Russian visitor caught in Alberta floods gets Red Cross help

Natalia Parshutkina was staying with a friend in Calgary’s East Village neighbourhood when the flood hit. She works for a Canadian company in Russia and was in Calgary for a mixture of business and pleasure. Luckily her friend lives on the ninth floor of a highrise, so although the basement of the building she was in was flooded, the apartment wasn’t.

Red Cross assisting with clean-up kits

Red Cross volunteers dropped off cleaning kits for people who had just been allowed back into their homes.


I met Natalia while she was picking up a cleaning kit from the centre just in the lobby of where she was staying with a friend.


She stayed in a shelter where Red Cross volunteers were helping out for six days before she was allowed to go back in to her friend’s home. She kept the bedding.

“I will keep this for the rest of my life as a souvenir,” she told me.


Natalia opened up her Red Cross cleaning kit. Inside the kit is a mop as well as other cleaning supplies.



Most people in the building lost power for at least a week and all the food in their refrigerators and freezers spoiled. Natalia will use the kit to clean her fridge.


Natalia says thank you to all the Red Cross volunteers from across the country who have been helping out!

Woman loses home and important historical site in Bragg Creek

woman_loses_trading_post_1Barb Teghtmeyer lives in the community of Bragg Creek, 30 minutes south west of Calgary. Looking out from the side of where her house is on the edge of the river, you can see where the highway used to be, that’s now washed out. Teghtmeyer grew up there and has lived there her whole life. Not only is the structure her home, but it’s an important historical place to the community. The Bragg Creek Trading Post was built in 1927 for fur trading. In 1932, another flood in the area took out the other two stores in the community, so it was the only one remaining. Teghtmeyer’s father took over the post in 1940, and it’s been in her family ever since.

“I still remember piles of furs and going to sell them,” says Teghtmeyer.

When Red Cross volunteers came to visit Teghtmeyer, she was sorting through boxes of memories and old books of recipes covered in mud just outside her home.

“The one I’d really like to keep is my mother’s, it’s in the green binder,” Teghtmeyer says to the volunteers.

home in Bragg Creek

The entire front of the trading post is destroyed, and likely all of the furniture inside.

“This you can’t replace, you’d walk in and it takes you back a hundred years,” says a community member walking by. “I can replace my house but not this.”

trading post Bragg Creek

Teghtmeyer doesn’t know what she will do, for now she’s just trying to salvage what she can, with the help of people in the community.

“It’s so amazing how the community has helped each other,” says Teghtmeyer.

Photo of the Day: Sheldon Kennedy helps out with Alberta flood relief

Sheldon Kennedy helps Red Cross

Long time Red Cross supporter and former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy picked up a shovel and helped out with Red Cross Alberta flood relief efforts in Bragg Creek. The Red Cross has always been a cause close to Kennedy’s heart. Sixteen years ago, he rollerbladed across Canada and donated $1 million dollars to the Red Cross. Since then, he’s been involved with the Canadian Red Cross Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention program.

Thanks for your help, Sheldon!

Annie are you OK?

Annie are you OK?
So, Annie are you OK?
Are you OK, Annie?

Who could forget the lyrics to this 1988 hit by Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal. But just who exactly was this Annie character? And why was Michael asking her if she was OK? Spike Lee knows, he spills the beans in his new documentary about Jackson’s album containing the song, Bad 25. Turns out Annie is based on the CPR doll, originally called Resusci Anne, or Annie. And “Are you OK” is one of the first steps to assessing whether to perform CPR on someone. Seems like Michael Jackson was CPR trained.  Are you? November is CPR month; take a Red Cross first aid course so you too will know what to do if Annie is not OK.

New London sanitation exhibit to get people talking about poo

London sanitation exhibit

Admit it—talk around the dinner table at your house most likely never turns to what happens in the privacy of the washroom. The folks at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are trying to change that with a new exhibition. It’s part of the organization’s efforts to help fight diseases that cause diarrhoea, which kill more children than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined.

“People don’t talk about poo enough, and if we don’t talk about poo, how are we going to solve the problem of diarrhoeal diseases?” asked Val Curtis, director of the LSHTM’s Hygiene Centre, in this article on AlertNet.

The month-long exhibition includes a selection of toilet designs, scientific tools for the study of feces, in addition to the statue seen above. Although using humour, the exhibit is asking people to engage in a serious and important subject matter.

I recently returned from a mission with the Red Cross in Sierra Leone in response to a cholera outbreak. The deadly disease is spread when feces from an infected person gets into the water or food people eat. If they don’t get help quickly, people can die from severe dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. Talking about safe hygiene and sanitation practices was key to the prevention activities we were undertaking in Sierra Leone.

Research into new and improved sanitation methods for developing countries, which means yes, more talk about poo, is crucial to preventing deaths due to diarrhea for many vulnerable populations around the world.

I’m ready for a disaster, are you?

By Nicole Robicheau

As a new Red Cross staff member working with Public Affairs in Ottawa, I’ve recently been going through some of the materials we have on disaster preparedness in Canada.  I’m trained as an ERU delegate, so I’ve learned the skills necessary to go into a disaster, like the Haiti Earthquake in 2010, and set up a hospital that can be fully operational within 12 hours. But like many Canadians, I never really thought that something like the Haiti earthquake could happen here.

But I’m wrong.

The Canadian Red Cross responds to disasters in Canada every four hours, this could be anything from a fire, to a flood, to a tornado, or an avalanche. Inspired by the Red Cross, on my way home from work just recently, I grabbed eight litres of water from the grocery store, cleared out one of the cupboards in my kitchen, and started setting up my own emergency preparedness area.

So far I’ve got canned goods (enough to keep me going for 72 hours), a flashlight, a radio, copies of my ID and some batteries. Look here for additional items the Red Cross recommends you have on hand in your emergency kit. I hope I will never have to use these things, but it’s a fairly easy and cheap way to potentially save my life, or the lives of my loved ones. I feel better now knowing it’s there.

Set up your home emergency kit today!


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