With Labor Day upon us, bringing the unofficial end of summer fun, Georgia’s Red Cross has steps everyone can take to help stay safe over the long holiday weekend:

TRAVEL SAFETY
• Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).
• Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination.
• Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
• Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low.
• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

RIP CURRENTS
If a trip to the beach is part of your weekend plans, remember the possibility of dangerous rip currents which are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards
• If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
• Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

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 help keep the chef safe.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

GET RED CROSS READY FOR DISASTERS
September is also National Preparedness Month, the perfect time to get your household ready for any type of emergency. Georgia’s Red Cross urges everyone to make sure they are prepared for a disaster and not wait until an emergency occurs and it’s too late.

“An emergency, like a home fire, can occur at any time. Plus, this is the time of year when hurricanes are most-likely to occur,” said Red Cross Georgia Region CEO, Terri Badour. “Take some time during the month of September to talk with your family about an emergency preparedness plan. Taking these steps now will help keep your family ready for any type of emergency or disaster—big or small.”

ACTION STEPS:
1. GET A KIT. Pack the following items in an easy-to-carry container – a gallon of water per person, per day; non-perishable food; flashlight and hand-crank or battery-powered radio; extra batteries; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of important papers; extra cash and any medical or baby supplies family members may need. See full details here.
2. MAKE A PLAN. Have all members of your household help devise your emergency plan. Consider what emergencies could happen where you live; what to do if you are separated and how will you let loved ones know you are safe. Find full details and easy-to-use plan templates here.
3. BE INFORMED. Learn about hurricanes and other disasters common to your area. Find out how local authorities will let you know an emergency is happening. Make sure at least one household member is trained in first aid and CPR in case help is delayed during a disaster. You can also download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to have instant access on how to handle common first aid emergencies. Learn how to get fully informed about emergencies here.

MAKE YOUR HOME AND FAMILY SAFER FROM FIRES:
1. Install properly working smoke alarms on every level of your home—including inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
2. Test your smoke alarm batteries monthly. If they are not working, replace the batteries.
3. Create a fire-escape plan that gets every member of your household out safely, in two minutes or less. Make a commitment for every member of your household to practice your fire-escape plan at least two times every year.

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