Before the year ends, consider giving

By Doug Bardwell and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers

As the year comes to a close, many people spend time between Christmas and the New Year holiday with their yearly review and goal setting for next year. If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to.

Many people decide that they want to do more for those in need. If that thought is on Red Cross year end check listyour mind, please consider volunteering with the American Red Cross. Even if you can only commit to a few hours a week or a month, there’s a way for you to make a difference. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to get started and see what positions are needed now.

Others realize that their charitable donations aren’t where they should be. But fear not, there’s still time.

Did you know:

  • If you itemize your deductions, your donation can be used to lower your tax obligation in the year you donate.
  • Putting a check in the mail constitutes a donation made in the year it was mailed.
  • Contributions made on a credit card are deductible in the year they appear on your account, even if you pay them off in the following year.
  • Contribution limits for tax purposes are quite high. If you have an adjusted gross income of $100,000, you can donate up to $60,000 to a public charity.
  • If you donate property you’ve owned for at least a year, the donation is considered to be the fair market value of the item donated. If the property has appreciated in value, you’ll get the added benefit of that higher value.
  • Individuals who are 70-1/2 years old or older, can donate up to $100,000 directly from their IRA without having to claim it as taxable income.
  • To read more about these hints, refer to Charity Navigator’s website.

So, you’ve decided to donate before year-end. But, where to donate? Well, if you’re 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_3_FINALreading this, chances are you are already well aware that the American Red Cross is the preeminent organization for helping to prevent and alleviate human suffering in this country.

Only one decision left. Where would you like your donation applied? Our website’s donation page gives you four options:

  • Disaster Relief
  • Where it is needed most
  • Local Red Cross programs and services—this benefits Northeast Ohio chapter activities
  • Home fires

and you can pay via credit card or via PayPal.

Considering a donation other than online?

Here are some helpful links, no matter how you decide to donate:

Do you want to mail a check?  Send it to American Red Cross; 3747 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

If you’d like to donate by phone, call 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Donate by text: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to Disaster Relief.

Donating vehicles of any kind (running or not): Call 1-855-92 RC CAR (1-855-927-2227) or by visiting redcross.org/cardonation.

Donating stocks or mutual funds: Go here on our website.

Donating by Electronic Fund Transfer or Wire Transfer:  See below:

doug donation

If you are unable to make a financial contribution or to volunteer, you may also give life saving blood. The Red Cross provides roughly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. However, of the 38 percent of the population that is eligible to donate, less than ten percent actually donates. With someone in the U.S. needing blood every two seconds, your blood donation is vital. To make an appointment to donate, you may visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or you may download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Thanks for your donation—either your time, your blood or your money. Have a wonderful New Year!

Deck the halls and trim the tree: Tips for a festive and safe home

Written by Brad Galvin and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers

The holidays are approaching, so is the heightened risk for home fires. Unfortunately, this time of year is tragically one of the busiest for fire departments due to the surprising danger of holiday décor, dry Christmas trees, holiday cooking and misuse of fireplaces and chimneys.

fireplace-1024x683.jpgBeautiful, fragrant and festive, the live Christmas tree can be very risky if safety precautions are not observed. The longer the tree is in the home without being given ample water, the more it will dry out and become a fire hazard. A dry live tree can go up in flames quickly if there is an electrical mishap with a strand of lights or if an open flame gets too close to the needles. It is important to continue to give your tree plenty of water and keep it away from energy sources. Strands of lights should be checked frequently.

According the National Fire Protection Agency, between 2012 to 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of four deaths, 15 injuries and $12 million in direct property damage annually.

Festive décor should be installed with common sense in mind. Décor such as candles and lights can catch their cheerful counterparts such as garland, bows and wreaths on fire if they aren’t properly inspected and used correctly. Do not overload sockets and connect too many extension cords.

Hams, casseroles and delicious cookies are staples on the holiday plate but use caution 240_F_146531964_rcj4af3xtTm2f3nW8aoKU9G6Y14fPSt6when using the oven and cooking range. FEMA recommends a common-sense practice of simply staying in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or cooking on the stove top or broiling food. The idea of “set-it and forget-it” is dangerous. Additionally, FEMA recommends to never use a turkey fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck. It’s imperative to watch the fryer carefully, as the oil will continue to heat until it can catch on fire. To avoid oil spillover, don’t overfill the fryer.

The holidays are the perfect time to enjoy the crackling of a fire in the fireplace. Stockings hung from the mantel is an iconic holiday image. While picturesque, it is critical to be smart when operating the fireplace. Some suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics include:

  • Even if the chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc.). If these items get too close to the fireplace, they could catch fire.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby.

heating-en

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. The excitement can often divert our attention and distract us from our usual diligence. It’s imperative to use these common-sense suggestions to decrease the risk of a dangerous home fire.

You can learn more about preventing home fires with tips from the American Red Cross at redcross.org. The Red Cross offers simple safety tips that take you safely through the holidays and into the new year. Read  them here.

Travel tips to get you safely to your Thanksgiving celebration

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

thanksgiving-travel-safety

 

Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings people together to give thanks and celebrate their blessings. Relatives gather around the table to enjoy their family’s version of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Each year, millions of people drive to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, making it one of the busiest times for road traffic.

