Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

After a nice Thanksgiving break, I wanted to take the time to write about the impact interning for the Central Texas chapter of the American Red Cross has had on me, and how thankful I am to have had this opportunity.

I am thankful for the hands-on experience I have been exposed to through this internship.

I am thankful for my supervisor and the rest of the Red Cross staff members that have welcomed me into their Red Cross family and have helped me learn the ins and outs of the organization.

I am thankful for all the generous volunteers and donors who are the reason why the American Red Cross is able to do so much and that I have had the opportunity to see this generosity make a difference in our community.

I am thankful for being a part of the Central Texas chapter and how being a part of this great organization reminds me how great it feels to give back.

What are you thankful this holiday season? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Thanksgving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving brings family and friends together to share a good meal, laughter and football. However, it can also bring unexpected health hazards like food poisoning and choking.

Food Poisoning
Eating undercooked turkey can be a health hazard. If thawing a turkey at a temperature above 40 degrees Farenheit, salmonella and other bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning. To avoid this 
there are some methods for safe defrosting. The turkey can be thawed in the refrigerator—one day for every 5 lbs. of the bird. The turkey can be submerged in water if it is in leak-proof packaging—30 minutes for every pound. The water should be changed every half hour. It's also safe to defrost a turkey in a microwave. Remove any packaging and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Regardless of what thawing method you use, it is important to cook your turkey right after thawing.

Food poisoning can also happen if leftovers are not stored correctly. Leftovers must be stored two hours after serving. If they are going to be eaten within three days, store in the refrigerator, otherwise store leftovers in the freezer. Make sure to remove the bones from the meat before storing.   

Choking can occur while tasting the Thanksgiving meal you are preparing or while your enjoying your dinner with loved ones. The first step is to call 9-1-1 if loved one is having problems breathing or speaking. Next, we recommend the use of the FIVE-and-FIVE technique. The first step is to give the choking victim five back blows, followed by five abdominal thrusts. Repeat these steps until object is forced out, person can breathe or becomes unconscious. If you are alone you can follow the same technique using your hand or by pressing your abdomen firmly on the back of a chair.

For more Thanksgiving safety tips visit the American Red Cross
Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Safety First During Holiday Travel

According to a new AAA suvey there is an expected 42.5 million Americans who will be traveling at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving holiday. That is a 4 percent increase from last year and most travelers are expected to use our nation's roadways to reach their destinations.
To arrive safely to your destination, here are a few safety tips to consider before hitting the road:
  • Know when to travel. AAA predicts that 90 percent of travelers will be traveling by road to reach their destination and both Wednesday and Sunday afternoons will be the busiest times on the roads.
  • Make sure your car is in good working order.
  • Start out with a full, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Get 6-8 hours of sleep the night before. Fatigue decreases awareness and reaction time.
  • Avoid distractions like using your cell phone while driving.
  • Observe speed limits and be mindful of road work and road signs.
  • Make frequent stops.  During long trips, rotate drivers.  If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  • Check road conditions and plan accordingly.
  • If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won't drink.
It is also recommended that you keep an emergency preparedness kit in your car. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash and blankets. The Red Cross Deluxe Auto Safety Kit is a great solution to help people prepare for emergencies on the road and is available in the Red Cross Store at

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Fryer Fire Danger

In this YouTube video, State Farm demonstrates the dangers of using a deep fryer if not used correctly. Deep fryers have become a favorite during the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, because of their quick and tasty result. However, these handy cooking appliances can be dangerous if not used correctly. Here are some safety tips to take into consideration before using your deep fryer this holiday season.

  • Turkey fryers should always be placed outside, away from the home, fences or other structures and combustible materials. Avoid wooden decks.
  • Many deep fryers do not come with a thermostat. This can be dangerous because if left unattended the unit may overheat the oil, so make sure to buy a reliable thermostat.
  • To reduce the chance of tipping, place fryer on a flat surface.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful of marinades before placing it in the pot. Excess water in partially frozen turkeys will cause the pot to overflow, resulting in a fire hazard. The National Turkey Federation recommends 24 hours of thawing for every 5 lbs of bird before cooking in a turkey fryer.
  • Be careful to not overfill your turkey fryer with oil. To determine the correct amount of oil for your fryer, put the actual turkey you will be frying into the basket and then into the empty pot. Add enough water to cover the turkey by about two inches. Take out the turkey and measure how much water is in the pot. That is how much oil you will need.
  • Make sure there is a fire extinguisher close by. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
  • There are no insulated handles on deep fryers and lid and handles become very hot and can cause severe burns. Cover your hands by wearing leather gloves and wear protective eyewear if possible.
Visit here for more Thanksgiving safety tips.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Help Support Fire Victims this Holiday Season

A sudden house fire can leave a family without shelter and their essential day to day necessities and can be a devastating time for them. Therefore, it is important for us to be prepared to provide families with essentials that they may need after a house fire.

With the holiday season here, the American Red Cross offers a great way of helping house fire victims get back on their feet through the annual Holiday Giving Catalog. The Holiday Giving Catalog gives you the opportunity chose exactly what your donations will be going to. Whether you would like to support a family with shelter and food for a day or blankets after a fire, there are plenty of ways to help.

For the complete Holiday Giving Catalog please visit the American Red Cross.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Practice Kitchen Safety this Thanksgiving

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking fires are more than twice as likely to occur on Thanksgiving day compared to an average day. This amounts to more than 4,000 fires on Thanksgiving day. In addition to making sure there is a working fire alarm in your home there are other easy safety precautions you can take to make this a fun and safe holiday.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires Thanksgiving day. About 90 percent of fires are caused by unattended cooking.
  • Keep items that can catch on fire like potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources.
  •  Wear tighter fitting clothes with short sleeves that are out of the way when cooking. 
  • Designate a "kid-free zone" at least three feet away from the stove and other hot surfaces.
  • If using a deep fryer when cooking, keep deep fryer outside away from walls, fences and other structures.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  • Turn handles of pots and pans inward to avoid accidents.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food make sure to check it regularly, stay in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines regarding the appropriate use of appliances.
  • After guests leave, walk around the house to make sure all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Mail for Heroes


For the fifth year the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will partner together for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The program is designed to empower everyday Americans to "share a piece of home" with our service men and women as a way of thanking them for their sacrifice.

The American Red Cross of Central Texas is inviting the community to participate in Holiday Mail for Heroes. From now until December 9 the public is invited to send cards encouragement and thanks to our service members, veterans and their families. Please send all mail to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

This year the American Red Cross is partnering with Simon Malls once again. Cards for soldiers can be dropped of at any of these Simon Mall Austin locations:    
  • Barton Creek Square Mall- 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy.
  • Lakeline Mall- 11200 Lakeline Mall Drive
  • The Domain- 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Suite 210
For more information about Holiday Mail for Heroes and specific guidelines please visit www.redcross/

You can also connect with other card-senders by using the Twitter  hashtag #holidaymail.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Service to the Armed Forces

With Veterans' Day this Friday, we would like to remind our community about some of the services the American Red Cross offers to the U.S. Armed Forces.

A great part of the American Red Cross is to provide emergency-related services to our military, veterans and their families. One of the services we offer is emergency communications service. This allows our deployed men and women to have a way of communicating with their families and loved ones at any time. This can be extremely valuable especially if someone in the family is ill or expecting a baby. The service is reliable and all information is kept confidential and verified. The information provided also helps military authorities process emergency leaves or extensions.

Financial Aid/General Service members and their families can experience unique financial problems. These may include a delayed pay allotment, financial neglect of family members or emergency travel expenses. The American Red Cross can help to resolve these problems through referrals to other appropriate resources and coordinating loans from military aid societies.

To request help, you can call  (512) 928-4271 and request to speak with our SAF Caseworker.
Please be prepared to provide the service member's:   
  • Full Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Branch of Service
  • Rank
  • Military Unit
For more information please visit the American Red Cross of Central Texas.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Girl Scouts Make Thank You Cards For Our Veterans

Volunteers and various organizations have been taking time to show their appreciation by making thank you cards to the many veterans who have dedicated themselves to keeping us safe. Last Friday, a group of girl scouts were in our office making cards and writing thank you notes for our veterans. This is a great example of how everyone can volunteer and do their part in thanking our veterans for all that they have done.
These cards will be distributed during the Veterans' Day Parade on November 11.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped make this a memoral day for our veterans.