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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teaching children about 911 CPR has been proven to save lives In January, 3-year-old Jaden Bolli, of Maple Shade, N.J. dialed 911 when his grandmother collapsed at home. The toddler had learned how to call emergency services just days before from his mother. The boy told the dispatcher that it was his grandmother’s blood sugar. However, she really had suffered a stroke. Paramedics arrived in time and were able to help the woman. Bolli saved his grandma’s life. A parent never knows when an emergency will strike. His or her only hope may be the fast-thinking action of a young child who has called for help. Many parents wonder when the right time is for teaching youngsters about 911 or calling for emergency services. It doesn’t have to be based on age but rather maturity level. A mature 3-year-old may be able to grasp the concept and learn how to use the phone. However, parents may have to wait a little longer for a less mature child. Some adults are apprehensive about teaching the 911 lesson because they fear a child may dial the number by accident or even on purpose when there is no emergency. Many a police officer has responded to a call only to find that a child has made the call. Some areas will give individuals a warning. Others may issue a fine if 911 is dialed too many times without an emergency. This can be a deterrent to teaching about

calling the police. However, with proper instruction, many children can grasp the difference between using 911 in the right way vs. the wrong way. 1) Explain the purpose of 911. It is a method of contacting the police, fire department or ambulance when there is an emergency only. An emergency is when Mom, Dad or someone else in the house is hurt and can’t get up; there is a fire; or the police are needed, like if there is a burglar or a bad fight. 2) Indicate that the adults in the house will dial the phone whenever possible if there is an emergency. The child is learning only in case Mom or Dad can’t get to the phone. 3) Discuss the buttons on the phone. Show the child how to push them in the right order. 4) Now may be the time to also teach the child his or her full name and address. This is something many kindergartners are urged to know. 5) Roll-play with the child. Go over instances that are emergencies and non-emergencies so he or she will understand the differences between both and when 911 may be needed. Again, stress the importance that 911 should not be dialed just for fun. Mommy is not sick if she simply has a headache! With time, children can grasp the concept of 911 and be a lifesaver at a time when an adult cannot reach the phone.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a life-saving method that has prevented the deaths of scores of individuals throughout the centuries. CPR is often used to keep a person alive until more in-depth medical attention can be provided. It’s an essential skill to know and can be a lifesaver for people of all ages. The American Heart Association reports that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Despite these statistics, less than one-third of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. It could be because many people still do not know how to perform it. CPR has been around since 1740, when the Paris Academy of Sciences officially recommended mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for drowning victims. In 1891, Dr. Friedrich Maass performed the first documented chest compression in humans. Roughly 10 years later, successful chest compressions were used in human resuscitation. In the 1950s, it was determined that exhaled air was enough to provide oxygenation of another person. Peter Safar and James Elan, thusly, invented mouth-to-mouth resus-

citation. In 1960, the American Red Cross officially adopted cardiopulmonary resuscitation and began to teach the public the techniques. The ability to do CPR is not based on age but rather body strength. Studies have shown that children as young as 9 years old can learn and retain CPR skills. It’s important to keep in mind that while CPR can keep a person alive, Automated External Defibrillators (AED) devices are needed to restore a natural heart rhythm to an individual who has suffered from cardiac arrest. Unless resuscitation is provided within minutes of collapse, an individual can rarely be saved. CPR training courses are provided for individuals at many places, often free of charge. Some hospitals even offer CPR training to new parents. Check with a hospital, medical provider or police station on where CPR can be learned.

Performing CPR For those who want to know the basics of CPR, follow these guidelines, courtesy of The Mayo Clinic. Think ABC — airway, breathing and circulation — to remember the steps explained below. Move quickly through

airway and breathing to begin chest compressions.

Clear the airway 1) Put the person on his or her back on a firm surface. 2) Kneel next to the person’s neck and shoulders. 3) Open the person’s airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Put your palm on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back. Then with the other hand, gently lift the chin forward to open the airway. 4) Check for normal breathing, taking no more than five or 10 seconds. Look for chest motion, listen for normal breath sounds and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ear. Gasping is not considered to be normal breathing. If the person isn’t breathing normally and you are trained in CPR, begin mouth-to-mouth breathing. If you believe the person is unconscious from a heart attack and you haven’t been trained in emergency procedures, skip mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing and proceed directly to chest compressions.

Breathe for the person Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or Please see CPR, page 3


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’11 EmErgEncy Handbook

sunDay, sepTember 25, 2011


Dealing with disaster: Are you fully prepared?

