Red Cross issues ways to enjoy summer safely

·5 min read

May 26—Whether one's summer plans include fun in the water, camping or grilling, the American Red Cross of Georgia has some resources residents can use to help remain safe.

Along with these tips comes a reminder about the critical need to maintain a stable blood supply for patients this summer.

The need for lifesaving blood transfusions never takes a break. For this reason, when schools let out and families leave for vacation, the American Red Cross typically sees a decline in donors, which often leads to a seasonal blood shortage. With no substitution for blood and no way to manufacture it,

volunteer donors are the only source of blood products for patients with sickle cell disease, car accident victims and parents experiencing difficult childbirths.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-CROSS.

Summer Safety Tips

Water Safety

Every day, an average of 11 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning — and one in five of those are children 14 or younger according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Red Cross wants everyone to know critical safety knowledge and skills that could save a life in and around the water. The Red Cross encourage families to build confidence in the water by learning to be safe, making good choices, learning to swim and how to handle emergencies.

Preventing unsupervised access to water, providing constant, active adult supervision and knowing how to swim are critical layers of protection to help prevent drowning.

Classes to learn how to swim are available for both children and adults at https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/water-safety-training-provider.html. Everyone should also learn first aid and CPR, so they know what to do in an emergency.

Download the Red Cross Swim app, sponsored by The ZAC Foundation, for safety tips, kid-friendly videos and activities, and take the free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course in English or in Spanish.

It's best to swim in a lifeguarded area. Always designate a "water watcher" whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.

Drowning behavior is typically fast and silent. Unless rescued, a drowning person will last only 20-60 seconds before submerging. In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don't go in.

Camping Safety

If a camping trip is in the plans, know the level of ability of the people in the group and the environment. Plan accordingly.

Pack a first aid kit to handle insect stings, sprains, cuts and bruises and other injuries that could happen to someone in the group. Take a Red Cross First Aid and CPR course and download the First Aid app to know what to do in case help is delayed. Participants will learn how to treat severe wounds, broken bones, bites and stings.

Sprains and falls are some of the most common misfortunes travelers may face. Falls are the biggest threat, many due to poor decision-making, lack of skill or not being properly prepared.

Dehydration is also a danger. Share travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend and bring nutritious food items and water, light-weight clothing to layer and supplies for any pets.

Grilling Safety

More than three-quarters of U.S. adults have used a grill — yet, grilling sparks more than 10,000 home fires on average each year. To avoid this, the Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don't add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

Never grill indoors — not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.

Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.

Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.

Pet Safety

Summer's heat can be dangerous for the family pet. Follow these steps to take to help ensure that pets stays safe this summer.

Don't leave a pet in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees even with the windows cracked open.

Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are especially prone to heat stroke, along with overweight pets, those with extremely thick fur coats or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.

Some of the signs of heat stroke in a pet are heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down, brick red gum color, fast pulse rate and being unable to get up.

If one suspects a pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.

Bring the pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage. Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for instant access on how to treat heat stroke, other emergencies and general care for cats and dogs and take the Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training course.

For more information, visit redcross.org.