Tag: Safety

Have you registered for the 2018 #ShakeOut Drill yet?

This is a friendly reminder for ALL of you to register for the 2018 ShakeOut drill! What is the ShakeOut Drill? (And no, it is not a new dance).  The best description comes from the organization that hosts this annual event –  ShakeOut.  Also, below is an explanation from their website with “hyperlinks” to help you learn more.

Many areas of the globe are prone to earthquakes… You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. Are you prepared to survive and to recover quickly?

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” ShakeOut also has been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries. <Shakeout.org>


So, NOW  is the time to take  TWO MINUTES to register your family   or organization for this all important safety drill.  Remember – some of the worst earthquakes in the United States happen in states like Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia! California and Alaska don’t have the monopoly on earthquake activity in North America!  Please don’t be complacent and think, “It can’t happen here” – because history has proven quite the opposite!

Also, included on the ShakeOut.org  website are some very handy resources for students, teachers and much more.

Click on the bolded and underlined titles below to connect with the direct resource:

Preparedness materials, games, posters and downloads for K-12 :   For Educators and School Officials

For College Faculty and Administrators

For those with Access and Functional Needs

A Sign Language Video   for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness

General Information and FAQs about ShakeOut

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 5.31.06 PM.png


Dear Mom, I think we need to leave Dad …

Dear Mom,

I think we need to leave Dad.  I know that he doesn’t mean to be angry at us –  but he is “out of control” with his drinking and abuse.  When I heard him hit you last night I was in the corner of my closet – crying.  I wanted to stop him, but I was scared.  I knew he would hit me, too! 

Today, I decided to make a bold move and  I told my teacher what happened. She sent me to see our Guidance Counselor who was really nice.  The counselor told me that she is going to call you and discuss with you a place called  WINGS.  This is a special organization that can help by getting us away from Dad and to a place that is safe.  I heard that there are a lot of programs to help you feel better and even get training for a job! You always wanted to become a nurse and now maybe you can!

I didn’t know what to get you for Mother’s Day, so I thought that this first step would be the best gift.  You deserve love not bruises.  

Love you,



The above is a letter from a child to his/her parent that is totally fictionalized. However, as a School Psychologist who has worked with children from abusive homes, I know firsthand that this could have been a real note written from any number of my former clients.  Domestic violence is a serious problem in this world and WINGS has taken to trying to help women and children within their reach.

I first learned about WINGS via my colleague Margaret McSweeney and then from Rebecca Darr, who is CEO of this organization.  I learned that WINGS is making incredible strides in helping empower women via their mentoring programs, working closely with wrap-around services with families and educating men in order to ‘break the cycle’.

Read about the services offered by WINGS

WINGS is now hosting a campaign that is to spread awareness about their services, as well as raise funds for their new facility in Chicago.  This campaign is the #WINGS2beBOLD program.  Anyone can participate in the various parts  of #WINGS2beBOLD campaign.

Option 1:

To show your support towards victims of domestic violence they ask that you upload on your social media platforms a simple message such as in the photograph below:




Option 2:

#WINGS2beBOLD also is a campaign designed to honor our amazing women for Mother’s Day.  Women who are spectacular, courageous, motivated and BOLD! These are the women who we live with, love and want to honor or remember their memory.

Today, I took a step to be BOLD and join this campaign by sending to my Mother a card from WINGS. The Mother’s Day card (pictured below) has seeds embedded in the butterflies and can be planted.  (Note to my Mom – wait until the snow melts in Western New York, first!) It felt good to send a gift to my Mom that will help another Mom – someone I will never meet but needs help, all the same.




You can help too! Simply go here to contribute to WINGS and with every $50 donation you will receive a butterfly card, too! (offer good through Mother’s Day 2016).

IMG_3035.JPGAlso, know that WINGS will continue their programs in Chicago and then soon will expand beyond the state of Illinois. They are seeking to connect with people who would make great partners for their team. Recently, I had the pleasure of introducing them to Linda Benecke from Damsel in Defense.  Hopefully, this will be a “match” that sticks!

Option 3:

Want to DONATE a TWEET? Feel free to copy and paste the tweet and image below:

Honoring courageous Mom’s for Mother’s Day via @WINGSprograminc #WINGS2beBOLD



How to connect with WINGS?

