Champions of Change: American Red Cross

Uploaded by whitehouse on 14.09.2012

Speaker: All right, folks.
Let's start bringing ourselves back together.
Have we enjoyed the day?
Audience Members: Yes!
Speaker: Was it a good lunch?
Audience Members: Yes!
Speaker: Made by the Navy Mess, actually, right here.
So our next event for the afternoon is to take what we
talked about this morning in sort of the theoretical and
the macro level and embody resilience in nine people.
Now, how you boil the American Red Cross into nine people,
I'm not quite sure I understand.
But somehow we've done that for you all this afternoon.
In order to kick that off I want to introduce to you
our host here at the White House for the day,
the man who came up with this whole concept of Champions of
Change, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the
Office Public Engagement, Jon Carson.
Jon Carson: All right.
Well, good afternoon, everyone.
Audience Members: Good afternoon!
Jon Carson: How has your day at the White House been so far?
Audience Members: Great.
Jon Carson: Excellent.
So my name is John Carson, I work at the Office of
Public Engagement.
And I wanted to try to shift the conversation a little bit this
afternoon as we bring in our Champions of Change and we start
talking about just some of the amazing things that are
happening across the country under the leadership of the
American Red Cross.
And what we do at our office is really think about how do
we share good ideas like this.
How do we help best practices that are discovered or refined
in one part of the country or one part of the world and how
do we share them.
And I find it's a fascinating time in just how communication
works in our world these days.
Theoretically, theoretically, everything our federal
government does, everything our Champions of Change are doing,
everything, every one of your organizations are doing,
theoretically we could all find it out with one search
on Google; right?
But yet we kind of feel like nobody knows what's going on.
We're in a world where theoretically we're
surrounded by information, but I think because of that,
we sometimes actually have to push a little harder to help
share those good ideas.
So the conversation I wanted to start with is how are you having
success doing that?
What we're learning at the White House and the reason
we bring people together like this is that despite putting
up your stories online, despite twitter and Facebook,
and we're big fans of all of that,
sometimes bringing people together has been a successful
way in sharing these best practices and learning.
But let's, I would love to open up for questions,
either questions you have on how the government approaches these
issues, questions for some of our agencies or really I would
love to hear your stories of successes you have had where an
experience you had perhaps in dealing with a disaster,
perhaps in working on resiliency you have been able to connect
and learn from other places or share your stories with others.
Who would like to jump in and open up the conversation?
(laughter) Somebody here has got a good story on this front.
Well, Paulette, I know you working over at FEMA connecting
volunteers to what's going on, what are some of the interesting
ways you've seen this work?
Paulette: I knew you were going to call on me!
Paulette: You know, I would say one of the things that I've
seen when it comes to resilient communities is that generally
it's really organic and led by the community.
And I think as government it's really tough for us to figure
out how best to promote that.
There is always kind of who's in charge and what works.
And I would say we saw some really amazing,
some amazing things happening in Joplin, Missouri,
some things that the community really led and did themselves.
And a lot of what they did was want to take care of the
children in their community and make sure that they were getting
a space to share their concerns and worry together.
And they really led when it came to kids.
And that is what their community really cared about.
And so I think government and the Red Cross and everyone who
is trying to do better when it comes to disasters has to let
the community in with them.
It's a challenge, so always looking for new ways to do that.
Jon Carson: One interesting thing we've noticed,
and I think some of the Joplin stories are good examples of
this, sometimes what people need is not so much that new idea but
more of a permission slip.
More of a sense of, oh, I didn't know I could do that.
One interesting Champions of Change event we held here last
year was with chefs from around the country who had partnered
with their local school district to take some of the ideas from
the First Lady's "Let's Move!"
initiative and help that local school district bring it into
their classrooms, bring it into their cafeterias.
And what we found afterwards was that a lot of other chefs in
other school districts told us by seeing what others had done
they had just taken the initiative and jumped in and
helped make those partnerships.
So I think sometimes it's important to tell those stories
of how citizens led in Joplin and others just to let others
know that they could do the same.
Who else has a good example or question or idea?
Audience Member: I will give an example.
So in New Orleans, I work with an organization called and we trained about 500 volunteers,
mostly young people 18 to 25, to support the city-wide
evacuation plan.
And so in case of a mandatory evacuation our folks go in and
work with the city, with the national guard,
with police and fire and basically as kind of
ambassadors to help the people, the 30, 40,000
trans-dependent folks without cars get to where
they need to get to to get out of town and the partnership with
Kay and the Red Cross has been a great partnership for us to
actually get folks who traditionally don't get into
the disaster volunteering but have time in an event like that
because they don't have a house, they don't have a family,
and they can spend that four days or four hurricane minutes
helping people get out of town.
Jon Carson: So how long have you been working on this
in New Orleans?
Audience Member: So the organization is
about three years old.
I have been working on it for about a year.
But it started with a guy who was an AmericaCorps volunteer
at the mayor's office in New Orleans who during Hurricane
Gustav and Ike realized that there needed to be some sort
of grassroots way to get folks because the government but in
the way you were saying is not as good as certain parts of the
volunteering piece and it is more having another organization
to do that is very valuable.
And we use a lot of social media tools and other ways to get to
that demographic.
Jon Carson: So if another community wanted to adopt this approach,
what is available?
Is there a toolkit?
Would they need to contact you?
How would they go about that?
Audience Member: One of the things that we're actually very
interested in doing and we're kind of trying to kind of get
to the stability point with our program in New Orleans and then
we would like to work with FEMA and others to look at how we
take this model to other places.
And Florida would be a good example, Miami,
it really requires kind of a notice event as opposed to a
no notice event.
It's harder when you can do it.
But there are a lot of communities where
we can do that.
Jon Carson: Excellent.
Other questions or ideas or -- yes?
Jeff McCullough: I'm Jeff McCullough from the University
of Minnesota Medical School.
I've been involved with the Red Cross for many years.
About 25 years ago it was shown that you can do a bone marrow
transplant from an individual unrelated to the patient.
When this was first shown the issue then became where
do we find donors for all these patients who can't
get a transplant.
We started with two Red Cross nurses and began telephoning Red
Cross blood donors who said of course I will donate bone marrow
for someone that I would never know and will not likely ever
meet but I may save their lives.
Since that time there are now over 50,000
of these transplants done that started with two Red
Cross nurses at the University of Minnesota.
Jon Carson: And how have you -- tell me a little bit
more about how you founded those 50,000?
Jeff McCullough: This activity evolved into what
is now known as the National Bone Marrow Donor Programs.
They have over 6 or 8 million donors now.
It started with a few thousand Red Cross blood donors and two
Red Cross nurses.
Jon Carson: That's fascinating.
One thing that we've seen is that I think as social media
evolved, it was seen as a replacement for some of the
traditional methods of volunteer recruitment engagement.
What we've learned, and I think a lot of
organizations are learning, is that it's an additional tool,
but it isn't a replacement at all.
I think especially when you're starting something like that,
that person-to-person contact, even if it's someone they
haven't met before on the phone, in combination with social media
is what can be so powerful.
That social media makes more people aware of it so when they
receive that phone call.
But at the end of the day, you still need to get people
together, which I think is such a great piece of what Red Cross
does having local parts, local entities that people
can plug into.
We've really seen that, combined with and the
broadcast power of social media, so much more effective than just
someone sitting behind a computer tweeting without
the connection as well.
Other examples or stories or successes or challenges?
Audience Member: I would say this to add on to that,
that social media can actually be an entrance to working with
certain populations, teenagers, in particular,
young 20-year-olds where it becomes the way that they maybe
first hear about something and then you can do other kinds of
So it may actually be the first time they hear about it.
And I think that there is really power in that.
Jon Carson: Oh, that's a good point.
Another thing that maybe we could keep the conversation
going on and can work with FEMA and others on is,
because I know that sometimes that can be a challenge,
how do you get connected to a population,
to a community that wasn't originally part of your
local efforts.
If we at the White House sometimes can play a connecting
role, we work with lots of different nonprofit
organizations that reach out to at-risk youth,
those organizations may be focusing on education,
they may be focusing on job skills training,
but there is no reason those organizations couldn't be part
of bringing the Red Cross connection to them as well.
So keep that in mind.
And in fact, something I'd like to remind people,
85% of federal government employees don't work anywhere
near Washington, D.C.
If you're thinking about who could help me make those
connections, if you're in Atlanta, Georgia,
every major agency in the federal government has a local
office in Atlanta, Georgia, in Los Angeles, in Chicago.
There is ten major federal cities.
So when you are looking for those extra connections,
take the moment to ask is there an EPA office here?
Is there a HUD office?
Is there a USDA office?
There is in every single county.
So that would be another way to help make some of
those connections.
And I think as you've said, as they heard about it,
learned more about it from social media,
the connections will go that much faster.
Audience Member: You were also talking about challenges.
And I think as we continue to work on community resilience and
all the different partnerships that are taking place,
we have to make sure that we also have a cultural challenge
in our population which is that you are responsible for
your own preparedness.
I think that's great about that we're building a great
infrastructure around them and training and preparedness but
we also have to convince each person that they are responsible
for their own preparedness, so they have to start preparing
at home with the families and really not always expect
all those additional resources around them.
You have to really figure it out one person at a time.
Jon Carson: And another great example where
and other online assets, the information is
certainly there on how, what they need to do to
be prepared.
Even at the community level to be resilient there is Red Cross
chapters they can be a part of.
But if we can ever be helpful in making those connections to
other organizations that are bringing people together to
share that message, we'd love to help do that.
Audience Member: And I think that information is there.
It's how do we change the attitude of our principle
disposition to be prepared.
I think that is something that we still have to tackle.
Jon Carson: You know, a lesson we've learned,
take an example outside of this, with the Affordable Care Act if
you have a 23-year-old, they can be on your insurance now while
they are finding another path and a lot of people are taking
advantage of that.
And we've looked very carefully, but the thing is if you're 23,
you just graduated from college, it's not automatic.
You have to do something.
It's not much, but you have to know that you can be covered
and do it.
So we've looked closely.
But, well, how did they find out?
How did all those parents, how did all those 22 year
olds find out?
And it turns out it's not mostly from op-eds in the New York
Times -- (laughter) -- it's not really from being coverage on
CNN about the political ins and outs of the health care law;
it's one mom talking to another at a basketball game.
It's one conversation in the parking lot.
And I think sometimes we think that those are the extra things.
Those are the, well, that's nice,
I got a few more people coverage,
that's actually the primary driver of how
these connections are made.
And I think the conversation about preparedness and
resiliency it's the same thing.
The cumulative effect of those conversations.
Now, what we also saw was, well, how did the mom at the
basketball game know to tell the other moms and sort of
where does the chain start?
What we really see is it starts in those local community
organizations, many of whom who have been there for a long time.
Someone brought it up at a church,
someone brought it up at a YWCA.
So and Red Cross I think is one of those bedrock organizations
that we could connect to others to spread that message.
Audience Member: I think in the State of California we're
doing a lot the partner with schools and work with kids.
We have AmericaCorps members who are going into classrooms at a
certain age and working with kids and I think originally,
I think it made an impact to me when we had one of our
AmeriCorps members come back and tell us that a student that went
and said so what do you do if you are unprepared?
And the student kind of paused and said, call 911.
And I thought that's so interesting because I learned
as a kid to stop, drop and roll.
But it's so funny to think about the impact that the
kids make and then bring that information home.
And we see the grassroots piece of that taking place.
And we also know that the kids love when our Red Cross club
members, our AmeriCorps members, they come in and with their
T-shirts on, they resonate with the kids.
And the kids (inaudible).
Jon Carson: Can I ask how many of you in the different
work you have done locally have worked with or worked
with an organization who had AmeriCorps volunteers?
So the majority.
That's fantastic.
And what I'm so excited about long-term,
I was a Peace Corps volunteer, not AmeriCorps,
but there is just a network there.
There is now over three quarter of a million AmeriCorps alumni
who have had experiences like the volunteer that you worked
with who are just going to, I think,
form both a network that we can all tap into.
If you know an AmeriCorps volunteer and want to find out
what organizations to work with in another community,
it's going to be that network of connections.
But I think also those AmeriCorps volunteers are
going to be the bedrock of civic participation for groups like
Red Cross in the years to come.
Other stories or ideas or challenges?
Richard Flores: Richard Flores,
Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs at FEMA.
And as you know, there is 566 FEMA-recognized tribes and one
of the things that you were mentioning about is people
thought they had to ask permission who we have to talk
to them about cultural issues.
And I hear a lot, you know, of states and locals,
but we need to remember that state and local tribal they
manage, there is sovereign nation,
there is self governance, and recognize that.
As a matter of fact, President Obama's Administration support
changes to the Stafford Act that allows tribes to make a request
Executive Declaration of Emergency Disaster Declaration
directed to the President.
And I have to tell you although I have known about Red Cross
forever, as a disabled veteran coming back they helped me out,
it wasn't until I received a letter from the Red Cross,
that actually the Red Cross supported the recognition of
tribal sovereignty and supported the change to the Stafford Act.
Which that blew me away because I really never, you know,
they are an NGO so it was pretty impressive and I sent it out to
the tribal leaders and I got a lot of responses back saying,
Red Cross is supporting this.
And I know there is a lot of support out there,
but again going back to being here,
the challenges that we have is, you know,
working directly with the tribal leaders.
During the last hurricane we had,
we have what is called a Tribal Assistance Coordination Group,
a lot of federal agencies are on there,
our tribal representatives, our emergency manager's kit,
you know, on the ground information,
what do you need assistance with.
So I am going to work closely with our Red Cross partners on
the tribal side.
I know FEMA works with Red Cross, but, you know,
integrate them or work with them,
being partners with them in our Tribal Assistance Coordination
Group meetings and again I was pretty impressed when I got that
letter from the Red Cross reporting the Stafford Act.
So I look forward to working with everybody.
I appreciate working with my new Red Cross partner.
So thank you.
Jon Carson: Excellent.
And have you participated in some of the Tribal Nations
Conferences we do each December at the White House?
Richard Flores: Yes, in fact I was here November 7-11,
the White House Tribal Conference.
Jon Carson: Oh.
Richard Flores: And I work with NCAI, USID,
and I speak at all their conferences.
And Craig, the Administrator, supports and works very closely
with the major organizations and that's why the Tribal Affairs
Office, the Special Advisor works with Craig also and keeps
him in line, but, you know, working with all the appropriate
offices within FEMA.
But again tribal is one of those things that people think state
and local and tribal go through the state, you know,
we need to make sure that we include the tribes and that we
send out messages.
We always look at those and say state,
local and tribal officials or tribal governance and make sure
that they are a part of that.
Jon Carson: Well, and as a matter of fact,
what we found fascinating is the community of 565 different
sovereign nations in the tribal community,
there really are some successes there in sharing best practices,
sharing experiences, having those who have had success
working with DOI or HUD or HHS on different initiatives.
Have you got a good example or two of how you have seen that
information flow?
Richard Flores: Sure.
You know, one of the things, I am a retired fire chief of
one of the tribes, so one of our things that we work with,
I mean, you know, we have a lot working with,
you know -- I'm sorry, I've got so much stuff on my mind here --
(laughter) -- so working with TMI,
and risk management and training,
we actually have tribal trainers now that go out and teach the
county and state representatives on working with tribes.
We actually do, internally we actually have a four-hour tribal
-- this is not just training the federal government, you know,
how to work there, we have trained tribal leaders also
to understand what emergency management is,
why it's important to work together because, you know,
when we need a fire truck, I don't care where it comes
from -- (laughter) -- and so we are working with the counties
and the states and we have good working relationships,
some don't, my job as a Special Advisor, as Craig said,
the Administrator said, I advise everyone on tribal relations.
But we work mostly with our VOA partners, or VOI partners,
you know, in wanting to make sure we work closely
with Red Cross.
And, like I said, I know FEMA works with them but I am talking
about the tribal program itself and how we work with them on a
daily basis where in emergency, pick up the phone and stuff,
and so personal relationships and working with our regional
tribal liaisons and our other partners.
Jon Carson: Excellent.
All right.
Who else has a good story or comment?
Audience Member: In my Red Cross career I have had the
opportunity to see preparedness in Chicago and in Detroit and to
see the impact that the Red Cross has as an organization to
be able to bring folks together who don't have a traditional
role in disasters.
Particularly significant especially when disasters occur
in communities where people have the fewest resources.
So it's just another way to demonstrate the value of our
total organization to bring everyone together at a time to
make sure that the needs of the community are being met.
It's really significant from my viewpoint as someone who has
been a part of the Red Cross for more than 23 years.
Jon Carson: In any particular organization -- those are some
challenging communities, I'm sure, you've worked in.
Any particular techniques or organizations that were helpful
in making sure people were connected to the Red Cross?
Audience Member: Yes, I could give an
example from my time in Chicago.
We had a program called Team Firestoppers and where we would
target preparedness information for communities where there was
a higher occurrence of single-family fires and because
the Red Cross did not have a physical presence in every
community where the fires occurred,
it was important to build relationships with community
organizations that already had a presence.
Because that was the entryway for us to come in to bring this
really important information that would be embraced by
the community.
And now it leads to hundreds of people every year getting
important training on how they can better prepare themselves
and their families for disaster and maybe reduce the risk of
what happens.
Jon Carson: Well, two stories come to mind.
My first personal experience with the Red Cross was as a
young person in college who went through a fire actually in an
apartment I lived in.
The Red Cross got there before the fire department did.
So I'm sure that's not a surprising story to all of
you who have seen what you're able to get done.
The second thing is that brings to mind and talking about
community organizations, we see another interesting phenomenon
going on right now.
And I do think it's important to give everyone permission slips,
to be leaders, to take charge in their community,
but there's also something else that we're trying to
encourage more of.
A lot of people do get good ideas and they think about how
they could build an organization,
get their community involved.
But there seems to be missing lot of times a moment where
everyone stops and says, I wonder if someone else
is already doing that?
As a return Peace Corps volunteer I can tell you every
single Peace Corps volunteer on their way back home from their
mission country is thinking about the new organization
they're going to start to do it right.
And the Red Cross knows how to get this done.
I'm sure there are so many times when you have seen --
I will give you one example.
Here in D.C. we work with a lot of groups who reach out to
at-risk youth.
And we had a meeting of them all once and there were two
different groups who decided that their approach to reaching
out to at-risk youth was to teach them computer programming.
Well, that's a great idea but did there really need to be
two of them?
So we tried to do whatever we can as people have energy,
excitement, and want to be part of it,
where there are organizations like the Red Cross that are
already engaged in these programs,
to try to connect people.
And I think it's a message that we have to balance both at
supporting entrepreneurialism, supporting people getting
engaged, but also supporting those bedrock organizations
that are already there.
So any way we can ever help with that kind of work as well,
we'd be happy to.
Other questions?
Well, I think at this time let's go ahead and get to our main
event this afternoon.
I'd like to welcome up our Champions of Change that we
are going to be honoring today.
I'm going to read them off and if you could come in,
our first panel can line up here and the rest we have some
reserved seats right in the front.
Our first is Dr. Suzanne Horsley from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
(applause) Thank you, Suzanne.
Our next is Kay Wilkins from Louisiana.
Kay, come on up.
(applause) Next is Mahogany Thomas from San
Francisco, California.
Mary Basiliere from North Andover, Massachusetts.
(applause) Brian Boyle from Welcome, Maryland.
(applause) (whoooo!)
Dom Tolli from Wayne, New Jersey.
(applause) Monica Dawn Owens from Warner Robins, Georgia.
(applause) Nan Buzzard from New York City.
And finally Stephanie Phillips from Hilton Head,
South Carolina.
(applause) So before I turn it back over to the team here,
I'm actually going to start out our Champions of Change program
with an "ask."
An "ask" for all of our Champions,
an "ask" for everyone in our audience,
and our "ask" for everyone following along online today.
And that's simply to tell your story.
The number one thing we've seen in sharing examples,
sharing best practices, encouraging more people to be
involved, is to give concrete personal examples of people who
are making a difference in their community,
people who are Champions of Change.
And so whether you're following along online because you are
interested in these stories, certainly everyone in the
audience has a story to tell, but in particular our Champions
of Change: I ask you to tweet it out, blog it out,
write a letter to the editor in your local newspaper,
tell the story of what you do.
Tell the story of being here at this White House.
And tell what got you engaged, what got you involved, both,
I think, to share those ideas, share those best practices that
we've been talking about all day long,
but also and most importantly to inspire
others to action as well.
So thanks again to our Champions of Change and thanks to everyone
for the great event today.
I'll turn it back over.
Speaker: Alrighty.
The first panel can be seated.
So thank you, Jon, very much for your time and for your kind
remarks and for facilitating and answering questions.
That was a fabulous way to start our Champions afternoon.
It has been a day about stories and now we're going to have
stories from four people who are champions.
We know from research that people learn from
their neighbors.
People learn from ordinary folks about what to do.
It's much more powerful to hear from my neighbor than it is to
hear from "the government" or "the Red Cross."
So we'll hear some great stories this afternoon.
To interview champions we had to find a champion.
And to moderate this panel the Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness and Response, a member of the Uniformed U.S.
Public Health Service, Dr. Nickie Lurie.
Dr. Nickie Lurie: Thank you.
Now you get to hear what the government does!
(laughter) Thanks and congratulations to all of
our Champions of Change.
And to all of you in the room for being here.
What you all do is just really phenomenal.
I thought I would just give you just a couple minutes of
background about what it is that I do and then we will hear from
each of our panelists.
So my office, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness Response, was actually started as a lesson
learned after Hurricane Katrina when people decided that all of
the elements of preparedness and response needed to come together
under one roof.
And frankly to have a place where "The Buck Stops Here,
" so that's me.
And in this role we are -- I am the Secretary's principle
advisor for all issues related to public health emergency
preparedness and response from bio-terrorism,
to hurricanes and tornadoes, you name it sort of we do it
and we bring together all of the different parts of HHS,
interface with all the different parts of government to do that.
We also work on developing medical countermeasures and
we also are the people that do the response,
send out the National Disaster Medical System, et cetera,
the DMAT teams, when in fact there is a disaster and people
need additional medical help.
But more importantly what we try to do is set a vision and
policies for the country and through something called the
National Health Security Strategy,
we put together a vision that really guides
the work that we all do.
It's a national strategy.
It's not a federal strategy.
But one of its two cornerstones really is about building
resilient communities.
And that's how I've gotten to know and got to know Kay
in the past.
And that's how I really interfaced with the Red Cross,
Richard Reed, others around this whole mission of resilience
because resilience is about individuals.
It's about families.
It's about communities.
It's about government.
It's about our way of life.
And all of those things really interact and interlock in some
very powerful ways.
So I'm happy to answer questions later about what it is that I do
day to day and tell stories if's that's what you want.
But we're not here today to hear from me.
We're here today to hear from our panelists who are really,
really remarkable people.
And even from reading about them and the things they do,
I've learned so much and been so inspired.
So I think we'll just jump in.
I think that you have all of their bios.
Is that right?
So I'm not going to read that stuff because I'm assuming you
can all read and you would rather hear them talk then
have you read.
So I'll start with Kay and say, you know,
you've been so Hurricane Katrina on up and most
recently with Hurricane Isaac.
And I was actually in Louisiana and was so impressed with the
progress that has been made since Katrina time.
I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about what you've
learned from this whole range of experience crossing a whole
family of hurricanes or generations of hurricanes that
offer lessons on why resilience is so important.
Kay Wilkins: Well, thank you so much for asking that question
because for me what I've learned these last seven years is it's
the power of connections.
And we're being asked to tell stories.
So I'm going to tell you some stories about the power of
connections that have affected my life these last seven years
and the lives of many of the people in and around the New
Orleans area.
The first one, a 12 year old throws her arms around a Red
Crosser in Houston at the arena.
She's one of the first to get out of the city of New Orleans.
She throws her arms around this Red Crosser because this Red
Crosser had taught her swimming that three months before.
And she said to the Red Crosser, Ms. Laura, Ms. Laura!
I had to swim to get out of my house!
And Ms. Laura held her and told her she was safe.
And then the young girl started crying uncontrollably.
And then she said, But my momma couldn't.
Her mother didn't survive.
The power of connections.
I told this story almost three or four years later
to our new mayor when he was coming into office.
And we were talking about hurricanes.
But I was talking to him about the need we had to teach the
people in and around the city of New Orleans how to swim.
And with tears in his eyes, he said, What do you need,
how can I help you?
Two years later, we have a great swim program in the
city of New Orleans.
It's a free swimming program, and this past year,
we trained 8,000 kids.
But let me tell you, do you know what we did?
For every child who came to us, we give them a card and asked
them to give it to the adult in their life who didn't know
how to swim.
Because you know, I never want anyone to tell Ms. Laura again
that their mother couldn't survive.
The power of connections.
The power of connections.
When you can take a pillowcase, and I can hear a UNL professor
talk about the way that pillowcase literally saved the
lives of the students who were coming into, as freshmen,
into the city of New Orleans and how they put all of their
belongings in a pillowcase and evacuated prior to Katrina and
how today, with corporate sponsors like Disney,
we're going to be able to touch 4,000
kids and beyond with pillowcases that become a
disaster supply kit for a third grader that are filled with
information for their parents.
We do that with our seniors too.
go on walkers.
And we partner with our youth to help our seniors create a
communication plan when we need to evacuate.
The power of connection.
The power of connection that taught me,
from my friends at Total Community Action,
the power of Walker-Talkers, going from door to door,
knocking on porches and saying, Do you know what you need to do
to be safe, let me talk to you a little bit about this.
The power of connections who, today,
with our partners at Hope Worldwide and hands across New
Orleans who are out there today knocking on 1,250 homes,
three weeks, two weeks after Isaac,
asking them if they know about what they need to do to be safe.
It's the power of connection.
I would tell each of you that you're sitting next to someone
who has the ability to make a powerful connection in your
life and help you be prepared.
Talk to them before today's over.
Connect with them.
And know that, for the last seven years,
we've been the recipient of many,
many good things in New Orleans.
Many of you have taken care of our people in the worst
of times.
And we just want to say, my lesson learned is it's
a great place to be when the people of the world turn out
and stand on your door and open up their hands and say,
What can we do to help?
So thank you.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: What a moving story.
It hits close to home.
I have a son who went to school in Tulane,
decided to stay in New Orleans and work.
And I am so impressed with the whole community there and the
power of connections and the connections that have started
and grown out of our horrific event.
And hopefully with this last one,
it was a bit of a healing event.
And that's because of the work that people like you do, Kay.
It's just really remarkable.
Monica, I would love to hear about the community resilience
pilot project that you're working on in Mississippi,
focusing on how you built networks and understood what was
going on, the risks you saw, and what you wanted to do about it.
Monica Owens: So over the course of the past year,
I've been working with a team of individuals that are pilot
testing a new strategy for the Red Cross to engage whole
communities around preparedness and resilience.
We have five pilot sites.
We have folks working from Miami,
Florida all the way over to San Francisco,
California and everywhere in between.
Specifically, we're aiming to identify gaps in preparedness
and craft solutions that are culturally appropriate
to bridge those gaps.
And we're encouraging community members to take
collective action.
These are local community members that are taking action
together to bridge those gaps in preparedness so that the whole
community can come together and be resilient when the
next event happens.
So there's a piece of it that's preparedness, yes.
But the real aim is to mitigate any kind of future impacts so
fewer lives are lost and less damage to property is done if
there's an incident.
So that being said, my colleague Lorena
Williams and I have been working in South Mississippi with 14
community resilience networks.
We have a lot of networks.
We had a sense of urgency about this project because we knew we
only had one year to demonstrate that the strategy could be
successful and provide some concrete data up to national
headquarters so that, moving forward,
we would have some ideas of how to implement this in the future.
So the way we started our work was we started by understanding
our community and collecting data.
We started by looking at the census data,
looking at demographics in our community,
really capturing qualitative data as well by working with
EMA directors, key community stakeholders,
ministers in communities, informal and formal leaders,
to really capture the pulse and the heartbeat of the community
to really understand the needs that are present in the
community and to hear from the community what their
concerns are.
So we worked with them to capture that data.
And it might seem cumbersome at first.
It might seem like why are we doing all this data capturing?
What's really the point of this, what's going to come out of
this information?
But I can tell you two things that have come
out of it already.
We've been able to test against inherent biases about what we
thought were our needs in South Mississippi.
We were able to talk to our community members and check
whether or not what we were concerned about was what the
community was concerned about.
Because if we just go into a community and try and bulldoze
them as Red Crossers and say, This is what you need to do,
they might not get on board with us.
And they might not want to work with us collaboratively.
So we would kind of be defeating ourselves before
we even got started.
This data was invaluable during or recent response
to Hurricane Isaac.
I was leading disaster assessment teams in the field,
which is a job I had never done before.
It was my first time doing it.
They said, Monica, we need you to step in,
we need you to do this.
But I had that historical data and the knowledge of where our
community is impacted most frequently.
And I was able to send our damage assessment teams out to
go and do verifications and talk with the community members
in those areas that were heavily impacted.
So speaking about building these networks,
we went about it in two ways.
We went about it by partnering with preexisting networks like
LEPCs which is a Local Emergency Planning Committee.
With our Jackson County Local Emergency Planning Committee,
we're working on issues like shelter in place with
childcare facilities.
We have a huge presence of chemical industry in Southeast
Mississippi, lots of oil refineries in the area.
We partner with Chevron there.
And we are able to partner with them to leverage some federal
dollars to be able to fund preparedness activities and
get shelter in place kits together to go out and train
administrators of school systems and childcare facilities on what
to do if there's a chemical cloud approaching the school.
Many of the schools were thinking that, oh,
we need to load up our kids, put them on a bus,
drive them away as fast as possible.
Well, if you're already seeing the chemical cloud,
if you're smelling it, it's already impacting you.
So they need to learn how to shelter in place.
And they need to know what action is appropriate.
So in addition to that, we've also built networks from the
ground up, which is what we've done most frequently.
And when we build the networks from the ground up so to speak
and we're bringing together these groups of people that
haven't interacted before together,
we're using those key community gatekeepers to leverage them to
make the folks in the community,
the movers and the shakers so to speak.
So I'm going to ministers in a predominantly African American
community and saying, who are the people in your community
that you can see fitting within this strategy?
And I'm asking them to make the phone calls and the
introductions because, if I call as Monica from the Red Cross,
they might not respond the same way as Reverend Bill in Gaston
Point neighborhood calls and asks one of the members of his
congregation to come out and support the
Red Cross initiative.
So we're using those key community gatekeepers to
make those introductions.
Networks, we use the term network.
More people in a network doesn't always equal more action.
Sometimes it's one-on-one relationships that can leverage
this great capacity.
For example, I went to my colleague and my partner at
Boat People SOS.
They're a great community partner of ours in
Biloxi, Mississippi.
And they work largely with the Vietnamese community if you're
not familiar with them.
And I went to Danny Lee of Boat People SOS.
And I said, Danny, what are you concerned about?
And he said cultural competency training for first responders
and community service providers.
It was the first thing out of his mouth.
It was instant.
This is the need in our community.
So we were able to lend our social trust to convene first
responders and community service providers in a training that
reached over 75 folks.
And it came about from one conversation with Danny and a
conversation with another community partner at Mississippi
Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force who was able to provide us
with a room and the space to do it.
Boat People SOS had a grant to fly in a subject matter expert
from University of Houston in Texas who was able to present
to these people.
And I learned so much, even by participating in that workshop.
So many of us think, oh, all we need to do is we need to produce
pamphlets in Vietnamese, and then everybody's automatically
going to be prepared, right?
A lot of folks that are refugees in our country have not been
afforded access to education in their home country.
So if we're giving a pamphlet in Vietnamese,
they might not even be able to read it.
That's not accessible information.
So we're working with them.
And the publicity from that training yielded a new network
being developed to bridge cultural barriers between the
fire service in Biloxi and service being provided to the
Vietnamese Community as well as the Hispanic Community.
So that one conversation yielded a far reaching impact.
That's just one example.
(laughter) (applause)
Dr. Nikki Lurie: That's great.
And the passion for what you do and for your work is just
so palpable.
It's terrific.
And you know, hearing both of these stories,
one of the great things -- and things I'll just remind us is we
know so much from research that building these social networks
and building connections is not just good for you
in an emergency.
It's good for you day to day.
And the people who are connected to other people and have people
they can count on and people who count on them are healthier and
live longer.
So what you're doing is building networks that help us both in
the day to day.
And it's that strong day to day that helps us really in times of
trouble and times of emergencies.
And we just saw, although Southern Mississippi had a ton
of flooding and a lot of damage, people really pulled through.
People helped each other.
Communities helped each other.
One of my jobs is to make it so communities and states
don't need the federal government to come help.
You know what?
That was really a success in Southern Mississippi.
It was terrific.
Monique Owens: Yeah.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: So Brian, reading your personal emergency
story is pretty incredible.
Can you tell us about your accident and how it was a
turning point in your own life, the goals you set for yourself
to enable you to bounce back and be resilient and how you've
then passed that on?
Brian Boyle: I would say the turning point in my life took
place in the summer of 2004, eight years ago on July 6th.
Regular summer day.
I was driving home from swim practice and I was involved in
a near fatal car accident with a speeding dump truck.
The injuries were catastrophic.
My heart was knocked across my chest.
All my major organs were damaged.
Shattered ribs, shattered pelvis, collapsed lungs.
Pretty much, you know, I was Medevaced out,
lost about 60% of my blood and underwent emergency operations,
14 in total in a two month ordeal where I was in a coma
on life support.
Kidney dialysis, liver damage, resuscitated eight times on the
operating table.
And for me, that was my background.
And to wake up every day in ICU pretty much on my deathbed
paralyzed, wondering how I got there, why I'm here,
why I can't move, why I can't speak and see my parents suffer.
You know, that was a thousand times worst for me than what I
was going through.
I was on morphine.
There was no pain -- (laughter) -- which was a good thing.
It's one of the good medicines.
And I just kept hopeful.
I kept thinking, you know, everything happens for a reason,
but why did this happen to me?
I was a good kid, did well in school, did sports,
went to church, you know, volunteered in my community.
And here I am on my Deathbed.
And I'm not sure what the deal is.
But the thing is the answer that I got was another question.
It's Why am I alive, why am I still here?
Why was I saved?
And it took some time for me to realize, okay,
I had to do something with this story.
