5 Ways to #GiveWithMeaning this Holiday Season

Looking to spread some holiday cheer? We have five ways you can give something that means something this holiday season. See how many of these items you can check off before ringing in the new year:

1. Give the Gift of Life.  Donate Blood and bring a friend.  During the holidays, blood donations fall very low and yet the need for blood is high.  With each blood donation saving up to three lives, think of the impact you could have this holiday season.  Visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive near you.

2. Give the gift of preparedness. Take steps to show your loved ones that you care by helping them prepare for emergencies. Take 30 minutes to talk through your family disaster plan with household members to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of what to do if there is a disaster.


3. Give a Symbolic Gift from the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog for someone on your list, and your tax-deductible donation will support a Red Cross program. For example, you can:

GSMSfor Blog

4. Give the Gift of our Free Lifesaving Mobile Apps. While sitting around the table enjoying a cup of eggnog, pull out your smart phone and show loved ones that the ability to save lives rests in the palm of their hand.  The teenagers can bond with Grannie as they help her download the free First Aid, Tornado, or Hurricane Apps, which will remind her how to respond in emergency situations.  And check out the app that helps kids stay safe while having fun: Monster Guard!  Visit redcross.org/apps for more information.


5. Give the Gift of the Red Cross Mission.  The holidays are a great time to gather with friends and family.  You are each a vital part of our lifesaving mission and we want you to share this with those you love.  Wear your Red Cross pin and tell your Red Cross story this holiday season.


Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors, last year, the Red Cross New Jersey Region served the community by responding to 889 local home fires providing food, shelter, clothing and other assistance to 1,820 displaced families. It has allowed 117,088 people to be trained with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers.

7 Fire Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating and Entertaining

The American Red Cross New Jersey Regions wishes all a happy and safe holiday season. As you celebrate with your loved ones, keep these holiday fire safety tips in mind:

1. Choose decorations and artificial trees that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Place the tree away from heat sources and exits. Water real trees daily.

Trees and Decor

2. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.


3. If hanging stockings on the fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires.


4. Keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.

Heater and stoves

5. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and the total number of bulbs to 50.


6. Keep children, pets and decorations away from lit candles.


7. Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove is on.


For more fire safety tips, visit redcross.org/FireSafety.

Join us November 24 for Volunteer & Staff Blood Donor Day

Volunteer Blood Donor Day Nov 24 2015 Flyer

Make your appointment at redcrossblood.org

Red Cross Offers Safety Tips for Halloween


Halloween is coming and pretty soon the streets will be filled with tiny ghosts and goblins, super heroes and princesses. Even vampires and witches need to know how to celebrate safely and the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to have a safe Halloween.

“We want everyone to enjoy this fun-filled night,” said Paul Gass, Regional Preparedness Manager, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “The kids are excited, but first parents need to make sure their kids know what to do in order to have fun and stay safe.”

COSTUME SAFETY 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:

  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to be seen.
  • Use flame-resistant costumes.
  • 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

FIRST AID APP Download the free Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies whenever and wherever they need it. 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 redcross.org/apps.

Somerville Youth Council to Host Halloween Blood Drive

Halloween Blood Drive Flyer

To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org.

Holiday Mail for Heroes: Send Thanks to Military Members


Our Holiday Mail for Heroes program allows you to give something that means something this holiday season. We invite you to send cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our U.S. Armed Forces, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season, and our veterans here in New Jersey.

So grab a pen and help us put smiles on the faces of our service members and veterans. Get your little ones involved too! Pictures and cards from children are a special gift.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Address cards to “service member” or “veteran.”
  • Write a note! Keep your message positive and upbeat.
  • Avoid cards containing glitter.
  • Do not enclose any items with your holiday cards. Any items enclosed will be removed.
  • Include your name and where you’re from, but do not include additional personal information such as email, phone number or address.
  • Do not put cards in envelopes. Individual cards in envelopes cannot be accepted.

Cards for Holiday Mail for Heroes can be dropped off at any Red Cross location in New Jersey (Attention HMFH/SAF) prior to December 15. Find a location near you in North Jersey and South Jersey.

Thank you for helping to brighten the day of those who have served our country!

For more information about Holiday Mail for Heroes, visit redcross.org/holidaymail or contact Terri Illes at terri.illes@redcross.org.

Tips to Prepare for Evacuations

B SpotAs wicked weather continues to roll through New Jersey, heavy rains have the potential to cause flooding in parts of the Garden State. If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, you should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.

Take the following steps to prepare:

  • Put your emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. If you are being picked up or leaving on foot, put it by the door from which you normally exit your home.
  • Carry what you can, selecting the items you think you will need for a prolonged stay away from home.
  • Have at lease half a tank of gas in your vehicle.
  • Leave natural gas on, unless local officials advise you otherwise.
  • Turn off propane gas service valves.
  • Remove potential hazards in trees around your property that could blow or break off and fly around in strong winds.
  • Secure outside objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture, or bring them inside.
  • Shut off fuel lines and/or turn off bottled propane at the tanks. DO NOT disconnect, a professional would need to reconnect your gas service.

If you are ordered to evacuate:

  • Leave as soon as possible, preferably in daylight.
  • Listen to local radio or television station and follow the instruction of local emergency officials.
  • Carry what you can, selecting the items most essential to your health and safety.
  • If advised by authorities, turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker and turn off water at the main value.
  • Unplug electronic devices and turn off all utilities except the natural gas, unless advised otherwise.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes.
  • Secure your home as you normally would when leaving for an extended period, shutting and locking doors and windows. Close and secure hurricane shutters if you have them.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.
  • Get in touch with your out-of-area contact person and let them know where you’re going and when you expect to get there.

If you have disabilities or special needs, you can cope with disaster by preparing in advance. Plan according to your needs during a disaster situation. If possible, evacuate to the home of a family member or friend. If this is not possible, evacuate to an emergency shelter and DSC05523ediscuss your needs with the shelter manager upon arrival. Register with the State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management’s Register Ready if you have not already done so.

EMERGENCY APP The FREE Red Cross Emergency App puts vital information at your fingertips. With more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts the app gives you real-time information to help keep you and your loved ones safe. The app contains information on what you can do before, during and after emergencies to help keep families safe. Whether it’s flooding, power outages or severe storms, the Emergency App keeps you in the know and prepared to respond.

The app is available in English and Spanish in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or at redcross.org/apps.

For more information about flood safety, visit redcross.org/prepare.


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