Website: http://www.WINGSprogram.com

Twitter:  @WINGSprograminc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wingsprograminc

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wings_program/

Want to be part of the #WINGS2beBOLD campaign? Show your BOLD by donating any amount here!

NOTE: If you are in immediate crisis and/or feel threatened, please seek immediate emergency help in your area.

Disclaimer: sponsored post



DISASTER SAFETY INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – 2015 updated post with additional safety resources

Update: Sadly tornado “season” has been wicked during 2015, therefore I am re – blogging this post that originally posted in 2013. At the bottom of this post are additional safety resources including for earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami and wildfire preparedness.

I could not fathom what must have happened here to make a truck flip and be impaled on these trees.

Today there have been a series of tragic tornadoes that have ripped through the heartland of America causing severe devastation, including loss of life.  Some of the families impacted who have been impacted have family members with special needs.

In an effort to help families and communities who may have some unique challenges during disasters here is some information:


Be prepared.  Alert your local fire department if you have a family member with special needs of any kind, such as physical, sensory, cognitive or other.  Included would be family members with dementia, Alzheimer’s or medical problems.

Have a family plan for sheltering in place and evacuation.

Be sure to have an emergency kit in your home and car.  To know what should be in your emergency kit go to the RED CROSS Disaster Information page.   Don’t forget to add to your kit personal effects, such as your insurance information, copies of marriage and birth certificates and photos of your family members.

For families with children, especially with special needs, have a quick “grab and go” kit of favorite items and things you know will comfort your child during a time of distress.  Stuffed animals, battery operated video games, and books or drawing pads all are good things to bring along. So, be prepared in advance with this GRAB AND GO KIT.

Let others know your plans if you need to evacuate. Where you intend to go and how you will try to check in.


Many agencies including FEMA and the RED CROSS offer much information, including for for families with special populations.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE, including Access and Functional Needs Information:

 RED CROSS disaster safety checklist in multiple languges



Spirit of Autism

Autism Speaks



DEAFinc VIDEOS  (including the one below)

Other Disaster Preparation Resources

Earthquake Country Alliance 

ShakeOut Earthquake Drill registration 

Hurricane Preparedness 


Ready.gov for many disaster preparedness resources, including Floods and Fires




This year scores of children will hear the school bell ring signaling the end of another school year and the beginning of summer camp season!  While the kids are dreaming of long days with friends playing and having all night fun in their bunks, their parents will be busily preparing their summer wardrobe trunks with hopes that  what clothing and other personal items leave their home will someday return! Thanks to LOVABLE LABELS your child’s belongings have a fighting chance of making their way back to your home! In addition, this award winning company has awesome products, many which are created to keep your child SAFE and organized!

Now I need to tell you that I received the LOVABLE LABELS in a cool multi-pack! ( I even got permission for a GIVEAWAY- so read below to participate! )  Not only were there the camp labels but also tons of colorful ways to place your child’s name and ownership to books, lunch boxes, key chains, luggage tags and much more! Have a child in daycare with lots of “stuff” to label- like boots, coats, lunch box and sippy cups? No problem! LOVBLE LABELS to the rescue as each design can be unique to your child.  Their name on brightly colored press on labels (no miserable tape or sticky stuff here!)

Now here are some very IMPORTANT and LIFE SAVING reasons why LOVABLE LABELS are A+… they have the ability to alert people in your child’s lives as to FOOD and other ALLERGIES! Imagine placing an important WARNING LABEL on your child’s lunch box, school folder or lunch payment card with information about peanut or egg allergies (to name a few!)  If you want you can have these labels personalized to include name and an emergency contact phone number.  Excellent for children who are low or nonverbal, such as with children who have Autism.  The applications of  LOVABLE LABELS are endless!

Enough of my glee with LOVABLE LABLES,  check out the slideshow which spotlights this great product for yourselves! To learn more/ order click HERE. (Come’on you know your curious!)

Follow them on TWITTER, too! @MyLovableLabels and FACEBOOK: lovablelabels.officialfanpage

****To be eligible for the Random Giveaway Contest of a free pack of PERSONALIZED LABLES  Sponsored by Lovable Labels do the following:

Comment here


If you TWEET- become a follower on TWITTER.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary multipack set as part of the LOVABLE LABELS promotion.   I am donating this set to a student in a local shelter. (The name on the labels is A+ STUDENT!)  

Why I Created Sign Language for Emergency Situations- ASL, English and Spanish

It has been about five weeks since the first run of my newest video- Sign Language for Emergency Situations -ASL, English and Spanish appeared at my front door.  I carefully opened the huge boxes and looked at the “zillion” copies that were all over my living room floor.  How funny, that this little DVD carried so much history with it… none which is reflected on the DVD itself or its’ cover.

You see, I first decided to create this DVD on a date that will be easy to remember- Sepember 11, 2001.  It was a date in which many families, including mine, were intimately impacted by the days’ events.  I had a brother and a cousin within sneezing distance of the World Trade Center that day.  I had other relatives and numerous friends who all had Manhattan addresses. I also knew that many deaf individuals resided in NYC and wondered how terrified were they on that fateful and tragic day when communication was minimum at best and fear was at an all time high.

That is the day I decided that I wanted to be part of the communication solution for those in the deaf community.  I know that my brother benefited from the use of a being able to ask questions of others that day as he walked the streets looking for a way to get home.  He was able to assist others with the information he received and be a benefactor of the generosity of total strangers.  He also can hear.

But, what about the people who were not able to communicate during all the flurry of madness.  Pencil and paper was not practical when there was so much happening and the need for safety was tantamount.  If only the emergency response workers knew simple signs such as –  EVACUATE, GO INDOORS,  ARE YOU HURT?,  WHO IS MISSING?,  WHAT IS YOUR NAME? EXPLOSION! DO YOU NEED HELP?

It took me  a long time to wrap my head around the events of 9/11.  But, then it came to me-  I need to develop a DVD to help people who speak two of the four most common languages in the United States get assistance during natural disasters, medical crisis or on a day that is unthinkable ! (Sorry I don’t speak Chinese, the third most common language).  So, with help from my friends, especially Karina Prizont Cowan, I developed Sign Language for Emergency Situations with ASL  and narration in   Spanish and English.  The entire DVD is signed and open captioned – for all to have access.   I queried people who were first responders, students and deaf friends to preview the DVD keeping in mind that the audience would be hearing.  Modifications were made to the video (yep it was a lot longer!).  We also decided to add the Sign Language for Emergency Situations mini-chart that accompanies the DVD as an enclosure.  The last piece was two super endorsements- Alison Rhodes the Safety Mom and Mackenzie Kelly of NORCAL Ambulance.

Then I began to think how can I get my product to people who could it could benefit most.  Twitter, Facebook, friends and good old word of mouth were very effective.  Harris Communications- a large distributor of products for the deaf and hearing community who wish to learn ASL, etc.  hopped on board immediately.   I was so happy to receive many words of encouragement.  Hilary Bilbrey took my DVD to a safety conference and was so kind to give me feedback from the very people who I wanted to reach- emergency personnel!  Dozens of phone calls later I had talked to people from all over the country who wanted to know how to access the product, workshops and more.

Then the most interesting thing happened…. we sold out.  The emergency cards (which we ordered separately and as an enclosure to the DVD) sold out!  Then the DVD started to fly out the door- we have a few of those boxes left- but not too many.

So, on behalf of all those who helped make the tragedy of 9/11 to have a positive outcome via my little company, Signing Families ™-  I thank you.  And, to show that this is just not a business opportunity,  my company will continue to donate a portion of all proceeds to charitable organizations that help children and their families.

Also, note that great things happen when friends help friends-  Alison Rhodes, Hilary Bilbrey and myself will be joining together to be a “safety package”.  We want to help children, families, educators and organizations by providing services,  products and workshops.  If you are interested in learning more please contact me at Info@SigningFamilies.com

To contact Alison Rhodes about her SafetyMom.com consultations please go to http://www.SafetyMom.com

Hilary Bilbrey and her Brecker Bunny Series can be found at http://www.InspiredbyFamily.com

Here is the trailer to the video that is now available:

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
%d bloggers like this: