One of the most important things we do at the Red Cross is serve those who serve our nation. We support America’s military by helping members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with and respond to challenges. We do so in three main ways. First, we provide help and critical services on bases and in military hospitals. Second, we aid military families during deployments and emergencies. Third, we serve our veterans long after their service ends.

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The Red Cross provides 24/7 support services around the world for our military every single day. So far this year, nationwide we have served 64,111 families. Just yesterday, we served 550 families. This includes emergency communications, financial assistance, deployment services (including coping assistance), information referrals to community resources and services for veterans (such as reconnection workshops and VA hospital programs). Our commitment never wavers.

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Written by Brady Schneider

 

Red Cross is here to provide disaster relief all day, every day, wherever someone needs us. It is a vital part of our mission. We respond to an emergency every 8 minutes. No one else does this; not the government or any other charity in the United States. That’s over 65,000 disasters every year. These emergencies range from small house fires to multi-state national disasters. No matter what, we are here to help.

91 cents of every dollar spent is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross provides relief efforts through a variety of services. Red Cross workers deploy within hours of disaster striking and 95% of these responders are actually volunteers from around the country. These volunteers include health, mental health and spiritual care professionals which are vital at disaster sites. They provide first aid treatment, monitor people’s wellbeing, ensure everyone has their prescription medications and give emotional support for coping. The Red Cross also helps support emergency responders on site.

Overnight shelters provide a safe and dry place of protection for those displaced. People may come preemptively amidst hurricanes or to emergency shelters opened responsively after earthquakes. At these shelters, we can provide distribution of much needed items. We give out emergency supplies to help people both in the moment and over the long term. Comfort kits contain basic personal supplies such as toothbrushes and emergency kits include tools like shovels and trash bags. Emergency Response Vehicles may be deployed which can provide feeding in communities that may need it. We also provide meals, snacks and water, and other essential resources that people often do not have access to during disasters.

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In addition to medical professionals, shelters and supplies, the Red Cross aids people and communities in recovery. We work with families to create a recovery plan which can include connecting people to needed community resources and organizations. We can also connect loved ones through our Safe and Well website. Whether for home fires, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, the Red Cross is always ready to respond.  Each disaster is different but we adapt our resources to the needs of the people we serve.

Written by Brady Schneider

The Red Cross trains people to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Whether for professionals to meet business compliance or just to be knowledgeable, we offer various classes to teach you important skills and make sure you are ready for any situation. Our classes are provided in multiple formats to be as convenient as possible. In person classes are held at local locations and provide hands-on training with experienced instructors. Blended learning classes combine the flexibility of online with hands-on training. Online classes are interactive and customizable courses that let you work at your own pace. To make certification easy and accessible, we give Red Cross Digital Certificates through your personal Red Cross Account upon completion of courses.

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First aid training and CPR training keep your loved ones safe or allow you to meet OSHA compliance. These classes prepare you for the unexpected so that you can provide care when it is needed most. Automated external defibrillator (AED) certification teaches you how to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, which can happen to anyone at any time. Babysitter and childcare training prepare you to be the best caretaker, which improves children’s safety and increases your value. Swim classes and water safety classes teach vitally important water safety for personal use and, further, lifeguarding training certifies you to be a lifeguard.

The Red Cross does not only provide training for personal uses but also for professional careers. Certified nurse assistant (CNA) training is an innovative program to enter the nursing field and play an important role in healthcare. The Red Cross has prepared individuals for nursing for over 100 years now. Basic life support for healthcare providers (BLS) training for healthcare and public safety professionals helps improve patient outcomes. It uses a scenario-based approach to further develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Through BLS courses, we also offer continuing education for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). EMT training ensures professionals are current with CPR, AED and other life support skills.

To find a class in your area visit: http://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania/eastern-pennsylvania/take-a-class

 

Written by Brady Schneider

Ready 365 Giving Circle Members

Every day, the American Red Cross assists people who face emergencies. We secure food and lodging for the family struck by a home fire. We provide cleanup supplies to the couple whose basement was flooded. We give the child who has lost everything the immediate psychological care she needs and a toy to call her own. Once basic needs are met, we begin guiding each family through the next steps to recovery.

The American Red Cross, Eastern Pennsylvania Region responds to over 1,200 disasters each year—a majority of these are home fires.  A home fire can strike anywhere, anytime. Fires often leave families without their homes and personal belongings and in many cases, cause serious injury and even death.

In October 2014, the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign which is a multi-year program aimed at reducing fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent.  Teams visit homes and install free smoke alarms while educating each family on fire safety.

We are able to do this with the help of our generous partners.  Businesses throughout the region who value the local impact and global reach of the Red Cross, join as Ready 365 Giving Circle members.  These companies have a commitment to our mission and are ready to help save lives- 365 days a year.

For over 100 years in Eastern Pennsylvania, we have prevented and relieved suffering, one day at a time serving thousands of people across our footprint and will continue to do so for the next 100 years.  From small towns to large cities, wherever people live, they have one thing in common—they know where to turn when disaster strikes.

Thank you to our Ready 365 partners:

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Last year, our Ready 365 partners helped us to:

  • Respond to 1,225 disasters in Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • House 1050 people at Red Cross House–The Center for Disaster Recovery
  • Provide direct assistance to 5,499 people affected by disaster.
  • Install over 6,400 smoke alarms.

Thank you for your continued support. The generosity of all our partners empowers us to provide comfort and care where it’s needed most—365 days a year.

For more information on becoming a Ready 365 Giving Circle member, contact Natalie Reznik at Natalie.reznik@redcross.org or call 215-405-8828.

