This month we are featuring Cliff Haynes for our Community Partner Spotlight. Cliff is Disaster Program Manager for The Eastern Iowa Chapter of the Red Cross. He has filled numerous roles with the Red Cross and has deployed to multiple disasters, including forest fires in Canada and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Cliff enjoys being able to assist people with recovering from disasters, whether it is a hurricane or house fire. Prior to moving to the Midwest in 2015, he was in emergency services for 20 years as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. Cliff has a wife and two children.
In March 2021, The Eastern Iowa Chapter of the Red Cross partnered with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity and is working together with The Iowa City Fire Department to help make homes safer in the South District of Iowa City.
IVHFH: Can you talk a little bit about current work of the Red Cross of Eastern Iowa on Emergency Planning and Disaster Preparedness?
Cliff Haynes: The American Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services group is responsible for preparing communities for disasters, responding to the immediate needs of those affected by disasters, and helping individuals and communities affected by disaster recover successfully.
Currently, the Red Cross is building partnerships with government agencies and community advocacy groups across the entire country. In the Nebraska/Iowa Region, and more specifically the southeast Iowa territory, we are partnering with school districts for youth preparedness programs, fire departments, and other community agencies for fire safety programs, and county emergency managers for disaster response planning. Our workforce is ready to respond to disasters, helping present prevention and preparedness programs, and working to make sure we are ready to serve the community if needed.
IVHFH: The 2021 Iowa Region Fire Campaign was recently launched officially. What are some of the ways residents of Iowa City can be involved and participate?
Cliff Haynes: Home fires are the number one disaster the Red Cross responds to. In an effort to reduce the number of fires and the number of fire deaths, we have a project entitled Home Fire Campaign. This consists of two parts. One part is “Sound the Alarm” and the other is “Homes Made Safer”. Through these two programs, we partner with various community agencies to target high fire risk homes and neighborhoods to educate the residents on making their homes safer from fire dangers. This includes fire safety education, the making and practicing of escape plans, and testing of smoke alarms. If a home does not have a smoke alarm, the Red Cross will arrange to have smoke alarms installed at no cost to the resident. Residents can go to redcross.org/smokealarmIA or call 833-422-1751 to register for the “Homes Made Safer” education and request a smoke alarm.
IVHFH: The American Red Cross serving Iowa is currently running three blood donation centers. What resources are available for blood donors in Johnson County specifically?
Cliff Haynes: The Blood Services division of the Red Cross has regular blood drives throughout the community. To find a Red Cross blood drive in their area, people can go to redcrossblood.org or download the Red Cross blood donor app from either the Google Play store or the Apple store. Blood donations to the Red Cross are used both locally and outside of the local area to meet any needs. A donor can even see how their blood was used to help a patient.
IVHFH: “Prepare with Pedro Fire Safety”, and the “Red Cross Pillowcase Project”, are two of the most effective Red Cross Disaster Preparedness programs specially created for children K-2 and Grades 3-5. Tell us a little about these.
Cliff Haynes: The Red Cross has two programs targeted towards youth preparedness, “Prepare with Pedro” and “The Pillowcase Project”. “Prepare with Pedro” is a program designed to be presented to kindergarten through second graders. It teaches the children basic safety tips for a variety of emergencies as well as some simple coping skills to help manage stress. “The Pillowcase Project” teaches youth in 3rd-5th grade fire safety skills, preparedness skills, as well as coping skills for managing stress. The students are encouraged to take what they learn in the presentations and teach it to their families to make their homes safer.
IVHFH: The Red Cross is a volunteer driven organization. What are some of the current opportunities for volunteers to work on for the Red Cross in Eastern Iowa and Johnson County in particular.
Cliff Haynes: 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce is volunteer. We are always looking for people who are called to serve their neighbors. There are dozens of positions available. Many are virtual positions, so where you live isn’t a limiting factor. Individuals can volunteer in numerous areas, including Disaster Cycle Services, Blood Services, and Services to the Armed Forces. To learn more and explore areas that might be of interest, visit: www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.