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Dear Members,

February 2015

Child Abuse Recognition Reporting Continuing Education As of January 1, 2015, all Funeral Directors applying for an initial license must complete three (3) hours of Department of Public Welfare (DPW) approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting, and all Funeral Directors applying for a renewal license must complete two (2) hours of approved continuing education. PFDA will be offering two (2) credits at the Annual District Meetings being held September 14-17 and September 21-24 throughout the State. For the February 1, 2016 renewal, two (2) of the six (6) required CE's must be in Child Abuse. The State Board of Funeral Directors has approved 12 providers to give Funeral Directors continuing education on child abuse and the information can be found at

Protecting Your Funeral Home When Shipping Cremated Remains Funeral Homes should take the following measures to help protect them when shipped cremated remains go missing. The first step is to make sure the address on the outgoing package is correct, and one way to ensure this, is by having families fill out the address labels during the arrangement process. Step two is to get a tracking number for the shipped remains, so that you know where the package is at all times. The final step is to create a release form informing families of the risks of shipping cremated remains and that the funeral home has no control of the remains once they have left the funeral home, nor is the funeral home responsible if remains are lost in transit. Source: The Bulletin January-February 2015

Claim For Standard Government Headstones and Markers In February 2014 VA Form 40-1330 was updated to include necessary certification statements verifying that the deceased has not committed a capital offense or certain sex crimes. It is important that Funeral Directors make families aware of this change, because all prior versions of the form are obsolete and will delay the processing of potential benefits. The updated form can be found at www.va.gov .

Boost Your Preneed Call Volume Funeral Directors can make their preneed program irresistible to families with three easy steps:
Direct Mail Campaign – sending a one page survey with a gift and placing an ad about the survey in the obituaries of the local paper that same week will make people aware of the program and the survey.
Immediate Follow Up – once people start responding to the survey, call them right away to setup face-to-face meetings and thank them for completing the survey.
Don't Do All The Talking – when you contact those that have completed the survey, listen to them, as they will tell you everything you want to know. This will allow you to tell them you have prepared information for them and confirm a time to meet at their home. Source: ICCA Magazine January 2015

When Families Aren't Happy The internet and social media make it easy for families to share their unhappiness with a Funeral Home with an endless number of people. To help mitigate permanent damage to a Funeral Home's reputation, Funeral Directors must follow up and respond to all concerns and complaints. Some important steps to follow when responding to complaints are: respond quickly and demonstrate empathy and transparency; don't shuffle them around; and exceed their expectations. Following these approaches can help turn those unhappy people into your biggest fans.

Top 2014 Citations By OSHA Against Funeral Homes and Cremations In 2014 the top 5 citations that OSHA found in funeral homes and crematories were:
Formaldehyde – employees must be protected from exposure and this should be done through signage labeling, wording of warnings, and communication hazards. A standard of hazard communication is a Formaldehyde Protection Program that must include: engineering controls, monitoring of exposure limits, personal protective equipment (PPE), training, proper formaldehyde storage, and proper formaldehyde waste disposal.
Bloodborne Pathogens – A proper Bloodborne Pathogen plan includes: exposure determination, engineering and work practice controls, written exposure control plan, labels and signs, PPE, employee informat ion and training, vaccinations, post exposure evaluation and followup, and recordkeeping.
Hazard Communication – The Global Harmonization System (GHS) of classification and labeling of chemicals must be followed. Funeral Homes must have: safety data sheets for all chemicals, safe handling and storage procedures for each chemical, PPE, quick drench showers and eye wash stations, and a comprehensive training program.
Respiratory Protection – Funeral homes must have a respiratory program in writing. Respirators help protect employees from Formaldehyde and other chemical exposures. Physicians must determine that it is safe for an employee to use a respirator, and all employees must be trained to use a respirator.
Flammable Liquids – Liquids that fall under this category are formaldehyde, cleaning products, alcohols, aerosols, some hand gels, gasoline, and propane. Funeral Home safety programs should include the safe use and storage of liquids, control of ignition sources, a fire plan that identifies the equipment to prevent and detect fires, and fire extinguishers, which need to be located in all locations where fire hazards exist.

