Keep Your Focus on Safety This Summer

June is National Safety Month. With that in mind, here are three areas where you can up your safety quotient. (Visit the NSC website for more information and downloadable resources.)

Emergency Preparedness

Whether caused by a natural disaster, health issue or an accident, emergencies can happen at any time. And even with 9-1-1, there’s still a time lag between your call and the arrival of emergency personnel.

Here are three strategies that can improve your emergency preparedness level:

  • Take some Red Cross courses— First Aid, CPR and AED classes will help prepare you for the unexpected.
  • Develop a disaster plan—Don’t wait until a tornado, flood or earthquake is in the offing. Plan ahead so you know what to do and where to go if dangerous weather conditions threaten. Ready.gov has tips and downloadable pdfs.
  • Make a home disaster preparedness kit —Your kit includes items you’ll need if you have to evacuate. Add information about your medical history—download the free My Personal Medication Record pdf from the AARP in English or Spanish.

Falls

According to NSC’s Injury Facts 2017, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults age 65 and older and among the most common causes of traumatic brain injury. While some falls can be caused by physiological issues (muscle weakness, dizziness, impaired vision), others can be the result of avoidable dangers.

Here are three common problems that can increase your fall risk:

  • Improper or loose footwear—Loose-fitting slippers, high heels or footwear that doesn’t match the weather conditions can cause instability when you walk. Wear properly-fitting footgear both in and out of the house to provide support and stability.
  • Poor lighting—If you can’t see where you’re going, you’re more likely to trip over obstacles or miss steps. Nightlights and adequately illuminated entrances, exits and stairways can help you see where you’re going.
  • Loose rugs and floor clutter—Throw rugs that move when you walk on them and clutter impeding your path as you walk can result in slips and falls. Keep pathways clear, and either remove throw rugs or use carpet tape or a nonslip rug.

Driving

The numbers highlight the problem: every 7 seconds, someone is injured in a car crash and every 15 minutes, someone is killed.

Here are three conditions that can increase the risk of injury or death from a car crash:

  • Distracted Driving—Using your cell phone, dining while driving, or even just chatting with other passengers can take your eyes off the road long enough for a crash to occur. As for texting, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, noting that, at 55 mph, that’s the same as driving down a football field with closed eyes. Avoid distractions and give the road your full attention.
  • Impaired Driving—Whether the cause is alcohol, medication or drugs, the result is the same: your driving ability is impaired, putting you, your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers at risk. Hand over the keys to a sober driver or call a cab to keep yourself and those around you safe.
  • Fatigued Driving—According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adults in the U.S. have driven while drowsy and around one-third of people have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. Among the statistics on the Insurance Information Institute website are that 21 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in severe injury and 6 percent of all crashes, involved a drowsy driver, with drowsy-driving crashes occurring most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon. Signs include trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, yawning constantly, bobbing your head, drifting from your lane and not recalling the last stretch you just drove. If this occurs, pull off the road and take a nap.