March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross, Northeastern New York Region has a number of activities planned to highlight the many important services the Red Cross provides to communities throughout the Region. Among these activities will be classes that will provide important preparedness training to area schoolchildren.
"March is an exciting time of year for the Red Cross, and we are highlighting a number of activities as part of March is Red Cross Month to demonstrate the different ways we help people in our community", said Gary Striar, CEO, American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region. "This year's theme is "Everyday Heroes", so we are encouraging people to act as everyday heroes and become part of the Red Cross in March by making a donation or giving blood, developing a preparedness plan for their household or taking a Red Cross class, or by becoming a Red Cross volunteer."
Since March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The designation recognizes the Red Cross for responding to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It also provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families - in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply and trains more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
The first March is Red Cross Month activities actually began last week, as the Red Cross Preparedness Team provided hands-only Citizen CPR and Be Red Cross Ready preparedness training to 750 students and faculty at Highland High School in Highland (Ulster County). Citizen CPR is a shortened version of the full CPR-AED training that the Red Cross offers, where students learn the proper steps for performing hands-only CPR and the correct usage of an AED. Each year, more than 300,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States. Additional Citizen CPR classes and other preparedness training will take place at schools and universities in the Capital Region, Saratoga/Glens Falls Region, and North Country throughout March.
In March, the Red Cross Preparedness Team will also debut an exciting new preparedness class aimed at 3rd-5th graders that was developed in cooperation with the Disney Corporation. More information on the Pillowcase Project training will be made available as the date of the first class gets closer, and this Project will be a valuable addition to the portfolio of training that the Red Cross Preparedness Team offers.
March is also the time for the Fire + Ice Gala, the signature fundraising event to benefit the Adirondack-Saratoga and Northeastern New York chapters of the American Red Cross. The 2014 Fire + Ice Gala will be held on Saturday, March 22 at the City Center in Saratoga Springs starting at 7:00 p.m. This year's Gala will feature live music from the New York Players, gourmet cuisine, open bar, and live and silent auctions that all support the life-saving mission of the Red Cross.
The Red Cross will also debut new programs to help returning active-duty Armed Forces service members and their families as they adjust to life after serving overseas. These programs, part of the Service to Armed Forces (SAF) line of service, will address the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges service members and their families face when returning from active duty.
The Red Cross will also be promoting "Everyday Heroes" volunteer opportunities in specific locations within its Disaster Action Teams (DAT) and as Preparedness Health and Safety instructors. DAT members are on the front lines of Red Cross responses, both in large disasters and with house fires that represent the majority of responses, and are critically important to ensuring that the Red Cross can effectively help people in need.
And as always, the Red Cross will be promoting blood donation in March. Winter storms had already canceled more than 1,000 blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. before the late February storms. Platelet donors as well as blood donors of all blood types are needed now and will be needed in the coming weeks to help ensure blood and platelets are available for patients. There is an urgent need for blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to become "Everyday Heroes" and make an appointment online at www.redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
FOR MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Any members of the media wishing to cover CPR and/or preparedness training or other Red Cross activities throughout March should contact Thomas Lindberg at 518-694-5119 (office) or 518-859-8138 (cell) or Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange coverage.