Safety

Safety of property and person is an inherent part of our business.  On this page, we post safety information that is relevant to both.  If you have any suggestions for topics, we welcome your input. Safety of property and person is an inherent part of our business.  On this page, we post safety information that is relevant to both.  If you have any suggestions for topics, we welcome your input.

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Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving

According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers.

These startling figures show how prevalent drowsy driving is. What drivers may not realize is how much drowsy driving puts themselves – and others – at risk. In fact, an estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report.

Impact of Drowsiness on Driving

Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under influence of alcohol:

  • Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is

  • Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit

  • You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued

A driver might not even know when he or she is fatigued because signs of fatigue are hard to identify. Some people may also experience micro-sleep – short, involuntary periods of inattention. In the 4 or 5 seconds a driver experiences micro-sleep, at highway speed, the vehicle will travel the length of a football field.

Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. That's more than three times the police-reported number. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury and about 6,400 were fatal. The researchers suggest the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported.

Beyond the human toll is the economic one. NHTSA estimates fatigue-related crashes resulting in injury or death cost society $109 billion annually, not including property damage.

Interventions for Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving affects everyone, but especially those under age 25, who make up an estimated 50% or more of drowsy driving crashes.

That means interventions focusing on this age group – males especially – can help reduce drowsy driving among those vulnerable. One such intervention is for parents to incorporate discussions and rules on drowsy driving while completing their parent-teen driving agreements.

Other ways to reduce drowsy driving include:

  • Crash avoidance technologies: New and existing safety technologies, such as drowsiness alert and lane departure warnings, can detect common drowsy driving patterns and warn drivers to stay in their lane or take a break

  • University interventions: College students receive less than average sleep, with some estimates at less than six hours a night; education programs aimed at college students may help curb drowsy driving and instill healthier behaviors that can last into adulthood

  • Getting more sleep: According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults should get seven or more hours of sleep each night

  • Medication labels: A 2015 article by Consumer Reports found that side effects warnings are not always clear; new labeling guidelines may help drivers understand when to drive or not drive after taking these medications

  • Employers: Workplaces with strong off-the-job safety and health programs can include key information on getting sufficient sleep and refraining from driving drowsy

Key Resources and Drowsy Driving Initiatives

Too Tired to Drive?

The following are signs and symptoms of drowsy driving, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

  • Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open

  • "Nodding off" or having trouble keeping your head up

  • Inability to remember driving the last few miles

  • Missing road signs or turns

  • Difficulty maintaining your speed

  • Drifting out of your lane

Risk Factors

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following factors contribute to drowsy driving:

  • Driving on less than 7 hours of sleep

  • Driving at a time when usually sleeping, such as at night

  • Travelling frequently through different time zones

  • Having an untreated sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea

  • Working multiple shifts or night shifts

EARTHQUAKE AWARENESS--ARE YOU PREPARED!

Here's what to do before, during and after an earthquake, according to the Department of Homeland Security, Earthquake Country Alliance and Red Cross.

Before it strikes--

Have a plan: Earthquakes strike without warning, so identify spots in your home ahead of time where you can safely wait them out -- think away from windows and overhead objects.

Prep your home: Secure items that could slide or fall, like televisions or bookshelves, with straps, and keep them away from your designated safe space. Store heavy and fragile objects on lower shelves where they won't cause damage.

Set an emergency contact: Designate an out-of-area contact who can relay information between family members.

Pick a spot where you'll meet afterward: If you're separated, pick a clear location that will be safe from debris and damage where you can meet when the earthquake ends.

Practice: Even if it seems silly, perform drop, cover and hold on drills: drop down on all fours, cover your head and neck, and crawl under a sturdy desk or table. In the event of a quake, you'll need to take cover and hold onto the furniture until the shaking stops.

Make a kit: Gather nonperishable foods, bottled water (at least three gallons per person), first aid supplies, portable phone chargers that are charged themselves, and other essentials you'll need for at least 72 hours. It's better to have too much than too little.

Get an extinguisher: Earthquakes can down wires and start fires, so make sure you have an extinguisher handy and know how to use one.

Fuel up: Keep your gas tank close to full in case of a power outage, but don't drive in the middle of an earthquake.

Consider a retrofit: Check out your home with a foundation specialist to see if you need additional reinforcements. The investment could save you thousands in damages.

When the ground starts shaking--

Drop, cover and hold on: Try to avoid moving too much; if the quake is severe, it'll likely knock you to the ground.

Avoid windows: Flying objects could break through the glass and cause harm, so keep away.

Stay where you are: If you're in bed, stay there, but cover your face and neck with a pillow. If you're inside, don't run outside -- parts of the building's exterior could fall from overhead. If you're driving, stop your vehicle in an area clear of trees, buildings, overpasses or wires.

Don't take the elevator: Even if the power isn't out, the elevator could stop working if quakes continue. It's best to stay put, then take the stairs when it's safe to move.

After the first quake--

Wait out the aftershocks: Quakes of smaller magnitude nearly always follow the most severe shocks of an earthquake sequence, so be aware in the hours following the initial earthquake.

Get out: If you're in a damaged building, get outside and move far away to avoid falling debris.

If you're stuck, close your mouth: You could inhale fumes or debris, so it's best to send a text, bang on a nearby object or whistle so rescuers can locate you.

Monitor the news: The government will likely alert the public with emergency instructions via TV, social media and radio, so look to your devices for updates.

Avoid making phone calls: Call volume has exceeded the capacity of mobile carriers' networks after earthquakes in the past, so some calls were blocked to allow others. It's best not to call unless it's an emergency, so text or instant message instead.

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed. With December and January at the peak of CO poisonings, check out our fact sheet and be sure to follow tips like these:

·         Replace the battery for your home’s CO detector each spring and fall

·         Do not heat your home with a gas range or oven

·         Never run a car or truck inside an attached garage

More than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 others are hospitalized.

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected, striking victims caught off guard or in their sleep. This "silent killer" is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 170 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products, such as room heaters. So as the weather turns colder, it's important to take extra precautions.

Who is at Risk?

Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in permanent neurological damage or death, and anyone can be at risk.

The CDC says infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more prone to illness or death, but carbon monoxide doesn't discriminate – especially if certain conditions are present.

In July 2015, for example, four young people and a dog were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a cabin in Maine. Authorities believe they went to bed without shutting off a gas-powered generator running in the basement.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in My Home?

Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The CDC offers these additional tips:

· Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year . Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes

· Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished . Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly .        Never use a gas oven for heating your home.· Never let a car idle in the garage · Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Steps to Take When Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds

The CPSC says never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm, and do not try to find the source of the gas. Instead, follow these steps:

· Immediately move outside to fresh air · Call emergency services, fire department or 911 · Do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for · Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission to do so

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The U.S. Fire Administration has put together materials on the dangers of carbon monoxide. Included is a list of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.

Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning is characterized by: · Headache · Fatigue ·Shortness of breath ·         Nausea ·Dizziness

High level carbon monoxide poisoning results in: ·  Mental confusion ·Vomiting · Loss of muscular coordination ·Loss of consciousness · Death

Symptom severity varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide and duration of exposure. Mild symptoms sometimes are mistaken for flu.

article courtesy of the National Safety Council

WILDFIRE SAFETY - Take Steps to Lower Risk of Damage

As commercial and personal real estate development expands into forests and grasslands, the odds of wildfire related property damage goes up.  You can’t fight back a wildfire that is encroaching on your home or business. However, you can take steps to protect it and evacuate when necessary. Learn how you can help protect your home or business from a wildfire.  Keep you and your family safe and know how and when to evacuate.

Before a Wildfire

Secure your property for a wildfire. One of the first steps you can take to defend against a wildfire is limiting the fuel sources around your home or business.

Within 30 Feet From Your Home

  • Clear combustible materials such as dried leaves and pine needles.

  • Cut down any tree limbs that are 15 feet or closer to the ground. This will help prevent the fire from spreading into your property’s tree line.

  • Remove any vines or vegetation that is on the side of your house or business.

  • Place any flammable lawn furniture in storage when not in use.

  • Opt for non-flammable decor, such as gravel as opposed to wood chips.

Within 100 to 30 Feet From Your Home

  • Create “fuel breaks” in your property. Hopefully, these areas will help stop the spread of a fire. These can be gravel pathways or driveways.

  • Cut any trees branches that are 8 feet or closer to the ground.

  • Clear combustible vegetation.

Within 200 to 100 Feet From Your Home

  • Place any stacked firewood or scrap wood.

  • Continue to clear combustible vegetation.

  • Plant trees far enough apart so their branches do not touch.

Prepare your home or business for a wildfire. If possible, use Class A roofing material. This includes tile, slate, or asphalt. You can also use Class B pressure-treated shingles or shakes. Make sure that you have smoke alarms near every bedroom or office and in each zone of your house or business. Test smoke alarms monthly and change their batteries annually. Also, consider installing fire sprinklers. In some areas, fire sprinklers are mandatory for businesses. Outside your home, make sure you have enough garden hose available to reach any part of your property. Designate water sources and make sure that the fire department can access them if they need to. Water sources are areas such as swimming pools, ponds, lakes, wells and fire hydrants.

Create an emergency escape plan. Speak to town officials to learn what the evacuation route is for your area. Discuss this evacuation route with everyone in your family and your employees. Ensure family members who live nearby know the route and have means of transportation. Also, stay informed by signing up for emergency text or alert messages from your town. Finally, don’t forget to create an emergency kit.

During a Wildfire

Prepare to evacuate. Listen to emergency channels and know the status of the fire. Put emergency supplies and must-have items in the car so you can evacuate quickly. Evacuate immediately if told to do so. If you have time, there are steps you can take to help protect your property when you evacuate. These steps include:

  • Moving furniture to the center of rooms and taking down drapes and curtains to prevent combustion.

  • Closing all windows and doors to prevent drafts and reduce heat.

  • Shutting off natural gas from its source.

  • Turning on all lights in your property so that firefighters can more easily see it through smoke.

Evacuate Safely. Remain calm while evacuating. If you’re driving, roll up your windows and close the air vents. The smoke from the fire can get into your car, irritate your eyes and cause breathing problems. Also, turn your headlights on and keep your doors unlocked. In the event that something happens to you while driving, locked doors can slow your rescue.

After a Wildfire

Return only when it is safe. Do not go back to your property until officials declare it safe to do so. Watch out for ash pits and hot spots. Even after a fire is extinguished, small fires can flare up without warning. Check your house and surrounding property for hot spots and extinguish them immediately. Also, be on the lookout for ash pits. These are holes filled with hot ashes left by burned trees. Mark ash pits to help prevent others from falling into them and injuring themselves.

Document the damage. Take photos and video and make a written list documenting your damaged property. Contact your insurance company immediately to report the damage.

Wildfires are some of the most destructive forces of nature. There isn’t much that can be done to deter a wildfire’s path. Fortunately, there are ways to help mitigate property damage and keep your employees and loved ones safe. By following the information in this article, you can help increase your chances of prevailing through a wildfire.

Article courtesy of The Hartford

 

Safety of property and person is an inherent part of our business.  On this page, we post safety information that is relevant to both.  If you have any suggestions for topics, we welcome your input.Safety of property and person is an inherent part of our business.  On this page, we post safety information that is relevant to both.  If you have any suggestions for topics, we welcome your input.

 

 

 

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