Monday, April 29, 2013

Vermont has experienced several brush/wildfires in just the past week.  Red Cross volunteers have responded with support for firefighters in the form of food and hydration.  Allow us to share prevention tips from the Vermont Department of Public Safety.

Vermonters can help prevent and prepare for wildfire:

• Obey all local and state laws or restrictions on open burning.

• By state law, a “Permit to Kindle Fire” (an open burning permit) MUST be obtained from the Town Forest Fire Warden and is REQUIRED before you start to burn any natural wood or vegetation outdoors. The fire warden will issue a permit if the weather and fuel conditions are favorable for a controlled burn.
• Avoid burning on dry, windy days or when Fire Weather Watches or Red Flag Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.

• If you can legally and safely burn: Burn small piles; gradually adding to the fire as it burns down. Large piles of burning debris generate intense heat capable of carrying burning embers up and into other areas.

• Clear all dry grass and weeds from around your burn area, and around your home and out-buildings.

• Always have tools handy while you burn - including water, a hose, a rake and a shovel.

• If burning a large agricultural area, please check with your local fire department for advice about burning it safely.

• CALL 911 or your local fire department if your burn gets out of control and becomes a wildfire. If you delay calling for help, you may have disastrous results.

• DO NOT attempt to suppress a wildfire, if it cannot be done EASILY with the tools and water you have on hand.

• DO NOT burn household trash. The use of burn barrels to burn trash is illegal in Vermont.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What starts wtih a drill turns quickly to reality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE(Caledonia County, VT – April 27, 2013)  Just a week ago, the Disaster Action Team in Caledonia County conducted a drill.  Such an exercise helps to build skills and allows the team to maintain a degree of readiness.  As they concluded the drill, it would have been hard for them to imagine all that they would be called upon to accomplish in the week ahead.

Mirroring the real-life experience of an American Red Cross volunteer, the drill was not held at a convenient time.  In fact, last Saturday night’s drill started at 11pm.  Team members assembled and with the help of others, they practiced how they would respond to a house fire in Danville.  The volunteers provided assistance to their imagined fire victims and organized support for the non-existent first responders on scene at the mock fire.  With a few unexpected twists thrown in by the drill organizers to keep them on their toes, the team performed exceedingly well.

What followed this week put their skills to the test in some very real world situations.  On Monday, the first of several calls came in for assistance.  A Concord family of five was displaced from their home by fire. Volunteers trained in client casework met with the affected family to help assess their emergency needs.  Support was provided to replace food and clothing lost in the fire.

On Wednesday, the pace really picked up.  A tragic boating accident on the Passumpsic River in Barnet left a canoeist missing.  The Red Cross was asked to provide support at the scene.  Food and beverages were the direct assistance delivered to first responders and family, but it was the warmth and compassion of the volunteers that was probably the most important element of their work.  Over the course of two and a half days, the corps of Red Cross volunteers remained on scene to lend support.

Wednesday also brought another fire to the region, this time striking two homes in Lyndonville.  Again, volunteers met with the displaced and provided financial support to replace lost food and clothing.  This response took place while other team members remained on scene at the search and rescue.

A bright spot for the tired team came on Thursday as they spent the day with the K-12 students of Concord talking about preparedness and displaying several of the Red Cross tools used in disaster response.  This included an Emergency Response Vehicle from which food and supplies can be delivered across our region during times of disaster.  That same vehicle only recently returned from a long stint in New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  In addition, the team set up an all-in-one trailer and tent Emergency Response System (ERS) built by MMIC, a Caledonia County business that has loaned the ERS to the Red Cross.

Today, team members are back at it with another fire response.  Last night, the home of another Concord family was struck by fire.  While it appears they have made arrangements for lodging, they will be provided support for food and clothing.

In all, at least 11 Red Cross Disaster Action Team members from Caledonia County engaged in this week’s activities.  Judy Kennedy and Barb Byrne, the Co-Coordinators for the Caledonia County team have devoted considerable time in recent months to ensuring the readiness of their team.  This week, that work paid off for the people of Caledonia County.

American Red Cross staff work hard to ensure that the material and financial resources needed by our volunteers is there when it is needed most, but it is the hard work, compassion and tireless dedication that the volunteers bring to their work that allows the Red Cross to deliver the kind of service provided in Caledonia County this past week.  In all, 90% of the American Red Cross disaster services workforce is comprised of volunteers.  Without their efforts, the organization simply could not deliver on its mission.

