Monthly Archives: February 2016



Frrco_blog_img_extreme cold-red crossigid weather is predicted for Eastern Pennsylvania this weekend and the American Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe during this bitter cold.

Here are ten ways to keep your family safe during this round of extreme cold:

Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.

Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.

Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.

Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.

If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

If the power goes out, always run a generator outside, never inside the home including in the basement or garage.

Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at More information about winter safety is available on       

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_EasternPA.


rco_blog_img_emergency1To celebrate Martin Luther King Weekend and Day of Service, teams from all five of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region’s chapters scheduled Home Fire Campaign rallies and installation events in a total of eight locations throughout our region. A goal of 1,000 smoke alarm installations was set for the week of events.

In two Philadelphia events, a total of 79 homes were visited by Red Cross staff members, more than 40 Red Cross volunteers, the Philadelphia Fire Department, and our friends from Red Paw Emergency Relief. Volunteers from HOPEworldwide also took part during the January 16th event, which was coordinated and led by DPS Liz Valdez and newly named DPM David Natale. 172 smoke alarms were installed over the course of the two days.

In Easton, DPS Nina Johnson led a team including more than a dozen Red Cross volunteers from the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter, in partnership with the Easton Fire Department, who visited 21 homes and installed a total of 67 smoke alarms.

rsz_emergency_2That same day a team of ten Red Cross volunteers led by DPS Kevin Bone partnered with the Good Will Fire Company to install 95 smoke alarms in 51 homes while providing fire safety education to an additional 17 homes in Pottstown.

In Reading on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day itself, DPS Heather Bowman, DPM Kara Mowbray and their team of 54 volunteers from the Tri-County Chapter partnered with the Reading Fire Department, UGI and students from Kutztown and Alvernia Universities to install 155 smoke alarms in 75 homes and replace 71 batteries in existing smoke alarms.

A bit farther north, DPS Jeff Banks and DPM Gail Toscano along with Senior DPM Rachelle Wood and RDO Leo Pratte headed up Red Cross volunteer teams in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, partnering with fire departments from both of those municipalities. 100 volunteers turned out for the event, including representatives from UGI. The combined efforts of those two groups saw 375 smoke alarms installed in 145 homes.

The final event of the week was unfortunately postponed by the Blizzard of 2016’s unexpected arrival in East Stroudsburg. This installation was rescheduled for February 6. Gail Toscano’s teams installed 140 smoke alarms. Add in 15 follow-up installations in the NEPA chapter that day, and we installed 1,019 smoke alarms in the past three weeks.

Congratulations on reaching our goal of 1,000 installations across the region! We’d like to thank all the staff who worked tirelessly to make these events happen and the 250+ Red Cross volunteers who have helped support our mission of saving lives the past three weeks!

rco_blog_img_blooddonor2The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donors. Severe winter weather since January 1 has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states, resulting in more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply. Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Blood products are being delivered to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. Eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help ensure blood products are available for patients.

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products to patients like 2-year-old Charlie Stephens. Charlie has received both blood and platelets during treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her mother, Michelle Stephens, donates blood regularly. “I want to help supply blood for someone else, because others have provided for my family,” she said.

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

To donate blood you must have a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification. They are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a home or work computer prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.