Monthly Archives: June 2011

Runner from Down Under is Coming to Atlanta

Pat Farmer

Pat Farmer will visit briefly with the Metro Atlanta Red Cross before continuing his journey

For many  around the world and particularly in Australia, Pat Farmer is the image of accomplishment. Along with a laudable career in the Australian Parliament, he’s also a single father, a Guiness World Record holder, a philanthropist and an amazing long distance runner. As if all that wasn’t enough, the 48-year old dad of two is taking on incredible feat of running from the pole to pole in an effort to raise $100 million dollars for charity. The proceeds will go to the International Red Cross for the implementation of clean water programs all around the world.

As astounding as it is to believe, Farmer’s historic feat pales in comparison to the cause that it’s dedicated to. The global water crisis affects affects almost a billion people around the world. In countries like Chad and Mali, nearly the entire population is without access to a basic water supply. As much as 80% of illnesses in  the developing world is linked to poor sanitation and water quality.

The 13,000 mile run started in started in Norway on April 2, 2011 and by the end of June, Farmer had already passed through Washington DC. He is expected to make his way through Atlanta on Tuesday, July 5 as part of the second stage of his incredible journey. During his tour of Atlanta, Farmer will make a brief stop at the Atlanta Red Cross Headquarters.

The rest of the journey will feature a jungle trek the Darien Jungle in South America, a road run to Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina, and an ice trek Antarctica. If he continues running at 52 miles per day, he’s expected to reach the south pole by February of next year.

To find out more about Pat Farmer, his Pole to Pole Run, or to donate to this cause, please visit his website at http://poletopolerun.com

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The Atlanta Red Cross is on the Social Web

Social Media Word Cloud

Image Via nlcsocialmedia.com

Dear Red Cross Staffers, Volunteers, and the General Public,

My name is Tola and I  am one of the new interns here at the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross. Part of my job is to make sure that we are effectively social media sites like facebook and twitter to get the word about important events, weather reports, and emergencies. To do this, I have outlined a few ways that social media can help us fulfill those goals.

In truth, we’ve been active in the social web for a few years now, but we are looking to take our efforts to the next level. In order to do this successfully, we need your help.

Currently, we have about 1700 followers on twitter and 541 fans on facebook. We have also aggregated a list of nearly 150 Red Cross Chapters across the USA and many parts of the world including places as far out as the Philippines, Bolivia, Italy, and Iceland.

Especially since hurricane season is well underway, we are looking to have a more local presence in the online community so that we can provide you with valuable and up to date information that can help you plan for any emergencies. We realize that 1700 followers is not enough to serve the 5.7 million people living in the Atlanta area and that is precisely why need your help.

You can do your part by liking us on facebook and following us twitter. If you don’t have a facebook or twitter, then please tell your friends, co-workers, children and grandchildren about  our profiles. These simple steps will greatly increase the effectiveness of our communications and help us improve the quality of the service that we provide.

You can find us online at

Facebook: http://facebook.com/atlantaredcross

Twitter: http://twitter.com/atlantaredcross

Respectfully,

Omotola Ajibade

Public Affairs Intern

HURRICANE WATCH: Still Nothing (Tropical) Out There…Again

(From GEMA)

June 23, 2011 — The U.S. Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico are as calm as a fishpond again! As shown at the National Hurricane Center websitewe have nothing new to report. While this makes for a short Hurricane Watch it should be noted that good news for the Atlantic is always better to report than bad news.

However on the pacific front the season has already started and early this week the pacific had a second hurricane spawn. Hurricane Beatriz skimmed the west coast and caused massive flooding conditions on the west coast of Mexico. Because of this we still need to be resilient in our hurricane preparedness initiatives

Hurricane Katrina…revisited

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has written a book detailing his tenure during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. “Katrina’s Secrets: Storms After the Storm” released on June 22 is sure to be an interesting read not only because it may give us some interesting backstory, but because of the interesting commentary and bouts of paranoia Ray Nagin mentions.

Social Media and Disasters

Recent articles have started to showcase the importance of social media in regards to disasters and other emergency situations. A recent poll by Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll indicated 72 percent of Americans belong to a social media network and 45 percent would actually use it often to contact friends or family during the aftermath of a disaster. The poll was commissioned by “Get Ready America!” and more information can be found by clicking here.

Question of the week

Last week’s question: What year still holds the mark for the most major hurricanes in a season? The answer is 1950.

 This week’s question is, “When did the NOAA Hurricane Hunters first start flying into hurricanes?”

Social Media, Emergency Management and You

Japanese Red Cross

The world’s obsession with social media has reached a fever pitch. The rate at which new networks pop up makes it really difficult to understand it all, let alone try to derive value from it. The best way to go about starting a social media program is to look at your organization’s primary tasks and any potential voids that need to be filled. Then, decide how you want to use social media to facilitate some of those tasks and fill the gaps. Lastly, identify which social networks will be the most useful in achieving these goals.

In the case of the Red Cross, this is how it would look:

The Task:

The Red Cross is one of the world’s most influential disaster relief and emergency management organizations. As such, many people many people expect the Red Cross to be one of the first on the scene in the wake of critical events both at the local and international levels. Furthermore, because of the Red Cross’s level of influence in crisis management, the people affected by such events also expect the Red Cross to provide valuable information that can help them deal with situation.

The Void:

There’s been a steady increase in the number of regular internet users within the last decade. Recent estimates show that around 77.4% of the total population of North America and 26.2% of the rest of the world are regularly online. Online searches and social networking are among the most popular activities on the web. Therefore, it is important to have an active presence in some of the world’s popular social networks.

Implementation:

The following are just a few of the ways in which organizations like the Red Cross can use social media achieve some of its goals:

1. Communicate information about critical events and emergencies (such tornado warnings, floods, tsnuamis etc) to the public.

2. Communicate information about resources (e.g. triage stations, food banks, community shelters, and so on) that are available to victims of crises situations.

3. Coordinate fundraising and goodwill donations to aid relief efforts

4. Explain ways to prepare for the emergencies before they happen

5. Communicate information about blood drives

Execution:

By default, any social media program will include facebook, twitter, and the Red Cross’s blog. This is because facebook and twitter are the world’s most popular social networking sites and the organization’s blog serves as a central hub for receiving detailed content about the organization or other important information.

Other sites such as Youtube may also be useful.

facebookFacebook:

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site. When people “like” a facebook page it serves as a recommendation to others in their social network. For the Red Cross, this allows for greater visibility for local chapters so that people know where to go find information about their specific regions.

twitterTwitter:

Twitter is the world’s second most popular social networking site. For many people, twitter is the site that is most difficult to understand.

Twitter is a type of short messaging system that posts information to the internet. In short, it’s like a text message to the world. When you send a tweet, it appears in the timeline of the people who are following you. Likewise, you can receive tweets from total strangers as well as people that you follow. In the event that an emergency such as tornado were to occur, the Red Cross can send out a quick short message to its followers letting them know about the situation and warning them to find safety. In the same way, people online can send quick messages to the Red Cross to let us know about such events so that we can begin to prepare and gather resources to help manage the situation.

wordpressBlog:

Blogs are important because we can put up detailed information that’s a little more permanent that what you would find on facebook and twitter. Twitter, and facebook to some degree, relies heavily on short messages that are processed in real time. This means that the most recent information appears at top of the web page. Because of this, they are not the best for posting lengthy information such as instruction on how to find a shelter after a storm.

Blogs tend to be updated a little less frequently and they allow for greater flexibility of information. This makes them perfect for posting information in the right amount of detail so that there is less confusion about where resources are located and how victims can best manage themselves.

youtubeYoutube:

Youtube is the world’s most popular video hosting site as well as the second largest search engine. It’s estimated that about 24 hours or footage is posted on youtube every minute. Youtube videos can be used to show the extent of the damage caused by critical events and instructions on how to properly perform procedures like CPR.

Sources:

http://gigaom.com

http://pewinternet.org

http://switched.com

http://internetworldstats.com

Preparedness Bulletin: June 16, 2011 Nothing (Tropical) Is Out There . . . Right Now!

(FROM GEMA)

June 16, 2011 — The U.S. Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico are as calm as a millpond, except for some rain and wind around the Bermuda area. The last week or two we had a potential storm system that while having a slim to no chance of forming into a tropical cyclone could have given much needed rain to the Southeast Georgia area which is currently experiencing the worst wildfire conditions since the huge outbreak in 2007. There is a near zero percent chance of a system developing into a tropical storm within the next two days….or even the next week!

Information Without Barriers

Twitter, Facebook and mobile devices play a vital part in connecting, warning and helping others during the hurricane season. Using social media during catastrophic weather related events is becoming one of the most effective ways to communicate quickly and efficiently.

Facebook:

Twitter:

Mobile Apps

Question of The Week

Ruben, V. Miller and J. Morrison dug deep in their vast weather knowledge confirming that a hurricane is made up of the following parts:

  • The eye of a hurricane is the center of the hurricane that the hurricane revolves around, but there is a very calm center to the hurricane. Inside the eye it is very, very calm.
  • The eye wall is the air and rain that makes up most of the rest of the hurricane surrounding the eye. The eye wall is probably the most violent of the parts of the hurricane. 
  • The cloud bands contain a large number of thunderstorms and will drop much rain as each passes over an area.

This week we ask: What year still holds the mark for the most major hurricanes in a season?