Monthly Archives: January 2018

Some of us may not be familiar with the term ice jam. It’s when ice chunks build up to form a dam. Water then builds up behind the ice blockage and can cause flooding.

The science of ice jams may be interesting but the results for people in Northeast Pennsylvania were devastating. Beginning on Tuesday, ice jams on the Tunkhannock Creek flooded several homes in Nicholson, Wyoming County. The American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter mobilized more than two dozen volunteers to provide lodging, food and clothing assistance to affected families.

ice jam 2

Flooding from the Tunkhannock Creek

However, the problems continued. Wednesday morning, a significant ice jam formed between Pittston and Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River. This caused a sharp rise in water levels and began flooding streets in West Pittston.

Even before evacuations were ordered, the American Red Cross NEPA started readying more resources, including disaster workers and supplies. Eventually, evacuations were ordered Wednesday evening for dozens of homes in West Pittston, and the Red Cross opened a shelter at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center in Exeter. That shelter housed eight evacuees overnight. Another shelter in nearby Duryea was opened and managed by local officials, and the Red Cross provided the facility with supplies.

ice jam 4

‪The Red Cross shelter at Wyoming Area Secondary Center

By Thursday morning the ice jam had broken free with water levels quickly dropping on the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. All evacuation orders were lifted and the shelters closed after all residents had returned home.

The Red Cross reminds all residents that dangerous ice has been left behind by the flood event and everyone should steer clear of the ice. In addition, the rapidly changing conditions on the river serve as a reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness and being Red Cross Ready.

The Red Cross urges everyone to Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. For more information, visit us on the web at For the latest weather alerts, including river flood warnings, download the Red Cross Emergency app today by visiting

Imagine yourself giving a dollar to the American Red Cross — not a bill, but 100 pennies. The person accepting the money would count out nine cents and set that aside. On average, the remaining 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. This is only possible through the generosity of donors like you.  Some of the efforts your charitable donation supports when you give to the Red Cross include:

  1. Disaster Relief
  2. Home Fires
  3. Training and Certification
  4. Help to Military Families
  5. Health Care and Blood Drives
  6. International Efforts

In a year marked by historic hurricanes, wildfires and other crises, the American Red Cross was there for a record number of people across the country whose lives were upended by major events.  Your donation powered the Red Cross Eastern PA to respond to over 1,000 disasters last year, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to over 5,000 people.  We installed nearly 11,000 smoke alarms in our region and provided The Pillowcase Project to over 9,700 students teaching them how to be prepared in the face of emergencies.  With over 155,000 blood donations and over 3,100 services to military members, veterans and their families, our programs and services bring help and hope to those in need every single day.

Every year the Red Cross in Eastern PA conducts a number of signature events throughout region that would not be possible without the generous support of our community and sponsors. We welcome you to come out in support of these events as money raised goes back into the many services we provide to the local community.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming events from March 4th– June 30th:
March 4, 2018: Pocono Telethon
March 24, 2018: Red Ball
April 20, 2018: Lehigh Valley Cabaret & Cuisine: Back to the 80’s
May 8, 2018: Red Cross Cup Golf Tournament
May 16, 2018: Clara Barton Awards Reception
May 19, 2018: Celebration of Life SAF Walk and Lunch
May 20, 2018: Run for the Red Pocono Marathon

Upcoming Heroes Events:
Visit this blog post for more information on all of our Heroes events.
March 15, 2018: Northeastern PA Heroes Event
May 10, 2018: Berks County Heroes Breakfast
May 31, 2018: Bucks County Heroes Breakfast
June 1, 2018: Schuylkill County Heroes Breakfast
June 20, 2018: Chester County Heroes Breakfast

Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. Whether helping one displaced family or thousands, providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies, it’s through the efforts of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things.

This Martin Luther King Day of Service was no exception.  Throughout the day bearing the cold, volunteers gathered from across the region to participate in smoke alarm installation events for MLK Day of Service.  For some it was their first event. For others, one of many.  When asked the question to one volunteer, why did you come out today, they answered, “I wanted to do my part in making the community a better and safer place.”

As part of the MLK Day of Service, the Red Cross Eastern PA region held six smoke alarm installation events across our 17 county region.  This is part of the Home Fire Campaign to make our communities safer and better prepared by installing free smoke alarms and educating the community on fire safety.


Philadelphia: Saturday, January 13, 2018

MLK Schuylkill

 Ashland, Schuylkill County: Saturday, January 13, 2018


 Reading, Berks County: Monday, January 15, 2018


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County: Monday January 15, 2018


 Norristown, Montgomery County: Monday, January 15, 2018


Carbondale, Lackawanna County: Monday January 15, 2018

Red Cross volunteers, along with local fire departments and our community partners, went door-to-door to speak with residents and educate them on potential home fire hazards and risks. Fire safety information was provided in English and Spanish and residents received free smoke alarms installed in their homes.

Overall, we installed more than 500 smoke alarms! 

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire and on average 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent. Since its inception in 2014, the Home Fire Campaign has 303 documented lives saved nationwide.

Stay tuned as we Sound the Alarm this spring.  We will have more smoke alarm events throughout the region and will need your help in installing more alarms and educating the community.

To become a Red Cross volunteer visit,

Every day, ordinary people make extraordinary contributions by putting their needs aside to help others in our community. The American Red Cross is honored to salute these unsung heroes in our Annual Heroes Celebration.

Your hero might be a lifeguard who saved a drowning child, an ordinary citizen who performed CPR when a stranger collapsed at a shopping mall, or someone who saved a neighbor’s beloved pets from a fire.

Counties host their own Celebration in which they honor the prior year’s local heroes for using their First Aid, CPR, AED training and/or other actions to save lives or make the county a better place to live and work.

This spring we have several events throughout the region.  Click on your local Heroes event for more information, to nominate a hero, sponsor the event, or to purchase tickets.


March 15, 2018
Northeastern PA Heroes Event
Mohegan Sun Pocono
5-8 p.m.

May 10, 2018
Berks County Heroes Breakfast
Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel
7:30 a.m. -9 a.m.

May 31, 2018
Bucks County Heroes Breakfast
Parx Casino
7:30 a.m. -9 a.m.

June 1, 2018
Schuylkill County Heroes Breakfast
Schuylkill Country Club
7:30 a.m. -9 a.m.

June 20, 2018
Chester County Heroes Breakfast
Desmond Hotel Malvern
7:30 a.m. -9 a.m.

Across U.S., Red Cross Responds to Nearly 60% More Home Fires in First Days of 2018 Than in 2017

As part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, Red Cross Eastern PA will install free smoke alarms over the upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service weekend and on Monday.

  • SEPA: Saturday, January 13th in Philadelphia from 9a – 2 p.
    • Boys Latin Charter MS – 344 N. Felton Street (near 63rd & Callowhill) and St. Matthews AME Church, 215 N. 57th Street (57th & Race)
  • Tri-County: Saturday, January 13th in Ashland, Schuylkill County from 9:30a – 3p.
    • American Hose Company 639 Walnut Street, Ashland, PA 17921
  • NEPA: Monday, January 15th in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County from 9a – 2p
    • Hollenback Fire Station 1020 North Washington Street Wilkes Barre, PA 18705
  • NEPA: Monday, January 15th in Carbondale, Lackawanna County from 9a – 2p.
    • Carbondale Fire Bureau 8 6th Avenue Carbondale, PA 18407
  • SEPA: Monday, January 15th in Norristown, Montgomery County from 9a – 2p.
    • Montgomery Hose Company is 201 W Freedley St, Norristown, PA 19401.
  • Tri-County: Monday, January 15th in Reading, Berks County from 9:30a – 3p.
    • Tri-County Chapter 701 Centre Avenue, Reading, PA  19601


HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.

To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

Red Cross volunteers across the country have already responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in 2017. Some of this may be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.

After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery. As of January 9, the Red Cross has already opened 4,400 cases to help a total of 12,500 people get back on their feet after home fires in 2018.


-Monica Cryan

The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now to help address a winter blood donation shortage that could affect patient care.

Jan 2018 Urgent Need Blood Appeal_Hospitals

Here’s how you can help:

  1. #GiveNow: Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  2. Let your friends and family know there is an urgent need for their help. New and current donors of all blood types are needed to help ensure the Red Cross can meet the needs of patients every day and is prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood.
  3. Bring a friend to donate with you.

You can help ensure that blood products are there for trauma victims, premature babies, patients going through cancer treatment and others who rely on the generosity of volunteer donors. Please make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help save lives.

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