Community Safety with the Red Cross

The AmeriCorps program at the American Red Cross of Central New York focuses on Disaster Preparedness, Service to the Armed Forces and Youth Services; with the largest portion concentrated on Disaster Preparedness.  My specific duty, different from the other AmeriCorps volunteers in the office, is to educate my Hispanic community about emergency and disaster preparedness. I work in the community to conduct presentations in Spanish and English to provide important information that the Hispanic community is entitled to know.These presentations are used to educate people about how to prepare for any natural disaster, man-made disaster or emergency.  I organize these presentations through community centers such as Westside Learning Center, Seymour Elementary School, the Vincent House After-School Program, P.E.A.C.E and many other organizations.

Westside Learning Center is a place where I feel the AmeriCorps Team accomplished the most within the Westside Community. Westside Learning Center is an English language school for foreign adults and has students from 42 different nationalities.  Angela Wohlschlegel and I had the privilege of working together with Mrs. Teresa Pagano at Westside Learning Center to produce this learning opportunity for the WSLC students. Theresa, Angela and I created a work plan based on winter and fire safety which included all students and all levels of classes in the facility. We arranged two preparedness presentations in English, one for lower speaking levels and one for higher levels, and then we also conducted a presentation in English and Spanish together for the Hispanic population. The information was well received by the students and all seemed thankful. I think it was a great learning experience, not only for the students involved, but for us as well.

I am very satisfied with working as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the American Red Cross of Central New York because I think that we educate our community well and give them preparedness information they so desperately need. I encourage all Latinos to get a kit, make a plan and be informed, achieving the ultimate goal of being prepared for different emergencies. Learning how to help people in the community regarding emergencies and disaster preparedness is very important because you never know when you might need to save a life.

Here is important preparedness information that we teach at our presentations:

Get a Kit:

  • Gather essential supplies
  • Add to your supply kit items that meet the needs for each family member
  • Add additional supplies to keep at home for the most common types of disasters that occur in your area.
  • at least a gallon of water per person
  • non-perishable high-protein foods
  • a manual can opener
  • a battery powered or crank operated radio
  • a flashlight
  • plenty of spare fresh batteries
  • a few basic tools
  • Prescription/non-prescription medicines
  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • pet supplies
  • cash and coins
  • sanitary supplies
  • copies of your important papers (stored in this folder)
  • photo IDs for everyone in your family
  • contact information
  • area maps
  • a fully stocked First Aid Kit 

Make a Plan:

  • Determine what to do if an emergency occurs
  • Plan what to do if you must evacuate

Be Informed:

  • Know what disasters or emergencies could occur in your area
  • Carry cards with emergency phone numbers for all family members.
  • If there’s a disaster, be sure to tell your family you are safe:

make sure your family knows about the “Safe and Well” website: You can also call 1-866-438-4636.

Learn more about emergency and disaster preparedness at

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