Tag Archives: emergencu contact info

Washington Wildfire Season

Vantage Point: Service in Times of Crisis

As I stopped for gas in Cle Elum on my way to Seattle, the store clerk asked me, “How’s the smoke outside?”

“I’m from Wenatchee,” I said.

“So sorry,” she genuinely replied.

The word “sorry,” I have expressed it too many times during this summer’s devastating wildfire season. Everyone at Health Alliance has felt helpless, halfheartedly going about their day-to-day duties, distracted by worry for our friends and neighbors suffering to the north.

One person who’s not feeling helpless is Cindy Marshall, a registered nurse and Health Alliance’s utilization review coordinator. She took the time to become a Red Cross disaster nurse volunteer to help in these kinds of emergencies.

She told me the recent fire crisis has been extremely unique and challenging because the volatile, unpredictable winds keep shifting the fire danger, affecting many towns and causing new evacuation orders.

And it can be hard to help in these conditions. The Greater Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross has 11 stations spread over a large area right now, and many times they have set up a station, only to have to tear it down to move it to safety when the winds change.

Red Cross stations serve as a hub of activity during an emergency, but Cindy described entering a station to volunteer as anything but chaos. She knows exactly where to check in and which duties are most important. The station lead does a tremendous job of organizing priorities and reporting changes, and the team is experienced in troubleshooting solutions to issues as they arise.

Cindy is perfect for this role, as it’s much the same as what she does for Health Alliance. When one of our members has a healthcare emergency, Cindy is also there for them.

But the thing that makes Cindy truly exceptional, what keeps her volunteering weekends and evenings for the Red Cross and successful in her role at Health Alliance, is her caring and humble heart.

“So many people are doing so much more than me,” she said, crediting the firefighters who are putting their lives on the line and breathing in the heavy smoke.

To our members, community partners, and providers affected, please know that the word isn’t enough. We are more than sorry. We empathize with you through this crisis, and we will be here to support you in recovery.

Cindy expressed it best. “My number one priority is taking care of a person’s immediate safety and health care, but afterwards, sometimes the only thing you can do is hug them and let them cry.”

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four adult sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.

Sports Safety and Football

Sports Safety Tips

This week on social media, we gave you some important tips for sports safety and keeping your kids healthy and safe this year. Accidents do happen, but there are some ways to protect them!

First up, makes sure they get a sports physical, or PPE, that can rule out conditions that could put your young athlete at risk.

Make sure they and their coaches always have their emergency contact info and anything they need to treat a condition, like asthma inhalers.

Make sure that kids have time to warm up and stretch major muscle groups for at least 10 minutes before practices and games.

Always send your kids with a water bottle. It’s good to hydrate 30 minutes before and every 15-20 minutes during activity.

Learn the symptoms and signs of a concussion. Sideline the player and get help from a medical professional right away.

Rest should be a priority. They should have a day or two off from their activities each week. If they’re hurt, they shouldn’t play to give them plenty of time to heal.

Be supportive parents. Go to a sports safety clinic in your area to learn more and make sure that you support them if or when it hurts too much for them to play. And of course, be their biggest cheerleader!