Fire Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

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

5 Simple 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 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:

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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 Grandma as they help her download the free First Aid and Emergency 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 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 767 local home fires providing food, shelter, clothing and other assistance to 1,803 displaced families. It has allowed 116,154 people to be trained with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics; provided 3,516 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and collected 89,160 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers.

New Jersey Red Cross Disaster Workers Lend a Helping Hand Following Hurricane Matthew

Thousands of people in the Southeast continue to deal with the effects of Hurricane Matthew weeks after the storm made landfall. Since the day the storm hit the United States coast, the American Red Cross has been working to help those who were devastated by Hurricane Matthew.

Red Cross disaster workers are providing shelter, food, and disaster relief items and help with recovery. Not only have Red Cross disaster workers in the South stepped forward to help, but disaster workers from New Jersey are rushing to assist those affected. More than 30 New Jersey Red Cross disaster workers have traveled south to lend a helping hand in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

See New Jersey Red Cross disaster workers in action!


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Red Cross volunteers are always thinking about others in need. Even if they have to cross hundreds of miles, they are always willing to lend a hand and help those affected by disaster ensuring no one is ever alone in their time of need.

You can help too!
The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Learn more about the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew here.

The American Red Cross New Jersey Region is offering training for new volunteers who wish to deploy to the Southeast to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew. Volunteers are needed to fill a variety of roles including working at shelters, assisting with feeding operations, distributing relief supplies, working in a warehouse, loading/unloading supplies from trucks and recovery casework. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, in good general health and commit to a minimum of two weeks working in the Southeast. Training and travel-related expenses are covered by the Red Cross. Volunteer opportunities for virtual work, which allows volunteers to assist with the relief operation from here in New Jersey, are also available and include recovery casework. Visit for more information and to register for training.

By Arrshia Kumar, American Red Cross Youth Volunteer

Ten Steps to Prepare for Tropical Storm Hermine

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Heavy rains and flooding could threaten communities in New Jersey as Tropical Storm Hermine is forecast to move north along the eastern seaboard this weekend. The Red Cross is preparing to respond and is asking people in New Jersey to get ready too.

People who live in communities threatened by heavy rains or in the potential path of Hermine should keep informed about weather conditions and get prepared now.

You can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of hurricanes and flooding, as well as locations of shelters. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard App  for a fun way to teach children what to do in case of a flood or a hurricane.


  1. Listen to local weather advisories and stay informed about the storm.
  2. Build an emergency kit or update an existing one. Information about what to include is available here.
  3. Plan now for what members of the household will do in an emergency. Include ways to contact one another and two places to meet – one near the home and one outside the neighborhood. Full details here.
  4. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and get some extra cash.
  5. If the neighborhood is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  6. If ordered to evacuate, obey the order, avoiding flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  7. If flooding threatens, head for higher ground and stay there.
  8. Turn around, don’t drown. If someone comes upon water above their ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. If a roadway is flooded, turn the vehicle around and go another way.
  9. If caught on a flooded road and the waters are rising rapidly, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  10. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.

For more information about hurricane and flood safety, visit

The Red Cross is preparing – calling volunteers and getting supplies, vehicles and relief equipment ready. Please take this time to get ready too.

Evacuation Preparedness: What to Bring

As Tropical Storm Hermine moves north along the eastern seaboard bringing the potential for severe weather, take steps to be ready should you need to evacuate. If local authorities ask you to evacuate, do so immediately. Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications.
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements.
  • Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents.
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items.
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys.
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled.
  • Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you.
  • Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself.
  • Note – Public health regulations do not permit pets in shelters; service

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do before, during and after disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The Emergency App is available in English and Spanish in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

Join us for the Jersey City Police and Fire 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive

911 Blood Drive

Make a Difference in the Lives of Louisiana Families as a Virtual Volunteer in New Jersey

The American Red Cross New Jersey Region is seeking volunteers to serve as Virtual Disaster Case Workers for current and future disasters. This role can be fulfilled from the convenience of your own home or office in New Jersey.

All that is required is a phone, internet connectivity, a quiet, confidential place to work and a willingness to be trained in Red Cross disaster case work procedures. Although it is not required, the Red Cross is seeking individuals with prior case work experience and those with a social work, psychology, mental health credential or related professional background.

Interested? Simply register as a Red Cross volunteer, participate in an online orientation, comply with a basic background check and receive free Disaster Relief Operation Virtual Case Work training.

Virtual volunteer case workers are assisting those affected by massive flooding in Louisiana. Join us. Sign up now to help our neighbors in need. Go to Enter your zip code and select Disaster Services as your interest. Click on DCS Disaster Cycle Services Virtual Case Worker to get started. For more information, send an email to: