September 23 is Fall Prevention Awareness Day
The American Red Cross Lifeline Program is celebrating Fall Prevention Awareness Day by joining organizations in 34 states to increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults.
Why you ask? Seniors are living longer and remaining in their own homes; however, falls have become an epidemic problem that jeopardizes seniors’ chances to live independently. Every year in theU.S., one out of three people age 65 and over will fall. This statistic translates to 13.3 million people who will fall in 2011, or one person falling every 2.3 seconds on average. The good news is that there are things seniors can do to lower the risk of falling. The American Red Cross Lifeline program wants to raise awareness of the programs and services that can help reduce falls and fall-related injuries to help seniors in our community prevent, prepare and have early response to emergencies at home.
To register for the American Red Cross Lifeline Service, please call 1-800-959-6989.
To learn about online educational tools, visit http://www.lifelinesys.com/affiliate/redcrossma.
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
PREVENT HOME FIRES
Steps You Can Take Now
❏ Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
❏ Never smoke in bed.
❏ Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
❏ Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
❏ Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
❏ Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
❏ Keep anything that can catch fire—like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing— away from the stove.
❏ Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills
❏ Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
❏ If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
❏ Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
PRACTICE SAFETY AT HOME
❏ Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
❏ Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
❏ Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.
❏ Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
❏ Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
❏ Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Fire Escape Planning
❏ Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.
❏ Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire.
❏ Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
❏ Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
IN CASE OF A FIRE
Follow Your Escape Plan!
Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
❏ If closed doors or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
❏ Crawl low under smoke.
❏ Go to your outside meeting place and then call for help.
❏ If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
Use Caution with Fire Extinguishers
❏ Use a portable fire extinguisher ONLY if you have been trained by the fire department and in the following conditions:
• The fire is confined to a small area, and is not growing.
• The room is not filled with smoke.
• Everyone has exited the building.
• The fire department has been called.
❏ Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher.
• Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
• Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
• Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
• Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Commuting and Travel Safety Tips for Parents and Students
Written by Katie Lawson, Staff Writer, Redcross.org
As summer vacations come to an end, students across the country are readying themselves for the start of a new school year. With all of the excitement this time brings, safety may not be the first subject that springs to mind. The American Red Cross encourages parents to take time to talk with their children about safety before school starts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 24 million students nationwide start their school day with a trip on the school bus. Although NHTSA reports that riding on a school bus is nearly eight times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle, an average of 11 school-aged pedestrians are killed by school transportation vehicles each year. Whether they walk, ride the bus or travel by car, teach your kids these few tips to ensure they get to and from school safely.
Tips for School Bus Riders
- Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
- Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.
- Carry all loose belongings in a bag or backpack.
- Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it.
The bus driver may be sitting too high up to see you.
- After getting off the bus, move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic.
If there is no sidewalk, try to stay as far to the side of the road as possible.
- Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street.
Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.Never cross the street or play behind the school bus.
Tips for Pedestrians or Bike Riders
- Never walk alone—always travel with a buddy.
- Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards along the way.
- Never cross the street against a stop light. Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Avoid ill-fitting clothing that could get caught in spokes or pedals or restrict movements, and wear reflective colors and material to be more visible to street traffic.
- Walk your bicycle across all intersections.
Tips for Car Drivers and Passengers
- Everyone in the car should wear a seatbelt, as they lower the risk of injury in the event of a crash by 45 percent.
- Make sure babies and young children are in safety seats at all times, and that safety seats have been properly installed.
- Read your car’s manual for safety precautions specifically relate to the car and its airbags.
- Remind teenagers to take extra precautions if they are driving to school or riding with another teenage driver.
Tips for College-Bound Students
- Students heading off to college—perhaps for the first time this year—may be inexperienced at driving long distances or driving alone. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to NHTSA. The risk of crashes is higher among 16- to 20-year-olds than among any other age group, and, unfortunately, young adults also are less likely to be buckled up than any other age group.
When preparing college-aged children for a long drive to school, make sure they take these precautions:
Preparing for the Trip
- Before packing the car, do a simple safety check. Turn on the lights and walk around the vehicle to ensure that all lights are in working order. Also check turn signals and look for any fluid leaks or things hanging from the vehicle. Make sure the tires are properly inflated.
- When packing your belongings in the car, make sure you pack carefully so there is nothing blocking your view through the rear window. Check your mirrors before you leave to be sure you have an unobstructed view of the road.
- Prepare an emergency supplies kit for your vehicle and keep it in your car at all times. Include a first aid kit and manual as well as items such as a blanket, flares, a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables that can be helpful and may even be lifesaving in the event of an emergency.
- No matter how far your trip is, be sure you are well rested before you hit the road.
Hitting the Road
- Leave early and give yourself enough time to travel at a comfortable pace. Remember, speeding does not increase your ability to arrive on time; it only increases your chances of not arriving at all.
- Should you find yourself getting tired from the drive, pull over to a rest stop or gas station to walk around and refresh yourself.
- Do not talk on your cell phone while driving. Phones are distracting and impair your ability to concentrate on the road. If you must use the phone, pull over to a safe, well-lit parking lot and place your call there or at least use a hands-free earpiece.
- When driving in inclement weather such as rain storms, reduce your speed. Don’t make sudden moves if the roads are wet. Applying the brakes slowly and steadily will help you keep better control of your vehicle.
- And, remember to always wear your safety belt and require any passengers who ride with you to do the same.
For more information about preparing for emergencies or for facts and tips about safety, visit RedCross.org.
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As parents and teachers know, children have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses at school. As the number of swine flu (H1N1 Flu Outbreak) cases increases in the U.S., it becomes even more important to teach kids how to stay healthy.
Teach Good Health Habits
For younger children who may rush their hand washing, have them sing a short song such as “Row Row Row Your Boat,” or the “Happy Birthday”song, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds. Placing hand-washing reminders at children’s eye level will also help them become consistent hand washers.
Teach kids to adopt these other healthy habits in order to prevent the spread of germs:
Parents should also prepare for the potential spread of swine flu by talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick. Also ask your child’s school or day care if there are plans to encourage sick children to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease.