Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

As a kid, I had two go-to Halloween costumes: princess and cheerleader. Not only was it always super easy to find a costume, but it was easy on the budget. Each year I would change it up a bit. Once I added wings to be a fairy princess, another time I transformed into a zombie cheerleader with the help of a little make-up.

Another tradition I came upon early was falling down along the trick-or-treat path, which always led to scraped knees or sprained ankles.

It never hurt to be prepared for anything (including snowstorms). Here are a few tips to help you and your family have a safe Halloween.

The Lucky 13
1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, skateboards and brooms!)
6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And cross from the corner!)
8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a safety gamble!
10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (And don’t hide between parked vehicles).
11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
13. Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

Download a printable copy which includes a 10% off coupon for the Red Cross store.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Know Your A-B-C

Good news everyone! After further review of the AHA CPR guidelines, the American Red Cross has decided to stick with its current course layout. People electing to take a Red Cross CPR course will be trained in full CPR with chest compressions and rescue breathing. For a full statement on the decision, go to

Of course, the Red Cross recommends you renew your CPR certification each year, but at least those of you who have recently taken the course know that you were trained in the latest and greatest materials.

The Red Cross also announced that it is launching a Citizen CPR Campaign to train 5 million people in hands-only CPR by the end of 2011. The hands-only technique is meant to be used outside hospitals where a bystander witnesses someone else collapse. The course will be 30 minutes in length. More info on that to come later, but for those of you who would like to see what all the buzz is about, check out this two-minute video demonstration or download the free, instructional PDF.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


As you may have already heard, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiac Care. The one change that has caused a lot of buzz is the sequence of CPR steps. The American Red Cross currently endorses the following steps:


AHA has changed their sequence to:


The Red Cross is reviewing changes to the sequence and will soon decide whether or not to change its training and course materials. In the meantime, learning CPR is still of great importance, especially when it could mean saving the life of a friend or loved one.

Check out this clip from the film "Hood to Coast," which follows four teams participating in the world's largest relay race held annually in Oregon. Team Heart n' Soul had a life-changing experience when one of their member's was saved by CPR after she collapsed in the middle of her run.

Hood To Coast Movie - Red Cross CPR from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

For more on "Hood to Coast," go to

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Fire Hazard

While designer handbag knock-offs might make you look fashionable, purchasing some counterfeit products to save a few bucks could cost you more in the end. In 2007 UL (Underwriters Laboratories-a product safety certification organization) sent out a press release warning consumers of counterfeit surge protectors. So what's the big deal?

Well, the surge protectors in question were using undersized wire and insufficient insulation. On top of that they didn't have a ground wire or surge protection. This information may be Greek to you (it's Greek to me, too.) The main thing you need to know is that the product's failure to meet UL standards made it a fire hazard and put users at risk of electric shock.

Make sure you are up to date on product warnings and recalls by visiting UL's Public Notices page.

Also, for you savvy shoppers out there, electronics and handbags aren't the only products with a false fa├žade. Check out this video from Yahoo Finance featuring the Top 5 counterfeited products. Warning! You may want to toss that designer impostor perfume you bought at the drug store.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Red Cross Responds to Apartment Fire

Red Cross workers responded to an apartment fire that affected multiple units this morning in Louisville. While only one apartment was destroyed, others suffered from smoke damage. The Red Cross is providing three families with their immediate emergency needs including food, clothing and temporary shelter.

The Red Cross encourages everyone to practice fire safety and prevention every day. Two ways to prevent home fires from occurring are to:

1. Install smoke alarms. There should be one on each floor of your home and outside each bedroom or sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace batteries once a year.
2. Create an emergency escape plan. Identify two exits from each room of your home, and pick a meeting spot outside of your home where members of your household can gather after an emergency. Practice the plan twice a year.

Members of Red Cross Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are made up of volunteers and are on call 24/7 to assist those affected by home fires. If you would like to join and help support others in their time of need, please call 561-3601.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fire Burnin'

New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits. Everyone knows that part of the story thanks to LFO (RIP Rich Cronin), but one of my favorite NKOTB stories has to do with a “new kid” allegedly starting a fire that threatened a treasured Louisville landmark—the Seelbach Hotel.

I’ll let you choose whether or not to read the whole story, but in a nutshell, back in 1991 “new kid” Donnie Wahlberg was accused of starting a fire outside another guest’s room in retaliation to a noise complaint. The fire left nothing more than a small burn on the hotel’s carpet. Unfortunately, not all hotel fires end so well.

Check out this footage from a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas circa 1980. 85 people died and 700 were injured. The fire triggered the creation of many new fire safety requirements. If you’re short on time, skip ahead to the 6:30 mark for a few tips on fire safety during hotel stays.

Thanks to NFPA for posting the video.

As for Donnie Wahlberg, while googling I was unable to discover the final charges in his case, but the “new kid” is currently starring in “Blue Bloods” on CBS. The Associated Press announced Monday that Donnie just finalized a divorce from his wife of ten years. Gossip sites are reporting that he doesn’t seem too upset. I guess the fire in their relationship had burned out.