How Safe Are We? Disaster Preparedness Summit Targets Cyber & Workplace Security

CHICAGO, IL – Technology touches every aspect of our lives from social interaction to managing personal finances. The cyber world makes life easier to manage, but it also exposes us to threats that can cross the wire. At the same time, we’re also seeing the workplace as a new target of attacks increasing at an alarming rate.

So how safe are we?29108317925_378f4bbd43_o

That’s what participants at this year’s annual American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Summit investigated Aug. 18 through engaging workshops and discussions.

The event, held at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center, provided a forum for shared learning and experiences among local leaders representing more than 100 business, government and community organizations. This year’s summit focused on cyber and workplace security to improve the resiliency of the Greater Chicago region in responding to disasters, in whatever forms they take.

29031066061_ab1514a56d_oWeeks before we are about to mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Patrick G. Ryan, Founder, Chairman & CEO of the Ryan Specialty Group, spoke about his personal and corporate experiences leading the Aon Corporation during the disaster.

Moderating the day-long discussions were Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer and of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, and board member and chair of this year’s summit, Brenda Battle, Vice President, Care Delivery Innovation, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the University of Chicago Medicine.

“We have great collaboration among our corporate and government partners, in addition to all the agencies that have a hand in helping to make our community safer and more resilient to any type of hazard,” said Battle.

28489667643_6f66812842_oDiscussions covered cyber and workplace security issues affecting both public and private sectors. Speakers emphasized organizational self-awareness of the human, physical, and network components of a cyber system. In particular, the ability to identify the data susceptible to attack, potential adversaries, and individual and organizational points of vulnerability is key in the maintenance of cyber security.

Experts also discussed effective response tactics in the event of a workplace security breach and the importance of preparing a carefully prescribed plan. Speakers addressed the significance of issues beyond IT: human resources, legal, privacy, public relations, and most importantly, communication. These were among the critical considerations mentioned in successfully responding to cyber security breaches.

29031147181_8832a58d86_oSpeakers and other topics included:

  • The Hacker/IT Professional (Sharyn Menne, Brandon Fason, James McJunkin)
  • Cyber Security: Protecting the Public/Private Sector, Defending Against an Attack and Closing Trap Doors (Ricardo Lafosse, Kirk Lonbom, Bryan Salvatore, Robyn Ziegler)
  • Cyber Risk: Who Owns It? (Marcus Christian, Jim Hartley, Paul Hinds)
  • Cyber Extortion (Kirk Havens, Thomas F. Minton, Richard Spatafore, Judy Quinton)
  • The Intersection Between Privacy & Security (Gino Betts, James K. Joseph)
  • The Intersection Between Privacy & Security (Paul Steinberg, Alicia Tate-Nadeau)
  • The Fallacy of Workplace Security (Brian Baker, Thomas Henkey, Paul Huerta, John Kiser)
  • The Financial and Legal Impact of Workplace Violence (Keith D. Blakemore, Ann Bresingham, Thomas Byrne)
  • The New Face(s) of Workplace Violence (Thomas R. Mockaitis, Ph.D., Jenna Rowe, John Walsh).

“While nature can wreak havoc on a community, the same is true with cyber breaches and workplace violence. As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, much of our work at the Red Cross on local level is to help build more resilient communities in Northern Illinois, such as through the dialogue and partnerships we form at this conference,” said Roldán.

Next year’s summit will cover topics of public health and bio-terrorism.

The event was possible thanks to the generous support of Presenting Sponsors: Aon, CSX, Motorola Solutions, and Zurich of North America; Readiness Sponsor: Grainger; and Community Sponsors: Illinois Medical District, JLL, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; with additional support from Discover and the United Way.

Go here to view more photos of the 2016 American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Summit.

29108254835_c77f7128d7_oStory by: Jessica Hayashi, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

 Photos by: Christopher Doing, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

“We Have Our Hands in the Community:” GAGDC Joins Red Cross for Smoke Alarm Rally in Auburn-Gresham

CHICAGO, IL – As part of a nationwide fire prevention campaign, the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois teamed up with the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) on Sat., July 23 to install smoke alarms and teach families about fire safety.

Linda Johnson is the program manager for the GAGDC and said, “it was a necessary partnership. We have our hands in the community and have established relationships in the community so it was easier to transition into the homes from a partnership level.”

28471828816_e75f5f1373_oTogether, 60 volunteers from both organizations installed more than 400 smoke alarms in the South Side neighborhood.

Christa Hunt lives in the neighborhood and volunteered through GAGDC. She said she was glad to be part of the smoke alarm rally, “there definitely are a lot of homes that need it in the neighborhood.”

As volunteers went door-to-door installing alarms, residents welcomed them into their homes. They called neighbors who also needed the alarms to tell them about the Red Cross.

“Usually people my age they get out just fine, but children and seniors, those are the biggest casualties and I would hate for something to happen when I could have prevented it,” Hunt said.

The American Red Cross is known for responding to emergencies, but will continue its effort to install alarms and prevent them before they occur.

“Because of the tremendous efforts of our volunteers working alongside our partners like the Greater Auburn-Gresham Community Development Corporation, hundreds of families are now safer and know how to escape their home in less than two minutes if a fire should occur,” said Harley Jones, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois.

28242657960_26df0d6f94_oState Senator Jacqueline Collins, Alderman David Moore of the 17th Ward, and Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr. of the 21st Ward also stopped by to thank volunteers from the GAGDC and Red Cross.

See more photos of the Auburn-Gresham Smoke Alarm Rally here.

 WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from a fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visitingredcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

28220493950_3dbe62bcc5_oWritten by: Eleanor Lyon, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Photos by: Danny Diaz and Ira Meinhofer, Public Affairs Volunteers, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

 

 

Four Generations of a South Side Family Safer with Smoke Alarms

28420460352_0285211dc6_oCHICAGO, IL – In a four-story apartment building on the South Side, four generations and 10 members of the French family received a visit July 23 by the American Red Cross.

From the basement to the top floor, volunteers installed 15 smoke alarms in the building and planned an escape route for everyone inside in case of emergency.

Apartment complex owner Larry French heard the Red Cross and the Greater Auburn-IMG_0310Gresham Development Corporation was coming to his neighborhood and opened the door to have his entire building equipped with new, 10-year battery smoke alarms.

“Anything to protect my family,” said Larry, whose elderly parents, Howard and Queen, live below him on the first floor. “I look out for them all the time, you only got one parents; and we all have to help out one another.”

28494225916_a8d4c13e2e_oInside each residence, the Red Cross installed smoke alarms near the kitchen and sleeping areas. In the common stairwell, an old smoke alarm was chirping, so the installation team replaced that one too.

“You never know when a fire will happen, you could be in your pajamas and it’ll just happen,” Howard said.

Larry’s cousin, Crystal French, lives on the top floor with her young boys and felt better knowing her family was safer and knows what to do to help all members of her family on all floors during an emergency.

“It’s all about keeping constant contact, it’s important to ask family: Are you okay? Do you need anything? Since the Red Cross gave us this education, we now might be able to work out a good safety plan,” she said.

28425716871_ecb6af6faf_oIn addition to the 15 smoke alarms installed in the French family’s complex, the Red Cross, joined by community volunteers from the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, went door-to-door in the Auburn-Gresham community and installed more than 400 smoke alarms in a single day. More than 60 volunteers from both organizations also educated residents about fire safety and helped families create a personalized escape plan to exit their home during an emergency.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home IMG_3018fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents about fire prevention and preparedness. Locally, the Red Cross will install 6,600 smoke alarms in the coming months in communities across Northern Illinois.

See more photos of the Auburn-Gresham Smoke Alarm Rally here.

WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from a fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visitingredcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

28220493950_3dbe62bcc5_o

Story by: Tyler Bieschke, Public Affairs Volunteer & Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Photos by: Danny Diaz and Ira Meinhofer, Public Affairs Volunteers, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

 

Red Cross Volunteer Honored for 45 Years of Service

13166128_10154149586548334_706572018836577024_nJOLIET, IL – For 45 years, Dorothy Dodendorf has given her time and blood to the American Red Cross.

Dorothy was honored for her decades of service to humanitarian organization with the Clara Barton Award on May 12 at the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley Volunteer Recognition Dinner at Harrah’s Joliet Hotel. The award is named for Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. It is the highest award a Red Cross volunteer can receive.

Dorothy first became involved with the Red Cross in high school, when she joined the youth Red Cross club and then continued on in college. However, she believes that her work really began in 1970 when she started volunteering in blood donation. At the time, Dorothy was pregnant and unable to give blood, so she helped by coordinating blood drives.

In 1985, Dorothy joined the Disaster Action Team (DAT) and has been responding to help families affected by home fires, floods and tornadoes ever since. She remembers her first deployment to Miami during Hurricane Andrew.

“I was struck by how much we can come together and get something accomplished in the midst of mass destruction,” she said.

