Friday, November 21, 2014

"It's My Little Adventure"

Joy Lawrence of Brampton, ONT
"I'm really enjoying this. I call it my little adventure!"

That's not exactly what you'd expect to hear from a trucker stranded by an unprecedented lake effect snowstorm. Joy Lawrence was trying to get his rig back to Brampton, Ontario, Canada Tuesday when the snow started falling.

"Almost made it," Lawrence said Thursday from the Red Cross shelter at Iroquois Middle School in Elma. "Got stuck at 2:30, slept in my truck. I'd never gotten stranded, never seen snow like this before."

After getting some help digging out his rig, two police officers led Lawrence to the Jamison Road fire hall. The next day, he and others were transferred to the larger shelter at Iroquois Middle, where volunteers were able to provide them with additional services including showers.

"Wow, Red Cross, you guys are awesome," Lawrence said. Really helpful, really kind, really understanding. They're willing to help you in every way. Food, shelter, nursing. Sometimes it's hard for me to explain. I'm 100% satisfied with your services.
The snow continued to fall outside our shelter at
Iroquois Middle School in Elma Thursday afternoon

Despite being stranded in a foreign country, Joy's spirit throughout his ordeal really lived up to his first name.

"I've met some really lovely people," he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Joy was one of 35 Canadians staying in Red Cross shelters in WNY. There were also 22 people from China, 3 from Brazil, and one each from Australia, India and the Philippines, making this a truly international operation.

"The American Red Cross is one of the best in the world," said Lawrence before returning home.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red Cross Response to Lake Effect Snow Continues

The American Red Cross continues to operate and support multiple shelters across Western New York in response to the ongoing lake effect snow event. Over 200 people spent Tuesday evening in shelters, and volunteers are currently providing food, water, blankets and additional support at the following locations:

·         Alexander Fireman’s Recreation Hall
10708 Alexander Road, Alexander
·         Amherst Community Center
4255 Harlem Road, Amherst
·         Buffalo Fire Department
(supporting with 50 cots, blankets and comfort kits)
·         Cheektowaga Senior Center (supporting with blankets only)
3349 Broadway, Cheektowaga
·         Depew Senior Center
85 Manitou Street, Depew
·         Lackawanna Senior Center (limited access-attempting to support)
234 Martin Road, Lackawanna
·         Lancaster Fire Department (supporting with food)
525 Pavement Road, Lancaster
·         Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corp
(supporting with 30 cots and 40 blankets)
·         Orchard Park Presbyterian Church
4369 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park
·         Ripley Fire Hall
11 South State Street, Ripley

In addition to thanking our volunteers who continue to donate their time and talents, the Red Cross wishes to thank Domino’s Pizza, Panera Bread, Tim Hortons and Wegmans for their generous donations to support these shelters, as well as Tops Markets for their support.

With additional lake effect snow warnings in effect for much of the area, Red Cross staff and volunteers remain in contact with emergency officials from across Western New York and are ready to respond as needed.


The Red Cross urges everyone to heed travel warnings and stay off the roads if possible. Residents should ensure that furnace vents are clear of snow in order to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Should residents lose power, don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices in any enclosed area. Locate units away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Additional winter storm safety tips are available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Red Cross Opening or Supporting Additional Storm Shelters Across WNY

The American Red Cross is opening or supporting partner shelters across Western New York in response to the ongoing lake effect snow event. Volunteers will have food, water, blankets, cots and additional support available at the following locations:

·         Alexander Fireman’s Recreation Hall
10708 Alexander Road, Alexander
·         Cheektowaga Senior Center (providing blankets only)
3349 Broadway, Cheektowaga
·         Depew Senior Center
85 Manitou Street, Depew
·         Fredonia High School
425 East Main Road, Fredonia
·         Lackawanna Senior Center
234 Martin Road, Lackawanna
·         Lancaster Fire Department (providing food only)
525 Pavement Road, Lancaster
·         Orchard Park Fire District
30 School Street, Orchard Park

·         Ripley Fire Hall
11 South State Street, Ripley

As this lake event snow event continues, Red Cross staff and volunteers remain in contact with emergency officials from across Western New York and are ready to respond as needed. 

The Red Cross urges everyone to heed travel warnings and stay off the roads if possible. Additional winter storm safety tips are available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm

Volunteers also responded to two separate fires in Monroe County on Monday, November 17, providing immediate emergency assistance to four people. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers provided lodging for one survivor after a fire on Creekview Drive in Chili. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy, the 30th fire-related death in the 17-county Western New York/Finger Lakes Region in 2014. Our volunteers also provided food and lodging for two adults and a child after a fire on Boughton Hill Road in Mendon.

The American Red Cross, Western New York Chapter provides an average of just over $1,000 in direct financial assistance when responding to a single family house fire affecting a family of four. Anyone wishing to help people affected by fires, winter storms or other disasters is asked to consider donating to the Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, visiting www.redcross.org, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to charge a $10 donation to their cell phone bill.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's baack!!

So this is the view outside my office window right now:
















I know what you're thinking. It's Western New York, in a few months we'll be longing to see that much green. That may be true, but the reality is, this is the first we've seen of the white stuff this season, with lake snow advisories in effect for parts of the area. So while the amount of snow you see on the ground today isn't enough to even slow down a true Western New Yorker, it's time to brush up on your winter safety tips, since we know this is only the beginning.

And while, of course, the best advice is to stay off the roads during blizzard conditions, that's not always possible. So here's a few winter driving tips to get you ready for the coming months:
• Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with safe tires filled to proper pressure, a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
• Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
• Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• If you can, avoid driving in sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
• Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.