Tag Archives: weather


In today’s world, is it ever a good idea to let your child ride his bike to school alone?  There are hidden hazards lurking everywhere, and it can be tough to know how to make the right decision regarding keeping your child safe while still letting him assert his independence. By taking a look at your child’s behavior, you can make an informed decision about if he’s ready to bike ride to school on his own or if he’s not quite mature enough to take on the task.

While there are both pros and cons to allowing your child to ride his bike to school alone, here are 10 reasons that it might not be a wise choice:

  1. He is irresponsible:  You know your child better than anyone else.  If he is easily and constantly distracted and can’t remember to look both ways before crossing the street, it might not be a good idea to let him ride his bike to school by himself.
  2. He is too young: As a parent, you will have to judge when your child is old enough to ride to school on his bike alone.  If you have a very responsible child, reside in a small town with sidewalks, and live close to the school, he might be able to ride his bike when he is in elementary school. However, if you live further away from the school, you might want to wait until he is older.
  3. There is too much traffic: If you live in a city where there’s a lot of traffic on the street, riding unsupervised may not be an option.  This is especially true if there are no bike lanes or sidewalks.  Make sure your child knows to watch for traffic no matter what, even if the area you live in is not particularly busy.  Accidents can happen anywhere.
  4. He is learning disabled: There are some things that can be too dangerous for a child who has a learning disability.  Kids with ADHD, for example, can often get distracted and ride right past their turn. This can then cause them to get lost and be unable to find their way home.
  5. It’s too dangerous: Maybe you live in an area that has a lot of crime and sending your child to school on his bike simply isn’t safe.
  6. He is being bullied: When your child rides his bike to school he needs to be able to ride to school safely and arrive on time.  The same goes for after school.  If your child is being bullied, you should address the issue before allowing him to be out on his bike alone.
  7. School is too far: If the school is more than a mile or so away, then it may be too far of a ride for your child.  Only you can decide how far is too far.
  8. The weather is unpredictable: If you live in New England, you know what they say: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.  Do you live in an area where it rains a lot or where the weather is unpredictable? How about an area that gets a lot of snow and ice?  Those things don’t really lend themselves to biking for anyone, especially a child.
  9. He is too timid: To venture out on his own requires bravery.  It doesn’t sound like riding to school should be a huge hurdle to conquer, especially if you only live a few blocks from the school, but if your child is very timid, the thought of riding alone could frighten him.
  10. He has no sense of direction: The last thing you want to have happen is for your child to get lost while biking to school.  If your child can’t find his way to and from school alone, he isn’t ready to bike there on his own.

There are several different factors that contribute to if a child is ready or not to ride his bike to school by himself. Before making the decision to let him or not, you’ll have to evaluate your child’s unique attributes, the city or town you live in, and whether or not where you live is safe enough for your child to be out and about alone.

Our thanks to Maureen Denard, of findananny.net, for this very valuable information. Pat


By Jakob Barry

It’s the holiday shopping season which means just about everyone will be heading to a mall at some point over the coming weeks. Even if you never go to one the entire year chances are you’ll be entering a store somewhere with the intention of purchasing a gift for a loved one or friend.

At the same time it’s important to keep in mind holiday shopping can be stressful, especially when you can’t find what you’re looking for and are running out of time. Even if you aren’t the one feeling the pressure others around you are which makes the perfect ingredients for unfortunate accidents and misunderstandings.

For a safer journey this shopping season keep the following tips in mind.

1. Make a list
It’s a safe bet making a list can prevent unnecessary rushing around and the potential for accidents. Why? One of the most frustrating things is when there’s a lot to do, a number of errands to run, things to pick up and just when we think it’s all under control we realize we forgot to get something at a previous location.

Then, with so much going on in our lives and all kinds of timetables and schedules to keep staying focused is a challenge and frustration sets in. With millions of other shoppers out doing the same thing a list can come in handy and keep us safer than we realize.

2. Drive safely
Even if a list was made be reasonable with your time and don’t rush, especially with driving. Plan shopping with enough time to compensate for long lines and lots of traffic, as there are a lot of other people on the road who also have goals they are trying to meet and may get an itch to speed.

Keep an eye on the road and on everyone around you as driving this time of year may just be a real obstacle course.

3. Watch the weather
Driving carefully is one thing but when the weather gets bad extra precautions are needed. Check the forecast before going out and if things get messy make sure to keep distance between other vehicles.  Also, dress accordingly. This means if bitter cold air moves in don’t rely on heat from your car or inside the mall. Bring what’s necessary to be self sufficient so you stay healthy throughout the holiday season.

4. Stay hydrated:
Believe it or not, shopping can take a lot out of a person and dehydration, even in the winter can occur. This is particularly true when being exposed to a lot of dry heat like in department stores.  For this reason make sure to drink enough water and stay away from sodas and sugar drinks. Not only are they less healthy but will dry you out faster. 

5. Hygiene:
When it comes to safety and shopping we often forget many items we touch were already touched by countless other people. Hangers, changing rooms, bathrooms, railways, door handles, checkout counters, and more. What they all have in common is the likelihood of having been in contact with germs that can be picked up easily when we aren’t careful.

Always remember to wash hands before eating or putting them anywhere near the mouth. This will also prevent the transfer of germs to others we may be traveling with such as children or friends.

Jakob writes for Winston Salem, N.C. flooring contractors

Thanks, Jakob, for these great tips for successful and healthy shopping for the holidays.  It would be wise to carry some hand sanitizer along, for those times when a rest room is not close by. 

Also, to our readers, Texas America Safety Company, tasco-safety.com, is still offering free shipping on gift orders placed before Christmas.  Check out some of our great products that would make someone very happy. Pat


The London 2012 Games are set to be a hugely important historical event for the UK, and if you are lucky enough to have a ticket, you will certainly want to make the most out of it.   To make sure this is feasible, the organisers, with the help of the nation’s health services and security establishments are making sure that the games go ahead as smoothly as possible.   With this in mind, the organisers, alongside the UK health system and police forces, have put in place measures to ensure that the Olympic events run smoothly and safely, allowing visitors from all around the world to fully enjoy the Games. 

Ever since it was announced in 2005 that London would host the 2012 Olympics, the nation has been working overtime to take appropriate precautions.  There is a reason for this. The threat level in the country will be labelled as severe as a precaution, due to the high number of visitors expected. 

By the time the Games start, over nine million tickets will have been sold and on the busiest day it is estimated that 800,000 people will be using public transport to travel. So what exactly are the risks involved and what precautions and advice are being given?

Let’s break it down into health and safety. 


According to a report by the Health and Safety Executive, there are a number of health-related problems that are more likely to occur at busy events, such as the Olympics.

One of these include airborne and communicable diseases which can be a real threat during mass gatherings, but accident and emergency departments have been informed as to which diseases are not prevalent in the UK that may be an issue. To avoid spreading germs, it is recommended that visitors carry hand sanitizer on them.

Another health concern is regarding heat. British weather is temperamental and it is difficult to predict whether you are more at risk of sun stroke or hypothermia. Visitors are advised to come equipped for all weather conditions. Staff will be on rotation to avoid long exposure to harsh weather for their own safety. 

If you are travelling from outside of the UK, the National Health Service has compiled a list of what you may want to consider packing. These include: A valid European Health Insurance card if relevant, any prescribed medicine you may need, comfortable walking shoes, clothes for all weather,rainwear, sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and details of your travel insurance. 


A lack of training and site orientation for volunteers was highlighted as something that could risk the management of crowd safety and emergency procedures. With this in mind, all volunteers will have attended at least three training courses. It will also be likely that many local businesses may allow employees to work from home temporarily to ease the strain on public transport and reduce crowd-related dangers.
To reduce any security risks, all venues will be searched, and many visitors will have their bag searched too. In fact, visitors are advised to pack light and travel as if you were flying: this includes no potential weaponry and a bag that would fit under your seat. No storage will be available for security purposes. 

Up to 12,500 police officers from across the UK are being deployed for the London Games and a number of officers are expected to receive additional search training, as well as the use of specially trained dogs to aid in bag searches.

There has been a real emphasis on training this year to ensure that the focus can remain on the sports themselves and the historical event.  Huge crowds can be difficult to manage without a clear plan of action and this is useless unless all staff and volunteers are made aware of it.





It’s hard to say if the old saying “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” applies to every part of the world.  It seems like the lion has been showing more of his teeth lately, with the horrible tragedies in Japan – an earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear concerns.  Also, in the United States, tornadoes have already hit several areas.  Every year they start a littler earlier, or so it appears!  Floods, as well, have occurred as a result of heavy rains in certain parts of the country, and drought in others.  It’s either feast or famine, when it comes to the weather. 

In the eastern United States, March came in like a lamb, but is really threatening to go out like a lion.  In Texas, we have seen a few beautiful spring days; however, we have experienced some very unusually cold and windy March days, too.  Whatever has gone on in your corner of the world, it is hoped that it will get better soon.  April hopefully will bring showers, as rain is really needed in our state.  The threat of wildfires continues because of  extremely dry conditions. 

It is hard to realize that the first three months of 2011 have already passed us by.  We need to start preparing for spring and warm weather.  A few pretty days get us motivated to get outside and start yard work.  Take your time and gradually build up, as those muscles may not be quite ready for a full-throttle workout.  Stock up on work gloves, Eye safety glasses,  (for trimming tree limbs and mowing grass), and wear long-sleeves on your arms, and sunscreen on your face.  Spring brings a new beginning for the rest of the year, and it’s a time we all look forward to – before the heat comes around!  

Think about stocking up your emergency kit just in case bad weather should happen.  Keep plenty of water handy, some non-perishable foods, flashlights, NOAA weather radio, batteries, pet food, and other supplies ready.  Pay attention to weather warnings in your area.  Know where you can pick up your school children in case of a weather emergency, or where they will be taken for safety at their school.  Preparedness pays, regardless of weather conditions, or any other emergency situation.  Most everyone loves springtime, and yet Mother Nature can find ways to really get our attention during that season.   

Last, but not least, here’s hoping that everyone’s final day of March will mosey on out like a sweet little lamb.  But beware……….there’s one more thing to be prepared for:  April Fools’ Day!


According to statistics, Oklahoma, some southern parts of Kansas and Missouri, experienced 39 tornadoes in a 3-day period last week, from May 10th through May 12th.  Meteorologists hit the nail on the head when they predicted that conditions were right for activity from tornadoes.  The governor of Oklahoma has designated a state of emergency for 56 counties in that state.  More than 800 volunteers were helping victims of the tornadoes clean up debris and look for any traces of valuables that were left.  There were more than 100 people injured, two deaths, and millions of dollars worth of damage caused by the twisters.

The National Weather Center has stated that it will take time to gather all the data from the tornadoes last week.  There was also very large hail in some areas, some as large as softballs.

Two of the tornadoes were classified as EF-4, and four were EF-3’s.  According to the NOAA Satellite and Information Systems, here are the classifications of wind speeds:

  • EF-1 =   86-110 mph
  • EF-2 =  111-135 mph
  • EF-3 =  136-165 mph
  • EF-4 =  166-200 mph
  • EF-5 =  over 200 mph

It is hard to imagine how anything was left standing in winds that strong. According to experts, there’s no wind on earth stronger than winds inside a tornado.  It’s amazing that more people escaped injury; they had advance notice that allowed them to be better prepared, due to correct weather warnings.  This serves as a reminder to all of us to do the following:

1.    Know the hazards of dangerous weather.

2.    Pay attention to forecasts.

3.    Have a plan to stay safe.  Think about what you will do in case of a natural disaster and be prepared.

After the terrible week that Oklahomans had, let’s hope the rest of the season will be mild.  The residents are grateful to all the volunteers who are helping with the clean up.  It’s times like this when everyone steps up to the plate.


Tornadoes have already hit some areas of the United States!  Because they keep coming back year after year, we want to repeat this information we shared with you last year.  The most violent storms of nature, tornadoes are rotating funnel clouds that extend from thunderstorms to the ground with winds that can reach 300 mph.  Their paths can be one mile wide and up to 50 miles long.

In order to keep the public informed, NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, and television stations frequently announce weather situations.  WATCH means that a tornado is possible.  WARNING means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar, and to take shelter immediately.
From FEMA: The following are facts about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
  • They may be almost transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • Tornadoes can go with tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can happen at any time.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.

Danger signs of tornadoes are: large hail, large dark low-lying cloud, (particularly if rotating), loud roar (like a freight train), and dark, greenish sky.  The area may become very still prior to a tornado.

When a tornado is approaching, get to a cellar, basement, closet or hallway away from windows and doors, and get under a table.  If you are in a mobile home, get out immediately and take shelter.  If you are outside: lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.  You are safer in a low, flat location than under an overpass or bridge.  If you are in a vehicle, never try to outrun a tornado. Leave your vehicle and seek a safer location.  Watch for flying debris from a tornado. Debris causes major injuries and many fatalities.

We certainly hope you never experience a tornado.  As we always suggest: remember to keep adequate supplies of water and non-perishable foods, first aid kit, flashlight, change of clothes, and other needed equipment ready in case of an emergency.  The best plan for you and your loved ones is to be prepared, just in case.

Source: FEMA


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are annually more than 450,000 injuries caused by crashes in adverse weather conditions, especially on slick pavements.  Two key factors to be considered in order to avoid an accident while driving on rain-soaked highways or streets, are speed and visibility.

Most driving experts agree that slowing down is one of the most important things drivers can do when driving in the rain.  It is recommended that when driving over 35 mph, your speed should be reduced by 5 mph for every posted speed limit.  (In other words, if the posted speed limit is 50, you would slow down to 45).  The other thing to remember is to keep your headlights on – that not only helps you see, but helps you be seen by other drivers.

Please consider these tips for safe driving in the rain:

  • Don’t follow the car in front of you too closely because your ability to slow down will be hindered by the wet road.
  • Oily deposits at intersections can be very hazardous when mixed with rain, causing a chance for skidding.
  • Staying in the same lane is safer than changing lanes frequently.
  • Be sure your tires are in good condition; bald tires will reduce traction, which can result in hydroplaning, if you are traveling too fast.
  • Replace windshield wipers once a year.
  • Be sure to watch for car’s brake lights in front of you.
  • Humidity causes windows to fog up, so use the defroster to keep windows clear.
  • Pedestrians and animals are harder to see during rain, so reducing your speed could help you avoid injury to someone or something else, as well as yourself.
  • Never drive through moving water.  If water comes to the bottom of your car doors, or the bottom one-third of your tires, do not try to go through it.  Attempting that may cause you to be washed off the road.  Water can also cause serious damage to the electrical system of the car.
  • Use a light touch when steering and braking.
  • Driving slowly and carefully can help you keep from skidding.

A good idea for those who drive in rain, snow, or other adverse conditions is to keep a “care package” in the car.  Take blankets, snacks, water, ice scraper, flashlight, and a First Aid Kit with you at all times, just in case.

There’s a theory going around that wearing sunglasses when driving in the rain increases your visibility.  Personally, I haven’t tried it, but guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.  We checked this out on Snopes.com, and it’s still being researched.

Please drive with care in rainy or sunny weather.  Let’s leaving the “spinning out” to the winning NASCAR drivers!


Most of the United States has been hit with extreme cold weather so far this winter, and it looks like it’s not ready to let up yet.  Even in the far south, there’s been the danger of crops freezing.  We southerners aren’t as accustomed to contending with snow and ice as those who live in the north.  Driving on ice is a very dangerous “sport”, especially for persons who aren’t used to it!

Whether you have to get outdoors to go to work, the store, or want to continue some form of exercise regardless of the cold, it is important to take it a little slower than normal and be careful when walking in snow or ice.  There are devices that will help you keep from slipping.  They have a flat sole that attaches to shoes with Velcro, and have metal studs on the bottom, which help grip.  Easy to put on and off, they should not be used once you get inside, because they could make the floor slippery, as well as damaging it.

Here are some ideas from our friends at FEMA:

  • First, if you can, stay indoors as much as possible when weather causes dangerous conditions.
  • Dress warmly, especially paying close attention to feet and hands. Select warm gloves.
  • Wear shoes/boots that provide good traction.  Rubber and neoprene soles are better than those with leather or plastic soles.
  • Use pathways that have been cleared.
  • Put out salt or sand on your sidewalks before you try walking on them.
  • Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, as you lose the ability to balance with your arms.  This also prevents catching yourself if you slip.
  • Heavy or bulky items can make you lose your balance; carry only necessary items.
  • If possible, use handrails.
  • At your workplace, pay attention to “ice alert” signs, to warn you of icy conditions.
  • While walking on ice, curl toes under and walk slowly.
  • If you must shovel snow, be sure you do not have any underlying health issues, as strenuous activity in extreme conditions can cause heart attack.

As with anything else at work or home, use common sense.  Most of us have to get to our jobs.  Check your local media for weather information and leave home a little earlier if the roads are going to be slick.  Maintenance workers get out very early in the mornings during winter to prepare the roads for traffic in bad conditions.  Drive and walk with care!


As winter is creeping up on us, and probably already has in some sections of the country, it’s important that we know all the tricks of staying warm.  For those who work in the outdoors, it is very important to be protected from the elements.  Employers are responsible to see that working conditions do not put their employees’ health at risk, so they should inform workers on what to expect and how to protect themselves.

In earlier articles, Cold Stress Equation Parts I and II, we have gone into detail about this very subject; Part II especially describes how to recognize and prevent frostbite and hypothermia, and what to do to if a person experiences either of these.  As stated earlier, it is important that layering the right types of clothing with a waterproof top layer is a good plan.

Eating small, hot, and even spicy foods give the nervous system a warmth signal that encourages blood flow to the extremities.  Drinks with caffeine constrict blood vessels, making the extremities colder.  Alcohol is dehydrating and suppresses shivering, the involuntary muscle contractions that help the body warm itself.  Tobacco also constricts blood vessels and cools the body by reducing circulation.  (It goes without saying that alcohol shouldn’t be consumed while working, anyway, but if you are outdoors for hunting or sports,  keep this in mind – it won’t warm you up!)

There are products made especially to help keep you warm.  Keep these in mind when looking for just the right thing:

  • Slush boots, rainwear
  • Winter liners
  • Gloves
  • Earmuffs
  • Coveralls

Outdoor exposure should be limited if possible, but for those who face working outdoors on a daily basis, stretching the muscles before work helps warm up the muscles and prevent muscle pulls.  Remember to drink lots of water, as well.  A change of dry clothes can come in handy when having to endure windy, humid days.


With Fall approaching, several of us will have our fair share of either allergies or sinus problems.  Ragweed and all kinds of pollen are floating around like crazy right now!  It doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but either one can cause health problems.   Allergy symptoms are often confused with a cold or flu.  Allergies are the immune systems’ reaction to generally harmless substances and continue off and on, much longer than a cold.  Animal fur, fabrics, smoke, fragrances (candles or perfume), and many outdoor plants are just a few of the culprits that bother those with allergies. (I’m getting choked up, just thinking about it!) Allergic reactions to certain foods can often have serious results.

Symptoms of allergies are:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Repeated ear and sinus infections
  • Loss of smell, taste
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Cold symptoms that last more than 10 days without a fever

Sinuses are air-filled spaces behind the forehead, nasal bones, cheeks, and eyes, with openings to the nose, and serve as conditioners that filter and humidify the air.   If the sinuses become blocked, miserable headaches occur, as well as these other symptoms of acute sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Greenish nasal discharge
  • Facial or dental pain
  • Eye pain
  • Night cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Here are some suggestions if you are plagued by sinus or allergy problems:

  • Ask your doctor to prescribe the proper medication to keep allergy/sinus problems under control.
  • Avoid smoke and irritants that increase your chance of developing sinus/allergy difficulties.
  • Check the pollen counts in your area before you go outdoors.
  • Use a saline mist spray to keep sinuses healthy.
  • If you work in dusty environments, use a respirator.
  • If you are prone to allergies, protect your eyes with goggles or wraparound glasses.
  • Do not take antihistamines that could cause drowsiness while driving or working.