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!

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Top Ten Valentine’s Day Tidbits from the Red Cross

Yes, it is back again- another Valentine’s Day for the books. If you’re like me (a complete procrastinator who also considers herself an extraordinary planner) you’re still struggling to think of that perfect gift for your special guy or girl. If you’re not like me and you’ve had the perfect restaurant, candies and romantic playlist picked out for weeks then you can get out of here. Just joking! Seal the deal on your already amazing plans or fill your open February 14 schedule with these “Top Ten Things to do with your Lover” ideas from the Red Cross (yes, I added with your lover).

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Who doesn’t love the selfless, sweet, caring guy who chooses to spend this special day donating his very own blood. You are touched by his compassionate soul and follow his lead. Now stick around and grab some cookies or head to that chocolate shop down the street to get rid of that slight feeling of light-headedness.

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Maybe you’ve just stepped into the powdery fluff floating from the sky or realized you and your date both share the same love of lady synchronizing swimming but you feel the moment and some smooching happens. Be careful people. It is F-L-U season. To ensure safe kissing practices check up on these tips to stay flu free.

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Ok, so you chose to stay in, cozy up to the fire (who doesn’t have a fireplace in their Bostonian apartment) and sip hot coco with Mr. or Mrs. Valentine this year. It’s great, you’re really enjoying the nice quiet night but feel like something is missing. Two words- Digital Fundraisers. Let’s get some productivity in your night. Then go back to the coco.

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Valentine’s didn’t go as planned. Your blind date was a L7 weenie. You’re back at home reliving the reality of his choice of the dreaded Hawaiian shirt and the seventh call with his mom when you just really need something besides your glass of chardonnay to turn that mood around. DING DING DING! Donate some of that money you would have spent on your second bottle of 2 buck chuck to the Red Cross (maybe more than 2 bucks though c’mon now).

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Dinner is on the table, Sinatra is asking luck to be a lady tonight, candles are lit and the door bell rings. Sparky leaps up out of his trance focused on the burnt t-bone you very kindly sacrificed an hour ago and brings the entire table down with him. Candles. On the ground. Flames. Date no more. Better luck next year in your new apartment. Don’t let this be your story by being prepared.

By the way, Sparky, #1 known dog name am I right?

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Let’s stray from the norm. No chocolates or fancy dinner reservations. You guys want to do something different. Why don’t you spend your day brushing up on your first aid and CPR skills in a Red Cross class? Now you not only have the certainty of your love for one another but you also know he won’t sit dumbfounded while the ring he masterfully baked into your slice of cake slips down your throat. Too graphic? Ya, take the class.

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Hit up the Red Cross store for a special Valentine Day gift. Nothing says I love you more than safety gear or a nice warm fleece… I’d take the fleece. They look comfy.

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Don’t let disaster strike on your special day. Hey, you didn’t know she was allergic to daisies or that this restaurant would make you feel like a piece of meat that’s on its eighth hour in the crock pot causing your pit stains to be on point. You didn’t have the foresight for that and that’s fine but you CAN be prepared for a different kind of disaster- a natural disaster.

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She’s the technological type. Always up to date on the newest ipod, ipad and every app to go with them. Impress her with the Red Cross app. Make her techy head spin with your intelligence and grace as you guide her through her very own first aid app.

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The couple who volunteers together stays together. It is just a known fact. Check up on volunteering opportunities around your local neighborhoods. Think about all the memories and experiences you can lovingly look back twenty years from now. Yes, volunteer = stay together. Forever.

Some Neighborly Advice from American Red Cross

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Knowing your neighbors’ strengths and skills can help when disaster strikes. Meet with your neighbors to construct a plan and consider how you will be able to help children, elderly and the disabled in the interim before help arrives.

I met with my neighborhood watch organization and we designated a medical contact, a handyman with electrical and plumbing knowledge and a coordinator who would account for all members of each household. I, of course, will use my amazing blogging and social media skills to relay messages to the outside world that my street is safe.

rco_blog_img_BlogLogoBe sure to have a substantial stock of water and nonperishable food items at hand. It would also be useful to draft a master list of serious medical conditions and emergency contacts. It doesn’t hurt to be too prepared!

As always, you can check out American Red Cross website for more safety tips.

Hittin’ the road for the holidays?

With the holidays come food comas, family time and usually some inevitable traveling.

We want you to have a blast this season, but we want you to get to your destination safely. Take some tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  • Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
  • Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Stay safe AND warm this winter

We all know during the winter months it can get pretty chilly and outright fa-fa-freezing. Some of us  just can’t afford the expense of putting the heat high, so we find creative ways to keep warm and to save money. So sometimes we turn to space heaters and fireplaces instead.

But did you know, space heaters are the second most common cause of house fires after cooking fires? It may sound economical, but it can be risky if not used properly.

The most effective way to stay safe this winter is to follow a few rules:

  • When it comes to space heaters, keep them at least three feet away from any flammable object. Space heaters are often used in bedrooms, where sheets and blankets may get too close to them, as well as furniture. Never leave space heaters unattended. Shut them off and allow them to cool before going to bed, and only buy space heaters with the ability to shut off automatically if it tips over or overheats.
  • Make sure that chimneys are professionally cleaned every year for fireplaces and stoves, don’t restrict air supply and burn only dry fuel to reduce buildup. Accumulated buildup in the fireplace can ignite a fire.
  • A few others ways of preventing house fires? Avoid smoking in bed, and talk to your children about the dangers of playing with matches, both of which are causes of home fires as well.

And make sure you’re ready for the worst:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.
  • Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

Simple precautions can help you have a safe and warm winter, and The Red Cross wants you to enjoy yourself!

-Erica Starke

Lessons learned from the college cook

We experience many “firsts” in college. For me, it was a first time to wear horribly mismatched sweats to class without a second thought. It was the first time I actually studied at the library. It was the first time I thought I was good at cooking (wrong), and it was the first time I had to use a fire extinguisher.

This week the Red Cross is celebrating National Fire Prevention, and the focus is on safe cooking. The material immediately took me back to college, and thus compelled me to share with you lessons from my own kitchen fails.

  • Check the oven before you use it: In a busy college townhouse, or just any old home, really, space is vital and can be hard to find. A roommate of mine went on a cleaning spree and decided to store our plastic holiday trays in the oven. Another roommate wasn’t so familiar with this organizational technique, and preheated the oven.  Flames erupted. Space saving gone awry. Avoid trouble and check the oven before you preheat. Or tell your roommates if you’re using it for storage. Or just don’t store stuff in the oven.
  • Know where the extinguisher is: Every home should have one, but knowing where it is is another thing. Fortunately, ours was strapped to the kitchen wall. Perhaps the university had some previous experience with inexperienced chefs.
  • Know how to use said fire extinguisher: Ah, this is also key. My firefighting father would’ve blushed with embarrassment if he witnessed the way I fumbled with the extinguisher. Fortunately, it was yanked from me by someone who actually knew what he was doing. The day was saved.
  • Paper towels and burners don’t mix: Who knew? The second kitchen fire of my college career started when a paper towel was  tossed on a hot stove top. Flames erupted, but this time I knew how to work the extinguisher. Play it safe, keep ’em separated.
  • Don’t be afraid to call 911: When all else fails, leave your home and call the pros. Your college neighbors might glare at you as they grit their teeth and huddle in the cold, but they’ll get over it. I’m sure mine did.

Five reasons you should download the Hurricane App

There’s a million reasons you should download the American Red Cross Hurricane App.

A million is a lot, though, so we’re going to boil it down to five:

1. With one touch, you can tell everyone in yous social networks you’re safe and sound. No muss, no fuss.

2. You can track the storm without having to physically track the storm. Win-win.

3. It tells you where shelters are located so you don’t have to bother looking it up. BOOM. Info at the palm of your hands.

4. You can take quizzes and win badges, thus avoiding boredom and boosting your ego during the storm.

5. It has a flashlight. And a strobe light. As if that’s not reason enough to download.

Not sold yet? Download it yourself and find out firsthand what all this chit chat is about.

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