Category: Safety

Safety Measures All Hunters Should Take

Hunting draws millions of people into the great outdoors every year. Many avid hunters feel hunting is a great way to actively participate in nature while also taking responsibility for procuring one’s own food.

Hunting requires discipline, dedication, patience, and, perhaps most important, a commitment to safety. By prioritizing safety on each hunting trip, seasoned and novice hunters alike are acknowledging the potential dangers of this beloved outdoor activity while doing everything they can to ensure the trip is as safe as possible. Because safety plays such a vital role in successful hunting trips, hunters of all experience levels can benefit from a refresher course on the safety measures they should take each time they go on the hunt.

• Treat all firearms as if they’re loaded. Treating all firearms as if they’re loaded ensures hunters won’t be tempted to engage in the kind of fooling around that can contribute to tragic accidents. This approach can reduce the risk of firearm-related accidents or injuries, and can be an especially effective way to teach youngsters about the dangers of firearms and the correct ways to mitigate those dangers.

• Keep your finger off the trigger and only point at what you plan to shoot. Keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot ensures you won’t accidentally discharge your firearm. In addition, never point your firearm at anything other than what you plan to shoot.

• Know the forecast and dress appropriately. Firearms are not the only risk to hunters’ safety. Inclement weather can put hunters at the mercy of Mother Nature. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypothermia, which occurs when the human body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, can affect hunters who are unable to get out of wet clothes or move to warm, dry locations as their bodies lose heat. In addition, hunters may be at risk of hypothermia even if temperatures are hovering around 50 F. Before embarking on a hunting trip, hunters should read the forecast of the areas where they will be hunting and dress accordingly. Outer layers that repel water can help keep hunters dry, and hunters also should avoid wearing cotton, which retains moisture and can increase their risk for hypothermia. Clothing made with moisture-wicking fabrics is a great alternative to cotton.

• Share your plan with others. Returning home safe is the ultimate goal for hunters, and that’s more likely to happen when hunters share their hunting plans with others. Let someone, ideally a spouse, parent, roommate, or sibling, know when and where you will be hunting and when you expect to return by. Direct this loved one to call the local authorities if you do not call by a predetermined time. This can dramatically reduce the time it takes to find you if you become injured on your hunting trip and prove unable to get back to your vehicle safely.

Millions of people across the globe enjoy hunting. Avid hunters know that no hunting trip is successful if safety is not the utmost priority.

Tips for Dorm Room and Campus Safety

Life on a college campus can be exciting, especially for freshmen enjoying their first taste of life away from home. As exciting as campus life can be, it also can be a bit nervewracking for students who have never before had to fend for themselves.

Administrators and security personnel work to make school environments as safe as possible, but incidents can happen on any campus. A recent report from Campus Safety and Security, there were 38,100 reported criminal offenses, including burglary and identity theft, on college campuses in the United States in 2017.

Students need not live in fear on campus, but embracing various safety measures can make life at school that much safer.

• Hide or lock up valuables. You never know what may catch the eye of a thief. Devices and cash are near the top of lists of most commonly stolen possessions, but a desperate student may steal notes or even expensive textbooks if he or she is struggling. Always close doors and lock dorm rooms when leaving. Keep valuables out of sight at school. Consider buying a dorm room safe and lock your locker at all times.

• Prepare for emergencies. Research the school’s policies on emergency preparedness. Some have text alert systems for emergency situations like adverse weather conditions, while others have clear guidelines on what students should do if they feel threatened in any way. Participate in fire drills and learn the nearest exits and protocols for emergency evacuations.

• Utilize the buddy system. Most campuses are safe to move around, but it can’t hurt to schedule certain classes, particularly if they take place after dark, with a friend so you can walk to and from classes together. Security experts say that elevators and stairwells are common places for assailants to target victims. If you ever feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and err on the side of caution.

• Install window alarms. Many retailers sell battery-operated window alarms that can be adhered to windows. The alarms will activate if the window is opened or the glass breaks. These alarms can provide extra security even if your dorm room isn’t on the ground floor.

• Be alert when ridesharing. The safety resource Safety.com says rideshare crimes are on the rise. Always identify your driver and vehicle before getting in and ask the driver to identify your name, as he or she will have it and your destination. Wait for the ride in a safe place, and try to avoid riding alone.

• Maintain personal health. Be sure to visit the doctor and stay current on necessary vaccinations, such as the one for meningococcal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk for meningococcal disease in college students is slightly higher than the risk in other teens and young adults who are not attending college. Other communicative diseases can spread more easily on campus as well.

Campus and dorm safety is multifaceted. Informed students can reduce their risk of being involved in accidents or being targeted by criminals.

Safety First With DIY Electrical Work

Home improvement projects can help homeowners transform their homes. Such projects are costly, but many homeowners save money by doing some, if not all, of the work themselves.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety, recommends that homeowners leave electrical work to the professionals. Licensed electricians are well-trained, whereas homeowners may not be skilled enough to avoid accidents or injuries, which can prove fatal when working with electricity.

Homeowners who take the do-it-yourself route with electrical work should consider these safety tips, courtesy of the ESFI, before beginning a home electrical project.

Learn your home electrical system. Home electrical systems may include power lines, electric meters, service panels, subpanels, wiring, and more. These systems are complex, and homeowners who intend to do some DIY electrical work should familiarize themselves with their home electrical systems prior to beginning any work. The ESFI notes that knowledge of their home electrical systems can help homeowners more safely navigate them and make maintenance easier.

Honestly assess your skills. An honest assessment of skills is absolutely necessary prior to working on an electrical system. According to the National Safety Council, injuries relating to electrical incidents typically fall into one of four categories: electrical shock, electrocution, falls, and burns. Each of these injuries is significant. For example, electric shock, which occurs when electrical current passes over or through a person’s body, involves burns, abnormal heart rhythm and unconsciousness. Given the potential for serious injury, the ESFI urges homeowners to make an honest assessment of their skills before they begin working on their home’s electrical systems. Little or no experience working with electrical systems should be considered a significant hurdle to any DIY project.

Turn the power off. It’s essential that the power to the circuit that will be worked on be turned off prior to starting any work. This can be accomplished by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. Similarly, when working on appliances or lamps, make sure the products are unplugged prior to working on them.

Do not touch plumbing or gas pipes when doing electrical work. The experts at the Indiana Electric Cooperative note that the risk for electrocution is significant when water comes in contact with electricity. It’s imperative that homeowners do not touch plumbing and gas pipes when performing a DIY electrical project. Professionals know how to work around such pipes while minimizing their risk for electric shock or worse, and homeowners must familiarize themselves with the techniques professionals rely on to stay safe if they intend to begin DIY electrical projects.

Homeowners are best served by leaving electrical work to the professionals. However, those who insist on doing such work themselves should do their homework and get to know their systems and safety protocols prior to beginning a project.

Cyber Safety Is Important for Every Grade

People rely on the internet every day. In recent months, reliance on digital technology was pushed even further as social distancing measures had the world going online for school and work and to maintain relationships with friends and family.

A 2018 report from Pew Research Center indicated that nearly 25 percent of young adults in America reported being online almost constantly. Common Sense Media says teens spend an average of nine hours a day online, compared to roughly six hours for those between the ages eight and 12 and 50 minutes for kids younger than eight.

Students must exercise caution when spending time online. Connectivity can be empowering, but it also puts students at risk from others and even their own, sometimes irresponsible behaviors. Staying safe online should remain a priority for students who must spend more time on the internet and using digital education tools. These are some tips for maintaining cyber safety.

• Exercise caution when sharing information like your name, address, phone number, and other personal data online. Check with a trusted parent or teacher before sharing private data.

• Report any online activity that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or confused, whether it is directed at you or a classmate.

• Think carefully before you post comments online. Data remains online indefinitely, and your words and actions today can greatly affect your future.

• Respect others online by refraining from demeaning or bullying comments.

• Do not try to get around firewalls and blocked websites set up by school administrators. These limitations are there for your protection.

• Stick to school-sanctioned assignments and internet browsing when using school-issued devices. Administrators may have the right to monitor student activity without students’ knowledge and you can easily get yourself in trouble.

• It is easy to hide or fake one’s identity on the internet, so never take someone you meet or speak with online at face value. Never meet up with someone you do not know or only met online.

• Talk to your parents or educators about extortion and ransomware that tries to trick you into providing payment in some shape or form to prevent a perpetrator from releasing private information about you, advises the Readiness and Emergency for Schools Technical Assistance Center.

Various steps can be taken to promote cyber safety among students, parents and administrators.

The Differences Between Weather Warnings and Watches

Weather is hard to predict. Meteorologists have many tools at their disposal to help forecast storms and other phenomena, but it is impossible to predict the weather with 100 percent accuracy.

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, the National Weather Service may issue certain notices to prepare the public. Understanding the level of threat a notice carries can help people take appropriate action and avoid serious consequences.

The NWS uses a four-tier system to alert the public of hazards. Here’s a closer look at what each tier constitutes.

Outlook

This is the least serious weather alert. It usually means that hazardous weather may approach in the next three to seven days. The public should monitor the situation and stay tuned for further updates.

Advisory

With an advisory, weather conditions are not overly serious but could prove inconvenient. Individuals should be cautious and prudent when preparing supplies or traveling.

Watch

During a weather watch, there is an increased risk of a hazardous weather occurrence, though the timing or location is still uncertain. This is when it is essential to practice an evacuation or preparedness plan and stock up on any last-minute supplies.

Warning

The most serious of the weather impact notifications, a warning constitutes an imminent or likely event. The weather may cause a threat to property or life. Immediate action to stay safe is necessary.

While these alerts are based on the severity of impending weather, it is important to note that the NWS will not necessarily follow the same timeline with issuing alerts. That depends on how fast a weather situation develops. If there is time, an advisory, then a watch and then a warning may be issued. However, if a storm moves in rapidly, only a warning may be issued. People always should pay attention to weather notices so they can be prepared should severe weather be in the forecast.

The Importance of Safety When Swimming in Backyard Pools

Backyard pools provide families with ample opportunities for recreation. It’s easy to be distracted by all the fun when swimming in a backyard pool, but it is crucial that homeowners take steps to ensure everyone is safe when spending time in the pool.

Establish a barrier

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of one and four in the United States. Pools attract curious children, so maintaining a barrier between the home and the pool is essential. Many municipalities require some sort of fencing around pools or ladders that self-latch or can be closed off to climbing.

Locks and alarms on windows and doors that face or provide access to the backyard also can serve as barriers.

Keep play under control

Children and even adults may be swept up in the fun and engage in potentially dangerous behaviors. Pool users should not be allowed to run around the perimeter of an inground pool, as the cement can get slippery when wet and lead to falls that can cause injuries.

Exercise caution when using diving boards or diving into pools. It’s easy for divers to hit their heads when diving off a board into a pool due to close proximity of the transition wall in the deep end of the pool or by diving into shallow water. The Red Cross recommends a water depth of 11.5 feet for safe diving and the transition wall should be at least 16.5 feet from the tip of the diving board. However, the standard depth for many pools is 7.5 feet of water and a slope beginning seven feet from the board.

Exercise caution with inflatables

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that inflatable pool toys are especially dangerous. Such toys can flip easily, putting children at risk for injury (from striking the sides of the pool) or drowning (especially if the children were ejected into deep water). Inflatables also can prevent access to the surface of the water for submerged swimmers.

Choose a backyard lifeguard

At least one person should be designated as backyard lifeguard when the pool is in use. This person should always direct his or her focus on the pool, counting swimmers and keeping track of who enters and leaves the pool. Safe Kids Worldwide suggests rotating water watchers every 15 minutes.

Pools are fun places to spend summer afternoons, especially when every step is taken to ensure the safety of swimmers.

6 Ways to Make Bathrooms a Safer Place

Homes should be safe havens. But each year injuries in and around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and many fatalities each year. Although anywhere in a home can be the scene of an accident, bathrooms tend to be the most dangerous room in the house. Slippery tile, the presence of water, stockpiled medications, and many sharp and hard edges in a small space pose several different hazards in the bathroom, particularly for young children and people age 65 and up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says falls, which can result in serious injuries like hip fractures and head trauma, are the cause of 80 percent of all bathroom accidents. Many bathroom accidents are preventable with some easy modifications.

1. Reduce slippery surfaces. Wet tile is a recipe for slick conditions. Bath rugs with rubber backing can provide traction in the bathroom, as can nonslip mats placed on the floor of the bathtub or shower enclosure. Water-resistant flooring made from recycled rubber is another option. It is softer, less slippery, and more forgiving than traditional tile flooring.

2. Install lever-style fixtures. Round knobs in the bathroom can be difficult to grasp, especially for the elderly or those with arthritis. Lever-style fixtures are easier to maneuver and can help alleviate scalding from not being able to adequately adjust the water temperature.

3. Utilize transfer benches and shower seats. A transfer bench can help reduce injuries that occur when trying to climb over a tub wall. Benches are placed outside of the tub and a person sits and then swings his legs over the ledge. Transfer benches also can be used in conjunction with shower seats. This is a chair or bench that allows people to sit while they shower.

4. Discard old medications. Clean out the medicine cabinet of old or expired medications, including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. This reduces the likelihood of medication confusion, and does not put potentially harmful pills and syrups into the hands of children.

5. Install grab bars. Properly installed grab bars around the shower and toilet area can provide leverage and stability. AARP says many injuries to seniors occur when they are attempting to sit or get up from the toilet. Grab bars or an elevated toilet seat can help.

6. Install motion-detecting lights. These lights turn on automatically upon detecting movement, making them beneficial for people who routinely visit the bathroom in the middle of the night. Adequate illumination also can help reduce fall risk. Bathroom safety should be made a priority. Various modifications can make bathrooms safer for people of all ages.

Home Security Tips for Seniors

Seniors are often targeted by criminals. Though many criminals target seniors from afar via telephone or internet scams, criminals seek to enter seniors’ homes. The Bureau of Justice Statistics offers that, between 2003 and 2013, the ratio of property crime to violent crime was higher for the elderly and persons between the ages of 50 and 64 than it was for younger persons between the ages of 25 and 49. Home security is important for people of all ages, but especially so for seniors and aging individuals living alone. By following certain safety tips and developing a home security plan, seniors can feel safer at home.

• Lock windows and doors. It may seem like common sense, but failure to repeatedly lock windows and doors can, and often does, give burglars easy entry into the home.

• Think about a smart doorbell. Technology now enables doorbells to provide a video feed to a person’s smartphone or tablet over WiFi. This allows residents to see who is at the door and speak to this person without having to open the door. Some products like Ring® will even register motion activity and record short videos from outside of the house.

• Don’t share or leave keys. Avoid leaving keys under a mat or in a flower pot. Others may be watching your actions and gain access to your home while you are away.

• Ask for ID. When service people or other individuals come to the door, verify their credentials by asking to see some identification.

• Get a home security system. The best protection against burglars is a home security alarm, states HomeSecurityResource.org. Such an alarm often deters burglars from breaking in.

• Install a lockable mailbox. Locked mailboxes restrict access to sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, sent in the mail. Make sure retirement checks or other payments are deposited directly into bank accounts instead of having them sent by check.

• Use home automation. Home automation, or a “smart home,” can be utilized to turn on lights, set the thermostat, lock doors, and much more.

• Adopt a dog. Dogs can be an asset to seniors. Dogs provide companionship and can bark or alert seniors if someone is around or inside of the home. Home security is serious business for seniors who are vulnerable to criminals.

Safety Renovations for Seniors’ Homes

Feeling safe and secure at home is a priority for any homeowner. But safety is of particular concern for aging men and women who are at greater risk of being involved in accidents at home than younger men and women. Harvard Health Publishing says that accidents at home are among the leading causes of injury and death in the United States. The chances for fatalities increases as one ages, and by age 75 and older, men and women are almost four times as likely to die in a home accident as people a decade younger.

As people age, their balance, eyesight and general physical abilities can begin to diminish. Furthermore, a fall or incident that may only bruise a younger individual can cause more serious breaks or damage for seniors, resulting in potentially lengthy recovery times. The Home Care Assistance organization says that one million elderly people are admitted to the emergency room for injuries every year. People concerned about the safety of their homes or the homes of their aging loved ones can retrofit such properties to make them safer.

Falls

According to The Senior Social Club, which offers care and community services to seniors, falls are the most common accidents affecting seniors. One out of every three seniors aged 65 and older falls at least once a year. In addition to working with doctors to improve mobility and modify medications that may cause unsteadiness, changes around the home can help. Grab bars placed in bathrooms and high-traffic areas can help seniors get stay more stable when changing from sitting to standing positions. Potential tripping hazards should be assessed. Area rugs without nonskid backings, clutter on floors, extension cords that extend into walking areas, and uneven flooring pose tripping hazards. Anti-slip coatings can be added to floors to reduce the risk of tripping. Poorly lit staircases and entryways also can contribute to falls. Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting so that dim areas can be automatically brightened when necessary. A nightlight or LED lights placed near molding can help guide seniors to the bathroom during midnight visits.

Physical Limitations

Arthritis can impede seniors’ ability to turn on and off appliances, water faucets or handle certain kitchen tools. Kitchen and bathroom modifications can include the installation of ergonomic and user-friendly handles and spigots. Task lighting can make it easier to prepare meals, and appliances that automatically turn off after a certain period of time can be a safety feature for forgetful individuals. Reorganize kitchen cabinets to make commonly used items as accessible as possible.

Smart Homes

Friends or family members can have greater control over seniors’ homes by installing smart home systems. This way they can remotely adjust thermostats, control lights, view cameras, engage locks or alarm systems, and much more without having to be at the home. This can seniors allow seniors to maintain their independence while offering peace of mind to their loved ones.

Certain home modifications can reduce seniors’ injury risk.

How to Talk to Kids About Halloween Safety

Come Halloween, youngsters’ attentions are understandably focused on costumes and candy. Their parents, however, are likely more concerned with their kids’ safety. Trick-or-treating kids might not pay much mind to safety. As a result, it can be hard for parents to get kids to grasp the importance of being safe on Halloween. The following strategies might make that task easier.

• Discuss costumes well in advance of Halloween. Many kids are so enthusiastic about Halloween that they know which costumes they hope to wear long before October 31. Parents can discuss potential costumes well in advance of Halloween before kids even know what they want to wear. Doing so gives parents a chance to encourage kids to choose bright costumes that will make them more visible to drivers on Halloween night. Waiting to discuss costumes increases the likelihood that kids will already have an outfit in mind, making it harder for parents to convince them to choose something safe.

• Explain that some tailoring might be necessary to make gathering all that candy a lot easier. Superman doesn’t trip on his cape in the movies, and youngsters dressed up as the Man of Steel shouldn’t trip on their capes, either. When kids pick costumes, explain to them that you might need to do some tailoring before they go trick-or-treating. Explain to kids that costumes should be trip-proof so they can seamlessly go from house to house in search of their favorite goodies.

• Create a bag or bucket design day. Depending on what kids will use to carry the candy they accumulate this Halloween, parents can plan a bag or bucket design day a few days in advance. Kids will enjoy this chance to get in the Halloween spirit, and parents can encourage youngsters to decorate their bags and buckets with reflective tape that will make them more visible to drivers.

• Talk up trick-or-treating with friends. As Halloween approaches, parents can discuss how much fun kids will have going door-to-door with many of their friends. This is a good way to ensure kids trick-or-treat in large groups, making them more visible to drivers. In addition, kids trick-or-treating in large groups might be too busy joking with their friends to notice when one or two parents tag along as chaperones. Parents can discuss Halloween safety with their children in ways that make it fun to be safe while trick-or-treating.