Easter Safety Tips



Have a Happy and Safe Easter!

Easter is this next weekend and is right around the corner. The Easter bunny and Easter celebrations will be hopping along to many of our homes. To make sure all our family, friends and co-workers have a safe holiday requires safety awareness. Safety awareness is a continuing journey, not the final destination.

Many of you may be traveling to visit family or friends this Easter holiday weekend remember to drive safety, buckle up and not speed. Speeding is the leading cause (over 60%) of all fatal traffic accident on the roadways every year. Plan ahead, enjoy the sights on the way and arrive alive to enjoy the Easter Holiday.

Easter has lots of various activities and here are a few helpful safety tips to make it a Happy and Safe Easter celebration:

· Be sure that Easter toys and dolls are free of choking hazards. Pieces that can be removed from a doll or toy pose a potential choking danger to small children.

· Chocolate Bunny’s are an Easter traditionhowever, be very careful when giving such gifts to people who are peanut or nut allergic. Make sure you read the label of contents, as many chocolates, may have been in contact with nuts or peanuts during their preparation or packaging.

Why Bunnies, Ducklings, Turtles and Chicks Make Bad Easter Gifts

Chicks, ducks and bunnies may be cute and cuddly, but they don’t make good Easter gifts.

These animals can carry bacteria that can make your child sick.

Children shouldn’t kiss or hold a sick bird or bunny. These pets can carry salmonella and other illnesses.

Children are more likely to get salmonella than adults, because their immune systems aren’t fully developed, children are a higher risk than adults. Don’t allow pets on tables or anyplace else where food is prepared.

Make it a general rule that when your kids touch any type of pet, they wash their hands immediately.

Symptoms of salmonella

One to three days after playing with an infected pet, your child may have a fever, diarrhea or stomach pain.

Nausea, chills and headaches are also possible. This usually lasts about a week. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems usually have the worst symptoms.

Other dangers

Rabbits have long toenails that can leave deep scratches. Young children are likely to be hurt if they don’t hold the bunny properly. Not only is it in your child’s best interest not to have Easter pets, but it’s also in the animal’s best interest. Children can easily break a rabbit’s back or kill a baby chick by mishandling it. A few weeks after Easter, animal shelters are overwhelmed with rabbits that people no longer want. These animals usually end up being put to sleep. Some people release them into the wild, where they can’t fend for themselves and become easy prey. Rabbits can live up to 8-10 years and require a lot of responsibility and care. Please think carefully if you are going to get a rabbit, duckling or chick for your child this Easter.

Egg Coloring, Egg Hunting and General Egg Safety Tips:

Every year millions of children are on a quest to find their brilliantly decorated Easter eggs, candy and gifts. As parents we cant help but give our children a little better challenge each year, sometimes not thinking of the safety factor.

So before you start getting out your 24-foot extension ladder or unscrewing that 100 watt light bulb and replacing it with an egg, the USDA(US Dept of Agriculture) has a couple of great safety tips that can help you have a fun and safe Easter.

Egg Hunting Safety Tips apply to both inside and outside, but they have been broken down into two primary categories.

If inside:

  • Do not hide eggs near an electrical outlet or plugs.
  • Do not hide eggs in light sockets
  • Do not hide eggs in, on, under or around glass.
  • Keep eggs at or below eye level of the children.
  • Keep count and track of the eggs you hid.

If outside:

  • Do not hide eggs in pre-existing holes in the ground or trees.
  • Do not hide eggs in any foliage that has thorns, look potential dangerous or poisonous. (Rule of thumb: before you put eggs in foliage; make sure you know it by name).
  • Do not hide eggs in any animals home, food bowl or play area.
  • If grass, foliage or anywhere pesticides or poisons have been dispersed, do not put eggs there
  • Eggs that shows cracks or damage, throw away

General Egg Safety Tips:

Eggs are a potentially hazardous food, in the same category as meat, poultry, fish, and milk. In other words, they are capable of supporting the rapid growth of disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella.

  • Before boiling eggs for Easter decorating/painting, they must be kept refrigerated. Never leave raw eggs in any form at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Don’t eat or cook with cracked eggs or eggs that have been un-refrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Hard-boiled Easter (decorated) eggs left in room temperature for many hours or days as a decoration or table centerpiece should be discarded and not eaten.
  • Use only clean, unbroken eggs. Discard dirty or broken eggs. When you boil your eggs, make sure the water is hot (185-190 degrees F). Cool your eggs in cold water or just in the air.
  • Cleanliness of hands, utensils and work surfaces is essential in preventing spread of bacteria.
  • Always wash your hands when handling your eggs, especially between cooking, cooling and dyeing.
  • Wash hands again, along with all utensils, equipment and counter tops that have been in contact with any raw food before preparing other foods.

Easter Dinner preparation safety tips:


Fully cooked ready-to-eat hams may be heated to 140 degrees F at an oven temperature of 325 degrees F before serving. It also may be served cold. Fresh (raw) hams should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Lamb and beef

Lamb and beef roasts should be cooked to at least 145 degrees F, in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F. Ground meats, on the other hand, should cook to 160 degrees F; steaks and chops to 145 degrees F.

Information provided by the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) and CDC (Center for Disease Control)

If you have a question about meat, poultry or egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-MPHotline or 1-888-674-6854, TTY: 1-800-256-7072.

Pet Safety:

  • All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, and others are toxic to felines. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can result in kidney failure and, if untreated, death. Shortly after ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the kidney damage progresses, these signs worsen. In most cases, a cat must be treated within mere hours of ingesting the plant, or damage to the kidneys will be irreversible.
  • Most chocolate contains high amounts of fat and methylxanthine alkaloids (theobromine and caffeine) that cause constriction of arteries, increased heart rate, and central nervous system/cardiac muscle stimulation.
  • These effects can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, increased urinating, stiffness, and exaggerated reflexes. Cardiac failure, seizures, coma, and death can result if the chocolate ingestion is not found within four to six hours and treated appropriately.

Other reminders:

  • Keep Easter basket ‘grass’ and foil candy wrappers away from pets. These items are non-digestible and can get caught in the intestines, leading to blockage and possible perforation. They can lead to choking, strangulation, and even worse, an internal obstruction.
  • Tempted to share holiday table scraps with Fido or Fluffy? Use discretion. Be aware of bones in the mix. And don’t overfeed your animal with table food to which he’s not accustomed…diarrhea is never a pleasant thing with which to deal, especially on a holiday.
  • Be careful in selecting spring plants for the home. The foliage, flower, or pod of daffodils can cause upset tummies, vomiting, or diarrhea; flower heads of hydrangeas can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness; the seeds and pods of wisteria can cause all of the above plus dehydration and collapse; even ivy is toxic and can cause breathing difficulty, coma, or death.
  • Be sure curious pets are not able to get at a garbage bag! Even if harmful items are properly disposed of, an unsupervised pet can chew through a plastic garbage bag and still have access to raw bones and other waste.


Information from USDA, FDA , CDC and NM Dept of Health.

Today’s post provided by Ken Oswald (keno)

Brackets on vehicles can wear on fire extinguishers


What Happened

A fire extinguisher (top picture – left) was attached to a bulldozer in a typical metal holder (lower pictures). The bolts which held the bracket in place, over time, wore the tank to the failure point. The extinguisher tank failed and exploded. The extinguisher tore out of the holder and flew nearly 100 feet. Although this incident occurred at night when the job was not active and no one was injured the potential is enormous. Subsequent inspections of all fire extinguishers on the project found several with significant wear and stress cracking (top picture right). This wear found during the inspections was caused by the securing bolts, straps and bottom of bracket. Additional problems were discovered with extinguishers that were corroded in various places on the tank, particularly the bottoms. This problem is particular prevalent with extinguishers attached to moving equipment as in this case.



MIOSHA Part 18 “Fire Protection and

Prevention” states “An extinguisher shall be

inspected monthly, or at more frequent intervals

when circumstances require

When conducting an inspection check for

external damage, corrosion and stress cracks. In the case discussed above the damage caused by the bolts would have been hard to see while the extinguisher was in the holder. The units should be removed so that all surfaces can be checked.

Check that the pressure gauge is in the green area and that the pin is still in-place and secured with a tie-wrap.

Defective or damaged extinguishers should be immediately removed from service and discharged if appropriate.

All inspections must be recorded and available for inspection by either a MIOSHA compliance officer or a representative of the local fire authority.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Joe Forgue CSP, ARM
Director of Education and Safety Services

Properly Training Young Summer Help Workers

Within the next couple of months, school will be out for the summer vacation and thousands of young people are going to go job hunting.
Most of these young people have never been exposed to the hazards and dangers of the workplace environment.
You’ve been working in the lumberyard or the warehouse for so long that certain types of behavior are second nature to you; you even forget that you are doing what you are doing for a reason. Not so for the new guy who’s never been in the workplace before.
Simple things like watching for forklifts is something that you do without even thinking about it but the young people who just got hired hasn’t been working around forklifts before and needs to learn to listen and watch for them even as they listen and watch for him or her.

So where do you start? If this type of behavior is now second nature, you probably don’t even know what it is that your new hire needs to know.

Fortunately, OSHA’s young worker’s construction safety topics page is there for you. With thirteen short videos, you can sit your new hires down to view them and know that they’ve been at least been given the basics of safety that’ll hopefully protect them as they do their job.

The following videos are available:

Construction Safety Topics

General Protection

Hearing Protection

Protective Shoes

Head Protection

Eye Protection

Landscaping Safety Topics

Eye Protection

Ear Protection

Foot Protection

Hand Protection

Leg Protection



Sun and Hydration

March Kidney Disease Awareness Month

Protect Your Kidneys: Control Diabetes, Blood Pressure

March is World Kidney month, a day dedicated to raising awareness of kidney disease and the importance of its prevention and early detection.

Kidney disease damages your kidneys, preventing them from cleaning your blood as well as they should.

This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body and lead to other health problems, including heart disease, anemia, and bone disease.

Chronic kidney disease eventually can cause kidney failure if it is not treated.

If you do have the disease, it’s important to be diagnosed early. Treatment can slow down the disease, and prevent or delay kidney failure. Because chronic kidney disease often develops slowly and with few symptoms, many people with the condition don’t realize they’re sick until the disease is advanced and requires dialysis. Blood and urine tests are the only ways to tell if you have chronic kidney disease.

Tips for Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy

Steps to help keep your kidneys healthy include the following:

· Keep blood pressure below 130/80 mm/Hg.

· Stay in your target cholesterol range.

· Eat less salt and salt substitutes.

· Eat healthy foods.

· Stay physically active.

· Take your medications as prescribed.

If you have diabetes, take these steps, too:

· Meet blood sugar targets as often as you can.

· Have an A1c test at least twice a year, but ideally up to four times a year. An A1c test measures the average level of blood sugar over the past three months.

If your blood pressure is high, check it regularly and get it under control to make sure your kidneys remain healthy. Talk to your doctor about medicines to lower your blood pressure.

Helping to prevent type 2 diabetes is another important step in preventing kidney disease. Recent studies have shown that overweight people at higher risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight, or 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. You can do that by eating healthier and getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week

Who Is More Likely to Develop Kidney Disease?

In addition to diabetes and high blood pressure, other conditions that increase the risk of kidney disease include heart disease, obesity, older age, high cholesterol, and a family history of chronic kidney disease. A physical injury can also cause kidney disease.

Kidney disease is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for the death of more than 50,000 people in 2010. More than 20 million (greater than 10 percent) of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease and most of them are not aware of their condition .

More than 35 percent of adults with diabetes have chronic kidney disease. High blood sugar (blood glucose) and high blood pressure increase the risk that chronic kidney disease will eventually lead to kidney failure. If you have diabetes, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure reduces the risk of developing kidney disease or may slow its progression .

Injuries and Infections Can Damage Your Kidneys

Infections such as those affecting the bladder and kidney can damage your kidneys, too . Call your health care provider if you have any of these signs of bladder infection:

· Cloudy or bloody urine

· Pain or burning when you urinate

· An urgent need to urinate often

Also, speak with your health care provider if you have any of these signs of kidney infections:

· Back pain

· Chills

· Fever

Chronic Kidney Disease Could Lead to Dialysis or a Transplant

The final stage of chronic kidney disease is kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease. People with kidney failure need dialysis, in which blood is cleaned through a machine, or a new, healthy kidney through transplantation.

In 2009, more than 110,000 people in the United States began treatment for kidney failure. For every ten new cases, seven had diabetes or hypertension listed as the primary cause. In that same year, more than 560,000 people in the United States were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant. Among people on hemodialysis due to kidney failure, the leading causes of hospitalization are cardiovascular disease and infection .

Take steps to keep your kidneys healthy. If you have a higher risk of kidney disease, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood as well as possible. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body and lead to other health problems, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), anemia, and bone disease. People with early CKD tend not to feel any symptoms. The only ways to detect CKD are through a blood test to estimate kidney function, and a urine test to assess kidney damage. CKD is usually an irreversible and progressive disease and can lead to kidney failure, also called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), over time if it is not treated. Once detected, CKD can be treated through medication and lifestyle changes to slow down the disease progression, and to prevent or delay the onset of kidney failure. However, the only treatment options for kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplant.

CKD is common among adults in the United States.

More than 10% of people, or more than 20 million, aged 20 years or older in the United States have CKD.

· CKD is more common among women than men.

· More than 35% of people aged 20 years or older with diabetes have CKD.

· More than 20% of people aged 20 years or older with hypertension have CKD.

Percent with CKD among adult U.S. population by age, sex, and race/ethnicity.

Risk factors for developing CKD

Adults with diabetes or hypertension are at an increased risk of developing CKD. Other risk factors for developing CKD include CVD, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and a family history of CKD. The risk of developing CKD increases with age largely because risk factors for kidney disease become more common as one ages.

Risk factors for progression of CKD

Inadequately controlled diabetes and hypertension increase the risk of progression of CKD to kidney failure. Repeated episodes of acute kidney injury from a variety of causes (e.g., infections, drugs, or toxins injurious to the kidney) can also contribute to progression of CKD to kidney failure, especially in the elderly. While CKD is more common among women, men with CKD are 50% more likely than women to progress to kidney failure.

Important health consequences of CKD

Cardiovascular disease

CKD is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, and strokes. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease that require careful attention in people with CKD include tobacco use, uncontrolled high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excessive weight, and elevated cholesterol.

Kidney failure

Kidney failure or ESRD occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to provide waste removal functions for the body. At this point, dialysis or kidney transplantation becomes necessary for survival.

· About 110,000 patients in the United States started treatment for ESRD in 2007.

· Leading causes of ESRD are diabetes and hypertension. In 2006, 7 out of 10 new cases of ESRD in the United States had diabetes or hypertension listed as the primary cause. Less common causes include glomerulonephritis, hereditary kidney disease, and malignancies such as myeloma.

· Incidence of ESRD is greater among adults older than 65 years.

· African Americans were nearly four times more likely to develop ESRD than whites in 2007. However, this disparity in ESRD incidence has narrowed from 1998 to 2005.

· Hispanics have 1.5 times the rate of kidney failure compared to non-Hispanic whites.

· Between 2000 and 2007, the adjusted incidence of ESRD due to diabetes has increased by less than 1% and the adjusted incidence of glomerulonephritis has fallen by 21%, suggesting possible improvement in the clinical management of this condition. In contrast, the adjusted incidence of ESRD due to hypertension has increased by 8% between 2000 and 2007.


· Premature death from both cardiovascular disease and from all causes is higher in adults with CKD compared to adults without CKD. In fact, individuals with CKD are 16 to 40 times more likely to die than to reach ESRD.

Other health consequences

· The kidneys have many functional roles, including fluid and electrolyte balance, waste removal, acid-base balance, bone health, and stimulation of red blood cell production. CKD can be associated with fluid overload, sodium and potassium imbalances, bone and mineral disorders, anemia, and reduced quality of life. Additionally, adults with CKD typically have other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases

Information from the CDC and WebMD

Pipe Bombs Safety Awareness Tips

What is a pipe bomb and what do they

look like? Here is the answers:

A pipe bomb is an improvised explosive device, a tightly sealed section of pipe filled with an explosive material. The containment provided by the pipe means that simple low explosives can be used to produce a relatively large explosion, and the fragmentation of the pipe itself creates potentially lethal shrapnel.

Premature detonation is a hazard of attempting to construct any homemade bomb, and the materials and methods used with pipe bombs make unintentional detonation incidents common, usually resulting in serious injury or death to the assembler.

