Getting to the Turkey

Megan Ball, Communications Intern

Turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and apple pie:  all parts of Thanksgiving Dinner that many of us look forward to.   Are you cooking?  Make sure you practice safe cooking skills!  Maybe you are driving to dinner, to sit around the table with your family.  Be sure to get you and your family to the turkey safely, by following these safe-driving tips!



  • Buckle up! Your first step to safety.
  • Obey speed limits. It seems winter may have joined us early this year. Follow speed limits and proceed with caution. Ice often develops on bridges first. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Proceed with caution in construction zones! (We know- there are quite a few of them!)
  • Deer Crossing! When there is one deer, there may be another. Keep an eye out for deer and other animals who may hop onto the road. Your passenger can help keep an eye on this as well!
  • If you are traveling for the weekend, pack the car smart. Ensure that you can still see out of all windows.
  • Pay attention. Keep cell phones put away and have your passenger help navigate! Plan some games for the kids or pack their favorite toys.
  • Before you head on your way, clean the windows and lights to help the drivers view. Turn car lights on when dusk hits!
  • Lastly, don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or crash on your family member’s couch. Keep you, your family, and the rest of the drivers safe!

Family get-togethers are a great time for laughs, hugs, and fun.  Be sure to follow driving safety tips so you reach your destination safely and quickly so the relaxation and celebration can begin!



Cooking Safety

Courtney McIntosh, Communications Intern

Did you know cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and related injuries? Many of these fires start in the kitchen and can be prevented. With the upcoming holiday festivities, it is important to be mindful of possible hazards while creating those delicious meals!

Friendly reminders to keep in mind while cooking for the holidays

  • Do not leave the kitchen while food is being prepared and/or cooking
  • Move items that can burn away from the stove such as dishtowels, bags and boxes
  • Keep children away from stoves
    • children should stay at least 3 feet away from an active stove or oven
  • Keep the kitchen floor clean of clutter, this includes children, toys and pets that may pose a tripping hazard
  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stoves to prevent stoves
  • Keep knives out of reach from children
  • Make sure to keep electrical cords from appliances from dangling over counter tops in reach of little hands that like to grab and pull
  • Unplug appliances such as a mixer, hot plate or blender after usage
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of reach of children
  • Never leave children unattended in a kitchen
  • Make sure smoke detectors are in good working order
    • they can be tested by pressing the test button located on them

If a cooking fire occurs within a pan, do not attempt to move pan. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to eliminate oxygen from fueling the fire. With the oxygen depleted, the fire should go out. Turn off the heat to the stove. Keep the lid on the pan until the pan is cool. NEVER attempt to stop a grease fire with water – water will fuel and spread this type of fire.

Make sure to have an all purpose fire

extinguisher within reach during cooking. 

fire extinguisher

If something catches on fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so that trained professionals can deal with and prevent the fire from spreading.

If the fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Do not use again until a repairman can assess the microwave.

It the kitchen catches fire, make sure everyone gets out and call 9-1-1 when safely outside. NEVER go back into a burning building.



Two Minutes

62% of people believe they have at least five minutes to escape a home fire.  In fact- that is over twice as long as you and your family may have!  Fire experts have agreed- some people have as little as TWO minutes to escape a burning building.

The facts are scary!  But knowing the facts, having a plan, and ensuring you and your family have the right plans in place, can prepare you to survive the biggest disaster threat to American Families.



What do you need to do?

  • Have a plan and practice it!  Everyone in your family needs to know and understand the plan.  82% of families report they have not practiced a home fire drill.  Have you?
  • Check your smoke alarms regularly.  Daylight savings occurs twice a year!  The perfect reminder- change your clocks and check your alarms.
  • Know the fire risks!  Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, but there are many safety tips on candles, heaters, and much more!
  • Stick to your plan!  Every room needs two exits, you should check your smoke alarms regularly, and practice your escape routes twice a year.  Time yourselves.  Remember, you want to be out in two minutes or less!

Two minutes- the time it takes to make popcorn, to water the plants, to respond to an email, to make a pot of coffee- the time you have to get out.

Stroke of Time- A Life Saving Visit

Even from a deathbed, a mother can save a child. This was the case for Neil Starke, serving in the US Coast Guard during WWII. Thanks to the American Red Cross Services to Armed Forces program he was able to share her last breaths, a visit which also saved his own life.

rco_blog_img_Patty and Neil

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who served & especially Neil Starke shown here with Patty Flowers.


In the heart of WWII, the USS El Paso was situated at 114° North & 120° East. From these decks air & sea rescues off the Philippines coasts were conducted. It was in the heart of the fighting, he received a cablegram from the Red Cross which explained his father had fallen while riding a bus, with trauma to his head, he was sent to a mental institution. Meanwhile, in another hospital, his dying mother yearned to see her son one last time. His superior officers granted permission for a 38-day leave of absence. It was this stroke of timing that saved his life.

Neil was taken off one ship, sailed to land on another and then boarded a military plane to fly back to the states. Altogether, the journey took two weeks. While at his mother’s bedside, he shared stories, a smile, and the unmistakable touch of a mother’s hand until her passing. Even today, when sharing his story, he remains visibly shaken.

Now with tears in his eyes, it was time to return to duty. “It was the first time I heard my father’s voice falter when saying good-bye.” Neil explains. By military plane, he flew back to the base and was ready to rejoin his ship. He waited a week, then two.  He was eager to join his team. “It was ironic and a blessing, I was pulled off that ship as it was declared lost in the Yellow Sea Typhoon. While I never saw any man I served with again; the vessel was found two-weeks later. The boilers had been destroyed, so it must have been tossing around like a toy in a washing machine,” Neil concluded.

A short-time thereafter, an international peace agreement was signed. The war was over. “Until that cable gram, I had been mad at the Red Cross about $.15 lemonade that tasted awful. Then I learned the greater meaning of their work. It allowed me to be with my mother in those final days and it also saved my life.”

The Service to the Armed Forces division of the American Red Cross helps our military members and their families across the world with one primary function being Emergency Communications. If family needs to get in touch with a service member while they are on active duty, they can call the Red Cross Emergency Communication line for the military at 877-272-7337. The Red Cross will get family in touch, and provide vital verification services so that commanding officers can make informed decisions about emergency leave. The Red Cross is the only organization entrusted with this responsibility because of our longstanding history with the military, as well as our Fundamental Principles of Neutrality and Impartiality.


Brrrrr…It’s Time to Prepare For Those Winter Blues!

A few weeks ago, we had the awesome opportunity to be a part of a winter weather preparedness kit build at Mayfair Mall. The event was hosted by the Allstate Foundation and Points of Light to raise awareness about preparing for disasters. At the end of the day, volunteers had given out 500 preparedness kits and great advice!

If you haven’t taken a pause to check your kit this new season, here are a few items you should have:


It’s also important to prepare your vehicle with items like gloves, boots, an ice scraper, a shovel and an emergency blanket should you get stuck in a blizzard! You can learn even more about Winter Weather Preparedness here!

Participate in Fire Safety Preparedness

Courtney McIntosh, Communications Intern

Volunteering with the American Red Cross is an amazing way to become active in your community. A local volunteer, by the name of Nicole, recently took the plunge into volunteering by taking part in the home fire preparedness canvassing event in Milwaukee’s Thurston Woods neighborhood. Each team was divided into three people having their own job for the day; One fire cadet, one preparedness educator and one recorder.  The fire cadet was responsible for checking, testing, and installing smoke alarms in one of the blocks of homes. Nicole was the preparedness educator, her responsibility was to ask families are their own emergency plans and walk them through the fire safety checklist. The final person of the group was a recorder, they documented the addresses that were visited and the steps taken with each family.

It was really incredible to me to be able to see the impact of our work in just the single block we covered.  Every home our team entered was missing at least one working smoke alarm.  Two of the homes we entered did not have any.  We also found and replaced smoke alarm units in several homes that were testing OK but were being used well beyond their 10-year lifespan.  As the preparedness educator, it was fun to see that while many families had not practiced their plan, many of the kids knew multiple ways that they could escape in case of a fire.  And, they were really thrilled to have a chance to map out their escape routes using the graph and dry erase markers we were gave to them.

It was a great event to be a part of and I can’t wait to see us expanding it in the years to come.  I highly recommend volunteering if you have the opportunity.

- Nicole


Take part in your own home fire safety preparedness! Use this Home fire safety checklist to make sure your family is prepared in case of such a disaster.


Check out this video for further information about how volunteers assisted with the installation and education of fire safety in Milwaukee neighborhoods.





Special Thanks to Our Volunteers, Employees and Donors During Sandy

Originally posted on American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin:

By: Trevor Riggen, Vice President of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics, American Red Cross

hurricane-sandy09Today marks the two-year anniversary of one of the largest responses in the long and proud history of this organization. It was a storm and challenge so unique that they had to come up with a new name just to describe it – Superstorm Sandy.  It was a massive, powerful storm that hit the most densely populated area of the country at the tail end of hurricane season followed by falling temperatures, snow, and enormous need throughout the region.

I want to begin by saying thank you to each and every one of you who donated money or raised your hand to join in serving those in need during the long weeks that followed landfall and to the thousands more who have served in our ongoing recovery efforts. So much great work was done by…

View original 885 more words


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