 

If you are headed “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house,” as the childhood song goes, prepare in advance to ensure a safe visit. The American Red Cross offers 10 tips to help you stay safe if you are traveling by car:

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  2. Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in the trunk.
  3. Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  4. Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
  5. Be well rested and alert.
  6. Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
  7. Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
  8. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  9. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  10. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

‘Tis the season . . . flu season. So if public transportation is part of your travel plans, keep this in mind. From luggage to seats, everything that you touch is likely touched by someone else. Follow these tips to help avoid the spread of germs.

  1. Handle your own belongings.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  3. Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces, such as armrests.
  4. Bring your own pillows and blankets. They can act as a shield against the seat itself.

To find out what supplies you should have on hand in an emergency preparedness kit, the Red Cross offers this checklist and quiz to test your knowledge: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html.

You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to help you monitor severe weather and emergency alerts.

Whichever road leads to your Thanksgiving destination, these Red Cross tips and tools can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Safe travels!

10 tips to stay safe this Halloween while trick-or-treating

image (1)

By: Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

Halloween, one of the country’s most popular holidays, is just days away. Soon neighborhoods across Northeast Ohio will be filled with witches, ghosts, pirates and superheroes.

As you prepare to take to the streets for some trick-or-treating fun, the American Red Cross offers some tips to help keep you and your family safe:

  1. Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen.
    • Use face makeup instead of masks. Masks can make it hard for a child to see clearly.
    • Give kids a flashlight to light their way.
    • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to help motorists see your trick-or-treater at night.
  1. Use flame-resistant costumes.
  2. Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance. Make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door.
  3. It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for on Halloween. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
  4. Walk, don’t run.
  5. Only visit homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door—NEVER go inside.
  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.
    • Use extra caution if driving. Young trick-or-treaters are excited and may forget to look both ways before crossing.
  1. Make sure a grown-up checks the sweet goodies before eating.
    • Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards.
    • Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.

And finally, for those expecting trick-or-treaters at their homes looking for candy, follow these safety steps:

  1. Light the area well so young visitors can see.
  2. Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, zombie or werewolf has a mishap. Use the Emergency App for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

By being prepared and keeping these tips in mind, you and your little ghouls and goblins can have a safe, fun and candy-filled Halloween!

Add earthquake preparedness to your to-do list, even if you live in Ohio

By Doug Bardwell – American Red Cross Volunteer

Shake out

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut International Day of Action is set for Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 10:18 a.m. During the self‐led drill, participants practice earthquake preparedness by learning to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”. Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if it’s nearby. If you have mobility issues, either lock the wheels of your wheelchair or stay seated, and bend over.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall, away from windows.
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If you are under a table or desk for shelter, hold onto it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.

Watch the video

Earthquakes in Ohio – really?  YES – REALLY

“People may say ‘Why do we need to practice earthquake drills in Ohio?’ We practice because Ohio does experience earthquakes,” said Sima Merick, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency . “Ohio has had four low-scale earthquakes so far this year. It is also good to know earthquake safety in the event you’ve traveled to another state or country where quakes can occur with higher magnitude and frequency.”

In January 1986, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake took place in Lake County, impacting most of northeastern Ohio. This was the first Ohio quake that caused injuries and to occur near a U.S. nuclear power plant. The 1986 quake ranks as the third largest in the state.

Ohio is on the periphery of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area in Missouri and adjacent states that was the site of the largest earthquake sequence to occur in U.S. history. Four great quakes were part of a series at New Madrid in 1811 and 1812. These events were felt throughout the eastern part of the country and were strong enough to topple chimneys in Cincinnati. In March of 1937, western Ohio experienced a 5.4-magnitude quake that knocked down or damaged every chimney in Anna (Shelby County). So much damage was caused to the local school that it had to be torn down.

For more information, or to register yourself, your company or your organization, visit the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut website for Ohio.  Two million Ohioans have already registered.

Also, check out the Red Cross Earthquake App where you can monitor relatives out of town and get the latest alerts.  Available for Android and iOS phones. In the app’s toolkit, you can notify relatives that you are safe, and locate open Red Cross shelters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Aid for Fido and Friskie

Pippa_CatDogFirstAid (002)

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month.  It’s the perfect time for pet lovers to take the American Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course and download the Pet First Aid App.

“All pet owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers should know what to do in an emergency until veterinary care is available,” said Deborah C. Mandell, VMD, DACVECC, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, and professor at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “The Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course and the Pet First Aid App are both easy and convenient ways to learn life-saving skills.”

Take the course. People can access the course on their desktop or tablet at redcross.org/catdogfirstaid and go through the content at their own pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the course. Participants can stop and pick up where they left off if Fluffy needs a treat or it’s time to take Fido out to the dog park. The interactive course includes:

  • How to determine a pet’s normal vital signs so that owners can notice if there are any irregularities;
  • Step-by-step instructions and visual aids for what to do if a pet is choking, needs CPR, has a wound, or is having a seizure; and
  • Information on preventative care, health and tips for a pet’s well-being.

Download the app. The free Pet First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on how to maintain your pet’s health, what to do in emergencies, and how to include pets in your emergency preparedness plans.

Speedy_CatDogFirstAid (002)The app will also help cat and dog owners keep their pets safe by learning what emergency supplies to have, when they should contact their veterinarian, and where to find a pet care facility or pet-friendly hotel. Users learn how to assemble a pet first aid kit and an emergency kit. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies.

The Pet First Aid App can be downloaded by texting ‘GETPET’ to 90999, by going to redcross.org/apps, or by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in app stores.