Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Practice Safety First This Thanksgiving Holiday

During this time of year, when family and friends get together to celebrate each other and all that they are thankful for, we like to remind everyone to practice safety first during all the holiday celebrations. It is also an excellent time to remind children what to do in case of an emergency! Check out some tips we have compiled for you to make your holiday a little more safe and prepared.

Traveling
Many families will be on the road traveling to visit friends and relatives for Thanksgiving- they actually are stating on the news that this will be the biggest travel year in almost 10 years. Please remember not to use your cell phone when you are driving- this means no texting and driving either! It is best to always pull over if you need to talk or text on the phone. It only takes seconds for an accident to occur so keep your eyes on the road at all times. Distracted drivers and any harsh weather conditions can be a recipe for disaster. So remember to keep alert and dial 9-1-1 if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. (And Know Your Location!) Install the FEMA app for Weather Alerts, safety tips, emergency checklists and more. Here is the link: FEMA APP

Cooking
One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is all the delicious dishes created by friends and loved ones alike! When preparing these yummy dishes, please remember to be smart and safe. Salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning and while it’s normally not fatal, it is widespread. It is typically found in raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk, fish and their bi-products. Salmonella can only be destroyed by cooking food thoroughly and with temperatures above 140 degrees.

Food poisoning usually happens because of poor food handling practices. Symptoms can include fever, headache, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. The guilty party in all food poisonings is bacteria, which enters our bodies through contaminated food. Wash hands, dishes, utensils, kitchen equipment and work surfaces before and after handling. Be particularly careful around knives, washing them thoroughly after each use. And remember, even frozen food can contain bacteria. If you think you might have been poisoned, please do not hesitate to contact poison control for help at 1-800-222-1222.

Below is a video on fire-safe cooking from NFPA. Remember, if a fire occurs please do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1 for help! (See Turkey Fryer Safety)

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. And if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for help.

 
Turkey Fryer Safety

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween: Tips for a Spooky Safe Time!

Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year which means children will be out early to start their trick or treating and Halloween festivities! While this time of year brings spooky fun and children get to enjoy dressing up as their favorite characters, it is also a time when safety becomes a very important topic.

Check out some tips from Cell Phone Sally on how to have a happy Halloween as well as a safe and smart holiday:

·         Always buddy up when trick or treating. Walk in groups with a trusted adult.

·         Avoid costumes that are too dark. Light and reflective clothing is best. Fasten reflective tape onto costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

·         Wear costumes that are also “flame-resistant”; most costumes show this labeled on them. If you make your own costume, use flame resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.

·         Try and stay away from costumes that utilize masks and instead op for make-up and hats to dress up your costume.

·         Make sure any make-up you use is safe for the skin and not old. If it has a smell to it, throw it out. And if you develop a rash, redness, or swelling, then you could be allergic to the make-up and should refrain from using.

·         Make sure to examine all the candy when you get home. Check for any choking hazards or candy that has been tampered with. And don’t eat too much candy when you get home- it could make you sick to your stomach.

·         Parents of young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts and hard candies, or even small toys from Halloween bags.

·         Before bobbing for apples, a common Halloween game, reduce the risk of bacteria by thoroughly rinsing the apples under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.

·         Take a flashlight with you to help guide your way in the dark and to make you more visible to vehicles.  

·         Always look both ways before crossing the street. Cars move fast so be aware of your surroundings.

·         Enter homes ONLY if you are with a trusted adult. And never under any circumstances accept a ride from a stranger.

·         Carry a cell phone with you to make sure you can contact help in case of an emergency.

·         If you are ever in an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.

 

We hope everyone has a wonderfully spooky and fun Halloween! Make sure to stay safe!

Monday, September 18, 2017

National Preparedness Month Takes on a Whole New Meaning after Hurricane Harvey and other Natural Disasters

Tragedy struck Texas recently when Hurricane Harvey made landfall and destroyed homes, roads and more. As homes flooded and people found themselves in various emergency situations, it was a grim reminder that one can never be too prepared for a natural disaster to strike.

September marks National Preparedness Month and Cell Phone Sally wants to remind you to be prepared for an emergency whether it be a hurricane, a fire, an earthquake, or some other natural disaster. You never know what type of emergency situation could affect you, which is why it is so incredibly important to have an emergency kit prepared with you at all times. Together we can make sure no matter where you are, you are prepared to take on an emergency situation in a calm and ready manner.

Here are the basics:
Be Informed: When it comes to being prepared for a disaster, there is no such thing as being too prepared. Being informed about the different types of emergencies that can happen in your area and their appropriate responses includes learning about the hazards that may strike your community, the risks you face from these hazards and your community’s plans for warning and evacuation. Awareness is the first key to being prepared. Want to know more? Visit https://www.ready.gov/be-informed.
Make a Plan: Put a plan in place with your family and loved ones. You always want to be prepared for the “what ifs” so that when the emergency occurs, you feel more confident in contacting and locating your loved ones. Remember to think about how you will get in touch with each other to let each other know you are safe or if you need help. You also need to know where you plan on meeting to get back together during disastrous times. And lastly, you should communicate with your loved ones how you would react and what you would do depending on the type of emergency. For more info, visit http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Build a Kit: Use building a kit as an opportunity to bond with your family and loved ones. Involve children in the process too so that they feel they are contributing to ways they can help their family in an emergency. Things to include in a supply kit include food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days which is why you want to have plenty of food and water to survive on. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. To find a complete checklist of the supplies your household may need in the event of an emergency, visit http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Take Action: This is your chance to get involved with your community. You can do this by visiting www.CitizenCorps.gov to find local Citizen Corps Councils. You can also look into USAonWatch (Neighborhood Watch) groups, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Fire Corps programs, Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) programs, and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units. Ask them what you can do to prepare yourself and your community for disasters and how to get involved locally. National Day of Action is September 30th. During this grassroots national day of action, head over to this link and learn all about America’s Prepathon as well as register your preparedness activities.
Cell Phone Sally wants to remind you that 9-1-1 is a valuable resource and way to get or find help in any emergency situation. And remember- never use 9-1-1 for fun as it can clog up the phone lines for real emergencies.

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kari’s Law Compliance by September 1, 2017

As of September 1st, 2016 Kari’s Law has been a big topic in Texas. That’s when the law first went into effect and businesses with multi-line telephone systems (MLTS), also known as PBX phones, must now provide direct access to 9-1-1 without having to dial an additional digit such as 9. Texas is not the only state that has adopted a Kari’s Law- Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland and New York City have as well. More states are working on their own version of Kari’s Law, and at the federal level, a similar law has now passed in the House and the Senate and is now making its way to committee.

Kari’s Law represents a culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Kari Hunt. For those who do not know the story, Kari Hunt met her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas with their kids. During the meeting, Kari’s husband attacked her in the bathroom and ultimately killed her. Kari’s 9-year-old daughter attempted to dial 9-1-1 several times and she was unable to get through because the hotel phone required you to dial a 9 first to get to an outside line. By the time help was able to arrive, it was too late.

Since Kari’s death, her father Hank Hunt has made it his mission to educate the public as well as elected officials across the U.S. about the important need to change all MLTS phones to provide direct access to 9-1-1. That means any phone that you would usually have to dial a number to get an outside line first (i.e. hotels, schools, large businesses, and hospitals) should now be able to dial 9-1-1 and get connected to 9-1-1 immediately.

It is important that businesses comply with this law. If for some reason the existing MLTS cannot be re-programmed or replaced, then a one-year waiver will be granted upon timely submission of an affidavit. The waiver as well as more information on this law and how it works is located at www.texas911.org.

CSEC created a PSA to bring awareness to the law (it is also available in Spanish). They then created a toolkit to assist 9-1-1 educators and coordinators with their efforts in educating businesses and the public. The toolkit includes a media release template (English and Spanish), a brochure (English and Spanish), a list of business outreach opportunities and a letter template to send out to business service users (BSUs) who have MLTS phones. You can find the toolkit here. Let’s make sure all businesses with MLTS phones provide direct access to 9-1-1 because it could and will ultimately help save lives.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June Marks National Safety Month 2017

During the month of June, thousands of organizations throughout the country raise awareness on various safety issues at home, work and on the road. By raising these safety issues now, this month hopes to bring attentiveness to your surroundings and making sure you and those around you stay safe.

Safety in the Home
In 2011, poisonings became the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States surpassing vehicle motor crashes. Poisonings can include taking too much medication, taking the wrong medication or accidentally mixing the wrong medications. It can also include coming in contact with gases and other chemicals. That’s why it is so important to keep medications up high and locked away for safety. If you have young children in the home, make sure any cleaning chemicals or similar type products are also up high and out of reach. If you or a loved one has a possible poisoning, please do not hesitate to contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 for assistance 24 hours, 7 days a week. If someone is in need of immediate help, please contact 9-1-1.

Safety in the Workplace
OSHA Compliance Training consists of safety training in the workplace. For a variety of online training courses offered by the National Safety Council, visit http://www.nsc.org/learn/Safety-Training/Pages/workplace-training-compliance-training.aspx.

Slip, trip and fall prevention is the most basic safety precautions one can take. Make sure to always wear appropriate footwear and always be aware of your surroundings. These types of injuries are preventable. For more information visit http://www.nsc.org/learn/Safety-Training/Pages/Preventing-Slips-Trips-and-Falls.aspx.

Safety on the Roads
According to the NSC, in 2015, more than 38,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes. While impaired driving is still a big factor, distracted driving is becoming a major concern. Make sure to ensure these steps when driving:

·         Do not text and drive.
·         Practice awareness.
·         Always wear your seatbelt.
·         Take defensive driving courses if needed.

If you are in an accident or need immediate help, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for assistance!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prepping for Hurricanes during the Month of May

Hurricane Preparedness Week fell during the first full week of May (May 7-13, 2017), but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to discuss and prepare for hurricane season. As the National Weather Service says, it only takes one storm to change your life and community.

Hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones, can be some of nature’s most dangerous and destructive types of storms that we can face, especially if you live in an area prone to these type of storms which are usually near coastlines. But even areas that aren’t near coastlines can suffer from destructive flooding, high winds, and hurricanes that turn into tornadoes.
Follow these steps to first determine if you fall in danger of a hurricane area and if so, what steps you should take to make sure you are prepared.

What is Your Risk?
Determine what type of storms and water hazards occur in your area and start prepping on how to handle them. Check out this link to see the tracking of where hurricanes have historically gone in the past: https://coast.noaa.gov/hurricanes/.

Develop an Evacuation Plan
If you live in an evacuation zone, plan your route out and figure out what you will do with your pets as well if you have any. Always follow evacuation orders from officials and leave immediately because storms move faster than you realize.

Create a Disaster Kit
You never know if you will need supplies so always have a disaster kit put together for emergencies like this. Items such as non-perishable foods, water, medicines, battery-powered radios, and flashlights are just some of the most important items you want to make sure you have. For more items that you would want in a disaster kit, check out this link: http://flash.org/peril_inside.php?id=84.

For more information on hurricane season and how you can be prepared, please visit the National Weather Service Hurricane Safety Tips and Resource Page at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/index.shtml. And remember, if you find yourself in an emergency, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for help or assistance.

Check out the video below to see how to get ready for a hurricane!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Marks 9-1-1 Public Education Month and Telecommunicator’s Week!

April is a the month when 9-1-1 educators have the time to spread emergency services information to the public as well as show incredible admiration and appreciation to their public safety telecommunicators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 9-15, 2017).

For those of you who do not know, telecommunicators, also known as call-takers or dispatchers, are 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. They work extremely hard each and every day answering the tough 9-1-1 calls in an effort to get the public whatever emergency service they need in a timely manner.  
In 1991, Congress recognized telecommunicator’s efforts and created a special week distinguishing who they are and the importance they play in our society. In 2008, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to increase national awareness about the importance and appropriate use of 9-1-1 and created a month dedicated to 9-1-1 education. With this, Congress encouraged public awareness events, advertising campaigns, outreach activities and training/education for parents and teachers.
Below are some important messages and current issues that the public should be more aware of so that they can get the most out of 9-1-1 services.

Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t: Many have the misconception that you can text 9-1-1 for help. We can do everything else through text, so why not contact 9-1-1 this way too? Unfortunately that is not the case. Luckily, many agencies are working hard to make this available across the United States. While more and more entities are incorporating text to 9-1-1, there is only still a small percentage of the country that has it available. If you see a sign or information in your region promoting that you can text to 9-1-1, then you can guarantee it is available. But if you do not, then please assume you can’t text to 9-1-1 and please call if you need help. Keep in mind that if you do text to 9-1-1 and it is NOT available in your area, you will receive a bounce back message instructing you to please call 9-1-1 for help.   
Know Your Location: Many people have smart phones these days. And on these smart phones we have maps that show us where we are, so it doesn’t seem farfetched to think that if we have GPS in our phone, then 9-1-1 should be able to find us when we call. This is actually not the case. When you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone/smart phone, dispatchers are only able to see approximately where you are and not specifically where you are located. Remember to always be aware and know your location. Look for mile markers, landmarks, cross streets and addresses on buildings. This information could potentially save your life or another life!
Kari’s Law: A new law that business service users and the public should be aware of is Kari’s Law. This law has to do with providing direct access to 9-1-1 from a multi-user telephone line (MLTS). Prior to Kari’s Law (in Texas, not all states have this law in place), if you tried to dial 9-1-1 from a motel phone or a similar phone where you need to dial 9 or another digit first to get an outside line, you would not always get connected to 9-1-1. Now with Kari’s Law in place, business service users with MLTS phones must have their phones set to be able to dial 9-1-1 directly without dialing an extra digit first. For more info on Kari’s Law visit here. Currently, there is a bill at the federal level to provide direct access to 9-1-1 but it has not been passed yet.
Please remember that 9-1-1 is for emergency use only and should never be abused or used for fun. It not only helps save lives, but is an important tool in helping our society to get the aid they need. For more information on 9-1-1 education, please visit www.csec.texas.gov.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Avoid Accidentally Calling 9-1-1 through Siri

A not so humorous prank has been making its way around the internet involving Siri, the iPhone virtual assistant, and calling 9-1-1. As many iPhone users are well aware, Siri can help assist phone users look up restaurants and stores, call phone numbers and more.

This can be a great tool but if you ask Siri about the number 1-0-8, after a few moments, you will be connected to 9-1-1, because it will believe you are in an emergency situation and need help. The number 1-0-8 is actually an emergency number for India and Siri is programmed to recognize emergency numbers from all over the world which is why it connects you to 9-1-1. Pranks like these tie up emergency phone lines. At times, these unnecessary calls can costs the lives of those who really need help.
Cell Phone Sally and other 9-1-1 entities are discouraging iPhone users from testing this feature out. This prank has become very popular on social media and what might have started off as a simple joke, is now turning into a serious crime that can jeopardize lives. It is illegal to call 9-1-1 as a joke or if you are attempting to “prank” 9-1-1 so please refrain from testing out Siri to dial any of the emergency numbers for any countries.

This is not the first time this type of prank has occurred. Back in 2015, iPhone users were told to ask Siri to call a different three digit number which happened to correspond with another foreign country. As a result of this prank, Wisconsin emergency services department received over 200 fake calls in one week which tied up emergency lines. Let’s stop this from happening again and save 9-1-1 for those who need it the most when in an emergency situation.

Please share this information with everyone you know so that they do not make this dangerous mistake. Remember 9-1-1 is for emergencies only.

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Did you know more than 1 in 10 teens who have been on a date has been abused by their significant other? February marks Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month which helps brings awareness to violence and also helps protect teens from going through this awful experience.

What is Teen Dating Violence?
Dating violence means violence that occurs between intimate partners or two people in a close relationship. The violence can be physical, emotional and/or sexual.

Physical: This includes a partner pinching, hitting, shoving, slapping, punching, or kicking their significant other.
Emotional: This usually involves threatening a partner, or harming her or her sense of self-worth. Examples include name-calling, shaming, embarrassing on purpose, and bullying, to name a few.
Sexual: This can be forcing a partner to engage in any sexual activity that he or she does not provide consent.
In its worst form, dating violence can also include stalking which is a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are unwanted and/or cause fear in the victim. If you or someone you know is going through this, please do not hesitate to contact authorities for help.

Unhealthy relationships can start at an early age and last a lifetime. Sadly, some teens think this type of behavior is normal for relationships, however that is not the case. These behaviors can become abusive and develop into even more serious forms of violence.

How Can You Make a Difference?
Use this month as a way to spread awareness about dating violence by encouraging parents to talk to their teens about healthy relationships. Ask teachers to hold classroom discussions about dating violence and how they can help prevent it. At home, parents can be role models as well by treating your kids and your significant other with respect. And lastly, help schools create better policies that support healthy relationships and keep students involved.

Where can you Learn More?
Below you can find some resources to help with dating violence. If you or a loved one is going through this, please do not hesitate to get help immediately.

CDC’s Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships:

CDC’s Teen Dating Violence Infographic:

National Dating Abuse Helpline and Love is Respect: www.loveisrespect.org or

1-866-331-9474 or text loveis to 22522

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: www.nsvrc.org
Remember, if you or a loved one is in an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1 for help. Your life matters.