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Red Cross downsizes; programs to continue

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 12:07 am | Updated: 11:54 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

The Fairbanks district office of the American Red Cross of Alaska has been downsized from three to two employees, in a statewide management restructuring by the national organization.

A full-time employee heading up the Preparedness, Health and Safety Department was laid off, effective Nov. 16, said Michell Daku, Fairbanks district director, calling the action by the national organization “a total surprise.”

Of the seven employees within the Red Cross health and safety departments around the state, five have been laid off — the longtime employee in Fairbanks, a half-time employee in Kodiak, and three full-time staff in Anchorage.

According to Laura Spano, a Red Cross development specialist in Anchorage, the layoffs are part of a centralization effort to minimize staff in the state.

The PHS departments, which oversee certified training such as CPR, first aid, babysitter training, etc., will be managed out of Seattle and Oregon, and all the programs will continue in Alaska without interruption.

Daku emphasized that the well-attended CPR and first aid training will continue.

“In the Fairbanks District, we probably train on average up to 60 people every month in the Tanana Valley,” she said, adding that many employers require that staff members become certified in both.

“These training classes are very crucial to our community, and are primarily what the Red Cross is known for,” she said. “We are not going to stop.”

Fairbanks district services will remain the same, said Daku. “None of our services have been affected. We will continue with training, disaster services and community outreach.”

Fairbanks District American Red Cross of Alaska is located at 725 26th Ave., in the Fairbanks Community Food Bank building. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Contact staff writer Mary Beth Smetzer at 459-7546.

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