In many countries the manufacture or possession of a pipe bomb is a serious crime, regardless of its intended use. It is illegal!!!

The bomb is usually a short section of steel water pipe containing the explosive mixture and closed at both ends with steel or brass caps. A fuse is inserted into the pipe with a lead running out through a hole in the side or capped end of the pipe. The fuse can be electric with wires leading to a timer and battery or can be a common fuse. All of the components are easily obtainable.

Generally, high explosives such as TNT are not used, because these and the detonators that they require are difficult to obtain. Such explosives also do not require the containment of a pipe bomb.

Instead, any sort of explosive mixture the builder can find or make is used, and some of the explosive mixtures used, such as black powder, match heads or chlorate mixtures are very prone to ignition by the friction and static electricity generated when packing the material inside the tube or attaching the end capsaccounting for many injuries or deaths amongst builders. If sharp objects, such as nails or broken glass, are added inside the bomb in an attempt to increase the amount of injury, these also add to the risk of premature ignition.


We take all bomb threats seriously, here is what to do if you receive a bomb threat or find a possible explosive device!

Response to a Bomb Threat

Call: 911 or your local law enforcement.

What to Know:

A suspicious-looking box, package, object or container in or near your work area may be a bomb or explosive material. Do not handle or touch the object. Move to a safe area and call the Local Law enforcement (911) immediately ( DO NOT CALL IF YOU ARE WITHIN 50 FT of the OBJECT, BOX or DEVICE THIS MAY ACTIVATE THE EXPLOSIVE). Use a telephone in a safe area. Do not operate any power switch and do not activate the fire alarm.

What to Do:

If you receive a bomb threat:

  • Stay calm and try to keep your voice calm.
  • Pay close attention to detail. Talk to the caller to obtain as much information as possible.
  • Take notes. Use the Bomb Threat Checklist (a copy is attached) while the caller is on the telephone or as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your memory.
  • Ask the following questions:
    • When will it explode?
    • Where is it right now?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • Where did you leave it?
    • Did you place the bomb?
    • Who is the target?
    • Why did you plant it?
    • What is your address?
    • What is your name?
    • Note Caller ID if present
  • Observe the callers:
    • Speech patterns, accent and tone
    • Emotional state
    • Background noise
    • Age and gender
  • Write down other data
    • Date and time of call
    • How threat was received
  • Call Safety at x4243 and submit your notes/bomb threat checklist from the telephone call or the bomb threat letter or note to Safety personnel.
  • If you are told by the Supervisors or Alert Siren PA to evacuate the building:
    • Visually check your work area for unfamiliar items as you are leaving. Do not touch suspicious items: report them to authorities.
    • Take personal belongings, if safe to do so, when you leave.
    • Leave doors and windows open; do not turn light switches on or off.
    • Move well away from the building and follow instructions by your supervisors or safety committee members

If there is an explosion:

  • Take cover under sturdy furniture, or leave the building if directed to do so
  • Stay away from windows
  • Do not light matches
  • Move well away from the site of the hazard to a safe location
  • Use stairs only, do not use elevators
  • Call 911 if no one has already called

Information from DHS, FBI.gov , AFMAN 10-100 and Wikipedia.

Today’s post is courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Severe Weather Awareness – Flooding Dangers

Flash Floods and Flood Safety tips

Turn Around Dont Drown

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drowning, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don’t Drown. You will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.

Floods and flash floods are the number one cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms in the United States, averaging 106 deaths per year.

Flooding can occur anytime and anywhere. Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will float most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles. While most floods cannot be prevented…there are simple steps you can take to protect your life and property.

If flooding occurs…

  • Move to higher ground immediately and stay away from flood prone areas.
  • Do not allow children to play near high water, storm drains or ditches. Hidden dangers often lie beneath the water.
  • Flooded roads can have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. Never drive on a flooded road.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or washes… particularly when threatening weather conditions exist.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

Other Safety Tips for Flooding hazards conditions: Image is example of what people faced with flooding in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina flooding.

Typical questions about flooding:

Q: How do I know how severe a flood will be?

Once a river reaches flood stage, the flood severity categories used by the NWS include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. Each category has a definition based on property damage and public threat.

