Sunday, March 16, 2014

Be Prepared for National Flood Safety Awareness Week with the Flood App

By Kassidy Ketron


Unless you can swim like a fish or have the perfect boat for all occasions, chances are you might need to know more about what to do in the case of a flood.

In honor of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, what better time for the American Red Cross to release its newest Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods.

This app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android users, provides local and real-time information so you know what to do before during and after a flood.

Here are just a few of the awesome features this app includes:
  • Audible NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] flood and flash flood watches and warnings so people can gather loved ones and head to safety
  • The alerts can save lives if users are asleep, away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work - users can even monitor alerts in other areas where loved ones live
  • An “I’m safe” button allows users to send a message letting family and friends know they are out of harm’s way
  • The app also has toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and alarm to let others know where you are and locations of open Red Cross shelters in case people need to evacuate
  • Recovery resources are included for when you are able to return home and start cleaning up

 According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Anything from heavy rain and melting snow or ice can saturate the ground and cause floods or flash floods.

Contrary to popular belief, the American Red Cross does not have boats and cannot always get to victims during a flood.

For example, our SUVs, pickups and large vehicles are not save to drive the flood waters. Two feet of water can float most vehicles and, if the water is moving quickly, vehicles can be swept away.

Anytime you come to a flooded road, turn around and go the other way. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

While you may think you can walk through the floodwaters, just six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If the water is above your ankles, just turn around and go another way.

This app has resources developed by experts on how to prepare for flooding:

  • The content is available in English and Spanish based on the user language settings on their mobile device.
  • The app contains simple instructions and steps on what supplies to have, and how to develop an emergency plan if you have to stay put or if you must evacuate.
  • It also features interactive quizzes with badges that you can earn and share on social networks.
  • Preloaded content on the app gives users instant access to all information even without mobile connectivity.

The newest Flood App is just one in a series of emergency preparedness apps the American Red Cross is developing to put lifesaving information in the hands of people whenever and wherever they may need it. These apps can be in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store or by visiting the American Red Cross website.

It is always important to be prepared. If you would like to learn more about how you can help with American Red Cross and your community during a time of disaster please visit

Friday, March 14, 2014

Erin Imhoff volunteers for the feeling

By Kassidy Ketron

Erin Imhoff volunteers at Red Cross for the rewarding feeling she has knowing she is preparing people to save a life.

During her nine years at Red Cross, she has taught babysitters classes, wilderness first aid, CPR for the professional rescuer, and CPR for the first aid responder.

“I originally started with Red Cross in college because I needed to be recertified to work when I went back home,” Imhoff said. “And the woman who would be certifying me said that I would be a good candidate to teach Red Cross classes. So that’s how I got started.”

Teaching life saving skills is something she said she has really enjoyed about teaching the different classes at the American Red Cross.

“(I like) the fact that it’s not useless knowledge,” Imhoff said. “It’s actually knowledge that you can apply to make a difference or to actually save someone’s life.”

She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social services at Lubbock Christian University and works at a local social services program, as well as volunteering for Red Cross.

When Imhoff isn’t teaching classes, she is responding to late night calls of a disaster like any Disaster Action Team Captain would. DAT is disaster response unit of people who respond to disasters at any time of the day, providing counseling, clean-up kits and shelters.

“I think sometimes it’s emotionally draining, especially when you have to get up at 3 a.m. and go out there,” she said. “It’s a lot of quickly preparing yourself to cope with someone else’s emotions. But, when all is said and done and you’ve taken care of business, it’s rewarding. It’s kind of like a natural high because you did something helpful, something that no one else could do at 3 a.m. but you.”

Even though Imhoff has school, work and volunteering to juggle she said it’s all about organization and time management.

She said at the end of the day, knowing she taught someone to save a life and gave them the knowledge they need, makes it all worth it.

“I think just in general, it’s all very rewarding, but on different levels,” she said. “Going out on a DAT call is different, it’s kind of more of them warm fuzzy (feelings). In regards to teaching classes, I think it’s just the idea that you empowered somebody to save someone’s life is very rewarding.”

Even after nine years, Imhoff still has a good time with the American Red Cross.

“I think it’s a lot of fun and I think it’s very rewarding to be able to provide assistance in someone’s time of need,” she said.

Although Imhoff has never had to use CPR on anyone, she knows how to save a life if she ever needs to because of her time with the American Red Cross.

“(With) Red Cross, I’ve got life saving skills,” she said. “I think overall, I think it’s a very supportive. The chapters are all very supportive of their volunteers and employees and I think that’s helpful to maintain and to make them want to be a part of Red Cross.”

To join Erin Imhoff and other hardworking volunteers at the South Plains Regional Chapter, visit our website and learn more.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Judy Pevytoe Volunteers For the People She Helps

By Kassidy Ketron


Being part of the American Red Cross isn’t just a place for volunteer, Judy Pevytoe, to help people in a disaster. It gives her a purpose.

“I love the mission of the Red Cross,” the volunteer services events team coordinator said. “I love what it stands for and I love helping people. It makes me feel like I have purpose.”

Pevytoe has volunteered with the South Plains Regional chapter for about a year and a half, with about 4,000 volunteer hours under her belt.

