Since 2000, the number of fires that the American Red Cross has responded to has increased by 10%. The holiday season, with all of its beautiful decorations and delicious cooking, is always a peak time for fires to break out. We’ve had ample evidence of that lately. Here in the Southern Minnesota Region, we’ve responded to 4 fires this week alone. Our volunteers are the best–their compassion and hard work is a huge comfort to families dealing with disaster. But it’s important, too, to do everything we can to prevent home fires. Enjoy your holiday decorations and the warmth of the season safely with some ideas from the Red Cross.
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
- Visit http://www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.
Sources: American Red Cross
Here at the American Red Cross, we’re proud of our volunteers. They accomplish about 90% of our work! We have the greatest volunteers on earth, but we need paid staff, too. Right now, we’re looking for a Regional Volunteer Coordinator to work out of our Rochester, MN office. If you think that sounds like an opportunity you might be interested in, here’s some more information: http://www.americanredcross.apply2jobs.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=mExternal.showJob&RID=39493
Tell your friends, too!
Did you know that more kitchen fires happen on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year? And that cooking is the leading cause of home fires? The Red Cross has some tips to help make sure that firefighters don’t have to come to join your holiday table!
• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area.
• Clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup.
• Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off if leaving the kitchen.
• Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
• Place turkey fryers outside and away from the house, deck and garage.
So, I forgot my phone at home this morning. It’s amazing how lost I feel without it. I keep thinking of the texts and calls I might be missing. What if something important comes in, and I don’t know it? It makes me anxious–and then it kind of makes me laugh. I mean, really, I can access all of my email here at my desk. My family knows my work phone number if there’s an emergency. The texted photo of my grand-puppy will still be cute if I see it after work. There’s really nothing that I can’t survive without for one day.
I can only imagine the anxiety and fear in the Philippines right now. Communication is still very limited in the areas that were hardest hit by last week’s typhoon. I can’t imagine spending days on end wondering if my loved ones were all right, wondering if anything is left of my home, wondering how to find out key information about the storm and how to start to rebuild. The American Red Cross is sending two telecommunications specialists and a satellite system to the Philippines to help reestablish those links.
The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan is front and center in the news right now. People are coping with large-scale death and destruction, with food and water shortages, with a lack of medical supplies. And, to add to the anxiety, truly no way to communicate with loved ones, or even to know their fate.
It’s times like these that I’m really proud to be a Red Crosser. The Philippine Red Cross has done, and continues to do, amazing things to help people. Like in the U.S., most Philippine Red Cross work is done by volunteers. The American Red Cross, and the American people, are ready to support and help in any way we can. We hope that the basic needs of the Philippine people will soon be met. We hope they are soon able to communicate with their loved ones, and with the outside world. I’m glad to be part of an organization that will respond to disasters with compassion and help.
You can help people affected by disasters like typhoons, floods, tornadoes and other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
There are lots of chances to learn life-saving skills in November. To register, or for more information, go to redcross.org or call 800-733-2767. Make sure to register early, since classes may be cancelled for low enrollment.
Monday, November 4
- Olivia–Adult CPR/AED and First Aid, review class, 5:30-9:00pm
Tuesday, November 5
- Mankato–Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid, 6:30-9:30pm AND 6:30-9:30pm Wednesday, November 6. If you do not need the First Aid portion, you can attend only the Tuesday session.
- Rochester–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, review class, 6:00-10:00pm
Wednesday, November 6
- Mankato–First Aid, 6:30-9:30pm
Thursday, November 7
- Faribault–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, review class, 6:00-10:00pm
Saturday, November 9
- Faribault–Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED, 9:00am-3:00pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 1:00pm. If you do not need First Aid OR the pediatric portion, the class will end at 12:00pm.
- Marshall–Client Casework, 10:00am-7:00pm
- Rochester–Babysitting Training, 9:00am-4:00pm
Tuesday, November 12
- Mankato–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, 9:00am-3:00pm
- Rochester–Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED, 6:00pm-10:00pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 8:00pm. If you only need either the adult OR the pediatric portion of CPR/AED, the class will end at 9:00pm.
Thursday, November 14
- Rochester–Disaster Action Team Job Induction, 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday, November 16
- Rochester–Shelter Fundamentals, 8:00am-12:00pm
Monday, November 18
- Mankato–Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED, 6:00pm-10:00pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 8:00pm. If you only need either the adult OR the pediatric portion of CPR/AED, the class will end at 9:00pm
Thursday, November 21
- Mankato–Adult CPR/AED and First Aid, 6:00-10:30pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 9:00pm
Saturday, November 23
- Austin–Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED, 9:00am-3:00pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 1:00pm. If you do not need First Aid OR the pediatric portion, the class will end at 12:00pm
Monday, November 25
- Winona–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, review class, 6:00-10:00pm
Tuesday, November 26
- Austin–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, review class, 6:00-10:00pm
- Mankato–CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider, review class, 6:00-10:00pm
Saturday, November 30
- Rochester–Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED, 9:00am-3:00pm. If you do not need the First Aid portion, the class will end at 1:00pm. If you do not need First Aid OR the pediatric portion, the class will end at 12:00pm
Did you get a chance to listen to the 75th anniversary broadcast of the War of the Worlds with Orson Welles last night? In our day of internet, instant news and constant connection, it’s almost hard to imagine the terror that the original broadcast caused. If I heard on the radio that aliens were invading, I’d probably go online to CNN or snopes.com to check it out. (I guess I’d be a Martian-snack if it were true…)
One part of the broadcast really stood out: “Thank you, Professor Pierson. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a bulletin from Trenton. It is a brief statement informing us that the charred body of Carl Phillips has been identified in a Trenton hospital. Now here’s another bulletin from Washington, D.C. Office of the director of the National Red Cross reports ten units of Red Cross emergency workers have been assigned to the headquarters of the state militia stationed outside Grovers Mill, New Jersey. Here’s a bulletin from state police, Princeton Junction: The fires at Grovers Mill and vicinity are now under control. Scouts report all quiet in the pit, and no sign of life appearing from the mouth of the cylinder.”
Here at the Red Cross, we are always ready for fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and whatever else nature can throw our way. I don’t know anyone who has been deployed to help out in an alien invasion, but it’s kind of cool that people simply assume we would be ready. And we would be! That’s one of the things that makes me proud to be a Red Crosser–the fact that people know they can rely on us come hell or high water–or Martians.
Who? You, if you’re over 6 months of age. (And if you’re under 6 months and reading this, congratulations.)
What? A flu shot
Where? Doctor’s offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, public health offices–just about anywhere.
When? Now! Flu season peaks in January, but can start as early as October. It takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to be “full strength” in your system, so get ready now!
Why? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the most important step in being protected against this serious disease.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of the flu.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use.
- If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
And, a bonus question: How? How does someone know they have the flu? The most common signs are high fever, severe body aches, headache, extreme tiredness, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children).
Get vaccinated now–it’s the best way to make sure the flu doesn’t happen to you!