Tag Archives: holiday

Have a Safe Fourth of July Weekend!

558c8a6726505.imageThe long Fourth of July holiday weekend is just ahead and the American Red Cross has steps you can follow to stay safe when enjoying the fireworks or taking a trip to the beach.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

BEACH SAFETY If your holiday plans include swimming in the ocean, learn how to swim in the surf. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy. And even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Other safety tips include:

  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

RIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Additional water safety tips are in the free Red Cross Swim App and available here.

SUN PROTECTION Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply your sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. And don’t forget your feet! The sand can burn your feet and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Give Hope this Holiday

Think Outside the (Gift) Box

Monday, December 13, 2010 — The greatest gifts are those with meaning. And what more meaningful gift is there than saving the day for someone in need?

The Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog lets you do just that. You can even send a free greeting card to friends or family to let them know you’ve given a gift in their honor.

To get you started, here are our five most popular gifts:

Military Comfort Kits
The journey from field to hospital for a wounded veteran can be lonely and frightening. You can make sure that a wounded patriot arriving at a military or VA hospital is welcomed with a Red Cross Comfort Kit. Each kit contains meaningful items such as a phone card, robe and shower shoes, toiletry items, calendar and an iTunes card.
Military Comfort  Kits
Gift of the Month
With the Gift of the Month, you can be there every month to give people in crisis a hot meal, a place to sleep, or a shoulder to lean on in time of need. Your impact will be constant and unforgettable.
Gift of the  Month
Patriot Calling Cards
You can make sure that active duty service members and wounded warriors can get in touch with family and friends, and help make being away from home just a little more bearable.
Patriot Calling  Cards
In the aftermath of a disaster, children and families can be at risk of exposure and hypothermia. A warm blanket helps provide a sense of security and safety. Red Cross blankets provide warmth and protection from the elements, as well as making cots in shelters more comfortable.
Vaccinations for Children Overseas
Despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, measles still kills an estimated 450 people each day, mostly children. Together with our Measles Initiative partners, the Red Cross educates families about the dangers of this disease and encourages mothers to bring in their children for measles vaccinations. For less than $1, we can vaccinate a child against measles and provide lifetime protection against this deadly disease.
Vaccinations for  Children Overseas

Go to the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog to see even more gift ideas.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog.

Where Does My Holiday Giving Donation Go?

Where Does My Donation Go? A Look Behind the Photos in the Holiday Giving Catalog

Wednesday, December 08, 2010 — When Two Wheels Can Make a Difference

Anton Chilufya walked his bicycle along an empty stretch of highway in northeastern Zambia.

Zambia volunteer with bicycle
A donation as basic as a bicycle can enable volunteers such as Anton to reach remote villages to deliver services.


A group of young children he gathered from villages along the way accompanied him to Pintu Immigration Post, about five miles away. There they would be vaccinated against one of Africa’s most deadly childhood diseases—measles.

During a campaign to vaccinate five million children against measles in Zambia, Anton and 1,800 others volunteered to accompany children when their parents were unable to. This ensured that no child was left unprotected.

Something as simple as a bicycle can help volunteers like Anton reach remote villages so they can educate families on disaster preparedness and provide other services.

About the American Red Cross: How can I be involved? Check out our holiday giving catalog and give a gift that will truly make a difference in someone’s life. Looking for the perfect gift to give your friends and family members? Don’t risk giving them something they already have; give to the Red Cross in their name and give them the honor of having given someone what they need.  Instead of giving someone a duplicate CD, give an armed services person an MP3 card to ease their recovery. Instead of giving someone a duplicate coffee mug, give someone in Africa a water container to provide them with clean water.

What YOU do matters. You can help save a life this holiday season.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit our local website or click here for our holiday giving catalog website.

Amy Grant Supports Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign


Monday, November 22, 2010 –Looking for a way to spread hope and show thanks this Holiday Season? Make a card, write a note and send cheer to the US Armed Forces through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign! Check out what Amy Grant has to say about her involvement in the campaign.

“My support for the men and women of the US Armed Forces and our veterans isn’t exactly a secret.  I’ve often vocalized the importance of supporting those that keep us safe.  I’ve been touched by personally witnessing the struggles our wounded warriors face when they return home. I’ve known people who take the noble responsibility of service to family and country upon themselves.  These men and women deserve our love, our support, and our thanks – and that is why I’m involved with the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.”

Click here to watch Amy Grant’s Holiday Mail for Heroes Video:

Amy Grant and Matt Oclander share their thoughts and thanks at last year’s Holiday Mail for Heroes celebration in Washington, DC. You can join Amy again this year in support of the program by sending your cards to your local Red Cross Chapter:
American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids
1050 Fuller NE
Grand Rapids, MI

Holiday Mail for Heroes connects ordinary people with those that perform extraordinary sacrifices for our country everyday.  Check out the Red Cross website for best practices as you plan what you’d like to do with your cards.  Then, between now and December 10th please send in your personal thanks to:

Program partner Pitney Bowes, Inc will then scan all mail for security purposes and ship it off to Red Cross chapters and base installations.  Red Crossers across the country and at locations abroad will get these cards and sentiments into the hands – and hearts – soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and veterans.

“The thing about showing gratitude is that it doesn’t have to be grandiose or flashy.  It’s really just about opening your heart to say, “Thank you for what you’ve done for me, my loved ones, and the country we both love.”  I know that I have so much thanks to give these incredible men and women – what about you?

Happy holidays,


Last Minute Gift Idea List!

The days always seem to peel off the calendar at warp speed in December and all of a sudden we realize, “Holy smokes! Christmas is in THREE DAYS!” It happens every year and every year I personally find it shocking to look at the little mouse in my Advent calendar from my grandma and realize he is tucked into the last row of pockets.

Photo courtesy of giverlogs.com

Some of us (not you, I know) have even put off our Christmas shopping and are starting to break out into a panicked sweat at the thought of having no choice but to go to Rite Aid or a gas station for Christmas gifts. (It’s lottery tickets and beef jerky from Santa again this year, kids!) Well, we simply wouldn’t let that happen.

Here is a snazzy list of things you can buy from right where you’re sitting, with just a few clicks of the mouse (not the one in the Advent calendar) and give the gift that saves the day not just for you but for others around the world.

1. Provide a bicycle for a Red Cross volunteer in a remote part of the world so that they can bring peace and hope to people caught in isolation.

2. Give a phone card to a military service member so that they can call home and tell their mom, “Merry Christmas. I’m safe. I love you.”

3. Wrap blankets around children who escaped their burning house in nothing but a nightgown and socks.

Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Not quite what you were thinking? Want something your family or friends can really get their hands on? I suggest a training course! Register online right now for classes such as (but not limited to):

1. A Babysitter Training course — perfect for your preteens who are looking to make some extra cash!

2. A CPR and First Aid training course — the epitome of the gift that keeps on giving.

3. A Pet First Aid class — for the dog or cat lover in your family…we all have one.

We here at our Red Cross chapter are signing off till after the holidays. Have a wonderful holiday season, love those around you well, and may you be filled with joy and peace!