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Tag Archives: Safety

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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Although I’ve only been interning with the Red Cross Communications team for several weeks, I have already gained an entirely new perspective on both this community and providing assistance to those in need. The future of the Red Cross is dependent on volunteers who recognize the importance of this organization and then donate their efforts towards fulfilling its mission.

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During my time at the Red Cross, I have had the opportunity to assist outside of the office. One day, I hope to be part of the Disaster Action team and respond to local disasters. So far, the closest that I have come to disaster response is participating in Red Cross Fire Safety Walkthroughs. During Fire Safety Walkthroughs, Red Cross workers distribute fire safety materials, such as educational materials as well as a 9-volt battery for smoke detectors. The educational material comes in multiple languages and provides individuals with information on how to prevent a fire, making an escape plan and pet fire safety.  In the past several weeks, I’ve participated in Fire Safety Walkthroughs in the two communities surrounding the fatal fires at Gesner Street and North Sixth Street. When fire suddenly destroys homes and claims the lives of community members, the scene is always very sensitive.  It has been difficult to see the tremendous toll these disasters have on communities. As we made our way up and down the streets, I did my best to be respectful to people’s properties, especially the homes where the fires occurred.

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When I am in the office, I work with both internal and external means of communication to keep the general public as well as Red Cross employees and volunteers informed about what is going on in the community and the office. I really value working beside and learning from my manager, Sara, and the rest of the Communications department. Our many responsibilities have so much purpose, which causes me to constantly look forward to my time here. This branch of the Red Cross employs many friendly and intelligent people. I’ve received nothing but a warm welcome to this team. The Red Cross never stops responding, so as long as I’m here I’m sure I will be kept busy by providing the community with the information they need to stay informed and safe.

~submitted by Laurel, a high school intern for the communications department

If you are interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross, click here.

 

I don’t know if our Red Cross friends have noticed, but this part of the world is damp. Sometimes, it’s too damp. Southeastern Pennsylvania experiences several torrential rainfall events a year, and while this makes our local flora lush and green, we also live with the threat of flooding, especially in low-lying areas.

The Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania is committed to helping people in our area be prepared for disasters all kinds. Recently, we have been developing applications for iPad, iPhone and Android to help people act safely and responsibly in the event of an emergency. Our newest app, provided in both English and Spanish, deals with the most common disaster in the United States: flooding.

Floods are extremely dangerous because they occur quickly and with little warning. A road can become impassible in a matter of seconds. A house can be submerged in the same amount of time. The flood app will have location based NOAA flood and flash flood warnings to let users know when they are in danger and should evacuate. It will offer one touch “I’m safe” messaging to family and friends, as well as inform users of critical steps to take in order to stay safe. The app provides the locations of Red Cross shelters, resources for recovery and opportunities to learn more about helping friends and neighbors when the water get too high. These include interactive quizzes and badges you can earn and share on social networks. It even provides a flashlight, strobe light and alarm to make others aware of your location

Everyone who lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania should download this app. When the unexpected occurs, we are filled with questions. What should we do? Where should we go? What should we remember to bring? What dangers should we worry about and anticipate? The Red Cross is doing a tremendous service by making the answers to these questions as accessible as a smart phone. The flood app will save lives, it will provide essential information in real time and it will assist people to recover when the waters recede.

Here’s wharco_blog_img_FloodAppt the National Office of the Red Cross has to say:

The Flood App is the latest in a series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. These apps allow people to make critical, lifesaving decisions.

All Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

Apps are not a substitute for training. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass to take a First Aid and CPR class so you’ll know what to do in case emergency help is delayed.

The 4th of July is only a day away! Who doesn’t love this holiday? We celebrate the founding of our nation, we get together with friends and family, we grill delicious food and, if we are really lucky, we get to see an awesome fireworks display.
Sadly, this summer of 2013, the weather is not cooperating. For the last week, we have been experiencing intermittent heavy rain along with lightening and thunderstorms. This weather pattern is supposed to continue throughout this week as well. Although the pattern may clear at the end of the week, some of us could be spending the Fourth dodging thunderstorms. Therefore, it is very important to know some basic outdoor weather safety tips when it comes to thunder and lightning. Despite the weather, the American Red Cross wants everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
The safest place to be during a lightening storm is inside an enclosed building. If you can’t get to shelter, below are tips to keep your safe.
1. Avoid small shelters and pavilions in open areas that may attract lighting strikes
2. Do not try to hide under trees, but if trees are you only shelter choose the smallest tree possible.
3. Avoid bodies of water such as swimming pools, lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans
4. Avoid being on high ground, and near tall objects or metal objects such as fences, wires, bikes, construction equipment and wires.
5. Distance yourself at least 15 feet away from other people in the area to prevent lightening bolts from jumping from one person to another.
6. If you are in the immediate area of lightening, crouch down with feet together and head down to prevent the possible attraction to lightning strikes.
7. When driving, if possible, pull off the road to avoid being blinded or startled by the lightening. Do not get out of your vehicle and make sure all windows are rolled up.
If someone is struck by lightening they usually lose consciousness. After a person has been struck, no electrical charge will remain in their body, and they can safely be handled without shocking others. Intense electrical shock can stop a person’s heart, and proper CPR can be critical until emergency helps arrive.
Basically, it’s important to use common sense. Check local media for weather reports and be informed. If the weather looks frightful, move your celebration inside or, at least, near to a sturdy shelter. Stay safe and Happy Fourth of July from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross.

~posted by communications volunteer, Sarah Peterson

1Hey, people of our Philadelphia region! Did you know that the current fleet of American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles is undergoing a redesign process?

This week, the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) will play host to the newly designed prototype of our Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). The new prototype will stop in Philadelphia as part of its journey to Red Cross Chapters all over the country. The idea is to allow chapter employees and volunteers to provide feedback on its design and make any recommendations for changes once they have used the vehicle in the field.

American Red Cross ERVs have become an iconic symbol of our disaster relief services. In 1898, Clara Barton used a wagon as an ambulance for her work on the battlefield. Later, the organization used club mobiles to serve WWII soldiers. Before standardization began in the 1980s, the Red Cross used converted bread trucks, station wagons and pickup trucks painted with our iconic logo to deliver meals and other essentials after disasters. The current “ambulance design” was first used to support people affected by tornados in Western Pennsylvania.

Wise readers familiar with the current design know that it resembles a large box on wheels and is slightly unwhieldy to drive. The new model will lighten up, resembling the more agile service vehicles sometimes seen in densely packed European cities. Still, the key to it all will be whether these vehicles help our trained responders meet the needs of our clients in a timely and humane way. The national fleet of 320 ERVs is now more than 10 years old and is challenging to maintain. Once the new design is chosen, the Red Cross plans to completely replace and expand the existing fleet over the next ten years.

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As always, the Red Cross will make changes with an eye toward efficiency and the bottom line. The new ERV’s will be less expensive to purchase and maintain. According to my colleague, Sara Smith, who rode in one this morning, the new design emphasizes comfort, fuel efficiency, storage and connectivity. They provide enough space for our trained responders to meet with clients inside the van, away from the scene of the disaster. I know our volunteers will appreciate the opportunity to take clients away from water or smoke and shelter them immediately.  The ERVs will also include an external dynamic messaging system, allowing responders to share real time information with others.

SEPA is excited to take part in this testing process. We will be seeking to discover if the new ERV’s features — such as a loading/unloading system, enhanced technology and a back-up camera – meet the needs of people who turn to our chapter for help after disasters.  This new model may not be “the one”  but it’s really great get the chance to take it for a spin.

–       Submitted by Sarah Peterson (Communications Volunteer)

 

Howdy!

As the temperature (slowly) rises I’m reminded of my home state of Texas. Now Texans are no strangers to heat advisories, warnings and their ilk. Our summer temperatures usually stay between 90-105 degrees. Heat related hospitalizations and even deaths are a sad yet common occurrence there.

The excessive heat advisory issued this week has been a top news piece recently but all of this hubbub seems a bit over the top. I’ve been assured by many Philadelphians that it does get very hot and humid here but I still have my doubts. This is probably the first summer I’ve been able to wear a light sweater outside!

I play Ultimate regularly so I do spend quite a bit of time outside and it’s definitely a muggy heat but nothing like the scorchers we have in Texas. I’m from the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) region so our climate tends to be bone-dry, like walking into an oven (as opposed to a steam room.) Last year’s summer saw the worst drought in recent years. It got so bad in places that critters would get stuck where the ground had cracked.

So as a survivor of many a Texas summer here are some of my personal tips to help keep you cool and sunburn free this summer.

  1. One thing that commuters tend to forget is that your left arm is exposed to the sun for however many minutes (or hours) you’re stuck in traffic. Cover up! My mom keeps a long sleeve button down in the car and throws that over her left arm when she drives for long periods of time.
  1. Umbrellas are great for rain but they also provide portable shade! Yes you may get funny looks but it beats melting in the sun!
  1. Personal water misting fan. Carry everywhere. (The link is not an endorsement to buy that specific product. Just an example!)
  1. Sunglasses and lip balm with UV protection are essential. It’s definitely possible to get sunburn on your eyes and lips. I’ve done it. It hurts. Learn from my mistakes.
  1. Speaking of sun protection, you can never say enough about sunscreen. Apply a thick coating and wait for your skin to absorb it before heading out the door. Some limbs that get commonly forgotten: the ears, the back of the neck and the tops of your feet (if you like to wear flip flops but don’t like the flip flop tan line!) Ladies, there are a lot of makeup options that have sunscreen too so no excuses! And reapply often.
  1. Cowboy hats are not just a bold fashion statement but a very practical way to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your neck!
  1. Keep your clothes in the fridge. Sounds weird but it feels really nice to slip into cold pajamas after a long hot day!
  1. Most people tend to eat cool things in the summer like salads and ice cream but eating spicy food actually helps cool you down. You sweat more when eating spicy food which helps to cool your body. Add a fan and you’re in business!
  1. If you do a lot of outdoor activities plan ahead and throw water bottles in the freezer. Take them out when you’re ready to head out and you should have ice cold melted water when you need it!
  1. If after all of these tips you still manage to get sunburned do not take a hot shower! Use lukewarm water (or cold water if you can stand it) pat your skin dry and use burn relief gel. The aloe variety is my favorite. It’s especially nice when you get some cool air on the burn.

Hope y’all find these tips useful! Have a safe and happy summer!

Heat accounts for the most weather related deaths in the United States. Although we have been lucky enough to have cool summer temperatures this season, these next few days are calling for temperatures of close to 100 degrees. And if you’re like me, you love seeing that big yellow sun on the weekly forecast, but its important you don’t let the sun get the best of you. I had an experience myself with minor heat exhaustion.

A few weeks ago, on a particularly hot Friday, I did the normal college student summer routine, which doesn’t include much but working out and relaxing outdoors. I started my new summer job later that evening and didn’t take into consideration the long hours spent in the sun mixed with working on my feet could end in heat exhaustion. As a result I became dizzy, weak, and even sick for the next couple of days. Now I know there are many things I could have done to prevent this.

In the heat, the first and most important step is to stay cool. Although this may seem obvious, it is crucial to prevent heat cramps, exhaustion and even stroke. Wear lightweight clothing and stay indoors with an air conditioner when possible. Plan strenuous outdoor activities like lawn care or exercising for the coolest parts of the day.

The next tip is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeinated fluids if possible. Be sure to eat small meals and snack more often to keep your energy levels up. If you have access, go to the pool or beach for the day to cool off. If you do choose to spend long hours outside, use proper sun protection for your skin and reapply as you sweat or go in the water. This is important even if you don’t burn easily. Ultra violent rays are dangerous to all skin types.

Also, check in frequently on small children and pets, as they are more susceptible to heat stroke. Be sure they have the proper amount of shade and fluids and never leave your pet in the car on a hot day even if it is just for a few minutes.

For more on how you can be prepared and what you should do during a heat wave look at our checklist and be Red Cross ready.