How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

By: Carolyn Shefcyk, American Red Cross

Summer is here! Now is the time for relaxing out on the porch, smelling the sizzle of barbecue on the grill, and listening to the waves rolling along the beach. Unfortunately, with summer comes the Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane season technically starts in spring, spanning from June 1 all the way to November 30, long after we pack up our beach gear for the fall. However, the peak of the season is yet to come, beginning in mid-August and ending in late October.

We have all either seen on TV or experienced the sheer power of a hurricane. These large storms develop over sea and sweep inland, bringing in high wind gusts that can down trees and sever power lines, dangerous rip tides, floods, and tornadoes. Even a category 1 storm, the lowest on a scale of 5, can still cause significant damage to homes and leave residents without power.

Even though it is tempting to cross our fingers and hope a hurricane doesn’t develop near us, our best defense is to be prepared in advance. Here are some tips for you and your family.

Be Red Cross Ready:

  • Put together an emergency kit with everything you need to take with you in case of evacuation
  • Make an evacuation plan for your family, including your pets
  • Learn more about your community’s risk and response plans
  • Stay in contact with your family through the Safe and Well website
  • Download our Emergency App for iPhone or Android
  • If you or a loved one has a disability, create an evacuation plan that not only includes your family, but caregivers as well

To learn more about what to do if a hurricane hits and how to recover, visit our website.

5th Annual Rhode Island Heroes Luncheon set for June 2

We will be hosting our 5th Annual Rhode Island Heroes event in Warwick on Friday, June 2. From those who helped save a life to those who lend a helping hand, the honorees of the awards come from communities across Rhode Island and from all walks of life, exhibiting extraordinary acts of heroism in the Rhode Island Community.

The following awards will be presented on June 2:

  • Community Hero Award presented to Christian Hill Community Church for creating a Red Cross disaster relief shelter at their church. The Church also runs food and clothing pantries throughout the year and fed 40 families this year for Christmas.
  • Emergency Services Hero Award presented to Officer Yomaira Rodriguez, Sergeant Derrick Levasseur, and Officer Bari Cameron of the Central Falls Police Department who saved seven people after a fire in a residential building where fire alarms failed to alert those inside.
  • Lifesaving Hero Award presented to Christopher J. Monteiro, who saved the life of a choking infant at a restaurant in West Warwick. Monteiro performed lifesaving measures on the child who had stopped breathing after eating, saving his life.
  • Service to the Armed Forces Hero Award presented to Karen Dalton for her founding of Dare to Dream Ranch, Inc., a therapy program utilizing Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to transform the lives of U.S. veterans.
  • Spirit of the Red Cross Hero Award presented to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Rhode Island, for their commitment to working with the Red Cross and helping our organization fulfill its mission through programs like House in a Box™. House in a Box™ is a national program of the Society that supplies survivors of disasters with critical items to furnish and entire home.
  • Water Safety Hero Award presented to Officer Kevin O’Connor of Narragansett Police Department, who was first on the scene of a drowning man who had fallen from treacherous rocks at Hazard Rock. O’Connor risked his life in an attempt to save another’s, jumping into the water and performing chest compressions until firefighters could arrive.
  • Workplace Hero Award presented to the Home Depot Team, made up of Home Depot employees dedicated to giving back to the community by supporting active and retired military members. The various activities they organize throughout the year are focused on making the lives of our soldiers and families better.

The Red Cross Heroes luncheon will be held Friday, June 2, at the Crowne Plaza Warwick, 801 Greenwich Street in Warwick. Registration and lunch begin at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $50 each, or $500 for a table of ten, and must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets online, visit For more information, contact Libby Richardson at


Rhode Island Red Cross Welcomes New Executive Director

We are excited to share, the American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter has appointed Susan Roberts as Executive Director.

In her role as Executive Director, Susan will be working with the Red Cross Rhode Island Board of Directors to help build relationships and partnerships in the community. In addition, Susan will be working with key stakeholder groups to help grow and advance the mission of the Red Cross.

Susan comes to the Red Cross from the American Cancer Society where she was the

Susan Roberts
Susan Roberts, Executive Director, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter.

Rhode Island State Director of Government Relations and Advocacy. During her seventeen years at the American Cancer Society, Susan worked with Congress, state legislatures, and local jurisdictions advocating for government policy and legislation to eliminate cancer as a major health issue.

Susan grew up in Indiana, where she graduated from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She has always felt compelled to assist in her community in an effort to improve life for all. Susan began her community work as a legislative liaison for the Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana. She was drawn into advocating for cancer patients and changing public policy regarding treatment protocols when she saw a discrepancy in the level of care patients received as a result of poor insurance.  Before moving to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania, Susan received a Commendation from the Governor for her leadership in the development of the first-ever State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.

Susan is the mother of two grown children and currently resides in the Warwick area.

Susan can be reached by emailing:

Rhode Island State House to Turn Red in Honor of Red Cross Month

We will be celebrating Red Cross Month by turning the State House Red during the week of March 20 – 26!

A special celebration and citation will be presented by Lt. Governor Dan McKee on Wednesday, March 22 at 3 p.m. at the Rhode Island State House.

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for more than 70 years. All of our presidents have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

We are thrilled to be celebrating Red Cross Month by turning the Rhode Island State House Red. Red Cross Month is the perfect time to honor our Red Cross volunteers and financial contributors who bring hope to people facing life’s emergencies. It is also a time to celebrate the tremendous work of this incredible organization. Turning the State House

RI Red Cross Board members pull the switch to turn the State House Red on March 1, 2016.

red is a great way to highlight the work of the Red Cross

In fiscal year 2016, the Rhode Island Chapter responded 200 local emergencies, assisted nearly 200 military families and trained more than 10,000 people in lifesaving skills.

In addition to the State House turning red, other Providence skyline fixtures including One Financial and 100 Westminster, will also have their lights turned red to highlight Red Cross Month.

More information about how people can support the organization is available on You can also join the Rhode Island Red Cross CrowdRise team to help raise funds for the Red Cross for their third annual Giving Day on April 26:

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

We hope you will consider joining us for this fun event at the Rhode Island State House!



Red Cross Rhode Island: 100 Years Strong

By: Joanna Proctor, American Red Cross

It isn’t every year that you turn 100 years old, especially when every day of those 100 years has been dedicated to the service of others. Last year the Rhode Island Red Cross did just that and celebrated in style throughout the year, to showcase the achievements of the organization and its volunteers over the last century.

On September 15, 1916 the first chapter of the Rhode Island Red Cross was chartered on ri-centennialAquidneck Island in Newport. Since that day, the chapter has endeavored to strengthen communities in Rhode Island by providing disaster services, services to our armed forces, health and safety services, international services and blood collection. These services, in one form or another, have been ever present as the Rhode Island Red Cross has served the community over the last century.

Celebrations began in March last year, coinciding with Red Cross Month, an annual tradition that sees the month of March declared a recognition month for all the work the Red Cross and its volunteers do around the world. The Centennial Celebration kickoff began at the Rhode Island State House on March 1 with a special proclamation.

The Rhode Island Red Cross welcomed and thanked all those involved in the 100 years previous and also thanked those involved with creating such a successful event. Lt. Governor Daniel McKee led a citation commending the chapter on their work over the last

Lt. Governor Dan McKee shares the proclamation with Rhode Island Red Cross Board Member Nick Cicchitelli.

100 years. Speaking at the event, Nick Cicchitelli, Rhode Island Red Cross Board member, said “The Rhode Island Red Cross has been there, helping those in need in our community for 100 years. We are honored to begin the Rhode Island Chapter’s Centennial Celebration on March 1, and are excited to celebrate with the community throughout the remainder of 2016.”

The event concluded with the Statehouse dome illuminated with red color lights in honor of both Red Cross Month and the Centennial Celebration commencement.


RI Red Cross Board members pull the switch to turn the State House Red.

The event also featured the unveiling of the Rhode Island chapter’s 100 Years of Service traveling exhibit  Designed by students at Roger Williams University as part of a class assignment, the exhibit was made up of 12 large poster panels that portrayed the timeline of the Rhode Island Red Cross and depicted significant milestones in the chapter’s history.

The students met with leaders from the Red Cross Rhode Island chapter to research and identify historical objects, articles and photos which were collated together to create the exhibit.

The exhibit traveled all over Rhode Island after its initial two week stay at the State House.

Introduction Panel featuring Clara Barton.

The display was extremely popular, visiting four Community College of Rhode Island campuses all the way down to the Westerly Library, Westerly. The exhibit even found itself on the Block Island Ferry in August as it spent just over three weeks at the Block Island Historical Society! The traveling display also featured at the Red, White & You Ball in Hartford, Connecticut on June 11, one of the most prestigious events in the area with more than 500 prominent leaders of Connecticut and Rhode Island social and corporate communities attending.

The year of celebration culminated with the Centennial Celebration event hosted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport. The gala showcased the traveling exhibit to guests, featured a live band and hosted an auction, in support of the Rhode Island Red Cross.

The Rhode Island Red Cross Centennial Gala was held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.

In addition, a short film documentary about the 100 year history of the Rhode Island Red Cross made its debut. The event, sponsored by Walmart, was a chance to celebrate not only current Red Cross members and their achievements, but also Red Cross members of years past, recognizing their selfless efforts in servicing the Rhode Island communities and beyond.

Cheers to the next 100 years!

March is Red Cross Month!

By: Stefanie Arcangelo, American Red Cross

March comes in like a lion as the saying goes and that is certainly true for the Connecticut and Rhode Island Region of the American Red Cross!

March kicks off Red Cross Month and also a flurry of events and activities across Connecticut and Rhode Island.

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for more than 70 years.  In fact, all of our presidents have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

Louisiana Floods 2016The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. Every eight minutes, Red Cross disaster workers respond to a community disaster, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. It must collect nearly 14,000 donations of blood every day to meet patient needs. It trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills. And it supports the vaccination of children around the globe against measles and rubella.

Now that you know a little more about what we do each and every day, let’s talk about Armed Forces 2011what we have going on to celebrate Red Cross Month!

The Rhode Island Chapter has a number of activities planned for Red Cross Month, including:

The Red Cross Install-A-Thon will take place on March 9 in Tiverton. We will be installing free smoke alarms and providing free fire safety education and information. To learn more visit:

The Red Cross will be holding a smoke alarm install day in Cranston on Monday, March 13. To make an appointment for a free fire safety visit, sign up at

We will be turning the Rhode Island State House red on Wednesday, March 22 at 3 p.m. in honor of Red Cross Month!

For information on how you can get involved visit


First Ever Regional Smoke Alarm Install-A-Thon Set for March!

Have you tested your smoke alarm lately? Do you have one installed? From March 6 to March 10, the Red Cross will be holding its first smoke alarm Install-a-thon in towns throughout the Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. The goal is to install 1,200 free smoke alarms in order to reduce home fire related deaths and injuries.

March 6: Torrington, CT

March 7: Norwalk, CT

March 8: New Britain, CT

March 9: Tiverton, RI

March 10: New London, CT

Home fires are one of the most common disasters to which the Red Cross responds. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Red Cross responds to two home fires a day on average. Sixty percent of house fire deaths happen in homes where no smoke alarm is installed. The Red Cross started the Home Fire Campaign in 2014, partnering with fire departments and community groups all over the country in order to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms. As of August 2016, this campaign has saved at least 100 lives. In Connecticut and Rhode Island alone, more than 10,000 free smoke alarms have been installed.install_a_thon_a-spot

 During the Install-a-thon, volunteers will visit people’s homes in towns across the region, educating the community about fire safety and installing free smoke alarms. If you are interested in having a free smoke alarm installed in your home, schedule an appointment at for Connecticut, and for Rhode Island. You can also call 877-287-3327 in both states and choose 1 on the menu to schedule an installation.

Is your town not on the list above? Don’t worry. You can make an appointment any time, as this program is free and available to everyone.

If you would like to make a difference in our Home Fire Campaign, you can become a volunteer and help us install smoke alarms. To learn more about volunteering for the Install-a-thon, contact

Learn more about the Install-a-thon at: 

Red Cross Offers Winter Safety Tips

Frigid air is predicted for Rhode Island and the American Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe during this hazardous weather.

COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS Here are ten ways to stay safe during this round of cold temperatures:

1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent Kentucky Ice Stormlosing body heat.

2. Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.

3. Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.

4. Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

5. Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

6. Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

7. Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.

8. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

9. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at More information about winter safety is available

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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