13173696_10154149587083334_5830172271477261960_nThis award does not mark the end of Dorothy’s Red Cross career, but it is a major milestone. She plans to continue her volunteer work until she says she “can’t manage to do it.” Most recently, she was deployed to Louisiana earlier this year for the floods.

Three other individuals also received recognition at the event: Steve Swett received the Volunteer Leadership Award; Vicki Klups received the Disaster Services Leadership Award; and Bill Brady received the 5 Years of Service Award. The 11 youth members of the Illinois Valley Community College Red Cross Club received the Red Cross Club Award.

Volunteers carry out more than 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. More than 2,000 people volunteer for the Red Cross in Northern Illinois. They staff blood drives, teach lifesaving First Aid & CPR skills, respond to home fires, work with military families and much more.

The Red Cross is always looking for new volunteers and you don’t have to have 45 years under your belt, like Dorothy, to make a difference. All it takes is the desire to help.

Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) members, like Dorothy, are a group of specially trained volunteers who respond to the scene of a disaster when called upon at any time of the day or night.

You can be trained to be part of this lifesaving work and volunteer. Across the 21-county region the Red Cross serves in Northern Illinois, volunteers respond to 3 to 4 home fires every day, providing food, shelter and comfort to more than 1,400 families affected each year in our community.

Red Cross volunteer training is free and open to the public. For more information on volunteer opportunities and to sign up go to www.redcross.org.

Written by: Eleanor Lyon, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

Photos by: Susan Westerfield, America Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

Community Comes Together to Honor Local Heroes

(CHICAGO, IL) – The  American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois recognized people who demonstrated incredible courage, compassion and kindness to help both neighbors and strangers at the 2016 Annual Heroes Breakfast April 28 at the Hilton Chicago. The event brought together people of all ages and backgrounds, representing the diversity of the Red Cross community.

Recipients displayed their passion for preventing human suffering and gratitude for the opportunity to acknowledge people who are underserved and overlooked. Dr. Samer Attar of Northwestern Medicine, honored with the Global Citizenship Award, travels to war-torn Syria to provide medical care at underground hospitals. He also thanked the doctors, nurses, and countless others who join him in risking their own lives to help others.

While Dr. Attar’s service takes him to the other side of the world, other honorees, such as the Law Enforcement Hero, Officer Lourdes Nieto of the Chicago Police Department, has dedicated herself to helping young people in our own backyard. Officer Nieto is an advocate for human trafficking victims and gives these victims a voice by educating the public about these crimes in Chicago.

Lt. Hans Ziegenbein and Felix Serrano, honored with their team from Fireboat 688 of the Chicago Police Department with the Firefighter Award, expressed gratitude for the honor as well as their desire to recognize other members of the firefighting community.

Such remarkable humility was a common theme among all recipients, which included:

  • Good Samaritan (Mike Robeson)
  • Blood Services (Diane Calamaras, APN)
  • Heritage Award (David D. Hiller)
  • Community Impact (Dr. Daniel Ivankovich)
  • Law Enforcement (Officer Lourdes Nieto of the Chicago Police Department)
  • Emergency Medical Assistance (Sergeant First Class Tony Genovese & Staff Sergeant Jeremy Adkins of the Illinois National Guard)
  • Global Citizenship (Dr. Samer Attar of Northwestern Medicine)
  • Disaster Services (Lazenia Adams)
  • Firefighter (Lt. Hans Ziegenbein, Engineer Robert Bloome, Firefighter Christopher Heinz, and Firefighter/EMT Felix Serrano of the Chicago Fire Department)
  • Youth (Caley Trepac), and
  • Nurse (Darice Bohne, RN, BSN).

The extraordinary contributions these heroes have made to the community, their personal commitment to helping others, along with their incredible humility, truly exemplify the spirit of the Red Cross.

Young volunteers were also present. A group of senior and junior high school students from Geneva, Illinois included a group who work with special education students, help tutor younger students, and take action as part of Operation Snowball to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and drug use among youths.

The 2016 Heroes Breakfast was made possible thanks to the generosity of our key sponsors: Anixter, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Boeing, Mesirow Financial, Motorola Solutions, Northern Trust, Walgreens, Aon, CDW, ComEd, Grainger, ITW, NES Rentals, PwC and USG.