She first learned about the Red Cross when we was out shopping.

“I was bored and wanted something to do,” Pevytoe said. “I happened to be out at the mall and Molly (Mabery, former volunteer specialist) had a table out there and I was talking to her and she made the Red Cross sound interesting.”

After she had a stroke in 2004, Pevytoe was spending time at home because she was disabled.

Despite her medical problems, she volunteers anywhere from 50 to 60 hours per week.

“We’ve had high school kids up here volunteering,” Pevytoe said, “all the way up to, the oldest couple I know that are volunteers are in their 70s. And then of course, like me, I’m disabled and I work up here, of course, healthy can, too.”

Last year, she was awarded the Golden Presidential Award and Rookie of the Year.

Anyone that is interested in volunteering, Pevytoe said can do anything from office work, service to the armed forces, teach CPR classes to disaster response.

“(I like Red Cross) because it is a good organization and without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” she said.

During her year and a half with the American Red Cross, Pevytoe said the disasters that stick out most to her are apartment fires.

“They’re so massive,” she said. “You know, when we have an apartment fire, we call everybody in and everybody just jumps in and does what needs to be done.”

Pevytoe said the most rewarding thing about volunteering is the gratitude victims of a disaster have.

“Most of the time you can see a relief and they’re real grateful that we’re there to help them with whatever we can help them with,” she said. “That look and to know that you’ve helped them (makes it worth it) and a lot of times you get a hug out of it.”

To join the American Red Cross South Plains Regional Chapter, visit and see how you can help.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Severe Weather Awareness Week — Make Sure You Are Prepared

Photo courtesy of National Weather Service

By Kassidy Ketron

It’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, which means it’s time to make sure you are prepared in case bad weather hits your city.

  • What hazardous weather can affect the area where you live and work and how could it impact you and your family?
  • Bookmark to get the latest forecast information
  • Follow the National Weather Service on Facebook and Twitter
  • Read the State of the Climate reports to discover historical trends

2. Emergency Preparedness Kit

Before disaster strikes it’s a good idea to have supplies prepared that you might not otherwise think to get during the fact.

At minimum, you should have:
  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area 

3. Family Disaster Plan

It is important for your family to be as prepared as possible when faced in case of emergency, which is why we think you need to make plans and practice what you would do in such an event.
  • Meet with your family or household members.
  • Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
  • Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
  • Plan what to do if you have to evacuate 

4. First aid and CPR/AED certified

You never know what might happen during severe weather. Planning for the worst, isn’t always a bad thing. Make sure at least one person in your household is first aid and CPR/AED certified.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great time to learn more about where you live and the weather that can affect you. It’s also a great time to get prepared. For more information visit our website.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Strikes, Spares and Super Heroes kicks of 2014 Heroes Campaign

By Kassidy Ketron

On Friday, the American Red Cross South Plains Regional chapter received great support from members of the community at Strikes, Spares and Super Heroes: Red Cross Bowling for Relief.

Almost 100 people of all ages joined in support for the Red Cross to help kick off the 2014 Heroes Campaign and raised more than $1,000.

One group that was very active in not only support, but having a good time was Delta Sigma Phi, a fraternity at Texas Tech.

Not only did they have fun, but one of their members, Beau Gold, was the winner of  the American Red Cross’ bowling tournament trophy.

Beau Gould

Delta Sigma Phi vice president, Aric Denton, said he enjoyed spending time with his fraternity brothers and having fun for a good cause.

“We are getting some community service hours,” he said, “helping out the community and it’s been a really fun event and all my brothers are here having a great time too.”

Tiffany Downing, major gifts associate for the South Plains Regional Chapter, said she enjoyed seeing how much fun everyone was having and helping their community at the same time.

“It’s so great to see people enthusiastic about helping members of their community who are the ones that will really benefit from this great event,” she said. “We’ve had an awesome turnout and the smiles on everyone’s faces make it that much more rewarding.”

Strikes Spares and Super Heroes: Red Cross Bowling for Relief, which kicked off the 2014 Heroes Campaign, began the initiative to raise $30,000 for the South Plains.

Proceeds, Downing said, will help families in the area affected by disaster when they need support the most.

“This campaign is to help the American Red Cross continue to offer support to that family that wakes up in the middle of the night to a house fire and has lost everything,” she said. “With these donations we are able to provide them with necessities like clothing, toothbrushes and even a warm meal.”

Amber McCloud
Amber McCloud brought family and friends to the event for a fun evening of bowling and games at Main Event.

McCloud serves on the board for the South Plains Regional Chapter and said she’s always happy to help the American Red Cross’ vision, which is to prevent and alleviate suffering the face of disaster through the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

“The whole family is here and we brought some friends, too,” she said. “Knowing that we’re helping people that may live next door or down the street from us is the best part of the event and the Heroes Campaign.”

Downing said not only were people quick to join in on the fun, but some even signed up to volunteer with the American Red Cross and donated to the organization.

“We are so lucky to live in such a great community and be part of such an awesome organization like the American Red Cross,” she said. “None of this would be possible without our volunteers and the people here at Main Event that having a blast with their families and friends, and helping out their community.”

Anyone from individuals, churches and businesses can donate to the Heroes Campaign. To find out more visit our website.