Red Cross offers winter safety tips

The American Red Cross Capital Area Chapter has holiday tips to help make the season a safe one.

• Prepare vehicles for traveling with an emergency kit which includes blankets, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares and a tow rope. Check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.

• Drive the vehicle safely. Avoid driving during a storm. If travel is a must during inclement weather, let someone know the destination, route taken and how long the trip should take.

• Help prevent the spread of flu by staying at home if sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue isn’t available, cough into your elbow, not your hands.

• Dress in layers when it is cold outside. This will keep a person warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and hat will prevent loss of body heat.

• Use a Red Cross baby-sitter when attending holiday events. Certified baby-sitters learn to administer basic first aid, properly hold and feed a child, take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play.

• Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove. Unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.

• The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training. Visit www.redcross.org/training for more information.

• Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer.

• Never use a stove or oven to heat the home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

• Cut down on the heating bills by getting the furnace cleaned and changing the furnace filters. Make sure the furnace isn’t blocking the heat vents and close off rooms not in use. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

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