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snow driving

As a major winter storm barrels through the region, road conditions are expected to deteriorate quickly. Slushy snow and ice could make for slick, dangerous roads. High snow rates along with gusty winds could lower driving visibility significantly.  Of course, the Red Cross recommends staying off the roads during hazardous winter weather. However, if travel is necessary, the American Red Cross recommends making safety a priority. Having an automobile preparedness kit in your vehicle at all times will not only come in handy but will also keep you safe in case you experience trouble on the roads.

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Cell Phone Car Charger
  • Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
  • Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf
  • Flares
  • Folding Shovel
  • Sand or Cat Litter
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Small battery-operated radio
  • Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
  • Extra prescription medications
  • Bottled Water
  • High protein snacks
  • Maps
  • Whistle
  • An automobile first-aid zip kit.This kit contains an assortment of bandages, gauze, antiseptic, insect relief pads, sunscreen and sanitizer. Cost is $10.00.
  • Personal Safety Emergency Pack. This kit contains emergency blanket, drinking water, emergency poncho, light stick, whistle, mini first-aid kit and mask. Cost is $11.00

Both kits are affordably priced and can be easily kept in a vehicle’s glove box.

If driving is unavoidable, safety should be your number one priority. Make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas and pay attention to the weather forecast for your travel route and destination. Buckle up, be alert and drive slowly with caution. In the event that your vehicle becomes disabled, keep the car running, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and leave the window open a crack until help arrives.

  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.

If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:

  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.

NWS Snow

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for parts of Eastern PA through Thursday morning as a major coastal storm is forecast to produce significant impacts: heavy/wet snow, gusty winds, power outages, ice and hazardous travel.

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

The Red Cross has steps people should follow to stay safe during severe winter weather:

  • Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
  • Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

WINTER TRAVEL SAFETY

Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you have to drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

  • Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.

PREVENT HOME FIRES

With the cold temperatures there is often a rise in the number of home fires. Follow these tips to help prevent a fire in your home:

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs – at least three feet away from sources of heat.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.

The city of Philadelphia is flying high after the Eagles Super Bowl win. To celebrate the World Champions, the city will host a five-mile-long parade expected to draw more than two million people.

The parade will start at 11:00 a.m. Thursday near Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. A celebration at Eakin’s Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will start around 1 p.m. The entire event will end around 3 p.m.

broadst

If you are going to the parade, the American Red Cross wants you to enjoy the festivities and stay safe!

What to wear:

Thursday will be cold and breezy, so make sure you bundle up with layers, hats, gloves, and scarves. Temperatures will climb into the low 30s, but the wind will make it feel like it’s in the 20s through the afternoon. There will be a lot of walking to and from the parade so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

What to bring:

Pack enough water, juice and snacks to sustain your group for much of the day. Do not leave bags unattended. Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.

How to get there:

All visitors are encouraged to take public transit when coming into Philadelphia. If, however, driving is necessary, the City encourages drivers to park in off-street lots and garages along the Parkway, Broad Street, or near the stadium complex. Be sure to have a full tank of gas. There will be significant travel delays on both roadways and public transportation immediately before, during, and after the Eagles Parade. Be patient!

Where to “go”:

The city has placed 850 port-o-potties along the parade route. It’s also a good idea to bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

How to keep in touch:

Do not depend on cell phones to keep in contact with family and friends. With the large number of people expected to attend the parade, cell phone service will be limited. Texting usually works better than calling. Set up a meeting spot in case anyone from your group is separated. Ensure children have contact information for their parents or guardians on their person. Children should find a police officer if they become lost or separated.

Stay informed:

To receive important Eagles info from the City, like parade, transit, and public safety details, sign up for free ReadyPhila alerts. Text “ReadyEagles” to 888-777. Also, download the Red Cross First Aid app for tips on how to treat minor injuries. Two medical tents will also be located along the Parkway.

What to do:

Have lots of fun and stay safe! E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!

Very cold temperatures and dangerously low wind chills continue to affect Eastern Pennsylvania.

“The relentless cold can be dangerous for a number of reasons,” said Dave Skutnik, Director of Communications for the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region. “Make sure you and your family are aware of the risks cold weather poses and understand how to safely stay warm.”

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.
  • Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes. Open cabinet doors to allow warmer air from the room to get to pipes near sinks, etc.
  • Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • If you use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If the power goes out, always run a generator outside, never inside the home including in the basement or garage. Generators produce deadly carbon monoxide and must be placed in well ventilated areas.

Written by : Monica Cryan

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According to AAA, this upcoming five-day weekend (Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26) is going to be the busiest Thanksgiving holiday for travel since 2005. The organization projects that more than 50 million people will journey 50 miles or more from their homes, a 1.6 million increase from last year.

Experts are calling for “record-level travel delays,” starting as early as Tuesday night.

“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.” Says Bob Pishue of INRIX, a global transportation analytics company

For those flying, cheaper airfare will be countered with hefty prices for car rentals. And gas prices are up nearly 37 cents from the first half of November 2016.

Tips to deal:

The best advice is to plan ahead, expect delays. Avoid distractions. Check the air pressure on your tires. And you should always have at least half your gas tank filled up with gasoline.

It’s also important to be well-rested when you hit the road. Don’t push yourself too hard, when it comes to travel times. With a little patience and resolve, you’ll get there in time.

And when you do get there…

It’s also important to remember some fire safety tips for the kitchen, as the turkey roasts in the oven. For starters, stay alert. Organize all cooking utensils in an orderly fashion, and be aware of what you’re doing. Keep an eye on the stove. If you have to — remind yourself that the oven is on. Tell yourself twice.

Also, pets and kids must be kept away from whatever it is you’re cooking.

Anything that could possibly catch fire, like grease, towels, paper bags, should all be safely removed from the closeness of a burning flame. It’s best to work in a clean and safe environment.

Check your smoke alarms. And check the sometimes bad cooking habits of your nieces, nephews, and neighbors.

Being alert and aware of your surroundings is the first rule of safety. Whether you’re on the road, at the airport, or sitting at the table with family, remember it’ll be the little things that keep you safe during this holiday.

For more safety tips on winter weather travel and public transportation and the flu, try this Red Cross travel tips article. Also available for download is the Red Cross Emergency App, which includes weather updates; and the First Aid App includes medical guidance and a hospital locator. Both apps can be found in app stores or at redcross.org/aps.

Additional sources:

AAA NewsRoom, “Nearly 51 Million Americans To Travel This Thanksgiving, Highest Volume In A Dozen Years”

USA Today, “Thanksgiving travel AAA: U.S. weekend to be busiest since 2005, report forecasts”

American Red Cross, “Red Cross Issues Safe Cooking Tips as Thanksgiving Approaches”

Written By: Bryan Myers

Volunteer Spotlight

By: Elizabeth McLaren

Agnes Han, a senior at Downingtown East High School, knows a thing or two about initiative. With aspirations to become a physician, Han wondered what she could do about the lack of high school clubs available to her that focused on health and wellness.

So she created her own, founding Downingtown East’s Red Cross Club during her junior year to explore her passions and “to get myself and others more involved in helping others medically.”Agnes Han 1

Her vision produced results. “We started with about five people, but over the course of year, it grew to around 25 people,” Han says. “Officers do most of the work. Our teacher advisor, Mrs. Resnek, helps us when we need it and lets us know when we can hold meetings. Other than that, the students pretty much run the show.”

Han currently serves as club president, and is part of a five-member team of officers including fellow students Jordan Guistwhite as vice president, Megan Osterstag as treasurer, Ian Goodstein as secretary and Kate Dippolito as head of fundraising.

The next order of club business for Han was volunteer training for Red Cross Blood Services with the Tri-County Chapter. She became a Blood Donor Ambassador. “A lot of it was fairly straightforward and things I could learn on the job. I met once or twice with Blood Services to review safety protocols and such,” she says.

Han started doing registration at blood drives after she completed training. “The first thing donors see is us – registration – and it’s my job to get them all signed in and ready to go with a smile on their face,” she adds.

Her first blood drive was also her most memorable. “It was the WMMR blood drive that Preston and Steve hosted. I remember feeling at ease and not at all awkward because all of the other volunteers were so friendly. The one volunteer who I got a chance to talk to a little bit, loved mascots and chased around the man in the Blood Drop costume, wanting to take a picture. She was hilarious,” Han recalls.

With college applications on her agenda these days, Han recognizes that both the Red Cross Club and her volunteer role have helped prepare her for the future. “The Red Cross has shown me the joy in helping others through medicine and I’m glad I joined because I was able to learn a lot about the process of giving blood and the mechanics behind the different types of blood,” she says.

The idea of the club continuing after she graduates is something Han loves. For now, Han said that she and the Red Cross Club members are busy setting up a fundraiser for hurricane relief. They are also hoping to host a blood drive in the spring.

Han has a bit of Red Cross volunteer inspiration of her own, too. She adds, “Get involved early and become an active volunteer! Help out with whatever you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions!”

A recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety

rco_blog_img_Turkey

 

You’ve been thinking about turkey for weeks. But did you know that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires and home fire injuries involving cooking equipment?

“People think that it can’t happen to them,” says Nina Johnson, Disaster Program Specialist at the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “But unfortunately it can.”

Here’s Nina’s recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety:

Ingredients:

  • Smoke alarms
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Close-fitting clothing

Directions:

  1. Test your smoke alarms: Smoke alarms generally fail because the batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Press the test button on each smoke alarm in your home. Functioning alarms should produce a loud siren. Smoke alarms that produce weak or nonexistent sirens need new batteries.
  2. Check your fire extinguisher: The National Fire Protection Agency recommends inspecting portable fire extinguishers monthly and getting professional maintenance once a year. Refer to the label or user manual of your extinguisher for the manufacturer’s maintenance suggestions.
  3. Clean your oven and cooktop: Dirty cooking surfaces can lead to a fire. Be sure to open windows and turn on the exhaust fan when using an oven’s self-cleaning feature. And don’t forget to remove any ash once the oven is cool. If you are cleaning your oven by hand, make sure to wipe down the oven and cooktop after using cleaning supplies.
  4. Wear close-fitting clothing: Keep your scarves, ties, and other loose-fitted clothing in the bedroom until you have finished cooking. Nina recommends wearing a close-fitted short-sleeve shirt in the kitchen.
  5. Stay in the house while the oven is on: It takes time to cook a juicy bird. Make sure that there is at least one adult in the house while the oven is on.
  6. Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop: Unattended cooking accounted for 48% of injuries in a study by the National Fire Protection Agency. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking on a range or cooktop.
  7. Keep children away from the oven: Make sure to keep kids away from the oven and hot cooking surfaces. Serve appetizers or snacks in another room to keep children out of the kitchen.
  8. Stay calm if a fire starts: Don’t try to throw a burning pan in the sink or run through the house to throw it outside. Cover the pan with a metal lid. If the fire continues, get everyone out of the house and call 911.

Find more cooking tips for Thanksgiving Chefs