The long Memorial Day holiday weekend is on the horizon and for many, plans will include taking to the highway, pulling out the grill for a backyard barbecue or having fun in the water. The American Red Cross has steps everyone can follow to stay safe, whatever their plans include.
“Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer fun and we want everyone to have a safe holiday,” said Dawn Angelo, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. “Whether the weekend will involve travel, grilling or swimming, we have safety tips everyone can follow.”
DRIVE SAFELY With more people on the roads, it’s important to drive safely. Be well rested and alert, use seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. If plans include drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink. Other tips for a safe trip include:
- Give one’s full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Make frequent stops.
- Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night.
- Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive the headlights.
GRILLING SAFETY The Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe while cooking those tasty cookout treats:
- Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use, and make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
- Keep the chef safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
- Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
- Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
- Wash one’s hands in hot soapy water before preparing food, after touching raw meat and after any interruptions such as using the bathroom, handling pets, stopping to do something with children.
SWIMMING SAFETY Learning to swim is one of the best steps someone can take to be safe around water. People can contact their local Red Cross chapter and learn how to swim, as well as get the facts about water safety, home pool safety, first aid and CPR classes. Other swimming safety tips include:
- 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, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
POOL SAFETY It’s important to constantly supervise children when they are near water. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.
DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergency at someone’s fingertips. The free app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.