Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winter Weather Tips

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:

Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.

Heeding Storm Warnings: A winter storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.

For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact the South Plains Regional Chapter of the American Red Cross at 806-765-8534, visit or call 1-800 RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross winter storm preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

American Red Cross has 13 Lucky Tips for a Safe Halloween
Be Safe While Having Fun!
1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!)
6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no mat­ter their pace.)
8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a safety gamble!
10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (Between parked cars is no place to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.)
11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
 13. Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

Don’t Be Scared! Be Prepared: Tips on how to keep pets safe on Halloween

(The South Plains Regional Chapter's Staff Pets)
1.      Think when you dress your pet up!
a.      Although costumes are adorable on our four legged friends, keep in mind how your pet feels about the costume. Also, make sure if you do dress your pet up to check for parts of the costume that they could choke on. Keep costumes simple and cute.
2.      Put pets in safe areas to avoid noise.
a.      If your pet is anxiety ridden, make sure to keep them in a safe and secure place in your home. Make sure they are barricaded, but comfortable in their quiet spot.
b.      Use baby gates, or limit them to a room or bathroom they normally go into so they are familiar with their surroundings.
3.      Make sure to keep an eye on your pets.
a.      If you are taking your furry friend trick-or-treating with the kids, make sure to keep dogs on leashes or harness’. Also, make sure they are comfortable walking for long periods of time.
b.      For cats, make sure to keep them away from the doors to prevent them from getting out.
c.       For outdoor pets, make sure to keep them inside on Halloween.
4.      Do not give pets candy or other harmful foods.
a.      Make sure pets do not get into candy, chocolate, or other foods that could harm them. If one of your pets gets ahold of candy, make sure to take it away from them and substitute it with safe treats for them to eat.
5.      Keep pets away from decorations that could harm them.
a.      It’s always fun to decorate for Halloween, but keep pets away from decorations that have wires, cords, or hazardous materials.
b.       If there is a decoration in your house that scares your pets, you might want to consider moving it out of sight.

Monday, September 30, 2013

7 Ways You Can Help the Red Cross

American Red Cross is always offering ways to help those in need. Here are a few ways that you can get involved:

   Make a Financial Gift to Disaster Relief - Help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
   Implement a Customer Donation Program - Give your customers the opportunity to support Disaster Relief by adding a dollar amount to their total purchase.   
   Sponsor an Employee Giving and Matching Gift Program - Engage employees by sponsoring a fundraiser in support of Disaster Relief and provide an incentive to participate by matching employee donations.
   Conduct a Percentage of Sales Program - Show your commitment to the Red Cross and those we serve while generating sales for your company by donating a percentage of sales to Disaster Relief.
   Donate Ad Space - Donate a portion of your advertising inventory and help share stories about the individuals, families and communities affected by disaster. 
   Place a Red Cross Banner Ad on Your Website - Place a Red Cross banner ad on a company website to reinforce the support of the Red Cross and encourage donations through our Donate Now webpage.
   Text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to Make a Donation - Customers of participating wireless carriers can make a $10 donation to support Disaster Relief by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999. Donations will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid account. Message and Data rates may apply.

To learn more information on ways to help the American Red Cross South Plains Region visit:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Cross Volunteer Judy Pevytoe

The American Red Cross depends on volunteers with various backgrounds, talents, and skill levels to help those locally and worldwide. Volunteers constitute 94% of the total workforce that carry out humanitarian work for the Red Cross.
            The South Plains Regional Chapter has many volunteers that help with disaster relief in the 15 counties it serves throughout West Texas. Many volunteers also deploy to different parts of the country to help those in need.
            Judy Pevytoe has been a full-time volunteer for the South Plains Regional Chapter for over a year. She mainly volunteers with the Disaster Action Team and in the office assisting with administrative tasks.
“After I completed the application and orientation process I started helping out in the South Plains Region,” Pevytoe said. “I really just enjoy volunteering with the organization because we help those in need, so it is a great way to help within the American Red Cross.”
In the South Plains area there are over 100 volunteers who help with all branches of the Red Cross. These branches include disaster relief, supporting American’s and military families, health and safety training, lifesaving blood, and international services.
Pevytoe helps with sheltering, inventory in the office, preparing for health and safety classes, and fundraising within the community. She is also a DAT Captain under the disaster relief branch, responding to emergency calls, gathering all of the information on the disaster, and deciding what to provide for families that have been affected. Pevytoe is currently on call for any disaster relief for the North Texas Region, including assistance for the Colorado floods.
Over the past year, Pevytoe has seen mainly fires and floods impact families throughout the South Plains area. She has seen destruction around Lubbock, Muleshoe, Plains, and Plainview ruin homes and apartment complexes.
“During those disasters you see the devastation on those people’s faces,” Pevytoe said. “It’s just very rewarding to receive a hug or see some expression of relief when the Red Cross says they can help.”
Volunteering in the area can range from cleaning out the office supply closet to responding to major disasters around the world. Volunteers for the Red Cross understand our mission statement on preventing and alleviating human suffering and follow our fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.
Steps to become a volunteer in the South Plains region include: filling out a volunteer application, indicating areas of interest, completing a simple background check, and attending a two hour orientation.
For more information on how to become a volunteer for the South Plains Regional Chapter go to:

Written by: Mary McCormack, Public Affairs and Special Events Intern

Monday, September 9, 2013

Natalie Steadman to the Rescue!

This September marks the tenth year for National Preparedness Month within the American Red Cross. The South Plains Regional Chapter wants to inform our community on how to stay safe, develop disaster plans, and get information on being prepared during a disaster.
Locally, the Red Cross provides classes that help those become prepared for emergency situations or disasters. Classes such as CPR/AED training, water safety, babysitting training, and disaster training courses are provided throughout the country.
Natalie Steadman, a professor at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center and volunteer instructor for the South Plains Chapter in Lubbock, discusses the importance of why somebody should be prepared for disaster.
“It’s important to know even some of the most basic health training,” Steadman said. “Just taking some simple courses will help you save somebody that you love.”
Steadman receives first aid training for her career every two years. She said she used her training to help a man she did not know saving his life.
            Littlefield, a small town outside of Lubbock, hosted a football game one Friday night when Steadman was on the sidelines. A photographer was also near the field when he started having heart complications and became unresponsive.
            “I never thought that day would ever come,” Steadman said. “I always wondered would I freeze when it came down to it, or would all of my training and knowledge kick in?”
            Every month, the American Red Cross offers many classes that will teach basic skills on how to assist someone who needs immediate medical attention. Without these classes, Steadman would not have been prepared and able to save someone’s life.
            “I’ve learned that the American Red Cross is all about helping those people in need at the very worst times in life,” Steadman said. “They have so many things to offer on how you can help, and I do my best to be an advocate.”

Written by: Mary McCormack, Public Affairs and Special Events Intern

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hotel Fire Safety Tips

Fires are scary when they happen in your own home, but what if they happen when you're staying in a hotel?  Here are a few extra steps you need to take to ensure you'll be prepared if a fire breaks out in your hotel.

Be safe when traveling

  • Choose a hotel/motel that is protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system.
    When you check in, ask the front desk what the fire alarm sounds like.
    When you enter your room, review the escape plan posted in your room.
    Take the time to find the exits and count the number of doors between your room and the exit. Make sure the exits are unlocked. If they are locked, report it to management right away.
    Keep your room key by your bed and take it with you if there is a fire.
    If the alarm sounds, leave right away, closing all doors behind you. Use the stairs — never use elevators during a fire.
    If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.

If you can't escape ...

  • Shut off fans and air conditioners.
  • Stuff wet towels in the crack around the doors.
  • Call the fire department and let them know your location.
  • Wait at the window and signal with a flashlight or light colored cloth.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Monday, February 11, 2013

Red Cross Recruiting Volunteers Ahead of Tornado Season

First-Ever Texas/Oklahoma Exercise to Provide Training Opportunity

Easter week last year, 17 tornadoes ripped through the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Weeks later, a deadly outbreak devastated hundreds of families across Oklahoma. As is their custom, the American Red Cross responded immediately to get help to those in need.

One of the first tasks undertaken by Red Cross volunteers is a disaster assessment. This duty is critical to the organization because it helps them determine how many families are affected, how many meals need to be prepared and how many volunteers will be needed to respond. Today, the American Red Cross is seeking to increase its pool of disaster assessment volunteers in advance of tornado season by offering a pool of upcoming training courses.

“It’s a simple process to become a Red Cross volunteer,” said Shannon Smith, Executive Director, South Plains Regional Chapter. “Just jump on our website at and click on the volunteer link. You’ll get all of the instructions on how to register and you’ll receive your next steps.”

