Emergency Preparedness Class Offered


Do you have an emergency kit that will sustain your family for at minimum 3 days?

Do you have an emergency action plan?

Does everyone in your family know what the plan is?

Having a plan and supplies put away will immensely add to the comfort of you and your loved ones should a natural or man-made disaster occur. Many disasters are so wide spread that emergency services cannot get to the entire affected population immediately.

This is where your plan comes in!

Host: Donna Smith, BSN, PHN, LERC, Skagit County MRC Manager
When: 6pm – 8pm November 23
Where: Skagit Valley Hospital, Cascade Conference Room
Contact: Bobby Kysela, MRC Volunteer Coordinator with questions.

Having an emergency plan is especially important for those of us that live on Fidalgo Island, Guemes Island, Whidbey Island, and any of the San Juan Islands.  The need for us to be self reliant is greater, so make sure you have everything that you and your family need including your four legged friends!

RSVPs are not necessary, but appreciated. rkysela@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-419-7645


(Anacortes, WA, Nov 1, 2010) –  The Islands Red Cross and Coldwell Banker Island Living announced a joint venture to save pets when disaster strikes.

When Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005 evacuation shelters did not have a plan in place to take care of family pets.  Rescuers had to tell people in order to go to a shelter, they needed to leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. As a result hundreds of people opted to stay with their pets.  Approximately 1835 people died during Katrina, it is estimated that one third of those, over 600 people, chose to stay behind with their pets rather than go to a shelter without them.  It is believed that those people would have survived had there been a shelter plan in place to accept pets. 

The residents of Fidalgo Island, Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands will not be faced with that decision if there is a disaster. In October 2006, the federal PETS Act was signed into law, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide for individuals and their household pets and service animals in a major disaster; however no funding was earmarked for the project.

The Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross now has resources to provide shelter for pets if a disaster were to occur, so that people would readily go to a safe Red Cross Shelter.

Brain Geer, Executive Director of the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Jean Groesbeck owner of Coldwell Banker Island Living and avid animal lover, have been working on what was first termed the “PET” (Pet Emergency Team) project for 2+ years.  The effort culminated this week with the unveiling of the Island Chapter Pet Disaster Shelter Van. 

The van was donated by John and Terri Rains (The Rains Clan). It ran great but needed some work to be Red Cross Ready, so Coldwell Banker Island Living sponsored the needed work which also included having the van painted.  However, the project goes beyond a van.

“The ‘PET’ project will allow us to do a better job of meeting a widespread disaster.” said Brian Geer.  “If it is necessary to evacuate people to shelters, we will not have to turn someone away because they have their pet.  The Red Cross will provide shelter for people and the PET volunteers will shelter domesticated animals. ”

The goal of the project is to ensure that when disaster strikes people don’t have to choose between leaving their pets or staying in harm’s way. Pets will be sheltered in a separate location adjacent to the Red Cross shelter location and the pet shelter will be managed by volunteers. Jean Groesbeck became passionate about this project after seeing a news story on Katrina where a man would not leave his house because the rescuers could not take his dog.  It is believed this man died.

“Half of 3,185 adults surveyed nationwide in 2005 shortly after Katrina said that they would refuse to evacuate ahead of a disaster if they could not bring their pets”, according to a Zogby International Poll Groesbeck stated.  “The percentage is probably much higher in our area, highlighting the need for this project.  There were also over a half a million pets that either died or were never reunited with their families because of Katrina.  It added so much additional heartbreak to the crises”. 

Marie Padovan of the City of Anacortes Police Department will also assist in response planning as well as County Disaster Response personnel.

Chris Terrell and Vicki Armstrong (Sunnyhill Kennels), Amy Terhune, and other volunteers have worked hard raising money and acquiring the needed supplies for the van which include crates, leashes, bowls, and vet supplies.  They have established the Charlie Randall PET fund” in memory of Charlie Randall, an Anacortes resident who was instrumental in establishing the Anacortes dog park and helping with Bark in the Park Festival. “Since our dog park is nearly complete, we were looking for something to do in Charlie’s name to help our local dogs (and other critters). When we learned that Jean & Brian were working on this PET Project, it seemed the perfect place to put our energies in Charlie’s memory,” said Terhune. The funds from their annual Santa Paws photo with Santa will go towards this project. Acquisition of the PET van will enable the project to move forward in a huge way.

Volunteers are needed to help with ongoing fund raising efforts, to assist with response drills and to be “on call” to donate their time in case of a disaster.

The PET Project is a collaborative effort of the Red Cross & The Charlie Randall PET Fund. The goal of the project is is to ensure that when disaster strikes people don’t have to choose between leaving their pet or staying in harm’s way to protect your pet.  If you would like to become involved with the pet shelter project contact Brian Geer at 360-293-2911, Jean Groesbeck at 293-4511 or Amy Terhune 708-9324.  If you have items you would like to donate please call Chris Terrell at 588-8225.  If you would like to donate funds to this project visit www.charlierandallfund.org

Your local American Red Cross and the local projects it supports do not receive funding from the federal government, but are 100% funded by the generous donations you provide.  Red Cross services are free to victims of disaster.  For more information on how you can help the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross call 360-293-2911 or go to www.theislandsredcross.org.

Please Support Our Local Red Cross!


The Red Cross Needs Our Help!


From Brian Geer Executive Director

  American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter


We know times are hard and the economy is uncertain.


That’s why our goal for this fundraiser is 10,000 gifts. The American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter  are seeking immediate monetary gifts in any amount. If you can give $5 or $10, please do. If you can give more, please give more – anything you can spare to help us respond to the needs of residents in our area affected by disasters such as the recent flooding.  This money will be used to support American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter in our mission to provide relief for disaster victims. To donate, please click here:


  American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s immediate emergency disaster needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by disaster to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently.  The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.


 The Red Cross is not a government agency. You can help by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster


To donate by mail –

American Red Cross

P.O. Box 249

Anacortes, WA 98221


Or you many donate online via PayPal at – American Red Cross – Anacortes-San Juan Islands Chapter by following the link to our PayPal account.

Brian Geer 
Executive Director American Red Cross

Dogs On Call


“Dedicated to providing canine-assisted support

to those in need in our community”


Dogs have a special gift.  They are able to offer unconditional love and acceptance to all kinds of people.  They don’t judge and they don’t criticize.  They are inherently happy creatures, taking joy in simply being alive and especially enjoying close and loving interaction with humans.


Dogs have had ‘jobs’ of all kinds throughout the centuries.  But relatively new, in historical terms, is the use of dogs to help relieve stress and reduce emotional distress in the face of many traumatic situations.  This work is based on the scientifically proven healing benefits derived from the human-animal bond.  In the past half decade the need for such therapeutic ‘tools’ has grown, and unfortunately there seems to be no sign of a decrease in the future.  From the inexorable fact of the aging of our population to a dramatic increase in the number of returning veterans to such horrendous events as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and school shootings around the nation, the number of people needing emotional support and therapy continues to expand.


In response to this growing need and the dog’s great ability to offer such help, Dogs On Call (DOC) was formed.  DOC provides a central point of contact for both volunteer teams (dog and handler) wishing to participate, and agencies and populations in need of such services in Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties.  All DOC teams are certified by national certifying organizations such as Delta Society, Therapy Dogs International, and Love on a Leash.  DOC interviews and profiles all participating dogs and their handlers.  DOC provides information to those who might be interested in the services of our teams, and helps facilitate the implementation of such service needs.  DOC works in concert with existing organizations and businesses to provide these services.  DOC takes special care to match the right dog team to the right job.


Here are some examples of areas of service for these amazing canines…


‘ Reading enhancement programs

‘ Counseling session support in schools

‘ Physical, occupational, and speech therapy support

‘ Visits to hospitals including patient rooms, surgical waiting rooms, cancer treatment & rehab areas

‘ Home visits for shut-ins and in conjunction with hospice providers

‘ Crisis response

‘ Emotionally therapeutic support within the criminal justice system

‘ Nursing home visitation

‘ Rehab center visitation


For more information,

to apply to become a volunteer service team, or to request our services, please contact

Deb at 360-293-4675 or