Let the Annual Weather Games Begin

May the forecast be ever in your favor….

If you like snow and cold, you are REALLY in luck this week. According to our partners at the Weather Channel, Northeast Ohio is in for some outstanding winter weather with snow giving way to freezing temperatures and then back to an icy, wintery mix over the next 10 days.

But we’ll leave the forecasting to the professionals.

Let’s chat about some things that you and your family can do to prepare for the winter weather that is upon us. But first, please remember your friends and neighbors – especially those who may have functional or access needs – and check on them. Help them get prepared as well, if you are able!

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Everything You Need to Know in New All-in-One Red Cross Emergency App

The new, all-inclusive Emergency App from the American Red Cross provides people with instant access to emergency alerts, life-saving information, and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for smart phones and tablets.Emergency App

The Emergency App is a single ‘go-to’ source for everything from home fires to hurricanes. It includes content from a group of award-winning Red Cross apps with additional information about what to do in case of 14 different types of emergencies and disasters. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.

The app includes a new featured called “Family Safe” that allows the app user to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. The recipient can instantly see the alert details as well as specific “what to do now” steps, and then respond with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not safe.” This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency App. In addition to smartphones and tablets, this feature will be available on the new Apple Watch and can be downloaded from the Apple Watch App Store starting April 24.

Other important features include:

  • Emergency first aid information for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies as well as water safety information;
  • Preloaded content so users can access guidance from Red Cross experts even without mobile connectivity;
  • A single map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information;
  • A home fire section with detailed prevention and safety tips as well as Red Cross “After the Fire” information;
  • “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes; and
  • The ability to easily toggle between English and Spanish.

The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Red Cross apps have been downloaded more than 6 million times and nearly 400 million alerts have been sent since the launch of the first app in 2012. While apps can help prepare someone for disasters, it’s important to note that they are not substitutes for training. People can take Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses so they’ll know what to do in case help is delayed. They can get information and register at redcross.org/TakeAClass.

Winter Prep: Simple Steps to Stay Safe

Blizzards, ice storms, Nor’easters and freezing cold ­ winter can be a killer. The season can have a huge impact on travel, schools, businesses and health. Just look at what happened to Buffalo recently, where people were trapped at home and in their cars due to snow measured by the foot. Or the Thanksgiving Nor’easter that disrupted the busiest travel day of the year and left more than 400,000 people without power in the northeast. Don’t let winter hazards catch you unprepared. Follow these simple steps from the National Weather Service to stay safe this winter:

1. Know your risk

Check the forecast at weather.gov before you leave the house. Familiarize yourself with winter watches, warnings and advisories so you know what to do when the National Weather Service issues one for your area.

2. Take Action

Make sure you have an emergency supplies kit in both your home and car. If possible, avoid leaving your home if hazardous winter weather is approaching. If you must leave, make sure you are dressed for the elements and that your mobile phone is fully charged. If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for pets. Make sure to provide a warm, dry place for any animals that typically stay outdoors.

To learn more about cold weather health dangers, like frostbite and hypothermia download the free Red Cross First Aid app (a 99¢ Red Cross Pet First Aid app is also available!)

3. Be A Force of Nature

Set an example and others will follow. Take to social media to post about approaching hazardous weather and tell your family and friends how you are preparing (on Twitter use #WinterPrep). Call friends, family and neighbors to alert them to dangers and encourage them to get ready for the storm. After the storm passes, check on your loved ones and neighbors. Offer assistance where you can, especially to the elderly who are particularly vulnerable. Be a Force of Nature in your hometown. Winter weather can be deadly. But with a few simple steps, you can stay safe.

With Halloween coming, stay safe as you don your costumes and go out to Trick-or-Treat

The Red Cross is offering the following tips to help make this Halloween safe.

Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents.

Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents.

TRICK OR TREAT

  • Look for flame-resistant costumes.
  • Plan the Trick-or-Treat route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.
  • Make sure the Trick-or-Treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.
  • Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks, which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see.
  • 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.
  • Be cautious around pets and any other animals.

 WELCOMING GHOSTS AND GOBLINS

If someone is welcoming Trick-or-Treaters at their home, they should make sure the outdoor light is on. Other safety steps include:

  • Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
  • Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
  • Restrain any household pets.
  • Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.

 People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies.