Red Cross Offers Tips For Twelve Days of Holiday Safety To Keep The Season Safe, Happy And Bright

Having a busy time getting ready for the holidays? While everyone is shopping, baking, gift wrapping, decorating and going to parties, the American Red Cross has holiday tips to help make the season a safe one.

1. Prepare vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, and a tow rope.

2. Drive the sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If travel is a must, let someone know the destination, the route being taken to get there, and how long it should take to arrive. If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the predetermined route.

3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, someone should cough or sneeze into their elbow, not their hands.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep a person warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.

5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.

6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. This is important because unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.

7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training. Visit www.redcross.org/training for details and to register.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If someone plans on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat the home safely. Never use a stove or oven to heat the home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

10. Cut down on heating bills without being a Grinch. Get the furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

11. Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full. Be well rested and alert. Give full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If someone has car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case someone in the household faces an emergency in 2012.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; 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 mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Safety for the Holidays

With all the holiday errands and festivities, don’t forget to bring home safety for the holidays. Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage. Review these tips so you don’t forget to make safety a priority for enjoying the holiday season.

Preparedness Tips

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over.  Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives.  Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.  Use the test button to check it each month.  Replace all batteries at least once a year.
  • Visit http://www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.