ANCHORAGE TUESDAY, May 23, 2017— This Memorial Day, many Alaskans will be traveling or firing up the backyard grill, all while we are entering the warm, dry wildfire season. The American Red Cross of Alaska offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.
“Everyone looks forward to having fun over Memorial Day, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday,” said Tanguy Libbrecht, Chief Executive Officer, Red Cross of Alaska.
HIGHWAY SAFETY Many Alaskans will be on the highways over Memorial Day weekend. The Red Cross offers these six things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:
- Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Clean your headlights and remember to use them! Why use headlights in Alaska? According to the Alaska Highway Safety office, to prevent head-on collisions. Read more about headlight safety here.
- Remember your vehicle emergency kit. Due to our state’s vast size, it’s important to have an emergency kit ready to go in the event you are stranded. Read about what to include in your emergency kit here.
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:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND PREVENTION As we enter the warmer, dryer summer months, we also enter wildfire season in Alaska. Here are five tips on how to prepare for and prevent wildfires:
- Download the Red Cross Wildfire App. Visit your app store for a free download!
- Plant accordingly. If you live in an area prone to wildfire, consider planting fire resistant trees and shrubs instead of conifers. Keep your lawn short, and if possible, well watered. Consider using rock gardens and flowerbeds as alternative landscaping.
- Protect your home. Keep your gutters clean, store firewood and other combustible materials at least 30 feet from your primary dwelling, use fire resistant materials when building decks and porches, and make sure your address is visible from the street.
- Know your route. Familiarize yourself with at least two different evacuation routes out of your neighborhood. Practice often, and include everyone in your household.
- Be ready to evacuate. If wildfires are reported in your area, listen to your local radio or television stations for updated emergency information. Back your vehicle into your driveway and gather your pets in a central location for quick evacuation if given notice.
RED CROSS APPS People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app - Monster Guard - designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
Available for Interview
Red Cross of Alaska Chief Executive Officer Tanguy Libbrecht is available for interview this week to discuss Red Cross safety tips for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. To book an interview, please contact Lisa Miller at 907-782-7520.
About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY16, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 608 Alaskans. We responded to 200 single and multi-family house fires. Our preparedness / Health and Safety teams have installed 1,425 smoke alarms statewide and educated 2,344 youth through our Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 796 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel 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 redcross.org/Alaska or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.