It’s hard to believe that the last two months of 2010 are here!  Most of us live in such a scattered whirlwind, that we haven’t stopped to smell the roses lately.  Hopefully, we can make the most of November and December before we greet 2011.  Because our focus is on safety – at home, at work, and at play, we want to encourage you to enjoy these two months that are full of holiday plans and preparations, by keeping safety in mind.

First, in the United States, we have an important day coming up this Tuesday, November 2nd, Election Day.  This is your chance to make your wishes known.  Please vote on Tuesday.  Hopefully, those who are elected will represent their constituents to the best of their abilities, and not be influenced by outside interests.  We depend on our leaders to do what is best for the country.  If you agree, get out and vote! 

With your safety in mind, we wish to remind you that the upcoming holidays – from Thanksgiving until after New Year’s Day, bring about serious warnings from law enforcement that driving is more dangerous during this time.  Whether it is drunk drivers, distracted drivers, or those simply in too big a hurry, this is the time to decide that you are going to pay special attention to getting to your destination safely.  Plan ahead and leave a little early, in order to avoid rushing.  

Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings families together, and we can reflect on the many things that we have to be thankful for.  One is to have this time before the Christmas rush, although many businesses skip Thanksgiving,  hurrying to get ready for Christmas.  We will talk  more about Thanksgiving closer to time. 

November is time for the Great American Smoke-Out, an important project that  brings  awareness to the health problems associated with smoking.  Attention is also focused on  American Disabilities, Alzheimers’, Diabetes, and Epilepsy during November.  The eleventh month is also Child Safety and Protection Month.  We have previously shared information on many of these topics, and each one is very important to the health, safety, and well-being of those we love. 

As we go through November, we ask you to slow down and savor every day you are given.  Each day is a gift, to be unwrapped the moment you wake up, with all sorts of pleasant surprises,  if you just look for them.  At the end of that day, be thankful for what it has brought, and look forward to the next one.  Try to see your glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

And please, do as one of our posters says, “Uncle Sam Wants You – To Be Safe.”   That’s our theme.


Because our area of the United States has been hit by thunderstorms and tornadoes lately, we decided it might be a good idea to review some safety tips, just in case.  The first lesson, of course, is to be prepared for any disaster.  We think we are prepared, but are we really?  Have you taken these precautions?


  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local television or radio for the latest  alerts.
  • Remember: WATCH: means conditions are right for a weather incident; WARNING: means a tornado or dangerous thunderstorm has been sighted.
  • Unplug electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with non-perishable food, medicines, baby supplies, pet food, flashlights, battery-operated radios and extra batteries, water, your cell phone and first aid kit.
  • Evacuate immediately, if told to do so by the authorities. If you can’t leave, seek shelter or call local authorities for assistance.
  • If someone in your home is dependent on electric life-sustaining medical equipment, make arrangements to relocate quickly.
  • Keep your pets with you.


  • Stay tuned to the local radio stations, using battery-operated radios, to know when it’s safe to re-emerge from shelter.
  • Use flashlights or battery-operated lamps. Do not use candles or open flames.        
  • Don’t attempt to reset circuit breakers.


  •  Know the danger signs – dark, greenish sky, low-lying clouds.                 
  •  If there is a tornado warning, and you are in a mobile home or vehicle, leave and go to the lowest floor of a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter.
  • Stay indoors if you are in a structure with a safe room, storm cellar, or basement.  Otherwise go to the lowest level and have as many walls as possible between you and  the outside.  Get in a closet or hallway.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • If you are outside, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression, cover your head with your hands.  You will be safer in a flat location. Do not try to outrun it if you are in a vehicle.  Find safe shelter, and leave your vehicle. 
  • Do not stay under an underpass.
  • Watch for flying debris, which causes many fatalities and injuries.


  • Be patient. Local utility crews will be activated to restore power immediately after the storm.
  • Stay away from downed or sparking power lines. And be sure to report them immediately.
  • Check appliances for water damage and ensure all cords are dry before plugging them into wall sockets.
  • Do not stand in water when operating switches or plugging and unplugging appliances.

Families should have a plan of action.  If they have school-age children, they need to contact their schools and find out what plans they have for emergency situations, how they will contact parents, and where parents can pick up their children, if time allows.

Our weather forecasters do their best to predict storms by warning us in time to take shelter.  However, sometimes Mother Nature sneaks up on us, so be prepared.

Source: FEMA, TXU


TODAY’S POST IS BY REBECCA, WITH SPYTOWN.COM.  We welcome our guest author, and hope you enjoy reading about security at your workplace. 

There’s at least one news story every day about schools adding security cameras, public parks mounting security cameras on lamp posts, and working parents installing nanny cameras in their child’s room to see what both their little one and the nanny are doing during the day. But how about the workplace? Should security cameras monitor your movements while you’re on the job, especially if they could help prevent safety issues in the future? Or should the company trust its employees and conduct regular safety training to educate employees? The Security Camera Systems experts from are here to shed light on this controversial topic. 

Business Security Cameras Look Out For Employees 

Many businesses have added security cameras to genuinely protect their employees from any kind of misconduct or verbal/physical abuse from other employees. Team building exercises help employees work with each other, but if there is a situation, security camera feeds can be the unbiased eye-witness on the scene. 

Security cameras also act as a safeguard to see where any safety mishaps are occurring or identify potential safety issues. Be sure to have each department manager review the tapes weekly and point out any safety concerns, and develop a plan to minimize those concerns for the future. 

Have quality control checkpoints? Security cameras act as just another step in your quality control route, and are your eyes in the sky to document what’s happening throughout the production process. Review the tapes often to see if they spark any ways to increase efficiency and safety for your employees. 

Companies Should Trust Their Employees, Instead Of Watching Over Them 

The other side of the coin says that businesses should invest time into choosing talented employees they can trust, eliminating the need to “monitor” these employees to ensure they’re doing their jobs. Regular performance meetings and quality reviews can also help to ensure the employees are performing up to the company’s standards. Savvy management and solid leadership can identify a top performing employee and have the know-how to spot an employee in need of motivation and additional training. 

Another argument against security cameras in the workplace is that regular safety training should educate employees on workplace safety best practices, and safety reviews should be conducted at regular intervals. In addition, management should also be looking out for gaps in workplace safety, rather than security cameras watching over the employees. 

What’s our take? We have helped many companies choose the business security cameras right for their business, and we’ve heard firsthand experiences where security cameras have been an invaluable tool. Of course, security cameras should complement safety training, quality control checkpoints, and employee performance reviews, rather than replace them.  In addition, it’s important to be open and honest with your employees as to the location of the security cameras and reasons you have installed them, rather than having them feel as if you distrust their movements or “big brother” is watching. This goes a long way in helping your employees feel like valuable contributors to your organization and doing their part to ensure their workplace safety is top notch.

(Thank you, Rebecca, for this invaluable information from






This is my favorite time of year, the leaves are falling, mornings are cool and crisp when Buddy and I go for our daily walk, football is underway, and THE TEXAS RANGERS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!    What more could one ask for? 

But getting back to the subject, the leaves are falling off our pecan trees at a pretty fast pace now, and my husband isn’t looking forward to raking all of them.  He takes care of  the outside duties, such as mowing, gardening, and well, all of it, to be honest.  I don’t know if he would listen to any of the safety tips for doing all this yard work, but hopefully, some of you will find this helpful.

Wait until all the leaves have fallen off the trees before you start raking them.  If you overextend yourself at first, you may get tennis elbow or tendonitis.  Be sure to stretch first and warm up about 10 minutes before beginning.  You will need the right tools to make the job easier.  First, a good rake is worth a few extra dollars.  Be sure the rake is compatible to your height.  Wear leather gloves that help you grip the rake, and shoes with slip-proof soles, because wet leaves can be slippery.  When picking the leaves up, bend at the knees, not the waist to save your back.  Overloading the bags with leaves will make it too heavy, so use more bags.  If you suffer from allergies, wear a N95 dustmask. Many persons have allergies as severe in the fall as in the spring.  Also, you might want to spray your clothing with some type of bug repellent. 

Another fun fall project is pruning trees.  Be sure to look over the area around the trees and be sure there are no power lines running through them before you position your ladder.  Use the right tool for each job.  If you are using power tools, you may want to wear earplugs to soften the noise.  Also, watch for falling limbs, you never know when a big limb is going to come tumbling out of a  tree. 

Cleaning gutters is another job I’d rather not do.  But for those who have to do this, be sure the ladder you plan to use is in good condition and set it on a level place.  It is better to move the ladder as often as needed than stretch to reach something while you are on it.  An extension ladder is good for checking the roof or cleaning gutters. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that there are more than 400,000 persons treated in emergency rooms annually that are victims of lawn and garden tool accidents.  Whether you are working with a mower, wood chipper, leaf blower, or any power tool, use caution.  Always wear safety glasses when doing yard work to protect your eyes.

There’s a lot to be said about the great outdoors, whether it’s your yard, somewhere you walk, or a favorite place you take your kids for an adventure.  The best policy is to be safe and aware of your surroundings.  There may be snakes that are hiding under leaves until they choose to hibernate.    Just be sure you are safe wherever you are.   One other tip, wildlife (such as deer)  is more active during this season, so watch for them while driving. 

Enjoy every minute of this fall, because one morning you’ll wake up, and there will be frost on the pumpkin!


Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).  The effort to educate the American public about relating employment to disability began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October of each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.”  Later, in 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.  Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” in 1988.

 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against individuals with disabilities in any position of employment.  The law doesn’t force companies to hire individuals with disabilities, but it does require that companies give them a fair chance.  Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations upon request, once persons with disabilities are hired, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship.  

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment to enable a  person with a qualified disability to perform essential job functions.  One example is if a qualified disabled person uses a wheelchair, and is unable to access his/her desk comfortably, it is only right to ask the supervisor to make an adjustment.  Reasonable accommodations include:

  1. Modifying work schedules
  2. Acquiring or modifying equipment
  3. Restructuring a job
  4. Making existing employee facilities usable by employees with disabilities
  5. Providing qualified readers or interpreters 

The ADA also prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, conditions, and privileges of employment, including:

  • Hiring procedures, recruitment, and job application
  • Benefits, compensation, advancement, training and other conditions and opportunities
  • Dismissals, layoffs, and other ends to employment

There are between 40 million and 50 million Americans with physical or mental disabilities, meaning that 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have a disability.   More and more people with disabilities desire to enter the workforce because they are capable to do the job for which they are applying.  Many of our workforces include older workers, who may be required to do tasks that could eventually cause them to fall into the category of having a disability, simply due to aging.

Companies should encourage their employees to work together productively and safely by ensuring awareness of certain accommodations  that their fellow workers may require.  Motivational posters encourage workers to perform their duties safely,  as a team.  We shouldn’t have to be reminded that everyone deserves a chance to be part of that team.

Our government has required special accommodation be put into place to help the handicapped, such as automatic doors, special parking spaces, signs written in braille, public restrooms with extra space for wheelchairs, and other ways to enable them to function more easily.  It is only right that our disabled Americans have every opportunity to enjoy life and be a part of a vibrant workforce.  Think about our soldiers, who have served this country.  Some are able to pick up where they left off, as their job is open for them; however, there are thousands who have been unable to find jobs because of injuries they suffered.  They deserve the opportunity to have a chance for a fulfilling  job.


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 fun 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 to their children about Halloween safety.   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 after 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 instead of masks
  • 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!


Did you know that there are approximately 474,000 school buses transporting some 25 million children to and from school every day in this country?  National School Bus Safety Week, began October 18th and goes through October 22nd.    This observance is sponsored by: National Association for Pupil Transportation, National School Transportation Association, National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation, National Safety Council, and School Bus Manufacturers and Suppliers. Their goal is to educate students and the public about school bus safety.  Students may enter a national poster contest, with the winning poster being distributed throughout the United States. 

School buses are among the safest transportation we have, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, who also reports that those riding buses are 8 times safer than ones riding with parents or peers.  Statistics show that around six children die per year as passengers on school buses; however, fatalities have more often occurred from pedestrian accidents involving motorists who illegally pass school buses, failing to see children.  When a school bus is stopped, flashing lights on the bus warn drivers to stop, in order to allow children to safely board and get off the bus.  Motorists should be vigilant when sharing the road with the big yellow buses. 

School bus drivers have to have nerves of steel!  (I’m talking from my experiences, such as band trips, etc.)  Kids can get rowdy on school buses, and drivers should have rules (short and simple), that their young passengers follow.   It is helpful when bus drivers get to know their kids and are a positive role model.  Parents should expect their students to show respect to their driver, who plays this very important role in getting them safely to school and back home. 

Here are some safety reminders for parents and students from The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration: 

  • Parents should be sure that their children get to the bus stop on time.
  • Students should stand back several feet from the edge of the road until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  • If a student drops an object near the bus, he/she should ask the driver for help.  The driver may not be able to see when a child bends over to pick something up.  The best solution is to have all their things secure in a backpack or bag.
  • Be sure clothing or backpacks have no loose drawstrings that could get caught in the bus door.
  • Understand that the danger zone is the area 10′ around the school bus.
  • Ask school officials or transportation authorities to change the location of a bus stop if it is not in a safe place.
  • Students should cross the street in view of the driver: “Cross in View – It’s the Thing to Do.” 

Those big yellow buses not only transport our kids to school every day, but also take them on field trips, to sports events, and many other extracurricular activities.  Their passengers are our future; we must obey the laws that protect the lives of our children and their caregivers – the drivers.









This subject is very important to anyone who uses a computer.  With the vast expansion of digital technology, we must be more aware of cyber safety than ever.  This year marks the 7th year that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has observed National Cyber Safety Awareness Month.  We all must take precautions to keep our personal information secure, as there are many persons that spend their days trying to take advantage of others by accessing their privacy online.

It is important for everyone who has a personal computer, or businesses with many computers to have anti-virus software and update it often.  There are probably few people who write letters any more; it’s easier and more convenient to send an email or instant message.  But we should be wary of unsolicited attachments to emails.  You may receive an email from a family member or good friend, but something about the attachment just doesn’t seem right.  Be sure you check it out with that person before you open the email.  Also, there are cyber specialists that know how to imitate an institution that you trust, such as your telephone company, or bank; however, beware, as they may be phishing to try to retrieve your personal information. 

We must be cyber smart in order to be cyber safe, and that applies particularly to our children.  It is a good policy to monitor your children’s use of the computer.  Teenagers are tempted to chat with strangers, which could be dangerous.  Be sure you have set rules with them regarding their use of the internet.  Keep the lines of communication open with your teens.  They need to know you are interested in and paying attention to what they are doing.

You may remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”   In more innocent times, we were taught to ignore cruel words or treatment, consider the source, and move on.  With young people, words do hurt.  Now, we are in the age of cyber bullying.  This is a disgusting action that is causing young victims to go so far as to commit suicide.  (Please see our website for several articles on “bullying.” )  It’s disturbing when teens send hurtful messages to others.  But kids that send text messages, instant messages, hurtful pictures, and create websites to humiliate and/or endanger them should realize that if those acts should lead to a victim’s suicide, they will  carry that guilt around with them the rest of their life.  Who would want to know they had caused that much grief  by such cowardly actions?

If your child is a victim of cyber bullying, be sure to contact his/her school and local law enforcement.  It is helpful to take printouts of the messages that have been sent.  There are laws against writing harmful or insulting things about another person –libel.  Internet Service Providers have Acceptable Use Policies that define guidelines for users and actions that can be taken against those that violate those guidelines.  Cell phone providers and ISP’s can help clients track down the approved service provider of the person responsible for cyber bullying. 

As part of this year’s cyber security campaign, the Department of Homeland Security has also launched a new “Stop. Think. Connect.” Website,, which provides a variety of free, downloadable resources and materials to help the public increase their safety and security online.


For those brave souls who make their living  in the logging industry, “Timber” is a very familiar word to warn fellow workers that a tree in their area is being felled.  According to NIOSH (National Institute for Safety and Health), logging has been one of the most consistently hazardous industries, with a fatality rate 23 times higher than the rate of other dangerous occupations.  The Bureau of Labor statistics shows that there are 81 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

By many measures, logging is the most dangerous occupation in the United States. The tools and equipment such as chain saws and logging machines pose hazards wherever they are used. As loggers use their tools and equipment, they deal with massive weights and irresistible momentum of falling, rolling, and sliding trees and logs. The hazards are even worse when dangerous environmental conditions are factored in, such as uneven, unstable or rough terrain; inclement weather including rain, snow, lightning, winds, and extreme cold and/or remote and isolated work sites where health care facilities are not immediately accessible.  The combination of these hazards present a significant risk to employees working in logging operations throughout the country, regardless of the type of timber being logged, where it is logged, or the end use of the wood.

According to Eric Johnson, editor of Northern Logging and Timber Processing magazine, mechanized equipment has helped to make logging safer.  Loggers now often sit in steel enclosed cabs of big machines, rather than working with chainsaws on the ground.  Controls send chain saws out onto tree trunks from a safer distance.  Heavy machines and equipment are used to cut trees to be transported to a log mill.  Logging contractors are hired by industries such as agriculture, commercial businesses, industrial plants, and government agencies, as well as individual homeowners.  

Loggers can get crushed when trees fall in the wrong direction.  Large broken branches from up in the treetops often fall unexpectedly as the trees come down.   These are called “widow makers”.  Medical care is often very far away, so in the event of an injury, it takes a long time to get the attention the worker may need.

Logging companies must follow OSHA regulations in great detail.  Workers must be properly trained, and be provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment:  gloves, hardhats, safety glasses, and face protection, as well steel-toe boots.  Well-stocked first aid kits should be at each work location and in each worker transportation vehicle.

We give our logging workers a big “High Five”!  It takes special folks to do what they do.


Since 2007, the third week of October has been designated as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  This week, October 17 through 23, to stress the importance of driving safely, schools and other organizations will be sharing information with teenagers about safe driving.  Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens.  Teaching teens that along with the privilege of driving a vehicle, there are rules that must be respected and followed.

 Research has shown that parents are the single greatest influence on their teen’s driving.  Parents must set the example early on, by buckling up every time they get behind the wheel, slowing down, and focusing on the road.   You’ve heard the old saying, “Practice makes perfect.”  This is certainly true when it comes to teen drivers.  Even though parents have busy schedules, the more time they spend letting their teens drive gives them the advantage of experience.  They need to drive in different road situations and at various times of the day with adult supervision.    Letting your child operate a motor vehicle without supervision is taking a terrible risk.  Give them as much supervised driving time as possible – thirty to fifty practice hours over a six-month period is recommended.  

Several states offer Graduated Drivers Licensing, which is a three-step plan:

  1. There is a minimum supervised learner’s period.
  2. After passing the driver’s test, they receive an intermediate license, which limits the amount of unsupervised driving time.
  3. Full privileges license after completion of previous stages.

The Centers for Disease Control make the following suggestions to parents:

  • Set rules for your teen drivers.  Set limits to keep them safe.  Be sure they know they must abide by the laws of the state, limit nighttime driving, and wear seat belt.
  • Restrict the number of passengers they may have in the car.
  •  Talk about signing a Parent-Teen Driving Contract (on the CDC website).  Discuss how important it is to follow the rules, and the consequences for breaking them.  Hang this contract on the refrigerator door as a reminder that you want him/her to stay safe, and that when the rules of safe driving are followed, greater driving privileges will result. 

Have you seen the commercial where the dad is leaning into the car, giving his little daughter all the right instructions that she must follow while driving, and then gives her the car keys?  In his mind, she is about 6 or 7 years old, but in reality, the next scene reveals she is a teen.  This serves as a reminder that in our hearts, although they are teenagers, we still think of them as little ones.  We all must emphasize safe driving to the teens in our families – children or grandchildren.  One of the most important things to help them stay safe is to tell them to forget about their cell phone and focus on the road.  If we can get teens and every other driver to ignore those electronic devices, the highways will be much safer for everyone!

Good luck to parents of new drivers.  Let’s all do our part to keep the roads safe for them.  Help them to know that not only during Teen Driving Safety Week, but all the time, they need to “handle that car with care.”