Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - June 2016

There is no mistaking the heat of summer has arrived, and so have all the things we couldn't wait to do when the warm weather hits!

As much as I love participating in summer activities, having a daily place in the Red Cross has made me aware of the threatening elements of summer and how best to be prepared for them.

I will be on the road, as many Americans will, anticipating escape and relax mode at the beach or a lake. I have to keep in mind that no matter what, I am responsible for those who are traveling with me. I clock safe time in the sun by programming my iPod with songs in fifteen minute sets with silent breaks in between for a period of an hour. This way, everyone gets an automatic cue to turn before they burn. Naturally, that system is for high intensity sun hours and works very effectively in combination with the application of an effective sunscreen above SPF 15.

I always prepare by packing a family quick kit with insect repellent, antiseptic spray, pain relief medications, antibacterial ointment, gauze and band aids... but the main ingredient for safety in the sun is HYDRATION. This calls for at least a few gallons of water that should be enough for four people for several hours to a half day. ...and soft drinks are not a substitute for H2O. In my experience, one single multi-functional summer saver is a telescoping beach umbrella: shelter and shade.

If your destination comes with lots of sand and waves, don't forget that you are in tropical storm and hurricane season. Today's most popular go gear, the smart phone, should include the Red Cross Emergency App. The ideal anywhere-you-are info source for severe weather alerts will come in handy checking the weather before planning your day. It's free to download from Apple or Google Play.

I like to do a little advance planning if I am driving, by having an evacuation route I can plug into my GPS. Put the all-state highway patrol numbers in your phone and remember for immediate evacuation information all you do is dial 511. This number is America's travel information number and works in all states. Of course, if you have an immediate emergency, you would still call 911. If you experience flooding while on the road, don’t forget “turn around, don’t drown.”

Maybe your vacation is a daily one at the pool. This always calls for common sense. Most kids who drown in home or public pools were out of sight for less than five minutes. Water safety and swim lessons before getting into the water make for more conscientious kids. Moms and dads can learn Red Cross CPR while the children are taking their learn to swim classes. You can sign up at www.campusrec.utc.edu for your American Red Cross aquatics courses this summer.

Here’s to a fun and safe summer!

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