April Volunteer Spotlight

Heart of Texas Chapter: Beverly Dull

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Beverly is our power house Disaster Lead for the Heart of Texas Chapter. From handling shelter agreements, setting the training schedule, and teaching new software, there is not much that Beverly can’t do.

Beverly is in the office almost every day and single-handedly ran the Waco office Disaster Action Team response without a blink of an eye for a good part of March. Beverly Dull truly embodies the heart of the Red Cross. Her passion and commitment to helping others sets the bar high for what the Red Cross looks for in volunteers.

 

West Central Texas Chapter: Jeanette Chesser

Jeannette Chesser

Based in Brownwood, Jeannette is a Disaster Action Team Captain and an invaluable asset to the chapter.  She has responded to numerous fires and has mentored new team members.   With her help, the Brownwood area volunteer base has grown into an energetic and vibrant group.

 

Central Texas Chapter: Mike McDiarmid

Mike McDiarmid

Mike is a new volunteer with our Logistics team in Austin. Seconds after his application finished processing and be became an official volunteer he was driving the trucks around and helping to fix them. He’s done multiple blanket runs to San Antonio and Waco while simultaneously completing his introductory training. He has quickly become a go-to Logistics driver.

 

Hill Country Chapter: Patti Morin

Patti Morin

Patti is one of the volunteer leads with the Hill Country Chapter in Kerrville.  She works at the Veterans Hospital and has been a great representative of the volunteers in a time of transition for the chapter.  She has helped keep the Red Cross mission moving forward over the past year in the Hill Country.

 

 

 

Would you like to become a Red Cross Volunteer? Visit our website for more information!

Lum2014_Aspot

Austin Red Cross Raises Record $294,000 at Luminaria 2014

On Friday, April 4th the American Red Cross of Central Texas hosted Luminaria, its annual fundraising gala, at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. The organization raised a record $294,000 for disaster relief services in the Central Texas community.

In addition to raising funds for its lifesaving mission, the Red Cross honored distinguished individuals and organizations that provided outstanding support of the Red Cross in Central Texas over the past year, including Admiral Bobby R. Inman, Lady Bird Johnson Humanitarian of the Year; Whole Foods Market, Public Partner of the Year; and Tom Davis, Greg Coleman Tribute Award recipient (posthumously).

The evening was made possible by the following generous sponsors.

 

Presenting Sponsors

 Briggs_logo

Emerson Logo 2

WSH_logo_Pantone7504

 

Radiant Sponsors

alen-logo-lr

Pierpont_logo

SiliconLabsLogo_Red

 

Illuminating Sponsors

Ann S. Butler/Beth & Tom Granger

AT&T

Eleanor Crook

Dean Thomas Gilligan & Christie Skinner

Robert L. Hutchings/Robert M. Chesney/William Inboden

Greg & Cindy Kozmetsky

LBJ Family Wealth Advisors, Ltd.

Lyndon Olson & Jack Martin

Robert & Maia Reeves

Moreland Properties

Eric & Keri Stumberg

 

Brilliant Sponsors

Hamilton, Pyle & Bowman, LLP

Husch Blackwell, LLP

Jackson Walker L.L.P.

Dr. Gordon Jones

Red & Charline McCombs

Nationwide Insurance

Randalls Food Markets

Sabre Commercial, Inc.

Hank & Lyssa Seale

 

Shining Sponsors

Capital Metro

Pat & Bill Derrickson

Bill & Marianne Dorman

Hugh Forrest

Frost: Banking Investments Insurance

GSD&M & Judy’s Foundation

Admiral & Mrs. Bobby R. Inman

Stanley & Kelly Kolodzey

Raymond James Financial, Inc.

St. David’s HealthCare

 

Mark Your Calendar for Amplify Austin 2014

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Your American Red Cross of Central Texas is excited to participate in Amplify Austin 2014, a citywide online day of giving hosted by I Live Here, I Give Here. Last year, Amplify Austin raised $2.8 million for 300 Austin nonprofits. This year’s goal is $4 million for the more than 400 nonprofits participating.

When is Amplify Austin?

Amplify Austin will begin at 6:00pm on March 20th and ends at 6:00pm on March 21st.

Why Give through Amplify Austin?

Giving on Amplify Austin day helps your donation go further in assisting Austin nonprofits through its incentive pool:

  • Four “Drum Solo” Grand Prizes
    • $5,000 for the nonprofit with the most total dollars raised during the entire 24 hour Amplify Austin event
    • $5,000 for the nonprofit with the most dollars raised during the first six hours of the event: 6pm, March 20 – Midnight March 21
    • $5,000 for the nonprofit with the most individual donors
    • $5,000 for the nonprofit with the most individual fundraisers
  • 48 Hourly “Bass Booster” Prizes
    • $1,000 for the nonprofit with the most unique donors
    • $1,000 for the nonprofit that raises the most dollars

How Do I Get Involved with the Red Cross for Amplify Austin?

  • Mark your calendars for March 20, 2014 at 6:00pm
  • View our Amplify Austin profile and add us to your list of favorites
  • Use the set it and forget it feature to schedule your donation for the American Red Cross of Central Texas at any time before the event
  • Sign up to be an individual fundraiser for the Red Cross through our profile page and recruit your friends

February Volunteer Spotlight

Central Texas Chapter: Shirley Maguire

Feb14_Shirley

Shirley is a new volunteer with the American Red Cross, and she jumped right in to support Service to the Armed Forces. She helps conduct family follow-up for emergency communications messages and volunteers at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic.

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Heart of Texas Chapter: Deb MacDonald

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Deb is always willing to turn her hand to anything. She currently serves on the AOC roster, the Killeen DAT team and as an SAF case worker.  Deb is currently working on becoming an instructor for Disaster Services. She can always be trusted to assist when the need arises, whether it be office support or covering for the Disaster Program Specialist.   Deb is always taking classes to expand her knowledge and skills.  She is a great asset to the Killeen community and the Red Cross.

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West Central Texas Chapter: Diana Jernigan

Feb14_DianaJernigan

Diana is a relatively new volunteer with the Red Cross. Since joining last summer, she has tackled many new responsibilities, including responding to her very first fire as a DAT responder and deploying to help with the Austin flooding on the chapter Emergency Response Vehicle.

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Hill Country Chapter: Vicki Cobb

Feb14_Vicki

Vicki Cobb has been a Red Cross Volunteer for well over 5 years and has had several deployments as DOVE. Vicki is passionate about the Red Cross and uses her organizational skills to keep her beloved JC out of trouble and keeping individuals affected by natural disasters fed! Vicki has a true servant’s heart that overflows into the smile she gives when greeting clients coming to our ERVs for food.
Vicki was recently added to our Regional Disaster Instructor Team and looks forward to training other volunteers. She is also working on completing CAS training to help with client data entry at the local chapter!

Would you like to become a Red Cross Volunteer? Visit our website for more information!

No50kL Giveaway

Night of 50,000 Lives Ticket Giveaway

Win two tickets to an unforgettable evening at one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013!

On February 13th, the American Red Cross of Central Texas will host an exclusive dinner at Sway to raise funds for the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global health partnership that aims to eradicate measles worldwide by 2020.

Sway Executive Chef Alexis Chong will prepare and present a spectacular 5-course menu, featuring award-winning modern Thai cuisine and hand-selected beverage pairings. For $250, this special evening offers 100 guests the opportunity to dine at one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013 while helping to dramatically reduce mortality rates for measles and rubella. Click here to purchase tickets.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can still make a contribution of any amount towards our goal of saving 50,000 lives by the evening of February 13th.  With $1, you can vaccinate one child and save a life. With your help, we can save 50,000 lives in one special evening. Visit our Crowdrise page today to make a donation.

Now for the giveaway details…

Between now and midnight on Sunday, Febraury 9th, anyone who donates $20 or more to the Night of 50,000 Lives Crowdrise page will be entered to win two tickets to the exclusive dinner at Sway! Anyone who has already donated will also automatically be entered to win.

The winner will be chosen and announced on Facebook on Monday, February 10th.

CleanUp supplies

January Volunteer Spotlight

Central Texas Chapter: Laura Flores

Laura is a fairly new Volunteer with the Central Texas Chapter. She has taken a very proactive approach and submerged herself in all lines of service. During the Halloween Floods, Laura volunteered in Mass Care Sheltering and Client Casework with great success. She rallied her fellow AmeriCorps members to help with the flooding as well. We look forward to seeing her Red Cross career flourish as she continues to participate on our Team! Thank you Laura!

Heart of Texas Chapter: Allen Butcher

This well-deserved nomination is for Allen Butcher’s unwavering dedication to the Heart of Texas Chapter. Allen Butcher has shown great dedication. Many of our volunteers go the extra mile and help during disasters, Allen has been helping prepare for them. Cleaning and organizing the office, stocking the garage with enough supplies to respond to a medium size disaster. He has been a great help. Few people know that Allen is also the National Fleet Officer for the emergency response vehicles in Mississippi. His passion to serve his community is only matched by his love for the Red Cross.

West Central Texas Chapter: Larry Paddock

Larry has been with the American Red Cross for about 9 years. He is a DAT captain with the American Red Cross. This past month he led a to an MFD in San Angelo and worked tirelessly to help set up a shelter and provide services for clients. Larry also is someone who likes to improve and increase efficiency within the chapter disaster response. He is full of great of ideas. His knowledge outside of the American Red Cross has proved to be a vital asset to our DAT team.

Hill Country Chapter: Mary Ann Sultemeier

Mary Ann Sultemeier has been a tremendous asset to the Hill Country Chapter in her role as training coordinator. This is an exceptionally challenging task as it involves coordinating three different training rooms. In three Junction, Kerrville and Fredericksburg. She is a DAT member helping cover Blanco County. Since September 2013 she has been gradually taking more of a leadership role with the chapter.

Interns

Internships Available

Want to get experience or earn credit while working at an organization that gives back?  Explore our many opportunities for interns.  Work for the Red Cross and gain valuable professional skills while enjoying the benefit of our worldwide brand recognition.

We have internships in many different departments, and we offer flexibility and will often work around your schedule.  We offer our interns responsibility and mentor them to create an extremely valuable experience.

Internships are available year round in the spring, summer, and fall.

Application Instructions:

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to Denise Blok at denise.blok@redcross.org for review and consideration.  Applicants are accepted year round so be sure to indicate your desired time frame for an internship and which office within our region you would like to be based out of.

If there is not an internship you are interested in however you feel you have something to offer we will consider special requests and projects if it can benefit our organization.

Mission Statement:

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

AVAILABLE POSITIONS

COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

Department:  Communications

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to help maintain and improve our communications network through traditional and new media projects.  This person will report directly to the Regional Director of Communications and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to maintain positive public opinion and increase fundraising opportunities.

Responsibilities include:

  • Media appearances as assigned
  • Responding to disaster media requests as assigned
  • Writing, editing and publishing news releases and blog articles
  • Using Twitter to promote regional events, safety information and communicate with our online community
  • Writing, editing and publishing blog articles
  • Evaluating and monitoring appropriate metrics
  • Managing chapter Facebook accounts and Flickr page
  • Encouraging volunteers, community members and staff members to engage in social media

Required Skills:

  • Experience with Facebook, Twitter and related social media tools; knowledge of FBML preferred
  • Familiarity with photo and video sharing applications including Flickr and YouTube
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office including Outlook
  • Public relations background or experience a plus

DEVELOPMENT INTERN

Department:  Development

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking a dynamic and energetic individual to report directly to the Chief Development Officer/Executive Director of one of our Community Chapters and work closely with other members of the Development team to advance our fundraising capabilities.  This intern will work on special development projects, attend onsite and offsite meetings and represent the chapter at events.

