By Sarah Domier, Red Cross Volunteer

The Holiday Season has arrived and temperatures have started to drop, and The American Red Cross hopes these tips will help you and your family enjoy a safe holiday season—whether you’re traveling or staying home!

We know that this time of year tends to bring out a lot of travelers, so whether you’re driving just a few hours away or out of state, it is crucial that your vehicle be well prepared for the trek. A few things to have on hand in your vehicle emergency kit is a shovel, non-clumping kitty litter to provide tire traction in snowy areas, snacks, warm blankets and spare clothes.

It’s also important to have your vehicle checked before any trip. Top parts to have looked at are tires, brakes, the battery and the antifreeze levels. Of course, topping off all of your fluids is a must, as well.

We understand how exciting and eager we can all get when traveling for the Holidays, but don’t forget there will be millions of others just as eager and excited on the road too; so, be alert, buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.

For all of you who are traveling via public transportation make sure to be aware that it’s Flu season! Everything you touch is likely touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. – which is how germs are spread. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes so you can easily clean surfaces such as armrests. If you bring a pillow or blanket you can use that as a shield from the seat itself.

For those of you staying home for the Holidays, or staying close to home, we have some tips for you as well!

Heating the home is one of the leading causes of home fires and the American Red Cross has steps you can follow to heat your home safely. Many families use alternative heating options such as wood/coal burning stoves and fireplaces to save on heating costs. Having these cleaned and inspected annually will help prevent a home fire.
Space heaters are another great alternative for heating small spaces, but can also cause home fires. When shopping for the perfect space heaters find a model that shuts off automatically if it should tip over. To prevent a fire, always place space heaters on stable surfaces and at least three feet away from anything flammable, like curtains.

While we’re on the topic of flammable materials, all of the Holiday chef’s out there should avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire. Children and pets should be kept away from the cooking area, and flammable items should be kept away from heat sources/cooking surfaces. Most importantly, never leave a kitchen unattended when cooking is in progress. As a precaution to home fires, test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and remember to regularly practice your fire escape plan!


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