Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year’s Eve Safety 2016

This Thursday evening, thousands of people will embark upon an evening filled with laughter and fun as they prepare to ring in the 2016 New Year. While we hope everyone enjoys their celebrations, we would like to take a moment to remind those of the dangers of over-drinking and other safety precautions.

Did you know in 2011 the Texas Legislature passed the 911 Lifeline Law that states that a person under 21 won’t be charged by the police for possessing or consuming alcohol if the person calls 911 because someone might have alcohol poisoning? This is especially important for teens to know. As scary as a situation can be when someone is unresponsive, it is still extremely important that you call 9-1-1 for help. Remember that everyone’s life matters and to always do the right thing. For more information on this law, please visit here: http://www.awareawakealive.org/.

Here are some other great safety tips to ensure you and your loved ones safely ring in the New Year:

·         If you plan on drinking, please make sure you have a designated driver. Even if you have only had a couple drinks, it is never a good idea to drive. Practice safety first!

·         If you will be attending a party or an event where there will be a lot of people, never let your drink out of your sight. You never know if someone will tamper with your drink so keep it in your sight or in your hands at all times.

·         If you live in a city, then you most likely cannot use fireworks due to safety issues and hazards. Why not leave the fireworks to the professionals and go see a display put on in your local area?

·         Safety is always in numbers so whatever you decide to do, make sure you are not alone. Staying in groups will ensure you have a great evening!

·         If you have pets, bring them inside tonight because fireworks can be very frightening for them.

·         And of course, remember to have fun! And if you find yourself in an emergency, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.

See Carson's Story Below

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Practice Safety First Throughout the Holiday Season

It happens to be the most wonderful time of year! A time for giving, for remembering, and for truly cherishing your blessings. While this is a joyful time, it is also a time when predators prey on the unsuspecting. That’s why we want you to practice safety first!

Compiled below is a list of safety concerns that we hope you will take to heart. That way you can guarantee your holidays do not end negatively.

Holiday Shopping Safety

·         Keep all doors locked and windows closed when you are away from your vehicle. This will help prevent thieves from easy access to your valuables.

·         Never leave your car unoccupied while it is running. (And as a reminder, don’t leave children unattended in the car either for their safety too)

·         When leaving your vehicle, make sure all valuables are out of sight. If you have to leave something in your car, put it in the trunk.

·         Always remember to wear your seatbelt and practice cautious driving, especially if road conditions are bad.

·         Never drink and drive.

·         If you are involved in an accident, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for help.

Fire Safety

·         Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.

·         Never leave burning candles unattended.

·         Do not burn candles near flammable items.

·         Check and clean the chimney at least once a year.

Tree Safety

·         Decorate the tree with kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top of the tree.

·         Always use a proper step ladder when putting decorations up high.

·         When putting up lights, make sure there are no exposed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.

Poison Safety

·         Decorating the home with festive plants around this time of year is very popular. But some of these plants have berries that can be poisonous if enough are ingested. The most common are mistletoe berries, holly berries, poinsettias, and Jerusalem cherry.
Please keep these out of reach of children.

·         Did you know if you swallowed a button battery, it could potentially explode in your stomach? If swallowed and undetected, the batteries can do serious damage to the gastrointestinal system. Keep these batteries out of reach of children. And if a child does ingest it, call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate help.  

Travel Safety

·         Make sure all your doors and windows are locked in the home before leaving.

·         If you have an alarm, make sure to turn it on while you are out of town.

·         Have a neighbor or family member watch your house, pick up your mail and even park in your driveway periodically, if possible.

·         Leave a radio or television on so the house sounds occupied.

·         Make sure expensive items or gifts in your home are not visible through windows or doors.

·         If you have a Christmas tree, make sure it is placed in water or wet sand to keep it fresh.

Whether you travel this holiday season or stay at home, we hope you all have a safe and cheerful time. And remember, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 for help.

Friday, November 13, 2015

TxDOT has a new goal to #EndTheStreakTX of Daily Fatalities

Did you know that more than 50,000 people have been killed on Texas roadways over the past 15 years? According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one fatality has occurred each and every day on state roadways since November 7, 2000. This is a scary statistic which is why TxDOT needs our help to end the streak of fatalities by focusing on driving safe and alert at all times.

TxDOT is hoping to raise awareness in the community so that the streak of roadway fatalities can stop. They are asking people to change their social media profile pictures to the black image available for download here. Throughout the month of November you can find out more information on this initiative by visiting TxDOT’s social media pages:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TxDOT

Here are some helpful tips on how you can help end this streak! Safe driving doesn’t take much, so let’s all work on this together!

•Buckle seatbelt – all passengers need to be buckled.

•Never drink and drive – drunk driving kills; get a sober ride home.

•Pay attention – put your phone away and avoid distractions.

•Drive the speed limit – always follow speed limits and drive slower speeds when weather or conditions warrant.

And remember, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation on the roadways, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

National Public Educator Forum Fifth Annual Conference another Success!

This summer, the fifth annual 9-1-1 NPEF Conference took place right outside of Denver in Golden, Colorado. With nearly 100 attendees representing 15 different states including Canada, this event was a testament to how valuable public education is to all who participated. Throughout the four-day event, attendees were able to gain insight on a variety of topics presented by peers within the public education industry.

Public educators learned about the Ripple Effect from Steve Harper and how strengthening the power of connections can change your life and impact others. They also learned about age group characteristics and the Five Step Process from Marsha Giesler. Giesler was a huge hit at the Illinois conference which is why she was brought back this year to help share even more of her amazing public education tips!

Other sessions included Text to 9-1-1, Mobile Learning Units and Cultivating Relationships with Elected Officials. Throughout the conference, attendees had many opportunities to network and share various public education ideas that ranged from those who had budgets to those who had no budgets at all.

Below are a few tips worth sharing from the conference:

·         “Skillful instructors: are prepared and practiced; use a variety of teaching methods; keep the audience involved.”  Marsha Giesler, Downers Grove FD

·         “Use college students as volunteers in your pub ed program – they normally require community service project credits to graduate.”   Ashley Klco, North Central College

·         “We live in a fast-paced world. Your message should be concise, relevant, include photos (if possible), and informational, or inspirational, or FUNNY!” Susan Rodriguez, City of Plano PSC

For more ideas, tips or information on what was presented at the NPEF Conference or for more information on next year’s conference in Frisco (Dallas), Texas, please go to: www.911npef.org.

NPEF attendees participating in the Think Outside the Box Session

NPEF staff hanging with Miss Jamie!

NPEF staff with the fabulous Cell Phone Sally!

Cell Phone Sally posing with opening speaker
Sheriff Jeff Shrader of Jefferson County 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Child Passenger Safety Week is September 13-19, 2015!

Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages one to 14 years old in the United States?  These deaths could be prevented by installing or utilizing car seats, booster seats and seat belts properly.

September 13th through the 19th is a week dedicated to reminding and teaching the public about the proper use of car seats and boosters. Roughly three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly, which becomes a huge safety risk. But by being vigilant, we can change that. When a car seat, booster and seatbelt are used properly, it can reduce the risk of significant injury in infants by 71% and toddlers by 54%!

Here are some car seat tips to follow:
  •       Find a car seat that fits your child. You want the car seat to fit your child’s current size but also leave room for them to grow.
  •       Not all car seats fit in all vehicles so make sure the car seat you purchase fits the vehicle you drive.
  •      Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install the car seat and use it properly.
  •     Children under the age of one should always ride rear-facing.
  •      Children age 1-3 years should be kept rear-facing as long as they fit the car seat.
  •     All children under the age of 12 should only sit in the back seat.

 Please take the time to make sure your children’s car seats are properly installed. In most towns and cities, you can find a trained technician that can ensure your seats are properly installed at no charge to you.  For more information on car seats and installing the right ones or how to find help obtaining a car seat, please visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Car-Seat-Safety.htm.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stay Safe When out in the Heat as Temperatures Rise

August is here which means the temperatures throughout the country are rising. Heat can be very dangerous and during heat waves, evaporation into the body is slowed and your body has to work a lot harder to maintain a normal temperature. (A heat wave is considered an extended period of high heat accompanied by high humidity. These conditions can be very dangerous and sometimes life-threatening.)

Did you know that most heat disorders occur when someone has spent too much time in the heat or has over-exercised in extreme temperatures? Those especially in danger of heat disorders include older adults, young children and those who might be sick or overweight.

By following these tips, you can ensure you and your loved ones are safe while out in the heat.

Preparation Before Going Out into the Heat

·         It is always a great idea to have an emergency kit and make a family communication plan. Visit ready.gov here for more information.

·         Have a good A/C System working in your home.

·         Cover windows that the morning or afternoon sun comes through.

·         Stay aware of the temperature changes in your area.

·         Get trained in first aid so you are able to help treat heat-related illnesses.

Tips While Outside in the Heat

·         Never leave pets or children in hot vehicles!

·         Stay indoors as much as you can.

·         Limit your exposure in the sun.

·         Keep outside game and activities to a minimum or after the sun goes down.

·         Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

·         Dress in loose-fitting and light-colored clothing.

·         Wear a hat to protect your face and eyes from the sun.

·         Avoid strenuous activity.

·         If you have pets and they stay outside, check on them frequently and make sure they have plenty of water and shade.

 And remember, if you or someone you know finds themselves in a heat-related emergency, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Stay Safe during Your Independence Day Celebrations

This weekend many friends and families will come together to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, the 4th of July. While many will want to celebrate with fireworks, it is important to keep in mind the dangers that come with using fireworks. Did you know that 230 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries during and around the month of July?

Fireworks can quickly create fires from the combination of heat and dry weather. Not only are they dangerous because they can start fires, but they can also cause serious burns and sometimes eye injuries. We want you to celebrate in the safest way possible this year so please take the time to follow these guidelines when using fireworks.

o   Know where your fire extinguisher is and keep it close if you will be using fireworks. (Note: In most cities, they do not allow you to set off fireworks in the city limits so please remember to obey laws at all times.)

o   Have close access to your water hose in case a fire erupts and the extinguisher cannot stop the fire on its own.

o   If a fire does get out of hand, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for help.

o   If you have pets, please keep them inside on this day and evening. Fireworks can be very scary for pets and spook them badly.

o   If you choose to play with fireworks, make sure when you throw away the remains that they are free of heat and fire. This will eliminate chances of the trash igniting in flames.

o   Keep fireworks out of children’s reach or hands. Fireworks should only be handled by adults to protect children from accidentally harming themselves. (Fact: Sparklers burn at temps of about 2,000 degrees which is hot enough to melt some metals!)

o   Never attempt to make your own fireworks.

o   Never set off fireworks inside.

o   Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly to ensure safety.

o   When setting off fireworks, make sure to aim them away from where people are standing.

o   Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

We all know fireworks are meant to be enjoyed so please enjoy the beautiful designs, colors and sounds that they create- but always keep safety in mind. Happy 4th of July!!


Check out this info graphic on fireworks:

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Practice Safe Living during June: It’s National Safety Month!

From the youngest of ages, we are taught “safety first!” There is a reason for this: Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages – and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. While this might be the case, that doesn’t mean there are not measures you can put in place to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Here are some safety issues that you can brush up knowledge on:

Emergency Preparedness
When it comes to emergency preparedness, you can never be too prepared. Planning ahead can keep you and your family safe when an emergency might strike. From natural disasters to terrorist attacks to blackouts, emergencies can be a scary. But the more prepared you are, the more calm you can be in dealing with these emergencies.

How can you be prepared?

·         Get or build an emergency supply kit. (www.ready.gov/build-a-kit)
·         Make a family emergency plan and figure out where to meet during an emergency. (www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)
·         Learn what to do in each type of emergency (www.ready.gov/be-informed)

Much of today’s workforce spends a lot of time sitting throughout the work day because a lot of jobs are done on computers. While sitting at a desk all day might not sound hazardous to your health, it can be! Other jobs have potential hazards at work too which is why it is so important to practice good ergonomics (fitting a job to a person). This can help lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and prevent unwanted injuries.

Here are some basics for staying safe while working:

·         Lift items properly and safely
·         Take short breaks and stretch your muscles when doing strenuous work
·         Wear protective equipment
·         Get enough rest before work so that you are alert
·         Take steps to manage stress

For more information on ergonomics that fit your job, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/.

Transportation Safety
We all know how important it is to wear your seatbelt. But it is also extremely important to not participate in distracted driving. How can we eliminate distracted driving? Keep your phone out of your hands and put away, and try not to eat or do any other type of activity while driving. Distracted driving is very dangerous- almost 1 in 5 crashes (that’s 17 percent!) where someone was injured involved distracted driving. So remember, when in the driver’s seat, focus on driving first and protect yourself and those around you.

Here are some additional tips from the National Safety Council:

  • Making sure every passenger buckles up every trip
  • Designating an alcohol and drug-free driver or arranging alternate transportation
  • Getting plenty of sleep and taking regular breaks to avoid fatigue on long trips
  • Never using a cell phone behind the wheel,
  • Staying engaged with your teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer.  
Slips, Trips, and Falls

It is important to always be aware of your surroundings. Did you know that one in three older adults falls each year? Many of those falls lead to health problems including broken bones. According to the CDC, in 2002 more than 12,800 people over the age of 65 died and 1.6 million were treated in the ER due to falls.
Common hazards in the home that are easily overlooked are usually the reason for these falls. With this checklist, you can learn out how to fix these hazards and prevent unnecessary falls: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/pubs/English/booklet_Eng_desktop-a.pdf.

Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Prescription painkiller abuse is a growing epidemic in the U.S. Here is a scary fact: About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose. It’s time we change those statistics!

Learn how to use medicines safely with these helpful tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/use-medicines-safely.

Remember to focus on safety this month and you are sure to come out ahead! If you do ever find yourself in an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for immediate help.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Time to Remember: National Police Week

This week marks National Police Week, a time when many events take place throughout the country honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day including the week within which May 15th falls as National Police Week.

Below are a few events taking place throughout the week. If you haven’t yet this week, make sure you thank a police officer for their dedicated service to keeping our streets safe. A police officer’s job is not an easy one and it takes a person who is strong, courageous and empathetic to take on this position. Police officers- we salute you!

Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony
Since 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised nearly $16 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum. The ceremony will begin Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial located on the 400 block of E St., NW.

27th Annual Candlelight Vigil

According to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (pdf), 126 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014. The annual candlelight vigil brings law enforcement officers and citizens together to remember those who died.

The vigil will be held Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the 400 block of E St., NW. It is strongly advised that attendees take the Red Line to Judiciary Square due to parking limitations. 
Or, light a virtual candle in remembrance on the NLEOMF website and watch the vigil live via webcast.

Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 Events

This two-day outdoor event, hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police District of Columbia Lodge 1, features vendors, music, entertainment, food and bar service. This year’s events will be located a few blocks from the Washington Nationals’ Park at 1880 2nd St. SW on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

National Police Survivors Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens

Sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors, the National Police Survivors Conference provides opportunities for family members and co-workers of fallen officers to prepare for trial, build connections, understand grief and receive support. The two-day conference will take place Thursday and Saturday at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel. Call (573) 346-4911 for more information.

13th Annual Steven Young National Honor Guard and Pipe Band Competition

Honor guard teams and pipe bands from states across the country and Canada will perform their tributes to law enforcement and surviving families of fallen officers. The competition, hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police National Memorial Committee, includes a team inspection drill, color guard and exhibition phase. The event will be held at the Grant Statue (west front of the United States Capitol) on Thursday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

21st Annual Emerald Society & Pipe Band March and Service

The Emerald Society, an organization of American police officers and firefighters of Irish heritage, remembers all law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty with numerous musical tributes. The march will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at New Jersey Avenue and F Street, NW and will proceed to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

34rd Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service

The Memorial Service will be held on the West Front of the United States Capitol. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will be held Friday at 11 a.m. immediately following the Memorial Service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, in the 400 block of E St., NW. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Appreciation Week 2015

Every year, the second full week of April (April 12th-18th, 2015) is recognized as a time to honor hard-working telecommunicators throughout the country. Telecommunicators are defined as individuals who work for an emergency service provider (usually 9-1-1) and are qualified to answer incoming emergency telephone calls and provide for the appropriate emergency response. These individuals have a tough job where they work with the public in high stress situations to get help to those in need, which is why they deserve to be honored and recognized for their dedication and hard work!

If you have ever dialed 9-1-1 to get help in an accident or an emergency, then a telecommunicator has been on the phone to collect your information and get you help. A person who is a telecommunicator must be patient, strong, understanding and work well under intense pressure or stressful situations.  During this week agencies, elected officials and citizens are honoring 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers for their efforts in making emergency services run smoothly and efficiently to ensure citizens safety. 

Back in 1990, Congress designated this week to recognizing telecommunicators for their service and we ask that you do the same! If you see a telecommunicator or you know someone who works as a call-taker or dispatcher, reach out to them and take the time to let them know that they are appreciated for all the time and effort they put into making 9-1-1 what it is today.

Below is a proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott recognizing and honoring telecommunicators this week. Share your stories with us on how you appreciated your call-takers and dispatchers and we will share them in our next blog! Below are some activities going on during Telecommunicator week:

APCO Offers Free Webinar in Celebration of NPSTW: In celebration of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and to honor those who do the frontline job every day, APCO Institute is offering a FREE training webinar entitled “Dispatch Danger Zones.”  The webinar will take place Wednesday, April 15, 2015, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Register here.

Ark-Texas Council of Governments: They will present each telecommunicator with a small insulated zippered 9-1-1 ATCOG portable cooler with a large insulated 9-1-1 mug, insulated drink holder with a drawstring and attached carbineer with our 9-1-1 logo imprinted, 9-1-1 logo tote bag, and several small 9-1-1 items. Each dispatcher will also be presented with a nice certificate of appreciation.
El Paso County 9-1-1:
They will be purchasing cell phone power banks in a travel case that says “NEVER UNDERSTIMATE THE POWER OF THE TELECOMMUNICATOR” and doing a decorating contest with that theme.  The winner will get mentioned in their next newsletter!

York County 9-1-1: They celebrate Telecommunicator’s Week each year at their PSAP with a week of fun activities. They have theme days such as a sports day where they wear their favorite sports team shirt, have hot dogs and peanuts in the shell to eat. They also have different activities during this week such as crossword puzzles, movie trivia, scavenger hunts, and much more. They will finish the week with an awards ceremony for the Telecommunicator of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, and Admin Support Person of the Year.

El Paso-Teller E911 Authority: This year during 9-1-1 Education Month, they will be doing 30 minute presentations about 9-1-1 (with the help of Cell Phone Sally "Getting Help is Easy") to 1st grade classes. They will leave each student with an activity book about 9-1-1, and a Cell Phone Sally Poster for the classroom's wall.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Expand Your Knowledge of Poison Control Services during Poison Prevention Week

Knowing how to prevent unintentional poisonings is important. And so is knowing the number to poison control (1-800-222-1222- save it in your phone!) in the event that you or someone you know has ingested a potentially poisonous substance. That’s why the third week of March is dedicated to educating the public about poison control and its services.

During Poison Prevention Week (March 15th-21st), educators throughout the country will be sharing poison prevention information as well as sharing all the services they provide through the poison control 24/7 toll-free number. Poisons are more common than people think and can happen to anyone. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than two million poisonings are reported each year and roughly 90 percent of these are happening in the home.

So what is considered a poison?
A poison is any substance, including medications, which can be harmful to your body if too much is ingested or absorbed through the body. An accidental poisoning occurs when someone takes too much of a substance without meaning to cause harm.

Accidental poisonings can be scary which is why poison control is here to help in your time of need. Below are some useful tips to avoid unintentional poisonings:

·         Keep all poisons locked up and out of reach of children (this includes cleaning products, medications, vitamins, etc.)

·         Never tell a child that vitamins are candy. This could lead them to eat more vitamins than they should which can be dangerous.

·         Keep a carbon monoxide detector working in your house all year round by changing the batteries twice a year. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer and very dangerous.

·         Calling 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States will connect you with your local poison center.

For more information on poison control and poison prevention, please visit www.poisoncontrol.org.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Burn Awareness Week: Tips on Avoiding Burns on You and Your Family

When most people hear burn, they associate it with fire. And as we all know, fire can be dangerous especially if it makes contact with the skin. The first week of February marks Burn Awareness Week which is a great time to focus on teaching kids safety tips that will help them avoid burn injuries.

Many items can easily burn us from cooking liquids to grease to hot water and hot foods. A whopping 46% of burns reported occurred from these scalding items with 53% of this number being from children under five years old. Scalds are actually the most common burn injury in young children and, sadly, one of the leading causes of accidental death.

While these numbers can be scary to hear, as a community and within our homes, we can help eliminate and prevent these injuries from occurring with a few simple actions on our part. Here are some tips to helping prevent burns!

·         Make sure to supervise children while they are in the kitchen or dining area. Accidents happen very quickly.

·         Children are always reaching and grabbing for things. To prevent spills while cooking on the stove, use the back burners.

·         Keep hot foods out of reach of children.

·         Have your hot water heater set to a max of 120 Fahrenheit to prevent accidental scalding.

·         Matches, gasoline and lighters should always be out of sight and out of reach of children.

·         Already been burned? Cool it under cold running water for 10-15 minutes. But if the burn is serious, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.

 This week gives you a chance to brush up on your safety skills and is a great opportunity to check your fire alarms and practice a home fire drill. You can never be too safe! For more information on Burn Awareness Week visit http://www.ameriburn.org/preventionBurnAwareness.php.
Message from Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue: