Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebrate Safely This Weekend!

The fourth of July is a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Here are some safety tips to stay safe while you’re having fun!

 ROAD SAFETY Millions of people will be on the roads Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five bullets of advice to ensure everyone is safe while traveling this holiday:
·      Do not drink and drive: Many people BBQ for the Fourth of July, which often times includes drinking. Be sure to designate a safe ride and avoid making bad decisions.
·      Buckle seat belts and observe speed limits.
·      Pay full attention to the road: Although you may choose not to drink and drive there is potential for other intoxicated drivers. Make sure to pay attention to the road and cars around you. Don’t use a cell phone or other distractions while you are driving.
·      Use caution in work zones.
·      Clean your vehicles lights and windows so that you are able to see, especially at night.  Remember to turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

Grilling Safety Many people are injured every year while using charcoal or gas grills. Follow these several steps to ensure your safety while grilling up some yummy BBQ treats.
·      Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
·      Never grill indoors.
·      Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat build up.
·      Make sure everyone, including pets, stay away from the grill
·      Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch on fire.
·      Use long handled tools to keep the chef safe.
·      Charcoal grill specific:
o   Never add flammable liquids to start the fire.
o   Let coals completely cool before disposing.
·      Propane grill specific:
o   Check the major connections points between gas tank hose and burners for potential leaks.
o   If there is a leak that does not stop, call the fire department immediately.

Water Safety Many people engage in water activities over their Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross encourages everyone to make water safety a priority as they enjoy pools or any beaches, lakes and rivers.
·      Ensure everyone knows how to swim and designate lifeguard supervises areas.
·      Always swim with a buddy
·      Wear life jackets.
·      Pay close attention to swimmers in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising the water. Never leave children unattended near the water.

For more tips to keep you and your family safe this Fourth of July holiday you can download the American Red Cross First Aid app at

Stay safe and have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend!
-Sophia Maloff

"Your volunteers are amazing!"

Julie Perl at the Red Cross shelter at Westcott Community
Center in Syracuse Wednesday afternoon
Julie Perl thought her Tuesday was winding down as she left class at Bryant and Stratton College and headed home around 10pm, but unfortunately, her evening's journey was just beginning.

"I was headed down James Street, saw the fire trucks, and started freaking out," Perl said at the Red Cross shelter at the Westcott Community Center in Syracuse Wednesday. Heavy rains had caused flash flooding in many areas of the city. At Perl's apartment complex, the power had been cut as the waters filled the basement and reached the electrical wiring, and the fire department told Julie and her family they had to leave.

"I've been here since 2:30 this morning," Perl said of the shelter. "The volunteers have been amazing. On the news, you see they're everywhere, but I've never had to deal with a situation where the Red Cross stepped in. They brought out snacks for the kids at 2:30 a.m., gave us water, blankets, breakfast this morning."

Perl and a couple of her fellow shelter residents actually helped set up the cots that 18 people slept on Tuesday night. She feels that's the least they could for the volunteers that were helping them. Volunteers like Rich Plumpton, who had just returned from two weeks working with the Red Cross relief efforts in Oklahoma three days earlier.

Julie Perl and her grandson enjoying lunch at the Wescott
Community Center shelter
"You couldn't ask for a better bunch of people," Perl said. "They actually felt bad that they didn't have any toys for my grandkids. But they gave them Mickey Mouse, and that made the kids so happy. They actually slept with the Mickeys!"

Later Wednesday afternoon, the shelter moved to St. Lucy's Church on Gifford Street, where 20 people spent Wednesday night. Julie Perl says she doesn't know what she would've done if it wasn't for the Red Cross.

"I have family, but they have things that they do, and don't have the room to put us up," she said. "We probably would've been in a shelter that's not fit for kids."