the coast. Up-to-date shelter location information is readily available on by clicking “Find a Shelter.”

Hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued by the National Hurricane Center from North Carolina to Maine. More than 350 trained Red Cross disaster workers have been deployed to North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, along with more than 60 emergency vehicles.

“Hurricane Earl is big and powerful, and even a glancing blow will mean high winds and flooding,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “The Red Cross is ready – from the Carolina coast to Maine – and people in those areas should be prepared, too. We urge residents to stay informed and be prepared should the storm affect their areas.”

In North Carolina, additional Red Cross shelters are on standby to open if needed. The Red Cross has deployed 183 disaster workers to the state to support efforts there, along with 37 emergency response vehicles and two trailers of additional disaster relief supplies to add to what is already in the state.

Should the storm turn toward the New York coastal area, shelter locations have been identified in Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City.

Further up the coast in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, shelters are ready to open and 171 disaster workers have deployed to the area to assist those who may be affected by the Category 4 hurricane. The Red Cross has 24 emergency response vehicles in the two states, with two trailers of disaster relief supplies on the way to supplement what is already available in the area.

The Red Cross is working with various state, county and local government officials to determine what their areas will need. Emergency planning is taking place in North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

People who are evacuating can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website, accessible at, so that friends and relatives can find out how they are. For those who don’t have internet access, call 1-800-RED CROSS  (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information.

The Red Cross pre-positions supplies near disaster prone areas to speed up the time it takes to respond to storms like Hurricane Earl. This ability to respond quickly is due to the financial support in advance of disasters by companies and organizations that are members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Members of the ADGP program include Altria Group, American Express, AXA Foundation, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Darden Restaurants, Inc., FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, General Motors Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare and UPS.

The storms in the Atlantic Ocean are causing powerful rip currents. The Red Cross advises anyone visiting the shore areas to swim only on lifeguard protected beaches and within designated swimming areas.

To make a financial donation to the Red Cross to help people affected by this storm and other disasters here in the United States and around the world, people can click, call or text – visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The storm may also impact blood collections in the affected areas. To find out how you can be a blood donor, visit

Central VT/NH Valley Chapter Volunteer Deploying to Hurricane Earl

Janet Ducharme an experienced volunteer with the Central VT/NH Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is deploying to the Red Cross' Hurricane Earl Relief Operation in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Janet will be departing from her home in Lebanon, NH on the morning of September 3rd and will travel to Warwick, RI where the headquarters of the operation is currently located.   Janet has committed to a minimum 3-week assignment and has been assigned as a member of the pre-landfall leadership team.  She will be supporting Disaster Assessment activities in the area should the storm make landfall anywhere in the operational area. 

Stay posted to our blog for additional updates on Red Cross Hurricane Readiness Activities.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Katrina Volunteers Remember - FOX44NOW.COM - Burlington/Plattsburgh News, Weather and Sports

Katrina Volunteers Remember - FOX44NOW.COM - Burlington/Plattsburgh News, Weather and Sports

Hurricane Earl Readiness and Response

Hurricane Earl Threatens East Coast
All eyes are on the Atlantic as people across the East Coast prepare for a potential impact from Hurricane Earl, currently a Category 4 storm.  As we encourage all Americans to prepare themselves and their families for this storm, the Red Cross is also getting ready for landfall in a number of states, many of which haven’t seen a major hurricane in decades.

American Red Cross chapters in North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine are on alert and beginning to put their plans into action. Emergency response vehicles (ERVs) are on-call to potentially distribute meals, and other needed supplies. Trained and experienced disaster volunteers are being mobilized to move to potential impact zones in the Outer Banks, Long Island and Cape Cod.  Additional volunteers are on stand-by in nearly every state along the eastern seaboard to open shelters in the case of evacuations.

Hurricane Earl has an extremely wide eye – 16 miles – and we anticipate that people across the coast, and even inland, will feel the impact of this storm. In addition, another storm, which may become Hurricane Fiona, is just days behind Earl, following his path.

Hurricane Season 2010

Hurricane Earl is already the fifth named-storm this hurricane season, and NOAA continues to predict an extremely active season. More than 35 million Americans live in regions threatened by hurricanes. With your support, the American Red Cross helps communities across the country prepare for, respond to and recover
from hurricanes every year.

This year, NOAA predicts between 14-23 named storms will occur during hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The seasonal average is 11 named storms, but a combination of stormconducive weather patterns, warm water temperatures and current storm trends led researchers to predict an increased level of activity for this season. Of the predicted storms, 8 to 14 are expected to be hurricanes.

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Hurricane Readiness

While no one can predict with perfect certainty when or where hurricanes will strike, the American Red Cross works every day to help prepare communities for these storms and minimize their impact. We sustain a nationwide infrastructure ready to spring into action within hours of a hurricane and prepared to stay for as long as it takes to meet the needs of those affected.

Thesupport of the public enables the Red Cross to be better prepared and improve the quality of service we provide to our clients. With the increased threat we see this year, we have already pre-positioned additional supplies across the gulf region, like 32,000 cots, 65,000 blankets and 120,000 shelf-stable meals. We also have nearly 90,000 disaster-trained volunteers prepared to serve in communities across the country and more than 20 warehouses strategically placed across the country, filled with shelf-stable food, water, nursing supplies, and cleanup and comfort kits, all ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.  Our diverse partner network comprised of national and local organizations is ready to provide additional resources and expertise
during times of disaster.

In addition, donors’ support enables the Red Cross to maintain:

• 320 Emergency Response Vehicles
• Enough cots and blankets for 350,000 people
• 56,000 shelter locations
• The capability to serve 1 million meals every day for six days

In the wake of hurricanes, the Red Cross begins providing services immediately. Shelters are opened, meals served, families and loved ones reconnected, medical and mental health needs met, and recovery plans formed. In the aftermath of a hurricane, those impacted have a multitude of questions about what the future will hold. The public's support helps the Red Cross provide the answers.

The American Red Cross – Preparing our Communities

While the American Red Cross works daily to improve our organizational preparedness and service delivery, true readiness is possible only with an informed and active public. To that end, the Red Cross strives to achieve fully prepared and educated communities.

Every year the Red Cross encourages families to prepare for the oncoming hurricane season with a Hurricane Safety Checklist. We provide instructions on how to build a disaster supply kit, develop an evacuation plan, safeguard homes and protect possessions, and keep you and your family safe during and after a hurricane strikes.

We provide critical instruction in CPR, First Aid and Preparedness that train everyday people to become lifesavers in times of emergency. In 2009, approximately 10 million people learned lifesaving skills through a Red Cross class and approximately 5 million attended a Red Cross disaster education presentation. A person learns skills in a Red Cross class 41,000 times per-day that will help them protect and assist
their friends and neighbors during times of emergency.

Support of Our Donors

You can help people affected by disasters like Hurricane Earl, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in
response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

From the Disaster Operations Center Watch Room - Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl Tracking Map
Here on the Watch Floor at the Regional Disaster Operations Center we continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storm Fiona as they both make their way up the Atlantic. 

But we're doing more than watching.  We are also making e-mail and phone contacts with all of our volunteer personnel requesting information on their availability for the next few weeks and are readying equipment resources so we are prepared to deploy them should they be needed.  A team of two drivers has been recruited for the Burlington based  Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and we are in the process of recruiting personnel to deploy with the Rutland based ERV should either of these vehicles be needed. 

We continue to review our preparedness plans and procedures confirming that we are prepared to meet the needs in Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley should either of the storms move a little more to the west and have a direct impact on our region.

As can be expected, information is essential during events like these and the number of conference calls required to keep everyone on the same page picks up quite considerably.  This time is no different and personnel in Disaster Services, Fund Raising, Public Affairs and others have been actively engaged in these discussions.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available here on our blog.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red Cross Provides Support at Military Funeral Services

Volunteers from the Northern Vermont Chapter are providing mass care support, requested by the Vermont National Guard due to the heat, at the visiting hours tonight for Sgt. Tristan Southworth.  The teams will be on-site this evening in Hardwick and will return tomorrow morning to provide the same support at the military funeral.

"We will have more than ten volunteers supporting this operation," says Volunteer Coordinator Danielle Beaudoin.  "We really appreciate the willingness of these individual to assist us in meeting our mission to support the members of our military and their families.

Chittenden County DAT Responds to Shelburne Fire

The Chittenden County Disaster Action Team responded this morning at around 2:30 am to a fire at Rice Lumber in Shelburne to provide mass care support services to the emergency services workers on-scene.  The team was on-scene for two hours and provided much needed beverage support.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Champlain Valley Fair 50/50 Raffle

The Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, in conjunction with the Champlain Valley Exposition held a 50/50 raffle at the Lyle Lovett concert on Saturday evening at the annual Champlain Valley Fair, the largest fair in Vermont.  Mike Sullivan, Deb Lee and six dedicated volunteers braved the gorgeous 80 degree, sunny weather to sell tickets for our great cause. We would like to thank Max and Allison Levy, Ginny and Tom McGehee Condon, John Stark, and LouAnn Chaffee for contributing their time and effort.

Now that we’ve got our feet wet, we are sure that next year it will be even better!

Red Cross Photos from 2010 Vermont Rural Fire-EMS Expo

Check out this gallery of photos of the Caledonia County Disaster Action Team at this past weekend's Vermont Rural Fire-EMS Expo in Lyndonville here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shelter Trailer "Up Fit" Project

Bruce Pollock is heading up a team of volunteers to "fit up" all of the shelter trailers we have in the region. This "fit up" includes the installation of 110-volt shoreline electricity, lighting inside and out, collapsible work counters and more making each trailer much more than just a big box on wheels. It actually makes each trailer usable as an office or other workspace. Work was completed last week on the first trailer of the project ~ the Brattleboro trailer. Be sure to check out all the photos here.

Red Cross Thanked Through "Random Acts of Cheddar"

You've Just Been Thanked!

The Red Cross was thanked yesterday by the Cabot Farmers of Vermont for eveything that we do in our communities.  Imagine our surprise when a van that looked like a rig made for hunting in fall pulled into our yard and two people dressed in matching flannel shirts got out.  It caused quite a stir and then it became even more exciting when the male member of the team came into our office and placed a bag of Cabot Cheddar Cheese samples on the front counter and said "You've Just Been Thanked."

You see Cabot Creamery is a farmer owned cooperative and like the farm families who own Cabot, they are about community -- those they farm in and those they sell their cheese in.  That's why, says their website, that they created Random Acts of Cheddar, an inititative to share their cheddar and celebrate the cooperative spirit that Cabot is founded upon.

We want to say Thank You Cabot and Thank You Red Crossers everywhere ... It's because of you that "We Have Been Thanked!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Caledonia County DAT at 2010 Vermont Rural Fire EMS Expo

The Caledonia County DAT at the 2005 Expo

The Northern Vermont Chapter's Caledonia County Disaster Action Team will be present at the 2010 Vermont Rural Fire & EMS Expo this Saturday at the Caledonia County Fairgrounds in Lyndonville to provide light mass care for about 40 participants. The team has done this event every year for the last few and was invited back again this year. This year Tina Wood, Bob South, Pam Allen and Bruce Allen from the team will be on site.


Welcome to our new American Red Cross in Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley Blog.  We are adding this to our list of ways to try and keep everyone in the loop on "goings on" in the region.  Please be sure to send along news that you would like to have included.  We are continuing our work on integrating all of our different social networking tools.  Keep watching for more news coming soon.