Have Fun, Be Safe on Halloween

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Halloween is popular with everyone – kids to adults – and the American Red Cross has some safety tips people can follow to stay safe this Halloween while enjoying the festivities.

1. Use only flame-resistant costumes.

2. Plan the Trick-or-Treat route – make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.

3. Make sure the Trick-or-Treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to be seen.

4. Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.

5. Instead of masks which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see, use face paint instead.

6. Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.

7. Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.

8. If you are welcoming Trick-or-Treaters, sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps.

9. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

10. Restrain your pets.

LEARN WHAT TO DO Download the free Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies whenever and wherever they need it. Find this and all of the Red Cross apps by searching for American Red Cross in the app store for your mobile device or by going toredcross.org/apps.

Top 10 Songs You Need in Your Life During Fire Safety Month

Here is a clever re-post from  Erin Hunt Miller, Regional Communications Director at American Red Cross, Central Illinois Region

October! Its a month of spooky stuff, football games and, because it is National Fire Safety Month, fire prevention.  I took a very unofficial Red Cross poll of staff and volunteers across the Midwest, and they ranked the following songs as the best fire songs of all time.

10. Rooms on Fire by Stevie Nicks – “Every time that you walk in a room” in your home remember the two ways to escape in case of a fire. Everyone in the family should know this for every room in your home.

9. Fire by the Pointer Sisters – Fire can “have a hold on you right from the start”, so in case of a fire… Get out, stay out and call 9-1-1.

8. I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” may be on fire, but he doesn’t want you to be.  Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

7. Fire by Jimi Hendrix – An awesome song to remind you to “stand next to your fire”.  Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

6. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis – An oldie but a goodie is a great illustration of the unpredictable nature of fire.  If your home is on fire, remember that once you are out of the house, do not go back in to retrieve ANYTHING.

5. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple – The song with (in my opinion) one of the best intro guitar riffs of all time reminds you about the power of smoke. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

4. We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel – Maybe Billy didn’t start the fire, but who could?  Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

3. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash – “Love burns, burns, burns like a ring of fire”, and so can potholders, towels, plastic and clothing.  So, be sure you keep those items far from the stove while cooking.

2. Light my Fire by The Doors – Where should you “light your fire”?  Not indoors because carbon monoxide can kill.  So never use a generator, grill, camp stove or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or any partially enclosed area.

1. Burning Down the House by The Talking Heads – Fire can quickly burn down the house so make sure your family is notified quickly.  Stop reading this post and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Do this at least once a year.

For more Red Cross fire safety tips, click here.

Pet Safety from Bandit the Prepared Pug – Eye Emergencies

Bandit the Prepared Pug made his debut back in September, and he is back with additional safety tips for Pet Owners, that he found useful after downloading the new Red Cross Pet First Aid App.

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By Bandit the Prepared Pug:

These sunglasses are not just for looks. As a pug, my eyes are more susceptible to issues than most dogs so I have to protect them more (my mom gets worried when I bring her a stick). She downloaded the Red Cross Pet Safety app to know the signs of trouble: red, cloudy, have a discharge, or holding my eye closed or squinting. I am just hoping my eye never comes out of my socket (she learned to keep it moist using a sterile eye wash).

To learn more about eye emergencies and other pet safety tips, download the app directly from the iTunes, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace app stores.

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American Red Cross New Flood App Can Save Lives

By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers and Communications, Northeast Wisconsin

So many people, with all their belongs on the curb. So very sad to see everything these people worked for destroyed.

So many people, with all their belongings on the curb. So very sad to see everything these people worked for destroyed.

September 2013, I saw first-hand the devastation that can happen from flooding and flash floods. I was deployed to Denver, Colorado to assist in Disaster Public Affairs and worked with a professional photographer and his assistant.

We talked directly with the clients impacted and over and over, I heard the same stories of how fast the water came rushing up to their homes and they barely had enough time to escape or had to be rescued. I also saw the devastation all around from roads buckled from the rushing waters, to parks once filled with children playing, that now looked like lakes, to seeing water up to the steps of homes.

I was there when one family was going back into their home for the first time after five days to see if there was anything worth salvaging. You could see the water-line up to the middle of the garage door. We had breathing masks on because of the mold and mildew that set in after the flood waters had receded. The floor was covered with brown silt. These are just some of the images that will remain with me when I think of flooding.

(click HERE to read in more detail about my Colorado deployment)

Did you know that floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States? The American Red Cross developed its new Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods.

This free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a flood. The content is available in English and Spanish based on the user’s language settings on their mobile device.

FloodScreenShot2The app includes location-based, audible NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings – even if the app is closed. Other features include:

  • One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to send a message letting family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm to let others know where you are;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Real-time recovery resources for returning home and cleaning up; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The app is the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. The expert advice in Red Cross apps, which also include apps for First Aid, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and other services, has been used to help save lives during disasters and medical emergencies. Red Cross apps have been downloaded on nearly 4 million mobile devices.

The Flood App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

What’s Included in Your Vehicle Winter Preparedness Kit?

m8540166_167x82-winter-storm-3The first day of winter is tomorrow but we are definitely getting hit with lots of snow already. Do you have all of the emergency essentials in your car? Having a vehicle emergency kit available is a great way to prepare for any road or winter emergencies. Also, most kits come in convenient sizes to fit in the glove box. Safety should always be the first priority. It’s recommended to avoid the roads, if necessarily. If you have to drive, be cautious; make sure to buckle up and have a full tank of gas also.

The American Red Cross has a list of essentials that should be included in your Vehicle Winter Preparedness Kit:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Cell Phone Car Charger
  • Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
  • Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf
  • Flares
  • Folding Shovel
  • Sand or Cat Litter
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Small battery-operated radio
  • Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
  • Extra prescription medications
  • Bottled Water
  • High protein snacks
  • Maps
  • Whistle

There are two already-made kits available for purchase on redcross.orgItemImage_580_7193

  • Automobile first-aid zip kit. For $10.00, the kit includes an assortment of bandages, gauze, antiseptic, insect relief pads, sunscreen and sanitizer.
  • Personal Safety Emergency Pack. For $11.00, the kit includes emergency blanket, drinking water, emergency poncho, light stick, whistle, mini first-aid kit and mask.

Know the Difference

  • Winter Storm Outlook: Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin with 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Here is a checklist of precautions you can take during this wintery weather! Also for more information on disasters and emergency preparedness, visit redcross.org.

Are You Ready for Winter?

Tips provided by: Wisconsin Emergency Management

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“Get an emergency kit in your car. It could save your life”

Governor Scott Walker has declared November 4-8, 2013 as Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin.  The annual campaign, sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), its ReadyWisconsin preparedness program and NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), is to remind people to be prepared for winter conditions that could threaten their safety.

“The number one thing to do: make sure you have an emergency supply kit in your car – it could save your life,” says Brian Satula, Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator

winter_car_kitReadyWisconsin will air Television and Radio Public Service Announcements in November, urging viewers and listeners to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles. Starting November 1st, Wisconsin residents can sign up for a chance to win a winter survival kit on the ReadyWisconsin website: readywisconsin.wi.gov.

Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. For example, in the last five years Wisconsin has averaged 50,000 motor vehicle crashes during winter months. An average of 45 people are killed and more than 5,000 injured on icy or snow-covered roads.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room and nearly 500 killed each year from overexposure to the gas.

Now is the time to winterize your car and home, gather items for an emergency kit in your car, and make sure you have a NOAA Weather Radio with fresh batteries. Additional winter weather tips and how to put together a winter emergency kit are available at the ReadyWisconsin website. or www.redcross.org  In addition, there are numerous winter storm maps and a history of Wisconsin’s winter weather produced by the National Weather Service.

Red Cross – Zombie Preparedness

By Zombie Expert: Erin Thayse

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You might be asking “What is up with zombies?” I ask the same thing about moustaches. The difference between the two is one could be a real pandemic and one is just annoying.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) realized the need for preparedness and put together a document to reference Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse in case one would occur. Here are some additional pointers that were woefully omitted:

Figure out what type of zombies you are confronted with.

There are many types of zombies: slow moving “walkers” who are affected by the elements, rage-induced zombies looking to destroy anything in their path, super-human zombies who are able to do things above and beyond anything a living human can do, etc. You want to hope for slow moving zombies as they make easier targets. Study up on zombies by watching the abundant amount of television shows and movies dedicated to them; they are your tutorials.

The best offense is a good defense.

Regardless of what type of zombie you will be dealing with, they have an attribute you do not: they never will get tired. All they want is you. So you need to get into physical and emotional shape to outlast them. Take up jogging (and dodging moving targets). Build up strength by chopping wood. NFL athletes are good at dodging and jumping over things; consider training like one.

Be able to survive on only what you can carry.

Zombie_Package_logo email usWhile a preparedness kit the size of plastic tote might hold everything you need, you won’t be able to carry it for long. Everything you need should fit into a bag small enough to carry on your body without being bulky. Zombies can grab at bulky.

Learn how to drive a dirt bike.

They are easy to maneuver over any terrain and require a small amount of gas. While a giant reinforced tank sounds like a good idea, they get stuck easily and require a lot of gas.

Keep your eyes and ears open. At all times. No matter what.

There is always a zombie hidden someplace. Don’t believe me? Watch any zombie movie.

When in doubt, find Milla Jovovich.

She can take out zombies.

Check out additional Zombies fighting tips here: