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Summer’s Here! Stay Safe With Red Cross Tips

Heat Safety
Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.

Summer has officially arrived, which makes it the perfect time for a few safety reminders from the American Red Cross—heat and water safety in particular.

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity.

During a Heat Wave:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • Know What to Do in a Heat Emergency

    Could you tell if someone were suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke? Would you know how to respond?

    The American Red Cross First Aid App puts that information at your fingertips, helping you prepare and respond to heat emergencies and other events.

    Available for iPhone and Android devices, the free First Aid App gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. It also features videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.

    Learn to Swim

    The best way to safely enjoy the water is to learn how to swim, so enroll your family in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses. Basic water safety rules are also part of the course. You will learn how to tell if a swimmer is in distress or is drowning, and how and when to call for emergency help. You will also learn how to help someone in trouble in the water while keeping safe yourself.

    To find classes for you and your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim programs.

    Top Water Safety Tips

    A Red Cross water safety poll released last month showed that nearly half of Americans say they’ve had an experience where they were afraid they might drown, yet more than half of Americans plan on engaging in behaviors that put them at risk of future drownings when they take to the water this summer.

    Members of the Aquatic Sub-Council, part of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, have developed the Circle of Drowning Prevention and Chain of Drowning Survival to raise awareness of the most important steps that Americans can take to reduce the number of preventable drownings.

    The Circle of Drowning Prevention shows the layers of protection that can help prevent potential drownings: provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water; fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing; learn swimming and water survival skills; children, inexperienced swimmers and boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets; and always swim in a lifeguarded area.

    The Chain of Drowning Survival illustrates the steps you should take when you spot someone in distress in the water: recognize the signs of someone in trouble and shout for help; rescue and remove the person from the water without putting yourself in danger; call emergency medical services; begin rescue breathing and CPR, and use an AED if available; and transfer care to advanced life support, if needed.

    You can find much more water safety information on

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.