Holidays for Heroes Brings Joy and Thanks to Military Men and Women

North Jersey Board - Holidays For HeroesA simple card can have a profound impact. The Red Cross Holidays for Heroes program provides the opportunity for you to show your support with a thankful note for the holidays to the brave men and women who serve our country.

Recently, Red Cross Board members and volunteers from North Jersey gathered together to sign over 300 holiday cards, and they invite others to join in the fun. All sorts of groups, such as non-profits, faith-based groups, businesses and their employees, schools and families can easily participate in this year-round campaign.

Here are some tips for those who are interested in getting 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 Holidays for Heroes should be packaged and mailed to:

American Red Cross House

Holidays for Heroes

6051 Doughboy Loop

JB MDL, NJ 08640

Cards can also be dropped off at Red Cross locations in New Jersey. Visit redcross.org/NJ.

Give something that means something. Send some holiday cheer to the servicemen and women who help defend our freedom. For more information about Holidays for Heroes call: 609-562-3483.

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20 Ways to Safely Cook and Travel This Thanksgiving

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At Thanksgiving millions of people will take to the road and kitchen to share the holiday feast with loved ones.

Because Thanksgiving is a peak time for congested travel and home cooking fires, the American Red Cross asks everyone to follow the steps below to help stay safe this holiday. In addition, you can help protect yourself and your family from home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your fire escape plan, using free resources from the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign at redcross.org/homefires.

COOKING SAFETY

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  1. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
  2. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  3. While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle.
  4. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  5. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
  6. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  7. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  8. Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  9. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  10. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

TRAVEL SAFETY

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Each year, millions of people drive to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends—making it one of the busiest times for road traffic. If you’re planning to travel by car, prepare now for a safe visit.

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  2. Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in the trunk.
  3. Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  4. Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
  5. Be well rested and alert.
  6. Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
  7. Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
  8. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  9. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  10. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Be sure to download the free American Red Cross First Aid App.  The app provides users with quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency.

Winter Home Heating Safety for You and Your Family

Heating one’s home through the winter can be expensive, so costly that almost half of the families in the United States use alternate heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or coal or wood stoves to stay warm. These supplemental heating sources can be dangerous if not used properly.

The Red Cross urges everyone to follow these safety steps when using alternate heat sources:

  • Keep items that will burn like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Don’t leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Place any space heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that have the safety measure of shutting off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Using a fireplace? Make sure you have a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

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POWER OUTAGE If someone is going to use a generator, never use it indoors, even in a garage, carport, basement or crawlspace. Fumes from the generator can be deadly. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Other safety tips include:

  • Use flashlights for light, not candles.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check refrigerated food for spoilage and if in doubt, throw it out. Your refrigerator will keep cold for about 4 hours. If the freezer is full, it will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Have coolers on hand and surround your food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep food cold for a longer period of time.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics to avoid damaging them when the power is restored.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Watch animals and keep them under your direct control.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.

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LIFE-SAVING STEPS Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and set up a meeting place outside in case of fire. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Teach household members to stop, drop and roll if their clothing should catch on fire.

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Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check monthly that the alarms are working properly by pushing the test button. Replace batteries in smoke alarms that require battery changing at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

For more information about Fire safety and steps you can take to be ready, visit the preparedness information on our web site.

For addition heating safety and winter storm tips, download the free Red Cross Emergency App.

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.

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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:

  • 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 redcross.org/apps.

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 redcrossblood.org 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.

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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.

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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 redcross.org/apps 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 redcross.org/apps.

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.

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY

  • 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.

 

GETTING TO SCHOOL BY CAR, BIKE, ON FOOT

  • 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, SLOW DOWN!

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.

 

PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES AND TAKE A FIRST AID CLASS

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 redcross.org/prepare. 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 redcross.org/apps. Learn and practice First Aid and CPR/AED skills by taking a course (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you can help save a life.