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Tips for a safer Memorial Day weekend and summer

While we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, many will spend the weekend with friends and family. Many will take a road trip, have their first picnic of the season, enjoy their first dip in the pool or day on the river or lake.

To help stay safe this holiday weekend, follow these tips from the American Red Cross.

Driving safety

• Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
• If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.
• Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways.
• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
• Make frequent stops.
• Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights.
• Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
• Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
• Let someone know where you are going, your route and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

Grilling safety

• Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
• Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
• Make sure everyone, including the 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.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Water safety

• Do your part, be water smart. Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
• Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.
• Don’t just pack it, wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket — always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.
• Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair — everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.
• Reach or throw, don’t go. Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
• Don’t fool with a pool: Fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, 4-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.

There is always a need for volunteers and blood. To learn about volunteer opportunities near you, visit redcross.org/volunteer. To find a blood drive or location near you, visit redcrossblood.org.

The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones be safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts.

The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim.

The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

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