AUSTIN, TX, Thursday, May 24, 2012 — Memorial Day weekend is just ahead and for many it may mean taking to the highway for a quick vacation, breaking out the grill for some outdoor cooking, or taking that first dip in the pool. The American Red Cross offers some safety tips to help everyone have a great weekend.
“The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and we want everyone to enjoy it,” said American Red Cross Central Texas Region CEO Marty McKellips. “There are steps people can take to help stay safe while they have fun over the holiday weekend.”
DRIVE SAFELY With many people traveling over the holiday weekend, it’s more important than ever to drive safely. People should be well rested and alert, use their seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. If anyone plans on drinking alcohol, they should designate a driver who won’t be drinking.
Other tips for a safe trip include:
• Drivers should give full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Leave ample room when behind other vehicles.
• Use caution in work zones.
• Make frequent stops when traveling long distances.
• Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows, especially at night.
• Turn the vehicle’s headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.
• Use high beams on rural roads unless approaching or following a vehicle.
SAFE GRILLING The onset of grilling season often results in injuries and fires due to careless cooking practices. The Red Cross offers steps people can follow to help stay safe while enjoying those tasty cookout treats:
• Never grill indoors.
• Always supervise a grill when in use, and make sure everyone, including 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.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
• Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
• Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
WATER SAFETY Learning to swim is one of the best steps someone can take to be comfortable and safe around water. People can contact their local aquatic facilities to get information about Red Cross swimming classes. Home Pool Essentials (homepoolessentials.org) is an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners.
Other safety tips include:
• Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
• Prevent unsupervised access to the water. Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub.
• Maintain constant supervision. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children even when lifeguards are present.
• Know what to do in an emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
• Have appropriate rescue equipment, a phone, life jackets and a first aid kit near the pool.
For full information on how to be prepared and to help stay safe this summer, visit redcross.org.
Central Texans who wish to make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross Central Texas Region can call 800 or 512-928-4271, send a financial contribution to 2218 Pershing Drive, Austin, 78723 or make a secure online donation at www.centex.redcross.org . For information on Red Cross services or volunteer opportunities please call 800 or 512-928-4271 or visit www.centex.redcross.org .