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Travel Tips for Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday is undoubtedly the busiest travel time of the year with notorious transportation delays, traffic and travel snags all meeting travelers at nearly every turn. But with a bit of foresight and some Thanksgiving travel planning, you may ease some travel headaches whether you’re heading home for the holidays or escaping for a drama-free adventure.

Regardless of your plans, you’ll be thankful for these Thanksgiving travel tips:

Plan ahead. Know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Download the latest GPS data or obtain a new map. Check for construction detours, and consult the weatherman.

Don’t post news that you’re out of town, particularly not online on social networks which are open to the public.

Lower the volume on your telephone ringer; no need to imply you’re away with the chiming of repeated rings.

Leave your keys and responsibilities with a trusted neighbor or friend; have them pick up mail and deliveries, and occasionally move your parked car around. Don’t hide your keys outside; burglars will enjoy hunting for them.

Secure doors and windows; eliminate ladders or house-hugging tree limbs to make sure there’s no easy access to upstairs windows.

Operate lights with a timer, so you’ve always got something lit at night.

Invest in a security alarm system—which is a fantastic idea anyway!

Safety Tips For Driving During This Season

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Areas where there are deer and other large animals pose an extra hazard when driving, especially this time of year. The Insurance Information Institute reports that over 1 .6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year and these accidents cause vehicle damage, injuries, and even fatalities at a cost in the neighborhood of $4.6 billion. Many of these accidents occur during the breeding season, also called “the rut”. This season usually lasts from late October to as long as early January. During this time, deer are more active and on the move. Outside of direct collisions with deer, other accidents occur due to vehicles swerving to miss a deer as well as the deer distracting drivers from their attention on the road.

Deer Season Driving Tips

  1. Always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts are proven to save lives in a crash.
  2. Slow down in areas where you know deer are usually present. Deer are often animals of habit and can be found in the same areas at the same time of day. Deer are often found near roadways during the early morning hours and at dusk.
  3. Apply your brakes as early as possible if a deer is near or on the road. Even if the deer passes the roadway well in front of your vehicle slow down. Deer are herd animals and where one is found there is most likely another.
  4. Do not swerve to miss striking a deer. An accident involving another motorist or a fixed object will have larger consequences than if you were to hit the deer.
  5. Never get out in an attempt to help a wounded deer. If the deer is still alive, you can be injured. Contact the proper authorities to handle the deer, so it is not a hazard to other motorists.

These safe driving principals can also be applied for areas where other animals exist. Animals such as elk and moose pose some of the same hazards as deer do to motorists.

NASA Recommends Safety Tips to View the August Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Path

More than 300 million people in the United States potentially could directly view the August 21 total solar eclipse, and NASA wants everyone who will witness this celestial phenomenon to do so safely.

That Monday, a partial eclipse will be visible in every state. A total solar eclipse, which is when the moon completely covers the sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. along a 70-mile-wide (112-kilometer-wide) swath of the country.

It’s common sense not to stare directly at the sun with your naked eyes or risk damaging your vision, and that advice holds true for a partially eclipsed sun. But, only with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can safely look directly at the sun.

NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards.

Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:

• Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
• Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
• Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
• Not use homemade filters
• Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement
for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

“While NASA isn’t trying to be the eclipse safety glasses ‘police,’ it’s our duty to inform the public about safe ways to view what should be a spectacular sky show for the entire continental United States,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s important that individuals take the responsibility to check they have the proper solar eclipse viewing glasses. With the eclipse a month away today, it’s prudent to practice ahead of time.”

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed sun is with a pinhole projector. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole – such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers – onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It’s important to only watch the screen, not the sun. Never look at the sun through the pinhole — it is not safe.

OSHA 2017 National Fall Protection Stand-Down

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal safety agencies announced that they have designated May 8-12, 2017, for the fourth annual National Safety Stand-Down. The event is a nationwide effort to remind and educate employers and workers in the construction industry of the serious dangers of falls – the cause of the highest number of industry deaths in the construction industry.

The purpose of the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is to raise awareness in preventing fall hazards in construction. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 364 of the 897 construction fatalities recorded in 2016 (BLS preliminary data). Those deaths were preventable. Fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2016.

We appreciate your participation in helping to make our workplace Safer!

preventingfalls

 

April is National Distracted Driving Month!

Distracted driving is an epidemic across the country. Thousands die each year in collisions due to the driver not focusing on the task at hand. Let’s show that we are can beat the odds by demonstrating that we know how important it is to focus 100% of our  attention to driving while behind the wheel.

Remember this advice from the National Safety Council:

justdrive

March is Ladder Safety Month

More than 130,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year in the United States.  Elevated falls account for almost 700 occupational deaths annually, which is 15% of all occupational deaths. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes all ladder accidents can be prevented if proper attention to equipment and user training were provided. Unfortunately, over the last 10 years fall related injury trends in the workplace have been moving in the wrong direction and the amount of ladder-related injuries has increased by 50% over that period.

It takes people about 1/3 of a second to become aware of a fall. It takes another 1/3 of a second for the body to react. A person can free fall about 7 feet in 2/3 of a second so averting a fall once it has begun is not likely. The good news is falls from ladders are very preventable if we select the proper equipment, climbers understand how ladders need to be used, and safe practices are actually followed when ladders are being utilized.

The following are some basic safety principles for ladder use. There is more to understand than these basic principles so we hope you will also check out the links provided to the American Ladder Institute (which include more detailed information, access to free in-depth training modules) as well as the second link which leads to an updated version of the OSHA standard for ladder use in general industry.

Ladder Safety Principles

  • Consider if there is a way to keep your feet firmly on the ground and still get the work done. For example, consider the use of telescopic poles with attachments to do work like saw off tree branches, change light bulbs, dust, and wash windows as a safe alternative to climbing. Alternatives may involve less work than ladder use.
  • Consider if there is a safer method of getting up to the work such as an elevated platform lift.
  • Select the proper type of ladder for the job and select one that is long enough so you will not have to stand on the upper steps or overreach to do the work.
  • Prior to using a ladder read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
  • Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
  • Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing (see diagram).  If you cannot maintain three points of contact you many need to select another means of elevation.
    ladder1
  • Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
  • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
  • Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position unless it is specifically designed for that purpose.
  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  • Keep your belt buckle between the side rails of the ladder, moving beyond this and you could fall off or tip the ladder over sideways.
  • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
  • An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (see diagram). Walk through ladder extensions are the preferred way to get on and off elevated surfaces with an extension ladder.
    ladder2
  • Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface (see diagram).
  • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
  • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
  • Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
  • Secure straight ladders at the top and bottom whenever possible and have someone hold step ladders if possible.
  • Assure you do not get knocked off a ladder by a falling object.  Secure tree limbs or any object in the work area that could fall and strike you or the ladder.

Tips to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of any carbon-containing material, including gasoline, natural gas, propane, coal or wood. CO is dangerous because it replaces oxygen in the blood and interferes with the transport of needed oxygen to cells in the body.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Many incidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented — with the right preparation. Start with these eight tips to help keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide.

Know the risks of carbon monoxide.
Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — produces a toxic by-product: carbon monoxide (CO).When these devices are properly maintained and vented, this colorless, odorless gas can be effectively dispersed and channeled out of your home. If not, inhaling carbon monoxide can trigger serious health issues.

At lower concentrations, victims may experience such symptoms as a headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. But at higher concentrations, CO can quickly cause a loss of consciousness, even death.

Keep your vents clear.
During and after a storm, make sure nothing is obstructing the outside stack or vent for your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace.Take special care to prevent snow from building up and blocking these critical exits for dangerous gases.

Do not run engines in a closed area.
Proper ventilation is critical to avoiding CO poisoning. So do not start a car, fire up a grill or stove, or run a generator in a closed area — like a basement or garage.Even if you leave the garage door open, carbon monoxide gas can quickly build up to toxic levels.

Schedule regular maintenance.
Make sure you rely on experts to install your fuel-burning devices and set up the appropriate venting for each device.At least once a year, have a qualified professional inspect your fuel-burning devices to make sure they continue to operate properly.

Keep fireplaces clean and well vented.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, make sure you keep it clean and that the flue is working properly.Even if the last embers are just smoldering, keep that flue open to let the gases escape.

Install enough CO alarms.
If you have fuel-burning appliances, a fireplace or an attached garage, consider installing these special devices in your home. You will want one on every level (including the basement), within the vicinity of each sleeping area and in other locations required by any applicable laws/building codes.
Some CO detectors can even be interconnected across your house, so that when one detects an issue, they all sound the alarm. If you do hear the CO alarm, immediately move to fresh air and call 911.

Maintain your CO alarms regularly.
Keep in mind that CO alarms do need to be maintained regularly.Many come equipped with a battery backup to ensure uninterrupted operation, even if the power goes out. But you will need to remember to change your batteries at the frequency recommended by the manufacturer, like you do with your smoke detectors.

It is also a good idea to keep a supply of batteries on hand in the event of a multi-day power outage.

10 Safety Tips for Winter Sports

Keep the fun in outdoor play this season.

Colder temps can’t keep kids—or adults—from venturing outside to play. But injuries can.

Whether in your backyard or on a winter vacation, help keep your family safe when enjoying winter activities such as sledding, snowboarding, skiing and ice-skating with these tips:

  1. Always wear safety gear. Helmets are number-one. Sport-appropriate helmets can help protect children and adults from head injuries while sledding or playing winter sports.
  2. Dress appropriately. Scarves, hats, boots and gloves are winter essentials. Also layer on warm water- and wind-resistant clothing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing children in one layer more than adults would wear in the same conditions.
  3. Use sunscreen. Protect exposed skin with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher. Also wear SPF lip balm of 25 or higher and UV eye protection.
  4. Take frequent breaks. Children lose body heat faster than adults. Call kids in from the cold to warm up and change out of wet clothing.
  5. Stay hydrated. Even in the winter, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after outdoor activity.
  6. Scout slopes. Look for gentle snow-covered hills free of trees, holes and other hazards. Also choose areas away from streets and water.
  7. Sled safely. Sledders should sit with their feet facing forward to reduce the risk of injury. Never sled down a hill headfirst.
  8. Take lessons. A knowledgeable ski or snowboard instructor can teach your child important basic safety tips, such as the correct way to fall.
  9. Look out for others. On sunny winter days, the slopes may be extra busy. Keep an eye out for fellow skiers. Better yet, try to time your runs to avoid the congestion.
  10. Watch the weather. Keep kids indoors during extreme cold or high winds. And never play outside during a severe snowstorm when whiteout conditions might prove disorienting

10 Points To Help You Be A Safer Driver!

1. Starting up at intersection…Look left, right, and left again. Check rear view mirrors.

2. When stopped in traffic…Keep a car length of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This allows enough space to pull your car around the vehicle ahead if it should stall and gives you an instant cushion if that vehicle should make a turn.

3. Count one, two, three after vehicle ahead begins to move…Follow this step when stopped at an intersection behind another vehicle. Check rear view mirrors.

4. Four to six seconds following time for speeds under 30 mph, six to eight seconds for speeds over 30 mph…This keeps you from getting a fixation on the car ahead and allows time to obtain and hold the proper eye-lead time.

5. Eight to twelve seconds eye-lead time…This is the best way to keep your eyes ahead of your wheels and is the depth at which your eyes should be focused most the time

6. Scan steering wheels…Look and see whether or not cars at the curb are occupied. This is the only time they are a threat. If they are occupied, the driver is probably about to exit from the car or pull out from the curb

7. Stale green lights…The point of decision is an imaginary line that you set up between your vehicle and the crosswalk when you are approaching an intersection with a stale green light. Since you are not sure of the light, you must be sure of the point behind which you will stop if the light should start to change. This helps you get the big picture

8. Eye contact…When you must depend on anyone along the edge of your driving path to stay put until you are past the danger point, it is imperative that you get their attention. The horn and lights are your communication tools when you do not have eye contact. The horn to express a friendly message seems in many instances to be a lost art. Only when you have eye contact can you expect the other person to act in a reasonably predictable manner to avoid a dangerous situation.

9. When pulling from curb…Glance over left shoulder when pulling from curb.

10. Use of mirrors…As a rule of thumb, once every five to eight seconds.

 

A Reminder to Drive Safe

During the heavily traveled holiday season, here is a reminder about driving at a safe following distance and to avoid distracted driving.

Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents between vehicles. They occur when drivers do not have enough time to perceive and react safely to slowing or stopped traffic. Increasing your following distance can help give you time to react when someone brakes in front of you.

Following Distance

The Three-Second Rule

Increasing the distance between you and the car ahead can help give you the time you need to recognize a hazard and respond safely. The National Safety Council recommends a minimum three-second following distance.

Determining the three-second gap is relatively easy. When following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, a tree or other roadside marker. Note when the vehicle ahead passes that marker, then see how many seconds it takes (count 1-1,000; 2-1,000; 3-1,000) for you to pass the same spot. If it is not at least three seconds, leave more space and increase your following distance.

Think of following distance in terms of time, not space. With a standard of 2.5 seconds, highway engineers use time, rather than distance, to represent how long it takes a driver to perceive and react to hazards. The National Safety Council also uses this standard (plus a little extra for safety) when recommending the three-second rule for following distance.

Sometimes Three Seconds Is Not Enough

The three-second rule is recommended for passenger vehicles during ideal road and weather conditions. Slow down and increase your following distance even more during adverse weather conditions or when visibility is reduced. Also increase your following distance if you are driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer.

Distractions, such as texting, reaching for a drink or glancing at a navigation device, also play a role in rear-end collisions. Even if you use the three-second rule, you may not have time to react to a hazard if you are distracted. It is another reason why you should avoid distractions while driving.

View this one-minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwgmOR8C7ak

 

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