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.

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Help Provide Swimming Lessons to those in Need!

CLICK HERE to participate in this GROUPON DEAL: $10 Donation to the American Red Cross

m6040248_241x164-learn-to-swimThe Issue: Lack of Swimming Skills

Every day, an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning in the U.S.—two of those being children aged 14 or younger. For every child who dies from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another five received emergency care from water-related incidents. A 2014 Red Cross survey found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent are self-described swimmers and 33 percent of African American respondents can perform all of the five basic swimming skills that are needed to be competent in the water.

The Campaign: Teaching Children to Swim

All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by the American Red Cross to support the Aquatics Centennial Campaign, a new initiative to cut the drowning rate by 50% in 50 cities in the next 3 to 5 years. For every $10 raised, the organization can help provide a swimming lessons for one child or adult from an at-risk community.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross’s water safety education program. To celebrate, through its Centennial Campaign, the organization aims to teach 50,000 more people in these cities how to swim and respond to emergency situations. The program targets families in high-risk areas, and includes teaching parents how to perform CPR as well as equipping older teens and young adults with the skills to become lifeguards and swim instructors. People are also encouraged to download the free Red Cross Swim App to track their or their children’s swim progress and learn about water safety with videos and quizzes.

In A Nutshell: 

Donations help prevent drowning accidents during the summer by providing swimming lessons for children in underserved communities

The Fine Print

100% of donations go directly to American Red Cross. Donations are automatically applied. See Grassroots FAQs that apply to this campaign. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Download the Red Cross Swim App!

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Learn more about water safety, including simple steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your family in a variety of environments, such as home pools and the ocean.

TEXT ‘SWIM’ to 90999 or download from the Apple App StoreGoogle Play or Amazon Marketplace.

Ways to Prepare in Propane Shortage that has affected Wisconsin & Upper Michigan

propaneGovernor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency on Saturday, January 25th in response to the propane shortage impacting Wisconsin, and in advance of the dangerously cold temperatures expected to move across the state in the upcoming week.

All state agencies have been directed to be on alert and assist as needed.

“The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority and this declaration gives us the necessary resources to protect the residents of Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker. “I will do everything I can within my power to help our friends and loved ones relying on propane to heat their homes or businesses during this challenging situation.”

The propane supply shortage in the upper Midwest has caused delivery delays and reduced delivery amounts for propane customers in Wisconsin, as well as all Midwestern states.

Experts say the propane shortage has been caused by unusually cold winter temperatures, the temporary closure of a major pipeline that supplies propane to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, and a wet fall season which increased propane demand for grain drying.

About 250,000 Wisconsin residents use propane to heat their homes or businesses. Residents are being urged to check on friends, neighbors and loved ones during extreme cold weather to make sure everyone has a warm place to stay.

“The American Red Cross is working with the County Emergency Managers and Public Health Departments in the counties heavily impacted by the propane shortage,” said Doreen Martinez, Regional Disaster Program Officer.  “We are preparing our organization to assist with supporting the community and assuring no one is left out in the cold or living in a dangerous situation. We are coordinating our activities with county officials”.

Here are some additional tips you can follow to conserve your propane use:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn the furnace lower at night or when there is no one home
  • Use cold water when washing clothes
  • Wear wool
  • Dress in layers, wear thicker clothes
  • Wear socks or slippers
  • Leave the oven open after you bake
  • Open curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun in
  • Close curtains and blinds at night to keep out the cold
  • Use a humidifier. Humid air feels warmer
  • Shut bathroom fans off as quickly as possible to prevent heat loss
  • Run ceiling fans in reverse to push warm air back down to the ground
  • Use rugs on bare floors
  • Block drafts with weather stripping, rolled up towels or homemade draftstoppers
  • Keep your fireplace flue closed when you don’t have a fire to prevent unnecessary heat loss
  • Make sure heat vents, registers and radiators are free of obstructions. If they’re covered with furniture, the warm air won’t reach you – even though you’ve paid for it

Red Cross Responds, Offers Safety Steps As Bitter Temperatures Cover Much of U.S.

cold-thermometerThe American Red Cross is helping people impacted by the frigid cold air covering two-thirds of the country, and offers steps people can take to stay safe during this dangerous weather.

Red Cross workers are opening shelters and warming centers for people affected by the extreme cold, and working with local emergency officials to respond if needed as the cold weather moves to the east. Officials report as many as 117 million people are living under dangerous wind chill warnings, advisories and watches.

Sunday night 280 people stayed in 19 shelters in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Massachusetts because of the weather. The Red Cross has helped people in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts since the current winter onslaught began last week.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The bitterly cold weather has already caused the cancellation of nearly 125 Red Cross blood drives in 17 states, resulting in almost 4,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Despite the weather, hospital patients across the country will still need blood. Please consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets when it is safe to do so in your area.

You can make an appointment to give blood online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS As this latest outbreak of cold air moves across the country, people could experience wind chills as cold as 60 degrees below zero in some areas. To stay safe during this dangerous weather, follow these steps:

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  •  Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.

HOME FIRE RISK INCREASES DURING COLD Red Cross workers are also responding to numerous home fires across the country. During extremely cold weather, the risk for a fire in someone’s home can increase. To avoid fire danger, you should remember the following:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

Who’s Ready to Watch Some Football Tomorrow?

By: PaKou Lee, Social Media Intern

578386_655499837794299_2053414044_nThe Packers will be playing against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field starting at 11:30 a.m. I thought the last game against the Minnesota Vikings was pretty rough. I was nervous throughout the entire overtime play. My home state versus my favorite football team. Of course, the Packers are my favorite.

I was never into football before moving here to Green Bay. My friends and family finally converted me after nearly a year of living in Green Bay. The culture here is definitely different than back at home in St. Paul. Green Bay has a lot of community events involving the Packers, smaller organizations and businesses. It feels more personable to me. Back at home, there’s so much going on; the city is bigger, there is a lot more to do. I’m always on the fast lane that sometimes I forget about what my home state is all about. I definitely appreciate both cultures and states. Just spreading my Minnesota Nice to Green Bay.

I’m still trying to understand football. When I started watching the games, I had a ton of questions: What is an interception? Where is the ball? Once I even made a silly, but serious comment, “Wow! The Packers had a really good home run.” Of course, I know the difference between a home run and a touchdown. It just slipped out. It still makes my family laugh when someone brings it up, so there’s something good in that. I’ll be sporting my Packer gear tomorrow and cheering them on. I hope you and your family have a great time watching the Packer game or any of the other teams playing tomorrow. Stay warm if you’re going to be outside.

Be Prepared – Get the app

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Whether you’re watching the game at home or playing your own football game in your backyard this Thanksgiving, be prepared to handle the most common first aid emergencies. Get your head in the game and download our First Aid mobile app on your iPhone or Android device.

How Does One Prepare for Glow Golf??

(l-r) American Red Cross Team: Jody Weyers, Chris Mangless, Cathy Dworak and Mary Swanson

(l-r) American Red Cross Team: Jody Weyers, Chris Mangless, Cathy Dworak and Mary Swanson

By Jody Weyers, Director of Communications

The Brown County United Way kicked off their campaign last night with their 6th Annual Glow Golf Campaign event.  They had a strong turnout of more than 170 attendees and 30 foursomes playing night time golf at Ledgeview Golf Course in Depere.

The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, received the call a couple weeks ago, that we were the winners of the nonprofit drawing that receive a free team.  (THANK YOU UNITED WAY) 

Never having participated in glow golf before, I did send an e-mail to our United Way contact asking some “preparedness” questions:

  • Do we use our own clubs or are there special “glow clubs”? Answer: You use your own clubs.
  • Do we have a special ball and how do we see the course: Answer: Glow sticks lining the fairway and we use a glow ball.
  • Nine hole or 18 scramble:  Answer:  Nine Hole Scramble (thank goodness!)
  • What to wear:  Answer:  Normal golf apparel, our fancy new United Way t-shirt we would receive at registration, or some foursomes dress in a theme.

I am feeling pretty good about the event, I asked my questions, shared them with my foursome and I am ready!

I get to the event, and I find out we are walking the entire nine holes.  If I would have thought about, it is probably not the safest thing to have 30 + teams riding around in the dark on a golf cart.  #fail 1

We are provided glow balls, necklace, and glow stick & flashlight to see your bag/ball and for us to be seen.  Not nearly enough glowing material. #fail 2 not bringing a headlight or some other additional lighting equipment.

Thanks goodness, one of our teammates was familiar with the course, because otherwise, it would have been impossible to know where to go for the next hole.  #fail3 Not getting a map of the course to know where to go.

No matter if it is Glow Golf, or a disaster such as a tornado, hurricane or fire, the key message is about being prepared!

I know next time I will be ready. I already started to assembly my kit!

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  1. My United Way t-shirt to show my support.
  2. More glow sticks!
  3. Plenty of glow balls.
  4. Flashlight.
  5. Money – to buy raffles tickets to support the United Way.
  6. First aid kit.
  7. Toilet Paper and hand sanitizer — it is REALLY hard to see where the port-0-potties are on the course.
  8. Make sure to down-load the Red Cross First Aid app (just in case)…we are golfing in the dark after all, and not everyone yells FOOOORE!.

Thank you to my team mates for your support and for the many laughs. I am happy to report, we came in third place and no injuries. Success!!

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Bikes, Safety and Telephone Poles

by Jon Amel, American Red Cross Volunteer

kid bikingThey say that in the moments before a person experiences an accident, time seems to slow down, and the most important parts of their life flash before their eyes.

I can only speak for myself here, but I’m going to declare that statement to be a load of nonsense. You see, I was involved in an unfortunate biking encounter with a telephone pole as a teenager. I was innocently riding my bike on the sidewalk (Note: don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk,) when I veered onto the grass to clear the way for an oncoming jogger.  After passing him, I looked back to see if I’d given him enough space, and maybe get a friendly wave of thanks. He offered no friendly wave. Jerk.

telephone poleWhat I did see as I turned back around was the telephone pole coming towards me at full speed.

Now I can only assume this is the moment when time was supposed to slow to a crawl, and I was meant to see memories of old birthday parties and Christmas mornings. Didn’t happen. All I saw was thirty feet of splintered, rusty nail-covered misery. And time didn’t slow. That sucker was coming in hot.

I immediately realized I had no chance to stop or veer out of the way. Telephone pole and I were about to get intimate, there was no way around it. So I prepared in the only way I could on such short notice… I uttered an expletive and peed myself a little. Just a little.

I couldn’t have hit that pole more squarely if I’d aimed for it. My front wheel collapsed like the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the back wheel reared up like an angry bull trying to throw a rider. And throw me it did, face first, right into the pole.

bike helmetIt’s reasonable to assume I was dragged away from the scene with a face full of splintered wood, and a skull full of rusty nails, but such was not the case, for I was wise enough to be wearing a well-fitting bike helmet. Bike helmet really stood up and took one for the team, sparing me from that caved-in skull look, which nobody finds appealing, and likely imposes severe limitations to any potential dating opportunities. Always wear a well-fitting helmet.

Let’s take a look at some other safety tips…

Use an appropriately sized bike: There should be one to two inches of clearance when you are standing over the top bar of a road bicycle, and three to four inches of clearance between you and the top bar of a mountain bike. Your handlebar should be at the same level as the seat, which should sit level from front to back.

Make sure the bike works: Everyone enjoys those internet videos of people slamming into things while on their bike, and rightfully so. Few things are as entertaining as seeing someone you don’t know say, “Hey, watch this!” only to end up plastered against a brick wall. What is less fun is actually being splattered against a brick wall because your brakes are broken or worn out. You might break something, or have to search for your teeth. Not fun. Make sure your brakes work.

Make sure people can see you: There is a reason you see very few ninjas on bikes. This is because it is a bad idea to wear dark clothing on a bike. You want other people on the road (especially people driving cars) to see you, and black is a bad choice for that particular goal. But don’t think white is going to keep you safe. Science says no to that too. Studies have shown that wearing white while biking doesn’t improve your visibility to motorists. You should be wearing the brightest colors possible. That means neon or fluorescent, and preferably something with a decent amount of reflective surfaces. You should also make sure that there are reflectors on both the front and back of your bike. If you have to ride your bike at night, you should have a light mounted to the front of your bike, and a flashing light mounted to the rear.

Go with the flow of traffic, and obey all traffic laws: Johnny law considers your bike a vehicle, and you a driver, so act like it. This means stopping at stop signs/ stoplights and yielding when appropriate (you always yield to pedestrians. Always)

Stay alert and focused: Put the phone away (unless you are looking at the Red Cross First Aid App) Facebook doesn’t need to know you’re on a bike, and that text can wait. You need to stay alert for things like pedestrians, cars, potholes, dogs, ninjas, clowns and telephone poles. Especially telephone poles. Those things jump out from nowhere.

Stay safe out there, folks and to check out additional safety tips go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles