Top 12 Holiday Safety Tips

Download the Holiday Safety Tips

1. Prepare vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets    or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps,  shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra     clothing, flares, and tow rope.

2. Drive the sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If travel is a must, let someone know the destination, the route being taken to get there, and how long it should take to arrive.  If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the route.

3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available,  someone should cough or sneeze into their elbow, not their hands.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. In cold weather, layered lightweight clothing will keep a person     warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.

5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to     administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.

6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling  or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. This is important because unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.

7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training.  Visit for more information or to register for a course.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If someone plans on    drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat the home safely. Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.            Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

10. Cut down on heating bills without being a Grinch. Get the furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure     furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

11. Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.          Be well rested and alert. Give full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If someone has car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

rco_blog_img_safety12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case someone in the household faces an emergency in 2014.  As the holiday season moves into full swing, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross urges families to follow simple safety tips to keep the season merry and to prevent holiday fires. During the winter   holiday season, the incidence and severity of home fires dramatically increases. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire    Administration, each year nearly 156,000 fires occur nationally during the holidays claiming more than 630 lives,     causing more than 2,600 injuries, and costing $936 million in property damage.  Many of these fires are caused by home heating sources, unattended cooking, and candles.

Greenville Volunteer Goes Above and Beyond

When you first meet Parsons, you are drawn in by her welcoming smile and engaging personality…

Like many Red Cross volunteers, Amy Parsons wears many hats. She is the Disaster Action Team (DAT) Coordinator for the Pitt County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Parsons and her teams are on call around the clock to respond to local disasters like home fires.

Disaster volunteer Amy Parsons assisting residents at a shelter in Kinston NC after an apartment fire displaced 150 people from their homes in June 2013.
Disaster volunteer Amy Parsons assisted residents at a shelter in Kinston NC after an apartment fire displaced 150 people from their homes in June 2013.

Parson also makes herself available to deploy on national disasters when she is able to.  Last year she was in New York shortly after Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast and assisted as a shelter worker.

Parsons regularly helps respond to local disasters and specializes in shelter operations although she is skilled and trained in many other areas of disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Additionally, she goes above and beyond her role as a disaster volunteer by also participating in numerous regional and chapter community events and fundraisers.

“When you first meet Parsons, you are drawn in by her welcoming smile and engaging personality,” said Kathy Jones, Disaster Program Specialist for Pitt, Wayne, Greene and Lenoir counties.

Amy Parsons (left) with fellow disaster volunteer Nancy Barletto.
Amy Parsons (left) with fellow disaster volunteer Nancy Barletto.

Her congeniality and genuine compassion for the well-being of those around her are what set her apart from others.  Volunteers, clients, and Red Cross staff that interact with Parsons can expect to feel happy and cared for while in her presence.

“From her early days as an intern helping with fundraising and public affairs, we in Disaster Services are grateful she has found her niche with us,” said Jones.

Red Cross urges winter blood donations

This holiday season give a gift that doesn’t spread waistlines or stretch wallets. Instead, spread hope by donating blood or platelets.Easy to save lives

The American Red Cross’ Give Something that Means Something campaign asks eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets during the holiday season beginning Nov. 4, 2013, through Jan. 6, 2014.

“The holidays bring families and friends together in times of celebration, but for families dealing with a cancer diagnosis or other major illness, the holidays can be a difficult time,” said Bill Brent, CEO for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross. “When you give the gift of life with the Red Cross, you’re giving hospital patients the chance to spend more holiday seasons with their loved ones.”

Brent added that each blood or platelet donation made can help someone heal, feel better or just have more time.

Historically, during the winter months of November, December and January, fewer donors make the time to give blood due to competing seasonal activities, celebrations and holiday shopping. The Red Cross urges donors who make a commitment to donate during the holiday period to keep their appointments.

Those who attempt to donate Nov. 27, 2013, through Dec. 1, 2013, will receive a red short-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt as a thank you. Those who attempt to donate from Dec. 24 through Jan. 3 will get a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt. T-shirts will be offered while supplies last.

Donors can motivate others to give by sharing their donation experience or inviting a loved one to follow in their footsteps by creating a free postcard using Postagram. During this limited offer, donors can add a picture and personal message about their donation experience to a postcard at and the Red Cross will send it to a recipient of their choice.

Donors can visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for more information or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Red Cross Runs in the Family

Story by Wendy Flynn, Regional Director of Volunteers for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross.

Volunteers are the heart of the American Red Cross; from Clara Barton assisting on the Civil War battlefields to our present day volunteers responding to disasters across the country. I had the honor and privilege to be invited to the American Red Cross Overseas Association (ARCOA) Memory Ceremony, held at the American Red Cross office in Washington D.C. on November 8th. I was invited to accept the Services to the Armed Forces Legacy Recognition Award for my Great-Great Aunt Agnes Jacobs, who was a Red Cross nurse that served overseas in Paris and Pau, France from 1914-1917 in the hospitals assisting wounded warriors.

Wendy Flynn, Regional Director of Volunteers, at the Red Cross Overseas Association Memorial Ceremony and Recognition of Red Cross Staff Deployed from 1918-2013 event in D.C. on November 8.
Wendy Flynn, Regional Director of Volunteers, at the Red Cross Overseas Association Memorial Ceremony and Recognition of Red Cross Staff Deployed from 1918-2013 event in D.C. on November 8.

While I have always had a strong respect for the history of the Red Cross it became more apparent as I spoke with other volunteers who were present at the event. At the ceremony were two ladies, aged 95 and 99, who had both served as Red Cross volunteers with the military in Europe during World War 2;  they came to the event with other volunteers who had also served during World War 2 working as “donut dollies”. There was a group of ladies who traveled from Arizona, to have a slumber party/reunion with others there for the weekend. They were a part of a small community non-profit from the Vietnam era who traveled with the Red Cross to assist children affected by conflict in their communities. A story was told of a volunteer who had recently died, she was a volunteer in Vietnam, who had been wounded in the head and had to be airlifted MASH style to a field hospital. Sherri Brown had said that this was the only known case of a volunteer having treatment in this fashion.

The ceremony focused on the 5oth Anniversary of  Vietnam. There was a wreath laying commemorating the five Red Cross workers who were killed in action in Vietnam. A second wreath laying was presented for those volunteers who passed away in the past year while their names were read out and taps was played. Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter presented the Red Cross with a flag commemorating the Vietnam  Anniversary and gave a speech on the role of the Red Cross in military situations.

Overall, the ceremony was very memorable and one to show that our volunteers are never forgotten. It was Jerry DeFrancisco’s (Special Assistant to the President and CEO of the American Red Cross) idea to start the Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Legacy Recognition program and Deborah MacSwain (Volunteer and President of ARCOA), as well as many others who support and keep this program alive for generations to come. While I was not the only one there honoring loved ones of the past for their great service to the Red Cross and the military, this program lives through the dedication and hard work of volunteers.

Honoring Veterans, Service Members and Families in November

The American Red Cross’ unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army. Today, the Red Cross is meeting the needs of a changing military and expanding services to veterans. Red Cross support of military members and their families enhances morale and contributes to increased operational capability in several ways.

Learn more about our Service to Armed Forces program.

During the month of November the American Red Cross is involved in a number of activities throughout the community to show our support for the brave men and women of our armed forces.  The Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross will be participating in the following event throughout the region: Veteran’s Day Parades in Duplin and Onslow County on Nov. 9, a Veteran’s Day breakfast in Brunswick County on Nov. 11, and a Veteran’s Day Job Fair and Expo on Nov. 15 in New Hanover County.  Along with these events, Red Cross chapters throughout eastern NC are hosting card signing events for the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program. Contact your chapter to find out how you can get involved.

Holiday Mail for Heroes ProgramMom and daughter sign a card for Dad at the holiday card signing kickoff hosted by the Red Cross and 916th air refueling squadron at SeymourJohnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC on Nov. 15 2012

Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans. We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday greetings to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

Read More

Military Family Appreciation Month

Each year the President signs a proclamation declaring November Military Family Month. Last year President Obama said that our nation owes “each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.”

Read More

Veteran’s Day

With Veterans Day on Nov. 11, we are reminded of the importance of honoring those who have served our country. The American Red Cross supports military members and veterans in many ways, including providing blood products for many U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

This November, eligible blood donors can celebrate Veterans Day with the Red Cross by rolling up a sleeve and helping patients in need. Blood donated through the Red Cross is distributed to about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country for patients in need, including patients at many U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. All blood types are currently needed, especially O negative, A negative and B negative.

Visit to book an appointment in your area.