It’s That Time Again!

Another summer has come and gone, and now it’s time to start preparing to go back to school. I know that when I pack up all my belongings and head back to campus, there are two things that are particularly important for me to bring: my laptop and my phone. I am constantly using these devices when I am away at school. My cell phone allows me to stay in contact with my family and friends, and my laptop is an extremely helpful tool both in and outside the classroom. In order to prepare you for this bittersweet time of year, I am going to share some useful Red Cross “Back to School” tips for securing your devices and protecting your personal information.

I will admit that when I am busy and running around campus, I tend to misplace my iPhone at least once a day. (In my defense, it’s never for more than ten minutes and 99% of the time it’s under the couch) However, in order to ensure that my phone is protected, I have taken a few steps to increase my device’s security. First, I have password protected my personal device. It’s really important that I don’t share my password with anyone, even my good friends, because then they have access to my personal information and my social networks accounts like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The second thing I do to keep my phone safe is to try to pay attention and never leave my device unattended. Misplacing my phone in my apartment is one thing, but if left alone in a public place, it can disappear in the blink of an eye. In the event that I do lose my phone, I know to report it to my local police department and use applications like Apple’s Find My iPhone, which helps to locate lost or stolen devices. The last thing I do to keep my phone (and other devices) safe is to remember that the internet is forever. In other words, every person should avoid saving/sending unflattering or personal pictures on his or her device. Once they are on the internet, they are there indefinitely!

Your laptops, smart phones, and tablets all hold valuable information and are hard to replace, so make sure to take these easy steps to help keep your device(s) as safe as possible. And remember, in the event of a misplaced device, the couch cushions are the first place to look.

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A Guide for a Fun and Safe Friendcation

Posted on Behalf of Emily DeChambeau,

 

In early spring I began planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard with a few of my nearest and dearest. We usually take a weekend or so each summer to spend some time on the isle but this summer we decided to up our game and hang for a full week. We’ll take any reason to head to MV but this trip was deemed very necessary on account of a few pals cross country moves looming ahead (they have since then moved and I’m still traumatized).  In honor of Red Cross vacation month I’m going to break down how you can plan and be prepared for your very own friendcation.

 

We were planning for optimal sun time regardless of whether it be while lounging on the beach or running amuck through the streets of downtown Oak Bluffs so a good sunscreen was a must. I suggest packing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Make sure to apply and reapply over your entire body especially during prime time sun hours between 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Apparently, people get sunburns on their feet these days which I have never experienced/never want to experience so when I say all over your body I mean all over. A good pair of sunglasses is also key. One of our first stops after we stumbled off the ferry was to the sun-glass shack. Grab something with UV protection and that will force people to do a double take because you look so beauteous. While you’re soaking up the sun don’t forget to keep hydrated. Supplement that mudslide with a water or two. For those who decide to not heed my advice (and undoubtedly encounter some kind of crisis as a consequence) make sure to at least have downloaded the Red Cross first aid app on your smartphone before jet setting from reality.

Expect the Unexpected: Download our Tornado App!

When you hear the word “tornado”, Revere, Massachusetts is probably not the first place that comes to mind. However, on July 28, a tornado unexpectedly touched down in Revere, leaving a significant amount of property destruction in its wake. Any natural disaster, especially a tornado, often arrives without much warning and with little time to prepare. In this technological age, people are constantly using mobile devices to stay connected to those around them. Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on smart phones and tablets, especially as a lifeline for emergency information. In fact, a recent Red Cross survey shows that apps are now tied with social media as the fourth most popular way to get information during emergencies – behind TV, radio and online news sites. In response to this statistic, the Red Cross has created an extremely useful tornado app. This app gives people local and real-time NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) tornado watch and warning alerts- whether it’s in the area where they live or places where friends and family live. In addition, Tornado app users are provided with immediate access to information on what to do before, during, and after tornados with preparedness information developed by trusted Red Cross experts.

Once you have downloaded the app, it is important to familiarize yourself with it. One of the most important parts of this app is the alert feature. In the event of a tornado, a high-pitched, siren and “tornado warning!” message will sound when a NOAA tornado warning is issued in the area – even if the app is closed. In addition, an “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled. These alerts are particularly useful because many tornados happen in the overnight hours. If the owner of the device is asleep, away from the radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work, the app’s audible alerts can help to save lives. In addition to providing users with alerts, there are also features like checklists to help families create an emergency plan, a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and an audible alarm, locations of open Red Cross shelters, and an “I’m safe” button that allows users to signal to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way.

Nearly one-fifth of Americans say they’ve received some kind of emergency information from an app they’ve downloaded, making the Red Cross app development effort even more important. The Tornado App is just one of many disaster-specific apps that can be useful during a natural disaster. During Superstorm Sandy, more than 400,000 people downloaded our Hurricane App. Right before and during Sandy, users spent the most time reading the preparedness information, tracking the storm, and reading and then sharing NOAA alerts through social media. The ability to share this information on social networks or by text or email can provide a peace of mind for frequent travelers or those with family in other parts of the country. Immediately after Sandy, people used the app to locate Red Cross Shelters and to let loved ones know that they were safe.

As we saw with the tornado in Revere, natural disasters can occur in places we wouldn’t expect. With the touch of a screen, you will be downloading an app that can potentially save your life. It is user-friendly and full of great information, so what are you waiting for? Download it to your device now!

The app is free and available in English and Spanish. It’s designed for iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones and tablets. All of our apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

While apps can help you prepare for disasters, it’s important to remember that they are not a substitute for training. To learn more about Red Cross First Aid and CPR courses or to register, go to redcross.org/takeaclass.

Red Cross First Aid App is Here to Help!

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Have you ever been in a situation where you or someone close to you received a minor injury and not known what to do? Personally I remember hiking with my friends in Vermont when one fell down and got a nasty scrape on his knee. Like smart, rational people, we had a first aid kit, but did not know what to do! Luckily, the Red Cross has recognized this growing need for basic first aid information and have created an easy to use, and free, mobile app for iPhone and Android users that offers expert, Red Cross, sanctioned advice for everyday disasters.

Once users download the app they have instant access to step-by-step instructions on how to handle the most common first aid situations, videos and animations that make important skills easy to learn, safety and preparedness tips for everyday situations, and quizzes that users can take to earn badges and share on social media! The app itself is very easy to navigate with clearly defined subsections at the bottom including preparation, emergencies, and even a helpful hospital locator!

As my experience with my friends in Vermont reminded me, accidents happen and you are not always with someone who is first aid trained and an unfortunate byproduct of accidents can be panic when you feel unprepared to handle the situation. The first aid app holds a few answers designed to make these mishaps more manageable and help you be prepared when life happens. In a world where technology continuously makes life easier, let the Red Cross help you with this and many more of its safety and weather apps.

Of course, no app could ever replace the full training offered by the Red Cross, to learn more about Red Cross first aid and other safety classes visit redcross.org/takeaclass today!

Grilling weather is here

On Monday and early morning Tuesday, more than 20 American Red Cross volunteers responded to seven fires and assisted 20 families.

Warmer weather is just about here, but that doesn’t mean we’re any safer from fires.  As people start cooking on the grill more often, the American Red Cross would like to remind everyone of these safety tips:

  • Always make sure the grill is supervised when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure people and pets stay away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools specially made for outdoor grills.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Happy grilling!

-Kristen Catanzano

Red Cross offers brush fire safety tips

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The triple threat of warm weather, strong winds and dry leaves can leave Massachusetts very vulnerable to brush fires.

Here are a few tips to follow to reduce the risk of brush fires:

1) Burn brush only where permitted by your town or city. It’s important to pick a clear spot away from your home. All it takes is one strong wind to lead to a potential disaster.

2) Double and triple check your home’s gutters to ensure they are clear of flammable debris. Identify a reliable water source in the perimeter of your home in case of emergency.

3) Make a plan with your family and neighbors if necessary in the case a brush fire breaks out. Selecting a meeting spot and 2 or 3 evacuation routes will ensure your family and friends are prepared.

4) We love Emergency Preparedness Kits at the Red Cross and this is another great instance in which it would come in handy. Have a first aid kit ready along with bottled water, maps of the area, flashlight and nonperishable food.

Don’t miss it! Red Cross on City Line this weekend

VND & DMPlans this weekend? Cancel ’em and get in front of your TV.

Tune into WCVB’s City Line to catch Chief Development Officer Valerie Navy Daniels and Donna Morrissey, Communications Director of Blood Services, talk about Red Cross efforts during the Boston Marathon.

What:  April 13, 2014: Boston Strong: The one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings is quickly approaching and Boston has proven that it is stronger than ever. Numerous organizations have continued to help those impacted by the marathon violence. Valerie and Donna re-live their experiences from last year and how people can prepare for a new year of celebration.

Where: WCVB

When: Sunday, April 13, 12 p.m.

Why: The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is supporting the community in a variety of ways during the bombing anniversary and Marathon Monday. With mental health support, blood drives and  a strong volunteer presence, we stand together, Boston Strong.

 

 

 

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