Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team, helped residents impacted by two separate home fires in Decatur in the past week. Our volunteers provided assistance to five individuals, including three adults and two children with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about resources to assist in their recovery.
Every second counts when there’s a home fire. To help protect your household, test your smoke alarms each month and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. A fire can take a home in as little as two minutes. Therefore, escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy.
For free home fire safety resources, including an escape plan, visit redcross.org/fire or download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps). Children can also learn what to do during a home fire and other emergencies with free resources at redcross.org/YouthPrep.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
Give blood: Help patients with sickle cell disease
When patients living with sickle cell disease face a sickle cell crisis, blood transfusions can make a lifesaving difference. That’s why the Red Cross has launched an initiative to grow the number of blood donors who are Black to help patients with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.
The majority of those living with sickle cell disease are of African descent. Many individuals who are Black have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their blood donations ideal for helping patients with sickle cell disease manage debilitating – and sometimes life-threatening – effects like severe pain, organ failure and stroke. The Red Cross asks members of the Black community to join in helping meet the needs of patients with sickle cell disease.
How to Donate Blood
Visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App to make schedule your appointment to give blood in the days, weeks and months to come. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.