To support the work of Disaster Action Teams like this one across our region, a donation can be made 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, call 802-660-9130, text REDCROSS to 90999, ext. 111, or mail your contribution to American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Red Cross Can Help You Be Prepared
For The Next Emergency
Take A Class, Download First Aid App To Help Save a Life

Recent events in Boston and Texas emphasize the importance of knowing what to do when an emergency occurs.  Even as first responders rushed into help at both scenes, much of the initial care to the injured was provided by friends, neighbors and bystanders who were trained in CPR and first aid. Whether the emergency is community-wide and involves numerous injuries, or involves a single individual being hurt at home, it is vital that someone close by knows what to do when such an emergency occurs.

Getting yourself and your family more prepared for disasters can bring peace of mind during trying times and can help save someone’s life during future emergencies.  Taking an action like downloading our first aid, taking a first aid class or building a disaster supply kit can help people feel empowered to act when disaster strikes.

The American Red Cross has numerous ways people can get the information and training they need to be able to help when an emergency occurs and urges everyone to be better prepared by taking advantage of training and mobile apps available to teach them what to do when someone needs assistance.

FIRST AID/CPR CLASSES The Red Cross has classes available that emphasize hands-on-learning of First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The courses teach someone the skills they need to help save a life. Participants learn how to respond to common first aid emergencies, how to respond to cardiac and breathing emergencies in adults and how to use AEDs. There are also options available to learn how to help infants and children. People can register for these classes at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
ONLINE TRAINING Family and household members can learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies by taking the new Red Cross Family First Aid and CPR online course. The cost is $30. Family First Aid and CPR teaches you how to:

  • Identify signals of medical emergencies.
  • Give appropriate care for common first aid emergencies.
  • Know when to call 9-1-1 and what to do until help arrives for critical cardiac and first aid emergencies.
This course is for people who do not require OSHA-compliant certification. It takes about 2 hours to go through the Adult CPR and First Aid content. Pediatric modules are also available.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP People can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for iPhone and Android mobile devices which puts simple lifesaving information at someone’s fingertips. Features include step-by-step instructions to guide someone through everyday first aid scenarios, full integration with 9-1-1 to call emergency services from the app and preloaded content to have instant access to information even without device reception or internet connectivity. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Response Rate Steadily Climbing Over Past 4 Years

As we start our day amidst sleet and rain, complaints will cross many of our lips.  However, for too many of our neighbors, this winter that never ends has been a lot tougher than just cold temperatures and cloudy skies.  It seems, at times, that house and apartment fires have been as much a part of the season as snowballs and skiing.  Last night was no different. 

Red Cross disaster services volunteers from Franklin County were on scene last night at a single-family house fire at 4356 West Berkshire Road in Berkshire, VT.  The family of four (parents, their adult daughter and a grandchild) were all displaced from the home that sustained major damage.  The family made arrangements for their own lodging, but the Red Cross assisted with financial support to help with food, clothing and storage containers.  In addition, the volunteers provided rehabilitative support in the form of food and hydration to the first responders at the scene. 

Late Wednesday, members of our Bennington County Disaster Action Team assisted a gentleman left homeless after fires struck his 60 Lincoln Street home in Pownal.  He had a place to stay locally, but the Red Cross volunteers extended a helping hand through financial assistance for food, clothing and bedding. 

Just three years ago, Red Cross volunteers in our region responded to 106 events, predominately house and apartment fires.  Those numbers have steadily climbed.  For our fiscal year 2011, that number climbed to 117, in 2012 the number hit 137 and this year it is projected to be in the range of 155 to 160 responses. 

The American Red Cross is always seeking new volunteers, an effort that helps the organization maintain its ability to provide timely and compassionate assistance to people across our region impacted by disaster.  To be a part of our group of dedicated volunteers, no prior experience is necessary and all the training you will need is free and will be provided.  To find out more about becoming an American Red Cross volunteer, go to or contact Angela Russell at 802-660-9130, ext. 107 or 

To help people affected by fires as well as devastating natural disasters, a donation can be made 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, call 802-660-9130, text REDCROSS to 90999, ext. 111, or mail your contribution to American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.