Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Red Cross NCR looking for partner support with Mass Care Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,

Here is YOUR opportunity to volunteer during Inauguration!

The Red Cross of the National Capital Region has been asked to perform a number of essential roles during Inauguration Week (1/15/09 through 1/22/09), including sheltering local victims of daily disasters (e.g. fire victims) while there are no hotel rooms within 200 miles, sheltering and feeding emergency services personnel coming in from across the country and being on standby to shelter thousands of people should there be an unexpected event that interrupts the festivities.

If you would like to be trained to volunteer for inauguration in Mass Care and Shelter Operations, please let us know!

Very much looking forward to your reply and to your support.

Elliot Harkavy, NGO Partner Services Lead
American Red Cross of the National Capital Region

Andrew Levy, NGO Partner Services Deputy
American Red Cross of the National Capital Region

What is your RQ?

In our previous discussion, we talked about "Resolve to be Ready". But how do you really know if you are ready?

What's Your Readiness Quotient?

"In recent years, the American people have been urged to “get ready” and to prepare for emergencies – from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. But no one has ever given the public a simple, comprehensive and consistent tool to actually measure how prepared they are. No one has ever provided individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole with a practical “gauge” to assess their preparedness, recognize their successes and identify gaps where more work needs to be done." Source: WhatsYourRQ.orq

Thanks to The Council for Excellence in Government and partners like the Citizen Corps Council, Ready.gov, and American Red Cross, you can learn your "RQ"

Find out what's your readiness quotient at http://www.whatsyourrq.org/

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ready to Resolve in 2009

Recently, we received an email from Ready.gov about their new campaign.

"As the New Year approaches, the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign is once again reminding people that Now’s the Time. Resolve to be Ready in 2009."

At the time of this posting, it was not easy to find additional details of this campaign on Ready.gov. The direct link can be found at http://www.ready.gov/america/about/resolve2009.html

Take a few minutes and check it out. And resolve to be ready!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Officer Struck by Vehicle - "Move Over" Law Charged

During the busy holiday season, we have tons of erands to run and many stops along the way. Everyone is running around. It seems like there is just not enough time.

A few weeks ago, we featured a video of a police vehicle hit by another vehicle. The following is from a local police press release.

When you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, please take extreme caution.

"A Fairfax County Police Officer was hit by a car on Wednesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. The 31-year-old officer had stopped a vehicle on the Fairfax County Parkway near Interstate 66. The six-year veteran was issuing a traffic summons when a 2004 Lexus L43 came from behind and struck the officer. The officer was able to walk back to his vehicle and call for assistance. The driver of the striking vehicle pulled forward and to the side of the road immediately following the incident. The officer was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, treated for non life-threatening injuries and released.

The driver was released on a summons with violating Virginia code section 46.2-921.1 Drivers to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways. This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-
411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Season Reminders

It is that time of year for the Christmas tree reminders.

Don't forget to keep your tree well watered.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Disaster Links Worth Checking Out

This website was created by CBS News Producer "Digital Dan". This website at CBS News has a large list of disaster related resources.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Many Neighbors Helping Neighbors Readers Impacted By Storms in United States Northeast

FEMA put out the following alert. These are import tips for any major power outage.

BOSTON - As New England works to recover from the powerful ice storm that left millions without power, neighbors are coming together to help each other and all levels of government along with the private sector are working together to restore a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately there is also a small group out there seeking to take advantage of those affected by the storm.

There have been reports of scammers posing as officials from utilities or as government officials. These scammers ask for a payment in order to get power restored or speed along the delivery of assistance. Legitimate officials will never request such payments.

There are several steps that individuals can take to avoid being victimized by such scam artists:

Request identification from anyone that visits your home. Actual officials will be able to provide their name and identification.

Do not provide credit card or banking information to anyone who comes to your home unannounced.

If you have a concern about a person claiming to be a contractor, contact your state Attorney General's office.

If state or federal disaster assistance is made available to individuals in the areas affected by the ice storm, that announcement will be heavily publicized by state and local officials and the news media. There will also be full explanation of the process to apply for assistance and what types of aid will be available.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

(Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=47113)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Local Preparations for Inauguration in full Force

Other stations are covering the American Red Cross preparations for the Presidential Inauguration.

For additional information, view the complete News8 Story.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Respond to Presidential Inauguration - Where will you be?

"We will need 300 to 500 volunteers, that includes shelter managers, feeding crews, and first aid go teams on the Mall."

So, where will you be for the Presidential Inauguration? Many readers of Neighbors Helping Neighbors will be volunteering with the American Red Cross.

For additional details, view the complete WUSA9 story.

If you are interested in volunteering with an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT), the next DAT Training begins January 8 at Chapter Headquarters. For additional information or to register for the DAT Camp, visit: http://www.redcrossnca.org/Online/class_registration.php?action=list&classname=DAT+Camp

PSAs for Everyone in Your Community - Ice Ice Baby

Yesterday, we shared a local video "Ice Ice Baby" adding emergency information to your cell phone.

We also said to have some fun with the local PSAs.

While you are getting ready for winter storms, are you making sure that the entire community can hear? your message.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ICE ICE Baby - In Case of Emergency

One way to improve readiness in your community is through local public service announcements (PSAs).

And have fun with them.

Anyone can make an emergency preparedness video

There are many emergency preparedness videos available on You Tube. Some are better than others. Most have the same core messages.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Gift Idea

You may hear about this gift idea year after year, but do you have one? What about your family and friends?

Even if tough economic times, these are items every household, vehicle, and office should have.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do you have a clue?

What the Red Cross does?

And how it may be able to help you, your friends, and family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking for a disaster psychology course, but

it is not offered in your local community?

First, check out the Red Cross to see when the next Psychological First Aid course is offered.

Another option is the following CERT Disaster Psychology online video.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Look Back (1995) and Looking Forward

In 1995, "Obama Introduces Bill to Create National Emergency Volunteer Corps"


"... Unfortunately, my office has received numerous complaints from volunteer doctors that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not return their phone calls, did not have information on how they could volunteer, or simply referred them to local authorities who were not able to help them. Doctors who attempted to volunteer their services on the HHS website encountered significant difficulties as well. Such a lack of information and responsiveness is shocking during a time of emergency. Given the urgent need to get medical personnel to affected areas as soon as possible, I am writing to request that you direct DHS, FEMA, HHS, and all other relevant agencies to work with the Red Cross and hospitals in affected areas to eliminate any bureaucratic obstacles preventing much-needed services from getting to hurricane victims. This includes providing more detailed information to the medical profession about how they can volunteer their services, better coordination of volunteer doctors and nurses with the Red Cross and local hospitals, and waivers of liability for volunteer medical professionals. The health of too many people remains at risk, and bureaucratic red tape and run-arounds should not prevent these people from getting the help they need. Sincerely, Barack Obama United States Senator "

While programs such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) have been created, more progress needs to be made.

For example, when an MRC chapter plans to offer Psychological First Aid to MRC volunteers, does it not make sense to use a course that is widely available through a partner agency, such as the Red Cross? If there are elements that are specific to MRC, then add a brief supplement to the Red Cross course, not start from scratch. If something is developed, it needs to be easily made available to other MRC chapters.

In the past few years, we have seen many volunteers who have become very active in multiple organizations. From Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Volunteer Centers, Neighborhood Watch, Red Cross, Amateur Radio, etc. While the programs have all come to the table through Citizen Corps Council meetings, there has been less focus on the volunteers. Now, more than ever, there is a need to leverage those volunteers who are cross trained. These volunteers can form specialized "action" teams who can help coordinate volunteer efforts between multiple volunteer organizations.

There also needs to be greater focus on having all the volunteer organizations come together through a full scale exercise. During a disaster or major emergency is not the time to have all these trained volunteers work together for the first time. The exercises need to include government agencies, so the volunteers know where they fit, who they will be working with, and also the limitations.

This is not directed to any specific chapter of the MRC, Red Cross, or other Citizen Corps organization. It is directed towards change.

Change.gov - America Servers - Call to Action

In 2009, it is time again for a call to "Action". Check out the following website:


Take a few moments to look back in time.

The following Ad Council video is from 1973.

Many of these programs, like Peace Corps, Vista, and others continue today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are you ready for Digital TV?

All this week, local major networks will be testing the digital conversion across the United States.

If you are not sure if your televisions will work after the conversion, this week is the test.

Check with your local stations to find out the exact date and times of the test. During this time (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes), those stations will not be broadcasting in analog.

As a reminder the transition takes place in February 2009, just a few months away.

The Red Cross is there in times of need

From a local fire to a major disaster, the Red Cross is there.