Between October and December 2017, the Red Cross responded to six of the year’s largest and most complex disasters. This included back-to-back hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Thanks to the help of our partners and volunteers, the Red Cross was able to mobilize immediately to provide shelter, food, comfort and a path to recovery. Through it all, the Red Cross Eastern PA was able to send volunteers, emergency response vehicles, and critical aid to the hardest hit areas – with the help our generous partners.

  • PJM Interconnection
  • PPL Electric
  • West Pharmaceuticals
  • Air Products
  • Toll Brothers
  • Arkema
  • Kessler Topaz Meltzer
  • Penn Mutual
  • SKF USA
  • Tri State Toyota

With the support of our partners, the Red Cross provided more food, relief items and overnight shelter stays than in the past four years combined. The Red Cross mobilized 56,000 disaster workers — 92 percent volunteers — to provide help after 242 significant disasters such as wildfires, floods, tornadoes and other emergencies in 45 states and three territories. Altogether, Red Cross emergency response vehicles traveled 2.5 million miles to deliver food, relief supplies and support to communities affected by disasters. That’s the same as driving around Earth 103 times.

Thank you – as always – for your ongoing commitment to the Red Cross. We could not provide disaster relief without your help.

 

Written by Bryan Meyers

The night before the Eagles Super Bowl victory parade, I strolled down Vine Street in the cold and windy rain. Heading for Logan Square, I saw the Jumbotrons with 24-speaker setups. As I walked the Ben Franklin Parkway, dozens of port-o-potties were stationed alongside the stretch of road leading to the Art Museum. Production trucks rumbled as generators offered light to workers drenched in rain. The Eagles flags flew high in the night.

The City of Philadelphia planned for approximately 2 million people to attend the Eagles Super Bowl victory parade — giving public workers the day off and closing schools. In just a few short hours, this area would be packed with rowdy Eagles fans, celebrating their long-awaited Super Bowl victory.

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Anticipating the large crowds and cold temperatures, the Red Cross suggested the public dress warm, prepare for long walks, and bring snacks.

Public transit also geared up for the impending overload to their system. SEPTA’s regional rail sold out half-a-million transit tickets within 24 hours. Independence Blue Cross took on the costs of the Broad-Street and Market-Frankford subway lines.

The Super Bowl champions started from the Sports Complex, south of Oregon Avenue, and headed north up Broad Street.

The Eagles fans were more than ready.

With the warm sunlight pouring onto the Eagles Super Bowl victory parade. “E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!” could be heard throughout the streets of Philadelphia.

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The parade began at 11 a.m. Although, people were gathering around the Art Museum steps some twelve hours prior. They even crossed the Delaware River via the Ben Franklin Bridge through the early morning hours.

There was nothing that could stop riled Eagles fans from participating in a city-wide celebration.

Medic (EMS) tents were positioned in two locations on the Ben Franklin Parkway by the Philadelphia Fire Department. Alpha-numeric “location markers” were also posted along the parkway “to clearly and easily identify a location or section … to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.”

parade

Road closures and parking restrictions along the parade route were mandated, while meter and time limit regulations from the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) were not enforced.

Thus the celebrations rang out, wild and free, with the late-afternoon sunshine.

The Philadelphia Eagles were Super Bowl champions.

Written by Sam Antenucci

I was anticipating a rowdy crowd, after all the Eagles just won their very first Super Bowl. My group of friends and I ventured into the massive crowds around the Art Museum and were immediately overwhelmed with the sheer volume of Eagles fans. People of all ages gathered around, cheering to see their sports heroes paraded around after their victorious win against the Patriots.

parade crowd

Before we descended into the sea of green jerseys, we set a meeting point at a local café on Fairmount Avenue. The Red Cross suggested that groups traveling to the parade designate a meeting point in case anyone got lost in the shuffle. The Red Cross also ran a reunification center at 30th Street Station, assisting families separated by the frenzy of the parade.

