Free “hands-on” CPR course

Pittsburgh EMS in conjunction with UPMC, is beginning a city-wide Citizen CPR training program in 2016. Residents and community leaders, like the members of the Polish Hill Association, who reside in Police Zone 2 are the first to learn this life-saving technique.

Called Bystander CPR or “hands only” CPR, it allows time for anyone to initiate resuscitation protocols and improve the ultimate outcomes of patients suffering from medical emergencies, specifically cardiac arrest. The goal in 2016 is to train at least 2,500 Pittsburgh residents in this and the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) protocols.

free 30 minute non-certificate course will be hosted by the Zone 2 Public Safety Council  at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 28beginning at 6:00 p.m at the Bedford Hope Center, 2305 Bedford Ave.

For more information, contact Liz Style: or 412- 255-8977 .


Liz Style, Coordinator: SaferTogether, collaborative strategies for community safety

City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Safety

City County Building
414 Grant Street, Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

412-432-8505 cell

412-255-8977 office

Allegheny County Offers Tips & Information in Advance of Extreme Cold Weather

severe cold weather

With extreme cold weather in the forecast in the coming days, the Allegheny Departments of Emergency Services, Human Services and Health offers the following tips and information on how to prepare for the extreme cold, deal with it once here, and what you can do afterward:

Preparing for Extreme Cold

·         Make certain that you have an emergency kit which includes enough food, water, medicine and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may also be affected. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during such outages. Consider sufficient heating fuel if you have a secondary source of heat, and also ensure that you have adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

·         Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your household knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk as more people turn to alternate heating sources. The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.

·         Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. At no time should a cooking stove or oven be used for heat.

·         If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you. Don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm? The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call for help from a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door and remain there until emergency personnel arrives.

·         If your pipes freeze, allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather. Running water, even at a trickle, will prevent freezing.  As a precaution, you should also know how to shut off water valves in the event that a pipe bursts.

·         Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Dealing with the Extreme Cold

Stay indoors as much as possible. If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellant. Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat as you can lose as much as 50 percent of your body’s heat through the head. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

If you are outdoors, watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, the dangerous and sometimes fatal lowering of body temperatures. Frostbite includes loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.

Marc Cherna, Director of the Department of Human Services, encourages all county residents to check on older neighbors to make sure they are safe during periods of severe weather and offers the following tips and guidelines:

·         Make sure seniors have a list of emergency telephone numbers that includes neighbors and family members who can help, if needed.

·         Check to see if the furnace is working if the home feels cold. Become alert to dangerous methods of heating a room, such as open flames or ovens.

·         Ensure that walkways and steps leading to their homes are cleared and that there is food and water in the house.

·         Go back later or the next day, if at all possible, to make sure everything is still alright. Remove your coat and stay at least 15 minutes to determine if the home is warm enough. This is also a great chance to share a cup of coffee (decaffeinated, of course), verify the pipes are not frozen, and check on pets.

·         Be particularly mindful of older neighbors during a power outage. Lack of electrical power not only presents dangers associated with lack of heat, but also risks associated with non-functioning vital medical equipment, such as oxygen systems, emergency lighting, stair glides and medication timers. If you cannot contact someone you believe is in the house, contact your local police or emergency services.

When weather circumstances dictate, the Area Agency on Aging and its contracted providers contact frail, isolated and high-risk consumers who are registered for care management. Care managers visit those at highest risk and ensure each home is well-heated and has enough food, water and medication to last for several days. Care managers also respond to emergency needs as they arise.

The Area Agency on Aging has already provided about 1,250 “Snowy Weather Boxes” to at-risk older adults who are registered with the agency and often live alone. The boxes include toilet paper, non-skid slipper socks, hand sanitizer, flashlight and batteries, peanut butter, crackers, tuna, fruit juice, bottled water, and other shelf-stable meals and drinks.

After Extreme Cold

If your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold, public shelters are typically opened and information on such openings will be provided online, and through the media.

Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the old (or where the cold was mostly likely to penetrate).

Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Services and other resources. Be alert to changing weather conditions.

For More Information

In an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately from any wired or wireless phone. An emergency is any situation which requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or medical professionals.  If you’re not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, call 9-1-1 and the call-taker will determine whether you need emergency help.

While extreme cold weather cannot be controlled, we can all be prepared by taking action in advance to protect ourselves and our families. Be informed. Make a plan. Build a kit. Get involved. Those are the four fundamental steps to being prepared if an emergency occurs.  For more information, visit

Cold weather health tips may be obtained by calling the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243) or visiting its website at

Information about programs and services for older adults is available calling the SeniorLine at 412-350-5460 (TDD/TTY 412-350-2727), sending an email to or by visiting the DHS Older Adults website at

Polish Hill Winter Team

I’m sure that, with the weather that we have been having over the last couple weeks, everybody is thinking of February 2010’s record snowfalls. The Polish Hill Winter Team, those stalwart volunteers, are already out on the sidewalks and staircases. Many thanks go out to team members Terry Doloughty, Josiah Parkinson and Patrick Singleton for their efforts today. Their efforts are very much appreciated by pedestrians in our neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of Myra Faliz

And so it snows

… and snows and snows and snows. Sort of like that Bunny with a drum, it just keeps snowing and snowing. February has broken snowfall records. We have now set the bar at over 40″, and we still have another day to go to finish out the month and it’s still snowing. But we have some heroes on our side during the 2010 Snowpocalypse, neighbors that have gone above and beyond.

Meet PHCA’s Winter Team, some of whom are out there on the streets of Polish Hill right now –

Leslie Clague
Terry Dolughty
Myra Faliz
Tom Hendricks
Jennifer Kirk
Karen Lillis
Josiah Parkinson
Josie Ramsey
Brian Seklecki
Patrick Singleton
Joe Tushak

Our Winter Team has been out daily since February 5, armed with shovels and sheer willpower. While other neighborhoods were immobilized with shock, these individuals put their back into it and made Polish Hill a safer neighborhood. Over the course of the last three weeks the Winter Team has been responsible for –

Clearing accumulation from the Monument on Brereton so that pedestrians could walk around the corner without needing to enter the street.
Cleared snow from blocking the cross walk across from Harmar St
Cleared sidewalks on Dobson from Brereton to Harmar
Pathways were cut through two separate snow piles blocking the staircase on upper Brereton.
Cleared the sidewalk on upper Brereton above the steps to the corner of Herron.
Cleared half the distance between Brereton and Phelan.
Cleared Phelan to Paulowna
Paulowna to 30th
30th to 28th St bridge
Bottom of Herron staircase to the EBA
Breezeway next to the PHCA
3100 Brereton
3102 Brereton
3062 Brereton
Pedestrian Tunnel (under Bigelow) steps / both sides
Bigelow Walkway steps
Herron to Dobson staircase
Cleared snow from the Doson/Herron staircase
Cleared snow on the Hancock staircase
Cleared the 28th St. bridge, down to Liberty Ave
Cleared the Herron Bridge to Liberty Ave.
Cleared the pedestrian walkway over Bigelow Blvd.

Our stars deserve a round of applause. If Staffski could, she would give them all medals. For instance —

Joe Tushak – Gold medal for the best kept sidewalk in Polish Hill
Patrick & Jennifer – Gold and world record holders for couples shoveling
Josiah Parkinson – Gold in the Men’s 100 city step iron man competition
Karen Lillis and Tom Hendricks – Gold for mixed-team relay staircase shoveling
Josie Ramsey – Gold in Womens’ cross country shoveling
Leslie Clague – Gold in consecutive sprints
Terry Dolughty – Gold for the twenty-block marathon competition
Myra Faliz – Gold in nocturnal shoveling
Brian Seklecki – Gold for most stylish shoveling

Unfortunately, the City sidewalk crew was unable to perform.

Foot traffic report for Saturday, February 20

The volunteer crews have been hard at work in Polish Hill, making the neighborhood safer for pedestrians. Last night, several neighbors got together and worked on access at the following trouble spots —

Phelan to Paulowna
Paulowna to 30th
30th to 28th st bridge
The monument area on Brereton
Bottom of Herron staircase to the EBA
Breezeway next to the PHCA office
3100 Brereton
3102 Brereton
3062 Brereton
Pedestrian tunnel under Bigelow at Herron
Bigelow Walkway steps
Herron to Dobson staircase

Just wanted to post this very short update. We will post a more detailed update later today. In the meantime, a heartfelt thanks to everyone that has lent a hand over the last two weeks.

Foot traffic report

Walkability in the neighborhood of Polish Hill is improving by leaps and bounds. Not because of melting snow but because of the work of several volunteers. These individuals have taken shovels into their own hands and tackled staircases, publicly-owned sidewalks and intersections.

Patrick Singleton and Jennifer Kirk have been putting hours in every evening to clear paths on the staircases. The above is a picture of the Harding staircase that they were clearing last night.

Josie Ramsey has been working to clear the sidewalk on Paulowna, between Herron and 30th St. Many children use this route on their way to and from the West Penn Recreation Center. With clearer streets comes additional danger to pedestrians. Cars are picking up speed, but there is still no place for the children to walk, forcing them out onto the street. Josie is doing what she can to safeguard our children.

Hats off to PHCA’s intrepid President, Terry Doloughty. With his snowblower, he has been able to increase the safety of pedestrians in the neighborhood. Among the many snow removal projects that he has undertaken, Mr. Doloughty is responsible for clearing the path on Brereton between 30th St. and the 28th St. bridge. He even cleared a fallen tree from the sidewalk and the bridge is now passable on foot.

[EDIT] To give credit where credit is due — Leslie Clague and Myra Falisz are responsible for clearing the snow from around the monuments. Mr. Dolughty mentioned that they both helped out clearing a path down to the 28th St. bridge.

I am sure that many others are out there doing the same. I also know that these individuals plan on tackling additional snow removal issues tonight. If you can, lend them a hand. Patrick and Jennifer will be working on clearing intersections for pedestrian safety. Terry is trying to come up with a solution for the bridges. If you want to help, just grab your shovel and start moving snow!

Many, many thanks to all of you. This is what makes Polish Hill such a wonderful community; it really is a community.

Brereton sidewalk steps closed


The Brereton sidewalk steps (in the 3100 block, nearing Herron Avenue) were closed for repairs last week after a resident was injured in a fall.  The steps have crumbled almost completely away in some spots, and much of the damage area seems to be at spots that were repaired previously.

If you see hazards like this, report them to the City’s 311 line (accessible via phone or on the Internet).  The City has been responsive to reports–especially if they come in from more than one person.

City plans to go after landlords for problem tenants

 Any resident of Polish Hill could point to rental properties that they would describe as “disruptive”, whether the complaint is noise or frequent comings and goings that raise the suspicion of drug activity.

In late 2007 the City Council passed  legislation that allows the city to bill owners of problem properties for the cost of public safety calls.  The city has been tracking the locations of crimes such as disorderly conduct, drunkenness and drug and gun violations.  Numerous incidences at particular locations would lead to a property being declared disruptive.  At that point, landlords might be asked to pay for the cost of dealing with public safety problems at their properties.

According to an article in Monday’s Post-Gazette, the city is about to start sending warning letters to landlords of problem properties.  It’s a small a step that might help make our neighborhoods  safer and more peaceful.


Free Safety Escort Program

The PDP offers a free Safety Escort Program designed for anyone looking for a little help or extra security walking from one location to another Downtown. Upon request, and with at least 30 minutes advance notice, a PDP Safety Ambassador will accompany an individual to a requested destination, such as a parked vehicle, an office or a bus stop.

Since January 2008, the Safety Ambassadors have assisted over 700 individuals, providing them with extra security walking to their Downtown destinations.

Hours as follows:

Monday thru Friday 9am to 11pm

Saturday and Sunday 11am to 9pm

Call 412-325-0156, 9am to 6pm or 412-589-0110 for assistance