WEB CHAT: 'Operation 7: Save a Life'

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Questions about fire safety and emergency preparedness were answered by a panel of experts. Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter, who has hosted the "Operation 7: Save a Life" campaign since its inception at WABC-TV in 1999, and experts on fire safety and burn injuries took part in a web chat on Jan. 21.








Participating in our chat were Dr. Roger W. Yurt, the director at New York-Presbyterian's William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, Heather Caldwell, marketing and communications manager for Kidde Fire Safety and Lt. Anthony Mancuso, Director of Fire Safety Education for the FDNY. Yurt has also been a long-time contributor to our special "Operation 7: Save a Life," which airs on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.


Roger W. Yurt, M.D., director at New York-Presbyterian's William Randolph Hearst Burn Center: Dr. Yurt is the Johnson and Johnson Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Weill Cornell Medical College and serves as the Chief of the Division of Burns, Critical Care and Trauma at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is the Director of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at the same institution.

Dr. Yurt received his M.D. degree at the University of Miami School of Medicine and performed his initial residency training at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Medicine at the Robert B. Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School and was Chief Resident in Surgery at the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center. He subsequently served on active duty in the Army at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research for three years.

He has authored over 100 original manuscripts and book chapters dealing with trauma, burns and acute inflammatory response to injury. In addition, he is an ad-hoc reviewer for six professional journals.

In 2003, the American Skin Association presented Dr. Yurt and the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center with the Meritorious Humanitarian Recognition Award. During that same year, the Royal Society of Medicine presented Dr. Yurt with the Richard T. Hewitt Award, recognizing him as an influential contributor to quality assurance in surgery, medical education, public health, and research in the burn and trauma areas.

Dr. Yurt received the Outstanding Physician of the Year Award in 2006 at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. In 2009, he received the Jim Curran Memorial Award given by the Stephen Siller, FDNY "Let Us Do Good" Children's Foundation and was also the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award given by the Weill Cornell Medical College.

He is a member of the Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee of NYC and a past member of the NY State Trauma Advisory Committee. Previously, he served as the Chairman of both the Regional Trauma and the Regional Burn Advisory Committees.

He was the Director of the Trauma Center at the New York Hospital from 1983-1998 and the Medical Director of Aeromed, an air ambulance service at the New York Hospital from 1987-1992. Dr. Yurt was the second vice president and member of the Board of Trustees of the American Burn Association from 2004-2006, Governor of the American College of Surgeons from 1990-1996, and President of the Surgical Infection Society in 1991.

He served as a Delegate on the Council of Academic Societies of the American Association of Medical Colleges from 1985-1987. He is the Co-Principle Investigator for a grant from the Federal Health Resources & Services Administration for Disaster Planning for Burn Injury in New York City. His studies on the cost of care for victims of traumatic injury led to changes in the DRG reimbursement system first in New York State and ultimately in the entire country.

Dr. Yurt is a past president of the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center Alumni Council. The Burn Team and Dr. Yurt were featured as Heroes of Medicine in the fall issue of Time magazine in 1997. He has been repeatedly recognized by Castle Connelly as one of the "Best Doctors in America" and has been included in New York Magazine's Best Doctors issue from 1998 to the present.

He was recognized in the inaugural listing to the present as one of the "SuperDoctors" in New York, an honor accorded only 5% of New York physicians. In 2014 Dr. Yurt was awarded The Maurice Greenberg Distinguished Service Award. The highest recognition that can be given by The Medical Center.

Heather Caldwell, Marketing and Communications Manager for Kidde Fire Safety: Heather Caldwell is the marketing and communications manager for Kidde Fire Safety, and oversees all external outreach campaigns and initiatives, including national and local advertising, media relations, social media, marketing, product donations, and community affairs and advocacy efforts.

Caldwell has worked at Kidde for more than 11 years. Previously, she was the public relations director for a digital video production company and spent five years as a television news producer. Caldwell graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism.

Lt. Anthony Mancuso, Director of Fire Safety Education for the FDNY: Lt. Anthony Mancuso has been the Director of Fire Safety Education for the FDNY since 2005. He has been with the FDNY for 30 years and was first assigned to Engine 26 and Ladder 3 in Manhattan for thirteen years and promoted to Lieutenant in 1996 and assigned to Engine 239 in Brooklyn.

As the director and fire safety educator, he teaches adults, seniors and children how to be fire safe by knowing how to escape from a fire. He also educates the public about smoke alarms and CO detectors, and where they should be placed in their home or apartment.