Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three-Way Partnership Aimed at Fire Preparedness

The American Red Cross has partnered with Lycoming-Clinton Head Start through their STEP Early Learning Pathway and the Williamsport Bureau of Fire to educate residents on the importance of having working smoke detectors and home fire escape plans. This effort is part of the Red Cross’ campaign to reduce the number of fire related injuries and deaths by 25% over a five-year period.

STEP Head Start is committed to helping children and families succeed in school and in life by providing families with the tools needed to maximize their children’s and their own success. As part of this new initiative, Head Start home visitors in Lycoming and Clinton Counties assess the homes they visit to see if there are working smoke detectors. When a home is found to be in need, the home visitor works with the homeowner and the Red Cross to schedule an appointment.

If the home is in Williamsport, Red Cross volunteers and members of the Williamsport Bureau of Fire attend the appointment together. While the fire department installs free smoke detectors in the proper locations, the Red Cross helps the family to create a home fire escape plan. In other communities, Red Cross volunteers handle both the installation and the creation of the escape plan.

“Having working smoke detectors and family escape plans increases your chance of making it to safety should a home fire occur,” noted Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Tom Szulanczyk. “This partnership with Lycoming-Clinton Head Start and the Williamsport Bureau of Fire will save lives. We are proud to be working together to educate people on the importance of home fire preparedness.”

Pictured Above – Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Steve Leauber and Williamsport Bureau of Fire Inspector Mark Killian address a group of Head Start home visitors during a training held recently in Williamsport.

Monday, September 21, 2015

State Troopers Receive Lifesaving Awards

Pennsylvania State Police Rockview Criminal Investigator Trooper Brian Wakefield and Trooper Trevor Danko were presented with The American Red Cross Lifesaving Award during a special ceremony held at the State Police Barracks at Rockview in State College on Monday, September 21, 2015.

They earned their awards for their quick-thinking and quick-action during an investigation into a reported natural death at a home in Brenner Township this past June.

While removing the body from the residence, area funeral director Mark Heintzelman became short of breath and incoherent before slipping into unconsciousness. Both troopers were already springing into action to assist Heintzelman when he stopped breathing and lost his pulse. Without hesitation, the troopers administered CPR until an EMS crew arrived to transport Heintzelman, who has since made a full recovery, to Mount Nittany Medical Center.

By providing lifesaving CPR to Heintzelman at the first sign of his distress, Troopers Wakefield and Danko played a pivotal role in the man’s ultimate survival. Congratulations on receiving your awards, and thank you for your service and commitment to the community.

Pictured Above l-r: Red Cross Training Specialist Kelly Schaeffer with Trooper Trevor Danko, Criminal Investigator Trooper Brian Wakefield, and the person they saved, Mark Heintzelman.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Red Cross Partners with CommunityAid in Lancaster

The American Red Cross is proud to strengthen its partnership with CommunityAid as they prepare to open their newest facility in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County. The thrift store, which is set to open on Wednesday, November 18, will help CommunityAid meet its primary purpose of raising funds for distribution to local schools, churches, synagogues, temples, and other nonprofit charitable organizations.

Over the past two years, the Red Cross has been the beneficiary of close to $200,000 in grants from CommunityAid, money that represents the proceeds from donated items sold at their area thrift stores.

“We are extremely proud to be a CommunityAid partner and are grateful for the opportunity to stand with them as they expand their presence in Lancaster County,” noted Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer. “We know this newest location will be a great success and a great asset in their ability to affect positive change on even more people in our community.”

The Red Cross was one of three area nonprofit partners present as CommunityAid offered tours of its Lancaster County store on Thursday, September 17, 2015. Glenn Chandler, CommunityAid Founder and CEO, used the opportunity to present grant checks to the partners, including a $10,000 gift to the Red Cross.

Kyzer added, “We are thankful for the impact CommunityAid has had on our ability to serve people whose lives have been touched by area disasters. Their generosity and support can be seen in the faces of the adults and children we serve day-in and day-out.”

Pictured Above - Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region Chief Development Officer Barb Taylor at the presentation of the CommunityAid grant award.

Pictured Below Top - Representatives from the Red Cross, Water Street Mission, and the ARC of Lancaster County join with CommunityAid to celebrate the November opening of the new thrift store.

Pictured Below Bottom - CommunityAid Founder and CEO Glenn Chandler addresses the group at today's gathering in Lancaster County.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Cross Launches Hero Care Network

Last week, The American Red Cross launched a new online option to give military families more flexibility and expanded access to help during times of crisis. This online service is being made available following input received from military families.

More specifically, this new feature enables military families to:
  • securely initiate a request for Red Cross emergency messages from computers, tablets or smartphones.
  • use the online option from anywhere in the world 7 days/week, 24 hours/ day, 365 days/ year (same as with the toll-free number).
  • to monitor the message status as it goes through the verification and delivery process.

Military families needing to initiate a message can still do so via the toll-free number (877-272-7337). Or, they can do so through the new Hero Care Network online portal, which can be accessed by visiting redcross.org/HeroCareNetwork.

The Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law

Thanks to money received from a special grant, Red Cross Mid-Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Stephanie Fost, along with Red Cross intern Kristen Garrity, participated in a special workshop focusing on the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday through Friday, September 9-11, 2015.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which includes the Geneva Conventions, is at the core of the global Red Cross network. For more than 20 years, the American Red Cross has promoted IHL through chapter-based courses aimed at building a public understanding of the rules governing armed conflict and war in order to protect human life and dignity in the worst of circumstances. 

This train-the-trainer style workshop introduced Exploring Humanitarian Law, a Red Cross program designed to fit seamlessly into a wide-variety of secondary and post-secondary courses, including history, international studies, political science, human rights, peace/conflict studies, anthropology, psychology/sociology, pre-law, military science, and security studies. Engaging primary source materials, including news accounts, photos, videos, letters, and hands-on activities, work together to connect students with current events. Students who participate benefit by improving their analytical skills as they explore different perspectives on the rules of conflict, the effect war has on human life and human dignity, and their personal connections to it.

Fost and Garrity returned from the experience energized and eager to share what they learned with the rest of their colleagues. Their hope is to be able to promote to area educators the program and its high-quality lesson plans and primary source materials.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Cross Canvasses Harrisburg Community

Two hundred American Red Cross and United Way of the Capital Region Day of Caring volunteers joined forces with the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire to install roughly 550 smoke detectors and educate area residents on the importance of home fire preparedness during a special event held on Friday, September 11, 2015.

“Seven times each day someone dies in a home fire,” noted Red Cross Board Chair Karen Deklinski during her opening remarks at Harrisburg Fire Station #2. “When a fire occurs, you have two minutes to safely evacuate your home. Having working smoke detectors and family escape plans that are learned and practiced can greatly increase your chance of making it to safety should a home fire occur.

“The Red Cross is excited to be partnering with the United Way of the Capital Region and the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire in our effort to educate residents on the importance of home fire safety. It’s great to see so many volunteers working together in the community to help us reach our goal of reducing the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25%.”

She went on to thank UGI, PinnacleHealth, Phoenix Contact, and the entire Harrisburg Bureau of Fire for their support of the event.

She concluded with a special thanks to the Red Cross volunteers “who are here today, and who are out in the community 24-hours per day, 365-days per year, helping people whenever and wherever needed.”

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UGI Donates $100,000 to Red Cross

As 200 volunteers gathered in Harrisburg to take part in a Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Event on Friday, September 11, 2015, UGI presented the Red Cross with a donation of $100,000 to be used in its efforts to reduce the number of home fire injuries and fatalities by 25% over the next five years.

The event started with a moment of silence to recognize the people who lost their lives in the September 2001 terrorist attack. A brief speaking presentation that featured comments from the Red Cross, UGI, and State Senator Rob Teplitz followed, before the group started their day of service that was part of the United Way of the Capital Region Day of Caring.

“Safety is a priority for UGI,” noted Paul Szykman, UGI Vice President of Rates and Government Affairs. “We are pleased to support, both financially and with our employee volunteers, The American Red Cross Fire Prevention and Awareness Program which focuses on preventing home fires, which take such a toll across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Karen Deklinksi, Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Board Chair added, “UGI’s commitment and dedication to the Red Cross allows us to serve families throughout Central Pennsylvania, and we are extremely thankful for their partnership.”

Senator Teplitz concluded the special check presentation by making a special point to thank all those gathered for volunteering their time to make the community safer by participating in the fire safety event.

Pictured above (l-r) - Brian Enterline (Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Chief), Paul Szykman (UGI Vice President of Rates and Government Affairs), Ellen Kyzer (Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region CEO), Karen Deklinski (Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Board Chair), and Rob Teplitz (Pennsylvania State Senator).

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