American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region Issues Holiday Safety Recommendations

AMERICAN RED CROSS OF THE CHESPAEAKE REGION
ISSUES HOLIDAY SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS

Baltimore, MD – (July 2, 2014) – The long Fourth of July weekend is a popular time for many people to spend part of their holiday barbecuing with friends and family, at the beach, or poolside. The American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region has a number of safety tips and recommendations to ensure safety this upcoming weekend.

In addition, there is also a tropical storm predicted to move into our area on Friday, with the potential to grow into a hurricane between now and then. As tropical storm Arthur continues to move up the East Coast, the Red Cross reminds residents that hurricane season is upon us and runs from June through November. Since Maryland is susceptible to hurricanes, it is recommended that families and individual build an emergency kit and create an evacuation plan. The free Red Cross Hurricane App is also a great tool that puts real time information on hurricane safety at your fingertips.

General safety tips and recommendations for the Fourth of July weekend can be found below, including links to first aid and swim apps.

HIGHWAY SAFETY
Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:
1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
2. Do not drink and drive.
3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
4. Use caution in work zones.
5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

FIREWORKS SAFETY
The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:
1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

GRILLING SAFETY
Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 
5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

BEACH SAFETY
The American Red Cross offers ten steps people should take to be safe while enjoying fun in the sand and surf:
1. If someone plans to swim in the ocean, they should always check weather conditions before going in the water.
2. Swim only at a lifeguard protected beach, within the designated swimming area and listen to all lifeguard instructions.
3. Always swim with a buddy and always swim sober.
4. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
5. Everyone should enter the water feet first if they can’t see the bottom or don’t know how deep the water is.
6. Be aware of the danger of rip currents. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. When free, turn and swim toward shore. If unable to swim to the shore, call out for help, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
7. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
8. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
9. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
10. Wear beach shoes. The sand is hot and can burn someone’s feet and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

POOL SAFETY
The American Red Cross is issuing ten steps people should take to be safe while poolside:
1. Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
2. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
3. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
4. Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
5. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
7. For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
8. Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
9. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
10. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

FREE SWIM AND FIRST AID APPS Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps. Swim App users can learn water safety and drowning prevention information for a variety of aquatic environments. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app. The First Aid App puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores. The Swim App is also available in the Amazon Kindle Store.


About the American Red Cross Chesapeake Region (www.redcross.org/chesapeake):
On average the American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region provides help to Maryland families two to three times each day after disasters including emergency shelter, food, clothing and counseling thanks to major support from donors to the United Way campaigns in Maryland. Each day the Red Cross also provides lifesaving blood to area hospitals; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information or to donate, please visit RedCross.org/Chesapeake or Tweet us @RedCrossMD.

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