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Monthly Archives: June 2014

 

9590186550_1f869dbf4a_oAfter what seemed like a winter that wouldn’t end, it’s finally SUMMERTIME!!!

That means kids are out of school, long weekends at the shore, and backyard parties are in your near future! BBQ picnics are a way to casually get together. But before you take out the burgers, buns, and condiments, remember these safe grilling tips to keep your home and family safe this summer season:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • Always supervise a BBQ and make sure everyone, including pets, stay away from the hot grill.
  • Keep the grill away from the house, deck railings, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. Hot grease or ashes could spill from the grill onto a wooden deck or into dry leaves or grass and catch fire.
  • Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Be sure to clean after EVERY use.
  • Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch falling ashes or grease.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
  • Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill and keep a set of oven mitts handy just in case.
  • Have a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby just in case a flare up gets out of hand and be sure to call the fire department if an emergency occurs.

 

Some special tips for using charcoal grills:9587392889_46c47cc132_o

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • If you do use starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away of heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

rco_blog_img_GrillAnd don’t forget these tips if you are using a propane grill:

  • Be sure to check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year:
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles If your grill has a gas leak that you detect by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn of the gas tank and grill.
  •  If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  •  If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. DO NOT MOVE THE GRILL.

All set! Now take those kids outside and away from their video games and computers and have yourself a nice family BBQ. Happy grilling from the American Red Cross!

 

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Dad and I circa 1983

There’s something special about a daughter’s relationship with her father. I speak from experience as I’m my father’s only daughter and I’ve also had the privilege of watching the relationships evolve between my husband and our two daughters.

My Dad meets his first Granddaughter for the first time. 9/9/09

My Dad meets his first granddaughter, 2009

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My Dad with his second granddaughter, 2014.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, as a mom and daughter… watching my dad with his granddaughters is also amazing.

Daddy knows all, can fix all and can explain all. This is an undeniable fact for daughters as lucky as me. My Dad was and is always there for me, especially in times of emergency. When I broke my big toe as a preschooler, Daddy was there to make it better and find a way to keep my plaster cast dry in the bath tub. When I fell and all but broke my nose at a neighbor’s house in kindergarten, Daddy arrived in the minivan to pick me up… complete with my brother blaring a vocal siren through the neighborhood. It was my Dad who taught me how to swim as a child, how to treat my chronic nosebleeds in middle school and later how to drive stick in a city full of hills. My Dad braided my hair, reattached Barbie’s limbs when they fell off, packed my lunches, participated in prom and wedding dress shopping, and wiped my tears… happy or sad. He patched me up when I needed it and even saved my life a few times with a swift back blow when I was choking.

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My high school graduation, 1996.

My Dad also taught me the importance of being prepared. As a family, we talked through emergency plans for escaping a fire in the house, how to deal with strangers and what to do if we became separated. My dad always has a flashlight handy and always made sure I had a quarter in my pocket for the payphone… just in case. It’s all part of the role Dad’s play in our lives.

They are our protectors, our planners, our role models, our rocks…. at least for me. As I think about all of the things my Dad has done and will do for me, I realize I’m looking to my husband to fill some big shoes as a Dad… and so far, he’s spilling over. I know he will look out for our girls just as my Dad has and will always for me. Already, he’s mastering the reattachment of Disney Princess limbs and the art of pig tails. He knows how to stop a tantrum and when one’s temperature needs to be checked. My girls’ Daddy has all the answers they need right now and I know they will look up to him as much as I look up to my Dad. I’m realizing, as Father’s Day approaches, that it’s never too late to make sure your Father, or the Father of your children is as prepared as they can be. I’m lucky to work with the American Red Cross where I’ve learned a lot about preparedness. I’ve been trained in first aid, CPR and know how to use an AED. I know what to do in the event of many emergencies… fire, weather or health related, but I’m not the only one who cares for my daughters. They deserve to have two parents prepared for anything. So, this year…. maybe my daughter’s gift to their Daddy is a gift that could save their lives, or mine. How about a CPR or First Aid class? Maybe a preparedness kit for the car or a fire extinguisher for the kitchen? Forget the ties this year and give your Dad, or the Father of your children a different kind of tool this Father’s Day.

My Husband with our daughters, 2012

My Husband with our daughters, 2012

 

Need more ideas? Here are 5 last minute Father’s Day gift ideas from the Red Cross.

 

 

We were so saddened to hear this morning of the death of Chester County Department of Emergency Services Director Colonel Ed Atkins. We send our deepest condolences to his family and the entire Chester County community.

The Red Cross and Colonel Atkins were great partners and worked closely to not only respond to disasters large and small in Chester County, but also to prevent disasters from happening in the first place. Atkins’ leadership during the recent flooding and the February ice storm was instrumental to keeping citizens safe and informed.

Col. Ed Atkins. keynote speaker at the Red Cross Chester County Heroes breakfast in April, 2014, recognizes military members at the back of the room (not shown). credit: Alex Greenblatt

It wasn’t that long ago that Colonel Atkins was delivering the keynote address at our Chester County Heroes Breakfast. His deep concern for the county and his deep appreciation for the Red Cross was powerful and clear.

Col. Ed Atkins delivering the keynote address during the American Red Cross Chester County Heroes Breakfast, April, 2014. credit: Alex Greenblatt

Col. Ed Atkins delivering the keynote address during the American Red Cross Chester County Heroes Breakfast, April, 2014. credit: Alex Greenblatt

 

Our CEO, Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes called Ed Atkins a “great man and a great friend to the American Red Cross,” adding, “Every single day he committed himself to making Chester County a better place to live and ensuring the citizens of Chester County were safe. We will miss him dearly.”

 

That was a sentiment echoed by everyone around the office today and in the field. One person who worked very closely with Ed and his team is our volunteer Chester County disaster action team captain, Denise Graf. She is the one making sure the needs of the county and the requests of the emergency services team are met during disasters.

Denise sums up our feelings really well. “As a volunteer disaster responder for the American Red Cross in Chester County, I’ve worked with Ed Atkins on many occasions,” Graf said. “He has always shown me and all Red Cross volunteers the highest respect and appreciation. This truly is a sad day.”