Before Fire Prevention Month (October) ends, we want to share some information on fire extinguishers.  Portable fire extinguishers apply an agent that:  either cools burning fuel, removes oxygen, or stops chemical reactions, so the fire cannot continue to burn.  Along with heat, these four elements must be present at the same time to cause a fire to exist.

All fire extinguishers must be approved by a recognized testing laboratory to be in compliance with correct standards for appropriate types of fires.  They are then labeled and
given an alphabetic-numeric class, based on type and size of fire they are extinguishing.

Fire extinguishers work much like a can of hair spray.  They contain pressurized water, CO2 (carbon dioxide), or dry chemical.  To help understand the type of extinguisher you need, here are types of fires:

  • Type A:  Fires in paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and many plastics require water-type extinguishers.  Never use water to extinguish flammable liquid fires or electrical fires.
  • Type B:  Fires from flammable liquids such as oils, gasoline, some paints, lacquers, grease and solvents need the carbon dioxide-type extinguishers.
  • Type C:  Fires of electrical equipment such as fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment, computers or others with electric sources need to be extinguished with ones that contain dry chemicals.  (Electrical equipment must be unplugged before using water-type extinguishers.)

Multi-Purpose fire extinguishers contain dry chemicals and are suitable for type A-B-C fires.
They come in a red container and weigh from 5 to 20 pounds.  When choosing a proper fire extinguisher for your particular needs, remember to select one that isn’t too heavy for the person who would be using it.  There are other types of fire extinguishers for different needs, such as restaurants or industrial fires.

Portable fire extinguishers are good for containing small fires; however, we must have a good fire exit plan and know when to leave.  To use the fire extinguisher properly, keep PASS instructions in mind:

Pull the pin.
Aim low. Point to the base of the fire.
Squeeze lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep nozzle from side to side.

Fire extinguishers should be checked monthly.  Be sure the pressure is fully charged, by inspecting the gauge needle, which should always be in the green zone.  Gently rock extinguisher from top to bottom to ensure powder isn’t packed.

Remember to be ready to make your exit if the fire is not quickly contained.  If you have questions on the operation of your extinguisher, most local fire departments will be glad to give you instructions on its correct use.


The week of October 5 through 11, 2008, has passed, which was National Fire Prevention Week, but the whole month of October focuses on fire prevention, so it’s never too late to talk about fire safety!
October 8th, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire occurred.  The theory of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over the lantern being the cause of this enormous fire was later disproved, when Michael Ahern, a reporter for the Chicago Republican admitted he had made up the story to enhance his article.  It did begin in a shed owned by the O’Leary’s, and there are a number of theories about the cause of the fire.

At that time, Chicago was made up of mostly wooden buildings, even sidewalks, and there had been a terrible drought that summer and fall.  Estimates are that around 300 people died as the result of this fire, which covered 4 miles length and one-half a mile wide.  The fire burned from October 8 to October 10, when it finally began to rain.  Firefighters did their best to combat the inferno, which left around 90,000 residents homeless.

October 8, 1920, President Woodrow Wilson declared the First National Fire Prevention Day.  National Fire Prevention Month, which officially began in 1922, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, has been the longest public safety and health campaign in United States history.

The National Fire Prevention Association released the following statistics for 2007:

  • 17,675 civilian individuals were injured due to fire
  • 3,430 civilians lost their lives as a result of fire
  • 118 firefighters killed in the line of duty
  • $14.6 billion in property loss
  • 32,500 structural fires were intentionally set, causing 295 deaths
  • Intentionally set fires caused an estimated $733 million in property damage
  • 1.6 million fires reported

Fire Departments throughout the United States give demonstrations during Fire Prevention Month telling students and the public all about fire trucks, what firefighters wear, how to prevent brush and forest fires, and what to do in case of fire.

Our next installment will be about fire extinguishers, when to use them, and when not to use them!  Stay tuned……………………


Have you ever stopped to think how many ways the public is protected from events that endanger our general safety from significant dangers, harm, or damage, such as crimes or disasters (natural or man-made)?  Look all around you, and see how many you can name.
When you walk into a bank, there’s a security guard.  At football games, notice the officers escorting the coaches off the field, and standing throughout the stadiums.  Parking lots or garages have security enforcement officers or personnel.  Schools have security personnel.

Frontline organizations are:

  • Police
  • Fire Department
  • EMS Personnel
  • Military Personnel

Others who serve to protect the public are:

  • Consumer Protection Agencies
  • Emergency Telephone Number Systems
  • Police Dispatchers
  • Code Enforcement Officers
  • Utility Inspectors
  • Health Inspectors
  • Animal Control Officers

The Federal Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, and many others regulate all the things that affect our everyday lives.
Federal and local government agencies plan, legislate, and oversee things that we sometimes take for granted.  Think about the National Guard, and just what that name means.

It’s up to us to comply with the laws.  Be aware of your own safety, and look around you.
There’s usually someone there to watch over you.


In most of the United States, Daylight Saving Time begins on the 2nd Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time the first Sunday in November.  So, mark November 2 on your calendar to change your clocks!  We “Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward” every year.

To ensure that we don’t “fall backward” on safety, this marks an excellent time to do a home safety evaluation.  The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms be checked once a year.  Their figures show that around ninety per cent of homes in the United States have smoke alarms; however one-third of those are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.  They also recommend that smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years.  Some newer types of alarms have remote controls, making it easier than ever to check them.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be:

  • Installed on every level of the home, and in sleeping areas
  • Tested once a month
  • Equipped with new batteries annually

Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and have a fire escape plan for every member of the family.  While you are doing your home safety evaluation, also ensure that your door locks function properly, and keep your home locked.


October is the month for ghosts and goblins, and chances are, you’ve already bought that costume for your little trick or treater.  What a great time for everyone  involved –  parents, kids, and those handing out treats!   A little “thank you” from a spooky monster is a treat for the ones answering the door.  The only thing the children are interested in is filling their bags or plastic pumpkins with goodies; however, safety experts recommend that before October 31st, parents start talking about Halloween safety to their children. 

Here’s some tips for parents to  remember when they are driving their kids to Trick or Treat:

  • Drive slowly
  • Be careful entering and exiting your driveway
  • Do not place children in the back of a pickup truck
  • Watch for children darting from behind parked cars

Caution your Trick or Treaters to:

  • Never accept rides or treats from strangers in cars or trucks
  • Be careful around animals, even their own.  Costumes may scare some pets
  • Go only to houses with porch lights on
  • Walk, don’t run!
  • Look both ways when crossing streets
  • Wait to eat candy until they get home and you have inspected it

Parents should also:

  • Accompany children under age 12
  • Never let them go alone (if they are older, the buddy system works best!)
  • See that their costumes are flame retardant and do not drag on the ground, and that their masks don’t restrict  their vision
  • Consider using face paint
  • Use reflective tape or reflective stickers to make them easily visible
  • Choose light-colored costumes
  • Have them carry a flashlight or glow stick
  • Know the routes older children plan to take
  • Put pets in a quiet room, away from the excitement
  • Consider using battery-operated LED lights rather than candles
  • Inspect all candy and treats and discard any that appear to be slightly unwrapped or tampered with
  • Discard any candy that might present a choking hazard for little ones

If older children are attending a Halloween party, be certain that there will be  adult supervision.  By planning ahead, you will be doing your part to ensure that it is a safe and fun night for everyone!


Although October is almost gone, this month marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  Many kids have their own computers, and hopefully, parents monitor their behavior on the computer as well as any other activities they participate in.  There are online predators just waiting out there in cyberspace to prey on innocent children.

According to a Utah state press release: “Entertainment Software Association sponsored a pilot program called Web Wise Kids.  Quoting the Attorney General of Utah, Mike Shurtleff: “kids enjoy the games and parents and educators love the games featured because they can save lives.  Real actors in real storylines from actual crimes create a game that educates its players in Internet safety, as well as delivering riveting action.”

There are many programs that educate parents and their kids in Internet safety.  ChildNet International, Kid Smart, and Know It All are just a few.  The information is out there for all to take advantage of.  Why not take a few minutes to read up on how to avoid possible dangers that are lurking?

Children need to be taught to maintain a high standard of personal safety and responsibility online.  They can’t play it too safe!

A good idea is to have their computer in the kitchen, or somewhere else that provides the parents accessibility at any time; this lets your child know that you are interested in their safety at all times.

Remind your children:

  • Never post their full name, school, home address, phone number, etc. online.
  • Never post their picture.
  • All the information they post will be there forever.
  • Grownups that try to befriend kids on the Internet are losers; they have no life, so they go online, and should be avoided.
  • If your child receives communication from a suspicious person, tell them to not be afraid to tell you.  Then notify your local authorities.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Email only their real friends, not cyberspace ones!

Although computers are a wonderful tool for educational and entertainment purposes, it’s wise to let your kids know that they are fortunate to have a computer, but if they drift off into the wrong places, it could haunt them later when they are wanting to enter college, or get a job.  We all need to remember to post only things we would want seen in public the same way we display them in person.


Do you remember when you were in school, there was always someone who picked on another kid because they were small or large for their age, had red hair and freckles, or some other trait that the bully enjoyed pointing out?  We’ve all had to deal with these types of persons: the ones who butt in line, cut in front of you driving down the highway, or pull some other annoying stunt just to get your fever up!
We have to prepare ourselves for these situations to happen and stay calm.  Realize that there is always someone who is going to make life a little more difficult, but if you are ready for it, things will go smoother.
In the workplace, we know that there are going to be bullies whether in the office or job location.  We also know they are going to upset us, sooner or later.
When you fall victim to a bully, hold up your hand and tell them to “STOP”.  If you repeat yourself every time they do this, it might get their attention.  If they continue, ask a co-worker to witness and provide you support in the situation.

Has your Workplace Bully:

  • Shouted at you in front of colleagues or customers/clients?
  • Nitpicked/criticized over trivial matters or mistakes?
  • Treated you with disrespect?
  • Called you names?
  • Made you feel unimportant?
  • Monitored you excessively?
  • Set you up to fail?
  • Withheld information that helps you do your job efficiently?
  • Excluded you from normal staff conversations and made you feel unwelcome?If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider:
  • Document details of incidents, where it was, what was going on, witnesses, any information you have.
  • Tell your family what is going on.
  • Talk to your supervisor; if they are the bully, go to a higher authority.
  • You are probably not the only one going through this.
  • When the person makes nasty comments, the best thing to do is walk away and say nothing.
  • Show them that you are not interested in their nonsense.
  • Don’t show just how angry and upset you are; this will only give the bully satisfaction.
  • Bullies are cunning and most of them bully when no one in authority is around.

Know that when you report bullying you are not telling tales; you and everyone else has the right to be happy, treated fairly, safe, and free from this kind of harassment.  Keep on speaking up until someone listens to you and takes you seriously.  It is not your fault and there is no excuse for bullying.
We all need to remember to treat people the way we want to be treated.  Life would be much simpler if we would practice this.

Information shared by Creative Commons License


When you are driving down the highway, and you see construction workers, rescue workers, or persons picking up litter along the roads, have you noticed the bright colors they wear?  Those vests, hardhats, clothing with reflective stripes, etc. are there for their protection, to assure that they are conspicuous to oncoming traffic.

When you watch emergency personnel doing their job, notice those bright colors on their clothing, and remember that is just one of the many ways to help ensure their safety.

Primary Safety Colors are:

  • Safety Orange – Used for vests, traffic cones, hunting vests, barrels and other construction marking devices.
  • Fire Engine Red – Named mainly for fire engines and other emergency vehicles.
  • Chartreuse Yellow – Greater visibility at night; many cities now use this color for fire engines and emergency equipment.
  • Neon Yellow – Most visible color to the human eye, present on most vests.
  • High Visibility Yellow – Used for coveralls, rainwear, slush boots.

There are all types of safety wear, from reflective strips for hardhats, reflective gear for firemen, police, emergency responders, vests with various color stripes, to full body protection.  There are high visibility hardhat covers, hi-vis gloves, GloMega Glow in the Dark hardhats.  For work or travel, consider Pack and Pop cones with lights, Safety Flags (orange), and Safety Kits for Motorists, which have an orange and white triangle, reflective vest, and road flares.  Bikers, motorcyclists, and evening walkers need to have some sort of reflective gear (vests, stripes, etc.) to make motorists aware of their presence.

Source: Wikipedia


For the past several years, food labels have furnished a lot of information regarding calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and other contents of its particular container.  Under the United States Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition regulates approximately $417 billion of domestic foods, $49 billion imported foods and $15 billion worth of cosmetics sold.  From the point of United States entry or from processing to their point of sale, the DFSAN ensures foods and cosmetics are safe.  Meat, poultry, and eggs are regulated under the United States Department of Agriculture.

The USFDA has been protecting the food safety of Americans for more than 100 years; we have one of the safest food supplies in the world.  In addition to foods for human consumption, they also safeguard foods for animals as well.  They ensure that food and cosmetics are accurately, honestly labeled, and protect consumers from economic fraud, in addition to promoting nutrition and economic originality.

Some communication methods with the public include:

  • Food labels that have been revamped to be easier to understand nutritional value
  • Warning labels for drugs that contain iron, to safeguard children
  • New regulations on seafood safety
  • Furnish scientific evidence by showing a link between food/nutrient and disease or health conditions, which can be used in labeling

The main elements of the FDA’s Food Protection Plan are advanced through prevention, intervention, response, and legislative proposals.

There’s a world of information on those labels.  Not only are they helpful to those who count calories, they also assist persons who need to limit their intake of certain ingredients.  So, read those labels!



The Hazardous Communication Standard under OSHA states that employees need to know and have a right to know hazards and identities of chemicals they are exposed to while working.  More than 30 million workers are potentially exposed to one or more chemical hazards.  There are over 650,000 existing chemical hazards and new ones being developed annually.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is a very important form designed to instruct workers and emergency personnel on procedures for handling/working with certain substances in a safe way.  This system catalogues information on chemicals, chemical compounds and chemical mixtures that contain potential hazardous materials.  MSDS are to be included with shipments of hazardous chemicals, and readily accessible to each work shift involved.  Labels, MSDS, and proper training are to be utilized to identify and prevent occupational injuries or health problems of workers.
Information included on MSDS forms in regard to chemicals:

  • Toxicity
  • Reactivity
  • Physical Data, i.e., boiling point, flash point, etc.
  • First Aid
  • Health Effects
  • Storage/Disposal
  • Spill Handling Procedures
  • Protective Equipment

MSDS should be country-specific and supplier-specific, as the same product may have different formulations in different countries.  A generic named product may have formulation and degree of hazard that varies between different manufacturers in the same country.
Other countries utilize MSDS with various titles:

  • Canada – Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
  • European Union – Risk and Safety Management
  • Germany – German Federal Water Management Act
  • Netherlands – Milieu (Environment) Safety Data Sheets
  • United Kingdom – CHIP Regulations (Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply)
  • United Nations – Defines certain details on MSDS, i.e., U.N. numbers that identify hazardous materials while in international transit.
  • United States – OSHA mandates MSDS are available to employees who may handle potentially harmful substances in the workplace.  It also requires MSDS be made available to local fire departments and local and state emergency planning officials.