Newsletter of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region - Arcadia Antelope Valley Claremont Glendale Los Angeles San Gabriel Pomona Valley Santa Monica
Third Quarter 2010 Issue Health & Safety Classes: 1-800-627-7000 • Give Blood: 1-800-Give Life (1-800-448-3543)
Crown Fire Spreads,
Red Cross Converges
Three Shelters Open for Wildfire
In response to the Crown Fire, which burned
nearly 14,000 acres in the Palmdale area from July 29
through Aug. 1, the American Red Cross Los Angeles
Region opened three shelters for residents forced to
evacuate their homes. At its height, the fire forced
more than 4,000 people to evacuate and threatened
nearly 2,000 homes.
Approximately 175 residents spent the night of
July 29 at the Marie Kerr Park shelter in Palmdale.
Two other shelters were opened during the fire for
Scott Underwood, assistant director of Disaster Operations, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, was part of a Southern California delegation that recently
visited Chile to learn first-hand about that country’s response to the 8.8 magnitude earthquake. (Photo by Charlie Sardou)
By Vince Beiser, Communication & Marketing Volunteer
Chileans’ Individual Preparedness is a
Model for Southern California
The massive earthquake and tsunami that hammered Chile in February killed more than 500 people, left 800,000 homeless, and caused Grant Barnard describes being evacuated from his Palm-
$30 billion in damages — and provided a grimly detailed forecast of what a similar quake might do to Southern California. dale home during the Crown Fire. He spent the night at an
American Red Cross shelter set up at the Marie Kerr Rec-
“It’s about as comparable as you can get to what would happen if a big quake hit Los Angeles and San Diego,” said Dr. Lucile Jones, chief reation Center in Palmdale. (Photo by Bob Carey)
scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. And that, she points out, could happen any time.
Which is why Jones joined a fact-finding delegation from So. Calif., including representatives from the American Red Cross of Greater Los evacuees: the Acton Community Center in Acton and
Angeles, on a week-long trip to Chile in late July to learn first-hand about the country’s response to the quake. The local group met with Agua Dulce Elementary School in Santa Clarita. In
more than 20 officials from Chilean emergency response organizations. total, 262 individuals registered at the shelters and
Continued on page 2
more than 350 meals and 550 snacks were served.
Red Cross Client Services assisted two families who
Lifesaver and Survivor Reunite
lost their homes during the fire.
Nearly 100 Red Cross workers from Antelope
Valley, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, San Gabriel
Two Lives Forever Changed — One Year Later Pomona Valley, and Los Angeles assisted with the
three-day effort. Within the first few hours of the
By Ana Gonzalez, Communication & Marketing Volunteer disaster, volunteers with training in Mass Care,
Almost a year since his near fatal heart attack, Thomas Fittro got to Fittro, a Vietnam veteran and Navy Seal, and Logistics, Staff Services, Disaster Mental Health and
meet and thank the stranger who gave him CPR and saved his life in a Vintinner, a man with a tough, but exuberant Health Services, and Operations Management were
Marina Del Rey parking lot. character who jokingly told Fittro, “You look a activated for initial response efforts.
That stranger is Dale Vintinner, an employee aboard the sport fishing little better than the last time I saw you.” The Red Cross thanks all of the community
boat from which Fittro had just disembarked. Fittro said he is here today For his actions, Vintinner was presented partners and local businesses that assisted during the
because of Vintinner’s American Red Cross training. with a Life Saving Award by the American wildfire relief efforts, including Wal-Mart, Starbucks,
In late July, Fittro and Vintinner were reunited in the same parking Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. Fittro and Time Warner, McDonalds, The Salvation Army, Little
lot for the first time since the October 2009 incident. Together, they his wife Linda, who have been together almost 40 years, believe Fittro Caesars, and the Greenfield Café.
boarded the boat they were both on that day. It was a tearful reunion for would not be here today if it weren’t for Vitinner. “He’s a hero. He’s my For more information about becoming a Red Cross
guardian angel,” said Linda Fittro. disaster volunteer, please visit www.redcrossla.org.
Vintinner had been certified in CPR through an American
Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles workplace training program.
His employer, Marina Del Rey Sportfishing Company, provided
Vintinner the opportunity again this year. CPR instructor
George Katin recertified him.
Vintinner was not alone trying to save Fittro. Los Angeles
County Deputy Glenn Maska was the first emergency
responder on the scene. He delivered breaths to Fittro
while Vintinner continued chest compressions. Before long,
lifeguards were on the scene and used a defibrillator.
Fittro does not remember the afternoon he almost died
or the months of rehabilitation that followed his 17 days in
the hospital when he was unconscious. He does remember
his love of fishing. Despite his struggles with walking and
his short-term memory, the father of two and grandfather
of four, said, “I can’t wait ‘til the day I can go fishing on this
boat again.” Antelope Valley Chapter board members assisted
For information about registering for CPR and First Aid or throughout the response to the Crown Fire, including
Julie Ferebee, seen here with California Governor
workplace training courses, please call 800-627-7000. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press conference at the
Incident Command Post. (Photo by Monica Diaz)
Thomas Fittro (left) and Dale Vintinner talk on the New Del Mar
fishing boat in Marina Del Rey. Vintinner, a cook on the boat
helped save Fittro’s life by giving him CPR after he had a heart
attack. (Photos by Bob Carey)
Newsletter of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region Third Quarter 2010
Message from the Chair
Helping Globally, Acting Locally
Individual Preparedness is Key to Volunteers Learn International Services at
Preventing an L.A. Katrina Three-Day Institute
Dear Friends of the American Red Cross, American Red Cross International Services initiatives —
including linking family members during international disasters
When Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma struck the Gulf and wars, tracing Holocaust victims, and preventing the spread
Coast five years ago, the American Red Cross mounted one of measles in Africa — was the focus of a three-day International
of the largest disaster responses in American history. Due Services Training Institute held Aug. 13-15 in Pasadena.
to generous donors nationwide, the Red Cross provided Nearly 170 people attended the three-day event, including
financial and other assistance to around 4 million people. Red Cross volunteers from throughout California, as well
Since then, we have learned that the government and the as representatives from more than 40 non-profit agencies
Red Cross will never be big enough to help everyone in a statewide, consulate members, and United Nations Association
large-scale disaster like the “Big One” we are anticipating in
Two volunteer instructors, Tobi Hajjar and Joseph Alvarado,
Southern California. Instead, we must all play a role in getting
taught a course specifically for educators about incorporating
ready for a disaster. That is the message of our information on the Geneva Conventions — the rules of war
campaign, which we launched on a large scale in September. that protect life and human dignity — into their classrooms.
Danny Vong, board member,
Greater Long Beach Chapter,
While it may be hard to imagine the power of a magnitude 8.1 quake, which is the size The course was offered for the first time at the Institute, and was one of the many
presenters at the three-
a recent study predicted could occur on the San Andreas fault, we need to anticipate the the two attended a special training in Washington, D.C. in early day International Services
measure of its devastation. August to prepare. Training Institute hosted
by the San Gabriel Pomona
In the last year, we have witnessed powerful earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and less Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard welcomed participants at the Valley Chapter in August.
damaging quakes in Mexicali and New Zealand. Since Chile is an urban, industrialized country kick-off session of the Institute, which was hosted by the San
with many similarities to Southern California, members of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter. Eighteen International Services
volunteers planned and implemented the Institute, with the help of the national Red Cross, as
recently visited there to learn first-hand about that country’s response to the massive 8.8
well as the Ventura, Orange County, Greater Long Beach and Greater Los Angeles Chapters.
magnitude temblor that struck in February. The International Institute is held several times a year in different cities nationally, with the
What they found is that Chile’s nimble response was, in large part, due to the fact that next one planned for
individuals took personal responsibility to prepare. People kept food and other supplies in Houston, TX.
their homes and knew the designated evacuation areas along the coast. The Red Cross thanks
What our Red Cross workers saw in Chile underscores that people need to be ready to take Pasadena merchants
care of themselves and their families for three to seven days before outside assistance arrives. Ralph’s, Lucianno’s Italian
As we focus on preparing the residents of our area for disasters, I want to provide you with Restaurant, and Panda
an update about some internal changes taking place within our local Red Cross chapters. As of Express for donating meals
for the event.
July 1, we have merged seven local chapters into the Red Cross Los Angeles Region. Accounting
operations, donor information and other business functions are now managed at a regional Mwende May (left), United
level. This change will allow us to be more efficient and use donor dollars more effectively. Phillippa Herbert, manager,
Thank you for your continued support of the Red Cross. To learn how easy it is to prepare American Red Cross, San
yourself and your family for an emergency, please visit www.PrepareLA.org. Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter,
and Mercedes Prado, Red
Cross volunteer, Long Beach
Chapter, attend the opening
Jeff Sakaguchi, Board Chair kick-off of the International
Greater Los Angeles Chapter
(Photos by Roxanne Schorbach,
San Gabriel Pomona Valley
Directory General Information: 1-800-627-7000
On the web: www.RedCrossLA.org American Red Cross Los Angeles Region:
Earthquake Lessons Learned from Chileans
Greater Los Angeles Red Cross: Continued from page 1
Dial 1-(800) GIVE LIFE or visit www.GiveLife.org (310) 445-9900 Massive as the devastation was there, it was far less than
Communication & Marketing: that suffered by Haiti just six weeks earlier. That’s partly
Arcadia Red Cross:
(310) 445-2650 because of where the quakes were centered in the two
Community Events: countries, but it’s also because of Chile’s long experience
(866) 548-8226 Antelope Valley Red Cross: with quakes.
Disaster Relief/Military Services: (661) 267-0650 The country sits in an extremely active earthquake zone
(888) 737-4306 and is often slammed with tremendous temblors, including
Glendale Red Cross: the most powerful one ever recorded — a magnitude
Fundraising & Special Events:
(818) 243-3121 9.5 in 1960. As a result, building codes are stringent, and
Health and Safety Classes many locals knew to evacuate coastal areas immediately in
Claremont Red Cross:
(CPR, First Aid, Aquatics, Nurse Assistant anticipation of a tsunami.
Training): Chilean officials admitted, however, that the government’s response was badly hampered
(800) 627-7000 Santa Monica Red Cross: by a lack of preparation and coordination. No supplies were cached for immediate use, and
International Services & Tracing Services: (310) 394-3773 when the government began delivering boxes of food and shelter items, it was somewhat
(310) 477-5176 haphazard.
San Gabriel Pomona Valley: Chile’s experience, says Michael Kleiner, Emergency and Disaster Response director, Greater
Volunteer Resources (Adult & Youth):
(626) 799-0841 Los Angeles Chapter, underscores the critical importance of emergency preparation - from the
institutional to the individual level.
Visit RedCrossLA.org for maps and directions to
individual locations, as well as news from the Red “What we saw in Chile affirms that we’re on the right track and underscores the importance
ACROSSLA Credits Cross communities. of individual preparedness,” said Kleiner. “People need to be able to take care of themselves
AcrossLA is produced and distributed by the
and their families for at least three days.”
American Red Cross Los Angeles Region as an Follow us on Twitter: The local Red Cross is preparing to shelter and feed hundreds of thousands of displaced
information source for friends and supporters. http://twitter.com/redcrossla people if a catastrophic disaster occurs here. There are currently 85 containers of food and
ACROSSLA supplies pre-positioned around the county, said Kleiner, but the Red Cross hopes to add many
Follow us on Facebook: more by pursuing additional preparedness grant funding.
11355 Ohio Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025
http://facebook.com/redcrossla For more information about preparing yourself, your family, your business or school for an
Editor: Carol Bromberg • Design: Robert Cooper
earthquake, please visit www.PrepareLA.org.
Remembering Hurricane Katrina
Five Years Later
Alex Rose from the Greater Los Angeles Chapter’s Emergency and Disaster Response Dept. installs a Red Cross By Tim Altman, Communication & Marketing Volunteer
insignia on top of a storage container holding emergency disaster supplies. The Anheuser-Busch Co. in Van Nuys
allows the Red Cross to keep 18 storage units filled with disaster materials at its facility. (Photo by Bob Carey)
The epic hurricane season of 2005 was a defining chapter in American Red Cross history.
Five years ago, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma changed the lives of millions of people
Restoring Retirement Nest Eggs across the United States and prompted a response by the Red Cross that was unprecedented
in size and scope.
Even before the media images of destruction and despair jolted the nation, trained
A Deferred Gift Annuity Can Help Red Cross responders were already in action. Generous donors from across the country
and around the world made it possible to mount one of the largest disaster responses in
Rebuilding diminished retirement accounts is high on the to-do lists
American history – a response that tested the very limits of the Red Cross.
of many people in their 50s and early 60s. The IRS has strict dollar limits,
More than 4.5 million people in the affected
however, on the amounts Americans can contribute to IRAs and qualified
regions were provided with Red Cross
emergency assistance. Locally, the Greater
Friends of the American Red Cross can supplement their retirement
Los Angeles Chapter assisted nearly 2,000
savings and reduce taxes by transferring stock or cash in exchange
Gulf Coast families who made their way to Los
for a deferred payment charitable gift annuity. A deferred payment
gift annuity provides a fixed income for life — starting in some future Angeles after the hurricanes. These families
year that you designate (usually the year you expect to retire). Deferring the start of your annual were given more than $1 million in direct
payments increases the amounts you will receive annually, and your charitable deduction is financial assistance for emergency needs. A
magnified, as well. third of those families were provided with local
Members of the baby boomer generation may be ideal candidates for deferred gift annuities. For hotel rooms to meet their immediate housing
example, if a person age 55 arranges a $20,000 deferred payment charitable gift annuity today, with needs and many were also given access to
payments to begin at age 65, he or she can deduct almost $9,000 as a charitable contribution and medical and mental health services.
the American Red Cross would agree to pay $1,980 a year, starting in 10 years. Donors can also have Even with this demand, the Greater Los
the flexibility to start the annuity later than originally specified (which will increase the size of their Angeles Red Cross sent more than 100 disaster
quarterly payments), or earlier, and receive smaller payments. volunteers to help at some of more than 1,000 shelters that were established in 26 states.
Unlike IRAs and other retirement accounts, there is no limit on how much you can put into a Hundreds of ‘spontaneous’ volunteers came to the Red Cross offices and helped in whatever
deferred payment gift annuity. A large part of every contribution will be tax deductible. Deferred capacity they could.
gift annuities can be arranged to make payments for the lifetime of two people, such as a husband Like any event, there are always lessons to be learned. The Red Cross learned that there are
and wife, brothers and sisters, parents and children or close friends. some disasters that are so big that no agency — government or non-profit — can do it all.
Deferred annuities also can be an ideal way for parents to provide for the retirement security of This cataclysmic event led to the development of many key partnerships between the Red
adult children, receive sizable tax deductions and help provide for Red Cross programs. Cross and national, state and local organizations.
To read about the Red Cross response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, please visit
You can establish a charitable gift annuity with the American Red Cross for as little as $5,000. Enjoy the security of guaranteed income for life and http://www.redcross.org/Katrina5Year.
the satisfaction of establishing a gift that will advance the Red Cross mission. To learn more, contact Amy Gross or Dana Williamson, Gift Planning
Officers at 1-310-445-2685 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.redcrosslegacy.org.
Bill Frazer Remembered
Red Cross Services for Those in the Service: Bill Frazer, a volunteer with the Greater Los Angeles
Chapter for nearly 40 years and a veteran of more than
Briefings Held for Reservists 100 disaster relief operations, passed away on July 26,
2010, after a brief battle with leukemia.
By Hilary Anderson, VISTA Member/Communication & Marketing Dept. Bill began teaching First Aid and CPR with the
During the summer, Los Angeles Region representatives American Red Cross in 1971. As a disaster volunteer,
met with more than 800 soldiers and their family members he served as shelter manager, Emergency Response
to brief them about Red Cross services available during their Vehicle driver and feeding manager.
deployment. Bill’s wife, Karen, said that when he returned from
The briefings, held specifically for Army reservists, was disaster assignments, he would often share notes he
part of the Dept. of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration had received from children at the shelters. One such
Program, which provides information, services, referrals, and note reads: “Thank you for coming to help feed my
proactive outreach programs to reservists and their families mom and me after the flood.” Bill called these notes his “paychecks” for volunteering
through all phases of the deployment cycle. with the Red Cross.
Red Cross workers were on hand to provide information Bill will be missed by all the volunteers and employees he worked with through the
about how the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces division years.
assists in linking members of the military with their families
(Bill Frazer was the first volunteer from Los Angeles to be deployed to assist with the
during a crisis. Hurricane Katrina disaster, serving as the Red Cross liaison with the Southern Baptist
Convention which operated the large kitchens for the Katrina evacuees.)
Photo: Maggie Torres, coordinator, Service to the Armed Forces,
San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter, and LTC Robert A. White,
Officer in Command, Yellow Ribbon Program, participate in a
briefing session for soldiers this summer. (Photo by Hilary Anderson)
Third Quarter 2010 Newsletter of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region
Volunteers Ready Supplies for the Next Disaster: Nearly 100 Red The Ride for the Red: Shannon Lynn, 2009 Miss Canada (right), along Heroes Breakfast: Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan will
Cross volunteers spent Aug. 21 making sure the Red Cross is ready with Canadian Olympian Christina Smith (left) and two other Canadian be honored and Dr. Lucile Jones, chief scientist, U.S. Geological
to open disaster shelters at a moment’s notice. The group washed Olympians, are cycling from Calgary, Canada, to Santa Monica to raise Survey, will speak at the inaugural Heroes Breakfast on Nov. 17 at The
100 cots, inventoried supplies in eight shelter trailers and created money on behalf of the American Red Cross and Canadian Red Cross. California Club. The breakfast honors outstanding local businesses
shelter administration kits. For more information about becoming a The foursome, who started their ride on Sept. 26, hope to raise $1 million that have taken an active role in disaster preparedness. For more
disaster volunteer, please visit www.redcrossla.org. (Photo by Bob for each organization. To make a donation and follow the team’s ride information about the breakfast, please contact John Pacheco at
Carey) progress online, please visit www.therideforred.com. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teens Teach Preschoolers the Basics of
By Jennifer Harell, Communication and Marketing Volunteer
More than 20 Red Cross youth members spent their summer vacation teaching preschoolers the
basics of personal preparedness by performing skits featuring familiar Sesame Street characters such
as Elmo and Big Bird.
The teens performed at 16 L.A. County libraries for nearly 1,000 children. The show features three
interactive musical skits: Beat the Quake, Crawl Low in Smoke, and Stop, Drop, and Roll.
Audience member, Stephanie Hernandez, said her favorite part was practicing the stop, drop and
roll drill. “Now I know what do to in case of a fire,” she said.
For more information about becoming a Red Cross youth member or scheduling a puppet show
performance at hospitals, community events, fairs and other public events, please contact Erica
Helson, Youth Services coordinator, at email@example.com.
In August, Red Cross youth members (back row l to r) Brandon Wolinsky, Susan Flores and Sally Na from North
Hollywood High School, and Dorsa Davari, Santa Monica High School, teach children about emergency prepared-
ness at the Cahuenga Branch Library. (Photo by Jennifer Harell)
LOS ANGELES, CA
Canvassing the Streets for Earthquake
Red Cross volunteers pounded the
pavement during Sept. to kick off
PrepareLA — a campaign aimed at
encouraging and empowering Los
Angeles residents to get ready for
“the Big One” and other disasters.
In recognition of September
being National Preparedness Month,
the Red Cross posted 60 street
banners in a 30-block corridor in
the mid-Wilshire and Koreatown
areas of Los Angeles. “Street teams”
of Red Cross volunteers canvassed
the neighborhoods featuring the
banners, delivering English, Spanish,
and Korean preparedness information
to more than 100 local businesses
and other organizations. The primary
message: “Getting prepared is easy. It
starts with YOU.”
To learn more about how to
get prepared, please visit www.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Follow the Los Angeles Region Red Cross on:
11355 Ohio Avenue