Red Cross offers tips to help you have a great ─ and safe ─ summer

From the American Red Cross:

As we all head outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather this summer, the American Red Cross of Greater Carolinas has steps you can follow to help stay safe.
“Here in North Carolina, many of us enjoy spending time outdoors with loved ones as we go for a walk, go swimming, or sitting outside and enjoying the weather,” said Allison Taylor, Regional CEO, American Red Cross of the Greater Carolinas. “The Red Cross wants you to avoid any danger no matter what your plans include and offers steps you can follow to have a safe summer.” Visit redcross.org/summersafety for more information.
WATER SAFETY Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Unless rescued, it could take as little as 20 to 60 seconds for a drowning person to submerge.
  • Learn to be safe, make good choices, learn to swim and know how to handle emergencies.
  • Provide constant, active adult supervision and know how to swim.
  • Swim in an area with lifeguards. Designate a “water watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.
  • Wear your life jacket.
  • Reach or throw, don’t go! In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.
  • Swimming classes are available for both children and adults. Visit redcross.org/watersafety for a map of Learn-to-Swim providers in your community.
  • Download the Red Cross Swim app for safety tips, kid-friendly videos and activities, and take the free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course in English or Spanish.
PICNIC, GRILLING SAFETY Summer is a great time to get outside for a picnic or to fire up the grill. Follow these tips to prevent illness and keep everyone safe:
  • Wash your hands, utensils and workstation before preparing the food.
  • Separate uncooked meats, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like salads, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and desserts. Use separate plates and utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Bring hand sanitizer if your picnic site doesn’t have hand-washing facilities.
  • If you are going to cook on the grill, bring a food thermometer to be sure grilled foods are cooked enough.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Never grill indoors.
  • Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, 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.
  • Wash your hands before preparing the food. 
  • Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. 
OUTDOOR SAFETY Whether camping or just enjoying the outdoors, follow these tips:
  • If a camping trip is in your plans, know the level of ability of the people in your group and the environment around you. Plan accordingly.
  • Pack a first aid kit.
  • Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR course and download the First Aid app.
  • Watch for sprains, falls and dehydration.
  • Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend.
  • Bring nutritious food items and water, light-weight clothing to layer and supplies for any pets.
  • There is a greater chance of getting bitten by mosquitoes and ticks outdoors Use insect repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) when you are outdoors. Be sure to follow the directions on the package.
  • Consider staying indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots.
  • Use a rubber band or tape to hold pants against socks so that nothing can get under clothing.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants. Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see tiny insects or ticks.
  • When hiking in woods and fields, stay in the middle of trails. Avoid underbrush and tall grass.
  • If you are outdoors for a long time, check yourself several times during the day. Especially check in hairy areas of the body like the back of the neck and the scalp line.
  • Inspect yourself carefully for insects or ticks after being outdoors or have someone else do it.
  • If you have pets that go outdoors, spray with repellent made for their breed/type. Apply the repellent according to the label and check your pet for ticks often.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying sources of standing water outside of the home, such as from flowerpots, buckets and barrels.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.