Ways Funeral Directors Should Embrace Technology in 2015 Those Funeral Directors that embrace technology will be able to better help families and meet their needs. The technology resolutions that you should consider are:
Website–all funeral homes should have websites that are mobile ready. Most consumers are searching online using a mobile device, and if your site is not mobile ready, consumers will pass over it.
Social Media–all funeral homes need to be on social media, available, and engaged on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Smart Marketing–Digital marketing is using the internet to provide strategies and educational content, understanding consumer behavior, reviewing demographics and location-based data, which is all part of smart marketing. These techniques allow Funeral Homes to track and analyze their marketing and its success.
Blogging–Memorial and burial ceremonies are being forgotten due to cremation and other less costly processes. By blogging, Funeral Directors can educate people on the importance of the funeral and/or memorial process.
Video–YouTube allows Funeral Homes to share everything they have to offer: their services, their facilities and their personalities.
Podcasts, Webcasts and other Technology–Funeral Homes can outpace the competitors by offering a webcast or podcast of memorial services for those that cannot travel to be at the service.
Source: American Funeral Director January 2015

SCAM ALERTS Please be aware that several PFDA member funeral homes, as well as the PFDA office have received notices from "American Yellow Group, Inc." and Yellow Pages in Bulgaria with an invoice for Facebook and Twitter Features. These invoices are scams and you should not respond to them.

FDLIC's New Executive Vice President of Sales and Chief Sales Officer Todd Carlson, who has been with FDLIC for over 8 years, has been promoted from Vice President of Sales to Executive Vice President of Sales and Chief Sales Officer. Prior to working at FDLIC, Todd accumulated over 15 years of preneed funeral sales experience.




PFDA's Mid-Winter Management Conference



Save thousands & Stay up-to-date by attending these presentations!

February 10-12, 2015

Nemacolin Woodland Resorts, Farmington PA

Call PFDA TODAY to Register 800-692-6068

ANNUAL CONVENTION & EXPO will be June 7-10, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey, Grantville, PA. Keynote speakers will be Jeff Chancellor, who will be speaking on two different topics, Embalming and Infection Control; Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, who will speak about what funeral home customers really want; Kevin Czachor, who will provide everyone with ways to use shortcuts on your smartphone to better help you serve your families; and Dr. Demond Bledsoe & Terri Bowling, who will speak about how different cultures deal with grief.

FALL ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS will be September 14-17 and September 21-24, 2015 throughout the state. During this meeting two (2) continuing education credits in Child Abuse will be offered. The locations and dates are as follows: Dubois, September 14; Erie, September 15; Pittsburgh, September 16; Altoona, September 17; Philadelphia, September 21; Allentown, September 22; Wilkes Barre, September 23; and Harrisburg, September 24.


Thanks to those who have contributed to the building fund. As you all know, we cannot do this alone and look to you our members, to help us. We appreciate your assistance in helping us achieve this goal in 2015 so that we can improve the overall working environment and brighten our surroundings.

NFDA's John Fitch Retires NFDA's senior vice president of Advocacy since 1997, John Fitch, retired on December 31, 2014. During his tenure, John established NFDA's Washington, D.C. office, allowing NFDA to have full-time presence in our Nation's Capital.

Personalizing Funerals and Memorials Services Over the years, personalized funeral products have evolved from color caskets to caskets with college mascots silkscreened into the cap panel of a casket. The visual personalized items everyone can see, but what about the other four human senses: hearing, smelling, tasting and touching? As Funeral Directors, the goal should be to touch on the other senses, and how can this be accomplished? When meeting with a family making arrangements for a loved one or an individual making their own plans, be sure to probe into the life of the person being remembered and learn everything you can about them and their hobbies. If they are a fan of sports or a specific team, incorporate that into the ceremony, or if they like music or a certain artist, play some of their music during the visitation. Adding these little touches to a visitation or formal service, allows funeral directors to touch on people's senses and make it more memorable for those remembering their loved ones.

Facebook Trends Funeral Homes Should Follow Social media is constantly changing, so you need to understand what strategies work and which ones don't. The top trends for 2015 are:
Videos over photos: Videos uploaded to Facebook are being given a higher priority in the News Feed. Shareable content is priority: Funeral homes need to be transparent and provide value on social media by telling stories and being real people, not a brand.
Funeral homes need to think like the media: Funeral homes need to provide continual content on social media, not just obituaries.
Business Pages post more links: Obituaries are posted every day and by posting them directly on Facebook they become a priority in the News Feed.
Facebook Ads are a must: Funeral homes that run ads are seeing a 300% increase in post reach and engagement.

PFDA Board of Governors Nomination Joseph Fluehr, III District 7, has been nominated to serve on the PFDA Board of Governors starting in June 2015, to replace Eugene Cratin.


Glennwood G. Snyder, 84, of Sandy Lake, died on December 27, 2014, at the Caring Place, Franklin. He is survived by his son Robert L., owner and operator of the Robert L. Snyder Funeral Home, Sheakleyville, where his surviving grandson, David, is also a licensed funeral director.

PFDA OFFICE CLOSING The association office will be closed on Monday, February 16, 2015 for the observance of President's Day. The office will reopen on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

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