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News of interest to ARCRA members

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  • 09/08/2021 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    Alongside partners, the Red Cross has mobilized hundreds of trained disaster workers and relief supplies to shelter and support thousands of people in evacuation shelters from Texas to Florida following Hurricane Ida.

    The American Red Cross is working around the clock across several western states to help people impacted by the massive wildfires which have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. The Red Cross is also actively helping people affected by additional wildfires in Oregon, Nevada and Montana. The National Interagency Fire Center reports 85 large fires currently burning, and 42,423 wildfires in the U.S.

    Haitian Red Cross teams are active in the wake of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Haiti on August 14.  More than 700,000 were injured, thousands killed, and the island experienced severe damage to infrastucture. Haitian Red Cross staff and volunteers are responding alongside local authorities. The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network has activated its emergency response system and is identifying urgent needs on the ground, as well as, preventing and controlling the transmission of COVID-19 and guaranteeing access to water, hygiene and sanitation 

    Read current updates on Red Cross response to these and other disasters at https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/latest-news.html

    HOW YOU CAN HELP Support people affected by disasters like fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

  • 09/08/2021 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    The Afghan Red Crescent, the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been active in Afghanistan for decades, providing aid such as medical care, clean water and humanitarian relief during armed conflicts.

    With the support of the IFRC, the Afghan Red Crescent is providing families who have lost their livelihoods due to one of the worst droughts in decades with cash grants to buy food supplies and to restore crops. And the ICRC, whose medical teams run physical rehabilitation centers in Afghanistan, treated more than 40,000 people wounded by weapons at ICRC-supported facilities in June, July and August. Wards are filled with children and young men and women who have lost limbs. Relief work will continue and the ICRC will support the Afghan people and help men, women and children cope with the unfolding situation and work with the Afghan Red Crescent Society to help those whose lives have been scarred by war.

    In the U.S.: Repatriation Efforts

    The American Red Cross has been asked to support the repatriation efforts for hundreds of people following the recent unrest in Afghanistan. As people arrive in Virginia, Red Cross workers are providing comfort and support including meals, hygiene kits, blankets and emotional support. The Red Cross and its government partners are also coordinating to provide additional services depending on the immediate needs of these families.

    If you are unable to locate a loved one or friend who has been impacted by the current events in Afghanistan, the Red Cross can help you locate them. To learn more, visit the Restoring Family Links website. Additional mental health support is available and we encourage people to reach out to the free 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline via phone or text (1-800-985-5990).

  • 09/08/2021 2:22 PM | Anonymous

    Currently, the American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Over the last three

    months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000blood products more than expected to meet these needs, significantly decreasing our national blood supply.

    As retired Red Crossers, you know that Red Cross is working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients. But particularly during the Summer, meeting patient needs can be difficult. Patients who delayed elective surgery because of the pandemic in addition to emergency patient blood needs are straining the current blood supply. Red Cross needs all blood donors. All blood types are needed, particularly type O, as well as platelets, to help ensure patients get the care they need.

    Please schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible. You can make an appointment by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS

    Watch this video about the Summer Blood Shortage

    Click here for answers concerning COVID 19 and blood and platelet donations

  • 08/10/2021 10:30 PM | Anonymous

    With great regret the ARCOA Board and Council have voted to cancel the 2021 Annual Meeting/Convention in Salt Lake City, UT, planned for Sep 23-26.  The current high level of community transmission of the Delta variant of COVID-19, and the four-week forecast for the transmission to remain high in Salt Lake County, Utah, led us to make the health and safety of our members the priority.  The ARC Regional CEO, headquartered in Salt Lake City (boots on the ground), agrees that this is the best decision at this time. 

    For those of you who have already registered and/or have a hotel room:

    • You will be notified individually about ARCOA Registration refunds.

    • Hotel Reservations – you have two options:
        1.  You may keep your reservation at the same rate of $152/night (plus taxes and fees) if you still want to visit Salt Lake City;
        2.  You need to cancel your own reservation at Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek.

    • If you let me know that you are still going to SLC, I will send those names around to others still going.

      We are discussing ways to keep in touch with you from afar.

      We feel confident that we will be able to have the 2022 Convention in the Washington, DC, area, and can take part in the Korean War Memorial Re-Dedication on July 27, 2022.  We do not have a hotel contract yet, and we don’t know if we will have our meeting and Memorial Service before or after July 27th.  So, hold the week!