  • Minor Flooding – minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience
  • Moderate Flooding – some inundation of structures and roads near streams. Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations are necessary.
  • Major Flooding – extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.

The impacts of a floods vary locally. For each NWS river forecast location, flood stage and the stage associated with each of the NWS flood severity categories are established in cooperation with local public officials. Increasing river levels above flood stage constitute minor, moderate, and major flooding. Impacts vary from one river location to another because a certain river stage (height) in one location may have an entirely different impact than the same level above flood stage at another location.

Q: What’s the difference between a flood and flash flood?

A flood occurs when prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or an ice or debris jam causes a river or stream to overflow and flood the surrounding area. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall.

A flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam, and flash floods can catch people unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property. The use of the word flash here is synonymous with urgent.

Follow these safety rules:

  • Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for vital weather related information.
  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don’t Drown
  • Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around Don’t Drown If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.

Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that move repeatedly over the same area or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes.

These floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions and ground cover.

Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mud slides.

Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water. Water held back by the ice jam or debris dam can cause flooding upstream. Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release.

Flash Floods Can Take Only a Few Minutes to a Few Hours to Develop

  • A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
  • A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.

Prepare a Family Disaster Plan

  • Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
  • Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing . . .

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn them back on.)
  • Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . . a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.

When a Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.

When a Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.

When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

  • Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.

When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

  • Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
  • Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

MOST IMPORTANTLY if you come to a flooded roadway of any kind remember Saving your life and your car is as simple as choosing a different route when you see water across a roadway. So day or night, when there’s water on the road and Turn Around Dont Drown!

Information provided by National Weather Service Kerry Jones and Amarillo KVII Chief Meteorologist Steve Kersh and the CDC

Severe Weather Awareness – Lightning Dangers

Lightning Safety

Lightning is the MOST UNDERRATED weather hazard. On average, only floods kill more people. Lightning makes every single thunderstorm a potential killer, whether the storm produces one single bolt or ten thousand bolts.

In the United States, lightning routinely kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes COMBINED. Tornadoes, hail, and wind gusts get the most attention, but only lightning can strike well outside the storm itself. Lightning is usually the first thunderstorm hazard to arrive and the last to leave.

Lightning is an unpredictable characteristic of a thunderstorm – no one can guarantee an individual or group absolute protection from lightning. However, knowing and following proven lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Remember, YOU are ultimately responsible for your personal safety, and should take appropriate action when threatened by lightning.

Lightning hits the earth an estimated 100 times per second, or 8.6 million times a day. It is estimated that the U.S. alone receives as many as 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year from approximately 100,000

thunderstorms. Lightning kills or injures hundreds of people every year, mainly because the victims are not aware of the danger they face.

Lightning has fascinated and excited humans for as long as they have watched the skies. Meteorologists know the cloud conditions necessary to produce lightning, but cannot forecast the location or time of the next stroke of lightning from a storm. At any moment, there are as many as 1800 thunderstorms in progress somewhere on the Earth, and each is producing deadly lightning.

As the thunderstorm forms, it produces ice in the upper cloud. The formation of ice in a cloud is an important element in the development of lightning. Those storms that fail to produce large numbers of ice crystals may also fail to produce lightning. Strong rising and sinking motions within the cloud are important too, as they enhance collisions among cloud particles causing a separation of electrical charges. Positively charged ice crystals rise to the top of the thunderstorm and negatively charged ice particles and hailstones drop to the middle and lower parts of the storm.

As the differences in charges continue to increase, positive charges rise up taller objects such as trees, houses, and telephone poles. The charge can also move up you, causing your hair to stand on end! This is natures way final way of warning you that lightning can strike very soon near you.

The negatively charged area in the storm sends out a charge toward the ground called a step leader. It is invisible to the human eye and moves in steps towards the ground. It takes less than a second for lightning to get close to the ground, and when it does it is attracted by all of the positively charged objects causing a channel to develop. You see the electrical transfer in this channel as lightning. There may be several repeated transfers of electricity within the channel. These are observed as flickering lightning.

35 Years of Lightning Deaths & Injuries
Fatalities, injuries, and damage were compiled and published by NOAA for the years 1959-1994.

