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Safety Tips

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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

A recipe for Thanksgiving cooking safety

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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

Submitted in part by Carnelita Slaughter, Red Cross Volunteer

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Whether you are playing chaperone or getting together with friends, like me, you have probably been planning our Halloween festivities for weeks. Now it’s crunch time! Your frightful crew is gathering and your decorations are sending chills up the neighbors’ spines (you’ve done well). But you may be forgetting something…….. the greatest hazards of Halloween aren’t the spirits trying to communicate through your Ouija board or the creatures you’ll encounter throughout the night. No! There are other dangers that come with wandering around in the dark in busy neighborhood with uneven street lighting and small children. Good thing you have the Red Cross to guide you. We can’t promise you won’t suffer a tummy ache or sore feet but stick with us and you’ll celebrate many Spooktacular evenings to come!

 

  1. Look for flame resistant costumes.

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2. Try to stick with make-up instead of masks to make sure trick-or-treaters can see clearly as they walk the neighborhood.

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3. Plan your Trick-or-Treat route in advance.
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A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.

4. Make it easy to be seen in the dark.
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Make sure trick-or-treaters have flashlights. Put reflective tape on dark colored costumes, or try to stick with light colored costumes.

5. Only visit homes that have the porch light on.

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Accept treats at the door but never go inside.

 

6. Only walk on sidewalks.
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If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. And don’t cross between parked cars

7. Be cautious around pets and other animals.
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8. Use glow sticks or LEDs inside jack-o-lanterns instead of candles.

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For more tips and information click here, and be sure to download our Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps.

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-submitted by Sarah Peterson, communications volunteer

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was responsible for setting up the first fire company in Philadelphia? On a visit to see his family Boston, he observed that Bostonians were much better equipped to fight fires and save lives than the people of Philadelphia. According to the website, ushistory.org, after consulting with civic leaders in Philadelphia, he gathered 30 young men together to form the Union Fire Company on December 7, 1736. These men had special equipment provided by the community, and they began meeting regularly to practice their techniques and discuss successful firefighting procedures.

In order to raise public awareness, Franklin began writing about fire safety in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. In one article, written in 1735, he cautions his fellow citizens against moving hot coals from room to room on an open shovel, in case one ember is lost under the stairs and results in a middle-of-the-night,“when your Stairs being in Flames, you may be forced, (as I once was) to leap out of your Windows, and hazard your Necks to avoid being oven-roasted.”

rco_blog_img_BenFranklinFire safety awareness has improved since the 1700s. No doubt Franklin would have been thrilled by the efficacy of smoke detectors, but we still struggle to make sure fire safety measures are protecting everyone.  On October 3rd, 2014, the White House released a proclamation by President Obama to mark Fire Prevention Week and to remind all Americans of the danger of fire. He urged all of us to practice evacuations plans from our homes, schools and places of business. He urged Americans who live near woodlands to practice caution and clear flammable vegetation from around buildings. He reminded all of us that, “During Fire Prevention Week, we recognize our duty to be vigilant and take action to avert fires, and we remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives so others might live.”

That’s why the Pennsylvania State House also took some time this week to recognize National Fire Prevention Week. According to State Senator Rob Teplitz, the week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and was first designated in 1920. It is still unclear how the devastating fire in Chicago got started, but it burned for two days, destroyed 3.3 square miles of the city’s central business district, killed up to 300 people and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. In 1920, officials decided that such a massive disaster deserved the be remembered in a way that could help everyone learn more about fire safety and prevention and President Woodrow Wilson released the first National Fire Prevention Week Proclamation.

Appropriately, this year’s theme is “Smoke alarms save lives: Test yours every month.” As Franklin surely knew when warning about embers in an open shovel, home fire deaths are preventable but require residents to take care. We no longer worry about lost embers, but we must test our smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries twice a year.

As Franklin writes in 1735, “In the first Place, as an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure” we must all be vigilant against the dangers of fire. We remember terrible disasters like the Chicago fire by taking the time to remind ourselves of this basic truth. Check your batteries, everyone! Take the time to practice an escape route from your home. And don’t carry those embers in an open shovel.

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By Caroline Hroncich, American Red Cross Volunteer and Villanova student

As a senior in college, I have come to think of this time in my life as a stepping-stone between childhood and adulthood. You are given freedom, but are not yet required to be completely independent. We often don’t realize how much we rely on our universities to provide us with essentials. Personally, I did not realize how much I relied on my school until Superstorm Sandy hit.

Until Sandy, I had never thought about what I would do in the face of a disaster at college. I have distinct memories of my 19-year-old self, perched atop my bunk bed, listening to rain pound the window. The lights flickered frequently, threatening to die; all I had to eat was a bag of tortilla chips. I was completely unprepared. The school lost power, the dining hall could not be kept open, and my friends and I found ourselves confined to our dorm rooms while the storm raged around us. After talking to my friends who attend other universities, I realized this was not an uncommon experience.

While universities are equipped to deal with disasters, it is equally as important for students to prepare. During my junior year, a major snowstorm hit, leaving me (I was now living in an on-campus apartment) without power. Being without light meant there was a mad rush to purchase battery-powered lamps, leaving many students without alternative options to light their apartments. I lost most of my refrigerated food. The school urged everyone to go home, but since I did not live a convenient distance, that was not an option. A few of my friends considered going to a nearby hotel for the night.

rco_blog_img_CollegePrepAs a freshman, I laughed at my parents when they insisted I keep things like a flashlight in my dorm room. Now I realize how truly important those things are. Keeping items like a flashlight, extra batteries and a small portable lamp in your dorm are essential when it comes to emergency preparedness. Even food is important to keep in your room, just in case the dining halls are unable to serve you. My experience has definitely taught me that as we go about our busy college lives it’s important to stop for a second and think about if we are truly prepared.

— Cross-posted from the American Red Cross of Greater New York’s Blog

 

 

 

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When the summer heat and humidity becomes unbearable, jumping in a pool, playing in the ocean or cooling off at the lake is a must. The cold water provides a break from the heat and a fun time for the whole family. However, fun can turn into disaster if parents and children don’t know the ins and outs of water safety. According to the CDC, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from accidental drowning every day and 20% of them are 14 or younger.IMG_4433

To ensure the time you and your family spend in the water is nothing but safe and fun, the American Red Cross has launched a free Swim App, designed to help your family stay safe in any type of aquatic setting. Available directly from the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace, the swim app teaches both parent and child the importance of water safety.

The swim app provides quizzes for parents to take on water safety in different settings, such as lakes, rivers, beaches and pools. The safety section of the app addresses water safety issues such as prevention, emergencies, where drownings occur and the importance of life jackets.
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The app also provides a progress section for children enrolled in swimming lessons. Learning how to swim is not always fun. It can be scary and intense, and much harder for some than others. The progress section of the app rewards children with a badge each time they complete a swimming level. Earning a badge encourages children to complete the next swimming level and lets parents share their child’s progress with family members and friends. The section also includes information for parents on each swimming level so you know exactly what your child has learned. It includes a skill check-list, as well as a “find a class” option.

IMG_4446The apps kid section consists of five fun lessons, including water safety in your home and helping someone in the water. Each lesson has a kid-friendly video as well as a “learn about the rule” section.  After watching the video and learning about the rule, kids can take a quiz to show that they understand the lesson.  They may just learn something that could save a life!

Drowning can happen in less than one minute and is the second-leading cause of accidental injury death for kids and sixth for people of all ages. With the swim app, parents gain knowledge that will keep them and their kids safe, and kids are able to learn, in their own way, the importance of knowing how to swim and water safety.

IMG_4450The American Red Cross has helped reduce accidental drownings by almost 90% nationwide in the last century. Earlier this year, the American Red Cross launched the drowning prevention campaign. A national campaign aimed at reducing the drowning rate in 50 cities by 50 percent over the next five years.

The American Red Cross is the gold standard for aquatics training and offers a variety of swim course’s, such as the learn-to-swim course, parent and child aquatics and preschool aquatics.

 

 

 

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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