Responsibilities include:

  • Supporting and promoting various fundraising projects within the chapter
  • Working closely with Executive Directors/Development staff to increase fundraising efforts within the chapter
  • Executing Development project research
  • Representing the Red Cross at events
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Willingness to speak with donors, potential sponsors and corporate partners

DISASTER SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Disaster Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students and professional looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

The American Red Cross Central Texas Region responds to a disaster every 48 hours.  This internship will provide a firsthand experience of how we help disaster victims, as well as how our organization coordinates with other agencies and nonprofits to assist community members when they need it the most.  This intern will work in coordination with other emergency preparedness and response staff and volunteers to provide emergency relief and preparedness services to clients in the Central Texas area.

Responsibilities include:

  • Educating the community at preparedness events and community education courses
  • Assisting volunteer instructors as they provide disaster response training
  • Learning how to assist the client (client casework) and coordinating with referral agencies to provide additional services
  • Administrative duties: filing, sorting and answering phones

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office and Internet-based applications
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) translation skills to work with a variety of community members preferred
  • Previous volunteer experience in nonprofit or public health sector preferred
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Operations

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to build and support our Internal Service Programs.  This person will report directly to the Regional Chief Operating Officer and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to help build, maintain and grow our program in the Central Texas community.

The American Red Cross helps vulnerable people around the world prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies and life-threatening health conditions. We do this by:

• Responding and meeting needs when international disasters strike

• Better preparing communities around the world for future disasters

• Preventing disease and responding to global public health emergencies

• Promoting international humanitarian law and issues

• Reconnecting family members separated by war or disaster

When the American Red Cross works internationally, it must be both invited by and work collaboratively with the host or affected Red Cross national society. Together, we form the largest humanitarian network in the world.  Every effort strengthens this bond working towards one common goal: alleviating human suffering.

Responsibilities/Project Areas could include:

  • Obtain training as a Restoring Family Links Caseworker
  • Provide Restoring Family Links casework
  • Create Q&A Brochure for Clients
  • Research local resources available to refugees and immigrants
  • Build local reference guide for caseworkers
  • Promote programs throughout Central Texas community
  • Research Central Texas community to determine ethnic and potential refugee makeup

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

OPERATIONS INTERN

Department:  Operations

Open to:  Current college and graduate students and professionals looking for experience

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are looking for talented and creative individuals to support and collaborate with the Operations Team with special projects or tasks.  This person will report directly to the Regional Chief Operating Officer and should provide creative ideas and innovative solutions for our nonprofit to increase efficiency and workflow.

Responsibilities/Project Areas could include:

  • Perform general clerical work including; filing, call-downs, collating materials, and copying when necessary
  • Keep all information confidential
  • Assist with purchasing for the region
  • Assist with facility management and maintenance
  • Process and code deposits
  • Attend meetings with and on behalf of Operations Team
  • Process requests for system access
  • Human Resources
  • Documenting Policies & Procedures
  • Research vendors
  • Post outgoing mail
  • Develop and document new procedures and processes for information flow

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel Word, Outlook)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality

OUTREACH INTERN

Department:  Volunteer Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid internship, academic credit available

In an attempt to prepare the community for disasters and to spread the word about safety, the American Red Cross attends and produces outreach events.  The intern would be responsible for managing the event invitations, planning events, preparing materials and coordinating and managing volunteers at events.  This intern reports directly to the Volunteer Services Manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating with area agencies, nonprofits and educational facilities
  • Preparing and designing materials for outreach events
  • Working in coordination with volunteers to represent the Red Cross within the community
  • Determining appropriate locations for safety information distribution
  • Speaking to area associations and organizations about the American Red Cross

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Ability to speak confidently before a crowd
  • Willingness to work with a diverse set of people and help the Central Texas Region prepare for disasters

SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES

Department:  Service to the Armed Forces

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking an organized and talented intern to support and collaborate with the Service to Armed Forces Team on SAF Casework and special projects, i.e. the Veterans History Project.  This intern will report directly to our Service to the Armed Forces Manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • Obtain SAF Caseworker Training, assist with casework follow-up
  • Assist/Cover Yellow Ribbon Events
  • Veterans History Project:
    • Obtain oral histories of veterans on video
    • Format videos for Library of Congress
    • Prepare materials for volunteers
    • Work with Volunteer Services to recruit additional SAF volunteers to cover various SAF activities throughout the region

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Knowledge of military helpful, but not required

YOUTH SERVICES INTERN

Department:  Volunteer Services

Open to:  Current high school, college and graduate students

Employment Category:  Unpaid Internship, Academic credit available

We are seeking an organized intern to increase interest in youth programs and to help develop interesting programs, events and opportunities for area youth.  This intern will report directly to the Volunteer Services Manager and will also work closely with Volunteer Services Specialist in the region.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing plan for Central Texas Youth Council, recruiting members and coordinating meetings and community service projects
  • Proposing ideas for sustainment and recruitment for youth volunteers in collaboration with youth organizations, schools and religious institutions
  • Collaborating and communicating with youth organizations and clubs in area universities, high schools and religious groups
  • Assisting in development of a two day youth leadership conferences (components include recruiting speakers, attracting students, coordinating of events workshop, coordinating food, etc.)
  • Improving relationships with youth volunteers in the Central Texas Region

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Previous experience in extracurricular organizations at the high school or college level (clubs, societies, etc.)
ATXFloods_CleanUp

Reflecting on the Halloween Flood Response

A letter from Josh Jackson, Regional Disaster Program Officer

Josh at DSMC
Josh Jackson joins disaster volunteers at the Red Cross headquarters during the Halloween Floods.

Last month, Central Texas witnessed a devastating flood that impacted more than 1,000 homes. What followed was both heart-wrenching and inspiring.  In the wake of the destruction, our community came together to present a unified response that has led the affected neighborhoods down the path to recovery.

The American Red Cross of Central Texas Disaster Services team’s purpose is to ensure that Central Texas is prepared for, responds to, and recovers from disasters of all types. I am amazed by the dedicated Red Cross volunteers and staff, generous donors, outstanding partners, and the Central Texas community that we’ve worked with during this response.

On Thursday October 31 st, Central Texas was inundated with rains for the record books. The Red Cross Mass Care Action Team quickly sprang into action by opening shelters for families and individuals in need of refuge. When the needs of the community exceeded the local Red Cross capacity to respond, committed disaster responders traveled from across the region, state, and country to assist in the response and recovery efforts. The Red Cross provided over 500 overnight stays at shelters, served more than 100,000 meals and snacks, and handed out approximately 14,000 relief items such as clean up kits, air mattresses, and comfort kits.

SONY DSC

Partnering with the City of Austin, the Red Cross quickly organized and opened the Flood Assistance Center (FAC). At the FAC, families and individuals were able to meet with a variety of city and state agencies, voluntary organizations providing disaster relief, and Red Cross caseworkers, health service teams, and mental health teams.  Almost 600 families went through the casework process; more than 1,200 contacts were made by Red Cross Health Services professionals and more than 1600 contacts with made with Disaster Mental Health workers. Generous donations from individuals and corporate partners allowed the Red Cross to provide rental assistance for those families whose homes were destroyed or sustained major damage.

ATXFlood_MobileFeeding

Moving forward, the Red Cross will stay engaged in the community; however, recovery will be neither quick nor simple. The Red Cross, local government, our partner non-profits and the entire community must continue to work together to meet the ongoing needs of the families and individuals affected by these floods.Mental Health Visit

Reflecting back on the disaster response and now looking forward towards recovery, I am  proud of the entire team who made this disaster  response possible and I truly appreciate the dedication and support of our volunteers, staff, donors and community partners. Each of you has played an essential role in this process. While those affected begin to rebuild their lives, we thank you for your commitment to helping our family, friends and neighbors affected by disaster in Central Texas! Together we can and will build a more resilient community.

Sincerely,

Josh Jackson

Regional Disaster Program Officer
American Red Cross of Central Texas

giving help. giving hope.

Everyone’s doing it #GivingTuesday

By Katherine Powell, Communications Intern, Fall 2013

Today is Giving Tuesday at the American Red Cross!  #GivingTuesday is a national movement to kick off the giving season. Just as retail stores do on Black Friday, we want this to be a day for communities to come together. But rather than just acquiring a bunch of stuff, #GivingTuesday is a way to give back while you take care of your holiday shopping.

A Red Cross Volunteer Gives Back with a Hug
A Red Cross Volunteer Gives Back with a Hug

Follow the National Red Cross on Twitter @RedCross or like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/redcross). Throughout the day, we will be posting items from this year’s Holiday Catalog:

  • Military Comfort Kits
  • Vaccinations
  • Hot meals
  • Blankets
IMG_4487-2
Red Cross Volunteers serve up some food

All you have to do is comment on our posts to social media. Tell about your personal connection to the item or describe a way you’ve seen it impact others during the past year. Most important of all, we want #GivingTuesday to be a way to give our donors and volunteers a much deserved appreciation of thanks.

It doesn’t take tons of money, either. With a $50 donation, one disaster victim can have a full day of emergency shelter. With a $30 donation, three people can enjoy hot meals.

Don’t worry if you accidentally miss out on #GivingTuesday – there are plenty of other opportunities to give something that means something this holiday season.

ornament
Have a Merry Red Cross Christmas!

Simply explore our Holiday Giving Catalog at http://www.redcross.org/gifts. The catalog is full of symbolic gifts that represent all the different Red Cross lines of service. The gift(s) you select are tax-deductible and can be made in your name or in the name of someone else. The money will be put directly toward supporting the mission of the Red Cross—to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Home Fire

Safety tips for a chilly holiday

A cold front is sweeping over Central Texas. Keeping our families safe and warm during the cold winter weather is always a top priority.  But if you plan to use alternate heating sources, you may be putting your family at risk of fire. In fact, our home fire responses spike drastically during the cold winter months because of heating mishaps. This winter, the Red Cross urges Central Texas residents to take some steps to reduce the risk of heating-related fires.

All heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn such as paper, matches, bedding, furniture and clothing, at least three feet away from heating equipment. Turn off space heaters when you go to bed or leave the room. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord. Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

Also, every home needs two important things: a working smoke alarm on every level of the residence and inside all bedrooms, as well as a fire escape plan so that every family member knows how to get out of harms way quickly. The plan should identify at least two exits from every room and a place to meet outside that is located a safe distance from your home.

If a fire does occur, the Red Cross will be there. Last year the Red Cross of Central Texas responded to more than 400 home fires, providing food, shelter and emotional support to the families affected.

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of home fires and help your neighbors recover after a fire, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

In addition to heating and home fire safety, the Red Cross encourages families to watch more than just the Turkey this Thanksgiving.

Millions of Americans will be preparing meals and traveling throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The we have some safety tips for both the kitchen and the highway.

COOKING SAFETY Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries. Follow these safety tips:

  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup.
  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off if leaving the kitchen.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
  • Place turkey fryers outside and away from the house, deck and garage.

TRAVEL SAFETY Vehicles should be in good working order before heading out. Remember to:

  • Pack emergency supplies like blankets, water and snacks, flashlight and first aid kit.
  • Fill the fuel tank, check air pressure in tires and top-off windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up and obey all traffic signs.
  • Avoid distractions while driving like using mobile phones to talk or text.
  • Designate a driver who won’t be drinking whenever alcohol is served.

The Red Cross has a variety of emergency supplies and first aid kits available at redcrossstore.org.

KNOW HOW TO TREAT EMERGENCIES People can learn how to respond to emergencies by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever they need it. The app is available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.