Thursday, June 27, 2013

Heavy rains expected to soak already saturated ground 
June 27, 2013 -- The American Red Cross of Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley is urging people to be alert and take steps in advance of the heavy rain expected over the next 24-hours.  A few steps taken before, during and after potential flooding will help ensure people weather the storm safely.  The Red Cross is heeding its own advice as it takes steps to prepare for a potential response to anticipated flooding. 

Already saturated ground that is expected to receive significant rain in the coming days creates a potential need in communities across the region.  The steps being taken by the American Red Cross of the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley to ready itself include: 

  • Red Cross volunteers have been asked to advise of their availability through the weekend; more than 60 have already responded
  • Vehicles and equipment are being readied
  • Outreach has begun to potential shelter sites
  • Lines of communication are open with State and local emergency planners
  • Red Cross disaster services workers are being lined up to staff the State Emergency Operations Center
As conditions warrant, the Red Cross will look to open shelters to serve communities that may be hard hit by the anticipated severe weather.  Additional services to impacted towns will be assessed in consultation with local and state officials. 

While the Red Cross, locally, is hard at work to ensure it is prepared should the need for its service arise, the organization is urging individuals to take steps to prepare for the potential for rapidly rising water along streams, rivers and in low-lying areas.  The Red Cross suggests: 

  • Before -- Ensure that you have available and ready to go items that you may need if you must evacuate your home.  This includes everything from a flashlight, to a fully-charged cell phone, baby and pet supplies, medications and more.
  • During -- Stay informed and safe during a flooding event by ensuring you have a crank or battery-powered radio; head to higher ground as warranted; stay away from flooded roads while driving; and keep curious children away from flood waters.  Just six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep a person off their feet and a car can be swept away in less than two feet of water.
  • After -- Only return home after it has been declared safe; look for and avoid downed power lines; wear protective gear (gloves, boots, mask) during clean up; and ensure your water supply is safe.
A great deal more preparedness information is available at  The Red Cross strongly encourages people to go to this site, take the time to review their safety plan, create an emergency kit for their home and car and to stay informed before, during and after storms.  To put much of this helpful information right at your fingertips, the Red Cross also encourages people to download its free First Aid and other preparedness apps from the iTunes Store or Google Play for Android users.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Red Cross Volunteers Provide Hope and Help to those Displaced 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE(Shaftsbury, VT – June 9, 2013)  Last night, a Shaftsbury, VT family of five, including three children ages 5 to 15, lost their home to fire.  The Cleveland Avenue blaze devastated the home, causing the family to lose everything.  Red Cross disaster services volunteers with the organization’s Bennington County Disaster Action Team took action to extend a helping hand. 

Knowing that a displaced family’s recovery begins the moment disaster strikes, the volunteers responded quickly to determine the family’s emergency needs.  The Red Cross made arrangements for the five to stay in a local hotel for the next few nights and provided financial assistance to replace food and clothing lost in the fire.  With these immediate needs addressed, the trained Red Cross caseworkers set a follow up meeting for today to determine what other forms of assistance or referrals can be offered to help in the recovery process. 

“This family, as with each family that loses their home to fire, faces a difficult road ahead,” said Doug Bishop, spokesperson with the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley Region of the American Red Cross.  “We are thankful for the work of our volunteers and for the support of others in the community that help ensure a Red Cross response is there for each family in need.” 

Red Cross volunteers with the 12 Disaster Action Teams throughout our region strive to meet with disaster victims as soon as possible, ensuring that both emotional support and immediate assistance are available.  In addition to the lodging, food and clothing support that is traditionally provided, volunteers can connect the displaced with Red Cross disaster health and disaster mental health services and offer referrals to state, local and charitable resources in the area that can help the impacted residents as they begin their difficult road to recovery. 

A vibrant volunteer corps helps the organization maintain its ability to provide timely and compassionate assistance to people across our region that have been impacted by disaster.  To be a part of our group of dedicated volunteers, no prior experience is necessary and all the training that is needed is free and will be provided.  To learn more about the American Red Cross volunteer experience, 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, ext. 111, or mail your contribution to American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.