    Betsy Tanner
    ARCOA President

  • 08/09/2021 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    Symptoms of a silent heart attack

    Few people actually exhibit no symptoms. But signs of a heart attack can be muted or confused with other conditions. Here's what to look out for:

    1. Shortness of breath
    2. Weakness or fatigue
    3. A general feeling of unease or discomfort
    4. Sweating
    5. Nausea or vomiting
    6. Lightheadedness or dizziness
    7. Mild pain in the throat or chest
    8. Pain in the back or arms, like a sprained or pulled muscle

    Read more at AARP

  • 08/02/2021 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    On Friday, July 30th an important safety update was communicated: Red Cross to Resume Mask-Wearing as Pandemic Safety Protocols Continue to Evolve. The American Red Cross has determined that all individuals – both vaccinated and unvaccinated will wear masks indoors in public areas across the country.

    • Effective Monday, August 2, Red Cross will require all employees, volunteers, shelter residents and class participants to wear a face mask at Red Cross offices, facilities and any indoor operations while engaging in services on behalf of the Red Cross. Red Cross also strongly encourage all blood donors to wear masks, and will make them available at blood drives wherever possible. 
    • By August 9th, Red Cross believes that it will have communicated its updated masking policy to blood donors and blood drive hosts, and have a sufficient quantity of masks available, to require all blood donors to wear a mask while minimizing potentially challenging conversations between blood donors and staff members. 

  • 07/30/2021 12:38 PM | Anonymous

    The mission of Honor Flight is to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country.  Flights had been canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic but are scheduled to resume on August 19 bringing veterans from the Columbus Ohio area to Washington, DC.  

    The Honor Flight Network is a national network of independent Hubs working together to show our nation’s veterans the appreciation and honor they deserve. Participation in an Honor Flight trip gives veterans the opportunity to share this momentous occasion with other comrades, to remember friends and comrades lost, and share their stories and experiences with other veterans. All honored veterans travel at no cost to the veteran.

    ​The Honor Flight Network is currently serving veterans from the WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras and terminally ill veterans serving during any era.  It was formed in 2005 by Jeff Miller and Earl Morse.

    While originally focused on honoring our nation’s World War II veterans, the Honor Flight Network now also honors those who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, intermediary operations, and in special cases of terminal illness or injury, veterans from more recent service eras. Since its formation in 2005, the Honor Flight Network has taken more than 240,000 veterans to Washington D.C.  Today, the Honor Flight Network is currently comprised of over 125 hubs throughout the country dedicated to carrying out the Honor Flight mission and the Network, as a whole, serves over 22,000 veterans each year. 

    If you are a Veteran and would like to experience an Honor Flight at no cost to you or if you know of someone who is a World War II, Korean War or Vietnam War veteran or a veteran with a terminal illness, please fill out an application and send it in on their behalf. And remember, every veteran flies free.

    To contact your local Honor Flight hub directly, please use this contact information.

    For further information, please contact Honor Flight National at 937-521-2400 or via email at applications@honorflight.org.

  • 07/15/2021 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    Many experts predict parts of the country will see warmer than usual weather over the next few months and proof of that may be the prolonged heat wave out west. Extreme heat is dangerous for us, as well as for your family pets. The American Red Cross has steps to take to help ensure your pet stays safe this summer:

    • Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees even with the windows cracked open.
    • Limit exercise on hot days. Exercise in the early morning or evening hours.
    • Walk your pet in the grass if possible, to avoid hot surfaces burning their paws.
    • If your pet is outside, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of cool water.
    • Water safety is important for your furry friends. Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—they aren’t all good swimmers
    • Watch your pets at a backyard barbecue. Keep them away from the grill and know that some food can be poisonous to them. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with artificial sweeteners.
    • Heat stroke is a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are especially prone to heat stroke, along with overweight pets, those with extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea. Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are:
      • Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down
      • Brick red gum color
      • Fast pulse rate
      • Unable to get up

    Read more about summer pet safety at Red Cross.org

  • 07/15/2021 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    In case you missed it, here is the link to the June 10th ARCRA Webinar on Brain Heath presented in partnership with AARP. It featured Sarah Lenz Lock AARP Senior Vice President of Policy and Brain Health and Executive Director of AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (see bio below).  The program was a conversational interview format, moderated by David Therkelsen, ARCRA Past President, and former CEO of the St. Paul chapter and interim CEO of the North Central Blood Services Region.

    Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15yaMXsH_XSrQtXKUp1hl94nJQAhM6Wnt/view?usp=sharing

    Sarah talked about the Six Pillars of Brain Health https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/the-science/ to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  They are easily remembered through the acronym BE MORE:

    • Be Social
    • Engage your Brain
    • Manage Stress
    • Ongoing Exercise-150 minutes per week
    • Restorative Sleep-7 to 8 hours per day
    • Eat Right

    Sarah encouraged us to take advantage of a unique offer from AARP during June, Brain Health Awareness Month.  Take the AARP Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment for free (normally $14.00).  The free assessment is a limited-time offer good from June 1-June 30, 2021 for AARP members https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/assessment-free-june/.  The Brain Assessment will provide a personalized plan on how you can maintain your brain health.

    Access Staying Sharp, https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/ a brain health program that offers a holistic, life-style based approach to brain health based on science.  The site provides self-paced activities and presents lifestyle choices that can be added to your daily routine.  You can access:

    • Brain Health Challenges-practical, daily skills
    • Information on lifestyle habits that help or hinder brain health
    • Activities that you can easily add to your daily routine
    • Recipes with ingredients that nourish mind and body
    • Games that are challenging and fun

    Staying Sharp provides evidence-based strategies of what works, focusing on lifestyle interventions not pharmaceuticals.  Some of us on the webinar were hopeful maintaining brain health was as simple as increasing the daily number of Crossword and Sudoku puzzles we mastered. While taking on more difficult versions can be challenging and personally satisfying, we were disappointed to hear they will not maintain cognitive function. On the other hand, participating in a challenge that involves social interaction like Words Games with Friends or Scrabble, can help to build up our cognitive reserve.

    Music is also incredibly powerful in stimulating the brain https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/music/ .  We all enjoy listening to music we know from “our generation” because it can provide comfort, calm, and reduce stress. However, to stimulate you brain, challenge it to listen to new and different styles of music...Hip-hop anyone?

    The social isolation related to COVID-19 protocols have negatively impacted our brain  and physical health  https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/covid/.   Many of us lost our social interactions, like visits with friends and grandchildren, travel, and our regular routine of attending religious services, weekly bridge games, volunteering, and family and community events and celebrations.  Others put off needed medical visits or treatments and now face more severe and threatening health issues as a result.

    Sarah also referenced the wealth of Brain Health research and resources found online at AARP to help each of us maintain and improve our Brain Health as we age.   Check out these resources on Brain Health:  

  • 06/30/2021 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    The dangerous heat wave will continue in the West for the rest of the week and in the Northeast. The American Red Cross is working with local officials to open and support shelters and cooling centers for people affected by the record-breaking high temperatures in the West and in the Northeast. 

    It’s urgent that people take steps to stay safe during the excessive heat. High temperatures and humidity claim the lives of more than 600 people in this country every year. Those more at risk include adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants, children and athletes. Some medications make the effects of extreme heat worse. People with heart disease, poor blood circulation, obesity and mental illness are at risk for getting sick if the temperatures climb.

    The National Weather Service reports the unprecedented heat in the West will move inland with temperatures as high as 30 degrees above normal in a region where many residences don’t have air conditioning. Excessive heat warnings have been issued and people are urged to follow heat safety steps such as stay in air-conditioned areas, drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities. More safety information below.

    More than 140 trained Red Cross disaster workers are responding, some virtually, to operate and support 11 shelters and cooling centers where more than 400 people sought a cool place to escape the heat. The Red Cross is working with state, local and tribal officials to determine what other help is needed.

    Please follow local guidance on dealing with extreme weather conditions.. To find an open shelter/cooling center, visit redcross.org or download free Red Cross app “Emergency” and view open facilities. If you don’t have access to a computer or smart phone, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767)..

    In addition to the free Red Cross app “Emergency”, the Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to information on handling common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies. Download for free here or search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store. Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you can help save a life.


    Learn about what to do to help someone with heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

    1. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
    2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeine and non-alcoholic fluids.
    3. Check on family, friends and neighbors without air conditioning, who are alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
    4. If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
    5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
    6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
    7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
    8. Postpone outdoor activities.
    9. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
    10. Check on animals frequently. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

    Read more at Red Cross.org

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