Fourth of July Safety Tips: Celebrate Independence Day Safely

This Fourth of July weekend, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, so we wanted to offer a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend!

HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of Northeast Ohioans will hit the road over the Fourth of July weekend. (Auto club AAA estimates that 41.9 million Americans will travel over the weekend, the most in eight years!) Here are five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  2. Do not drink and drive.
  3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
  4. Use caution in work zones.
  5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

4th of July Firework SafetyFIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. But if sparklers are part of your Independence Day tradition, here are five safety steps for people using novelty fireworks (the only fireworks which are legal for home use in the state of Ohio) at home:

  1. Never give novelty fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting novelty fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one novelty firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Never throw or point a novelty firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. 

Grill Safety Tips

GRILLING SAFETY Ah! The Red, White and Blue Backyard Barbecue!! But did you know that every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills? Here are five steps to safely cook up treats for your Independence Day feast:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

JUST IN CASE: WHY NOT BE SAFE AND DOWNLOAD THE FREE FIRST AID APP – The Red Cross has a free Red Cross First Aid App to put expert advice for everyday emergencies at their fingertips. The app is available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

Happy AND SAFE Fourth of July, everyone!

Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

The long, hot days of summer can bring dangerously high temperatures. summer sunExcessive heat has caused more deaths than any other extreme weather in recent years. Do you know how to keep your family safe in a heat wave?

The Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe when it’s hot outside.

HOT CARS CAN BE DEADLY Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).

HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist, or the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app also gives users the option to receive alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories. People can learn how to treat heat-related and other emergencies by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for more information.

Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Volunteers Celebrated at Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition

Volunteers are the body and soul of Red Cross. They graciously commit their time and energy to provide services and awareness to their communities. On June 9th, the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter celebrated some amazing volunteers at the Chapter’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition.

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Right in Your Own Backyard”, signifying that despite any changes that have taken place over the past year the Red Cross continues to serve each community in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties — right in your backyard. To highlight this sentiment, the room was decorated like a backyard picnic! Attendees were treated to pulled bar-b-q pork, baked beans, pasta salad, lemonade, and a strawberry shortcake station for desert.

During the meeting, five volunteers were recognized by Rachel D’Attoma, Executive Director, for their outstanding dedication and achievements. Jim Reed was recognized for his achievements in the Chapter and Transportation Services. Bruce Foster was recognized for his work in the Services to the Armed Forces. David Riegler was recognized for his dedication in Disaster Cycle Services. Beata Bogyor was recognized for her continued support in Preparedness Health and Safety Services. And Bev Krizay was recognized for her work in Blood Services.

The meeting also included the induction of new board members who will start their three-year term this July. The members include, Jason Roche, Justin Markey, Patrick Stobb, Kim Kline, Cindy Johnson, Pam Williams, Mary Link, Mona Sarkar, Assistant Chief Charlie Brown, Ann Otto, Michele Siudak, Willis Walker, Todd Peetz, Jack McCabe, Vicky Snyder, Eric Shaffer, and Kim Rice.

If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer please visit Volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

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Stand with Us, Celebrate Red Cross Giving Day

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The American Red Cross is launching its first Giving Day on June 2, asking everyone in Northeast Ohio to make a donation to the Red Cross at to help ensure that help is available wherever and whenever people need it.

Life can change in one day, leaving someone with nothing – without a home, without their belongings, without hope. For so many of these people, the American Red Cross is the answer. We need the public’s support.

Red Cross Giving Day is a 24-hour national fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross in communities across the country each and every day. The theme of Giving Day is “All In One Day” because the Red Cross is “all in” every day, helping people to get back on their feet.

On June 2nd, we have 24 hours to turn compassion into action. On this one day, please donate to the Red Cross so we can be there to help people in need.

To take part in Giving Day and support the work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/givingday. All in one day, working together, we can bring help and hope to people when they need it most.

Each day in communities across the country and around the world, the Red Cross comforts disaster victims, supplies blood to patients in need, supports members of the military and teaches people lifesaving skills. Nationally, the Red Cross:

  • Responds nearly 200 times a day to help a family affected by a home fire or other disaster.
  • Provides nearly 5,600 blood transfusions a day to patients in need.
  • Gives 15,500 people a day lifesaving health and safety training.
  • Provides nearly 1,000 services a day to military members, their families and veterans.
  • With the help of partners, gives 308,000 children a day measles or rubella vaccinations.

Eight-year-old honored for saving sister life

Trinity holds her sister, Londyn, at the school’s assembly in her honor.

On a cold night in March, 8-year-old Trinity Seymour woke to the sound of a blaring smoke detector.  The piercing sound of several smoke alarms was scary to her 3-year-old sister, Londyn who had run into their shared closet while covering her ears. The family had recently moved into the apartment building, however, Trinity’s grandfather, Scott Bentley would not allow his daughter’s family to move in until he purchased and installed three smoke detectors.

Trinity knew what to do.

Red Cross staff member, Tim Reichel, had recently spoken at her school about fire safety.  “Stay calm,” Trinity thought to herself. “Get Londyn and get out of here!”  Trinity went to the closet, consoled Londyn, picked her up and calmly exited the home.   “Mr. Tim says you should stand very far away from the burning building so I told everyone to stand across the street.” The Navarre Fire Department quickly responded to the apartment fire that displaced four families.  The Red Cross was on the scene and provided bedding, clothing, shoes and seasonal clothing to all the families.  In addition, Red Cross volunteers consoled the distraught families and provided much needed hugs and emotional support.

Navarre apartment fire.  Everyone escaped without injury.

Navarre apartment fire. Everyone escaped without injury

A week later, Tim received an email from Trinity’s teacher, Holly Charton.  After explaining Trinity’s home fire and her heroic act in rescuing her sister, Ms. Charton explained, “Her grandpa told me that someone at our school did a fabulous job teaching her what do when there is a fire. I told him that person was Mr. Tim from the Red Cross!”

Tim Reichel fist bumps a Fairless Elementary student.

Tim Reichel fist bumps a Fairless Elementary student.

On March 14, 2015 the Fairless Elementary school held a school assembly to honor Trinity.  As a surprise, her family was there as she received the Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Action from the Red Cross and an award from the Navarre Fire Department.  Her story appeared on the front page of the Massillon Independent and on Channel 5 news in Cleveland. At the assembly Grandfather Scott Bentley thanked the school and the Red Cross for educating the students on fire safety.  “Smoke detectors do save lives,” said Bentley.  “After the fire, I stood in the closet where Londyn hid and nothing survived that fire.  Thank god my little girls knew what to do and got out!” Although Trinity is very shy and was overwhelmed with the attention, she did wear her Red Cross medal for the rest of the school day.

Trinity Seymour and Tim Reichel

Trinity Seymour and Tim Reichel

Volunteering for Blood Services

The American Red Cross Blood Services relies on the Volunteergenerosity of volunteers, not only as blood and platelet donors, but also to help with various aspects of our humanitarian work.

Every day, the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region holds approximately 20 blood drives throughout 19 northern Ohio counties. The organization depends on volunteers to assist donors with registration, escort them after they have given blood and ensure they receive refreshments and feel well after their donation.

Every day, volunteers show blood donors how important they are. Volunteer Ruby Dailey has been with the American Red Cross for over 14 years and loves helping people and making donors feel special. In the Northern Ohio Region, volunteers are part of a process that is vital for the whole community. By assisting at local blood drives and helping donors have a good experience, volunteers help patients in 57 local hospitals receive the lifesaving treatment they need. Jean Barson, who has volunteered with the Red Cross for 12 years, loves being part of the organization and giving back to her community.

Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the total work force of the American Red Cross and the work of the organization could not continue without these dedicated individuals. That’s one of the main reasons George Figel has volunteered with the Red Cross for 29 years. He likes that it’s run by volunteers. And, he feels it’s a worthy endeavor because it helps people through a variety of services, like blood, disaster relief and military aid.

If you are interested in joining the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross as a Blood Services volunteer, visit redcrossblood.org/volunteer or call (216) 431-3172.