My experiences, they're very, very adverse.
But I have to use them to an advantage to help others going
through a similar adverse situation.
And for me, that took place when I was pretty much transferred
from PG Hospital not far from here.
I'm from Southern Maryland so that was my hospital that
I spent two months in.
I was transferred to Kernan in Baltimore for my rehab.
And I was there in my wheelchair one day in one of my many
therapy seconds.
And I'm just sitting there thinking to myself,
if I can ever leave this place, if I can ever get better,
make that full recovery, I want to help others with
my experiences.
And, you know, going through recovery in ICU,
I had so many questions.
My parents were able to answer only so many things.
So I talked to my medical team; my nurses, my doctors,
my physical therapists.
And they said, Brian, you received 36 blood transfusions,
13 plasma treatments.
And for me when I heard that, I was so moved.
And I was thinking, that is the foundation,
that's what I want to do.
I want to give back and that's where I want to start.
And it was Red Cross blood.
That's where the blood came from.
And it came from all over the blood region.
I even heard, you know, some stories, it came from Minnesota.
And for me, that made such an impact on my life and
my recovery.
And I wanted to help others with those experiences.
And every day, every improvement,
every progress that was made, you know,
it was because of my blood donors, my medical team,
my parents, my loved ones.
It was a support system, as it is in the Red Cross.
You heard all today about the structure of the Red Cross.
And it's the same in any type of situation,
whether it's individual, organizational, in a community.
It's all based on a support system.
And for me, my own experience, you know,
making that full recovery, it took something as extreme
as the Ironman Triathlon, which is one of the toughest
sports events in the world.
And that took place, you know, 2007 on October 13th.
And after I crossed that finish line,
I was given the breath of life all over again.
And I lived up to the promise I made when I was in rehab.
And in 2007 in December, I joined forces with the
American Red Cross as a volunteer.
Two years later, my first blood donation was at my hospital that
brought me back to life.
Five times since then I've donated double reds
and whole blood.
I started working with Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood
Region in Baltimore, also with Northeast Division with
Dr. O'Neal and Donna and my team at national,
Brian with the NAIA Program.
Worked with Greg Biffle, Red Cross Race Team,
the Tiffany Circle, the high schools, the colleges.
There's so many things in the Red Cross, and you see it.
And we're all in the Red Cross together, whether volunteer,
faculty and staff, leadership, we're all on the same team.
We're all in the same fight.
It's a fight to save lives.
And every day is a great day thanks to what you do.
And for me, I'm living because of what you do so every day is
a fantastic day.
(laughter) And every since, you know,
leaving the hospital and making that recovery, you know,
it's just been about showing that gratitude.
On behalf of my parents and I, on behalf of all the blood
recipients out there -- I received 36 transfusions,
13 plasma treatments.
And I'm also a blood donor and a Red Cross national
volunteer spokesperson.
So to be here today, you know, it's a phenomenal experience for
me to be able to say thank you and hear all these amazing
stories, all the panelists this morning.
Wonderful job.
And just to have the ability to just say thank you for what
you're doing.
You know, behind all the numbers and the statistics and the
financial aspects of it, you guys are saving lives.
And I'm one of the many people you've impacted.
And you didn't just save me.
But you saved my family.
Before I get too emotional, I just want to say it's a
true honor to be here today with the Champions of Change
on behalf of the Red Cross.
All these movies that come out, you know,
these Superman movies or Iron Mans or Thors or the Avengers,
you know, that's all make believe.
The true superheros in life are what you guys do.
You guys are the true superheros, guardian angels.
I saw firsthand.
And everywhere you go, whether it's disaster,
whether it's at a blood drive, you see the impact that the Red
Cross makes in all forms, in all communities.
You see what is taking place.
And it is just a phenomenal thing.
And it really, really does make a difference.
So on behalf of my family and I, we can't thank you enough.
It's an honor to be here.
And God bless you all.
Thank you.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Thanks, Brian.
Brian, are your parents here?
Brian Boyle: They're right back there.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Let's recognize them to.
Where are they?
Sounds like it was a combination of blood and
love that pulled you through.
So really, really inspiring.
I think it's also a reminder just -- and we all know this,
just how fundamental the blood system is and how fragile the
blood system is in this country and how important a functioning
trauma system is to our national resilience as well.
So pretty incredible.
Thank you.
Mahogany, you're sort of at the other end of this in a lot of
different ways in your career as a law enforcement officer.
You see all different kinds of emergencies.
So tell us a little bit about your trigger point for getting
your fellow law enforcement officers to get involved in
this effort.
Mahogany Thomas: Hello, everybody.
My name is Mahogany Thomas and I'm a United States probation
officer in Los Angeles, California.
And I am really nervous right now -- (laughter) -- I got to
say, especially after going after Brian.
I got a chance to meet Brian and hang out with
him and his family.
And I'm telling you, they are so inspiring.
And just their attitudes and their smiles.
They're just a pleasure to be around.
It just reminds me about why we do what we do.
So just a little bit about my event.
Six years ago, I learned that every two seconds somebody
in the United States needs a blood donation,
a blood transfusion.
And being in law enforcement for almost 15 years,
I am very keenly aware of our competitive nature and how we
are when it comes to competition.
But I also am very aware of how we are inspired to give back to
the communities that we serve and we also live in.
So thus the Battle of the Badges blood drive
competition was born.
And basically, what the Battle of the Badges competition is
about is a friendly competition between all the different badge
carrying agencies in Los Angeles,
Greater Los Angeles area -- Southern California now
actually, to see which agency can donate the most blood and
therefore save the most lives.
So I got permission from and the full support of my chief,
formed a committee of probation officers and staff,
teamed up with the Red Cross and we just basically pounded
the pavement.
It was a grassroots movement.
We literally went from precinct to precinct, agency to agency,
talking to officers about the importance of donating blood.
What we didn't count on was that these big strong guys who carry
guns and put themselves in harms way would be so afraid of a
little needle.
(laughter) But heck, even I'm afraid of needles.
Plus, we didn't know what we were doing.
We were going by the seat of our pants.
We were making stuff up as we went along.
But you know what, we were having fun.
And we knew why we were doing it.
It was the opportunity to save a fellow officer,
an accident victim, a sick child.
So that's what's kept us going.
And after six short years, I can say that we have collected close
to 150,000 pints of life saving blood for accident victims which
is just amazing.
But we're not stopping there.
So this is our seventh year.
We're looking to take the campaign national.
There is no better platform than right here and right now.
So if anybody's interested in starting something like that,
come talk to me later.
As far as the initial question too as well,
I think that when officers are injured in the line of duty or
if there is a local disaster or a colleague gets sick, we rally.
Our communities rally together.
And we have these big mainstream drives.
And the mayors come out.
And the TV crews are there.
And that's all wonderful.
But as we all know here, the reality is that these efforts
need to start before the disasters strike.
And so I think that it's just a matter of informing people
of that and simply asking the question.
Our blood drive is so successful because we simply ask.
The majority of people say they don't know to donate because
they're not asked to donate.
So we get to do the asking.
And if somebody says no, then we counteroffer.
And that just starts the negotiation.
So... (laughter)
So again thank you, I'm so honored to be here.
Thank you.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Thank you.
You know, one of the things I always have to keep track of in
my job -- I have to keep track of all of the national assets
there are to help us in a disaster.
And I get a daily report on some things and a weekly
report on others.
And one of the reports I get is about the nation's blood
supply and where we have shortages and where we have
critical shortages.
And, you know, those times when O negative blood is really
low or whatever it is, I mean, you really worry.
And you sort of grit your teeth and fingernails through it until
we sort of stabilize things out.
I never really thought about the idea of making a counteroffer.
(laughter) But I'll have to think about now how to include
that in my repertoire.
(laughter) Excellent.
So we've heard, I think, what has gotten each of you going
and sort of what sort of makes you tick in this.
And I suspect if we went around the room we would have a lot
more inspiring stories that I hope you'll have a chance to
share with one another during the break.
But I know that the Red Cross now is really focused on this
whole idea of engaging communities,
whole communities to build resilience.
My friend Richard Reed is over here,
hired by the Red Cross really to think about and put in place
programs to build resilience.
What advice would you give Red Cross?
And maybe secondarily, what advice would you give me about
how to help build resilient communities in our country?
Go for it.
All of you.
Anybody want to start?
Kay Wilkins: Rock, paper, scissors.
Mahogany Thomas: I would just say,
like I just was talking about, don't take no for an answer.
Just get your counteroffers ready to go.
Be prepared for a no.
And be prepared to counteroffer.
So I never take a no.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: There you go.
Is that what you do as a probation officer too?
Mahogany Thomas: Absolutely.
(laughter) I do have experience.
Monique Owens: For me I would say it's important to talk to
community partners and potential groups that you might be
leveraging in resilience activities and explain to them
why you as a representative of the Red Cross or whatever agency
you're with think it's important for them to be at the table.
And on the other side of that, it's important for you to also
listen to them and see what they have to say about what they hope
to gain from it or what they're passionate about because,
in all honesty, there's so many times during the first phase
of this pilot where we went out and we did these deeper
conversations with the community stakeholders.
And you hear the issues surfacing.
And you hear trends and what people are talking about.
I know like in Jackson County for example,
one of our children Emergencies Working Groups that we have
there, the first conversation I had with our EMA Director Donald
Langham, he said, I'm concerned about the people right here.
And he pointed to a map and it was a two mile radius around our
industrial park.
I could have gone into that community and I could have
chosen a completely different issue and leveraged other assets
and resources.
But by joining forces with him, we were able to use him as a
force multiplier and to have him go out and really champion that
cause in his own community.
And it's been great.
And it's all about how you can leverage those relationships and
build a true partnership.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Great.
Brian, do you have thoughts?
Brian Boyle: I would say, just to kind of reinforce this
morning's topics about what the Reverend said about building
trust and what Brian said about having the platform,
where you go into like the college community,
both to like a sports team or a club team,
and you have like a certain role model kind of influence the rest
of the group through motivation or by leading by example.
That's always a key concept, especially with, you know,
bringing the youth into the Red Cross as far as donating blood.
And it's just making it cool, making it fun, making it hip,
and just getting on their level to make it something where,
you know, everyone wants to do it.
And that's, I think, one of the great programs that Brian
is influencing at the NAIA.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Great.
So making it cool, building trust, leveraging other people.
Brian Boyle: Social networking is huge.
Twitter, Facebook.
Just spreading the word and making it where everyone can
be a part of it.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Not taking no for an answer.
Kay, do you have anything to add to this list?
Kay Wilkins: Well, I would say,
look to the person to your right and left.
Katrina taught us that it wasn't just one organization
that can help rebuild a community and celebrate the
strengths and the resiliency in the community, it's each of us
working together.
I ran out of business cards because of Katrina because I
always took -- gave business cards and took business cards.
And I would encourage you to do that.
Celebrate the person next to you.
Months went by after Katrina, and every two weeks I would sit
with a colleague and we would open our books and I would say,
with his agency, well, what are you all doing?
And we would talk about what Red Cross is doing and we would
figure out the ways Red Cross would work with that agency, so,
I really want you to come down to New Orleans.
I think Mahogany's is force to be recognized -- (laughter) --
I'm sitting next to her next time.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Absolutely.
So you probably know that this session, this panel,
is being live streamed and we are reaching thousands and
thousands of people across the country.
Unfortunately, I don't think we have the technology here
for them to email in or tweet their questions.
Hopefully they are tweeting some messages about this event.
But this is National Preparedness Month as
we all know.
We've talked so much about resilience today.
What is your message for people out there who aren't sitting in
this room?
Go for it.
Kay Wilkins: You know, there's pieces in each of
us that make us strong in the worst of times.
And what I would say to everyone who's listening,
everyone in this room and beyond this room, is, you know,
we all are going to have high times in our life,
we're going to have low times in our lives.
When you're in the low times, find that piece of you that
makes you strong, that makes you want to put one foot in front of
the other and go forward.
And then take it to your neighbor.
And then take it to your community.
And then take it to your city, because that's what it's all
about to me.
Resiliency is not one thing or the other,
it's a combination of all things.
So, go out and celebrate resiliency.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Anybody else have a message out there?
Mahogany Thomas: I would just say to step out of your comfort
zone and take on a cause and commit to it,
and remember what you're committed to and really just
become unstoppable.
I think that, you know, for all of us sitting up
here we took on a cause and we literally became unstoppable.
And when you step into that zone,
I mean you just begin to live your life.
And life just seems to work so much better when
it's about others.
Monica Dawn Owens: So for me, I would say the message would be
that preparedness is important not only during National
Preparedness Month, but each and every day of the year.
And it's important to take action now to be prepared.
A quick little story from one of my networks,
I did this MLK Day of Service, neighborhood canvassing event,
where we went out and did door-to-door neighborhood
canvassing around fire prevention.
So I got all excited when national headquarters came out
with all these ideas about doing this family disaster planning
initiative for National Preparedness Month.
I'm like, oh, we could do it, would could try a canvassing
event, we could go door to door in this very disaster vulnerable
low income, predominantly African-American neighborhood
that is very rarely reached with messaging.
And so I took that idea back to my network members who are all
representatives of that community,
most of them lifelong residents of that community.
Some of them are city councilmen in Gulfport and other places
like that.
We have two reverends that serve on that committee as well,
just some great folks.
And I went to them with that idea.
Mind you, this meeting was in July,
right after we had had the first conference call.
And so I go to them and I'm like, oh,
in September we're doing National Preparedness Month,
we have all this stuff going on.
And they are like, they instantly,
their body language changed completely.
They fold their arms, they lean back, they are looking at me.
They are like, what's wrong with you?
Don't you know that they are vulnerable disasters right now.
And so for me that showed me that my community that I was
working with had become very passionate about the work that
we are doing, and they are fully engaged in it.
And literally, each one of them, all ten of them,
took a turn like admonishing me from wanting to hoard
life-saving information from the community and they said don't
you want to do an event here in August, what's wrong with you?
Can you handle the heat?
Don't you live down here too?
(laughter) And I was so worried about,
a lot of the members were elderly folks,
and I was worrying about creating another emergency,
having a heat-related illness, going out and doing this
neighborhood canvassing event.
But these folks, I said okay, okay, I get it.
One gentleman that's from Zimbabwe, he said,
do you think we wait until National World's AIDS day
to educate about HIV prevention and awareness?
And so, I said, okay, okay, I get it.
Let's do it now.
So we did it on August 4th.
And we went door to door in that neighborhood and touched
800 homes.
And each of those homes had a family disaster plan.
And literally, at that meeting one of my administrators had
thrown up his hands and he said, God forbid something happens
in August.
And guess what, Hurricane Isaac happened in August.
And had I not listened to that community network and waited
until September to take action, those folks wouldn't have been
as prepared.
So take action now is my message.
Brian Boyle: I would say in regards to (inaudible) in the,
you know, when disaster strikes it's always good
to prepare beforehand.
And during the summertime and holiday months during the
winter, there's always, you know, a need for blood.
The blood supply is always low.
We are coming out of the 15 year low right now with blood supply.
And for me, my message is always that one hour of your time can
help give someone a chance at a lifetime.
And that's my main objective, my main passion at the Red Cross,
is to reinforce that.
Dr. Nikki Lurie: Thank you.
And I would maybe add -- especially for all of you,
who are out there, and listening or online or whatever,
there's so much about connectedness that happens
person to person, day-to-day, face-to-face.
We all know there's also a huge amount about connectedness and
actions you can take online and connecting with each
other online.
We look at how social connections form,
and people have all kinds of friendships and relationships
and ways that they count on each other and we've never
even met one another, but they have met online.
They have made those relationships.
They have organized online.
They have taken action online.
So just because you're not sitting here today,
you're not off the hook.
You're just as much on the hook as everybody else.
And for those of you when you leave here,
you're on the hook with one another,
you're on the hook with people in your immediate space.
I've been really -- I spent a couple of visits lately over at
the Red Cross visiting their new digital operations center.
It's really interesting to see their use of social media.
And I really love this concept of a digital hug.
I think it's terrific.
Volunteers all over now learning how to hug to give digital hugs
and help each other out emotionally through disasters
and coach each other through those as well.
So there is just so much you can do in your day-to-day life with
one another, through Red Cross.
So preparedness month in some sense shouldn't be a chore,
it should really be a celebration of life and a
celebration of energy and celebration of things that you
do to make yourselves and your families and your communities
and our countries stronger every single day.
So with that, I'm going to close.
I don't know if people have any questions for our panelists
before we break.
Otherwise, I'll turn this back to the boss.
Speaker: Dr. Nikki Lurie, our moderator, Kay, Mahogany,
Monica, Brian, thank you so much for what you've done --
And now, it is September and it is National
Preparedness Month.
Those of us who work in this space for a long time have been
concerned that the time people get interested in disaster is
when bad things are happening or have happened.
And getting people to prepare when something has already
happened is a little bit of a challenge.
These days, though, we all have something that we didn't have
five years ago.
I'll pull mine out.
No, I guess I can't pull mine out.
Imagine a smart phone in my hand.
(laughter) We now have the ability to put preparedness
information and response information in people's hands
that they will have all the time.
Success has many fathers, but one of them,
for our ability to put app's on phones,
is here to demonstrate what those look like.
My colleague, Dom Tolli.
Dom Tolli: Thanks.
So what we are going to take you through is two powerpoint demos,
the first aid and the hurricane application that we've launched.
What's amazing is that combined, those have achieved about a
million people right now, actually,
now over a million people now that have those apps on their
And lots of people have it, so we are really thrilled
about that and hope that it keeps growing.
First, we'll go through the first aid app.
You'll notice when you first download it there's a launch
screen for emergencies.
And this is where the Red Cross gets very serious.
If there's an emergency and you need information,
the Red Cross will tell you exactly what to do -- Hold on,
back one.
Audience member: Sorry.
Dom Tolli: -- how to do it.
And it's going to be very directive and
very going forward.
It has a whole list of what we call every day first aid
emergences that we believe consumers in their everyday
life could face.
So this isn't for every emergency,
but it's for the most typical ones that we've found,
that are going to occur in people's lives,
we want that information on their fingertips.
So you'll see the emergency guidance.
Again, it's very directive.
Put pressure on the wound.
If the bleeding is severe call 911.
Keep pressure.
Not a lot of flowers.
Not a lot of, you know, hey, there's really kind
of neat bleeding.
It's very directive.
There's also something here, and you all know it in the room,
but that's the ability to call 911.
And what happens is, in an emergency,
people tend to get very narrowly focused,
and they tend to forget things to do.
So what we've done is we've integrated the 911 calling
button into that emergency command,
such that people -- they may be forgetting to do that.
So we feel putting that right there enables them to call 911,
or if they forget, be able to tell somebody to call 911.
Because as the pressure mounts, people starting to forget
things, it's really important to remind them to do that.
We also have the ability to learn first aid.
This isn't as command mandated.
So you can go through it, learn again for the typical everyday
first aid emergencies that you're going to go through,
read about each of those types of areas.
We have links to other areas.
Videos on it.
You know, pictures, diagrams.
Really trying to make it interactive,
really trying to make it interesting,
make it compelling for the people who are taking part
in the first aid.
This is shocking to me.
We had the abilities for people to test themselves.
So you can view the first aid information,
this is the most popular feature of the first aid app.
If you'd had told me that we are going to get, you know,
750,000 people to test themselves on first aid
on their mobile phones, I might not have believed you a year ago.
But now I believe it.
And what's really great is they are learning it and they are
testing themselves.
Which means real learning is actually occurring through
the app for that.
So, we'll ask a series of questions.
We try to make it fun.
We try to make it interactive.
Keep going.
We make it touch.
You know, we try to make it more fun for people to do.
That actually, you have to slide it again.
Make it interactive, make it fun, get people engaged on it.
If they don't get the right answer we'll tell them.
Good luck, and again, we are trying to teach
them what is going on.
If they do do a good job they get a badge.
And that badge is -- can be tweeted,
can be put on your facebook account.
And we are finding there's a tremendous amount of sharing
of those badges.
So the fact that people are learning first aid,
the people that surrounded that information with the fun test
that they can get, then tweet that out,
is great because then we at least know real first aid
learning is starting to happen through this device that might
not have happened anywhere else.
So we are very pleased with that.
So we've launched in June, that hurricane in August came out.
We were -- the beginning of the hurricane season.
And again, there's, all the people in here,
I know are prepared.
But most of the people in the United States will not prepare
in advance.
So we know that, so mobile is a great vehicle to be able to get
that information out to them when they want it.
And that hurricane app came out.
A couple of key features.
One is obviously the preparedness information.
This is preparedness information that the Red Cross has vented
through scientists, through years and years of research,
and millions of dollars in order to get it right.
This information is shared through chapters,
this information is shared through paper,
and now we are very happy to be able to say this information,
now being able to share through mobile.
What mobile has allowed us to do is to really prioritize what,
information, what actions we want people to take.
You'll notice in the middle screen, we have,
if you doing nothing else, do these four steps.
That will get you 60% of the way there.
Then do the next four steps, that will get you another 10%
of the way there.
So you're really helping guide people in those emergency
situations with the right actions to take,
that are the most urgent actions to take.
The next most popular feature we have on there is the ability
for people to be alerted.
So working with our friends at NOAH,
they have an API that we are able to hook into and be able to
get weather alerts through it and be able to stream those
alerts into the application, a very popular feature.
I'll give you an example of what happened during Hurricane Isaac
recently that will show you the power of that.
For that, we also have the ability for storm tracker.
So people that want to get the alerts of where they are,
they can set the alerts for anywhere in the United States or
wherever NOAH gives alerts for that.
So it can also be some of the islands off the United States.
That gives people who maybe not necessarily are in hurricane
alley the ability to monitor relatives and loved ones that
are in it.
So we find that's a great way for people to help each other.
Say, hey, Mom, you're having a hurricane,
you better get out of there.
We also have educated testing in the hurricane app also.
So this is what happens, right.
So the beginning part.
This is when we first launched it.
You'll see the big spike happen.
That's us.
That's all of us preparedness people downloading,
getting ready for that hurricane coming up.
Then you'll see the dip.
That's the rest of America.
Then Apple features us, you get a bump.
And then here's what's starting to happen with Isaac,
really put it to the test.
As the hurricane was developing, as it was approaching,
you could see different areas start to light up with the
downloads, as it started to approach.
So the first warning, hey, it's going to hit Puerto Rico, boom,
Puerto Rico starts to download the apps,
starts to happen a lot.
And then as you can see from the high spike,
then we are starting to hit the Gulf.
You can literally see the entire gulf region just light up,
go right from Florida, right all the way to Texas and light right
up in order to get that information on their phones.
And here's what happened, here's what was exciting.
So a day or two before, people are downloading the information.
The first thing they are doing is going to the
preparedness information.
We know this because we have data on every single page that
happens within the app.
And we know they are spending anywhere between 12 to 25
minutes reading this data.
This is the first time we've ever had this information.
And we know that this information is getting into
the minds and getting into the hearts of the families.
It's fantastic.
We also know they are setting up their alerts.
So both for their locations, and other locations.
Now during Isaac, the weather is coming,
the alerts are flying like crazy.
We had in Isaac over 2 million weather alerts went out to
people over the app.
So 2 million hurricane, flood, tornado and storm warnings and
watches went out to people through this app to keep them up
to date on what the conditions were, both in their areas,
and in areas that maybe their loved ones were at.
They were also obviously using, we have a great partnership with
the weather channel.
We were using some of their data to be able to show the maps.
They want to know what's going on in my area and is the storm
going to hit me.
That's what they want to know, so we are able to provide that
information again through partnerships.
And again after Isaac, the storm is gone,
the shelter application becomes the top application
used by the app.
So people have weathered the storm,
now they are looking for help.
They are looking for help for either food, for shelter,
either for themselves or for their family.
And you know that this helped people.
It helped people survive.
And it was terrific.
So we are really happy this information got into the hands
of people and made a difference.
So we are just thrilled about it.
Next up, earthquake.
So we are now seeing it today and we are going to be formally
launching it next week.
It's going to have a lot of the same components that you
saw in hurricane.
It's going to have preparedness information, what to do before,
during and after.
It's going to have the alerting capability.
Working with the U.S., GS.
We are going to have the earthquake alerts coming into
the app.
And additionally, we are going to have additional data coming
in to help people decide what was the impact of that
earthquake in those particular areas for that?
Now what's really important about that,
now earthquakes don't announce themselves.
Whereas hurricanes do.
So it's really important.
And we are working very hard with people on the west coast
and west to be able to get this on as many people's
phones as possible.
Again, earthquakes don't announce, they just happen.
And you know if it's real big, the cell towers are down.
And we want to get this application in as many hands
as possible so that they have this information when they need
it for that time.
So that's coming.
It's coming to smart phone soon.
Make sure you get it.
So thank you.
Russ: That is fabulous, Don, thank you so much.
We thought about asking Don to hold the apps for, you know,
all the apps for today, but then Monica talked to us and we were
worried -- (applause) -- just kidding (inaudible).
So now on to panel 2 with more stories about resilience.
And I think the panelists should start moving up.
Dom, you're on that group and you know now a little bit about
what Dom is going to talk about and why Dom is a
Champion of Change.
Now our moderator for the second panel used to work just down the
hall and upstairs here in this building as a special assistant
to the president for resilience policy.
Now my boss, vice-president for resilience strategy at
the American Red Cross.
Richard Green.
Richard Green: Awesome.
Thank you, Russ.
Good afternoon, everybody.
Panelists, champions.
Thank you for joining us champions from the first panel.
Like I said -- (applause) -- truly amazing.
And I think hopefully what folks here in the room certainly and
folks watching online are beginning to understand and
appreciate is that this thing we are calling resilience is
something you create.
It's something you sustain.
It's something you build.
And you don't do it by yourself.
You do it with the help and support of others,
which really gets at the core of the Red Cross.
And certainly not just us, but Dr. Lurie before in terms
of what HHS and the national disaster and medical system and
all of the other components of the federal government indeed,
the state and local governments, the territorial and tribal
governments are partners in the philanthropic space,
our partners in the private sector,
and the other nongovernmental organizations,
our academic institutions.
Everybody has a role to play.
And it reflects well.
The President's preparedness policy that talks about an all
of nation approach to ensuring the nation is prepared for
the untoward.
It talks about creating the capabilities necessary to
respond to events.
And where you don't have those capabilities inherent to you,
your family, your organization, your community,
you go find them, you build them and you sustain this many.
You use them, you measure them.
You test them.
You make sure they work.
And if they don't, you refine them.
And I think that's what you're hearing.
Hearing the panels from this morning,
certainly from our champions.
I don't think anybody walked into these roles with a keen
understanding of exactly where to start and where to end and
how they knew they were done, but rather with an attitude and
a motivation to work together with others and get things done.
So with that, I'm going to hush.
I'm going to turn it to Suzanne, Dr. Horsley,
and sort of ask you to share, not only with our audience,
but with others, your experiences,
what you've learned and what you might do differently next time.
Dr. Suzanne Horsley: Okay, sure.
I'm Suzanne Horsley.
I wear a couple of hats in this situation here.
I'm a public affairs volunteer with the Red Cross in
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but I'm also a professor of public
relations at the University of Alabama.
So I look at this, what we are doing here with building
resiliency from a couple of different directions.
Certainly, when it comes to trying to build resiliency in
my community, working with the Red Cross and working with and
working with the partners that we've been hearing about all
day, that's really an important part of what I do.
But also I'm trying to build resiliency among the next
generation of professionals, working through my students in
public relations, doing special campaigns for the Red Cross and
for other nonprofits in our community.
And also, just working with my students day-to-day,
trying to help them build some individual resiliency.
Those are all things that are important,
that I hope we can build a bit of a culture among our young
people in college, so that when they graduate they are just
going to add to the resiliency of whatever community they end
up moving into.
So that's kind of where I'm coming from today.
Richard Green: Awesome.
Thank you much.
Sort of shift to Dom and you all have that preview of Dom.
He's sort of our version of Steve Jobs.
Dom Tolli: Right.
No pressure.
Richard Green: So Dom, just in terms of the technology,
as an enabler for really helping communicate the message,
and by the way, it is not the only tool in the toolbox,
but it is a new and evolving tool that we need to be able to
understand and use appropriately.
So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
Dom Tolli: First, I'd like to thank you for having me here.
I mean, there are literally thousands of people sitting
in this chair right now.
Through all that we've done by using technology to help the Red
Cross build its mission, there are many people that
made that possible.
Some are here, many are not.
So I would like to thank them, and you folks,
because it's their efforts and their innovation that
made this possible.
The mission that we are using for the Red Cross
remains the same.
It is to get this information into the hands of people and
companies such that they can better survive in an emergency,
be it a medical emergency or be it a weather related emergency.
And we've taken that approach to use technology to get that
message out.
You've heard a little bit this morning about ready rating and
how we use -- we are using the internet and internet
based tools to allow small companies and schools to get
better prepared.
I mean, the results from that program are fantastic.
I mean, she mentioned 75% of the companies have taken action.
There's some additional data that shows that those companies
are not only taking action to keep their companies safe,
but they are educating 70% or educating their employees to
be prepared at home.
So those employees are taking that message and becoming
prepared at home.
So there's a double bang for it going through there.
So great results with the ready rating.
And again, using technology of the internet and web technology
in order to be able to provide that.
For consumers we are taking, with 55, 60%,
now having smartphones, we are taking that as an
opportunity to use that as a way to reach consumers.
Again, we used to reach those folks through paper.
We still will, and through chapter organizations and
through meetings, but now we are able to establish relationship
with them, particularly mobile technology that enables us to
get this information into their hands, when they need it,
where they need it.
Because as we've seen on the hurricane app,
many people are just going to wait for the last possible
minute in order to get that data;
and mobile enables that to do it.
So we are thrilled to be able to provide that.
And at the end of each of those is a person or a family that we
are impacting.
So really what drives us to be able to help that amount of
people going forward.
Richard Green: Awesome.
Thank you, Dom.
And of course with Nan, the challenge here is while we in
America have a variety of cultures, geographically,
and otherwise, that we are pretty homogenous in the sense
that we are one nation.
And the work that you're doing internationally is similar in
some respects, but I think perhaps at another level
more complex.
And I just want to get your thoughts about -- because I
think the international space you guys have done tremendous
work about creating this notion of resilience,
getting by and from our partners,
which is not an always easy thing to do,
and actually translating that to actions on the ground.
So could you help our folks better understand what you're
doing there?
Nan Buzard: Yes, happily.
And first of all, it was a big surprise,
I pushed a lot of other people to be in this chair,
but I'm the booby prize.
But I'm very happy to be here and really thrilled
for the honor.
The international services part of the American Red Cross is
very small, but we think that we punch above our weight.
And I think that anyone who's been involved in response and
you've seen it in this country, in floods, in hurricanes,
and wild fires, you see that Red Cross emblem.
But you've also seen it when you watch the weather channel or CNN
or anything around the world in every country,
whether it's floods, famine, conflict, airline crashes,
they are there.
So we know that the Red Cross and Red Cross around the world,
does phenomenal response work.
But anyone who's been involved with response knows that that's
not where we are supposed to be most of the time.
Where we need to be most of the time is in preparedness.
And it's a harder place to be, but it is so critical,
not only from a moral point of view,
but from an economic efficiency point of view.
And in a world of diminishing resources we need to think
very carefully about where we put them.
And the international services part of the American Red Cross
has pushed very, very, hard to take more and more of our
funding and our capacity to put towards preparedness.
And preparedness is just a small link of resilient communities.
And we are very excited because we feel like we along with our
Red Cross partners around the world are at that sharp end of
operationalizing resiliency.
We can talk about what it means, we can talk about theory,
but what does that mean in a community?
And it means there's a whole set of characteristics of a
community, and we are supporting those characteristics that are
more and more evidence based.
And those characteristics are everything from networking,
enabling connection, knowledge and skills,
technical information, like first aid,
which the app's are really great.
So we feel like our work is not to make communities 100% risk
free, that's impossible.
But to make them far, far more resilient.
Communities don't look out and see the world in the stovepipes
that we do our work in.
Communities see health and safety and water and livelihoods
and education as a linked set of things.
We are the ones who are organized that way.
So part of our work is to work with communities and help them
and support them in the ways that they understand their
resiliency, and that's why we have Pablo throwing frisbees at
us regularly to keep us on our toes.
But I think the most important thing is to say that there is a
huge world out there that often doesn't have a 911.
Now maybe it doesn't work all the time here,
but you hear how much we are using that.
And we need to find ways to continue to support hundreds of
thousands, millions of people who live in incredibly and
vulnerable and precarious situations that deserve our
support and have our support and we want to be there with them.
And I think that we'll be able to use technology more and more
to do that.
But it's really about getting to those vulnerable communities and
supporting them around the world because I think that people
expect the American Red Cross in the United States to be there.
And we are that.
And we can only do it because of the generosity of this
extraordinary country in disasters and in preparedness.
Richard Green: Thank you, Nan, well said.
It reminds me of the sort of old,
for anybody in the room spending a little bit of time in,
I don't know, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies,
military, this notion of that the more you sweat in peacetime,
the less you bleed in wartime, which really gets at the heart
of preparedness from an operational standpoint,
if you will, about there are things you can and
should be doing.
Not all of those, by the way, are easy, convenient, fun,
but they are necessary.
And so, I want to sort of turn to Stephanie and just sort of
here how much she's sweating in peacetime,
because I think not only being a student and working in the
nursing program and volunteering,
there is a lot of activity and effort going into what
you do every day.
I just wanted you to have an opportunity to share that with
our colleagues.
Stephanie Phillips: Okay.
Hi, everybody, I'm Stephanie.
I am a nursing student at the University of South Carolina.
I went into nursing mainly because -- she's never going
to let me live this down -- but I am just like my mother.
(laughter) I enjoy helping people.
I don't mind the gross stuff that comes along with nursing.
I can handle it, unlike most people.
And so I went into it with the idea of helping those who need
that, need that support.
I started volunteering with Red Cross in January 2011,
mainly because I finally found time for it.
I made time, because it was something I wanted to do.
Because in 2004, my mother had three open heart transplant --
or excuse me -- three open heart surgeries.
And it was supposed to be one of those routine open heart
surgeries, as routine as you can get with open hearts.
However, she developed an infection from the valve
that they placed in her, and so she had to go back.
And during that second surgery, she had to receive 12 units of
blood, which is -- 10 to 12 units is the entire amount in
a human body.
And so she was bleeding out.
And so it was emergency surgery.
They went in.
She had told the doctor, I don't know, I've been eating all day,
should I really go in and get this surgery?
And he goes, well, if you don't, you'll be dead in the morning.
And so they went in and they gave her 12 units of blood just
during that one surgery.
And it was Red Cross donated blood.
And so I, from that point on, I was 13,
and think about how hard it would be on a 13-year-old to
lose their mother.
And so I knew I always wanted to volunteer for the Red Cross and
finally I did so in college.
And it's really important to me.
And it's important to me to get the word out about the
importance of the Red Cross.
They not only touch those who receive blood and those who they
help during the disaster, but their families, as well.
And I've recently been working on trying to get nursing
students and nurses alike more involved in the Red Cross.
It's very important because one of a nurse's main goals is to
bridge that gap from health care to the common person.
Because a lot of times these terms are thrown around in
health care and normally you're like I don't know
what that means.
And so a nurse's primary role is to get those people
to understand what is going on in their health care.
And it's Red Cross' goal to bridge the gap from those with
health care needs to the regular community.
And so nurses are the perfect fit.
And so my job is, or I've made it to,
to get nursing students and nurses really more involved
with Red Cross.
Because who better to go to?
Nurses are everyone in the community.
And so they really have the understanding to bridge the gap
from those who know nothing about health care to those who
know everything about health care.
So I believe that's it.
Richard Green: Awesome.
Thank you so much, Stephanie.
Greatly appreciate that.
And we will circle back to you here shortly with a few other
questions about how in the heck do you do all of that stuff?
And of course we've got Mary to talk a little bit about the
important and wonderful work that the Red Cross does every
day on behalf of our service members and their families
covering all branches of service,
both work domestically and internationally,
in terms of helping families not only during emergencies but on
the, you know, sort of what I call the left aboom and the
right aboom activities, those things that happen before and
those things that happen after.
But Mary, want to see if you could just sort of walk us
through sort of what you've learned as you've evolved your
thinking on this.
Mary Basiliere: I'm currently the senior station manager down
at Fort Hood, Texas.
Prior to that, I was a senior station manager at Yokota Air
Base in Japan.
I was there from 2006 until 2011.
And like we heard earlier, 2011 was a boomer year for disasters
in the United States.
Well, it wasn't only in the United States, it was
in Japan, too.
That's when it came to light.
When I went to Yokota, one of the things the wing commander
had said is, he said, you know, he goes,
we prepare all the time for all kinds of emergencies.
We have our airmen prepared.
We need help preparing our families.
And so we did a briefing.
I was observing one of my staff doing a briefing and
they were talking about disaster preparedness.
Look out the window, there's, you know, volcano,
we're on a fault line.
Japan has the highest number of earthquakes in the world.
And one of the ladies says, oh, I'm not going to worry about it.
We're like, why?
She says, well, because my husband's in the military and
they're going to take care of us.
And I'm like, well, when the disaster strikes and your
husband has to complete his mission and all the green
suiters are running around, you know,
helping with recovery and you're sitting there saying,
oh, my goodness, the book case just fell over,
what am I going to do with the kids.
I said, you need to be prepared for that.
I said, you're prepared if he deploys and you need emergency
message, correct?
She said, yeah, I have all his information and everything.
I said, then be prepared when a disaster strikes.
We have floods.
We have volcanic eruptions and the high occurrence
of earthquakes.
And, you know, it's funny because it came to light on
March 11th at 2 -- what was it -- 2:45 in 2011,
it was a Friday afternoon, everybody was getting ready
to gear down.
I was getting ready to pack out to move to Fort Hood.
I was sitting at my desk and all of a sudden the
ground started moving.
And my monitor was shaking a little bit.
I'm like, another earthquake, no big deal.
I've been there five years, you know,
we have them a couple times a day.
Well, then it really started shaking.
Then you heard glass breaking, things bouncing off the walls.
And you heard someone in the building yell, oh, my God,
it's the big one, hit the floor.
And I'm sitting in my office, kind of looking around like, oh,
it's, you know, another one of those.
And it just kept shaking and shaking and you could hear more
things breaking, which was mainly pictures and, you know,
your little tokens coming off the walls.
My -- now my computer monitor is going a mile a minute.
I'm like, oh, crap, this is the big one.
(laughter) It's going to be more.
The ground shook for about five minutes.
It was a five, six minute earthquake, 9.0.
I said, when I was going to Japan,
and I used to be an emergency services director and I used to
go out to disaster assignment all the time.
And I always told them, I will not go for an
earthquake in California.
And they're like, why?
I said, I can deal with the wind.
I can deal with the snow.
I can deal with the water.
The one thing I know is the ground's going to be underneath
my feet so I can walk.
So I was always afraid of that.
And when this one hit, I was nervous.
And staff started running around.
And all of a sudden, the door came flying open and one of the
volunteers had been shopping across the street.
And she came running, where are they, where are they?
Whipped open the cabinet and I'm like, what are you looking for?
She goes, the earthquake brochures,
we've got to get them out there, we just had an earthquake.
Then someone else came in behind her,
they started grabbing the brochures and the tear sheets,
running outside in the parking lot where everybody had gathered
from the commissary and the BX where they go shopping,
and started handing out brochures.
Meanwhile, we're calling for staff accountability to make
sure everybody was, you know, all safe.
Because it hit a good portion of Japan, us and Massawwa
Yoksuka , Kazama really
got a shake going.
Well, we accounted for staff and then we started counting
for our volunteers.
We didn't even get a chance to start doing that.
Our volunteers started coming in.
They just -- and all our volunteers,
I'd say 90% of them were military families.
They're like, you did training.
Ironically, the third week in February we did a week-long
disaster institute and taught people how to use the safe and
well website, how to open and run a shelter,
family assistance, you know.
Overall what we can do and what you can do to help yourselves
during a disaster.
And one lady comes in, she goes, I got my vest.
She had her little blue vest she wears when she volunteers
at the hospital.
She goes, and I'm ready to go, where is the shelter?
And I looked at her, well, we haven't gotten to that
point yet, let's assess.
I said, but if you could, just start doing a call down
of the volunteers.
A, see if they're okay, see if their families are okay.
And if they're available in case we have to respond to anything,
in case the military asks for help.
So we're sitting there.
About an hour later, all of a sudden you hear this booming
noise again, and we're like what is that now?
And it got a little worse and then it went away and, you know,
a couple after-tremors.
And then someone comes running in,
you're not going to believe this, come out and look.
And you saw all these commercial flights start landing at Yokota,
because they shut down Narita Airport.
So we had I think it was 13 or 14 flights that landed at
Yokota refueled.
Two of them spent the night.
So we had about 700 passengers that spent the night on Yokota
Air Base and we had an outpouring,
we had 138 volunteers put on vests to go out and help those
634 people and I think we had 20 crew members.
No matter where you looked, it was a sea of Red Cross vests,
people helping.
We had some of our Japanese volunteers that had been caught
in the train station that came over to the base.
What can we do to help?
So we had them helping with translating,
because a lot of the flights were -- they were Asian,
non-English speaking.
So we had some people doing some translating for us.
And it was -- and one of the volunteers goes, well,
I didn't take the training, what can I do?
I said, picture this.
It's a big pajama party for a bunch of strangers.
(laughter) Oh, I can handle that, I got kids.
And when you look at it, that's basically what it is, right.
It's a big pajama party for people you don't know.
So we spent the night, the entire night with the military.
We were Team Yokota.
We were a part of the great team that helped these families and
we thought that was -- we knew, you know,
we knew Japan was affected a lot.
But in our little, you know, kingdom right there,
that was our situation.
And so we spent the night, did karaoke, origami, little cranes,
and kept them occupied.
And then in the morning, we began processing them
back on to the buses.
One gentleman that was leaving, he said to one of my volunteers,
he says, you know, I'm from Alaska.
I'm going to Saipan on business.
I get grounded in Japan and I come off the plane and what
do I see?
My American Red Cross with their hand out wanting to help.
From the time I got off the plane until the time I got back
on the plane.
And he gave our volunteer a big hug and she's like,
that made me feel so good.
She goes, I haven't slept since the night before last.
And I felt really, really good.
So that was a fantastic -- the families just came out.
Yeah, the earthquake hit.
Yeah, they had their houses to clean up.
But all they wanted to do was help those who were stranded
in Japan with us.
We got them back on the buses and we had had a
deployed families event that was scheduled.
We did events every month for family members of those
who were deployed.
And we had one scheduled and everybody was like, oh, no,
we have to cancel it, you know, we shouldn't be doing it.
It was movie in the park.
So we had to get trees and the food ready and everything.
And it was only like four or five hours away.
And I said, you know, if you want to cancel it,
we can do that.
And the volunteers turned around and said, oh, no,
why should the deployed families suffer and miss their event
because of the earthquake, you know.
Some of us can do this, the rest of us can keep working
and doing what they were doing.
So it was a really great opportunity that the volunteers,
which our military families wanted to do that event and keep
things as natural -- as normal as possible as we could for
those who were on the base.
And it helped.
Because those families, their spouses weren't there.
Their whole family wasn't there.
We did send some messages, hey, I'm fine,
to where they were in theater.
And letting them know, yeah, we're going to movie night
at the Red Cross.
So it was really, really a great event for them.
And then, you know, as time went on, as, you know,
they evacuated -- they offered military families
the opportunity to evacuate out of Japan when the nuclear
emergency, you know, came to light.
And a lot of families went.
And we thought we were going to lose a lot of our volunteers.
And I turned around when I went to the community center when
they were our base, and there's all my -- there was about,
I'd say about 130, 140 blue vests around
the community center.
I said, are you guys leaving?
They're like, no, we're Team Yokota, we're staying,
we can help.
And so they ended up helping to evacuate,
I think it was about 5,000
families over the course of the next few weeks from Japan,
the ones who chose to come back during the emergency.
And it was a fantastic opportunity.
It showed the resiliency of military families.
I know they move.
I would have a hard time every three to five years packing up
my family, moving.
And that's a big upheaval.
But then to have a disaster of this magnitude,
not only an earthquake, same day tsunami, and then, what,
two or three days later a nuclear emergency,
most people would have run.
But the military families stayed, they helped,
they were needed.
They held their heads proud.
A lot of them were spontaneous volunteers,
weren't involved with us before.
And the first -- where's my blue vest?
And they put -- I need a name tag.
So they could be proudly wearing it.
And a lot of them became Red Cross volunteers.
Some have left Japan since then and have joined at their
chapters and military installations that
they moved to.
So it's something that, you know, we worked with them.
It hit, you know, the disaster happened, some were prepared,
some were not.
But when all was said and done, a lot of them were prepared.
When all was said and done, 433 volunteers had pitched in
to give a hand to help over the course of two months.
It was a fantastic show of community support.
We've been talking about organizations working together.
No one organization can do it alone.
The military can't do it alone.
But it took all of us working together to meet the needs of
those that were affected.
Richard Green: That's awesome.
Mary, thank you so much.
It -- you know, we talked a little bit about this morning
session about looking at resilience from the individual,
the organizational and the community level.
And you've sort of heard, at least from the first
panel and certainly this panel, examples of operationalizing
that sort of concept at those levels with individuals and
with organizations and communities.
And I want to sort of follow Nikki Lurie's approach from the
first panel and sort of ask our panel members,
what advice would you give?
Not only other Red Crossers, but certainly others,
whether in government or private sector or philanthropic
organizations and the like, about ways to think about
engaging communities?
And asking it this way allows you to sort of think about what
have you learned about maybe ways not to do things, right.