With our phones at our side, we linked arms and made our way down as far as we could to see the parade. I was pleasantly surprised by the courtesy and energy of the crowd. Even through their excitement, a please and thank you went a long way. As my friends and I descended into the masses, we had several groups of people help find a good spot for us to see the parade by clearing paths to the procession.

We got as far as we could, when we decided to stay near a mother and her three children. When I asked them how they felt about the crowds, they told me that everyone was very courteous and looked out for each other. The mother told me how she didn’t any trouble getting her young kids to a nice spot to see the parade. Another woman and her friends stood ahead of us and began to explain that even though Eagles fans have a reputation for being a rough fan base, everyone was here to celebrate an amazing victory with their favorite team. That sense of community filled all of Philadelphia and it was apparent in the lively energy of the crowd. Whether you were a stranger or not, the sense of family, community, and security was felt by all that day.

trash truck

We found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the parade. We made sure to stand guard and watch after the woman’s children, making sure they wouldn’t get pushed around within the crowds and had a decent view of the show. Once the Eagles arrived on the busses, cheering and waving to the crowd, the fans reciprocated their excitement with cheers. Cell phones flew into the air to take videos and pictures. To be a part of this historical event was an honor that nearly all Philadelphians had the chance to experience as one united community!

While the parade was certainly new and exciting, it is always important to exercise caution when venturing out in crowds. In case you get separated from your group, make sure to let a local police officer know and establish ahead of time a meeting point everyone can go too. Take only the necessities like your cellphone, a small sum of money, water, snacks, and your I.D. card. Most importantly, as a community event, look out for one another, especially the elderly and the children. We are one giant community celebrating the marvelous victory of the Eagles. Philly reintroduced the meaning of our wonderful city’s name; the city of brotherly love.

The city of Philadelphia is flying high after the Eagles Super Bowl win. To celebrate the World Champions, the city will host a five-mile-long parade expected to draw more than two million people.

The parade will start at 11:00 a.m. Thursday near Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. A celebration at Eakin’s Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will start around 1 p.m. The entire event will end around 3 p.m.

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If you are going to the parade, the American Red Cross wants you to enjoy the festivities and stay safe!

What to wear:

Thursday will be cold and breezy, so make sure you bundle up with layers, hats, gloves, and scarves. Temperatures will climb into the low 30s, but the wind will make it feel like it’s in the 20s through the afternoon. There will be a lot of walking to and from the parade so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

What to bring:

Pack enough water, juice and snacks to sustain your group for much of the day. Do not leave bags unattended. Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.

How to get there:

All visitors are encouraged to take public transit when coming into Philadelphia. If, however, driving is necessary, the City encourages drivers to park in off-street lots and garages along the Parkway, Broad Street, or near the stadium complex. Be sure to have a full tank of gas. There will be significant travel delays on both roadways and public transportation immediately before, during, and after the Eagles Parade. Be patient!

Where to “go”:

The city has placed 850 port-o-potties along the parade route. It’s also a good idea to bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

How to keep in touch:

Do not depend on cell phones to keep in contact with family and friends. With the large number of people expected to attend the parade, cell phone service will be limited. Texting usually works better than calling. Set up a meeting spot in case anyone from your group is separated. Ensure children have contact information for their parents or guardians on their person. Children should find a police officer if they become lost or separated.

Stay informed:

To receive important Eagles info from the City, like parade, transit, and public safety details, sign up for free ReadyPhila alerts. Text “ReadyEagles” to 888-777. Also, download the Red Cross First Aid app for tips on how to treat minor injuries. Two medical tents will also be located along the Parkway.

What to do:

Have lots of fun and stay safe! E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!

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.

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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.

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‪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 http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies. For the latest weather alerts, including river flood warnings, download the Red Cross Emergency app today by visiting http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.

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.

MLK SEPA SAT

Philadelphia: Saturday, January 13, 2018

MLK Schuylkill

 Ashland, Schuylkill County: Saturday, January 13, 2018

MLK TRI5

 Reading, Berks County: Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK NEPA1

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

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 Norristown, Montgomery County: Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK NEPA3

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, www.redcross.org/volunteer.