Story by: Jessica Hayashi, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Photos by: William Biederman, Christopher Doing and Danny Diaz, Public Affairs Volunteers, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Chicago Police Officer Lourdes Nieto Honored as American Red Cross 2016 Law Enforcement Hero

IL-Law-Enforcement-Award(CHICAGO, IL) – For young people who’ve been abused and traumatized, Lourdes Nieto gives them hope. At a safe house in Chicago for young girls and teens, the Chicago police officer is working to stop human trafficking in the community.

“It’s never been about what they’ve been through – if they want to share, that’s their process,” she said. “Recovery shouldn’t be reliving their story over and over again.”

Many of the stories are the same for the young people she helps, who were sold into prostitution and pornography by people they trusted. The commonalities they share are vulnerability, neglect and low self-esteem. Police and law enforcement officers are some of the last people they trust, but Lourdes has been able to break down those barriers.

“They’re used to people exploiting them, pimped out by boyfriends, gang members, teachers, even their own family members – people who were supposed to protect them and then sell them for sex in exchange for drugs or money,” she said. “Their trust was at zero, but you can rebuild it when they see that you care.”

A 12-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Lourdes joined the force in 2003, patrolling the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the city’s South Side. She responded to robberies and homicides, but it was the girls on the street and those who were recovered in raids that opened her heart to stop human trafficking.

Lourdes brings her own 16-year-old daughter on safe house visits to cook meals and interact with girls whose lives took a drastically different turn. She wants her daughter to see it’s a tough world but also a compassionate one. She teaches anti-trafficking courses at the Pilsen library and hopes to bring more awareness and training to schools, as well as to her fellow police officers. She also wants others in the community to speak up.

“If you see something that doesn’t seem right, say something,” she said. “Call us at the Chicago Police Department, so victims don’t fall through the cracks and they are not forgotten.”

The Law Enforcement Award is presented by Motorola Solutions Foundation to a professional police officer(s) or related law enforcement official(s) who exhibited heroism either in response to an emergency situation or through an ongoing commitment to the community.

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring local people who demonstrated acts of heroism in the community at the organization’s 14th annual Heroes Breakfast, Thursday, April 28 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. For more information: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/il/chicago/American-Red-Cross-Honors-Local-Heroes.

 Written by: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

 

Mike Roberson Honored as American Red Cross 2016 Good Samaritan Hero

IL-Good-Samaritan-Award(CHICAGO, IL) – Mike Roberson experienced a death in his family and a fire in his home the same week. Those two tragedies could have made him ignore a car accident happening in front of him, but Mike put his grief aside when yet a third catastrophe came his way. His American Red Cross training kicked in, helping him rescue a family whose van had overturned in a pond off Interstate 57.

While in Mississippi for his uncle’s funeral, Mike’s fiancé called to tell him a fire destroyed the home they shared with Mike’s six-year-old daughter in Naperville. They lost a beloved pet in the fire, but they were ok and were staying with a relative. Before he left to drive back home to Illinois, Mike’s aunt packed some of his uncle’s clothes to replace those he had lost in the fire.

As Mike was on his way home, he watched in disbelief as a van spun out of control and went out of sight on the dark, slippery road south of Champaign. He pulled his car over and attempted to call 911, but was disconnected. His next instinct was to help anyone who was hurt, so he grabbed a flashlight and followed the sounds of a woman’s cries to help save her children. The van had rolled down an embankment and landed upside down in a pond. Mike recalled seeing little hands reaching out from the broken windows. One by one, he pulled out four kids and heard the woman yell there were more. He eventually pulled out four more surviving members of the family.

Trained in first aid and CPR from the Red Cross, Mike showed an older daughter how to help her mother who wasn’t breathing. He grabbed his uncle’s warm clothes from his car to prevent the rest of the family from going into shock from being exposed to the cold water.

“It must have been some divine intervention that I was put behind that van,” Mike said. “Deep down that training made a world of difference. I just knew what I had to do.”

Mike lost his phone in the pond as he pulled the family members out of the van, but first responders were able to ping his location and send paramedics.

A few days later while Mike and his family picked up the pieces from their burned home, he received a call to attend the funeral for the patriarch of the family who didn’t survive the accident. It was the second funeral he attended in a month.

“I hugged and shook so many hands,” he said. “It was the best healing experience and now we’re connected. We all know loss, but sometimes it brings people together.”

The Good Samaritan Award is presented by USG to an outstanding individual(s) who courageously and selflessly responded to an unusual, significant or unexpected crisis.

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring local people who demonstrated acts of heroism in the community at the organization’s 14th annual Heroes Breakfast, Thursday, April 28 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. For more information: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/il/chicago/American-Red-Cross-Honors-Local-Heroes.

 Written by: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

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