Monthly Archives: March 2011

Georgia’s severe weather season (and baseball) begin

By Kevin Hagler & Ruben Brown

Photo Credit:

My intent was to post something original today as the severe weather season (March, April, & May) appears to have reared its ugly head. But Ruben’s post in 2010 literally hits it outta the park.

Last night’s tornado watch most assuredly won’t be the last, so here’s a reissue of how baseball and severe weather are related. Enjoy:

What do baseball and severe weather have in common? Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but the commonality is not that they both occur in spring. But bear with me and I’ll clarify.

I happen to coach my son’s baseball team and part of my job is to chide the players and to keep them focused during games. What I’ve noticed over the years is that when our team is ahead, our fielders seem to get complacent, especially the guys in the outfield. They figure, after all, that they’ve got a comfortable lead and that the opponent would find it difficult, if not impossible, to catch up. And so, the guys begin to relax. They look off into the stands, look up into the air and look at each other. And then it happens…

The bottom of the opposing team’s line-up begins to bat and the smallest, most unlikely player on the team whacks a line drive into a gap in the outfield. This timely hit then starts a rally by the opposing team and our guys, who were so confidently ahead,  end up losing the game by the slimmest of margins

Severe weather can be a lot like the aforementioned baseball game. Up to this point we’ve had a quiet spring– no real severe weather threats to speak of. And just like those outfielders, we might be tempted to let our guard down—  to follow our normal weekend routines and to shelve our severe weather plans.

This weekend, many experts predict that severe weather could indeed impact  parts of the southeast. The state of Georgia is in a slight risk area for strong winds, hail and, yes, isolated tornadoes. Now is the time for you and your loved ones to review your severe weather plan to make sure that you are prepared for severe weather threats.

Although tornadoes can occur during any time of the year in Georgia, the months of March – May are most active, with a major peak in mid- April and another weaker peak around November.

On a similar note, while I’m not in the business of “crying wolf”, it does occur to me that there is a possibility of 4 straight days of rain. With torrential rains comes the greater the likelihood of floods.

The Atlanta Red Cross urges everyone to review their severe weather plans to make sure that they are prepared for severe weather threats like tornadoes, torrential rains, and floods: Continue reading

Red Cross Day 2011 (PICTURES)

Nearly 50 Georgia Red Cross members with Governor Nathan Deal on Red Cross Day 2011. 3/16/2011

By Kevin Hagler

Finally, after much anticipation, preparation, and meticulously and strategically planned wording, I am now presenting you with the official Red Cross Day blog post:

In celebration of what Georgia’s Red Cross has done for the state this past year, and as part of a greater celebration of Red Cross Month, governor Nathan Deal proclaimed March 16, 2011 as Red Cross Day.

"Red Crossers" on their way to the Capitol

Forty-Seven volunteers and employees from nine Red Cross community chapters across the state joined us at the “Gold Dome” to meet with the governor, speak with GEMA director Charley English, listen to state representative Pat Gardner read a resolution honoring Red Crossers, and talk to their individual state legislators about the Red Cross’s humanitarian effort within their respective districts.

We arrived in the morning to a hectic scene at the Capitol as Red Cross Day happened to fall on Crossover day (the second most important day in Georgia’s state legislative session). Lobbyists were peppered across the grounds while state representatives and senators speed-walked from one corner of the building to the next all hoping to get a jump on the next vote.

Even in the midst of such an important legislative day, the Red Cross had an unmistakable presence at the Gold Dome. Not only were there nearly 50 of us in a heard proudly wearing our  “+” buttons, but the Red Cross set up tables to spread our humanitarian message and even provided a venue where elected officials and passersby could donate blood.

Red Crossers look on as our resolution is about to be read. --I managed to snap a picture on my smartphone within the chamber walls as outside flash photography was not allowed. (please don't tell the nice elderly woman who was patrolling the house chamber)

After a few kinds words with GEMA director Charley English, we were ushered into the House chambers. Representative  Pat Gardner recognized our efforts with a house resolution and the entire chamber rose to a standing ovation.

The rest of our time at the capitol was focused on speaking with our legislators and/or their aides about how our community chapters respond to local disasters, educate the community on preparation, provide medical treatment, among others, to renew continued support for our organization. (Luckily, the house chamber broke for lunch soon after the resolution. I managed to bump into my representative on the way to her office)

Mary Beth McLeod, from the Savannah chapter, looks determined to meet with her legislator.

Ruben and I are lucky enough to work just minutes away from the Capitol, but you could feel the excitement by members of local Georgia chapters upon entering the Dome and see the smiles on their faces knowing that their efforts have not gone unnoticed in this state.

By now you should know that Red Cross Day at the Capitol was a huge success! While we realize that our volunteers and employees don’t need the special recognition to be satisfied in doing the selfless work that they do, it’s always important to recognize those whose actions truly reap benefits.

