Holiday safety in Minne-snow-ta

In Minnesota, the holiday season requires us to be extra cautious. While holiday cooking and decorations increase risks of fire and injury, the winter weather conditions create additional hazards on the roads. For example, every year across the country there are on average more than 150,000* crashes due to icy roads. With the spirit of safety first, we offer below some helpful tips for a fabulous and fun holiday season.

Roads

1. Keep a windshield scraper and emergency kit including food and warm clothing in your vehicle.

2. Test your car battery. As temperature drops, battery power drops as well.

3. Allow extra time to drive to your destination. Not only will there be more traffic than usual, but it is safest to drive more slowly on snowy roads.

4. Practice braking on icy roads in an empty parking lot.

5. Check tire pressure and tread life. Consider installing winter tires.

Homes

1. Check all smoke alarms to verify that there is a working smoke alarm on each level of the home. Review your home fire escape plan.

2. Turn off decorative lights and blow out candles before leaving the house or going to sleep.

3. Remain in the kitchen while something is cooking.

4. Wash hands and cook food to safe minimum standards to avoid food poisoning.

5. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from hot ovens and stove tops.

For immediate access to weather updates and information on treating common first aid emergencies, download the American Red Cross Emergency App for free.

*Source: NHTSA and Federal Highway Administration

Help ensure a sufficient blood supply throughout the holidays

Winter 2015_Thanksgiving Critical Day ImageAs the holidays approach, people are getting busy – organizing dinner parties, plotting out Black Friday shopping strategies and planning family get-togethers. Lots of fun stuff awaits, and people want to feel good for the holidays, but not everyone does. Patients in hospitals are still in need of blood products from generous donors in good health.

Donors are especially needed in the weeks leading up to and after the holidays. Blood and platelet donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when festivities pull people away from their donation appointments. This often causes a drop in the blood available for patients in the winter months.

You can give someone the chance to feel better before the holidays are in full swing. Be part of something meaningful, and give blood or platelets through the American Red Cross to help someone hurt or sick. If you are unable to give blood, you can still help by hosting a Red Cross virtual blood drive, volunteering or making a financial donation.

As Thanksgiving approaches, reflect on your blessings and look for ways to give back to the community or someone less fortunate. Remember that giving an hour of your time and donating blood could give a patient needing blood the most valuable gift of all – the gift of life. Many families have started giving blood together on Thanksgiving Day, or over the Thanksgiving weekend, as a way of giving back and giving thanks.

To help encourage blood donations around the holidays, the American Red Cross has teamed up with celebrity chefs John Besh, Richard Blais, Rocco DiSpirito, Mike Isabella, Ellie Krieger and Ali Larter to bring gourmet recipes to donors’ kitchens. Those who come out to donate blood or platelets November 25-29 will receive a Red Cross mixing spoon and celebrity chef recipes, while supplies last.

Make a blood or platelet donation appointment now by downloading the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Please share the need with others in your social network and use the hashtag #GiveWithMeaning.