Top Ten Fire Safety Tip List

For Home and Work

The biggest disaster threat in the United States isn’t tornado, hurricane or flood: it is fire. The American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters every year.  Most are home fires.  In Northeast Ohio, Red Cross workers and volunteers help an average of 3 families, victims of home fires every night.

Mike Parks, Chief Executive of the American Red Cross, Northeast Ohio Region recently appeared on WKYC Channel 3 to help the station kick-off its Safety Week activities.  Station management has a genuine concern for the well-being of the Channel 3 workforce, so they turned to the Red Cross during National Preparedness Month to help improve worker readiness in the face of an emergency.

During Mike’s visit to the station on Monday, September 14, the fire alarm was sounded.  Employees were not warned in advance.  The exercise was meant to assess their reaction. Hosts Michael Cardamone and Hollie Giangreco vacated the premises promptly, along with the studio crew and support staff.  Mike then went on the air with station President and General Manager Micki Byrnes to explain the importance of responding immediately to a fire alarm, and to credit the employees who evacuated without hesitation.

“This is something all companies should be doing,” he said.  “All organizations should have a plan in place.”

Fire prevention and escape plans aren’t just for the workplace: every home should have a plan as well.

Here is a Top Ten list of Fire Safety Tips:

  1. Install smoke alarms on every floor
  2. Change the batteries at least once a year, and install a new one if the low-battery alarm chirps
  3. Test alarms once a month
  4. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear it
  5. Establish at least two escape routes from your home
  6. Consider emergency escape ladders for rooms on the second floor and above
  7. Select a meeting spot where your family can safely gather after escaping
  8. Practice your escape plan twice a year: time each drill until every family member can escape within two minutes
  9. Make an emergency kit. Get the basics from our previous blog posting here.
  10. Visit redcross.org to find out more about how to protect you and your family from fire

Every year, the Red Cross spends an average of $370 million helping people and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from nearly 70,000 disasters across the country and around the world. Help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation towards disaster relief.

And be watching Channel 3 News for more coverage of National Preparedness Month. Employees are being offered classes in First Aid and CPR through the American Red Cross.

Be Prepared: Now’s the Time

Building the Perfect 72 Hour Kit: 30 Items You Should Have Ready To Go

September 1, 2015                                                        

September is Red Cross Preparedness Month. You never know when a disaster might occur, so it’s important to be prepared for anything and everything. To help you, we have created a list of 30 items…one for each day of the month…that should be together and ready to go to help you survive for 72 hours—the length of time everyone should be self-sufficient during a large-scale disaster.

11 | Water: It’s the essence of life, and you’ll need plenty of it. The rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day, and enough for three days. For a family of four, that’s 12 gallons. It wouldn’t hurt to toss in some instant drink packets to add a little flavor. And if you really want to be safe, you could add a water purification pump to your kit in case you run out of bottled water, since tap and well water often get contaminated during disasters.

2 2 | Food: In many disasters, gas and electric are often knocked out, meaning you can’t cook or refrigerate food, so plan on having a selection of canned and/or ready-to-eat foods on hand. A big jar of peanut butter is a popular start. Cans of veggies, beans, peanuts, soups and tuna also work. (Keep in mind that canned foods do expire, so rotate your stock once or twice a year. And don’t forget a can opener!) Granola bars, protein bars and energy bars are good options. Or, you can purchase emergency food rations, which aren’t gourmet, but provide you with the needed nutrients and have a shelf life of five years. Eating food helps improve your mood.

33 | First aid kit / medical supplies: This is vital. Disasters are an injury waiting to happen and a breeding ground for germs. The Red Cross offers everything from basic kits to the extreme.

4 | Flashlight: When the electricity’s out and the sun goes down, it gets dark. Very dark. That means without a flashlight you’re a stubbed toe just waiting to4 happen. With the invention of LED lighting, flashlights are now small and powerful, so get one. Or two. You might also want to consider a flashlight that stands up and transforms into a lantern for general room lighting, or a headlamp that you can wear to free up your hands or to read in bed. The Red Cross Store offers a wide variety of lights, including lights that are powered by a hand crank and even lights that are activated by water.

55 | Radio: When a disaster strikes, keeping abreast of the latest news and weather is a must. Also, cranking up the tunes occasionally can help battle stress. But radios don’t work without electricity and can gobble up batteries, so make it a radio with a hand crank that generates its own power. The Red Cross Store has a variety of options, including ones that doubles as a flashlight and cell phone charger.

66 | Batteries: During a disaster, when the electricity is out, batteries are power—in many ways. So stock up on extras. And not just flashlight batteries, but some for cell phones, radios, two-way radios and whatever else needs power. Leaving the extra batteries in their original packaging, by the way, is a good way to help keep them fresh.

77 | Medications: A week’s worth of prescription medications are, of course, a must since these are usually vital to good health or maybe even survival. But don’t skimp on other basic medicines. Getting through a disaster is tough, and having a headache or upset stomach is only going to make it tougher, so create a mini-medicine cabinet with anything you typically need for a headache, upset stomach, menstrual cramps, diarrhea and whatever ails you.

88 | Cleaning supplies, part one: Disasters are dirty, so having something to clean up with is a huge help. A container of Clorox wipes is great to wipe down surfaces and kill germs—which spread like wildfire during disasters. Household bleach and rags also work well.

99 | Cleaning supplies, part two: Disasters are dirty, so having something to clean yourself with is next to godliness. Soap and a washcloth are ideal, if you can find a shower or running water. If not, baby wipes are a great alternative. They do a great job of getting rid of the grime and usually leave you smelling fresh as a daisy. Keeping a bottle of hand santizer handy is also a wise idea—getting sick isn’t a great way to deal with a disaster.

1010 | Sanitation and personal hygiene kit: Think of your bathroom and all that’s in it. A roll of toilet paper is a must. Toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, deodorant, shampoo and body wash. Travel-sized toiletries are just right. For women, don’t forget three days worth of tampons or pads.


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11 | Duct tape:
It’s the universal tool, or as comedian Red Green calls it, the handyman’s secret weapon. You can hang strips from the ceiling to serve as flypaper; make a bandage in a pinch; hold together just about anything; spin it and make a clothesline; reseal food packages; repair shoes or broken eyeglasses; write a note on it; the list goes on.

1112 | Towels: Towels aren’t quite duct tape when it comes to multiple utilitarian functions, but they can serve many purposes other than drying off after a sponge bath or getting caught out in the rain. You can roll them up and use them as pillows, wrap them around you to help keep you warm, sit on them as an extra layer of padding or while pretending you’re at the beach,mop up spills or wipe off sweat.

map13 | Maps of the area: It’s old-school, true, but you’ll be glad you have them when your smartphone dies. Just for the record, Google maps aren’t available in paper. Try your local bookstore.


1214 | Copies of personal documents:
If your home or car is damaged, you’ll want copies of insurance policies in hand. It’s also helpful to have extra copies of bank records and Social Security card to reestablish accounts. Also consider credit card numbers to cancel the cards if they’re lost or destroyed, birth certificates, passports, driver’s license, car registration. Don’t pack the originals, though, just copies. And keep them in a waterproof container.

1515 | Cash: ATMs don’t work without electricity, so forget that quick trip to the money machine up the street. Credit card machines also don’t work without electricity either, so you’ll quickly Discover your MasterCard got a Visa and has left town on the American Express. The only currency that works during a disaster is cash. Pack away about $150, which should be enough to get you through a few days, although make sure it’s a collection of small bills since the one convenient store that’s open probably isn’t going to be able to make change for a $50.

1616 | Bedding: Unless the disasters happen during the dog days of summer, chances are it will get anywhere from nippy to bone-chilling cold at some point, so make sure you have something that is going to keep you warm and dry at night, like blankets or sleeping bags. Emergency space blankets are also a nice alternative, as they are light and pack small but are made of materials that keep in body heat so you stay warm. A good night’s sleep is the best way to deal with a tough situation.

1717 | Clothing: There’s nothing quite like living and sleeping in the same clothes for several days—for you or the people around you. To make everyone happy, pack a complete change of clothing. Pick shirts with long sleeves. (You can roll up long sleeves in hot weather, but you can’t pull down short sleeves in cold weather.) Also consider adding a hat and rain gear. And make sure you have sturdy shoes since the most common injuries during disasters are foot cuts.

1818 | Mess kits: One of the most important pieces in surviving a disaster is eating. Food improves your mood. And while your food selection during a disaster may not be gourmet, that doesn’t mean it has to be uncivilized. You can still eat off of plates using knives and forks and spoons. OK, the plates may be paper and the utensils plastic, but it’s better than eating out of a can. Don’t forget paper towels. And insulated mugs also work well since you can use them for hot soup or cold drinks.

1919 | Family and emergency contact information: For most people these days, this is kept in their cell phones. Don’t risk your phone dying. Keep names and phone numbers of family members, doctors, pharmacies, insurance agents, anyone who you may need to contact in a notebook. It’s old-school, yes, but in a disaster when the power is out you often have to resort back to how things were done in the 1970s–before there were smart phones, the Internet and quite possibly fire.

2920 | Baby supplies: Going through a disaster is tough. Going through a disaster with an upset baby is a double disaster. Many parents already keep a baby bag, but if not make sure you have enough diapers and food to make it through three days, along with baby powder, wipes, pacifiers and whatever else your baby needs.

21 | Miscellaneous items: Safety pins, Velcro strips, bobby pins, rubber bands, super glue, carabiners. It’s amazing how often you need these things. Just toss some in a small bag or container and you’ll be good to go.23

22 | Sharpies: They’ll write on anything. Label plates and cups so the kids don’t argue over which one is theirs. Write on a piece of duct tape and you can leave a note anywhere. Put your name on your disaster kit and anything (and everything) else.

23 | Storage: Ziploc baggies can hold leftovers as well as keep papers or cell phones dry. Garbage bags not only provide a place for trash, but they can double as ponchos if it’s raining, an extra layer to keep you warm or a tarp if you’re sitting on wet ground. Storage containers can hold items when you’re preparing your disaster kit, and then be used as bowls to eat out of or a place to store leftovers. Plastic grocery bags are great to hold wet clothes or washcloths, or you can use the handles and string them up with some rope for out-of-the-way storage space.

2424 | Snacks: A little snack is a welcome relief during a disaster. Hard candy such as butterscotch candies and peppermints are ideal for disaster kits, since they won’t melt and taste good.25

25 | Two-way radios: During many disasters, cell phone service tends to go out along with the electricity, so a great way to keep in contact with family members is to share a couple of two-way radios. They’re small, relatively inexpensive and have a range of up to 50 miles.

2626 | Work gloves: Most disasters leave behind a mess, meaning you may have to move dirty or dangerous debris. Gloves can also double as hand warmers on cold days, pot holders if you’re cooking on a camp stove, even fly swatters if you have good hand-eye coordination.

27 | An extra set of car and house keys: When a disaster hits, you may not have time to grab your keys, so keep an extra set in your bag.

10543627_10202384639359181_6743445317021780746_n28 | Pet supplies: Don’t forget the dog and cat. Plan for three days of pet food and supplies, as well as extra water for your pets. A toy or two also helps. If you have a cat, aluminum roasting pans are inexpensive and make great makeshift litter boxes. For dogs, pack an extra leash and clean-up bags. If you can’t grab a crate, make sure you have a blanket for your pets to sleep on. It also helps to have photos of your pets in case you become separated. Medical records also help.

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29 | Entertainment:
TVs, the Xbox, DVD players—none of these things work when the electricity’s out, so unless you’re a musician or stand-up comedian, the kids are going to need something to keep them entertained. Crayons, pencils and paper work with smaller kids. Card games and puzzle books might work for older kids. Don’t forget to bring reading material for yourself.

3030 | A multi-purpose tool: These amazing little devices go beyond the basic pocket knife by including such handy tools as a can opener, scissors, a saw, pliers, screwdrivers, tweezers and files. You’ll find yourself using this more than you think.

Spring Preparedness: 6 Tips to Prepare for Blackouts

It’s not pleasant to think about – but blackout season is ahead of us! Why not get prepared today for a potential spring blackout?

Follow these 6 tips and get your home blackout-ready!

1. Follow energy conservation measures to reduce electricity usage, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.

 

2. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Leave about an inch of space inside each one to account for expansion. Chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.

 

3. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

 

4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

 

5. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help in lifting it.

 

6. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.

Wising you a safe and happy 2015!

With the new year quickly approaching, many people will reflect on the current year and how they can improve their lives in the coming one.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with some Red Cross Resolutions that will help you, your family and your community in 2015.

#1: Get a Kit

Whether you call it your disaster kit, a survival kit or a 72-hour kit – every household should have one. This kit should include everything your family would need to survive if you needed to shelter-in-place for at least 3 days.

For an in-depth look on how to build a kit for your home and auto, take a look at this blog post (home), this one for auto or visit www.redcross.org/prepare

#2: Make a Plan

Experts agree, an individual may have as few as 2 minutes to exit a burning building.

It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.

Here are some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:

  • With your your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
  • Choose two places to meet:
    • Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire.
    • Outside your neighborhood (such as a relative or friend’s house in a different part of town), in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
  • Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.

For more information on how to make a plan for your home, visit www.redcross.org/prepare

#3: Volunteer

There are many ways to help your community with the Red Cross. You could volunteer to assist donors at a local blood drive, turn heartbreak into hope as a Disaster Action Team member, help connect emergency communications for military families or by giving your time and talents in any of the many volunteer positions available. To get started, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer

#4: Learn CPR

Would you know what to do in a cardiac, breathing or first aid emergency? The right answer could help you save a life. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, our First Aid/CPR/AED courses give you the skills to save a life.

To view local courses, visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass

#5: Give Blood

There’s no one reason to give blood. Maybe you or a family member received blood, or you think that one day you’ll be in need of it. Maybe your friend or colleague asked you to give blood. Maybe you think it’s the right thing to do. No matter the reason, your getting involved helps the Red Cross maintain a healthy and reliable blood supply.

To find a Blood Drive or donation location near you, visit www.redcross.org/blood