Lightning Facts

1. Location of Incident:
40% Unreported
27% Open fields & recreation areas (not golf)
14 % Under trees (not golf)
8% Water-related (boating, fishing, swimming…)
5% Golf / golf under trees

3% Heavy equipment and machinery related
2.4% Telephone related
0.7% Radio, transmitter & antenna related

2. Gender of victims:84% male; 16% female
3. Months of most incidents: June (21%), July (30%), Aug (22%)
4. Days of week of most incidents: Sun. / Wed. / Sat.
5. Time of day of most incidents: 2pm to 6pm
6. Number of victims: One (91%), two or more (9%)
7. Deaths by State, Top Five: FL, MI, TX, NY, TN
8. Injuries by State, Top Five: FL, MI, PA, NC, NY

Before Lightning Strikes…

Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If Thunder is heard… The Lightning is… 5 seconds after a Flash = 1 mile away 10 seconds after a Flash = 2 miles away 15 seconds after a Flash = 3 miles away 20 seconds after a Flash = 4 miles away 25 seconds after a Flash = 5 miles away 30 seconds after a Flash = 6 miles away

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately!
  • Don’t use metal objects like fishing rods, aluminum bats and golf clubs. Golfers and Softball players are particularly good lightning rods.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

The 30/30 rule

Any lightning safety plan should incorporate the 30/30 Rule. The 30/30 Rule states that people should seek shelter if the “Flash-To-Bang” delay (length of time in seconds between a lightning flash and its subsequent thunder), is 30 seconds or less, and that they remain under cover until 30 minutes after the final clap of thunder.

A 30 second lead time is necessary prior to a storm’s arrival because of the possibility of distant strikes. A 30 minute wait after the last thunder is heard is necessary because the trailing storm clouds still carry a lingering charge. This charge can and does occasionally produce lightning on the back edge of a storm, several minutes after the rain has ended.

Studies have shown most people struck by lightning are struck not at the height of a thunderstorm, but before and after the storm has peaked. This shows many people are unaware of how far lightning can strike from its parent thunderstorm. DO NOT wait for the rain to start before seeking shelter, and do not leave shelter just because the rain has ended.

When a Storm Approaches…

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job!
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

Be a Very Small Target!

If you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises,” you are in lightning’s electric field. If caught outside during close-in lightning, immediately remove metal objects (including baseball cap), place your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees

  • Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.
  • Do not lie flat on the ground — this will make you a larger target!

If you feel your hair stand on end in a storm, drop into the tuck position described above immediately. This sensation means electric charges are already rushing up your body from the ground toward an electrically charged cloud. Minimize your contact with the ground to minimize your injury.

Being outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. The National Weather Service advises that when you hear thunder or see lightning to quickly move indoors or into a hard topped vehicle and remain there until well after the storm has passed.

Any location is dangerous during a lightning storm; however some areas are more dangerous than others. Some of the riskiest locations include:

  • Anywhere near the water:
    • Boating
    • Fishing
    • Swimming
    • Activities on the Beach
  • Areas near tall trees:
    • The Golf Course
    • Picnic Areas
    • Hiking Trails
    • Isolated tall trees pose the greatest danger!
  • High terrains such as hill tops and ridges
  • High places such as house roofs during construction
  • Open areas like fields

Dangerous situations can arise when big groups of people come together outdoors during a lightning storm. This includes baseball, football, soccer, and tennis games, as well as community fairs and outdoor festivals.

It is important that everyone know some outdoor and indoor safety rules.

Outdoor Safety Rules

Knowing outdoor safety rules can help save your life or that of loved ones.

When lightning approaches, get inside a completely enclosed building. Carports, open garages, storage sheds, metal sheds, and covered patios are not safe shelters.

If no enclosed building is available, get inside a hard-topped, all metal vehicle.

Get out of the water! Get off the beach and out of small boats and canoes. If caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Avoid standing in puddles of water, even if wearing rubber boots. Thunderstorm winds create large waves and turbulent water, so please wear a life jacket!

If you cannot reach shelter, avoid being the tallest object in the area. Do not take shelter under an isolated tree or the tallest trees in the area. If you are in the woods, find shelter under the shorter trees.

If only isolated trees are nearby, crouch on the balls of your feet. A rule of thumb to follow is to stay twice as far away from a tree as it is tall. Don’t lie on the ground.

