To ensure that local residents are able to safely enjoy their holiday plans, the American Red Cross offers tips for those who might be traveling, grilling, and/or swimming this Memorial Day weekend.
"We want to make sure that our neighbors stay safe no matter what they may have planned for the long weekend," said Kimmy Tavarez, spokesperson for the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region said in a statement. "Whether you are heading out of town or staying home to barbecue or jump in the pool, our tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe from harm."
With more people on the roads for the weekend, it is important to drive safely. Throughout your travels, the Red Cross recommends following these tips:
• Be well rested and alert.
• Use seat belts, observe speed limits, and follow the rules of the road.
• If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won't drink.
• Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Make frequent stops, and don't let your vehicle's gas tank get too low.
• Pay attention to the forecast for your destination. Check travel and weather web sites to help you avoid storms and other issues that could impact your safety.
• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• Carry a kit of emergency supplies in your trunk.
Whenever someone works with an open flame there is a chance of fire, and using a grill is no exception. To keep your cookout safe, the Red Cross offers these tips:
• Never grill indoors - not in a house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
• Always supervise your grill when in use. Make sure that everyone, including pets, maintains a safe distance from hot surfaces.
• Keep your grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything else that could catch fire.
• Keep your chef safe by using long-handled tools made for cooking on the grill.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
• Be prepared to close the lid and turn off your grill to cut off fuel if necessary.
• Keep a fireproof pan under your grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
• Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
A new national survey conducted for the Red Cross finds that more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can't swim or don't have all of the basic swimming skills that could save their life in the water. The Red Cross offers training for children and adults to improve swimming skills, learn about water safety, and know how to respond in an emergency. Whether or not you have been trained, follow these tips to improve your safety around the water:
• Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
• Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
• Have appropriate equipment available for an emergency, including reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
• Constantly supervise children when they are near water. Teach them to ask permission before approaching water and never leave them unattended.
• Make sure your pool is secured with appropriate barriers.
• If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
In preparation for the holiday weekend or any other time, people are also encouraged to download the free Red Cross First Aid and Swim apps, which put expert advice for everyday emergencies right at your fingertips. These free apps are available to download directly from the iTunes, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace app stores. For more information on Red Cross Mobile Apps, visit www.redcross.org/mobileapps.