(ARA) — Disaster can happen quickly and without warning. Would you and your family be ready in the event of an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or tornado? “Planning makes a big difference in coping with disaster,” says Charles Valinotti, senior vice president of insurer QBE. “The better prepared you are, the better you can cope in the aftermath of an emergency.” Fire and medical are the two most common emergencies, Valinotti says, so it’s important to teach children to call 9-1-1 or if you don’t live in a 9-1-1 service area,

to post emergency numbers by your home phone. Cellphones should contain up-to-date contact numbers so emergency personnel can get hold of family members if you’re unable to. Here are other tips to help prepare you to deal with disaster: • Put together an emergency plan. Meet with your family to discuss the various emergencies that could happen and what should be done in each case. Valinotti suggests developing an emergency communication plan if family members are separated during floods,

storms or other disasters. If you have to evacuate your home, plan several escape routes in case roads are blocked or closed. Practice your plan and update it each year. • Hold your own annual inspection. Each year, take a close look at your home to identify potential hazards that could cause injury or damage in a disaster or weather-related emergency. “Anything that can fall, break, move or cause a fire is a hazard,” Valinotti says. He recommends securing your water heater and tall or heavy furniture, moving heavy

items to lower shelves, and installing locks on cabinet doors. • Be prepared yearround. Valinotti recommends keeping a disaster supplies kit — containing at least a one-week supply of food and bottled water — in your home at all times, replacing it every six months. This kit should stay in a designated place for easy access in case you need to be confined to your home for an extended period. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept. Battery-operated radios, candles and flashlights should also be

on hand if there’s a power outage. He recommends keeping an emergency supply kit in vehicles, as well, stocked with food, water, first aid supplies, flares and jumper cables. In addition, he says, “It’s a good idea to keep vehicles well maintained and full of gas in case a quick evacuation is needed.” • Regularly review your insurance. Review your insurance policies and make sure you’re covered for replacement value — not just market value — if your house is destroyed. It’s worth checking out flood insurance, even if your home

is located in an area that’s low risk for flooding. Find out more at And if disaster strikes, know how to get in touch with your insurance agent. “Many agents are using social media like Twitter and Facebook to connect with their customers,” Valinotti says. “Text messaging is a great tool in a crisis, so it’s important that your agent has your cellphone number.” Make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. Planning and practice can go a long way in protecting you and your family in a disaster.


rescue breaths. Give the first rescue breath — lasting one second — and watch to see if the chest rises. If it does rise, give the second breath. If the chest does not rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath. 3) Begin chest compressions to restore circulation.

hand over the center of the person’s chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands. 2) Use your upper body weight (not just your arms) as you push straight down on (compress) the chest 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters). Push hard at a rate of 100 compressions a minute. 3) After 30 compressions,

tilt the head back and lift the chin up to open the airway. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Pinch the nose shut and breathe into the mouth for one second. If the chest rises, give a second rescue breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second rescue breath. That’s one cycle. If someone else is available, ask that person to give two breaths after you do 30 compressions. If you’re not trained

in CPR and feel comfortable performing only chest compressions, skip rescue breathing and continue chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions a minute until medical personnel arrive. 4) If the person has not begun moving after five cycles (about two minutes) and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is available, apply it and follow the prompts. Administer one shock, then resume CPR — starting with chest com-

pressions — for two more minutes before administering a second shock. If you’re not trained to use an AED, a 911 operator may be able to guide you in its use. Use pediatric pads, if available, for children ages 1 to 8. Do not use an AED for babies younger than age 1. If an AED isn’t available, go to step 5 below. 5) Continue CPR until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over.

FROM PAGE TWO mouth-to-nose breathing if the mouth is seriously injured or can’t be opened. 1) With the airway open (using the head-tilt, chinlift maneuver), pinch the nostrils shut for mouth-tomouth breathing and cover the person’s mouth with yours, making a seal. 2) Prepare to give two

Restore blood circulation 1) Place the heel of one

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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plan ahead for natural disasters wherever you are

Mother Nature can wreak havoc on homes. Prepared homeowners can take precautions to minimize damage as much as possible.

Natural disasters can strike without warning, leaving unsuspecting homeowners with thousands of dollars in home damage. Taking precautionary steps by planning ahead for potential harsh weather can help save heartache and money. No one is safe from a natural disaster. Weatherrelated damage can occur no matter where a person lives. Heavy rains, dam failures, tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, and wildfires are just some of the potentially tragic tricks up Mother Nature’s sleeve. Being prepared can mean the difference in saving lives and material belongings.

Flash flooding is the leading cause of weatherrelated deaths in the U.S., and flooding of homes accounts for the large majority of damage to properties across the country. It is important for homeowners to know that damage to the home from flooding is very rarely covered by a traditional home insurance policy. If a home is in a flood zone, close to a water source or even simply in an area with a high water table, the purchase of flood insurance can be a lifesaver. While it cannot prevent belongings from being damaged in a flood, it will mean that items can be replaced and damage can be repaired without

significant out-of-pocket expenses. Homeowners can take other steps to protect their homes from water damage. For those with basements, the installation of a French drainage system and a sump pump can help prevent water accumulation on the bottom level of the home. Individuals should also ensure their homes are properly graded so that rainwater drains away from the house instead of toward it. Hurricanes are another means by which weather can do a great deal of damage to homes. Fortunately, hurricanes Please see NATURE, page 5

The Daily DispaTch


FROM PAGE FOUR are often forecasted well in advance and targeted areas are forewarned. This means that homeowners can prepare homes for the weather event. Covering windows and glass sliding doors securely with plywood is one of the precautionary steps homeowners can take in the event a hurricane is on the way. Taping windows is ineffective and will not prevent blowing debris from crashing through window glass. Metal hurricane shutters are also effective and should be a part of home exterior for those who live in areas frequently struck by hurricanes. Homeowners should

remove dead or weakened tree branches so they don’t fall on the home. They should also know if the house is located in a zone that could be flooded by a storm surge, which might necessitate evacuation. Storms with high winds, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, should be taken seriously. It’s important to have an evacuation plan if the storm is too strong to ride out at home. Otherwise, a windowless room or inside closet can be a place to retreat to until the storm passes. Winter storms can also cause damage. Snow and ice can accumulate on roofs, causing them to collapse under the weight. Sloped, metal roofing is ideal for homeowners who live in areas that see high accumulations of snow

’11 EmErgEncy Handbook each season. The snow will slide off the roof. It’s also important to have adequate attic or upstairs insulation. That’s because snow that’s on a roof that is improperly insulated can melt from the heat of the home, then refreeze. This can cause leaks or ice dams, further damaging the home. Here are other safety procedures homeowners can take. • Store bottled water, canned foods and batteries in the home for emergencies. Should utilities be shut off, this ensures residents will have food and water and the use of flashlights should things go dark. • Have a family meeting and discuss evacuation routes and contingency plans. Keep copies of im-

portant phone numbers for banking, credit card companies, utility services, etc., so all information will be on hand should the home be evacuated. • Pack a go-bag with food, water, money, a firstaid kit, etc. • Routinely inspect the house for weak areas that

sunDay, sepTember 25, 2011

can be damaged in bad weather. Be sure the foundation, roof, siding, and downspouts are in good working order. • If a home is known to be in a weather-prone area, talk with contractors to determine which modifications can be made to the home to help prevent

excessive damage. Hurricane-grade siding, roofing and window coverings may be a solution. • Identify a safe room in the home. As previously mentioned, this should be a windowless room, preferably on a concrete slab. It may be the basement or the garage.

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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Travelers should play it safe during road trips

Proper water safety for children

Planning a road trip is an undertaking thousands make every year. A road trip can be the ideal way to spend a vacation and see the country. Just as important as the route and destinations are the safety precautions drivers should take. Family road trips have become the rage again. And even teenagers and young adults are discovering the mystique of seeing the world from the open road. Despite fuel prices, road trips can still be an economical way to travel and spend time together with friends and family. While historically it may have been safe and standard protocol to pull over to the side of the road just about anywhere on a road trip, these days road-trippers need to be more cautious about their surroundings. To make the road trip memorable and as safe as possible, consider these tips.

(ARA) — Kids and water play go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sadly, what is a fun, healthy activity for most children, too often brings tragedy and heartbreak for others. Each year, more than 3,400 people drown in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another four are injured in nonfatal drownings, CDC statistics show. Many of the

• Drive during the day. Do the bulk of the driving, eating, rest-stop visits, and refueling during the day. At night, potential crooks are more likely to surface. In the daylight, it’s easier to assess if an area is safe to stop. Try to be in a motel or rest area by sunset. • Don’t rush the trip. Follow speed limits on the roadways. Some areas have stricter laws regarding speeding and traffic violations. Road-trippers don’t want to end up in jail or with a fine when they are supposed to be enjoying the ride. Also, why rush by scenic areas that can contribute to the enjoyment of the trip? • Share travel plans with others. If a road trip will last several days and take travelers through many different towns and on several roads, it pays to share the itinerary with someone staying behind. This way if that person hasn’t heard from

the road warriors for some time, he or she can check in and verify safety. This person is also available in the event of an emergency. • Keep the fuel tank full. There are a few things worse than running out of gas on a desolate road. Drivers who keep the gas tank at least half full at all times will be sure they have enough fuel to make it to the next service station. • Make stops at well-populated areas. Well-maintained, bustling areas tend to be safer than those with only a few people around. Avoid gas stations and restaurants that are in the middle of nowhere. • Always be aware of surroundings. Just because an area looks safe and friendly doesn’t mean a traveler should let his or her guard down. Know who is around and be cautious of money and belongings at all times. The goal is to arrive at the destination safely and happily.

children who survive will face lifetimes of long-term disabilities. Typically, when a child drowns, the parent or caregiver has been away from the child for less than five minutes according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “The single most effective thing parents can do to protect their children from drowning is to ensure they know how to swim,” says Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “Learning how to swim is not only a fun way to encourage exercise, it can save a child’s life.” Unfortunately, lack of Please see WATER, page 7

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FROM PAGE SIX swimming knowledge is common among American children, especially among minority populations. In fact, seven out of every 10 African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, according to a national research study by USA Swimming and the University of Memphis. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports. To help combat these statistics, the USA Swimming Foundation has granted more than $1.5 million dollars to communities across the nation to help provide free or

discounted lessons so that all children will have the opportunity to learn to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation offers parents five tips for keeping children safe in and around water this summer: 1) Teach children to swim. It’s the best way to be safer in the water. Research shows that parents are the most influential factors in whether or not a child learns to swim. Only 13 percent of children from non-swimming households will ever learn to swim, according to national research conducted by the University of Memphis for USA Swimming. 2) Make sure a responsible adult is watching the water at all times. Drowning can be completely silent, and most child

’11 EmErgEncy Handbook drownings occur when the victim has been out of sight for less than five minutes. 3) Remind kids to always obey the rules of the pool, not to jump on or dunk other swimmers, and not to jump or dive unless they know how deep the water is. 4) Require kids to always swim with a buddy. 5) Remember, you don’t have to be at a pool to drown. Lakes, rivers, large puddles and any other bodies of water also require caution. Make sure your child knows how to swim, whether or not they’ll be around a pool. “Swimming is unique in that there is a lifesaving element to it — it can be fun and competitive, but learning to swim can also save a life,” Hesse

says. “It’s a skill every child needs, and one that every child should have

sunDay, sepTember 25, 2011

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Remind kids to always obey the rules of the pool, not to jump on or dunk other swimmers, and not to jump or dive unless they know how deep the water is.

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’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Taking temperatures: What parents should know about fevers (ARA) — What parent hasn’t had the experience of trying to comfort a feverish child crying in the night? After feeling a warm forehead, taking the child’s temperature is the first logical step. Many parents have questions about how to appropriately and effectively treat a feverish child, according to a clinical report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Start by staying calm and developing a healthy respect for fever, says Dr. Laura Jana, a pediatrician and award winning co-author of “Heading Home with Your Newborn.”

“While any fever in the newborn period needs to be taken seriously and discussed with a health professional, elevated temperatures in older children need not automatically send parents into emergency mode,” said Jana.

Overcoming the fever fear factor In healthy kids, fevers don’t always indicate something serious. And not all fevers need to be treated with feverreducing medication. High fevers, however, can make a child uncomfortable and worsen problems such as

Parents and pediatricians alike all-too-often treat fever based on the numbers, rather than assessing a child’s overall comfort level, reports the AAP. Fever is a symptom, not an illness of its own. dehydration. It’s therefore important for parents to know how to accurately assess the situation when

fever sets in — which includes knowing how to take an accurate temperature and whether or not

anything needs to be done about it. • Normal body temperature is about 98.6 degrees.

• A temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher is typically defined as a fever. • For newborns with fevers, parents need to seek immediate medical advice or attention from health care professionals. A rectal thermometer is the standard for use with newborns. Other types of thermometers, including temporal artery thermometers, are also accurate and readily available for taking the temperature of older infants and children. It’s important to know that body temperature readings can vary dependPlease see FEVERS, page 9

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fevers during the first few months of an infant’s life are likely to be caused by common cold viruses, infants’ immature immune systems put them at greater risk of having a more serious underlying infection. The AAP recommends use of a rectal thermometer for newborns because the resulting readings are considered the most accurate measurement of a newborn’s core body temperature.

FROM PAGE EIGHT ing on where the temperature is taken. Fever’s definition can vary slightly depending upon where the reading is taken. Let your doctor know the location where you took the temperature. “Keep in mind a fever is often the body’s way of showing it is fighting infection, so parents should check children for other symptoms of illness in addition to monitoring their temperature,” Jana says.

Fever in newborns A newborn with a fever requires special precautions. While most

’11 Emergency Handbook bacteria or other fevercausing agents trigger the hypothalamus to raise the body’s set point. Most people’s temperatures change slightly during the course of a day. Temperatures are usually a little lower in the morning and a little higher in the evening and can fluctuate as kids run around and play. In general, infants and young children have much more sensitive “thermostats” than adults.

What causes fevers? Treating fevers A part of the brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature — similar to the way a thermostat controls the temperature in a building. Body temperatures rise when viruses,

Parents and pediatricians alike all-too-often treat fever based on the numbers, rather than assessing a child’s overall comfort level, reports the AAP. Fever is a symptom, not an illness of its own. It

can actually serve a useful purpose in helping the body fight infection, so it doesn’t always need to be treated, unless it is affecting a child’s health or comfort. Almost all fever-reducing medications recommended for infants and children contain either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It’s best

Sunday, September 25, 2011

to take the advice of physicians on which to use and under what circumstances. Medications meant for infants come in liquid form or as rectal suppositories and the dosage is based on the baby’s weight. Parents should always check the dosing instructions from the manufacturer and gain con-

firmation from physicians if any confusion arises. Aspirin should never be given to newborns, infants or children except in rare and specific cases as determined by physicians, as it has the potential to cause Reye syndrome, a serious illness that can result in brain and liver damage.

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’11 Emergency Handbook

Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke (ARA) — Each year, 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. It is leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. Even more alarming is that strokes occur more often and are deadlier for Hispanics — including young and middle-aged adults — than for other races and ethnicities. In fact, the average age for strokes among Hispanics is 67, considerably younger than for white Americans. Not all strokes are deadly. With rapid arrival at the hospital, there is a higher chance for people to reduce long-term disability and death. It is essential that people know the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do when they

witness someone having a stroke. In treating stroke, every minute counts. Treatments are available that greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke. Knowing the symptoms of a stroke, making note of the time of the first stroke symptoms, and getting to the hospital quickly — within 60 minutes if possible — can help spare someone from serious longterm disability. “Fast action is crucial in reducing the long-term disabilities and deaths associated with stroke,” says Dr. Walter J. Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and

Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. “If you recognize a sign or symptom of stroke in your friend or loved one, dial 9-1-1 immediately.” A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells die when deprived of oxygen and nutrients provided by blood. Because stroke injures the brain, a person suffering a stroke may not realize what is happening. This is why NINDS recommends that bystanders act rapidly if they recognize any of the following signs of a stroke: • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Please see STROKE, page 13

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’11 EmErgEncy Handbook


sunDay, sepTember 25, 2011

Avoid youth equipment accidents: Develop a ‘safety first’ attitude (ARA) — The change of seasons from the warm summer months to the fall harvest season is one of the most beautiful times on the farm. Crops are in full swing, fruit is abundant and families often make annual trips to local farms and festivals during this time. Whether you live on a farm or plan on visiting one, now is the perfect time to remind children about important safety tips for working and playing around equipment. Each year more than 15,000 children who visit, live or work on farms or ranches are injured, and more than 100 children die of agriculture-related injuries in the United States alone, according to

the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. With staggering statistics like these, it’s time to make a change by developing a “safety first” attitude for you and your entire family. “Playing and working around equipment is second nature for some older youth, but no matter how carefree they may feel, equipment is meant for experienced adult operators. Children of all ages need to be extremely careful around any type of equipment,” says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing for Kubota Tractor Corp. “The change of seasons means it is a good time to talk safety, and we encourage parents to regularly sit down and remind

kids that tractors, lawn and garden equipment and utility vehicles are tools and not toys.” Talking to your family about adopting a “safety first” attitude With youth safety in mind, Kubota Tractor Corporation offers the following tips to help equipment owners and operators start the safety conversation with kids: • Stop, look and listen when playing outside, especially on the farm, and always be aware of your surroundings. • Farm equipment is not safe to ride on even when an adult is present. • Tractors are not toys. They are powerful machines only to be used by

adults who are thoroughly familiar with the equipment. • Children should never ride on a tractor; a tractor only has one seat and that seat is intended for the

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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Include your pets in your evacuation and disaster planning (ARA) — All too often when a disaster strikes, our four-legged friends are left to fend for themselves and sometimes end up lost, injured or killed. The best way to avoid this tragic scenario is to have a well-thought-out disaster plan that includes Fido, so you know where to go and what to take. “Many public shelters that are set up for disaster victims don’t accept pets so you need to find out in advance which shelters or hotels along your evacuation route will accept animals,” says Lyman Munson, vice president of risk services for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. “It is tragic, but people have actually died because they were ordered to evacuate a disaster area but stayed because they did not want to leave their pets.”

With so many different potential disasters, advance planning is the best way for everyone to survive a catastrophe and get their lives back to normal as soon as possible. Fireman’s Fund offers the following tips to protect your pets in the event of a disaster: 1) Have a disaster plan. Put together a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians along your evacuation route and outside your area that might be able to shelter your pets in an emergency. Talk to your vet, the local humane society or the local emergency management agency for information regarding community evacuation plans that include pets. Make advance arrangements to have a friend or neighbor pick

up your pets in the event you are not at home when a disaster strikes. And, plan where you will meet or how you will reach each other. 2) Make a grab-and-go disaster kit for your pets. Just as you should have a disaster kit for your family, containing important papers and other key items, you should prepare a similar kit for your pets. It should at least contain the following items: • Medication and medical records (including proof of rabies vaccination) in a waterproof container. • Leashes, harnesses, crates and carriers for transporting your pet. • A muzzle, if your pet requires one. • Food and water for at least three days.

• Cat litter and litter box. • Comfort toys. • Recent photo of your pet in case you become separated. • Name and phone number of your veterinarian. 3) If you must evacuate, take your pets. Be prepared to leave early; do not wait for an official evacuation as you might be ordered to leave your pets behind. Make sure your pet is wearing up-to-date identification. Include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your area in case your pet gets lost and you cannot be reached. And mark the crate or carrier with similar information. Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier. 4) Even after the disaster, stay cautious. Once you return

to your home, do not allow your pets to roam loose right away. While you assess the damage, keep dogs on a leash and other animals in their carriers. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet may become disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations, so give them some time to get used to their “new” surroundings. Be patient. Try to get your pets back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be on the lookout for stress-related behavioral problems; if these persist, talk to your veterinarian. “Planning for your pets ahead of time will relieve stress and help you and your family to focus on safety during and after a disaster,” says Munson. “Safety should be your primary consideration.”

The Daily Dispatch


FROM PAGE TEN • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body). • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech. • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination. • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. Making lifestyle changes can help prevent stroke. NINDS is addressing the high mortality rate of stroke by educating the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and its risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, family history of stroke, high cholesterol and being overweight. People are advised to talk to their doctors and discuss any concerns about the risk factors of stroke, and find out what they can do to address them. More information on stroke, including how to reduce risk factors, is available from the NINDS. Order free Spanish-language materials by calling (800) 352-9424 or by visiting

’11 Emergency Handbook

Window safety tips for a variety of hazards (MS) — How often should family fire drills be held? What type of glass should you have in windows to help prevent noise penetration and discourage intruders? The experts at Simonton Windows® offer fast tips for staying safe in your home and enjoying your windows: 1) Practice safety drills regularly. Small children tend to “hide” from fire, so make sure children are familiar with escape routes and know how to move quickly out of the home. 2) Keep furniture (including cribs), or anything children can climb, away from windows. 3) For homes with bedrooms on second floors or higher, make sure safety escape chain ladders are under the bed in every room. Practice operating the window with older children and show them how to use chain ladders. 4) If a door is not safe to exit through during a fire, exit

through an open window or use an escape ladder. Do not break the glass of the window, because it could cause injury. 5) If you live in a neighborhood with lots of active children, or one that is prone to crime, install windows with laminated glass — at least for the first floor of the home. In these units, two panes of glass are adhered to a durable plastic interlayer, much like a car windshield. So, if a stray baseball hits a window, the glass will shatter, but broken pieces remain adhered to the interlayer, preventing glass fallout inside the home. The plastic interlayer is also puncture-resistant, frustrating potential intruders. 6) Remember that window screens are only designed to keep insects outside — they will not support the weight of a child or family pet. 7) Looking to protect your home from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays? Request Low E glass in your windows to help reduce the fading of carpet, furniture and window treatments. 8) When windows are

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This bedroom showcases how furniture should be kept away from windows to prevent young children from climbing up and potentially getting out the window. opened for ventilation, only open what young children cannot reach, such as the top portion of a Simonton Double Hung window. 9) Before ordering windows for your home, make sure to examine the unit’s locking system. Multi-point

locks provide more protection against intruders and make it more difficult for curious young children to operate. 10) If you need to use window guards on the interior of your windows, make sure they are oper-

able and can be easily removed. Practice detaching the guards with children in case they need to exit through a window in an emergency. For more helpful window tips, visit www.simonton. com.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

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’11 Emergency Handbook

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

School sports: Tips to identify and treat concussions (ARA) — The crunch of pads followed by a tweet of a whistle, the thump of a basketball with a staccato of footfalls to accompany it, and even the thwack of a hockey puck against Plexiglass means one thing: school sports are in season. Coaches, parents and players are all getting ready for the game and practices are hard and grueling. But many sports involve contact and potential injuries, so coaches and parents need to educate themselves about serious injuries like concussions. At the professional level, more and more attention is being paid to the hard hits players are taking. The

Some states have passed laws on managing concussions. If you are a coach or parent of a younger athlete, make sure you educate yourself on the laws and concussion signs to keep the athlete safe. NFL is changing rules on helmet-to-helmet contact in hopes of reducing the number and severity of concussions suffered by

players. But, head injuries also happen at much lower levels of play, and can be very serious. “Coaches and parents

need to understand the extreme care that is needed when returning younger athletes to a game or practice who may have experienced a sports concussion,” says Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Neurology Section and also director of the University of Michigan’s Neurosport program. Signs of a concussion that can be observed during a game or practice are: • Behavior or personality change • False or imagined memories • Loss of consciousness • Empty stare • Disorientation

Athletes may also report the following when suffering a concussion: • Blurry vision • Confusion • Dizziness • Feeling hazy, foggy or groggy • Headache The American Academy of Neurology’s website at offers two online safety courses created by the University of Michigan Neurosport program and endorsed by the Academy to help high school and youth coaches recognize the signs of concussion and what to do if a player gets a head injury during a game. Each 20-minute safety course is free and a printable

certificate is available after passing the online quiz. Coaches Cards are also downloadable from the Academy’s website providing easy-to-access information on how to spot a concussion and what to do if a player experiences one. Coaches and players are encouraged to keep these cards with their athletic gear for easy access. Some states have passed laws on managing concussions. If you are a coach or parent of a younger athlete, make sure you educate yourself on the laws and concussion signs to keep the athlete safe. “If for any reason you Please see CONCUSSION, page 15

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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011



How to avoid do-it-yourself project injuries

suspect an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and be sure the athlete is carefully evaluated by a person trained in concussion management, such as a neurologist,” Kutcher says. “Rushing this part of the process may lead to a serious setback, or worsen the injury.” High school and youth sporting events are meant to get athletes playing the games they love. But, a head injury needs to be addressed very carefully in order to ensure the athlete returns to the field safely for many more games to be played, both now and well into the future.

Tough economic times call for even tougher measures — and for many homeowners this means getting hands-on with home improvement projects. Although DIY projects can save money in theory, they also may result in a trip to the hospital if safety precautions aren’t followed. According to recent statistics, 85 percent of homeowners are tackling projects around the house rather than hiring outside contractors. In this difficult economy, emergency rooms are seeing an influx of people coming in with injuries ranging from lacerations to puncture wounds from nail guns.


John and Jane Do-ItYourselfer has easy access to home-improvement supplies and tools at the local home center. He or she also may be inspired by any of the myriad shows on television instructing individuals to give renovations a try. However, many homeowners are not schooled in proper safety procedures or do not know how to use tools correctly. This is a recipe for injury. Common injuries include: • Falls from ladders or scaffolding • Hand and finger injuries — including amputation — from power saws and grinder/sanders • Nail gun injuries;

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Beckford Warren Medical Center

since 1991, these injuries have increased by 200 percent • Eye injuries and breathing difficulties Homeowners should consider the risks of improvements before beginning. They should also take precautions to do improvements in the safest manner possible. • Always read the manufacturers’ safety information and usage guidelines for any tools before the are put to use. • Turn off electrical current to rooms and outlets prior to doing any electrical repairs. • Wear proper safety equipment, including goggles, dust masks or

• Do not climb past the top rung of ladders. Do not use furniture or stacked items as a ladder. • Jobs such as electrical work, roof work, gas projects, or major plumbWhen working on the home, ing issues are better left homeowners should always err to a skilled contractor. on the side of caution to reduce • Make sure drill their risk of injury. bits and saw blades are sharp. Dull tools can respirators, boots, and result in injuries. gloves. • Keep fire extinguish• Store chemicals in ers and a good first aid a locked cabinet or on a kit readily available at all high shelf out of reach of times. children and pets. There is no cost savings • Be cautious of power that make risking a discords. Always unplug tools ability worth it. If a project and turn off the switches is beyond an individual’s when the item is not in scope of ability, hire a use. professional instead.




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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ten tips for the active family to stay safe while on the go (ARA) — Activities such as soccer practice, football games, student council meetings, volunteer events and parent-teacher conferences tend to fill family schedules in the fall, quickly replacing the lazy days of summer with extracurricular activities. While many find it refreshing for the family unit to get back into a routine, hectic schedules can often lead to miscommunication among family members and a relaxed attitude toward safety. “Fall brings an abundance of schedule changes and families working to adapt to new routines,” says Rebecca Smith, vice president of marketing for Master Lock. “As each family member strives to balance various activities, it’s essential that families discuss security measures they should take to ensure they safely maintain their busy lifestyles.”

1) Secure your home. With people coming and going at different times, each family member should understand the importance of locking all points of entry when leaving, including dead-bolting doors, windows, sliding glass doors and garage/ shed doors to bolster your home’s safety. 2) Keep your home active. For periods of time where most members of the family will be away, schedule a dog walker to come over or ask a neighbor to retrieve your mail. This helps to ensure that your home still appears to have people coming and going regularly — a natural theft deterrent. 3) Utilize key safes. Whether you’re storing a house key for children to access after school or for your mother-in-law who babysits, a Master Lock key safe will

allow them access to your home without the risk of losing a key in transit, allowing parties to enter safely, even if no one is home. 4) Establish a “home alone” routine. If your child gets home from school while you are at work, or if your family is involved in activities on weekends, it’s important to have guidelines for your children to follow when home alone. These include locking the door immediately behind them after entering the house, not spending time outside and not answering the door for any visitors. 5) No notes. Many families leave notes on their front doors to communicate a change in schedule. Communication this important should happen directly via phone call, text message or voicemail — not out in the open for everyone to see.

6) Share schedules. Be sure that your family is aware of each other’s schedules, including work, school and extracurricular activities. Keeping a calendar updated with everyone’s commitments in a common room such as the kitchen will prevent miscommunication about who will be home and when. 7) Create an emergency plan. Every family should have a plan that details what to do in case of an emergency. This should include a list of numbers to call and steps to follow should anything happen to the home while a member of the family is there alone. 8) Communicate with neighbors. Communicate your schedules with a friendly, watchful neighbor you trust and empower him or her as an extra set of eyes and ears, keeping watch

on your home when you can’t be there. 9) Set social media rules. In today’s digital age, locationbased services are growing in popularity with both kids and adults. Set a family social media policy to limit check-ins and location information being made too readily available online to ensure your family’s schedule does not become too predictable. 10) Secure items on-the-go. Whether you’re headed out for a walk or to a soccer game, odds are you are carrying several valuables including keys, a wallet and cell phone. Secure these items in a small, portable safe secured to a fixed item such as a fence, allowing you to relax and enjoy any activity. For more security tips and solutions for families on the go, visit

’11 EmErgEncy Handbook

The Daily DispaTch


sunDay, sepTember 25, 2011

Carbon monoxide is nicknamed the ‘silent killer’ for good reason Those experiencing dizziness or flu-like symptoms might be quick to assume they have a virus. However, such symptoms could be a by-product of carbon monoxide exposure at home. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, toxic gas. In 2005, U.S. fire departments responded to roughly 61,100 carbon monoxide incidents across the country. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Roughly 500 Americans and 400 Canadians die every year due to CO poisoning. Thousands others are hospitalized due

to the poisonous gas. In 2009, a family of four from Ontario, Canada all perished due to CO poisoning in their home caused by a clogged exhaust vent on the home’s gas fireplace. The house didn’t have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide forms from the combustion of different types of fuels, including natural gas, gasoline, wood, and kerosene. If improper venting in the home occurs, CO can build up to hazardous levels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, acute effects of CO illness are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, im-

paired vision and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal. CO detectors, like smoke alarms, are the single best way to detect harmful CO levels. The detectors work on a chemical reaction causing a color change, an electrochemical reaction that produces current to trigger an alarm or a semiconductor sensor that changes its electrical resistance in the presence of CO. Most detectors require a continuous power source, so they should be plugged in and also have a battery back-up. The National Fire Protection Association recommends these tips with regard to CO detectors.

• CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best

protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.

• Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. • Test all detectors at least once a month. • An alarm could indiplease see TOXIC gaS, Page 19

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The Daily Dispatch

’11 Emergency Handbook

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Make your home safe and sound in only seven days (ARA) — Making your home a safe haven for your family — no matter how big or small, young or old — should be a top priority. But according to the Home Safety Council, less than one-third of homeowners make any safety improvements. Why? Fortytwo percent of homeowners say they’re unsure of what actions to take, while 19 percent cite they don’t have enough time. Luckily, updating your home safety doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Instead of viewing it as one big project, break it up into several smaller projects. Within seven days your home will be safe, sound and secure. Day 1: bathrooms — Despite the small size, there are many opportunities for safety updates. To start, locate medicines and dangerous chemicals, like nail polish remover or mouthwash,

and place them together in a locked cabinet. Next, set your hot water heater below 120 degrees. More than 3,800 scalding injuries happen every year, and the simple task of setting your hot water heater at a lower temperature will help eliminate possible harm. Finally, install grab bars to help prevent falls. Don’t worry — today’s grab bars won’t make your bath look institutional. Day 2: kitchen — With the sharp objects and potentially hot and wet surfaces, there are many danger zones in the kitchen. Start your safety update by ensuring hazardous items are out of reach. This includes knives, scissors, cleaning supplies, plastic bags and any cords from small appliances. Next, if you have young children, install childproof latches on all cupboards, oven doors and stove handles. Finally,

keep a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach of your oven for any unfortunate cooking incidents. Day 3: hallways/stairs — The stairway/hallway ranked third as the most hazardous area of the home, according to a Home Safety Council study. To prevent against falls, ensure there is bright lighting near stairs and remove or secure any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs, from the area. Next, be sure working smoke detectors are in the hallways on each floor — and change their batteries at least every six months. Finally, provide secure railings on both sides of the stairs — that includes stairs leading to the second level, basement and for garage and entry doors. Day 4: electrical/heating — With fires and burns making up 37 percent of home injuries, it’s important to pay attention

to your electrical and heating systems. To start, place safety plugs in all electrical outlets. Next, create barriers around any hot surfaces, such as baseboards, radiators and fireplaces, to keep children’s hands from being burned — while also ensuring that there is a clear distance from other objects (curtains, furniture) that could catch fire. Finally, be sure that all electrical outlets near water sources feature ground fault circuits to help prevent electrocution. Day 5: bedrooms — The soft bed, blankets and pillows make the bedroom seem safe, but there’s still room for improvement. If you’re in an older home, be sure that the walls have a safe, non-lead paint. Next, look for any dangling cords from blinds and pin them up to remove strangulation hazards. Finally,

window guards are also available to prevent accidental falls from open windows. Day 6: family room — To fully enjoy the many electronics in your family room, make sure they’re safe. Place all large equipment on a wall and make the wires and cords inaccessible. Next, secure any shelves or bookcases (that may look like ladders to kids) to the wall to avoid tipping hazards. Finally, if you have toddlers, be sure to add corner pads to any furniture with sharp corners. Day 7: rest and enjoy — Now you can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that your home is safe and sound for your family. For more tips on how to add safety features to your home, visit www.

’11 Emergency Handbook


FROM PAGE 11 • Never stand behind a tractor — whether it is running or not — the operator might not see you and you could get hurt. • Be a “safety first sheriff” and encourage use


cate a problem or a low battery. However, many detectors beep intermittently to signal a battery needs to be changed. If an alarm sounds, get out of the house or move to a fresh-air location, like next to an open window.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


of seatbelts for your entire family. Just like in a car, a tractor is equipped with a seatbelt for safety. Additionally, a Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) on a tractor is in place to protect the driver. Other ways to get involved include participating in local education programs. The Progressive

Agriculture Foundation holds a Safety Day education program designed to make safety education and training available for children year-round. The program will conduct more than 410 Safety Day events in 2011 across the U.S. and Canada. To find a safety program near you, visit

• Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds. It’s important to take CO alarms seriously, as detectors are programmed to indicate the start of a problem before it becomes dangerous. Preventing CO from building up indoors is also beneficial.

• Never use an outdoor grill indoors. • Make sure all heating equipment is properly sized for the home and vented. • Open the flue when using a fireplace. • Warm up a car outside of the garage. • Hire a professional to routinely inspect the equipment. • Repair appliances and heat sources promptly.

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Emergency Handbook - 2011 Edition  

Special section featuring safety and emergency tips from The Daily Dispatch

Emergency Handbook - 2011 Edition  

Special section featuring safety and emergency tips from The Daily Dispatch