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Clairton joins Live Well Allegheny campaign

| Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, 2:51 a.m.

Health and safety issues are getting center stage this month in Clairton.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny County Health Department director Dr. Karen Hacker joined other officials as well as Clairton residents and Clairton City School District students on Saturday to celebrate the City of Prayer's addition to the county's Live Well Allegheny campaign.

“The school district's focus on healthy living initiatives, along with the city's efforts to promote trails and encourage the adoption of healthy food initiatives all tie in directly with what we are trying to accomplish through this campaign, and we are proud to add both as active participants in Live Well Allegheny,” Fitzgerald said.

“I look forward to seeing even more of the communities in my district participate in this initiative,” said Allegheny County Councilman John Palmiere, a Baldwin Township Democrat whose District 6 includes Clairton. “There are many benefits that will come of it for District 6 residents, and the county as a whole.”

The American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region, Clairton Volunteer Fire Department, Clairton Lions Club members and employees of Bank of America are preparing to send volunteers to conduct door-to-door canvassing in the city from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

“This effort will go a long way to ensuring that residents who participate will have a chance to escape a possibly deadly fire,” said past Clairton fire Chief John Lattanzi, who continues to serve on city council.

Kevin D. Brown, Red Cross regional communications director, said the teams of volunteers will distribute fire safety information and instructions on how to obtain a free smoke alarm.

“The canvassing is part of the national Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to help reduce deaths, injuries and damages due to residential fires,” said Victor Roosen, Red Cross regional disaster officer in Pittsburgh. “We hope that, by educating the public about fire safety and making free smoke alarms available, we will be able to have an impact on deaths and injuries caused by home fires.”

The Home Fire Campaign has put special emphasis on the Mon-Yough area since the fire one year ago Sunday that destroyed a house in McKeesport's Tenth Ward and claimed six lives.

Brown said plans are being developed for another door-to-door campaign later this fall in McKeesport.

The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home.

It said people should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.

Live Well Allegheny provides a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that is embracing a growing number of communities across the county.

In Clairton, the Live Well introduction was part of Saturday's 10th annual CommUNITY Day at the Clairton Education Center.

“We're very excited to see the partnership and merging of priorities between Clairton's school district and its municipality,” Hacker said. “Whether it's continuing partnerships with Breathe Pittsburgh or Grow Pittsburgh, adopting policies for ‘Young Lungs at Play,' promoting wellness activities, or participating in walks and runs, both youth and adults will find something they enjoy doing. I hope that Clairton residents take full advantage of these local resources and embrace a new healthier living for themselves and their community.”

County officials took note of several healthy living initiatives in Clairton, such as the school district's hosting of an asthma camp and participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Adagio Power Up! and Safe Routes to Schools Program. District officials said a Live Well Allegheny Field Day is planned along with a “drink more water” initiative.

The city's activities were noted as well, including its voluntary wellness campaign, annual 5K Run/Walk, bike and walking trails, healthy food options at community events and distribution of information on activities in the broader community.

City officials said they plan to continue working with nearby Jefferson Hospital and its wellness programming.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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