The Red Cross is urging new volunteers to get trained in February so that they can participate in the agency’s first tornado disaster drill that will take place across the states of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

“We’re tornado prone in both Texas and Oklahoma so we have to prepare ahead of these storms,” said Smith. “The time to take your training is when the sky is blue so we’re hopeful that many people will take the opportunity to join us in February for training and then work with us on this important drill in early March.”

Anyone interested in joining the American Red Cross should go to and click on the “Volunteer” link or call 806-765-8534. To prepare for spring storms, visit

Friday, January 25, 2013

Local Red Cross Volunteer Starting 2nd Sandy Deployment

An American Red Cross South Plains Regional Chapter volunteer is deploying tomorrow to New York City to assist residents affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Phoenix Lundstrom will be assigned to recovery planning and assistance where she will be working with clients to secure needs not met through personal, community, or government resources.

Phoenix is scheduled to leave tomorrow morning and will be back on February 18th.  This is her second deployment to the Northeast since the storm made landfall.

Nearly 1,000 Red Cross workers are still in the areas affected by the massive storm. The Red Cross is helping with food, emotional support and longer-term assistance.

Volunteers are working with government and community partners as part of a comprehensive response to help Sandy survivors recover.

For the next several months, a big part of the Red Cross recovery efforts will be working one-on-one with people who need some extra help.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Training and Deploying to Serve the Military

Nearly 150 years ago Clara Barton recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army and today the American Red Cross continues to serve the U.S. military, its veterans, and their families through our Service to the Armed Forces program.

One of the ways we support the military is by service members connected to their families during difficult times. Our Emergency Communications Center quickly and efficiently obtains the required information and sends those messages to service members all over the world. As sophisticated as our communications are, in the end, the messages are relayed to trained Red Cross personnel in the field who work with the military to deliver the message.

One of those people is Gaby Skovira, a young Red Crosser who learned in November that she would be deploying to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan this month as part of our Service to the Armed Forces program. Gaby has written a series of blog posts covering her training, the trip to Afghanistan, and her initial orientation once she got there. It's a great behind the scenes look at one of our five core services.

Be sure to keep up with the Red Cross Blog for future updates from Gaby.

Members of departing Team 28 and arriving Team 29

Monday, January 14, 2013

Steps to Help Kids Avoid the Flu

Health officials are reporting widespread influenza outbreaks in 47 of 50 states, up from just a week ago. One age group hit particularly hard is children and the American Red Cross has some steps parents can teach their kids to help them avoid getting sick.

Some children have gotten so sick they have had to be hospitalized. According to the Centers for Disease Control, while some of the children hospitalized had underlying medical conditions such as asthma, more than 40 percent of hospitalized children had no other medical conditions.

Washing Hands

Kids have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses. Parents should teach children proper hand washing techniques and how to correctly cover coughs or sneezes. Washing hands properly is an important step to avoid getting the flu. Wash hands with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:

  • Wash for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry. Younger children can be taught to sing a short song like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," or the "Happy Birthday" song a few times, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
  • Continue to rub until the product dries.

The Scrub Club®

The American Red Cross and NSF International have collaborated to help parents and teachers reinforce kids' hand-washing habits. The Scrub Club® is an interactive Web site that offers free materials to raise awareness about the benefits of hand washing to fight germs and prevent illness. The website features cartoon Webisodes featuring seven soaper-heroes and comes complete with educational materials, music and games. Visit for more information.

Sneezing and Coughing

If a child has to cough or sneeze, parents should teach them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and wash their hands afterwards. If they don’t have a tissue, they should be taught to cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm, not their hands.

Kids should also be taught to avoid sharing such things as utensils, cups and bottles, and to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.

Safety Steps

The most important thing parents can do is get children six months of age or older a flu vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Children’s caregivers should also get vaccinated. Other steps parents can take include:

  • Keep surfaces like bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
  • If someone in the household is sick, try to keep the sick person in a separate room from others in the household, if possible.

If the Child Becomes Ill

If a child gets sick, parents should consult their doctor. They should also make sure their child gets plenty of rest and fluids. If the child is breathing fast or having trouble breathing, has bluish or gray skin color, refuses to drink, is vomiting, is irritable or has trouble staying awake, parents should get the child medical help right away. The child should stay home from school or day care until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.

More Flu Facts

Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the free Red Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices. You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting