Stay Safe This Labor Day

As summer begins to come to a close, most of us look forward to one last holiday to celebrate summer: Labor Day. Labor Day weekend is a great time to head to the coast for one last beach vacation, go on a road trip with friends, or fire up the barbeque.

Some things to be aware of as Labor Day approaches are crowded roadways, sun exposure, and water safety. In order to keep you and your loved ones safe during this holiday weekend, we recommend reviewing the following tips we have provided below.

• Keep a first aid kit within reach, whether you are in the car, at the pool, or lying on the beach.
• Is your car road trip ready? Don’t wait for a rattle or a warning light to find out your car isn’t up for the trip. Have your car’s brakes, tires, oil and fluids checked before hitting the road.
• Let your friends or family members know your travel plans, detailing the dates and location of your trip and always exchanging contact numbers in case of an emergency.
• Stay safe under the sun. Always apply sunscreen when outdoors, wear hats or visors for added protection, and stay hydrated throughout the day even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Water safety: remember to always swim with a buddy, swim only in supervised areas, and don’t mix alcohol with swimming or boating.

Whether your plans take you to the beach, a hiking trail, an amusement park, or a backyard barbeque, the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts wishes you a fun and safe holiday.


Love the Water? Then Get Trained and Jump In!

August is almost upon us and that can only mean one thing: the dreaded end of summer.  While some of us may feel a bit depressed during this time, there’s still plenty of time to catch the waves and soak in the sun at your local beach or pool.  If you love the water, why not learn how to swim safely and help others while having fun!

Aquatics Picture

The Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts is offering aquatics training courses to those who are interested in becoming a lifeguard or water safety instructor.  If you are 15 years of age or older you are eligible to participate in a Lifeguarding course, and if you are 16 years old you can register for the Water Safety Instructor course.  Not only will you learn valuable water safety skills, but you will have the opportunity to help others. Once you complete a course, you become a certified lifeguard or water safety instructor and can apply to work at your community pool or local beach.

Why spend your summer working indoors when you can enjoy the summer sun while keeping beach goers safe.  While we can’t guarantee you’ll be a candidate for Baywatch, we can give you the skills you need to save someone in distress.

For more information on these and other aquatics classes visit: We’ll see you in the water!

-Saad Akhtar

Stay safe this Fourth of July

July 4th is here and many of us will visit the beach, watch a fireworks display, or fire up the barbecue for a celebration.  The Red Cross wants you and your loved ones to have an enjoyable and safe Independence Day, so we’ve come up with tips for ya.

Beach Safety

  • Check the weather and water conditions before heading into the water.
  • Swim only at beaches where a lifeguard is present, but make sure children are always supervised by an adult also.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption before and during water activities.
  • Never swim alone, always have a buddy.
  • Beware of rip currents – If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and once free, turn and swim toward shore.  If you are unable to make it to shore, shout for help or tread water until out of the current. Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

 Monitor Sun Exposure

  • You should limit your exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and should apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day.
  • Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect your eyes.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.

 Fireworks Safety

  • Remember that under Massachusetts state law “it is illegal for private citizens to use, possess, or sell fireworks in Massachusetts, or to purchase them legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state.”*
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

 Grilling Safety

  • Always watch the grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

Survey: Americans confused on water safety

Memorial Day is upon us and many people and families, maybe even your own, will be heading to the beach this weekend for a fun and relaxing getaway.  While the beach is a great place to cool off on a hot day and is a regular destination for families with children,  many Americans don’t know the potential dangers of swimming and aren’t aware of the necessary course of action if a swimmer is in distress.  We took a survey on Americans’ knowledge of swimming. See the results – and lifesaving tips – below.

 Survey Results

  • 63% of families with children will swim somewhere without a lifeguard on duty.
  • 93% of people were unable to correctly order the steps needed to help a swimmer in jeopardy.
  • About half of all Americans have had formal swimming instruction, with minorities even less likely to have taken lessons.
  • The percentage of people who know someone who almost drowned increased from 25% in 2009 to 41% in 2013 and the number of people who know someone who has drowned has increased from 25% to 29%.

Safety Guidance

  • If you see a swimmer in distress you should shout for help, reach or throw the person a rescue or flotation device, call 9-1-1 if needed, and give care as necessary.
  • Always swim with a buddy in an area that is supervised by lifeguards.
  • Water rings and other flotation items are not life saving devices.
  • If you find yourself caught in a rip current, you must stay calm and not attempt to go against the current.  You must swim parallel to the shore with the tide until you are free from the tide. Once you are out of the rip current, you can head toward the shore. If you feel tired or too weak to make it the rest of the way, wave or call out for help.
  • Children should always be supervised by a parent or guardian, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Red Cross Swimming Lessons help people develop valuable skills and water safety behaviors to make them feel more comfortable and safe when they are in or around the water.
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