Thursday, June 8, 2017

Make a Splash this Summer with Water Safety Tips from the Red Cross

Summer is a time to make a splash! Taking a dip in the ocean, pool or lake is a fun way to cool off in the heat of the summer. But it is important to be safe too. Everyone should have basic water safety knowledge and skills to help them be safer and make good choices around the water

Unfortunately, tragic events where children and adults lose their lives to drowning occur all too often. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day.

As you head to the beach or pool this summer, the American Red Cross recommends you keep these safety factors in mind: 
  • ·         Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • ·         Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • ·         Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • ·         Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • ·         Maintain constant supervision.
  • ·         Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
  • ·         If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • ·         Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • ·         If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • ·         Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • ·         Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • ·         Enroll in Red Cross home pool safetywater safetyfirst aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
  • ·         Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
  • ·         Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

Put water safety in the palm of your hands—download the Red Cross Swim App. 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. People can download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Don’t Let Your Summer go up in Flames - Summer Grilling Safety Tips from the Red Cross

With the cold of winter finally retreating, it’s time to bring the activity outdoors, including cooking. May through August are the prime grilling months and those are also the peak months for grilling fires. The American Red Cross wants you to stay safe this summer.

While grills are a great way to cook a big family meal, they can also cause injury or even death if not used properly. In 2014, 16,600 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills, and these weren’t just adults. In fact, in 2016 1,600 children under five were treated in the ER, typically for contact burns rather than flame burns.*

Making grilling safety a priority for the whole family this summer with these tips from the Red Cross:  

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including children and pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid after coals have been ignited. 
Burns can range from minor to life-threatening. To learn what to do if someone in your family suffers a burn or another medical emergency, download the Red Cross First Aid App. This free app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Get the app and be prepared for what life brings. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid. Visit for more information. All of the Red Cross apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

*Source: NFPA, Fire Analysis & Research Division,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Get Ready for Hurricane Season; Tips from the Red Cross

As hurricane season begins this week, all of us in South Carolina are well aware of the destruction that comes with a tropical cyclone.

The American Red Cross has some tips to help you brush up on your preparedness so you’re ready in case another one hits. Crossing our fingers you don’t need them!

First, download the Red Cross Emergency App. In addition to hurricanes, it covers what to do before, during and after more than 30 disasters and emergency situations. Should you need to evacuate, the app shows all the open shelter locations in real-time. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to

Get Ready Now

The Red Cross recommends that households:
  • Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at
  • Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event. 
  • Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan and use the South Carolina Hurricane Guide to “Know Your Zone” for evacuations. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.

If you have a disaster kit, make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If you have an emergency plan for the household, talk about it again with family members so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.

Top Hurricane Prep Tips

Here are 11 tips on what to do if a hurricane is headed your way:

  • ·         Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio (Available in the Red Cross Store) for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • ·         Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed.
  • ·         Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (e.g., bicycles, lawn furnit
  • ·         Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • ·         Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • ·         Turn off propane tank.
  • ·         Unplug small appliances.
  • ·         Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • ·         Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • ·         Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • ·         Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Being prepared may not prevent a disaster but it will give you confidence to meet the challenge. And your Red Cross will be at your side.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our Commitment Never Wavers - Red Cross honors those who serve during Military Appreciation Month

May is Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor those who defend our freedom, culminating with Memorial Day, when we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The American Red Cross is proud to serve those who serve, helping members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.

The Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program dates back to the establishment of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in May 1881. Not only did the “Angel of the Battlefield” risk her life tending to soldiers wounded in the Civil War, she bolstered their morale by writing letters for them to send to their families. Today, volunteers and staff with the Red Cross proudly carry on this tradition through the SAF program, which serves as a critical line of communication between the U.S Armed Forces and their families.

In South Carolina, the Red Cross serves more than 126,000 active duty members and their families, as well as more than 520,000 veterans, providing 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. Red Cross services are provided at no charge to families, including:
·         Emergency Communications - The Hero Care Center is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help connect family members with their loved ones who are deployed overseas.

·         Deployment Services - Whether your family is facing its first deployment or the next of many, the Red Cross has developed workshops, information and support services to help you with the practical and emotional challenges.

·         Services for Veterans - Red Cross services for veterans dates back to World War I and remains consistent with the spirit of our congressional charter. Today, the Red Cross is proud to maintain our commitment to the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

·         Financial Assistance - The Red Cross works in partnership with military aid societies to provide quality, reliable financial assistance to eligible applicants 24/7/365. Assistance can include funds for emergency travel, burial of a loved one, emergency food and shelter, etc.

·         Information Referral - Red Cross offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans, and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources through our network of chapters in communities across the United States and offices on military installations worldwide.

·         Hero Care App - Access vital emergency and non-emergency resources for military members, veterans and military families.

The Red Cross salutes the Armed Forces of the United States of America and all members serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard as well as all veterans and their families during Military Appreciation Month.

To learn more about how the Red Cross supports those who serve our country, or to become a volunteer and help military families, visit

Thursday, May 4, 2017

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Tips from the Red Cross to keep your family safe this summer

Thunderstorms and lightning can be deadly. The American Red Cross wants you to know what you should do to stay safe “When Thunder Roars”.

Thunderstorms and lightning occur more at this time of the year, but can happen year round. They happen more often in the afternoon and evening, but can strike at any time of the day or night.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), lightning is still one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States, causing about 51 fatalities a year. Most lightning victims survive but can suffer debilitating symptoms.

The Red Cross has important steps you can follow to stay safe during a thunderstorm:

  • ·         Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • ·         If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  • ·         Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.
  • ·         As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.

If you are inside, you should:
  • ·         Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)
  • ·         Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  • ·         Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
  • ·         Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

If someone is struck by lightning, check them for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. People can learn how to take care of someone in an emergency by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to for more information.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kickoff the holidays at the festive RiverTown Reindeer Race in Conway

Kickoff the holiday season with your family at the 8th annual RiverTown Reindeer Race on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.  Presented by TD Ameritrade with King Construction, ABC 15, iHeart Radio and HTC Digital Cable, the race is a fundraising event of the American Red Cross of Eastern SC and its Red Cross Rescue Racers program.
Both runners and walkers are encouraged to participate in this fun, family-oriented 5k (3.1 mile) race filled with jingle bells and holiday music. Bring the family and your Santa hat, elf ears or reindeer antlers and join the fun. Dogs and strollers welcome on the tree-lined course in downtown Conway.

RiverTown Reindeer Race
Saturday December 3, 2016, 8 a.m.
Conway, S.C.
Register online at

The event is directed by Coastal Timing Management. Racers, which include runners and walkers of all ages, will receive awards presented to the top three overall male and female finishers, as well as the top three finishers in each age category.

Entry fee is $25 before Dec. 2 and $30 on race day with registration held from 7-7:50 a.m. at Conway Riverfront Park area off 2nd Avenue. Pre-registered participants will receive a specially designed Reindeer Race T-shirt and a collectible Reindeer Race bib. Register online at or contact Race Director Jim Troxell at

The Red Cross Rescue Racer Program is the official charity-training program for the Myrtle Beach Marathon. Through this program, participants with varying levels of fitness, can train successfully to run, run/walk or walk the half (13.1 miles) or full (26.2 miles) marathon. Team members vary from beginning to intermediate to advanced runners.
The program is a fundraising partnership of the Board of Directors of the Myrtle Beach Marathon and the Red Cross of Eastern SC. The team also partners with the Grand Strand Running Club for coaching assistance and mentorship. The team program has raised more than $550,000 for Red Cross disaster services. For sponsorship information or to join the Rescue Racers, contact Red Cross Rescue Racer Program Manager Angela Nicholas at or (843) 655-9788.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

One Community

By Michelle Hankes

The word "community" can mean many things to many people. It may be a neighborhood, a city, a congregation. According to Merriam-Webster, a community is a unified body of individuals or people with a common interest, characteristic or history.

In a disaster, communities of all types come together as families support each other in their grief of loss and persistence in recovery. No matter how large a disaster, whether it is a hurricane that strikes multiple states or a fire that rages through vast acres of land, the disaster starts and ends locally with the people affected by it.

Yet there is also a broader community.

The American Red Cross stretches from Alaska to Puerto Rico; from Maine to Hawaii. Every state and city is part of the Red Cross community. This community is made of volunteers and paid staff. It may or may not have a building that can be seen to be present in a city or county, but it is made up of people who are passionate about the mission of alleviating the suffering caused by disaster.

These are the people who leave their homes on Christmas day to help a stranger whose house is burning. These are the people who spend Thanksgiving at a shelter filled with people who can't go home because of a flooded river. These are the people who don't ask Why they should help but rather HOW they can help.

This is the community of the Red Cross. It is one community in that no matter where the disaster occurs, when the call for help arrives, volunteers raise their hands and offer to leave families and jobs to assist where the need is greatest. There are no borders in the Red Cross; Resources of time and money and goods are made available based on need rather than politics.

This spirit of community was seen first hand by Sandra Klein, a volunteer and Tiffany Circle leader of the Palmetto South Carolina Region of the American Red Cross. "Everyone in the country needs to understand the power that comes from uniting around a common goal," stated Ms. Klein. "There are ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicles) in the parking lot here in Charleston preparing to deliver supplies, and if you look at the doors, you'll see that they are from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Mexico. This is the Red Cross.

"This is one community."

(Caption for Photo: Emergency Response Vehicles from around the country prepare to serve the residents of South Carolina affected by Hurricane Matthew.)