FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer, the American Red Cross wants to remind Hoosiers to celebrate safely.
“Memorial Day weekend is a big weekend for families to hang out, come together, and we just want to make sure as people come together, that they are being as safe as possible,” said Hyacinth Rucker, the communications manager for the American Red Cross Indiana Region.
Rucker said she expects more people than usual to be out enjoying the holiday weekend.
“I do think there’ll be way more people out, because of this past crazy year,” said Rucker. “I think everybody wants to get out. We all are tired of being in the house.”
Cooking on the grill is a popular summer activity. However, according to Rucker, grilling causes more than 10,000 house fires nationally per year.
“That’s a lot of home fires just due to grilling,” said Rucker. “So I would suggest, you know, do everything you can to make sure that you are not a part of that statistic.”
To avoid this, the American Red Cross offers the following tips:
- Always supervise a grill when in use. Do not walk away while food is being cooked.
- Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house or deck. Never grill in any enclosed area.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to provide some distance between the chef and the hot grill.
As many swimming pools are opening this weekend, the American Red Cross also wants to remind Hoosiers to be “water smart.”
- Adults should stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers.
- Designate a “water watcher” to keep an eye on the kids. Rucker suggests switching off with someone every half hour or so.
- If you’re swimming at a public pool, beach or lake, make sure lifeguards are on duty.
- Always wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat.
- Swim in pairs.
- More tips can be found on the Red Cross Swim app.
Water safety tips include:
Memorial Day is also a popular weekend for travelling.
Rucker listed the following driving safety tips:
- Make sure you are well-rested.
- If you’re going a long distance, travel with multiple people who can contribute to the driving.
- Do not drink and drive.
Rucker said the American Red Cross is always looking for blood donations. Visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED-CROSS for more information or to schedule a donation.