Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness

Summer Safety: Stay Safe in the Water

A businessman receiving some help.

Part 3 of a 3-part series

This summer, whether you plan to enjoy a stay-cation or leave your house or doghouse for a short or extended period of time, there are several safety-related things to consider. The first two entries in our three-part series covered safety at home and safety while traveling. In this final post about summer safety, we will focus on how to be water safe. I will never understand why humans don’t naturally learn to dog-paddle the way canines do. It comes in handy to know how to swim.

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools in the United States each year. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that the six most common causes of drowning include:

1. Inability to swim
2. Absence of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access
3. Lack of close supervision of non-swimmers and/or weak swimmers
4. Omission of life jackets
5. Use of alcohol
6. Seizure-related disorders

Drowning is as significant a concern in natural bodies of water as it is in home and public swimming pools and hot tubs. The U.S. Lifesaving Organization (USLO) says the major causes of ocean-related accidents are weather-related swells and rip currents. In 2014, there were:

  • 90,964 swimmers rescued near U.S. beaches
  • 4,225 boat rescues and 5,240 boat assists boy stranded at sea
  • 7,652,479 preventive actions
  • 341,143 medical aid incidents
  • 93 unguarded drownings
  • 19 guarded drownings
  • 35 other water-related fatalities

So, this summer, take steps to make water safety a priority:

  • Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Swim with a buddy. Never swim alone. The buddy system is always a good idea.
  • Make sure that everyone in your family knows how to swim well. Enroll your kids in age-appropriate classes. We didn’t have to enroll JR in swimming classes. He knew how to doggy-paddle the day he was born.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water.
  • Do not trust your child’s life to someone else.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water. Water wings are insufficient to prevent drowning.
  • Do not rely on life jackets, alone.
  • Set firm rules for your family members. Make sure children always ask permission before going near the water. This includes the dog bowl. I can’t tell you how many times toddlers have knocked over my water!
  • Always be cautious around natural bodies of water (even if you do not intend to swim.)
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Water and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

  • For safety as well as reduced risk of liability, install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Also consider containers of standing water.
  • Use pool barriers that enclose the entire pool area, with 4-feet high fences and self-closing gates. Install self-latching gates that open outward, away from the pool. Latches should be high enough to remain well out of reach for a small child.
  • Take safety precautions for above-ground and even inflatable pools. Remove access ladders when not in use and cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Store or distance anything that could potentially provide access to a pool, such as outdoor furniture, trees, walls or swing-sets. You could be held liable if people break into your backyard to swim. Actress Demi Moore recently learned this lesson firsthand.

Maintain Constant Supervision

  • Actively supervise kids whenever they are around water. Don’t rely on a lifeguard or other swimmers or sunbathers to supervise your kids.
  • Stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

What to do in an Actual Emergency

  1. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  2.  Call 911.
  3. If you own a home pool or hot tub, make sure you have easy access to appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

The smartest thing to do is to prepare well in advance of any actual emergency. Enroll in water safety, first aid or CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies. We hope this blog post will motivate you to do whatever it takes this summer to #BeSafe in and around the water. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives.

Posted in BE SAFE, Holiday Safety, Safety at Home

Tips for Summer Safety

Summer digital design, vector illustration eps 10

Summertime can be fun. Barbecues, backyard parties, picnics, swimming pools and travel beckon. And so do the smells of grilled meat! But your fun in the sun could be short-lived if you fail to take summertime safety precautions. To help you make the summer of 2015 your best ever, we have compiled some tips to help you avoid potential peril.

Summertime Safety Starts at Home

Whether you plan to enjoy a staycation or leave your house for a short or extended period of time, there are several things to consider, which will keep your home safe this summer. In this three-part series, we will cover ways to protect yourself in the summer whether you plan to leave or stay at home. In the next several blog posts, we will cover safety at home, while traveling, and around water.

This week, we will focus on ways to make your home safe.

  • If you plan to leave for vacation, make copies of all of your important information, so you will have everything on hand. For example, record your credit card account numbers as well as customer service phone numbers in case you notice fraudulent activity on your accounts while you are away from home. Also, don’t forget to pack vital documents such as insurance cards, passports, emergency contacts and health information about your pets.
  • Before you leave, lock every door and window in your home. And, if applicable, call your alarm company to let them know you will be on vacation. This is critical even if your trip is short. According to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day. So homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home—even if they plan to be gone for only a few hours. Of course, if you have a watchdog, this may not be necessary. I guess you should decide on a case-by-case basis.

    Hello Summer

  • No matter how excited you are to share your travel experiences on social media, resist the urge to post everything on Facebook or Twitter. Thieves have learned to check out social media posts to determine targets of opportunity. When it comes to your house, keep them guessing. That’s the reason I don’t tweet or post about my schedule. Well, that, and because I like to avoid the paparazzi.
  • Don’t leave clues about your absence on your front porch. Nothing says “empty house” more than having stacks of newspapers on the porch or mail hanging out of an overstuffed box. You can avoid both by putting a vacation hold on subscriptions as well as mail.
  • Make your home as unattractive to burglars as possible. Make sure shrubs are well trimmed, so there is nowhere for thieves to hide. Consider installing a security system with cameras to deter would-be robbers.
  • Take steps to make sure your house is as difficult as possible to break into.
    1. Don’t ever hide a key under the mat or above the door.
    2. Use heavy, solid doors with deadbolt locks.
    3. Don’t forget about doors between an attached garage and the house. Purchase and install as heavy duty equipment on it as you do for the front and back doors.
    4. Install poles so windows and sliding glass doors won’t slide.
    5. Light up your house with motion sensors and floodlights. Thieves don’t like to operate on stage. So lighting is an inexpensive way to burglar-proof your home.
    6. Prominently display security signs…even if you don’t subscribe to a security system. The idea is to deter as many would-be thieves as possible.
    7. If you do subscribe to a security system, don’t write your passcode on a post-it and put it next to your keypad. Doing so will defeat the entire purpose of having the system.
    8. Get a guard dog! (Just a friendly firedog suggestion.)

Check back next week, when we will cover personal safety relative to summer travel. We hope this blog post will motivate you to do whatever it takes to #BeSafe. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives.

Visit RJWestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

 

Posted in BE SAFE, Cancer Prevention, Children in Crisis, Disaster Preparedness, Health & Welfare

Summer Safety 2014

Sun iconEach June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as a time to bring attention to key safety issues. Thousands of organizations across the country are taking part in the campaign to reduce the risk of the safety issues. Safety is a high priority for those of us at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. In fact, our motto, Be Safe, highlights the priority we put on safety.

Last week, our blog covered several safety issues, including ending prescription drug abuse; preventing slips, trips and falls; being aware of surroundings; and ending distracted driving. This week, we will continue our two-part series by focusing on summer safety. After all; it’s only fitting that we cover the all-important topic before the official start of summer on June 21 and while 4th of July plans are still in the making. I love Independence Day because I can pig out on barbecue without raising eyebrows.

BE SAFE in the Water 

Unfortunately, water-related deaths (including swimming and water-transport) are all too common in the U.S.:

  • More than one in five drowning victims are children 14-years-old and younger.
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another four receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion-related injuries.
  • Most drowning and near-drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub.
  • According to the CDC, 80 percent of the people who drown are males.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.
  • Dogs don’t usually drown. We have a natural instinct to swim.

To prevent water-related injury or death, prepare:

  1. If you or anyone in your family does not know how to swim, enroll them in lessons immediately.
  2. If you own a hot tub or pool, install a fence with a locked gate or a pad-locked cover.
  3. Supervise children and puppies at all times.

National Safety Month

BE SAFE in the Sun

The drawback about many fun summer activities is that they come at a price– UV exposure.

And that is detrimental because one in five Americans develops skin cancer during their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, over time, excess UV radiation can cause skin cancer, eye damage, immune system suppression, and premature aging. Here are some steps to take to keep you sun safe:

  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreen gets stuck in my hair and makes a mess.
  • If you have fair skin or light hair, you are more susceptible to the sun’s rays and should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
  • Choose sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum,” meaning that it protects against two types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB.
  • Use waterproof sunscreen to make sure it stays on longer, even if you perspire or get wet.
  • Reapply sunscreen often – usually every two hours, but sooner if you’ve been swimming or are perspiring heavily.
  • Cover your whole body. Remember those areas that can be easy to forget, such as your ears, eyelids, lips, nose, hands, feet, and the top of your head.
  • Seek shade or avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10am – 4pm. The sun is strongest during those hours, even on cloudy days.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to help shade your eyes, ears and head.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection to safeguard your eyes.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that protects a larger area of your skin such as long-sleeve shirts or long pants. Tightly woven fabrics in dark or bright colors are best.

BE SAFE in Hot Weather

Heat illness includes a range of disorders that result when your body is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Anybody not accustomed to hot weather is at risk of suffering from heatstroke (the most serious and life-threatening heat-related illness) as well as heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

Heatstroke in vehicles has become an increasing issue for young children, causing 43 fatalities in 2013, according to Safe Kids. Children overheat three to five times faster than adults, making hot cars lethal in just minutes. Take a second to read more on this growing issue and protect your children.

BE SAFE around Fireworks

In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 8,600 people treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 39 percent of whom were under 15 years of age

The National Fire Protection Association and the National Council on Fireworks Safety  recommend these tips to keep you safe around fireworks:

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. Even if the use of fireworks is legal in your community, fireworks are far too dangerous for amateurs. Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • After the firework display, don’ let children pick up fireworks that may be left over. They could still be active.
  • Closely supervise children and teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Do not ever allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • If you absolutely must use fireworks, use them outdoors only and only if they are legal in your city.
  • Keep water at the ready whenever you are shooting fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Never mix alcohol and fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you! And that’s a bad thing!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

Over the next few months, while you are enjoying summer activities, whether they take you to the water or in the sun, #BeSummerSafe. When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Safety at Home, Workplace Safety

Happy  National Safety Month

National Safety MonthEach June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as a time to bring attention to key safety issues. We bring attention to key safety issues all year long. So we are happy to promote the campaign! Thousands of organizations across the country are taking part in the campaign to reduce the risk of the safety issues, including ending prescription drug abuse; preventing slips, trips and falls; being aware of surroundings; ending distracted driving and practicing summer safety. Safety is a high priority for those of us at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. In fact, our motto, #Be #Safe, highlights the priority we put on safety. So we are using this week’s blog posts to celebrate safety:

Week 1: Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuseis the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited. I don’t get this one. But maybe that’s because my RXs are always for things like allergies. According to several national surveys, prescription medications, such as those used to treat pain, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety, are being abused at a rate second only to marijuana among illicit drug users. The consequences of this abuse have been steadily worsening, reflected in increased treatment admissions, emergency room visits, and overdose deaths.

safety first

According to results from a 2010 national survey on drug use and health:

  • 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non-medically for the first time within the past year, which averages to approximately 6,600 initiates per day.
  • More than one-half were females.
  • About a third were aged 12 to 17.
  • Although prescription drug abuse affects many Americans, certain populations, such as youth, older adults, and women, may be at particular risk.
  • Bacon is not considered a prescription or recreational drug. What a relief!

If you or anyone you know has a problem with prescription drugs, contact the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Week 2: Stop Slips, Trips and Falls

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips and spills make up the majority of general industry accidents, which account for:

  • 15 percent of all accidental deaths per year, the second-leading cause behind motor vehicles
  • About 25 percent of all reported injury claims per fiscal year
  • More than 95 million lost work days per year – about 65 percent of all work days lost
  • Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (NSC Injury Facts 2011).
  • Dogs fall too…although not as often as people, I’ve noticed.

Adults 55 and older are more prone to becoming victims of falls, with the resulting injuries often diminish the victim’s ability to lead active, independent lives. The number of fall-related deaths among those 65 and older is four times the number of falling-related deaths among all other age groups.

Most slips and trips occur due to a loss of traction between the shoe and the walking surface, or an inadvertent contact with a fixed or moveable object, which may lead to a fall. There are a variety of situations that may cause slips, trips and falls. Pads on paws help a lot with traction.

Many people have a friend or relative who has fallen, or have fallen themselves. In fact, falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age and is a serious issue in homes and communities. So take the time to remove slip, trip and fall hazards to keep your family and/or your tenants safe.

Week 3: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Whether it’s driving to the grocery store or going on a daily walk, to be safe, it’s crucial that you make yourself aware of your surroundings. By using simple precautions, you can safely enjoy the time you spend outside of your home. Here are some specific instructions for your safety. (But please remember that, while these tips can be helpful, they do not guarantee your safety. Immediately contact the police if you detect any suspicious behavior.):
  • Take a friend (especially a furry one). Walking a dog, especially one inclined to bark at strangers, is better than venturing out alone.
  • Take your cell phone with you so you can call 911 if you see something suspicious.
  • Let a friend or family member know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Avoid walking too closely to bushes or areas with any kind of tall overgrowth.
  • Stay attentive to your surroundings and if listening to music, keep the volume at a low level so you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Only run or walk in familiar areas.
  • Use caution when out at night. If you are out after dark, always carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Walk on the sidewalk facing traffic. Facing traffic makes it more difficult for someone to drive up behind you without being noticed.
  • Before heading to your destination, make sure you have enough gas to get you there and back. You wouldn’t want to be stranded alone.
  • If you feel like you are being followed, drive to the nearest gas station or open business. Do not drive home until you are completely sure you are alone.
  • Roll up the windows and lock all car doors every time you leave your car.
  • When you approach your car, have the key ready.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas especially at night. If possible, park your car under a lamppost.
  • Whenever possible, walk instead of drive. This is good for your health and for your canine companion.

If You Are Attacked:

  • Noise is your most immediate defense. Not only will sound attract attention to you and make your location known but it may also cause the would-be attacker to flee.
  • If possible, run in the direction of help. An assailant usually will not engage in a pursuit because it could increase the possibility of detection or apprehension.
  • If the assailant demands your purse, keys or money, give it to him or her. Don’t risk your life.
  • Never leave the site of the attack when prompted by an attacker. Don’t believe an assailant that says he or she won’t hurt you if you leave with him or her. Stay where you are, fight and scream.

Week 4: Put an End to Distracted Driving

We recently wrote detailed blog posts about distracted driving. For details, please check out the links.

Bonus week: Summer Safety

It’s only fitting that we cover summer safety before the official start of summer on June 21. But because the topic is rather broad, we will feature the content in next week’s blog posts. So check back. And, in the meantime, #BE #SAFE.

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.