Thursday, December 15, 2011

Make your holidays happy, healthy and safe!

For many of us, the holidays are typically one of the busiest times of the year.  Between the shopping, baking, travelling to see family, holiday parties and taking the kids to visit Santa, it's amazing we have time to breathe!  But the season wouldn't be nearly as merry if we didn't take the time to stay safe.  So as a gift to you, the Red Cross is offering 12 Days of Holiday Safety Tips (feel free to come up with your own catchy tune and sing these tips the next time you're our caroling!):

1. Prepare your 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 possible. 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 you're sick. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover your 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 cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep you 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 take first aid and CPR/AED training. Visit for details and to register.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive impaired. If you plan 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 and carbon monoxide detectors, and check their batteries.

10. Cut down on heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your 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.  Schedule a free emergency preparedness education program at your school, business or organization by contacting Denise Herkey-Jarosch at