Back to School: Red Cross Issues Steps to Help Keep Kids Safe

It’s almost time for the school bells to ring again and the American Red Cross has steps everyone can follow to help make the trip back to the classroom a safe one.

Typhoon Haiyan 2015

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand back from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps include:

  • Wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has signaled to get on.
  • Tell children they should only board their 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, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.
  • Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.

GET TO SCHOOL SAFELY 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 driving to school, parents should mandate that he or she 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 students are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection. If possible, use a route with 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.

WHAT DRIVERS SHOULD KNOW Drivers should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean and be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down – especially in residential areas and school zones. 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.

Parents should also 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. They should also teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.

TAKE A FIRST AID CLASS Red Cross training can give someone the confidence and skills to help with everyday emergencies from paper cuts to school sports injuries. A variety of online and in-class courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass. People can download the free Red Cross First Aid App (redcross.org/apps) for instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever needed.

Red Cross opens shelter, distributes clean-up kits following floods

Severe storms in Wake and Durham Counties caused flash floods that forced several families out of their homes.IMG_3047

The Red Cross opened a shelter on July 17, at Hillside High School, 3727 Fayetteville Rd., Durham, to assist families with lodging and food. The shelter remained open until July 20.

To date, the Red Cross is working with 86 families affected by the storm. We are grateful to our community partners, including Catholic Charities, Islamic Relief USA, Sodexo, North Carolina Central University, and Durham County Emergency Management, for providing transportation, food and shelter maintenance during relief efforts.

“Storm recovery is a group effort. The Red Cross will continue to work alongside community partners, law enforcement, and volunteers to make sure residents affected by the storm are cared for,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive of the Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina. “We will be on the scene until all needs are met.”

Clean-up kits, that include bleach, face masks, brooms, mops and other cleaning supplies, are still available to residents affected by the storm. Those in need of clean-up kits can contact the Red Cross of Central North Carolina at 919-489-6541.

How can you help? Every day in Eastern North Carolina, about five families are displaced by a disaster, whether it be a home fire, or flood. Make a contribution – big or small – so the Red Cross can continue to lend a hand to every family affected by a disaster: www.redcross.org/enc. Or, volunteer to help families on the scene of a disaster: www.redcross.org/volunteer.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

4th of July: Red Cross Steps for Enjoying a Safe Holiday Weekend

 

July4_Sparkler_firework

We’re just a few hours away from the Fourth of July holiday weekend and the American Red Cross has steps to ensure safety during firework displays and trips to the beach.

“This holiday weekend is a time to spend with family, enjoy water activities and watch fireworks with friends. And there are simple steps that can make for a safe holiday weekend,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina. “By downloading the Red Cross First Aid and Swim Apps, folks can have safety information at their fingertips.”

FIREWORKS SAFETY 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. Many cities and states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

BEACH SAFETY If holiday plans include visiting the beach, learn how to swim in the surf. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Other safety steps include:

  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

RIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

DOWNLOAD SWIM, FIRST AID APPS 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. It also contains water safety information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches and water parks. The First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on a variety of situations from insect bites and stings to choking and Hands-Only CPR. People can download the apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.

HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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