TxDot warning drivers, “No Refusal” over Fourth of July holiday
The Texas Department of Transportation is cracking-down on drunk-driving over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. In 2012 alone, there were over 25,000 alcohol-related wrecks on Texas roadways. Those wrecks left 1,170 dead and 9,458 seriously injured. With these startling statistics in mind, TxDot is launching its “Faces of Drunk Driving” campaign.
The campaign is an effort to put a human face on the impact of drunk-driving. This year’s campaign will highlight nine-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez, who was paralyzed from the waist down after being hit by a drunk driver in Ft. Worth on July 9, 2011- just three days before her eighth birthday. Her story, along with those of over a dozen others impacted by drunk-driving, can be found on the “Faces of Drunk Driving” website.
In addition to this campaign, TxDot wants motorists to know that law enforcement across Texas will conduct a “No Refusal” initiative over the Independence Day weekend. “No Refusal” legally requires suspected drunk drivers who have been pulled over to provide police with a breath or blood sample. Drivers who refuse to provide a breath sample will be taken to jail where they will be forced to provide a blood sample. Motorists found to be legally intoxicated will face a DWI charge. DWI penalties continue to get tougher. Penalties now include immediate arrest, a suspended license, jail time, and a fine that has increased to $17,000. They are really not kidding when they say you can’t afford it.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) provides tips on how to prevent drinking and driving:
Choose a designated driver- decide who’s going to be doing the driving before you go out, Hide the keys- don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys who you know should not be driving, Arrange alternate transportation- sometimes even the designated driver slips, set up a ride with a sober driver.
For those hosting a party this fourth of July, be aware that the host is responsible if an intoxicated party-goer leaves and causes a wreck. The host will face criminal charges and could possibly be forced to pay medical bills and legal fees for all involved in the wreck.
In addition to the above article shared by KLTV, Channel 7, in Tyler, Texas, others are concerned about your safety, too, during this holiday weekend. “Lately it seems people care more about material things and their ability to social network than they do about their own health,” said Thomas Esposito, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center. “Staging an awesome pyrotechnical display for your friends on YouTube may result in blowing off your thumb, ending for good your ability to communicate using a handheld device.” Their Fourth of July warning theme is “No Texting for Your Life!”
The fourth of July traditionally is the biggest day for grilling food across America. America’s firefighters want you to think about fire safety while you enjoy the holiday. Firefighters urge folks grilling to keep an eye on their grill at all times, and not to walk off and forget the fire. Keep the kids and pets away from the fire. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of house fires, and that includes outdoor grilling. Firefighters say use common sense to prevent a tragedy.
Cook outdoors, not under an awning or carport. Leave the grills alone to cool off for a long time. Charcoal grills that turn over can spark house fires hours after the food is done. Firefighters say never try to throw away hot coals, and keep a barrier around the grill to prevent children from running into it.
Hospital emergency rooms will be on stand-by, in adddition to medical response teams, fire departments, and law enforcement, who will be staffing extra personnel in order to accommodate those who are involved in any accident. Please heed all warnings and have a safe, sober, and Happy Fourth of July!
For the past several days, we have learned to respect and appreciate our first responders, more than ever. In Boston, we viewed the aftermath of two explosions, deliberately set to kill and hurt runners and bystanders at the Boston Marathon. Within seconds, there were runners helping those who had been injured- police, firemen, SWAT teams, paramedics, EMT students, and physicians swarmed the scenes to treat and rush the victims to hospitals.
Miles away, in the small town of West, Texas, again, the heroics were played out when a fire started near a fertilizer plant, and volunteer firefighters, paramedics and EMT students rushed to try to put out the blaze and assist with injured. Suddenly, the heat came too near ammonium nitrate being stored in the facility, and a huge explosion happened. The explosion devastated a four-block radius of the plant, and many families have lost everything they had. The death toll is now estimated to be 14, with the vast majority of those being first responders. Approximately 200 persons were injured.
It’s events such as these that we realize how truly important our first responders are. This past week was spotlighted as National Public Safety Telecommunications Education Week, in order to promote awareness of proper practices when calling the emergency assistance number. Behind the scenes, there are highly trained professionals who are the first persons to answer this life-saving number when a call is made. Dispatchers take the calls and coordinate the response of emergency medical services, fire department, or local law enforcement.
When 9-1-1 services are needed, we should understand how to place the call, as well as educate our children, too. It is important that we describe the situation as carefully as possible, and give out any landmarks in order to assist the responders in finding your location. Don’t text 9-1-1, as it won’t be received. Don’t become frustrated with the dispatcher’s questions, as he/she probably already have a unit on the way, but it is helpful to the responding team to have as much advance information as possible.
If you should call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up, because there will probably be a unit sent to your address. Just stay on the line and explain what happened. Teach your children never to play a prank call on anyone, especially that important number.
Dispatchers are screened thoroughly and receive classroom and on-the-job training. They are entrusted with medical information as well as the law enforcement side of the occasion. Stop and think how fortunate we are to have seen the display of courage that law enforcement, firefighters and medical teams play on an every-day basis. It is times like these that we need to stop and be thankful that they stand at the ready. And give a pat on the back to those dispatchers and others in the 9-1-1 call center that can save lives with a speedy response or just knowing how to talk to persons who are in highly emotional states at that time.
As has been mentioned several times: when there is an emergency, our fire departments, healthcare providers and law enforcement are headed toward the situation when everyone else is running away.
Sent to us by Melonie McLaurin. Another timely article to share with our readers during Crime Prevention Month.
If you live in a highly urban area, or even a moderate-to-densely populated residential suburb, the importance of a reliable, monitored home security system for your home and family cannot be overstated. Each year, crime statistics can vary from state to state and among cities of varying sizes and populations, but watching the nightly news will confirm that crime is on the rise in neighborhoods, including wealthy suburban areas on the outskirts of the inner cities. A large part of home ownership involves investing in the protection of your home: from fires, floods, break-ins, home invasions, and other dangers that could present a problem for you whether you are present or away.
In the early days of home security systems in the United States, simply having an alarm installed could suffice to keep criminals at bay. Once they heard the alarm, they would flee the area without waiting around to see whether anyone followed up. Today, criminals are more brazen than ever and the sound of an alarm is not by itself enough to send them away from your home. In these times, a monitored home security system from a trusted brand like ADT is the best way to go.
Monitored home security is security that connects to a monitoring center staffed by real people who are trained to respond to your home alarms remotely, and take the correct action to insure your home is protected. This is very different than the alarms that simply ring; these alarms are connected to people who, if after attempting to contact you to find out whether you are safe, will have authorities dispatched to the location immediately if no answer is received. This means that even if you, for some reason, are unable to respond to their attempt to reach you, they will still send help right away.
If you entrust your home to substandard home security, or worse, no home security at all, you run the risk of inviting crime rather than deterring it. Difficult economic conditions contribute to spikes in crime attempts, especially thefts of valuable items such as laptops, jewelry, and other portable objects that can be quickly traded off for cash or other goods. Why make it easy for them, when you could have electronic, wireless, monitored home security from ADT helping you deter crime 24 hours a day, ready to respond in the event of unplanned emergencies? Living in the city doesn’t have to cause you worry with adequate home security installed. Consider it an investment in your peace of mind.
June and July are slated as “National Fireworks Safety Month”; however, there are probably many “eager beavers” out there that are already stocking up on fireworks. Because of drought conditions in many parts of the country, fireworks will be banned. Please observe warnings from county/city officials.
Judy Comoletti, National Fire Prevention Agency’s Division Manager of Public Education, states: “Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs. The few seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth risking injury, permanent scarring, or even death.” Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. (Haven’t we had enough wildfires already?) Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year for recent years. Bottle rockets or other types of rockets are some of the main causes of structure fire property loss.
Dr. John Hall, NFPA’s Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research says, “when things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protective provisions can reliably respond.” On the average, more than 8,000 Americans spend part of the July 4th in emergency rooms because of fireworks injuries. Contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye, in addition to permanent loss of vision are just part of the injuries caused by fireworks. However, 1,600 eye injuries tells us that the sight of shooting off fireworks for a few minutes’ thrill is not worth gambling on your vision, or hurting any other part of the body.
Fireworks must be treated with respect, if you plan to shoot them off. Read all the warning labels and then use common sense. As we said earlier, if there is a burn ban, forget it. If you should see someone misusing fireworks, stop them. Do not let children under 12 handle sparklers. Fireworks and alcohol don’t mix; have a “designated shooter.”
Most people do not want to risk losing a home that they have worked their life for by playing around with fireworks. Public fireworks displays are one of the safest alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July. Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the safest and smartest fireworks alternative for anyone, because they are established under controlled settings and regulations. After these displays or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, because they could discharge by still being active. Children should always tell an adult if they find this type of fireworks.
Facts worth repeating (in case they haven’t all been mentioned):
We just recently learned that the decibel level of a typical fireworks display is 140. It takes only 120 decibels to bring on noise-induced hearing loss, according to the Ntional institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Be sure this July 4th, make sure freedom is the only thing ringing by enjoying the patriotic pyrotechnics from at least 1,000 feet (about three football fields) away from the launch site. If you have to be closer, how about investing in hearing protection earplugs?
We certainly aren’t trying to “dampen” your holiday spirit! Countries all over the world have celebrations that include fireworks. Congratulations to our friends in England, who will be hosting this year’s Olympics! We feel sure we’ll see plenty of fireworks during their festivities. Good luck to all participants! Represent your country to the best of your ability, and if you are an American, start the month off right by celebrating wisely. Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!
TEN COMMON HOLIDAY ACCIDENTS AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID THEM
We’ve all seen holiday horror stories from fictional ones like National Lampoon or real ones like Black Fridays gone bloody. But did you know that there are many things that can happen to the real life average American that aren’t seen on television? To give you an idea, we have gathered the 10 most common holiday accidents to help you better avoid them.
This article was sent to us today, December 24th, by Brooke Stafford, a nursing practitioner student and also a writer for Family Nurse Practitioner Degrees. The site helps students find the right nurse practitioner degree to fit their needs.
Thank you, Brooke, for this informative article. The ten safety reminders that you have written about also apply after Christmas, as well, in taking down trees and decorations. We know the malls will be packed with shoppers either exchanging gifts or looking for more bargains. So we need to pay attention to the tips you sent us! Please stay in touch, and good luck in your studies in the health field.
Many citizens of the U.S. survived a very hot, dry summer, and tried all the safety tips offered to them to prevent them from being overcome from the heat. Now, just as quickly, we turn around to face a cold winter. Funny, how the climate changes each year, isn’t it? The world keeps turning and we keep trying to adjust to Mother Nature.
Regardless of the season, every family should have a disaster plan in place. Here are some basic steps to follow:
Next, have home emergency supplies on hand. There could be a winter storm or power outage that could prevent you from leaving home.
If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to winterize your home!
Last but not least, a word about generators, which can provide you with piece of mind and convenience when you have a temporary loss of electricity. Before installing a generator, disconnect from your utility electrical service, and if possible, have a qualified electrician install it. NEVER run a generator indoors! Carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust of the generator can spread throughout closed spaces. Overloading a generator can damage it, and the appliances connected to it. Never let children around generators.
We have many more tips for winter safety. Stay tuned and we’ll bring more later…..Till then, stay warm and safe!
The month of October has several observances, which includes Fire Prevention Month. October 9th through 15th is designated as National Fire Prevention Week; the 88th year that fire departments from around the entire country have observed this event. The theme for 2011’s observance is “Protect Your Family from Fire!” This year’s campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires – cooking, heating and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials. Life-saving technology and planning can help us protect our homes.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. Fire can be a dangerous enemy, but if you are aware of the hazards, you will be much less likely to be one of the almost 13,000 people injured in homes fires each year. Nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires annually. Here are some of the precautions we all should take:
There are numerous ways that we can protect our loved ones from fire. As listed above, take the time to have an escape plan, and be sure that the entire family is on the same page. Take your kids to visit a fire department. Educating the public on fire safety is one of the many important tasks that they perform. If we all learn more about how to prevent fires, hopefully we can make their jobs a little easier.
A Fire Department Chief told me to remind everyone, “Beep-Beep” is a sound we can live with! So check those detectors out, and make sure they work. That irritating little sound could be a life-saver!
Sources: US Fire Administration, National Fire Prevention Association
As we stated yesterday, June and July are slated as “National Fireworks Safety Month.” Probably there are many “eager beavers” out there that are already stocking up on fireworks. Because of drought conditions in many parts of the country, fireworks will be banned. Please observe warnings from county/city officials.
Judy Comoletti, National Fire Protection Association’s Division Manager of Public Education, states: “Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs. The few seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth risking injury, permanent scarring, or even death.” Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. (Haven’t we had enough wildfires already?) Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year for recent years. Bottle rockets or other types of rockets are some of the main causes of structure fire property loss.
Dr. John Hall, NFPA’s Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research says, “when things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protective provisions can reliably respond.”
We mentioned yesterday that more than 8,000 Americans spent part of the July 4th in emergency rooms because of fireworks injuries. Contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye, in addition to permanent loss of vision are just part of the injuries caused by fireworks. However, 1,600 eye injuries tells us that the sight of shooting off fireworks for a few minutes’ thrill is not worth gambling on your vision, or hurting any other part of the body.
Fireworks must be treated with respect, if you plan to shoot them off. Read all the warnings and cautions and use common sense. As we said earlier, if there is a burn ban, forget it. If you should see someone misusing fireworks, stop them. Do not let children under 12 handle sparklers. Fireworks and alcohol don’t mix; have a “designated shooter.”
Most people do not want to risk losing a home that they have worked their life for by playing around with fireworks. Public fireworks displays are one of the safest alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July. Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the safest and smartest fireworks alternative for anyone, because they are established under controlled settings and regulations. After these displays or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, because they could discharge by still being active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks.
Facts worth repeating (in case they haven’t all been mentioned):
One look at all the wildfires that are happening throughout the country easily displays the devastation that one spark can cause. How about giving our firefighters a break this year? There are some spectacular live fireworks shows on television, and with the HD quality of the pictures you see, pop some popcorn and watch it at home. That way you won’t have to fight the mosquitoes or traffic! Have a safe one! P.S. Please keep Fido in a safe place (on the couch with you), or in a room where the noise won’t frighten him. Animals are more sensitive to noise, so keep that in mind. For all they know, the popping sounds could be guns. Thanks.
Source: NFPA, Firewise.org
Both June and July are designated as National Fireworks Safety Month by Prevent Blindness America, who urges Americans to celebrate safely by leaving fireworks to the professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), almost 6,000 Americans spent part of their Fourth of July holiday in the emergency room in 2009 due to fireworks injuries. Of those, fireworks caused an estimated 1,600 eye injuries, which included contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye. Some injuries even caused permanent vision loss.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “safe and sane” fireworks cause more injuries than illegal fireworks, especially to preschool children. For children under the age of 5, half of the total injuries were from sparklers. Do you have any idea how hot a sparkler becomes? According to the NFPA, the tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns. ( By comparison, water boils at 212 degrees F; cakes bake at 350 degrees F; wood burns at 575 degrees F; and glass melts at 900 degrees F.)
Children ages 15 and younger make up around 39 per cent of fireworks injuries. Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest eye health and safety organization, supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. The non-profit group believes it is the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
“We encourage everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday this year without using consumer fireworks,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “Whether you’re attending community events, family picnics or public displays by fireworks professionals, we wish you and your family a safe Independence Day.”
In case of an eye-related accident, Prevent Blindness America also offers its “First Aid for Eye Emergencies” sticker in both English and Spanish, free to the public, and recommends the following should an eye injury occur:
If the eye or eyelid is cut or punctured,
If there are specks in the eye,
It would be wise to have a first aid kit handy, to be prepared for any type of fireworks accidents at home. This is the beginning of summer fun; don’t spoil it by risking injury to the eyes or any other part of the body. The best way to ensure that your family doesn’t suffer from fireworks injuries is to leave the displays to trained professionals. It may seem that they are having all the fun, but it isn’t that easy to put on the fantastic shows that they provide without training and hard work.
For more information on fireworks safety, or to request a free copy of the Safe Summer Celebrations brochure or the First Aid for Eye Emergencies sticker, call (800) 331-2020 or log on to preventblindness.org.
Tomorrow, we will talk about other risks involving fireworks. Till then, be thinking of other ways you want to spend your holiday, safely!
Source: NFPA, Prevent Blindness America