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rco_blog_img_PREPARESeptember is National Preparedness Month, and it’s important to remember that emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. Most of us have plans in place at home for emergencies like illness or natural disasters, but is your workplace prepared for these events? There’s a good chance that your employer has emergency procedures like building evacuation in place and has an easily-accessible first aid kit and automated external defibrillator (AED). However, your co-workers may not be aware of how to respond to emergencies or use equipment like an AED. The American Red Cross can help your workplace prepare for emergencies through services like safety assessment, training, and certification programs.

You can always find emergency preparedness information at Redcross.org, but the following programs can help your workplace better respond to emergencies.

American Red Cross Ready Rating Program 

The American Red Cross Ready Rating™, a first-of-its-kind membership program designed to help businesses and organizations become better prepared for emergencies. Membership is free, and the program is self-paced. After joining, members complete a 123-point self-assessment to find areas of improvement for emergency preparedness.

Workers learn tips and best practices for emergencies. Most importantly, members make a commitment to improve their readiness score each year in a continuing process.m10643684_241x164-learning-aed

Employee Training

The American Red Cross provides flexible training options for workplaces that meet OSHA, corporate, and other regulatory standards. From on-site employee CPR and First Aid training, to access to community classes, employers can work with employees to find the best training options based on their needs.

Instructor Training

If your workplace has a designated emergency response or health and safety team leader, they can benefit from receiving training from the American Red Cross. After completing Red Cross training, your workplace instructor can lead their own training sessions on emergency response topics like First Aid/CPR and other areas that are relevant to your field.

download workplace safetyFor more information on all Workplace Safety Training and Preparedness Programs available through the American Red Cross, see the online catalog here.

Prepare Blog Photo

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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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.

 

 

Flooding3With heavy rains amongst us and the peak of hurricane season fast-approaching, it’s important to be prepared and know some basic safety tips when it comes to flooding. Floods not only occur frequently, but the resulting damage can be quite costly. They are often caused by heavy or steady rainfall for several hours or days that saturate the ground. Particularly, flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Often weather forecasters will use different terms to describe floods. While a “flood/flash flood watch” describes a possible flood in your area, a “flood/flash flood warning” emphasizes that a flood is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

In addition to knowing the predicted weather conditions of your region, it’s important to be prepared for any possible or sudden evacuations. When a flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground. Stay away from all floodwaters and keep children away from streams or running water.  If you do happen to come across a flowing stream of water that reaches above your ankles—stop, turn around, and go another way. Stick with the motto, “Turn around, don’t drown!” Remember, six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.  These basic rules also aFlooding1pply when driving. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are quickly rising, move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. It’s especially important to be cautious at night when it’s harder to recognize flood danger and difficult to perceive how deep the water really is. More tips on flood preparation can be found here.


While it’s definitely important to be aware of these basic safety tips when it comes to flooding, you can find more tips on what to do right before, during, and after a flood by using the free hurricane app from American Red Cross for iPhone and Android. Along with tips, it provides preloaded checklists, tracker maps, and alerts that can help you in times of a flood watch oFlooding2r warning. It even provides emergency tools such as a flashlight, strobe light, alarm, and an “I’m Safe” feature that allows you to communicate with others on your current condition via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and email.  In times of flooding, stay informed, be prepared, act smartly, and make use of the tools available on the Red Cross Hurricane App.

Download the app here for iPhone and here for Android.

-Khushbu Majmundar, Americorps NPRC member

Ever heard of Wave Board Basketball? Neither had I until I caught my kids playing it in our driveway on a warm evening a few weeks ago. Like any responsible parent, I try to limit my use of profanity unless absolutely unavoidable but sometimes I find the word “bleeping” comes in handy in a pinch. Such as, in the case of the Wave Board Basketball incident, “Where are your BLEEPING helmets?!!!” Just saying. . .  Which brings me to the topic of this SEPA Red Cross blog. Summer Safety.

Summertime . . .and the livin’ is easy . . . and slightly more risky. . .which sadly doesn’t really fit with that lovely tune but is true nonetheless. Enjoyment of outdoor, athletic pursuits is what summer is about for most of us and our beautiful city, Philadelphia, offers so many opportunities for warm weather recreation. Fairmount Park makes us rich in bike trails and hiking paths. Smaller city parks offer basketball hoops, playgrounds, skateboard parks and soccer fields. Our own neighborhood streets and driveways host street hockey, jump-roping and, apparently, Wave Board Basketball. Everybody get out and run around! It’s fun. Just please remember to take a few precautions so we all stay safe and healthy.

Wear your helmets. It’s that simple. Be helmeted on your bicycles, wave boards, skateboards or any other apparatus that rolls you around at high speeds. Used children’s helmets are easy to find at garage sales. As with the oxygen mask on the airplane, helmet your children first before helmeting yourself. Our heads are incredibly fragile and brain injury can be absolutely devastating.

Respect the temperature and humidity. Here, in the Philadelphia area, we have several summer days where temperatures reach the high 90’s. That’s hot and attention must be paid. Small children, the elderly and the chronically ill are most susceptible to extreme heat but everyone should be aware of the risk of heat stroke. If you feel dizzy or nauseous while being active on a hot sunny day, find some shade, a cool drink and rest for a while. If you start feeling cold and goosebumpy even though the beach or pavement is like a frying pan under your feet, find a cooler venue to recuperate. Plan your activities for the early morning or evening when the sun is less intense. Watch out for your friends and keep your elderly neighbors in mind. The heat is great when you climb out of the pool but it can be very harmful.

Use sunscreen. That’s a no-brainer in families like mine who are so pale we’re almost translucent, but the truth is everyone should be using sunscreen. The sun is very powerful and it’s beaming all kinds of ultra-violet light at us, especially at the beach, on the water or any place where shade trees are scarce. Even if your skin does not burn, it’s still on the receiving end of that radiation infusion. Protect yourself. Protect your children. Don’t forget to reapply every couple hours if you are swimming or sweating!

Drink water, but not too much. It’s very important to stay hydrated. We are humans, not lizards and when we start to shrivel from dehydration, we become quite ill. By the same token, we can hurt ourselves by drinking too much so don’t overdo it. Water is an essential accompaniment to all summer activities. My family owns about 20 different water bottles that fit awkwardly in a cabinet over the kitchen sink and sometimes fall on my head when I open the door too forcefully. My children love this.

Be safe in the water. Make sure kids learn to swim. It’s an essential life skill. The Red Cross offers lots of opportunities for swim instruction in our region. Wear life jackets on boats. Made sure the people you care about are safe in and around the water.

Summer is a fantastic time of year. The American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania hopes you enjoy it safely!