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Summer Safety: Stay Safe in the Water

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

duck drowned - failure and SOS concept

Part 3 of a 3-part Series about Summer Safety

This summer, whether you plan to enjoy a stay-cation or leave your house for a short or extended period of time, there are several safety-related things to consider. The first two entries in our three-part series covered safety at home and safety while traveling. In this final post about summer safety, we will focus on how to be water safe.

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools in the United States each year. The six most common causes of drowning include:

  1. Inability to swim
  2. Absence of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access
  3. Lack of close supervision of non-swimmers and/or weak swimmers
  4. Omission of life jackets
  5. Use of alcohol
  6. Seizure-related disorders

Drowning is as significant a concern in oceans as it is in home and public swimming pools and hot tubs. The United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) says the major causes of ocean-related accidents are weather-related swells and rip currents. In 2014, there were:

  • 90,964 swimmers rescued near U.S. beaches
  • 4,225 boat rescues and 5,240 boat assistsRed lifebuoy hanging on railings of safety rescue boat
  • 7,652,479 preventive actions
  • 341,143 medical aid incidents
  • 93 unguarded drownings
  • 19 guarded drownings
  • 35 other water-related fatalities

So, this summer, take steps to make water safety a priority:

  • Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Swim with a buddy. Never swim alone.
  • Make sure that everyone in your family knows how to swim well. Enroll your kids in age-appropriate classes.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water.
  • Do not trust your child’s life to someone else.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water. Water wings are insufficient to prevent drowning.
  • Do not rely on life jackets, alone.
  • Set firm rules for your family members. Make sure children always ask permission before going near the water.
  • Always be cautious around natural bodies of water—even if you do not intend to swim.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Water and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

  • For safety as well as reduced risk of liability, install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub.
  • Use pool barriers that enclose the entire pool area, with 4-feet high fences and self-closing gates. Install self-latching gates that open outward, away from the pool. Latches should be high enough to remain well out of reach for a small child.
  • Take safety precautions for above-ground and even inflatable pools. Remove access ladders when not in use and cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Store or distance anything that could potentially provide access to a pool, such as outdoor furniture, trees, walls or swing-sets.

Maintain Constant Supervision

  • Actively supervise kids whenever they are around water. Don’t rely on a lifeguard or other swimmers or sunbathers to supervise your kids.
  • Stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

What to do in an Actual Emergency

  1. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  2. Call 911.
  3. If you own a home pool or hot tub, make sure you have easy access to appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

The smartest thing to do is to prepare well in advance of any actual emergency. Enroll in water safety, first aid or CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies. We hope this blog post will motivate you to do whatever it takes this summer to #BeSafe in and around the water. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives.

How to #BeSafe this Summer

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
Keep calm and enjoy summer

#BeSafe this Summer

Summertime equates to fun. Barbecues, backyard parties, picnics, swimming pools and travel beckon. But your fun in the sun could be short-lived if you fail to take summertime safety precautions. To help you make the summer of 2015 your best ever, we have compiled some tips to help you avoid potential pitfalls that could dampen your joy.

Summertime Safety Starts at Home

Whether you plan to enjoy a staycation or leave your house for a short or extended period of time, there are several things to consider, which will keep your home safe this summer. In this three-part series, we will cover ways to protect yourself in the summer whether you plan to leave or stay at home. In the next several blog posts, we will cover safety at home, while traveling, and in and around water.

Beach accessories on the wood background.

This week, we will focus on ways to make your home safe.

  • If you plan to leave for vacation, make copies of all of your important information, so you will have everything on hand. For example, record your credit card account numbers as well as customer service phone numbers in case you notice fraudulent activity on your statements while you are away from home. Also, don’t forget to pack vital documents such as insurance cards, passports and emergency contacts.
  • Before you leave, lock every door and window in your home. And, if applicable, call your alarm company to let them know you will be on vacation. This is critical even if your trip is short. According to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day. So homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home—even if they plan to be gone for only a few hours.
  • No matter how excited you are to share your travel experiences on social media, resist the urge to post everything on Facebook or Twitter. Thieves have learned to check out social media posts to determine targets of opportunity. When it comes to your house, keep them guessing.
  • Don’t leave clues about your absence on your front porch. Nothing says “empty house” more than having stacks of newspapers on the porch or mail hanging out of an overstuffed box. You can avoid both by putting a vacation hold on subscriptions as well as mail.
  • Make your home as unattractive to burglars as possible. Make sure shrubs are well trimmed, so there is nowhere for thieves to hide. Consider installing a security system with cameras to deter would-be robbers.
  • Take steps to make sure your house is as difficult as possible to break into.
    1. Don’t ever hide a key under the mat or above the door.
    2. Use heavy, solid doors with deadbolt locks.
    3. Don’t forget about doors between an attached garage and the house. Purchase and install as heavy duty equipment on it as you do for the front and back doors.
    4. Install poles so windows and sliding glass doors won’t slide.
    5. Light up your house with motion sensors and floodlights. Thieves don’t like to operate on stage. So lighting is an inexpensive way to burglar-proof your home.
    6. Prominently display security signs…even if you don’t subscribe to a security system. The idea is to deter as many would-be thieves as possible.
    7. If you do subscribe to a security system, don’t write your passcode on a post-it and put it next to your keypad. Doing so will defeat the entire purpose of having the system.

Check back next week, when we will cover personal safety relative to summer travel. We hope this blog post will motivate you to do whatever it takes to #BeSafe. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives.

Visit rjwestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Summer Safety Tips

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Lifebuoy and help conceptEach June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as a time to bring attention to key safety issues. Thousands of organizations across the country are taking part in the campaign to reduce the risk of the safety issues. Safety is a high priority for those of us at the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. In fact, our motto, Be Safe, highlights the priority we put on safety.

Last week, our blog covered several safety issues, including ending prescription drug abuse; preventing slips, trips and falls; being aware of surroundings; and ending distracted driving. This week, we will continue our two-part series by focusing on summer safety. After all; it’s only fitting that we cover the all-important topic before the official start of summer on June 21 and while 4th of July plans are still in the making.

BE SAFE in the Water 

Unfortunately, water-related deaths (including swimming and water-transport) are all too common in the U.S.:

  • More than one in five drowning victims are children 14-years-old and younger.
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another four receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion-related injuries.
  • Most drowning and near-drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub.
  • According to the CDC, 80 percent of the people who drown are males.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.

National Safety Month firedog

To prevent water-related injury or death, prepare:

  1. If you or anyone in your family does not know how to swim, enroll them in lessons immediately.
  2. If you own a hot tub or pool, install a fence with a locked gate or a pad-locked cover.
  3. Supervise children at all times.

BE SAFE in the Sun

The drawback about many fun summer activities is that they come at a price– UV exposure.

And that is detrimental because one in five Americans develops skin cancer during their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, over time, excess UV radiation can cause skin cancer, eye damage, immune system suppression, and premature aging. Here are some steps to take to keep you sun safe:

  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher.
  • If you have fair skin or light hair, you are more susceptible to the sun’s rays and should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
  • Choose sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum,” meaning that it protects against two types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB.
  • Use waterproof sunscreen to make sure it stays on longer, even if you perspire or get wet.
  • Reapply sunscreen often – usually every two hours, but sooner if you’ve been swimming or are perspiring heavily.
  • Cover your whole body. Remember those areas that can be easy to forget, such as your ears, eyelids, lips, nose, hands, feet, and the top of your head.
  • Seek shade or avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10am – 4pm. The sun is strongest during those hours, even on cloudy days.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to help shade your eyes, ears and head.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection to safeguard your eyes.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that protects a larger area of your skin such as long-sleeve shirts or long pants. Tightly woven fabrics in dark or bright colors are best.

BE SAFE in Hot Weather

Heat illness includes a range of disorders that result when your body is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Anybody not accustomed to hot weather is at risk of suffering from heatstroke (the most serious and life-threatening heat-related illness) as well as heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

Heatstroke in vehicles has become an increasing issue for young children, causing 43 fatalities in 2013, according to Safe Kids. Children overheat three to five times faster than adults, making hot cars lethal in just minutes. Take a second to read more on this growing issue and protect your children.

BE SAFE around Fireworks

In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 8,600 people treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 39 percent of whom were under 15 years of age

The National Fire Protection Association and the National Council on Fireworks Safety  recommend these tips to keep you safe around fireworks:

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. Even if the use of fireworks is legal in your community, fireworks are far too dangerous for amateurs. Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • After the firework display, don’ let children pick up fireworks that may be left over. They could still be active.
  • Closely supervise children and teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Do not ever allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • If you absolutely must use fireworks, use them outdoors only and only if they are legal in your city.
  • Keep water at the ready whenever you are shooting fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Never mix alcohol and fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

While you are enjoying activities over the next few months, whether they take you to the water or in the sun, #BeSummerSafe. When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.