Comcast’s Partnership and Commitment to Safety during Natural Disasters Plays a Critical Role for the Public and Emergency Responders

The recent severe storms that impacted our region and interrupted power and services for days, provide yet another reminder to us that, in an increasingly interconnected world, companies like Comcast are playing a critical role in helping residents and local governments to recover from natural disasters.

In recognition of the many ways that Comcast NBCUniversal stepped up and assisted millions of Pennsylvania and South Jersey residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the American Red Cross’ Eastern Pennsylvania Region was proud to name Comcast NBCUniversal as our 2015 Citizen of the Year.

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Even before Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the East Coast, Comcast NBCUniversal’s news teams provided unprecedented, up-to-the-minute coverage of the storm, and Philadelphia’s own NBC10 held an informational telethon with the Red Cross to provide crucial disaster preparedness information to area residents.

After Sandy struck, Comcast organized a telethon to support relief efforts in less than 36 hours. Attracting stars like Tina Fey, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Jimmy Fallon, Comcast raised more than $23 million for the American Red Cross during that event.

But here on the ground, at some of the hardest hit areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Comcast also stepped up in a quieter way. They provided free broadband and telephone service at temporary shelters; opened up thousands of XFINITY hotspots providing free Wi-Fi access so that disaster victims could communicate with family and friends and get additional recovery information; provided free power charging stations at customer service centers, so residents could remain connected through their devices; and powered local gas stations with generators so that emergency responders and residents could get fuel after it was in scarce supply.

But perhaps most importantly, Comcast’s 1,300 field technicians mobilized along with first responders to protect and restore critical infrastructure. These ordinary heroes, working around the clock for days and often sleeping on air mattresses, came from as far away as Maine to ensure that our communications grid remained up and running for emergency responders and millions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents.

One of these heroes was Pete Imler, a headend technician who cut short a vacation to help keep the Long Beach Island local Office of Emergency Management up and running. As Sandy was bearing down, Pete was sandbagging and safeguarding equipment until being evacuated when the island lost power. Pete was on a military truck the very next day to return to the facility where he stayed around the clock for the next ten days straight to help power the recovery effort.

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Pete’s story is one of many that demonstrate the lengths Comcast and its employees will go to ensure that Delaware Valley residents remain safe even during one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. This commitment to service and the community is why we at the Red Cross are proud to call Comcast a partner and a friend and to honor the company as our Citizen of the Year in 2015.

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Check out pictures from the event by clicking on the link below!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/redcrossphilly/sets/72157652750032753

By: Francesca Green

There are times when we forget to thank the unsung heroes of our communities—the people like our local firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. They put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe, yet they still manage to find time to educate us on topics that will help prevent further emergencies.

I had an opportunity to watch the firefighters from the 7th Engine and Ladder companies in Philadelphia work in our community. Through the Red Cross, I also had the honor of working with those firefighters. The Red Cross partnered with the Philadelphia Fire Department to kick off their “No More Fire Deaths” campaign. The event was launched on Tuesday, July 7th. Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes (ret.), CEO, American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region spoke in partnership with Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Derrick Sawyer. Stressing the importance of ensuring that every resident had at least three working smoke alarms in their homes, the campaign is also designed to practice a fire escape plan. Statistics show that after a fire starts, a family only has a few minutes to exit the house. The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of fire deaths as much as possible.

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Did you know that fire experts say that you only have approximately two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late? That information came as a bit of a shock to residents in the Philadelphia neighborhood where we launched the campaign. They were grateful for the information and were eager to come up with their own fire escape plans. Even more residents asked us to check their smoke alarms to make sure that they worked. It was easy to see that fire preparedness was going to become a priority in their lives.

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These heroes in our community are so inspiring. I spoke with one of the lieutenants about being a firefighter, and he told me that most people have an instinct to run away from danger, while those that choose to become one of these people that serve the community actually want to go towards the danger in order to help. It’s wonderful to know that I can help out as well by volunteering with Red Cross. With more people aware of fire preparedness, we can get that much closer to our goal of ending fire fatalities. Visit the Home Fire Safety page on the redcross.org website to find out more information!

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Check out more pictures from the event by clicking the link below!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/redcrossphilly/sets/72157655616573592

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 www.freedomfromfire.com.

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 http://www.redcross.org 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!

Sources

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373130,00.asp

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-01/cyber-monday-shopping-rises-9-as-online-sales-slow.html

http://www.bpdny.org/Home/Prevention/ShoppingSafetyTips

http://www.safeshopping.org/tips.shtml

http://www.lapdonline.org/crime_prevention/content_basic_view/1376

http://www.ncpc.org/topics/violent-crime-and-personal-safety/strangers

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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

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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:

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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

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