Red Cross Safety Tips Help Make Halloween Less Scary

Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls, oh my!  Halloween is right around the corner and the streets in your community will be filled with costumed children, knocking on doors and running across streets.  Children look forward to the holiday’s festivities, but parents often worry about the dangers of trick or treating. We’re offering up safety tips to help make Halloween less scary.



Whether the little one wants to be a ghost, a princess or a superhero, parents can help keep them safe by following some costume advice:

  • Use flame-resistant costumes.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to be seen.
  • Use face makeup instead of masks, which can cover your eyes and make it hard to see.

SAFE TRICK-OR-TREATING To maximize safety, plan the route ahead of time. Make sure adults know where children are going. If the children are young, a parent or responsible adult should accompany them as they make their way around the neighborhood.

Other safety tips to follow include:

  • Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight to see where they are going and be seen by drivers.
  • Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door—never go inside.
  • Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner.
  • Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
  • It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.

WELCOMING THE KIDS If someone is manning the candy giveaway at their house, they can make sure it’s a fun night for all by doing the following:

  • Make sure the outdoor lights are on.
  • Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
  • Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
  • Restrain the pets.
  • Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Use extra caution if driving. The youngsters are excited and may forget to look both ways before crossing.

Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, goblin or super hero has a mishap. Use the Emergency App for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to


9/11 Memorial Blood Drive Honors Those Lost

Each September, Americans search for ways to commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001 with reverence and service. Join the American Red Cross and the Jersey City Department of Public Safety for the Fourth Annual Jersey City Police and Fire 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2017 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The drive will take place in the Hudson Ballroom of The Hyatt Regency Hotel, 2 Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey.9-11 Blood Drive

Click here to schedule an appointment

All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross first aid kit, courtesy of Suburban Propane, a proud national sponsor of the American Red Cross Blood Services.* Suburban Propane employees will also volunteer at the blood drive as part of one of the largest national volunteer commitments to Red Cross Blood Services from a corporate partner.

Parking will be validated for all donors at One Parking, located at 10 Exchange Place.

Serving as the staging area for many Sept. 11 first responders and recovery teams, Jersey City provides an ideal location to commemorate this solemn anniversary. The blood drive venue offers amazing views looking over the Hudson River, the New York City skyline and the Freedom Tower, allowing blood donors and event participants to reflect on the day and to honor those who were involved.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood at the Jersey City Police and Fire 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive, visit and enter sponsor code JCPS911 or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

*Offers and items are non-transferrable and are not redeemable for cash. Items are available while supplies last.

Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Here’s How.


Disaster can strike at any moment and often with little notice, which can result in property damage, injuries or loss of life. You and your family will cope best by preparing your household for an emergency now, which is why the American Red Cross New Jersey Region urges everyone to make sure they are prepared for a disaster and not wait until an emergency occurs.

“This is the time of year when hurricanes, floods, and other large disasters can happen,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “You should take steps now to be ready if an emergency occurs. It’s critical that all members of your household are aware of the plans and know what to do.”

BE READY TO EVACUATE Whether the emergency is a hurricane or localized flooding, the situation may force you to leave your home. There are ten steps you can take now to be prepared if the emergency makes it unsafe to remain at home:

1. Follow the instructions of officials and evacuate if told to do so.
2. Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
3. Remember you may have to get out on foot depending on the type of disaster. If you don’t have a car, or can’t use your vehicle, plan on how you will leave the area.
4. If you have a car, keep the gas tank full if an evacuation order is possible. Don’t let the tank go below half full in case gas stations are unable to pump gas.
5. Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. This could be a motel, the home of a friend or relative a safe distance away, or an evacuation shelter. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to find shelter information and weather and emergency alerts for more than 35 different situations.
6. If you have time, let someone out of the region know you are evacuating and where you are going. Leave a note saying when you left and where you plan to go.
7. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection.
8. Be alert for road hazards such as downed trees, flooding, etc. Do not drive onto a flooded road.
9. Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Grab your emergency kit and drive your planned evacuation route. Include an alternate route in a different direction in case one is impassible. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices such as cell phones and GPS units and on paper.
10. Don’t forget your pets. If it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for them either. Prepare a phone list of pet-friendly motels and animal shelters located along your evacuation route. Keep in mind only service animals are usually allowed in shelters.


THREE EASY STEPS Getting prepared is easier than it sounds. There are three basic steps:

GET A KIT. Pack the following items in an easy-to-carry container – a gallon of water emergencykittipp-stockextrathingsper person, per day; non-perishable food; flashlight and hand-crank or battery-powered radio; extra batteries; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of important papers; extra cash and any medical or baby supplies family members may need. See full details here.
MAKE A PLAN. Have all members of your household help devise your emergency plan. Consider what emergencies could happen where you live; what to do if you are separated and how will you let loved ones know you are safe. Find full details and easy-to-use plan templates here.
BE INFORMED. Learn what disasters are common to your area. Find out how local authorities will let you know an emergency is happening. Make sure at least one household member is trained in first aid and CPR in case help is delayed during a disaster. You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App at to have instant access on how to handle common first aid emergencies. Learn how to get fully informed about emergencies here.

Remember to Download the Red Cross Emergency App. For tips on what to do before, during and after severe weather such as hurricanes, download the Red Cross Emergency App. It offers emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding, as well as locations of open Red Cross shelters. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 for a link to download the app or going to

Are You Ready for a Safe School Year? Red Cross Back to School Safety Tips Can Help.

Summer vacation for students is drawing to a close as New Jersey schools prepare to open their doors for the new school year. While you’re making lists and shopping for school supplies the kids will need, take a look at these safety steps from the American Red Cross and make your student’s trip back to the classroom a safe one.

Keeping all students safe is the primary concern for everyone, but there are special steps for parents of younger kids and those going to school for the first time:

  • Make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1.
  • Teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.


  • If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.
  • Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed you to get on.
  • Only board your bus, never an alternate one.
  • Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
  • Cross the street at the corner, obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.
  • Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.



  • If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
  • If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.
  • Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.
  • When children are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.



Drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones. Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.



Know what the emergency plan is at your child’s school in case a disaster or an unforeseen event occurs. Develop a family emergency plan so everyone will know who to contact and where to go if something happens while children are at school and parents are at work. Details are available at The Red Cross First Aid App provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies whether it be before, during or after school. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at Learn and practice First Aid and CPR/AED skills by taking a course ( so you can help save a life.

I learned I was Anemic and Could Not Donate Blood, but I Urge Others to

Sherri Matthews

Sherri Matthews recently learned at a Hammonton, NJ Blood Drive that she is anemic and can not donate blood. Motivated by the current Red Cross blood emergency, she is urging others to donate.

I had heard about the #MissingType blood donation campaign by the American Red Cross, which brings awareness to how vital blood donations are for saving lives and treating illnesses. For example, something I learned is that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.

The Missing Types campaign motivated me to go online to to schedule an appointment to donate.  As I was making my appointment, I remembered that I had received a donor card from a previous donation.  As it turns out, my blood type is one of the “missing types” – A, B, & O. I was relieved to know my blood type will be helpful in fulfilling this great mission.

As I drove up to the donation site in Hammonton on JuIy 9, I must admit, I was a little nervous. It had been a long time since I gave blood. Once I walked inside, I felt at ease knowing that my donation could potentially save up to three lives. The surroundings were comforting and the Red Cross staff was accommodating, so my nervousness quickly melted away.

Once I was called by one of the intake nurses, I was excited to begin the process of giving blood. The nurse pricked my finger to test for anemia and unfortunately my blood levels were too low for me to donate. I learned that I am anemic. My heart sunk. I was disappointed for two reasons: One, because I could not donate blood and two, because it seemed like there was a low donor turnout. I was really hoping to help increase the number of donors on that day.

Something was missing. Actually someone was missing – it was YOU! The Red Cross is in dire need of blood during this time of year and donor participation is rather low. I understand that it is summertime, and people’s minds are on vacations and traveling. In addition, its summer break, so blood drives at high schools and colleges are not happening.  I recently learned from the Red Cross that those drives account for 20 percent of donations throughout the school year.

During the last two weeks, I’ve been seeing more social media posts about the #BloodEmergency the Red Cross is experiencing. It was a tough Fourth of July holiday week for donations. Donors were less available to give, and the Red Cross says more than 550 fewer blood drives were held compared to an average week as people celebrated the holiday. Right now, donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.

I can’t donate, but I urge you to do so. As you go about your daily routine, please take 5 – 10 minutes to go to or call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule an appointment. Blood drives and Red Cross blood donation centers are conveniently located throughout the state. The process is quick and easy! I get how busy life can be, so if you want to speed up the donation process you can complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire or do so through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

If you are a first-time donor, rest assured the experience is relaxing, the staff is personable and they handle you with care. Before you know it, you’re finished and your blood is on its way to save a life.

Remember, we cannot survive without BLOOD.
Various illnesses cannot be treated without BLOOD.
We cannot spell BL__D without the letter “O.”

Are you the #MISSINGTYPE? Please donate blood.

By Sherri Matthews, a resident of Pine Hill, New Jersey and volunteer with the American Red Cross New Jersey Region.

Missing Types 2018_Social graphic_Expect


Quick Tips for a Safe Fourth of July


If you’re like millions of Americans, you’ll be enjoying a festive 4th of July holiday outdoors with a good ole’ family cookout or picnic while watching your town’s firework display.

The Red Cross New Jersey Region wants you enjoy the holiday while keeping safety a priority. Here are some quick and easy tips to follow:


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. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

7_4 tips


  1. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
  2. Wash your hands before preparing the food.
  3. If you are going to cook on a grill, always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  4. Never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.fourth-of-july-grill-tip-final
  5. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.

If your holiday plans include swimming, make safety your priority and follow these water safety tips.

Heat conditions are still excessive and dangerous for some, so continue to practice good heat safety precautions.


The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at

Safety Tips to Help Beat The Heat

Hot weather is not just uncomfortable; it can also cause serious illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.

The Red Cross New Jersey Region wants you to be safe.  Here are some tips for beating the heat and information about recognizing the signs of heat-related illness.

Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.


Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

Man delivering water - from ARC

Avoid extreme temperature changes.

Wear appropriate clothing. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.

Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Some people are more at risk of developing a heat-related illness, including adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants and children and athletes.

Be on the look-out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and take action.

HEAT CRAMPS: If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

HEAT STROKE: Heat stroke can be life-threatening and the signs to watch for include: Hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, download the free Red Cross First Aid app. Also the free Red Cross Emergency app can help keep you and your loved ones safe with settings for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts including heat advisories and excessive heat warnings. These apps are available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Simply search for American Red Cross.