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American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Region to Merge with Neighboring Area in New Year

The new region will include all 25 Western Pennsylvania counties.

The American Red Cross is rearranging its chapters in 2012. 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Region will merge with the Northwestern Pennsylvania Region to form the new American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region on Jan. 1.

According to Red Cross officials, the move is designed to increase local services and disaster response capacity while making more efficient use of donated dollars.

The new region will include 11 chapters comprising 25 of the Western Pennsylvania counties ranging from the New York border to the West Virginia state line. Red Cross offices throughout the area will work more closely to share resources, expertise, volunteers and staff, the Red Cross said.

“This is a very positive move that will strengthen our organization,” said Patricia Waldinger, CEO of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Region and the upcoming Western Pennsylvania Region. “By merging with our neighbors to the north, residents across Western Pennsylvania will benefit from greater resources, which will make the Red Cross an even more valuable asset to everyone in this area.”

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Region comprises five chapters in a 13-county area, including the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter (Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties), the West-Central Pennsylvania Chapter (Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties) and the Westmoreland-Armstrong Chapter (Westmoreland and Armstrong counties).

The Northwestern Pennsylvania Region comprises six chapters in a 12-county area, incluiding the Allegheny Chapter (Clarion, Crawford, Forest and Venango counties) and the Greater Erie Chapter.

“We are all one Red Cross,” Waldinger said. “By combining resources, we are even better prepared to provide our important services to those in need. The benefits we can provide by working together are far greater than any chapter alone could bring.”

The merger comes as part of a national American Red Cross reorganization designed to reduce overhead costs and streamline operations while increasing programming and disaster response capacity through the sharing of resources, the Red Cross said.

The reorganization will not interrupt or reduce the level of Red Cross services.

The Red Cross recently redesigned its preparedness, health and safety programs –including First Aid and CPR classes – in an effort to increase the number of people who are trained in lifesaving skills, the organization said.

The Red Cross coordinates these programs on a national level and focuses exclusively on increasing training opportunities. The lifesaving courses now include technologically-advanced features such as standardized online course search and registration, digital course materials and free online refreshers.

The Red Cross also has increased its training certification from one to two years.

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