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Written by Sam Antenucci

My father is a universal donor, meaning he can donate his blood to anyone who needs it. He donated as frequently as he could, often donating plasma as well. He did this for years, up until he was diagnosed with cancer.

Knowing that blood can help burn-victims, transplant patients, those battling cancer etc., made me want to step up and take my father’s place on the donation table. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, making donations not just important but the difference between life and death.

Blood Drive at the Rayburn House Building Capitol Hill 2017

My first donation was in September of 2014 and I had some concerns going into my first blood drive. Like many other first-time donors, I didn’t like needles. I walked into a room bustling with nurses, donors and soft rock playing in the background. I was greeted by the warm faces of volunteers at the registration table and led to the back for a mini-physical where I answered a few general health questions and had my vitals taken. Once the physical was finished, I was on track to donate.

I laid down on the table as the nurse and I chatted away about being a first-time donor. She explained everything and tried to ease my fear of needles, reminding me that each donation goes to those in need. Before I knew it, the needle was in with a slight pinch and I was only ten minutes away from filling my first pint of blood! Between the music and the friendly staff, time zipped by and I was able to hop off the table and enjoy the refreshments waiting for donors afterwards. From there, my blood was sent to the blood donation center in Philadelphia for processing and testing.

Four years later, I’m still donating to this day, especially since blood supplies have been noticeably low during the summer months. To make matters worse, the number of Red Cross donors decreased each year, leaving many hospital’s supplies low, shelves empty and patients in dire need of transfusions. Now is better than ever to make the decision to save lives by donating blood.

3 livesBy taking 15 minutes out of your day to donate blood, you can save three lives and give patients a chance to keep fighting. You don’t need a special reason to give blood, just one that motivates you. Some donate because of friends, some do it because they believe it is the right thing to do, and there are some who do it for the free cookies. Regardless of the reason to give blood, I would like to offer advice for new-donor jitters – take pride in the good you are doing, relax with music or chat with the staff, and be prepared before you donate by eating a good meal with plenty of water. It is a rewarding experience that changes the lives of those in need.

 

To find more information on where you can donate, you can go to https://rdcrss.org/2ORL31P to find a blood drive near you.

As the year nears the peak of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the American Red Cross and its partners are ready. We are gearing up for the height of the dangerous season, while hoping it will not be as active as last year.

Hurricane Maria 2017

Barceloneta, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Red Cross volunteers distribute water, food and other basic necessities to families affected by Hurricane Maria. Photo by Sergio Rojas for The American Red Cross

2017 was marked by historic hurricanes, wildfires and other crises, the American Red Cross was there for a record number of people whose lives were upended by major events.  Last fall was unprecedented in terms of the scope and scale of our mission delivery.  We provided food, water, reconnected families, and mobilized thousands of relief supplies, including comfort kits, blankets and cleanup kits to help rebuild lives.  Everything we do depends on the needs of the people that we serve and we could not be there without the generous support of our partners.  Thank you for bringing hope to those in need.

  • Toll Brothers
  • SKF USA
  • Duane Morris
  • PJM Interconnection
  • Vanguard
  • Tanner Industries
  • Ametek Foundation
  • Bentley Systems
  • Dietz & Watson

What are rip currents? They are powerful currents of water flowing away from shore. Rip currents usually extend from the shoreline past the line of breaking waves, and can occur at any beach with breaking waves, even on large lakes.

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

1. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.

2. If you plan to swim in the ocean, learn how to swim in the surf. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area.

3. If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic.

4. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance.

5. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.

6. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.

7. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

8. Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

9. If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape. It’s important to know that people can drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

10.View this Red Cross video and graphic for more rip current safety information.

rip-current-sign

Graphic CTSY NOAA NWS

MORE BEACH SAFETY TIPS

 

  • Visit here for important Red Cross water safety information.
  • Designate a “Water Watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach until the next Water Watcher takes over. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • All non-swimmers need to be monitored with arms-reach supervision by an adult who can swim.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

 

During March is Red Cross Month, the Lundy Law Foundation supported the Red Cross mission in a very special way. The Lundy Law Foundation generously provided the means for SEPTA bus banners displaying the “Pass the Pin” campaign. The campaign encourages volunteers to engage family and friends in the Red Cross. The bus banners could be seen throughout Philadelphia.

bus

Everyday, the Red Cross assists people who face emergencies. We secure food and lodging for a family struck by a home fire, we help a deployed soldier get home for the birth of his son and we provide blood to a child battling cancer, 365 days a year. The Red Cross stays ready to assist with help from our Ready 365 Partners. As a Ready 365 Giving member, the Lundy Law Foundation is among a select group of businesses who:

  • Value local impact and global reach of the Red Cross;
  • Want to deepen their commitment to our mission;
  • Are ready to help save lives every day of the year.

 

Shelters remain open for those still without power; new storm expected to move in

Monday, March 5

The impacts of last week’s Nor’easter continue to be felt across Eastern Pennsylvania, as another major winter storm is expected to arrive for midweek. Tens of thousands remain without power since Friday. The American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region is in the midst of its largest response since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The Red Cross has staffed or supported more than a dozen shelters in Eastern PA since Friday evening.

Several Red Cross shelters still remain open, providing warm meals, a safe place to sleep and emotional support for those with immediate, disaster-caused needs. Hot showers and charging stations are also available. Current Red Cross shelters are located at:

Monroe County: Stroudsburg High School, 1100 W. Main St., Stroudsburg, PA 

Montgomery County: Pottstown YMCA, 724 N. Adams. St. Pottstown, PA

Pike County: Dingman Township V.F.D., 680 Log Tavern Rd., Milford, PA

 Anyone coming to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
  • Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself
  • Food, crate, and other supplies to care for your pet

 In addition, the Red Cross is also supporting several partner-run shelters and daytime warming centers throughout the Poconos. For warming center locations near you, contact your municipality or county emergency management agency.

 Power outages are expected to last for at least a few more days in some places. And with the next winter storm moving in, the Red Cross has some important safety tips to keep you and your family safe. The Red Cross encourages everyone to have at least a two-week supply of emergency supplies at home. A complete list can be found here:  http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit

DRIVING IN WINTER
While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you have to drive in snow, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:

  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.

If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:

  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.

POWER OUTAGE

  • Use flash lights in the dark, not candles. Candles can start fires.
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how touse generators safely. Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. It must be kept outside in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

SPACE HEATERS

  • If using a space heater powered by a generator, place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before leaving home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS

People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for the upcoming winter storm. The Emergency app can also be used to locate an official Red Cross shelter near you. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case you encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms or countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Sunday, March 4

The impacts of Friday’s Nor’easter continue to be felt across Eastern Pennsylvania. More than 100,000 are still without power. In response, the American Red Cross has opened several shelters across the region.

Monroe County: Shelter open at Stroudsburg High School, 1100 W. Main St., Stroudsburg, PA

 Montgomery County: Pottstown YMCA, 724 N. Adams. St. Pottstown, PA

 Pike County:    Shelter open at Dingman Township V.F.D., 680 Log Tavern Rd., Milford, PA

Shelter open at Central Volunteer Fire Department, 574 Westcolang Rd., Hawley, PA

 In addition, the Red Cross is also supporting several partner-run shelters and warming centers, including several in Northampton County. Many other communities have also announced the opening of warming centers and charging stations for those without power. For warming center locations near you, contact your municipality or county emergency management agency.

 Power outages are expected to last for a couple of more days in some places. The Red Cross has these important safety tips to keep you and your family safe in the aftermath of the Nor’easter.

POWER OUTAGE

  • Use flash lights in the dark, not candles. Candles can start fires.
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely. Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. It must be kept outside in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

SPACE HEATERS

  • If using a space heater powered by a generator, place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before leaving home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

 

Snow plows doing their job

SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2018 12PM The impacts of Friday’s Nor’easter continue to be felt across Eastern Pennsylvania. Hundreds of thousands are without power, and highways in the Poconos remain clogged with travelers left stranded by the storm.

In response, the American Red Cross opened several shelters across the region Friday night. Many other communities have opened warming centers and charging stations for those without power. For warming center locations near you, contact your county emergency management agency.

The Red Cross expects to open, or support through partner agencies, several more shelters tonight. Information and locations on these shelters will be released as soon as it is available.

Power outages are expected to last for several days in some places. In addition, county and state officials are working to clear roads as quickly as possible. The Red Cross has these important safety tips to keep you and your family safe in the aftermath of the Nor’easter.

POCONO TRAVEL

  • If you are stranded, stay in your vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible. You can become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Run the engine occasionallyto keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.

WINTER STORM SAFETY

  • Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots if out in the snow.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy, wet snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

POWER OUTAGE

  • Use flash lights in the dark, not candles.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how touse generators safely. Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. It must be kept outside in a well ventilated area.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

SPACE HEATERS

  • If using a space heater, place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before leaving home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

 

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS

People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case you encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.