Red Crossers from Augusta pose as the day winds down, "We're the Augusta Chapter". "He won't remember, anyway." Well I did remember guys. And thanks so much for coming!

$15.00 – Two Hands – 30 Minutes

Maryann Sinkler is Manager, Marketing & Sales, Atlanta Red Cross

By Maryann Sinkler

I’ve been a “Red Crosser” for about six years now and I’m painfully aware that only a very small fraction of people have taken CPR training.  My own husband hasn’t taken it!  I quiz him all the time, especially when we’re out running:  “If I collapse, what should you do first? How many compressions? How many breaths? How long should you keep going?”  Well, now we have a class I hope he will take!

What if in just 30 minutes you could learn to pay it forward?  An act of kindness?  To SAVE A LIFE!  Good news: you can and it’s CHEAP and EASY!

For a mere $15.00 and a drive down to the American Red Cross, you can take our NEW Hands-Only CPR course.  This isn’t the full-blown certification course.  There’s no mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing involved.  This is a simple course that teaches you how to help someone who collapses in front of you until more advanced care arrives.

Research shows that if more people learned this easy method of responding to cardiac emergencies, more people would survive.  Why?  Because in a life-threatening situation, performing Hands-Only CPR is better than doing nothing at all.  It only takes several minutes for a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest to lose the battle – compressions help them hang on by moving oxygen throughout their body.

Is this class for you?  Probably!  This is a class that’s for the general public, including my husband.  It’s for the employees at work who are not on the emergency response team and for people who do not have a duty to respond.  There’s no certificate at the end and it does not meet OSHA requirements, but it will help you save your mom, your child, your co-worker, your neighbor or a stranger in the grocery store.

We simply have to get more people trained.  A recent Red Cross survey showed that one in four people have been in a situation where someone needed CPR.  Sadly, 25% of the world isn’t trained in CPR and that’s why we are offering this new alternative.  I’ll say it again: in a life-threatening situation, performing Hands-Only CPR is better than doing nothing at all.

We have classes on March 26th, April 2, April 13, May 11 and June 8.  Please join us in building your skills and creating a safer community for your family, your friends and your co-workers.   And, bring a few of them with you.  After all, what if you are the one who collapses?

Sign up today: 404-876-3302 ext. 3 or

Red Cross Day: Why it’s okay to celebrate during disaster

By Kevin Hagler

This month of March is national Red Cross Month and today, Wednesday, March 16, is Red Cross Day at the Capitol for Georgians; but with the tragedy in Japan, civil unrest in North Africa, American military families temporarily separated, and general crises across the world, one might ask: How can you celebrate during a time like this?

The answer is surprisingly easy for members of the Red Cross family as they continue to provide medical assistance to those injured in North Africa and throughout the volatile region while providing general support for victims of world crises.

The Red Cross is working diligently on victims of the recent Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami relief effort . In fact, the American Red Cross just recently provided financial assitance to the Japanese relief effort through the continued support by donors like yourself, and provided 150,00oo military calls to our soldiers overseas just last year.

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Japanese Earthquake Relief Effort

Check back for daily updates as this tragic event unfolds

WASHINGTON, Updated Tuesday, March 29, 2011 — The American Red Cross  announced Tuesday that the public has generously donated $120.5 million to help the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. …The money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, specifically the Japanese Red Cross, which is providing direct emergency relief, medical services and emotional counseling to affected communities. The American Red Cross committed an initial $10 million in the early days after the disaster and will provide the Japanese Red Cross with another $50 million in the next few days. The remainder of the funds will be made available as they come in.

In addition to the funds provided to support work by the Japanese Red Cross, the American Red Cross has given $500,000 to the United Nation’s World Food Programme for logistics support for the delivery and storage of relief items for survivors.

The American Red Cross expects these funds will be used to fund immediate relief activities such as providing supplies and medical care. Over time, it is likely that some of the contributions will be used for longer-term recovery. The American Red Cross has been in close contact with its partners in the Asia Pacific region since the earthquake to offer its support.

Overall, the conditions for survivors appear to be improving: the number of people in shelters in Japan has dropped to 244,000 from what had been the high of nearly half a million. More supplies and fuel are also reaching affected areas. However, the needs are still overwhelming and uncertainty around several Japanese nuclear reactors and associated health risks remains a major concern.

The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan. Over the past week, American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff stationed at military installations in the Far East assisted with the voluntary departures of military families from Japan. The Red Cross helped register departees, escorted people and assisted in military sheltering operations. American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff also provided a range of support including: canteen services; registering passengers; helping people find out where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft. Once the families reached the U.S., Red Cross staff was also on hand to provide families food, snacks and comfort items.

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