Monday, November 25, 2013

Stay Safe during the Thanksgiving Holiday!

This time of year, where family and friends gather near to celebrate each other and all that they are thankful for, is also a great time to remind everyone to practice holiday safety. It is also an excellent time to remind children what to do in case of an emergency! (You know- call 9-1-1!)

Many families will be on the road traveling to visit friends and relatives for Thanksgiving. Please remember not to use your cell phone when you are driving. It is best to always pull over if you need to talk on the phone. And it is especially important to never text and drive. It only takes seconds for an accident to occur so keep your eyes on the road. Distracted drivers and any harsh weather conditions can be a recipe for disaster. So remember- keep alert and dial 9-1-1 if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is all the delicious dishes created by loved ones! When preparing yummy dishes, please remember to be safe. Below is some great information on fire-safe cooking from FEMA. Remember; if a fire occurs please do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1 for help!

Home Safety
Be smart if you plan to travel away from your home for the holidays. Do not post that you are going to be out of town on any social media sites. Secure all windows and doors so there is no easy entry into your home and set an alarm system if you have one. If you can, have a friend move your car occasionally while you are gone so it looks like someone is home. Thieves love to prey on easy targets so please do not be an easy target and keep your home safe.

Turkey Fryer Safety

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maximize Your Public Education Efforts by Utilizing Simulators

Every educator out there is dealing with budget cuts and having to find new innovative ways to get the public education message across. The great news is if educators work together, they can come up with awesome new ways to teach public education with no costs to their program. At a recent NPEF conference (National Public Educator Forum), a seminar was given on the use of simulators. Since this conference, there have been more and more educators across the country utilizing these simulators to help teach adults and kids about driving safety.

What are simulators?
Simulators create a unique way to show people how a dangerous situation can affect them without actually putting them in danger. Simulation gives individuals the opportunity to practice what to do in a dangerous situation. Some examples of simulators used in the 9-1-1 community include: Texting and Driving Simulator, Drinking and Driving Simulator, How to Dial 9-1-1 Simulator, and Rollover Convincer (Seatbelt Test).

Where can you get a simulator?
There are various companies that make simulators and they usually cost around $1,000- $3,000 dollars. But there are also organizations and companies that provide simulators for use free of charge. One example is State Farm who, through grants, bought simulators throughout the U.S. to help educate the public on distracted driving.

At Texas A&M University, simulators that can be reserved for use at schools or safety fairs by approved entities. Through their distracted driving simulator, they have a participant drive on a busy highway while reading and responding to text messages on their cell phones. Another simulator they have is a Rollover Convincer which demonstrates an adult dummy wearing a seatbelt in a rollover crash and then the dummy not wearing a seatbelt in a rollover crash. Both of these simulators have made great impacts on the community and help show the dangers of distracted driving as well as not wearing your seatbelt.
In Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County 9-1-1 applied for a grant that helped them purchase their very own 9-1-1 simulator. Through their simulator, you are able to practice making a real 9-1-1 call. (This particular simulator was created by Retina Systems Inc.) Joe Thompson of Huntingdon County 9-1-1 worked hard to partner with other organizations in order to receive a grant to purchase this simulator. He said it has been a great success and people are always asking him how they can get one for their local area.

How can I find out more information on Simulators?
With public education budgets gone, there are opportunities out there for individuals to apply for grants that could go toward the creation of these simulators. It just takes a little effort to find out more so that your public education program can have its very own simulator. Below are some links to get you started on finding out more about simulation and how it can benefit your 9-1-1 program.

9-1-1 Interactive Simulator: