Labor Day, the last holiday of summer, is almost here and everyone is looking forward to one last long weekend of summer fun. Whether your plans include traveling, swimming or a backyard barbecue, the American Red Cross wants everyone to have a great holiday and offers safety steps people can follow.
- Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
- Make frequent stops. Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low.
- Pack a first aid kit and emergency preparedness kit in each vehicle.
- If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.
- Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Use caution in work zones. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
- If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
If your Labor Day plans include swimming, be “Water smart.” This includes having swimming skills and knowing how to help others. To help prevent drowning, layers of protection are essential. Plan ahead for aquatic activities:
- Pay close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water.
- Prevent unsupervised access to water with adequate barriers for pools and spas.
- Learn swimming and water survival skills.
- Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
- Always swim with a buddy in a lifeguarded area.
Grilling fires cause more than 9,000 home fires on average each year. Often, they occur when people leave the grill unattended while cooking — a common action that more than half of adults have done, according to a recent Red Cross survey. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:
- Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never grill indoors — not in your 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.
Here are a few more steps you can take as we approach the Labor Day holiday:
- Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills so you’ll have the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency until help arrives. Take a class (www.redcross.org/takeaclass), download the free Red Cross First Aid App and open the Red Cross First Aid Skill for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.
- Go to www.redcross.org/watersafety for a variety of water safetyresources and courses. Download the free Red Cross Swim App.
- Give blood. The number of people donating blood often drops during the summer when people are on vacation and schools are closed. Visit www.redcrossblood.org, download the Red Cross Blood App, or enable the Red Cross Blood Skill for more information or to schedule your donation.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.