With Snow Finally on the Way – Red Cross Offers 15 Ways to Stay Safe

Winter Storms – Red Cross Offers 15 Ways to Stay Safe When Winter Hits

With the first significant snow finally in the forecast, the American Red Cross wants New England residents to be ready.

Winter weather poses unique challenges to people faced with bitter cold, snow and ice. The Red Cross has steps you should take to stay safe if you are in the path of winter storms.

“A winter storm is headed to this region and we have safety tips everyone can follow to stay safe,” said Lloyd Ziel, communications director for the Red Cross in Massachusetts “Whether trying to keep your home warm or having to be outside in the cold, you can follow these steps to get through the storm.”



It’s that time of year when many people resort to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these steps (More home fire safety information available here):

  1. Give the heat space – All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  2. Orient space heaters – If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord.
  3. Protect your home – Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace. 
  4. Abstain from the range – Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  5. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  1. Beware the Cold – Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
  2. Remember to Rest – Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures.
  3. Awareness – Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  4. Dogs and Cats – Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  5. Yield to the Frost – Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.



Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

  1. Grip That Seat Belt – Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
  2. Refrain from Tailgating –  Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  3. Oppose the Cruise –  Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  4. Never Crowd the Plow – Don’t pass snow plows.
  5. Know What Freezes – Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.


DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.



Red Cross Honors 3 Acton Lifeguards

The Red Cross recognized three Acton, Mass., lifeguards Jan. 4 for their actions that saved one and assisted another last August at a community beach.

Jared Arnold, Andrew Dickinson, and Julia Beerman received the American Red Cross Life Saving Award for quickly responding to a swimmer in trouble at NARA Pond in Action, August 10, 2018.

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Kate Richardson, from American Red Cross Training Services, presented the awards to the three lifeguards at the Acton Recreation Department in front of family, town officials and Massachusetts state representatives.

Arnold, Dickinson and Beerman all stressed the importance of working well as a team and sighted the training they received which allowed them to act quickly to save a young girl from drowning, and assist another child who witnessed the incident.

The citations read:

On August 10, 2018, Mr. Jared Arnold, Mr. Andrew Dickinson, and Ms Julia Beerman, trained in American Red Cross Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED, helped to save the life of a young girl who slipped under water and did not resurface at NARA Pond in Acton, Massachusetts. After realizing that the girl had not resurfaced, Mr. Arnold entered the water and brought the girl back onto the shore. Fellow lifeguard, Ms. Julia Beerman, was waiting at the shoreline and started conducting CPR on the girl. While the events unfolded, Lifeguard Mr. Andrew Dickinson, dialed 9-1-1 and promptly went to obtain the AED. Upon Mr. Dickinson’s return with the AED, the girl had been revived by Ms. Beerman. The girl was placed in a recovery position. The girl’s younger sister had gone into shock over the incident. The lifeguard staff kept both the girl and her sister comfortable. The Emergency Medical Responders arrived shortly after for further treatment. Without a doubt, the skills learned in the American Red Cross Training Services course helped to save the life of this young girl. For this act, Mr. Jared Arnold, Mr. Andrew Dickinson, and Ms. Julia Beerman have been awarded the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award. This is one of the highest awards given by the American Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course. The certificate bears the signature of the President and CEO of the American Red Cross, and the signature of the chairman of the American Red Cross This action exemplifies the highest degree of concern of one human being for another who is in distress.

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For more than 100 years the American Red Cross has been helping prevent drowning in the U.S. In 1914, the Red Cross began teaching swimming and lifesaving training to help combat the mounting number of drowning deaths occurring across the country. Due largely to Red Cross education and outreach efforts, over the course of 33 years the drowning rate was cut in half—from 10.4 drownings to 5.2 per 100,000—and millions of Americans were safely enjoying themselves in, on and around water. This work has continued through the years, and the national drowning rate has declined steadily to about 1.13 per 100,000 per year over the last decade. While great progress has been made, this still translates to approximately 3,700 needless drowning deaths each year.

The Red Cross is teaching people of all ages how to swim and be competent in and around the water by providing multi-year Learn-to-Swim courses. The program specifically targets children who might not otherwise have an opportunity to receive this training. Additionally, the Red Cross Centennial Campaign is teaching advanced Lifeguarding, Basic Swim Instructor and Water Safety Instructor courses to teens and young adults with goal of developing qualified lifeguards and swim instructors from within these communities.

January is National Blood Donor Month

The American Red Cross is offering a special incentive to increase blood and platelet donations in January, a historically challenging time. All donors who present at Red Cross blood drives in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island will receive a $5 Dunkin’ Gift Card by email *.

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“January is a time we tend to see a dip in the blood supply,” said Patricia Sablitz, director of donor recruitment, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Donors may not have had time to come in during the holidays, and the threat of severe weather is always looming here in the northeast. This incentive is one way to remind donors the need for blood doesn’t take a winter break.”

In order to receive the gift card, all donors must have a valid email on file with the Red Cross at the time of donation. In addition to the emailed gift card, donors who give blood or platelets from Jan. 1-6, 2019 will receive a free long-sleeved T-shirt**.


How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.


About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

* Red Cross donors in CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT who receive this offer and come in to donate during promotional time frame are eligible (Jan. 1-31, 2019). Limit one (1) per donor. This offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Offer is subject to change at any time in the promotional time frame. Instructions on how to redeem the gift certificate voucher will be emailed to the address listed in your American Red Cross donor profile approximately 30 days after an attempted donation. The gift certificate voucher can be redeemed at GiftCertificates.com. © 2019, DD IP Holder LLC. The Dunkin’ trademarks, logos and designs are registered trademarks of DD IP Holder LLC and used under license. Dunkin’ Donuts is not a sponsor of this promotion. The Dunkin’ Gift Card is subject to complete terms and conditions, which can be found at


**While supplies last. All items are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash.

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Volunteers, Donors Help Red Cross Serve Residents in 2018

This year, our volunteers and donors helped make sure the Red Cross was ready to respond to the needs of the citizens of Massachusetts, as well as those in need across the country.

Starting in September the American Red Cross launched a wide-ranging relief effort to help people in North and South Carolina devastated by Hurricane Florence. In October, Hurricane Michael severely impacted the Florida Panhandle, followed in November by the Woolsey and Camp Fires in California. With the Camp Fire becoming the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in California history. Our partners also help us make homes safer through our Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, help us to respond to disasters by supporting the purchase of Red Cross vehicles, help military families through our Service to the Armed Forces Programs and help us support our generous volunteer blood donors.

In Fiscal Year 2018, your local Red Cross was hard at work providing comfort and hope right here at home. The American Red Cross in Massachusetts:

  • Responded to 683 local incidents, including fires, power outages, hazardous materials releases, transportation accidents and storms in Massachusetts and provided immediate disaster assistance to nearly 5,000 residents in the form of emergency shelter; food; clothing; children’s items; and other household needs.
  • Installed more than 7,000 smoke alarms as part of the Home Fire Campaign.
  • Taught more than 23,000 Massachusetts residents how to protect themselves and their families or to help others in an emergency through classes in First Aid, CPR, Lifeguard training, Babysitter training, Community Disaster Education programs and more.
  • Provided emergency communications, support services and access to emergency financial assistance to more than 1,300 military families.
  • Collected more than 140,000 units of blood to provide lifesaving blood components, plasma derivatives and transfusion services to hospitals and acute care facilities in Massachusetts.

The Red Cross also runs one of New England’s largest food pantries, serving more than 182,000 people last year.


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/ma or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossma.

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Encore & Red Cross Team Up to Support Veterans

Photographs by Katy Rogers

The American Red Cross in Massachusetts partnered with Encore Boston Harbor and their employees to bring some joy this holiday season to veterans at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass.

John Tocco, Executive Director, Government & Community Relations; and Holly Grant, CEO of the Red Cross in Massachusetts address volunteers and employees.

In a two-day event, Encore Boston Harbor employees and Red Cross volunteers assembled more than 500 bags of supplies for are veterans. Encore Boston Harbor provided shampoo, toothbrushes and other hygiene items, along with activity books to fill up comfort kit bags. Encore employees volunteered to build the kits and distribute them in Bedford to veterans in need.

“The Red Cross is a phenomenal organization and we’re honored to be partnered with them,” said John Tocco, executive director for government and community relations for Encore Boston Harbor. “The Red Cross as a national organization, but it’s the grass roots that appealed to us. Being able to respond to every disaster, being able to connect with the families in our neighborhoods; it’s extremely important to us.”


More than 30 Encore Boston Harbor employees joined Red Cross staff and volunteers in Medford, Mass., December 5 to make the more than 500 comfort kits. Encore employees wrote ‘thank yous’ in holiday cards and packed them in with the other supplies.

“These partnerships are so important to support our military families and veterans,” said Holly Grant, chief executive officer for the Red Cross in Massachusetts. “The Red Cross needs partnerships like Encore Boston Harbor to help us support both our military communities and those affected everyday by disasters.”


The Service to Armed Forces program regularly partners with VA facilities across the state to ensure veterans have what they need during their hospital stays.

“I’ve seen their faces when they receive even the smallest gift, they know that someone is thinking about them,” Said Dawn Sargent, director for Service to the Armed Forces in Massachusetts for the Red Cross. “Veterans have told me that the show of support is greater than any gift they might receive.”

The Service to Armed Forces program is one of the founding missions of the Red Cross. By providing emergency communications services, financial assistance and reconnection workshops; the Red Cross and its volunteers help thousands of active duty military members, their families and veterans every year.

Encore Boston Harbor is a $2.6 billion five-star global destination gaming resort featuring 671 hotel rooms with sweeping views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor, an ultra-premium spa, specialty retail, award-winning dining, and state-of-the-art ballroom and meeting spaces. The three-million-square-foot resort will generate more than 4,000 construction jobs and 10 million labor hours, more than 4,500 permanent jobs, $265 million in traffic mitigation and approximately $660 million in direct annual expenditures from Wynn ($242 million in annual taxes and fees, $170 million in payroll and $249 million in goods and services to operate and maintain the resort). It is the largest private, single-phase development in the history of the Commonwealth.


New CEO Hits Ground Running

Is Cooking & Heating Safety on Your To-Do List for Thanksgiving?

As families prepare for the coming holiday and all the trappings that it brings, a rash of recent home fires is a sad reminder that extra care is always a good idea around fire safety.

Since Nov. 15, Red Cross volunteers in Massachusetts responded to seven home fires across our region that displaced 19 families totaling 45 people. These fires displaced families in Amherst, Rockland, Bellingham, Plymouth, Malden and Brockton. Red Cross volunteers in Massachusetts are on call 24/7/365 to respond when the call goes out.

Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires is heating sources like wood stoves and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.

Home Fires Campaign, Iowa 2014

Residents should also take steps to ensure their home heating system is properly maintained and in good working order as winter quickly approaches. Furnaces and chimneys should be inspected regularly by a professional to ensure dangerous carbon monoxide gas isn’t collecting in utility and living spaces. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, all homes should have detectors placed near heating sources to ensure safety.

The American Red Cross provides the means for families to get immediate emergency support such as clothing, food and shelter in the first few days after a fire. Volunteer Client Caseworkers then work with the families to help them navigate the days and weeks following to recovery. The American Red Cross is a charitable organization, not a government agency. It depends on volunteers and the generosity of people like you to perform our mission.


The Red Cross asks everyone to take two simple steps to help prevent injury and death during a fire in their home – check their smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day. The plan should include two ways to get out of every room and a place to meet outside. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. The alarms should be tested every month and the batteries replaced at least once a year.

The Red Cross and community partners around the country are participating in a campaign called the “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.” If you, or someone you know doesn’t have smoke alarms installed in your home, Red Cross is working with local teams to install them free of charge. If you are in need of someone to install smoke alarms, please contact the American Red Cross to arrange for a free smoke alarm installation or battery check by going to redcross.org/ma or by calling 1-800-564-1234.

In Massachusetts, a family is displaced by a disaster – most usually a home fire – on average every two hours. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/MA, call

1-800-564-1234, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.