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those of the author and do not
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American Red Cross
Tips to make
the holidays happy and bright—and safe
(Dec.22, 2016) — According to the song, this is the most wonderful time
of the year. It’s also one of the busiest—and most dangerous. With
last-minute gifts to buy, social events to attend and family and
friends to visit, there are a lot of distractions that may keep you
from having that wonderful time. So the American Red Cross is offering
12 health and safety tips will make the season safe, happy and bright.
1. When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never
use your stove or oven to heat your home and never leave portable
heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms on every floor
of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a
month. Be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected
regularly: chimney fires are very common and extremely dangerous.
2. Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm, but
if you must, keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the
fuel line from freezing. Be sure to let someone know your destination,
route and when you expect to arrive.
3. Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Make an
emergency kit and include items such as: blankets, sleeping bags,
jumper cables, fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type), compass, road
maps, shovel, tire repair kit, air pump, extra clothing, flares and a
tow rope. You can purchase soft blankets, first aid kits and other
items to have in the car from your local Red Cross.
4. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Wash hands with soap and water
as often as possible or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent
alcohol. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough with a tissue or use
your upper sleeve. Use sanitizing wipes to disinfect hard surfaces such
as airplane tray tables, luggage handles, cell phones, door handles and
5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday
festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic
first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when
needed; monitor safe play and actively engage your child; and some may
be certified in Infant and Child CPR.
6. Prevent hypothermia by following Santa’s lead. Dress in several
layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a
single heavy coat. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia,
including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
7. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire? Avoid many fire dangers that are
common this time of year. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and
be alert. Keep anything flammable—such as potholders, towels or
curtains—away from your stove top. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3
feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared
or carried. Never leave candles burning unattended. Be sure to properly
put out your fire in your fireplace before leaving the house and going
8. Be a lifesaver during the holidays and always. The Red Cross
recommends at least one person in every household should be trained and
certified in first aid and CPR/AED. Your local Red Cross chapter has
conveniently scheduled courses and can have you trained and certified
in a few hours. Your business can also offer Red Cross classes.
9. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. When you designate a
driver who won’t be drinking, you help make sure a good party doesn’t
turn into a tragedy. A good host ensures there are non-alcoholic
beverages available for drivers. The designated driver should not drink
any alcoholic beverages, not even one.
10. Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your
furnace cleaned by a professional; change the filters regularly. Make
sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Close off any rooms you
aren’t using and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms.
Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround your windows
and door moldings. Put up storm windows or storm doors to keep the cold
11. Don’t move a muscle, until they buckle. Each person in your vehicle
should have their seatbelts securely fastened before driving off.
Ensure children are buckled up and their car seats are installed
appropriately based on their age and size. Children 12 and under should
always sit in the backseat.
12. Resolve to “Be Red Cross Ready” in the New Year. Take one or more
actions to prepare now just in case you or your family faces an
emergency in 2017. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
“We realize how hectic the holidays can be,” says Lynne Gump, Executive
Director of the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red
Cross. “That’s why being prepared for the unexpected is so vital,
whether it’s learning CPR or keeping an emergency kit in your car or
being extra careful in the kitchen. Nothing ruins your holidays like an
accident or a trip to the emergency room. Just slow down, be smart and