Visit our webpage to see a list of all our sponsors.

The images of devastation left behind by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 are unforgettable. The scenes of flooding, damage, and loss were seen throughout the northeast, including in the Lehigh Valley. But while the human toll may be what comes to mind when thinking about a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy, there is also a big toll on businesses.

In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a disaster close their doors, never to reopen. Many of those are small businesses.

A big part of the reason is just how overwhelming a disaster’s impact can be. After Superstorm Sandy, an estimated 1.3 million customers in Pennsylvania lost power, among them, businesses in the Lehigh Valley. Floods and broken trees made roads impassable, preventing workers and materials from reaching those businesses. For business owners who did not have an emergency plan in place, the response was made up of guesswork, uncertainty, and confusion.

To help businesses keep their doors open after an emergency, the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter has the Ready Rating Program. The program is a powerful tool that helps a business owner assess the business’s readiness if a disaster were to hit today, whether it’s a storm, blizzard, flood, or anything else. Using the results of the assessment, the program can help the business owner come up with a detailed plan to keep the business running.

                “It’s all about creating an environment where you’re reacting with a plan, not just having to make up a plan on the fly,” said Peter Brown, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter.

The time is ideal to take part in the Ready Rating Program. Almost five years have passed since Superstorm Sandy, which was perhaps the last big natural disaster to hit the Lehigh Valley. That’s the longest stretch without a disaster in the last 20 to 30 years. While that’s good news for the Lehigh Valley, it also means business owners may have forgotten the importance of preparation.

“The key is that you’re not going to be caught off-guard. It creates an organizational awareness, working from a plan, that you know where you are and what you need to do, so you can focus on implementation and keeping your team moving forward,” Brown said. To learn more about the Red Cross Ready Rating Program please email peter.brown@redcross.org

You can also visit our Workplace and Organization page on redcross.org, by visiting here.

Written by Chris Peralta

It was the middle of the night when Carol Crawford, 59, felt someone shaking her as she slept. When she turned to look – no one was there.

She went back to sleep. Then, it happened again – but this time, the shaking was harder. Again, she turned to look – and no one was next to her.

Stirred, she decided to go check on her son, Reggie Crawford, 32. Reggie works late into the night stocking a freezer at Wawa. He usually returns home in the early morning hours.

When she opened his bedroom door, it was a terrifying sight: a fire was completely surrounding him in his bed.

Carol quickly woke her son and got him out of the home, telling him to leave everything behind.

As scary as the situation was, it was one Carol had prepared for. She was trained by the Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania on how to respond to emergencies. As a teacher, she had even taught students what to do if a fire broke out. For her, it was second nature.

“I froze sometimes,” Carol said, recalling moments when the adrenaline rush almost paralyzed her. “But I had to be strong for my son.”

The fire department quickly arrived and contained the blaze, which was limited to Reggie’s bedroom. Unfortunately, though, they had to check to see if there was fire elsewhere in the home – which resulted in damage.

The Red Cross was called to help. Within ten minutes, a volunteer arrived. “We were frightened. We were scared. They gave us courage, hope, peace,” Carol said.

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Since Carol had been trained by the Red Cross, she knew about the Red Cross House, and the services it made available to people affected by fires.  The Red Cross House quickly responded when she reached out.

For Carol and her son, it made a devastating life event a little easier to cope with.

“When I got here, it felt like home,” she said. “The People here are very generous. There are no words to describe.”

Now, Carol and Reggie are working to clean and restore their damaged home. Carol credits her disaster preparedness with saving her and her son’s life.

“Training. What to do in a disaster. Practice it. Even plan it.”

 

Interviewed and written by Chris Peralta

 

The house was quiet as Reggie Ector sat in his den, reading. Suddenly, he heard three pops.

Curious, he looked around, wondering what the sound was. It didn’t take long to find out: he saw fire coming out of an electrical socket in the room.

Seeing that the fire was small, he tried to put it out with water. His fiancé, who was in a bedroom at the time, soon joined the effort. Reggie would later call this a mistake.

“Trying to put the fire out put our lives in danger,” he said.

They tried to fill a bucket with water. The bucket was too large for a sink, so they could barely get any water inside. Eventually, they grabbed a fire extinguisher, but by then smoke was becoming too thick and they were becoming disoriented.

Ten minutes after the fire started, they escaped the house.

A neighbor saw all the smoke and called 911. Firefighters soon arrived and were able to put the fire out.

Reggie was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. His fiancé was treated for a burn on her ear, the result of exposure to the heat.

Reggie’s sister came to see him in the hospital. While she was there, she told him she had called the Red Cross to help him out.

“It was a sense of relief to know I’d have a place to rest my head,” he said.

It wasn’t Regggie’s first time interacting with the Red Cross. He had been a volunteer with Disaster Services. But even though he had comforted and helped fire victims before, he admits he had no idea what it was like.

“Never did it dawn on me what a fire victim goes through, until it happened to me.”DSC_0012

The house has significant damage to it. The fire was mostly contained to one room, but the smoke damage is extensive. While he plans his next steps, Reggie says the Red Cross House is helping him through one of life’s toughest experiences.

“The food, the shelter, having a place to lay your head that was safe and clean,” he said, “that made a difference.”

But it hasn’t just been about the place to stay. It’s also been about the people who are providing comfort through some of life’s difficulties.

“I’ve laid in bed, crying many nights, thankful to God for this place,” Reggie said. “This place is excellent. Never have I met a more compassionate group of people. There’s a special kind of people here.”

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Interviewed and written by Chris Peralta