Category Archives: Fast Facts

VIDEO: Swim Safe This Summer!

by Kevin Hagler

Atlanta Red Cross encourages you to have a safe summer of swimming! Included are some important tips and tricks for staying safe in and around the water for you and your family.

Make sure to sign up for CPR/AED courses at and water safety courses at your neighborhood county aquatic center.

Special thanks to:

Cobb Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs
Mountain View Aquatic Center


Keep Cool While Atlanta’s In Heat

A heat wave has spread to nearly half the country as the Plains, the Midwest, and, of course, the Southeast undergoes record temperature levels in some areas. You can bet that Georgia is vulnerable as the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory for the peach state which lasts until Thursday.

The Red Cross offers expert advise on staying cool and safe:

Here are some easy tips for staying safe during heat waves, courtesy of Dr. David Markenson, chair, American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. 

  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol that dehydrate the body.
  • Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing in layers. Avoid dark colors that absorb the sun’s rays. 
  • If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks to hydrate and cool yourself. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Protect your self from sun exposure even on cloudy or hazy days. In addition to dressing for heat, apply a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and reapply as indicated, wear eye protection (wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection) and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

 Additional heat safety tips are available on Learn how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses by attending a Red Cross First Aid course. Contact your

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


It’s Hurricane Season: Tips and tricks to stay ahead of the cyclone

by Kevin Hagler

Today, June 1st, marks the start of Hurricane season and in spirit of our already extra-fiery severe weather season, forecasters predict an “above-normal” hurricane season.

Hurricanes Karl, Igor and Julia were part of the onslaught of Atlantic storms last hurricane season (2010). (Photo Credit: NOAA)

In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicts a total of:

  • 12-18 named storms with winds reaching a possible 49+ MPH; with
  • 6-10 of those storms becoming a full-on hurricane; including
  • 3-6 MAJOR hurricanes (categories 3,4, or 5 with winds of over 111 MPH)

(The seasonal average: 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes)

Remember, Georgia is a coastal state and even as an Atlanta-area resident you’re still at risk for the detriment that a hurricane can bring. In 2005, Hurricane Dennis caused damage as far inland as Albany with significant flood and wind damage in metro-Atlanta areas like Lithia Springs and Decatur respectively.

“This is an ideal time to get a disaster supply kit ready, make an evacuation plan with your family, and get information on what to do during a hurricane,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services.

So, here it is:

Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan:

Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places–a friend’s home in another town, a motel or a shelter. Get a good map and be familiar with your community’s evacuation routes. Listen to local media broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest storm conditions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

In case you have to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter be sure to bring medications, extra clothing, pillows and blankets and other hygiene and comfort supplies for all members of your family. Be sure to also make advance preparations for your pets, which aren’t allowed in Red Cross shelters.

Assemble a Family Disaster Supplies Kit:

Have emergency supplies set aside for all members of your household, including emergency medications, non-perishable food, a non-electric can opener, bottled water (at least three gallons per person), a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, extra clothes, important documents, cash and credit cards, a first aid kit and other special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members and pets.

Prepare for High Winds:

Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

Unsurprisingly, The Atlanta Red Cross stresses preparedness in this extraordinary severe weather season.

Make sure to follow these links for more information:

  1. American Red Cross hurricane preparedness tips.
  2. Tornadoes and thunderstorms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Red Cross offers tips on how to stay prepared. 
  3. NOAA main site.
  4. NOAA hurricane outlook.
  5. National Weather Service/NOAA National Hurricane Center (stay updated on current cyclone activities)

And, remember to bookmark this blog for more updates and information on preparedness and what exactly the Red Cross is doing in your area and across the nation and globe.

QUIZ: Are you prepared for a home fire?

By Kevin Hagler

DULUTH — A dramatic scene developed Monday as an apartment fire broke out in Gwinnett county. Tenant Eric Eberly was hanging on for dear life when the fire department rescued him from a burning building. Yikes!

The Atlanta Red Cross responded and helped relocate some displaced victims. (Check out the dramatic story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

With the risk of embarrasing myself for emulating one Smokey Bear, this had me thinking: Are YOU prepared for a home fire?

Take the QUIZ.

And make sure to check out safety tips for home fire preparedness below:

  • Keep all potential fuel sources like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heates, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.

Smoke alarms save lives. You should:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.