Developing A Hurricane Disaster Kit as a Family

With disaster preparedness and safety awareness, we can prevent an increase in the number of lives lost after an earthquake, flood or even storm weather. With weather related issues on the rise, disaster preparedness still stands as a primary goal in protecting ourselves and our families. According to FEMA, over 60 percent of American adults have little to no practices or strategies in handling the onset of natural disaster. One of the biggest excuses people have is claiming that they don’t have time to prepare. You know what they say about failing to prepare? You fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.

I have written often about the advantages of disaster preparedness and how you can ensure your safety and the safety of your family. As we approach the cold weather here in the east coast, preparing your own disaster preparedness kit is one of the best ways to preempt for possible emergencies. Developing a family disaster also sets the tone for how your own children will prepare for disasters in the future. This is you. setting the stage for positive behavior and practices in the lives in your children. Here are some of the things you can do to develop your own disaster preparedness kit.

The health district’s recommendations for a family emergency preparedness kit include:

Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Toiletries, including soap
First-aid kit
Baby formula and diapers
Extra eyeglasses
Pet food/medications/leases/collars/ID tags
Extra batteries for flashlight(s) and radio(s)

Garbage bags
A CDC/DVD/flash drive with important documents and/or photos
Non-perishable food, ready-to-eat canned meats, soups, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, protein bars, utensils, can openers, sterno heating.
One gallon of water per person per day and fluids with electrolytes.

If you would like to learn more about disaster preparedness , read this article


Here’s another cool video on preparing for a disaster

Hurricane Ruby Is On It’s Way- Here’s How To Prepare

Another disaster may be at our hands. The American Red Cross recently reported that they will be tracking the Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as hurricane ruby is making it’s way towards the islands. The American Red Cross will be taking several measures to prepare for Ruby. The storm will make landfall and will most likely pose a serious threat to people’s lives, their homes and their subsistence. Ruby is set to cross through densely populated areas, meaning that it will affect millions of people.


Blake Rubin explores the Red cross work in the phillipines

These are the steps the red cross is taking to make sure they are prepared for this disaster.

  • Establishing red cross disaster response teams and volunteers to increase communication between staff and displaced persons
  • Evacuation centers with additional staff and responders to have clear communication and access to displaced persons
  • First aid support on stand-by with pre-positioned teams throughout the city. The Red cross will come equipped with relief items like food, medicine, sleeping mats and hygiene kits. There will be emergency equipment like water trucks, generators, chainsaws and communication gear.
  • These relief materials will be provided to up to 30,000 families in Manila, Cebu and Subic.

Here on the east coast, there may be storms here or there as the weather and the seasons change. Here are some things you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of your family during a storm from a hurricane.

  • Make sure you have adequate disaster supplies
  • Unplug any of your small appliances from your outlet
  • Make sure to fill your car’s gas tank
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters and make sure to board or plywood your doors.
  • Pay attention to evacuation orders and plan accordingly
  • Turn off your propane tanks as they can be liable to damage and will be inflammable.

Global Crisis Response: The Red Cross In Nigeria

Blake Rubin here again

Overview of the 2012 Flood in Nigeria

In 2012, Nigeria experienced one of the worst floods in 40 years of it’s history. Records show that the floods affected over 7 million people, with

Blake Rubin explores the global response from the Red Cross to Nigeria

Nigeria 2012 flood

363 people killed and 2.1 million people displaced. The rainy season in Nigeria is known to present problems with increased torrential downpours flash floods, often exacerbated by overcrowded slums, poor drainage and efficient disaster management practices. A lack of infrastructure to support its citizens both before and after the floods also contributed to the large number of displaced people. I’ve written on countries and governments making sure that disaster crisis can be improved upon with proper infrastructure and raising awareness on safety and precaution. The flooding also damaged infrastructure like bridges, buildings,  and agricultural crop supply thereby heightening food insecurity.

In this incident, the Nigerian government was unable to provide immediate relief to displaced persons as they experienced these problems. CNN even reports that in addition to the damage caused by the flood, crocodiles, hippos, snakes and other riverine animals also became displaced and found their way into people’s homes. Improper crisis management continually plagues developing countries, and this can contribute to increased number of deaths from natural disasters, as well as mismanagement in spending both on the end of international bodies like the Red Cross and the country experiencing the crisis.

International Red Cross Response To The Crisis

The International Red Cross responded to this crisis with their immediate priority being to provide relief to displaced persons. The Red Cross deployed shelter and relief stations with shelter specialists to operate these service centers. A provision of $100,000 was made to contribute to relief funds.

What has changed since then

Because of the problems with infrastructure mentioned above and financial mismanagement which is rampant in Nigeria, it has been difficult to measure the impact of this contribution to the displaced persons from the 2012 flood. With another flood disaster in 2013, even more spending and relief efforts from the red cross were needed.


Five Ways To Ensure Your Safety In A Wildfire

Wildfires are no joke, and the possibility of this happening around you is very tangible. Now that wildfire season is fast approaching, ensuring you and your family’s safety should be at the forefront of your mind, especially if you live in these regions in the United States:


Wildfire Hazard Maps


One ghastly incident worth mentioning, is the July 25th fire at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vega. New York Magazine reports that the fire may have been started by a “lit cigarette”.  As much as Nevada state is susceptible to wildfires, the same human errors also contribute to firs we have in the wild-human negligence. This is the result of human negligence

cosmopolitan-hotel-pool-cabanas-burnt-700x394First, you’re probably better off downloading the Red Cross emergency App, to learn more about how you can protect you and your family in life threatening natural disasters. The App provides information, not just on wildfires, but also on earthquakes, tsunamis, floods amongst other natural disasters. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure your safety in the case of a wildfire, this is, after making sure you are playing your part by not negligently contributing to their start.

  1. Make sure you are ready to leave at a moment’s notice, and make sure you have a first aid kit and anything needed for your safety and survival.
  2. Keep abreast with the news in your are by tuning in to local stations and news channels
  3. If your area is threatened, communicate with friends and family outside your area to seek temporary housing
  4. Always back your car into the garage or parking, in a way that allows for your quick exit.
  5. Make sure you keep pets confined to one room to have easy access to them if you need to leave immediately.

Six Ways to Improve Earthquake Preparedness

In the wake of global earthquakes and shattering news by NPR and ProPublica highlighting the Red Cross’s failure to provide adequate documentation and deliverables on the fate of the awarded $500 million in aid, it is worth noting that inadequate risk management practices , lack of sufficient infrastructural funding in addition to the intensity of the quake and population density were major contributors to the Haiti earthquake crisis. As a developing country, residential infrastructure and building regulations still do not follow the best practices for earthquake resistance.


For the blog, Michael Blanpied, associate coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards program reports that “Unfortunately, Haiti has a rather poor economy, and not wonderful building style for earthquake resistance, so we would expect that we would see quite severe and widespread damage from this earthquake.”. Here in the United States, various regulatory bodies legislate like FEMA or the California Seismic Safety Commission legislate building codes and residential laws to protect citizens and improve earthquake resistance. These are some of the benefits of living in a developing nation. Hypothetically, if you are in a country without strong earthquake resistance laws or proper infrastructural practices needed to protect the safety of it’s citizen, how would you ensure your own safety? Here are five earthquake safety tips which are implementable wherever you find yourself.


1. Find a safe place in any room in your residence

2. Find a place under strong and sturdy furniture

3. Stay away from things which are not properly secured, or are liable to loosen off their places on ceilings or walls. This means stay away from bookcases, chandelier or light fixtures and windows.

4. As a precaution, be sure to secure or bolt down water heaters, gas appliances, electrical appliances and anything that could cause your house to be a hot bed for chemical reactions or explosions.

5. Hang heavy items away from any place that could be a potential secure spot if and when an earthquake happens.

6. Speak with your local government or community councils about improving safety conditions for people in your community even if that involvement means pushing readily implementable safety practices despite the lack of governmental or infrastructural support.

Remember, population density and lack of awareness have played major roles in the high death tolls during earthquakes and succeeding aftershocks. You can play your part however you can, and that could be helping to educate your community. For more details on earthquake safety, read more here on the Red Cross Website.

More Money More Problems: Where Did All The Red Cross Funds Go?

NPR and Pro Publica have released some surprising reports indicating misappropriation and discrepancies in the $500 million funds administered to Haiti by the Red Cross. The consuming question is “ Where is the $500 million” and why have these funds been reportedly linked to progress in the form of six houses? Only six houses! Corruption abounds, and a system is once again broken . If these reports are true, that the Red Cross’ funds were administered solely in the form of six houses, it is incredibly disappointing.  The wake of this investigation has contributed to negative views of the Red Cross. It hasn’t all been failure and misappropriation though. Here are some of the Red Cross’ can do to mitigate some of the backlash and control the outcome of these reports.



  • Take public responsibility for these reports and address them head on


One of the most important things the Red Cross can do right now is to address the public’s questions head on and make sure they take charge of their image. These reports have clouded the public’s sense of trust in them, and could have an adverse effect on donations and assumed trustworthiness, which is highly important to maintain. The Red Cross has not been able to provide digestible information to the public on this issue and this is really bad for them. So far, all we have to make of their response is this document.


2.  Reaffirm their response and make it digestible to the public

So far, all we have to make of their response is this document, an exhausting five pager I’m sure most people will not bother to read. Not only is this document long and indigestible by the public due to it’s length, it’s staggering information remains indigestible to the lay man. Employing the use of plain language to explain this crisis and their planned response would be great.


3. Staff assessment and morale

Staff morale seems to be low at the Red Cross as various accounts by its workers have been used to document some of it’s most displeasing practices ranging from throwing food out to failure to provide security for vulnerable children from sex offenders. Evaluating employees on what needs to be improved on, and even on dealing with internal crisis would be helpful for the Red cross to manage itself internally and externally.

Red Cross Aids Victims of Kentucky Floods

The America Red Cross has stepped up again in a huge way. The American Red Cross teamed up with WKYT help the victims of flooding in Kentucky. The Bluegrass Area Chapter is helping set up a ‘Kentucky Cares’ disaster relief effort. On Friday July 17th from 12 noon until about 6:30pm volunteers in a call center will take donations to help those affected. WKYT will use their newscasts in order to put out the word of the event and cause.

blake rubin - kentucky flood

A distant view of the flooding

The money raised will go towards the American Red Cross’s efforts in supporting those effected in Johnson County. While the death toll is low, many others are still missing. Homes have been wiped out and it will certainly take a long road back in order to get people back to where they once were. Mud, rain, and debris have made the search for those missing increasingly tough.

The search stretches more than 8 miles from the town of Flat Gap south to Staffordsville. This area holds 500 homes and 1,200 residents about 120 miles east of Lexington. The search has been tough for local officials who are traveling in knee deep mud, humidity, and an increased amount of mosquitos.

Hopefully, Kentucky recovers quickly from this tragic event. To learn more or donate, call (859) 253-1331 to get in touch with the Bluegrass Area Chapter. For more on this article, check it out here at

Red Cross Preps For Possible Deportations

The Red Cross brings much needed aid to thousands across the globe. Whether food rations, medical supplies or cleaning efforts, the Red Cross is known the world over as a powerful humanitarian force. And with thousands of Haitians facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the Red Cross is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Blake Rubin - Red CrossIn 2013, a judgement passed by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic altered the immigration status of nearly 400,000 citizens. Of those uprooted, a staggering 75% of them are of Haitian descent, making this one of the greatest exoduses in history. While nothing is set in motion, the Red Cross has set up several stations along the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to facilitate this undertaking. Offering such necessities as basic health assistance, water and food, the global Red Cross is doing all it can to make sure this already strenuous situation remains controlled.

While the threat of violence will be ever-present, the Red Cross has taken steps to prevent the possibility of riots. By employing volunteers with recognition among the people, the Haitian Red Cross hopes that these community leaders will quell any civil unrest before it boils over. The Haitian Red Cross has a history of operating within tense political and humanitarian scenarios, and never has that skill been more necessary than now.

While many border crossings are being closely monitored by the Red Cross, several illegal crossing points have been identified by people seeking to remain in the Dominican Republic. Though the Red Cross is attempting to perform a much needed service, their job is made increasingly difficult by those who dodge the checkpoints. Many obstacles need to be overcome in order for this relocation to be handled successfully. With the record of humanitarian efforts carried out by the Red Cross, however, this difficult task will be performed with the utmost care. For more on this topic, check it out at

Red, White, and You – A Red Cross Campaign

Blake Rubin - redcrossWe’re quickly approaching one of the most patriotic times of the year, the 4th of July! Around this time of year, many people love to show that they bleed red, white, and blue. The American Red Cross is putting an interesting twist on it. The Red Cross is running a Red, White, and YOU campaign to show their Independence Day spirit in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

You’ll have the opportunity to donate blood on July 1st from 7am to 7pm at Woodland Hills Mall and the Tulsa Blood Donation Center. The Center will be open from 7am to 7pm and is located at 10151 E. 11th St. For those visiting Woodland Hills Mall, you can donate from 12:30pm to 5:30pm.

Can’t make it out July 1st? Not a problem, you can visit the following locations on July 2nd to donate:

– American Legion Post #15 4021 W. Broadway St. 1pm-6pm
– Woodland Hills Mall 7021 South Memorial 11:30am-5:30pm
– Blood Donation Center 10151 East 11th 10am-3pm
– Muskogee Civic Center 425 Boston St. 11am- 5:30pm

Donors won’t go home empty handed, they’ll receive a t-shirt, a Red Cross embroidered hat, and will be entered to win special giveaways. People that donate will make sure there is blood on the shelves in hospitals throughout the summer. The campaign comes at a great time because this is normally the time of year where because it’s summer, people are on vacation and schools don’t collect donations because schools out. All blood types are needed, but there is a special emphasis on O-positive, O-negative, A-negative, and B-negative. While walk-ins are welcomed, appointments are encouraged in order to donate.

In order to donate, the following criteria need to be met:

– Be 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Oklahoma)
– High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements
– Weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health
– A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of ID

For more on this great cause, check it out at

Mazda Donates to the Red Cross

The American Red Cross is built on great people and great stories. These great people provide great resources in the form of their time and donation of resources. Sometimes even companies make great contributions. Mazda donated a car to the North Florida Region American Red Cross

Blake Rubin - mazda5Mazda donated a 2015 Mazda5, a vehicle valued at roughly $22,000. Florida is consistently hit my tropical storm and hurricanes each year and is highly funded for disasters. The car will be used to transport supplies and services for families affected by disasters. Mazda is a proud member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program. Mazda’s contributions are designed to make sure immediate responses are enabled via transportation for those affected by disasters. In addition to the car donated to North Florida, Mazda will also donate 17 cars to other Red Cross Chapters.

For more on this topic, check it out here.