Monday, September 19, 2011

Assistance Provided in Response to Deadly Apartment Fire

In the early hours of this morning, the Red Cross received a call that a fire had broken out at a 13-unit apartment building on Brooklyn Street in Morrisville, VT. The blaze took the life of one resident and left another seriously injured.

Volunteers with Disaster Action Teams from Lamoille and Chittenden counties responded to lend aid and support. The compassion with which this help was delivered was matched by the speed in which those affected were able to start the process of recovery. By 7 a.m., Red Cross volunteers had assisted residents of 11 out of the 13 units. This including arrangements for temporary lodging and financial assistance aimed at providing resources for food and clothing.

All disaster services provided by the American Red Cross are made available without charge and are funded through the support of members of the community. A dedicated corps of disaster volunteers is the public face of a community-wide effort to ensure that neighbors are there to help neighbors during time of great need.

Note: While the above photo was not taken at the Morrisville blaze, it is representative of what takes place each of the almost 70,000 times a year that Red Cross volunteers respond to disasters all across the country.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Red Cross Work Continues

“Red Cross Still on the Road in Vermont with Disaster Relief”

Flood waters have receded, clean up is progressing and road repair is underway. However, many Vermont residents are still struggling with recovery in the wake of damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene, especially in areas of the state still isolated by road closures.

To meet this need, Red Cross is continuing its disaster relief outreach with Client Services workers from Vermont as well as from other states across the country. They are making their way around road closures to bring relief supplies and recovery counseling to as many Vermont disaster victims as possible.

These workers join a total of 8,000 deployed by Red Cross in response to the floods, fires and tornadoes creating devastation in eight states. Overall, Red Cross has served 1.9 million meals and snacks, handed out more than 217,000 relief items like hygiene kits, mops, gloves, tarps, coolers and provided over 28,000 mental health and health services consultations.

Pictured:Red Cross Client Services workers Deborah Fauver and Pauline Pusey load Jump Start backpacks for distribution.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, remembering the victims and honoring the brave responders, it is vital to keep in mind that the unimaginable can in fact occur. Individual, family and business emergency preparedness can make the difference in how quickly and how well we can recover.

Visit the Red Cross website,, to learn more about creating a disaster plan, what to include in your emergency supplies kit and how to learn the life-saving skills of First Aid and CPR.

You can also help the Red Cross in its work. Our costs are growing by the hour as we help people in need. Irene alone is projected to cost $10-15 million dollars. Call 1-800-Red Cross or visit to make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief.

With 84 blood drives cancelled due to Tropical Storm Irene, the Red Cross is in urgent need of blood and platelet donations and asks that people in areas unaffected by the storm consider giving blood as well as those in affected areas when safe to do so. Call 1-800-Red Cross or go to

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Helps the Red Cross . . . Again!

Earlier this year, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) and their subsidieary Keurig® partnered with the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross to provide both the single cup brewers and coffee for use by disaster services volunteers who head out into the field to assist those displaced by disaster and to support the first responders at the scene. Pictured at left, one of the donated Keurig® machines was put to use at a feeding station in response to the severe spring flooding experienced in our area.

This week, in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, GMCR's tremendous spirit of generosity resulted in a pledge of $250,000 to the American Red Cross. The GMCR gift includes $200,000 for the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross, $75,000 of which will be dedicated to ongoing relief efforts in response to Irene and $125,000 of which will be used to create a model that will allow the Red Cross to build sheltering capacity at a community level across our region. The balance of $50,000 will be split between the American Red Cross of Central and Western Massachusetts and the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts and is being provided to assist with Irene-related relief.

Tropical Storm Irene left a wide path of destruction and the scale of the response is both massive, yet at the same time very local as community leaders and individuals pitch in to help their neighbors. The $125,000 that GMCR has pledged for preparedness is being provided so that the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross can spearhead an effort to enhance the local, community capacity to shelter in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

“The GMCR donation shows great compassion for those impacted by Irene,” said Larry Crist, Regional Executive for the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. “Their gift also recognizes that we can learn from this disaster and create some good from otherwise devastating circumstances.”

“The tremendous community spirit that is so much a part of Vermont and New England has been hard at work with the hands-on recovery efforts following record flooding and devastation across the region,” said Lawrence J. Blanford, President and CEO of GMCR. “Our contribution is a reflection of our belief that businesses have a responsibility to their communities; it reflects the desire to help neighbors in need that’s been so apparent in the faces and actions of individuals and community organizations working tirelessly to help each other.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Helping Children Cope with Disaster

Disasters, like the recent flooding, can be traumatic for adults, but they are frightening for children. During a disaster, children may have to leave their homes and daily routines. They may become anxious, confused or frightened. As an adult, you need to cope with the disaster and also give your children crucial guidance about how to respond.

How you react to an emergency gives your children clues about how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. They see our fear as proof that the danger is real.

Children's fears also may stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide assurance. Here are some tips:

Ask your children to explain what's troubling them. Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that the event will happen again, someone will get hurt or killed, they will be separated from their family and they will be left alone.

While you look for housing or clean-up your damaged home, you may want to leave your children with relatives or friends. Instead, keep the family together as much as possible. Children get anxious, and they will worry that parents won't return.

Calmy and firmly explain the situation. As best you can, tell children what you know about the disaster. Explain what will happen next. Crouch down and talk to children at their level.

Encourage children to talk. Let them talk about the disaster as much as they want. Encourage them to describe what they are feeling. Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion.

Include children in recovery activities. Give them chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right.

You can help children cope by understanding what causes their anxieties and fears. Reassure them with firmness and love. Your children will realize that life will eventually return to normal. If a child does not respond to the above suggestions, seek help from a mental health specialist.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Congressman Peter Welch Pays a Visit

This morning, Congressman Peter Welch visited the Rutland headquarters of American Red Cross relief efforts in Vermont. He was provided an overview of Red Cross activities by Tim Stetson, Chief Response Officer of the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley Region. The support received from Governor Shumlin, Congressman Welch, and Senators Leahy and Sanders has been a real boast for all.

ERVs continue to run the roads of Vermont, providing relief supplies to the towns hardest hit by Tropical Storm Irene. The delivery of much need items by Red Crossers is in addition to the delivery of Red Cross supplies by the Vermont National Guard. National Guard high water vehicles, 5-ton trucks and humvees have helped distribute supplies.

In the upcoming days, bulk distribution sites will be set up to disperse a variety of items to help with clean up including shovels, rakes, tarps, batteries, flashlights, buckets, radios, gloves and trash bags. Food, water, personal hygiene items, such as hand sanitizer, will also be available free of charge to anyone in need. Distribution sites and schedules will be announced when determined.