Tag: Tornado

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red-cross

A teen with a rare blood type receives a transfusion. A shelter is opened for families who lost everything in a tornado. A parent learns CPR before the birth of their baby.  An earthquake hits Nepal a few years after another has devastated Japan. What do all of these scenarios have in common? The Red Cross .

I have seen firsthand the work of the Red Cross.  It was during Hurricane Agnes while I was living in a small town in Western New York. One day we had a beautiful village with several schools and a hospital. The day Agnes stalled over our village we were left with only half of the schools and lost much of the hospital as it collapsed in to the Genessee River. Who came to help those who watched their life savings float away? The local chapter of the Red Cross. As a young “tween” I was in awe as the dedicated volunteers assisted those who were displaced and in need of items that usually we take for granted – such as drinking water.

Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Jones Memorial Hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes.Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Related story: Red Cross- How they respond to disasters

Fast forward to just a couple of years ago when raging tornados tore apart areas surrounding Oklahoma City. Ironically, I was scheduled to speak in that area on disaster preparedness, but instead found myself in the center of a response and relief effort. Again, the Red Cross played a huge role in the helping families almost instanteounsly after the tornado dust had cleared. What many don’t know is that people who come in to shelters are out of their element and find it extremely challenging.  Much more is the case when the family is not English speaking, Deaf or has a family member with disabilities or challenges, such as Autism. Bravo to the Red Cross and other groups who provide assistance for recognizing the need for training their staff, including volunteers, to help people with access and functional needs.

Read about the Red Cross response in Oklahoma

Now let’s play a round of RED CROSS TRIVIA?

(Yes, I just made that up) 

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has pre-made disaster preparedness kits that are available online or via retail stores such as Target? The reason is to make it easy for families to be prepared with the correct items needed for most disasters.

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has created an app known as Safe and Well to let you alert and notify your families after a disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado, that you are OK and where you are located?

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross is made up of over 90% volunteers?

♦ Did you know that  the Red Cross responded to over 140 large disasters and thousands of smaller ones in the United States during 2013 alone?

♦ Did you know that your donation(s) is what helps sustain the Red Cross?

Related story: The international services the Red Cross provide

Time to Give Back!

Now it is time to give back and acknowledge the amazing work of the Red Cross during a very special cross-cultural event being held in Culver City the week of October 26, 2015 – The Asian World Film Festival. This melding of film and philanthropy is the culminatation of months of preparation. On November 1st a special event will be the  Global Change Gala being held  in Culver City. There internationally renowned actor and musician Miyavi, who hails  from Japan – will be one of the three honorees and performers of the evening dedicated to spotlighting the global works of the Red Cross.

Miyavi_Album

Miyavi will be performing at the Asian World Film Festival Global Change Gala on November 1st

Learn how to get tickets and about the festival with this link.

In addition there has been a very special online auction with many one- of – a kind experiences being offered. Dine at favorite restaurants such as Spago or Nabu. Click FIJI off your bucket list of “must sees”. Or perhaps journey to Napa Valley and be treated to the best accomodatons and fine wines the region has to offer. There is something for most on this auction site set up by Charity Buzz. Bids are now open and rules are on the auction page.

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To participate in the auction (and grab yourself or family member a fabulous gift) – click here

Let’s get social with the Red Cross and the Asian World Film Festival

Follow the Red Cross and Asian World Film Festival endeavors with these social media links:

@AsianWorldFilmFest

@RedCross

#GlobalChangeGala

@MIYAVI_Official

#AsianWorldFF

and of course you can follow me as @LouiseASL

Oklahoma – Rebuilding After Disaster

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

I HEART OKLAHOMA– in a really big way! The nicest people live in a state which sustained some of the worst tragedy at the hands of “Mother Nature”.   I first visited Oklahoma this past June, three weeks after the cities of Moore and Norman were devastated by  EF5 tornados.  I couldn’t believe what I saw then.  It took my breath away to see so much in ruin. So many hearts broken.  I was able to help meet with many at a conference during June and many of us  talked for hours about where one can start with the healing process when your community is shaken.  I know I left Oklahoma with much more than I brought with me. Which is why I was so pleased to have an opportunity this past week to return to beloved Oklahoma at the request of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.   This time we discussed how to plan and prepare for any future disasters.  From individuals to school teachers to bus drivers and to vocational and rehabilitation employees. Yes, it takes a village to keep our communities safe. When I presented yesterday to this amazing group of teachers, counselors, bus drivers and many others at OSD, I learned that despite having repeated disasters  – their communities are not as prepared as they need to be.  No shelter in place plans or preparations for many.  No course of action for bus drivers on what to do during a major disaster or emergency with people who have special needs or deafness.  No evacuation discussions with local emergency or First Responders to assist those with unique challenges, such as individuals in wheelchairs or who are Autistic.  Not much of anything.  These findings  shocked the audience, but didn’t surprise me as Save the Children has Oklahoma (and many more states) listed as failing to have plans in place for disasters when it comes to serving  families and those with disabilities.  Sad. The participants left the session with some information, many with heavy hearts and I hope a “call for change”.   I recognized the resiliency in their spirit. I had seen it before on the faces of many I had known go through the tragedy.  I also know that there is physical and emotional healing occurring daily for them.  I saw the physical when I drove back through Moore, Oklahoma and snapped photos in the very places I had been four months ago.  Emotionally, people seemed less ‘raw’ and more able to seek help and make changes.

This is what I shared during the workshop that I hope will be of value to YOU, so no matter where you live you will be prepared in the event of a disaster.

1- We learn how to help each other and be prepared with each and every disaster. Which is why RedCross.org ,  FEMA.org and many other sites now offer disaster templates and information for families, organizations and schools.

2- If you have a loved one who has special needs, please be sure to add to your readiness kits what they need. Including sweatshirts to block out sounds, sunglasses to make odd visual stimuli easier, mp3 player with ear phones, games, medicines and comfort objects. Be prepared for ALL in your family. Including FIDO who may need to come with you to a shelter.  Have copies of your information on a flashdrive and hard copies made on your person.  Include phone numbers of physicians, insurance agents, relatives and others.  BRING FAMILY PHOTOS in case you are separated to help with reunification. 3- Don’t think it can’t happen to you.  Disaster can happy any time, any place, to any person. 4.-  I’ll do it tomorrow.  This excuse won’t be good enough when the earthquake, tornado or act of terrorism happens tonight. 5-  IDENTIFICATION is essential.  Be sure to have proper ID on yourself and consider using ICE in your phone and on person- ID such as MediPal for those who cannot or are unable to communicate. 6- Ask for help after a disaster.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can impact anyone after a disaster.  You don’t need to be the direct victim of an event to have PTSD. Seek help if you feel pervasively sad, can’t sleep or eat as usual,  or a sense of doom that just won’t go away. 7- Be willing to help others.  Be part of the solution. Be part of your local disaster plan. 8- PRACTICE your plan for evacuation and how to shelter in place BEFORE a disaster.  SHAKEOUT.org is getting ready for a whole country earthquake practice drill. Below you will see photos taken last June 2013 and this last week from Moore, Oklahoma. Thank you for reading.

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Disaster ASL Signs

Fans of SIGNING FAMILIES™ connected with me today.  They asked for me to post disaster related signs to assist those who were impacted by recent tornados, flooding and other weather related damage.  Of course we will be happy to upload ASL, English and Spanish photos to help First Responders in states such as Alabama and Mississippi assist those who use sign language or Spanish as their primary mode for communication.

Here are the signs in a slideshow presentation.

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For more information about SIGNING FAMILIES and our DISASTER PREPAREDNESS and ASL PROGRAMS please go  CLICK HERE

For information about SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS  CLICK HERE

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