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Blue Ribbon Foundation Grant Funds Fire Safety Program

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
March 7, 2012
Pictured at the grant presentation at West Scranton Intermediate School, first row L-R, are students Stephanie Cooney, Julianna Beidler, Aaron Mancus and Michael Laabs who participated in The Great Escape program. Second row, L-R, are Rich Arcuri, health and physical education teacher at West Scranton Intermediate School; Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation; Jessica Banks, prevention education director, Burn Prevention Foundation; and Kelly Coyne, vice principal, West Scranton Intermediate School.

Nearly 500 students in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties benefit from in-school workshops

March 7, 2012, Wilkes-Barre, PA — It’s a startling statistic – according to the U.S. Fire Administration, the fire death rate in Pennsylvania is 44 percent higher than the national average.  And in northeastern Pennsylvania, a recent regional community assessment showed that only 19 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

Thanks to a recent grant of $5,500 from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Burn Prevention Foundation is partnering with the Scranton Fire Department and Scranton School District to offer "The Great Escape," a popular and effective school-based program that teaches students how to plan and practice a home exit in case of fire.

Age-appropriate lesson plans target 5th through 8th graders and provide audio and visual examples of how to create an escape plan.  To help ensure that the entire household is involved, web-based and take-home materials are also shared with the students' families.

"Giving children and their families the information and confidence they need to stay safe in the event of a home fire is so important,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation.  "We are very pleased to be able to support the Burn Prevention Foundation and deliver this program to students in Scranton."

With this grant, the Burn Prevention Foundation will ultimately reach more than 43,000 youngsters across 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania this school year.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations we serve.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.