smoke alarms save

The American Red Cross is partnering with the Philadelphia Fire Department to eliminate fire-related deaths in the city. The program involves installing working smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods in addition to educating people about the dangers of home fires.

The program kicks off with free smoke alarm installation on Tuesday, July 7th between noon and 3 p.m. along the 5800, 5900 and 6000 blocks of Osage Avenue.

A recent study identified senior citizens and young children as the most vulnerable to fire-related deaths in the city. That’s a population of about 200,000 people in Philadelphia.

The No More Fire Deaths program involves several steps and kicks off on 7/7. Firefighters from the 7 Engine and Ladder companies that make up the 7th Battalion, along with the Red Cross, will go door-to-door and install 10-year lithium battery powered smoke alarms free of charge.

Together with the Red Cross they will also provide fire prevention education as well as a home inspection checklist that residents can go through to make sure their home is fire safe. Throughout the coming weeks, firefighters and the Red Cross will continue to spread an information campaign reminding residents to call if they need working smoke alarms.

The Red Cross is asking everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

*   If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, call 3-1-1 and we’ll help you get one. At a minimum, there should be one smoke alarm on every level of the home.
*   If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, get them replaced.
*   Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

To request a smoke alarm through the No More Fire Deaths program, call 3-1-1 or visit

By: Maria Lobron

As part of the millennial “Me” generation, many people assume that we don’t care about anyone but ourselves. That is far from the truth. In a survey of men and women ages 18 to 34, 75% of millennials contributed to charitable causes last year.

As a 25-year-old woman in the working world, I have donated to numerous organizations such as Penn State’s THON Dance Marathon and Best Buddies. While millennials tend to give smaller amounts of money, we can influence our friends and family to get involved in a charitable organization. Donating gives me the reward of giving something back to the local community and helping the world become a better place.

The American Red Cross has given me the ability to help those in need in natural disasters, blood donation and other services. Here are the top 10 top reasons why you should donate to the Red Cross too:

#1) Make an impact. Around the world and in our communities we can help those in serious need. Some 70,000 disasters strike unsuspecting people each year. Others need one of the more than seven million blood products delivered to hospitals across the United States.

#2) Join the cause. There are thousands of people that donate to the Red Cross every day. Major companies such as Wawa, The Weather Channel, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and others donate too. When you donate, you become part of an organization that helps millions of people.

#3) It’s easy. Just go to and donate. It takes only a few minutes.

#4) You’ll be happier. In a 2008 study, people expressed more happiness when they donated to
pro-social causes.

#5) Help save a life. Your donation will help to fund lifesaving classes like CPR and first aid around the world.

#6) Raise awareness. Help raise awareness by encouraging people to be prepared for a natural disaster or even a blood shortage. Natural disasters can happen at any time and the local blood supply would not exist without volunteer blood donors.

#7) Give back. By giving back you appreciate the things you have a little bit more.

#8) Every little bit helps. By donating just $10, you can help provide a second chance for someone in need. You can make that donation by simply texting REDCROSS to 90999.

#9) Be a leader. When your friends see you donating your time and talents, they will be inspired to give back as well.

#10 ) It’s good for our future. We are the next generation of leaders and want the world to be a better place. Start now!

The holiday season is a time of gift giving to all of your loved ones. With every gift brings countless hours spent shopping at the mall and online. It is important to know how to protect yourself and your family from criminals online and at the mall. With everything going on, its easy to not pay attention to small things that don’t seem right. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your family wherever you shop during the holidays. Mall

The first tip is to take care of yourself. Drink plenty of water before going to the mall to stay hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated so you don’t pass out from dehydration. The mall and stores can be crowded around the holidays. Dress in layers so you can take layers off when you get hot or cold. While shopping, try to go with someone else. Power in numbers! You will have an extra set of eyes to see what is going on around you. When going to the mall or any store, make sure to give yourself extra time to get to your destination. You are less likely to be rushed and not paying attention. When parking your car, keep theses safely tips in mind.

Keep a first-aid kit in the trunk of your car. It is important if you get stranded somewhere or someone gets hurt to have all the right equipment. When you park your car, make sure to park in a well-lit area. Parking in a dark parking lot with no lights makes it easier for someone to sneak up on you. Don’t park next to a big truck or van. Big vans can block your view when getting out of your parking space. Make sure to lock your car doors and close all windows so no one is able to steal anything from your car. Always keep your packages or anything valuable in your trunk. If visible, this will tempt criminals to help themselves to anything in your car. When leaving the mall, always have your keys already in your hand and don’t be on your cell phone. You won’t be distracted fumbling through your purse not paying attention to who is around you. Keep all your valuables close to you while your shopping. rco_blog_img_Santa

When shopping, always keep your a purse or wallet close to you at all times. Keep your wallet in your front pocket. It is easy for criminals to grab your wallet if your wallet is located in your back pocket. Be audacious of strangers approaching you. They do this to distract you and steal your wallet or purse. Know your surroundings and see who is around you. Many thieves are well dressed or could be that sweet old lady. The mall can be crowded and hot with all the people. If you see anything suspicious, call the police or talk to local police on duty. Know where the closest exits and entrances are located . This is important if there is a fire or any other kind of emergency.  Make sure to keep yourself safe with these helpful tips, but also teach your family members and friends ways to stay safe during the holidays.

Teach your children even from a young age to stay safe when going to the mall or any public place. Make sure they stay close to you at all times. Children must ask permission to go anywhere with you or check in with you. Teach your children that they should go to a safe public place like a store and talk to a store clerk or police officer and ask for help if they get lost. Make sure they know their home address and phone number so the police know who to contact if they get lost. Talk to them about the importance of not talking to strangers even if they look nice. With the increased amount of online shopping this holiday season, here are some ways to stay safe. Internet

There are alot of sites online with sales and deals, but some of them can be fake. Trust you instincts. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Do not feel pressured to buy anything. Make sure to comparison shop to get an idea of how much the item really costs. Only go on trusted websites. Do not pay for anything that is not on a secured website. Only  use sites with SSL ( secure socket layer). It’s a secure network that will have the address HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://. It will have a lock on the status bar or bottom of web browser to show its a secured website. Always read the fine print of everything your buying.

Read the return policy before buying anything. Its better to know to know before you spend your money and don’t get your money back.  Do not give away any personal information. They never need to know your social security number or your birthday. Never email someone your credit card number or any other personal information. The final tip is to have fun during the holidays and enjoy this magical time with your family!



On Tuesday, December 2, 2014 people from around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. We have a day for giving thanks, two days for getting deals, and on #GivingTuesday charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students will come together to give something more.

timeThe American Red Cross relies on the generosity of those looking to give back to our humanitarian mission. From providing disaster relief, to responding to local emergencies, to educating communities on lifesaving preparedness and training, to supporting our military and their families, our work is only made possible by donors and volunteers.

This #GivingTuesday choose to give your time, your money or your blood to the American Red Cross.

The 2014 American Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog provides a list of gifts that support our military, ease urgent needs, and help spread global compassion. Gift prices start at $15.00, which will provide fire safety training and the installation of one fire alarm to help keep families safe and prepared. Gift prices range all the way to $1,000.00, providing a full day of emergency shelter for 20 people, which includes three meals, two blankets, one cot, snacks and personal hygiene supplies. Free gifts are included with donation while supplies last. For a complete list of gifts, please click here.unselfie movement

In addition to making a financial donation, volunteering your time is another way to contribute to #GivingTuesday. Getting involved is an easy way to give back to your local community this holiday season. To join the team of volunteers delivering care and compassion to those in need everyday, please click here. And don’t forget that the American Red Cross supplies more than 40% of the nation’s blood supply, so we are always in need of more donations. You can sign up to make a blood donation or host a virtual blood drive right on our website.FAB_give_blood

Now here’s the best part. Throughout the day on #GivingTuesday the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania will be following along on social media as you tweet, post, like, and share how you are contributing to #GivingTuesday. You can take a photo, video, or post an #UNSelfie of your #GivingTuesday activities to join in the worldwide movement. We look forward to seeing the global impact of everyone’s contributions and activities on #GivingTuesday and hearing all about #WhyIGive.


-Submitted by Jessica Webb, Communications Volunteer

A recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety



You’ve been thinking about turkey for weeks. But did you know that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires and home fire injuries involving cooking equipment?

“People think that it can’t happen to them,” says Nina Johnson, Disaster Program Specialist at the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “But unfortunately it can.”

Here’s Nina’s recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety:


  • Smoke alarms
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Close-fitting clothing


  1. Test your smoke alarms: Smoke alarms generally fail because the batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Press the test button on each smoke alarm in your home. Functioning alarms should produce a loud siren. Smoke alarms that produce weak or nonexistent sirens need new batteries.
  2. Check your fire extinguisher: The National Fire Protection Agency recommends inspecting portable fire extinguishers monthly and getting professional maintenance once a year. Refer to the label or user manual of your extinguisher for the manufacturer’s maintenance suggestions.
  3. Clean your oven and cooktop: Dirty cooking surfaces can lead to a fire. Be sure to open windows and turn on the exhaust fan when using an oven’s self-cleaning feature. And don’t forget to remove any ash once the oven is cool. If you are cleaning your oven by hand, make sure to wipe down the oven and cooktop after using cleaning supplies.
  4. Wear close-fitting clothing: Keep your scarves, ties, and other loose-fitted clothing in the bedroom until you have finished cooking. Nina recommends wearing a close-fitted short-sleeve shirt in the kitchen.
  5. Stay in the house while the oven is on: It takes time to cook a juicy bird. Make sure that there is at least one adult in the house while the oven is on.
  6. Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop: Unattended cooking accounted for 48% of injuries in a study by the National Fire Protection Agency. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking on a range or cooktop.
  7. Keep children away from the oven: Make sure to keep kids away from the oven and hot cooking surfaces. Serve appetizers or snacks in another room to keep children out of the kitchen.
  8. Stay calm if a fire starts: Don’t try to throw a burning pan in the sink or run through the house to throw it outside. Cover the pan with a metal lid. If the fire continues, get everyone out of the house and call 911.

Find more cooking tips for Thanksgiving Chefs

The people who serve our armed forces are very essential to the safety and protection of the freedom, inalienable rights, and security of our great nation. However, sacrifice for the good of the nation for many soldiers is often one to their own well-being.

15155385434_d93a849b45_m While enduring the horrors of war and living a life estranged from that of a civilian, many develop and suffer from PTSD and lose touch with life outside of war and duty. Furthermore, there are many veterans who still suffer these ills developed from heeding the call to duty. Therefore, it is important that those serving or who have once served be honored today for their selflessness. Veterans Day should not be merely looked upon as just another bank holiday but as a celebration to those who give up their sanity, health, and former existence for the sake of maintaining our freedom.

Through its volunteer work and services given to veterans and soldiers, the Red Cross does just that. The Red Cross provides Reconnection Workshops which help post-deployed soldiers reconnect with their families and reintegrate into civilian life through the help of mental-health professionals. Also, it offers a Coping with Deployment course used to help families of the deployed cope with the departure of their loved ones.

Locally, the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania recently held a Veterans Day Ceremony at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia. American Red Cross Divisional Disaster Executive and retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, Scott Graham delivered the keynote address honoring all who served in the United States Military. Lt Col Graham said that, while serving in Iraq, he was grateful for a Red Cross Emergency Communication about the passing of his mother in law. In his last tour of duty, he served with several superior officers who were also in Vietnam. He told a story of returning to a celebratory homecoming and how much that meant to his superiors, who had returned from Vietnam to silence and shame.15584753497_2da892a9c8_o

After the ceremony, Red Cross employees, volunteers and members of the Girard Academic Music Program Red Cross Club distributed, 200 “Totes of Hope”(See Photos)to four local veteran’s service organizations that support homeless veterans in the Philadelphia area: Support Homeless Veterans, The Veterans Group, Safe Haven and Project Home. The totes contained items like toothbrushes, soap, dental floss, band aids, t-shirts, socks, rain ponchos and pocket tissues. In addition, there was information about essential support programs offered by local agencies.

It is programs such as these that demonstrate the Red Cross initiative to remember those who have fought and suffered on the country’s behalf. Knowing that such programs exist for these dedicated men and women makes me very proud to serve as a volunteer for the Red Cross.

— Submitted by Communications Volunteer Betty Thomas

pleaseantville-halloween-5Looking back on the events two years ago when Superstorm Sandy was covering the almost the entire eastern Atlantic Ocean, I remember feeling astonished that the storm would actually turn toward the coast and make landfall in New Jersey. Hurricanes come north, of course, but not often and not with such threatening power. Were we ready? I suspected we weren’t, because how could we be? We tend to be “ready” for events we have already experienced. Sandy was unprecedented. Still, it was incredibly comforting to be a volunteer for the Red Cross. These were the folks who knew how to prepare and they were on the job.

I wrote, soon after the storm, about a friend who had texted me “Thank goodness for the Red Cross.”  Yes, indeed, for so many reasons. Here’s the rest of my 2012 blog post:

“What a week it’s been. Our job is to take care of the important stuff: shelter, food, comfort, survival. Currently, the Red Cross is sheltering close to 9,000 people in 171 Red Cross shelters across 13 states. Wow. . . Locally, close to 200 people (196) and 19 pets stayed the night in local SEPA Red Cross shelters in Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties.

When I was in our offices last Thursday, I peeked in on a meeting of disaster preparedness personnel on the potential for a large hurricane to incapacitate the East Coast early the following week. At that point, the encounter between Sandy and the coast of New Jersey was still purely hypothetical and only one model was suggesting the storm would not turn safely out to sea. Even so, our staff was taking the situation seriously and beginning to make the preparations necessary to provide support and shelter should the worst case scenario occur. Thank goodness they did.

Needless to say, we’ve been moderately busy since then. At the height of the storm, we were ready with 14 shelters set up in five counties. We hosted a phone bank to answer storm related questions at a local television station. Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, a Hurricane App and several media appearances by our CEO, Judge Renée Hughes, shared vital information with the citizens of Southeastern, Pennsylvania. We helped people prepare and they did. We encouraged them to “shelter in place” by staying home, staying off the streets and letting our public officials do their jobs. People listened and we made it through this.

For those forced to evacuate, we provided warmth with blankets, food, shelter and the companionship of volunteers and others in the same situation. We take comfort seriously and believe it helps everyone weather the storm. And with comfort in mind, we are proud to say that Halloween celebrations went ahead for several of our younger shelter residents at a shelter in Pleasantville, NJ. “

I remember feeling so moved by these Halloween festivities. It’s so important to help children feel a sense of normalcy when their entire world has been disrupted. I was proud to be a Red Cross volunteer on that day, and I still am.


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