Monday, October 22, 2012

Rapid Response Team Camp

Teenagers Learning to Save Lives

Rapid Response Team members are taught life-saving skills.

Improvising A Wilderness Rescue

H.A.R.R.T. Members practicing wilderness search and rescue techniques.

New American Red Cross Earthquake App Puts Safety Information In Arkansans Hands

The American Red Cross has launched its official Earthquake App, putting additional lifesaving information literally in the hands of people who live in or who visit earthquake prone areas, like Arkansas, with the infamous New Madrid Fault in northeastern Arkansas, and recent albeit small quakes across central Arkansas.
This free app-–available in English or Spanish-–is the third in a series created by the Red Cross, for use on iPhone and Android platforms. The Earthquake App comes on the heels of the highly successful First Aid and Hurricane apps, which have been downloaded more than 1 million times.
“This newest app gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after earthquakes,” said American Red Cross In Arkansas Communication Information Officer, Brigette Williams. “Arkansans will receive earthquake notifications and can also monitor quake activity where other family and friends reside.”
Arkansans have experienced minor tremors in recent years, most notable, a 4.1 in February, 2011 that was felt by many across the state, as well as Tennessee and Oklahoma. “With much concern for the potential for a devastating quake to occur in Arkansas, and the need for ongoing preparation, the earthquake app is another valuable tool for residents to add in their disaster planning,” stated Williams.
New “Shake Zone Impact Maps” show give users personalized local impact information to help them make crucial decisions.
Features of the app include:
· Earthquake notifications showing the epicenter, magnitude and intensity maps;
· One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
· Options to view the app in English or Spanish based on user handset settings;
· Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
· Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
· Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
· Information on events that may happen after earthquakes such as fires and tsunamis;
· Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
· Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
Over the past three months, the Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies. More than 1 million people have downloaded the First Aid and Hurricane Apps.
“People have already used the content in our First Aid App to control bleeding, care for broken bones and to help people having seizures,” stated Williams, “Our Hurricane App was used to find Red Cross shelters and send “I’m safe” messages during Hurricane Isaac. Arkansans were also able to receive flash flood and tornado watches and warnings issued as Tropical Storm Isaac moved across the state. The app’s use and response has been incredible.”
“A recent Red Cross survey found that apps have tied social media as the fourth most popular way for people to get information during emergencies, making the Red Cross app development effort even more important,” added Williams.
The Earthquake App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit for course information and to register.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year, more than 2,000 in Arkansas primarily residential fires. To help more people to be prepared to respond to emergencies the Red Cross provides these apps for free.
To continue this lifesaving effort, as well as the twenty four hour disaster response, Arkansans are asked to support the work of the Red Cross with a donation by going to,, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Arkansas Rapid Response Team Project!/group.php?gid=2401919150. This is the Facebook Group page for the Arkansas Rapid Response Team Project.

2010 Rapid Response Team Camp

This year's camp was an incredible success. Once again we were blessed to have the American Red Cross secure funding for the summer camp enabling us to train 40 high school students from around the state.

Arkansas schools are not exempt from the daily potential for crisis, whether the result of the forces of nature or of the accidental or deliberate actions oh humankind. Events of recent years have prompted school officials across Arkansas to think about crisis preparedness, but few school have in place comprehensive crisis plans at this time.

At present crisis plans in Arkansas schools are one-dimensional for the most part and fail to address fully the three essential components of crisis preparedness: prevention, intervention, and response. As well, these plans typically omit any meaningful roles for students beyond those of victims or perpetrators.

Typical school plans identify a chain of command that is comprised of a list of adults who are responsible for some assigned function in the event of a crisis. Beyond such a list, the plans are limited to identification of evacuation routes and procedures and a listing of security rules, regulations, and policies.

In compliance with school plans evacuation routes are posted and practiced in preparation for fires. Staff and students are instructed where to go and how to sit while waiting for a storm. Teachers are instructed to lock their doors to keep out potentially violent intruders allowing into their classrooms only those with appropriate identification. As an added precaution, in a number of Arkansas schools, students are regularly scanned for weapons, their lockers are searched, and they are prohibited from wearing certain kinds of clothing or carrying backpacks.
An adult chain of command, planned evacuation routes, locked doors, scanners, and searches are important components of disaster preparedness in schools today. As important as they are, however, these common components do not adequately prepare a school to respond to a crisis. Leaving so much to chance, they evoke significant questions.

What happens if…?
What happens if the school building is destroyed by a tornado during the middle of the school day? What do the students do when as they uncover their heads and unfold themselves from their crouched positions they find themselves surrounded by debris, live power lines, and injured friends and teachers? What do the students do when their teacher is trpped unconscious under concrete blocks and ceiling beams?

What happens if on a cold, winter morning during a first period exam the math teacher slumps suddenly over her desk and fails to respond when her students call out to her?
What happens if a sudden, deafening round of gunfire explodes in the crowded school cafeteria at the height of lunchtime and bodies lie lifeless where only a moment before hungry students had stood in line contemplating broccoli or salad bar?

What does happen to the students who are left enveloped by the eerie, quiet silence in the instant that follows the wake of savage devastation?
What happens in any number of imaginable or unimaginable scenarios where students, along with their teachers, are faced with struggling through the first awful moments after the onset of suddent, unexpected crisis?

For the most part, Arkansas schools, like schools across the nation, have a plan for where students should be throughout the school day. What Arkansas schools do not have, like schools across the nation, is a plan for what students should do when something catastrophic occurs that disrupts or disables the adult chain of command. Likewise, adults in the school have little idea about what to do in the immediate aftermath of crisis.

Then what is the answer to the question “What happens if?” In the aftermath of crisis maps and drills may not provide useful direction. The locked doors, scanners, and school uniforms may not be useful either. Without a planned focus on student leadership and without prior education for students and staff about what should happen chaos, panic, additional injury, and preventable death are most likely what will happen.

To those of us involved, we believe the Rapid Response Team Project is a significant part of the solution. Our basic philosophy is that if we teach young people emergency management and medical skills in times of crisis they will be able to transform themselves from victims to survivors. It is that sense of empowerment which motivates all of us to continue our association with the project and promotes our belief that these young people will make this world a better place to live.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Relay For Life

May 14 & 15, 2010 will be the Relay for Life in Huntsville. Anyone wishing to participate by putting in a team or assisting with activities will be greatly appreciated. I will be posting more information in the coming months as we develop the plans further.The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, the American Cancer Society continues to save lives.