Because we learn how to do things,
but we also theoretically learn how not to do things.
I seem to learn that one more and more often than not.
But just, if you don't mind, Suzanne,
start with you and we'll just go down the line and see what
your thoughts are.
Suzanne Horsley: Sure.
Well, I'd like to add to some of the discussion we've had already
today about social media and how that can help build resiliency
in a community.
We've, you know, we've talked a lot about social media.
I teach about social media in my classes.
But last April, April 27th of 2011, when the tornado,
EF4 tornado destroyed a large part of Tuscaloosa, Alabama,
where I live, we really saw -- I personally saw the power of
social media.
We didn't have power.
We didn't have internet, cell phones, land lines.
But we had Twitter.
We had Facebook, and all those things somehow worked,
even though nothing else seemed to be working.
Through social media, we were able to through
Red Cross communicate where our shelters were,
communicate where you could get food and water,
communicate where you could sleep for the night,
how you could help, how you could donate.
We relied on social media for so many things.
I also was using social media as a spokesperson to communicate
with the media.
So social media was a critical tool that I was so glad that the
Red Cross had already invested in,
time and energy and training, so that we were prepared that day.
Some really cool things that came out of that were the fact
that we had a lot of ad hoc organizations, you know,
groups of grassroots of people who wanted to help.
They found a niche and were able to supply lots of things to add
to the recovery and relief efforts.
A lot of these groups, they only existed on social media.
And they collected food.
They gave out clothes.
They did a lot of things that maybe the Red Cross or other
responding organizations weren't doing,
but they became our partners and, you know,
they didn't exist before the tornado struck.
But the lesson here is that a lot of those organizations that
sort of created these Facebook groups to respond to our tornado
kept going.
And so during Isaac, Joplin, which came about a month after
us, during all these other disasters we've had since then,
those groups are still active and they're still doing
training, they're still providing resources.
So it took a tornado maybe to get that started.
But now we have some built-in resiliency and a lot of lessons
learned from the Tuscaloosa and the Joplin tornados that
weren't lost.
These lessons are continuing.
And I really believe that this investment of time and energy in
building your social media networks can really boost the
resiliency in your communities.
A lot of my students were involved in those efforts
at Alabama.
They actually were helping me to support the social
media efforts.
I was able to train a lot of students who are now going to
go out and do that wherever they end up,
whatever business or organization they end
up working for.
So I think that's something that our communities,
our organizations and our individuals need to really
consider the power of social media and how we can use that
to be more prepared for the next disaster.
Richard Green: That's brilliant.
I was reminded as you were talking about the difference
between lessons observed, that is,
those things we notice during events that we see and that our
colleagues see and that others see, versus lessons learned,
that is, what we've done about the things we've seen.
There's a difference between observing and learning.
Lessons become learned when you do something about them.
And I think you're hearing lots of great examples about seeing
something and then doing something about it,
which is a nuance, I get it, but it is a distinction
worth making.
And the doing part is a little bit harder than the seeing part.
So I appreciate that.
Dom, sort of same question to you, sir.
Dom Tolli: Sure.
So the advice, I guess, is that you kind of have
to take a multifaceted approach to it.
Excuse me.
There's no doubt technology is changing the game.
There's no doubt that, you know, those million people reached
with the apps are better off today than they were before.
But you got to realize there's a lot more people than those
millions of people out there.
So while technology is certainly changing the game,
you have to take a multifaceted approach to be able to hit those
people who don't have the smartphones,
those people who aren't hooked up to the social networks.
So -- and all that comes down to is really understanding who are
your various customer segments, such that we know the initial
target, smartphone owners who have that -- have the ability
to download the app.
There's still 45% that don't have that smartphone.
Now we have to dig deeper into, well, who is that customer.
Do they even speak English.
So by giving them a piece of paper in English,
do you help it?
The answer is probably not.
Well, then, we probably need to use more pictures because
we need to get the pictures to defer and imply what actions
they need to take.
So we're looking at that preparedness is
really multifaceted.
I mean, the technology is certainly changing the game,
but we've also got to make sure the other 45% gets addressed.
And really understanding what their needs are,
make sure that we can develop those solutions.
And what's great about the Red Cross is we can use the
technology and we can also implement the 650 chapters we
have on the ground and the volunteers we have to help the
other 45% going forward.
Richard Green: Great.
Thanks, Dom.
Nan, what have you got?
Nan Buzard: Well, very quickly,
I will say that while I love preparedness,
I know it's not the most exciting thing for everybody.
So one of the issues is how do you keep incentives going,
how do you actually get people engaged and continue to be
engaged when that's not their daily life.
So I think it's partly about this multifaceted piece,
which is having the right information for people when
they need it.
So for farmers in southern Africa,
that could just be about weather information and about markets,
which is a form of preparedness.
So part of it's about understanding what's the
incentive for a population, whether it's their families,
whether it's themselves, whether it's their communities.
And I think that's the real challenge and how to harness
that technology to get to scale.
But I do think it's a lot about incentives.
Because without incentives, I mean,
we're all disaster management junkies,
but that's not true of a lot of the world.
And I think that's really going to be our challenge.
Richard Green: That's an excellent point.
As you were talking, I was thinking about we
focus a lot of our time thinking about incentivizing.
Another way to think about that is removing the disincentives.
This stuff, while it's intuitive,
we're not necessarily, you know, sort of set up to do it.
And I'll give you the example that I used before about,
you know, one of the best preparedness/mitigation
tools ever invented by man is the seat belt.
What did it take for most of us to begin wearing it?
Right, a law, threat of a fine, click it or ticket, you know.
Lots of reasons for that, wrinkles your tie and you can't
paint your toenails, you can't get in the back seat and play
with your kids.
I don't know what the reasons.
But it's illustrative of the problem of preparedness.
And that is, while it is intuitive,
it's not something you're ready to go home and do right now.
And so we take this opportunity and others to do it.
But think about the notion of removing disincentives while
looking for incentives sort of at the same time.
So Stephanie, sort of the same question to you about, you know,
what advice would you give folks that sort of want to get
involved in working on this thing we're calling resiliency?
Stephanie Phillips: Well, my advice is kind of give that
incentive by giving a story.
I guarantee most everyone either has been affected,
is related to someone, or at least knows someone
who has been affected by the Red Cross.
And so if you give that incentive as in this can save
your life, or this can save your mother's life,
people are more in tune to what you're actually saying.
I know that, I mean, if someone I didn't know, a stranger,
came up to me and said, you know,
I was saved by the Red Cross.
They prepared me before the storm.
It's like, oh, that's nice, that's great,
and I'm very excited for you.
However, I would go home and I would kind of think about it but
it wouldn't really impact me.
But if my aunt was -- went through a tornado and, you know,
I can think about that saved my aunt's life.
And so going out and saying to people,
my mother was saved by the Red Cross.
People kind of are like, oh, that's nice.
But if you say, would you like to save somebody's mother?
Would you like to potentially save your own mother?
They think about it in a different light.
And so you have to go and relate it to the person and relate it
to someone that they feel close to.
And so just mention it to people.
Say, you could be saving one of your aunts, your uncles,
your brother, your sister, your mom.
And so if you do that, it really relates back,
it gives that incentive like, hey, I'm really doing something.
I could save one of my family member's lives or my close
friend's lives.
Richard Green: Stephanie, thank you for that.
That's a great example.
You know, the literature actually suggests that what
motivates people from thinking about doing something to doing
about something is this notion of relevance.
And while they'll hear the president has a policy and Gail
has some thoughts on the issue and -- but it's when they hear
from their neighbors, from their clergy,
from people they trust and respect about what they've done
in terms of your comment about tell a story,
create some relevance, that generally motivates people to do
things, or at least gets them closer to doing something than
reading it on the back of the magazine cover in the airplane
on the way to the next place.
So very much appreciate that.
And as we all know, and I think, you know,
the military community having been part of that for some part
of my life, is another example of a slightly nuanced cultural
phenomena, right.
I mean, there's a chain of command.
There is a way in which things are said and
understood and executed.
For some, that's great.
For others it's, you know, kind of I don't want to do that.
But with respect to resilience and sort of preparedness
activities, sort of interested in Mary's thoughts about within
that military structure and command system and family
dynamics, you know, what is the advice you'd give folks for sort
of making inroads into that?
Mary Basiliere: Don't take no for an answer.
Let me tell you, I had a lot of doors shut in my face.
Oh, you're a civilian, oh, we have our own policies.
I got tough enough.
I'm, as you can tell, I'm from Boston, born and raised.
First time out of Boston, I took an emergency services director
job in Jackson, Mississippi.
(laughter) Yes.
Having never been out of New England in my life,
I get in my little Hyundai and I drive down there.
That's when I learned, you know, couldn't get a hotel room and
they're like, well, ma'am, we have NASCAR.
And I'm like -- a fishing derby and a football game.
And I'm like, I just looked at him, and I said, what's NASCAR?
(laughter) You know, and it was drill weekend, as well.
And that, I knew what that was.
But I got a lot of doors shut in my face and I learned how
to open them.
You keep talking.
Keep explaining what you can do and how you can help.
Military families, like I said, when I got that, no,
military is going to take care of us.
No, the emergency response personnel, no,
we have our policies.
I said, but have you thought of this?
So every time there was a meeting,
I would try to look at the plan and kind of figure out what was
missing that affected families.
And the military, as those of you who are in the military
know, you can tell a green suiter to do anything.
Try to tell his kids and his wife to do it,
it's not going to go over as well.
But that's where we can help and that's how I approached it.
Find other angles to get your information over there.
I approached it that, great, when is the last time -- and I
actually said this to someone -- when is the last time you told
your wife to go do something?
And he looked at me and he goes, it didn't go over well.
I said, okay.
Multiply that times all the military on the base.
He goes, oh, you have a point.
I said, we have a way.
We can help.
We teach families every single day how to be prepared, I said,
and we can help you do that.
And over time, and it works.
And just keep trying, keep getting the
information out there.
Don't give up.
Don't quit.
And don't take no for an answer.
Richard Green: Awesome.
Well, thank you, Mary.
And with respect to time and making sure that our folks that
had planned to join us are able to do that in the time that they
allotted for it, I recognize we're getting close on that.
So what I want to do is take a minute now, because we didn't,
like panel one, we can't be exactly like panel one,
a little bit different, and ask you to join me in congratulating
what is clearly a great set of champions.
( applause )
Speaker: And one fine moderator.
Thank you, Richard.
Richard Green: Yes, my pleasure.
Speaker: And remember, don't take no for an answer.
I think that's a great way to end the day, Mary,
thank you very much.
Thank you to all of our champions, Suzanne, Dom, Nan,
Stephanie, Mary, Kay, Brian, Mahogany, Monica, thank you all.
Thank you to our moderators.
Thank you to our panelists from this morning.
Thank you to our speakers, Secretary Janet Napolitano,
Assistant Secretary Paul Stockton,
Deputy Assistant to the President Jon Carson.
Thank you all for coming today.
This is national preparedness month.
And while we have endeavored to show the breadth and depth of
resilience across the entire Red Cross,
being prepared is a critical component.
You can't do some of these other things if you are not prepared.
A week from today, Red Cross chapters throughout the country
will be trying to get people to make a plan.
Having lived through disasters with families who have not made
a plan versus disasters with families who have made a plan,
I can tell you, if there is one thing that makes all the
difference, it is that.
So next week, or if you want to be like Monica, today,
don't wait.
Go to Red to make your family's
disaster plan.
Thank you, everybody, for coming.
Thank you, those of you online who joined.
Thank you to the White House for hosting us.
( applause )