Avoid caves or overhangs. The ground current from lightning is very strong and can jump the Gap.

Avoid leaning against vehicles and get off bicycles and motorcycles.

Indoor Safety Rules

When lightning strikes a building, house or other structure, it follows metal conductors such an electrical wiring, plumbing, and telephone lines from the structure to the ground. When this process occurs, it usually leaves the inhabitants unharmed.

Once lightning enters the home it can surge through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. It can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring as well as windows and doors. It is important to avoid these conductors during an electrical storm.

Phone use is the leading cause of lightning injuries within the home. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wiring, especially in rural areas where other conductors are limited.

Basements should be used with caution during thunderstorms because they usually contain conductors. Avoid contact with washers and dryers since they not only have contacts with the plumbing and electrical systems, but also have an electrical path to the outside through the dryer vent. Concrete floors should also be avoided as they usually contain some form of reinforcement which can easily become electrified by a nearby lightning strike. Avoid bathing during a lightning storm as the household plumbing can carry a deadly current.

Lightning Safety Tips for Inside your Home

A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning. In assessing the safety provided by a particular structure, it is more important to consider what happens if the structure gets struck by lightning, rather than whether the structure will be hit by lightning. For a shelter to provide protection from lightning, it must contain a mechanism for conducting the electrical current from the point of contact to the ground. These mechanisms may be on the outside of the structure, may be contained within the walls of the structure, or may be a combination of the two. On the outside, lightning can travel along the outer shell of the building or may follow metal gutters and downspouts to the ground. Inside a structure, lightning can follow conductors such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, and telephone lines to the ground.

Avoid Unsafe Shelters!

Unless specifically designed to be lightning safe, small structures do little, if anything, to protect occupants from lightning. Many small open shelters on athletic fields, golf courses, parks, roadside picnic areas, schoolyards and elsewhere are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning. A shelter that does not contain plumbing or wiring throughout, or some other mechanism for grounding from the roof to ground is not safe. Small wooden, vinyl, or metal sheds offer little or no protection from lightning and should be avoided during thunderstorms.

How Lightning Enters a House or Building

There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

Stay Safe While Inside

Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas. Stay away from windows and doors as these can provide the path for a direct strike to enter a home. Do not lie on the concrete floor of a garage as it likely contains a wire mesh. In general, basements are a safe place to go during thunderstorms. However, there are some things to keep in mind. Avoid contact with concrete walls which may contain metal reinforcing bars. Avoid washers and dryers since they not only have contacts with the plumbing and electrical systems, but also contain an electrical path to the outside through the dryer vent.

Remember Your Pets

You may want to consider the safety of your family pets during thunderstorms. Dog houses are not lightning-safe. Dogs that are chained to trees or chained to wire runners can easily fall victim to a lightning strike.

Protect Your Personal Property

Lightning also causes significant damage to personal property each year. In addition to direct strikes, lightning generates electrical surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will NOT protect equipment from a lightning strike. To the extent possible, unplug any appliances or electronic equipment from all conductors well before a thunderstorm threatens. This includes not only the electrical system, but also the reception system. If you plan to be away from your home when thunderstorms are possible, be sure to unplug unneeded equipment before you leave.

Summary of Lightning Safety Tips for Inside the Home

· Avoid contact with corded phones

· Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.

· Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.

· Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

· Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

If someone is struck by lightning…

  • People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
  • Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
  • The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.
  • Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.

Learn First Aid and CPR

  • Take a first aid and CPR course. Next class is schedule for April 22 in the Learning Center!

Information provided by the National Weather Service Kerry Jones, KVII Chief Meteorologist Steve Kersh and American Red Cross.

Home Owners and Home Buyers Safety Checklist

My daughter and her husband are in the process of buying their first home.
We were able to refer them to a friend of ours who does home inspections and they are due to go out and get the home inspected.

So I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from someone who had found this blog and wanted to let me know of a page that she had created with safety resources for home owners and home buyers.

It’s a pretty cool page with links to everything and anything related to the safety of your home.

It covers wiring, CO, bathrooms, lead based paint, fires, chimneys, and a ton more.

So whether you already own a home or, like my daughter and her husband, are about to purchase one, head out to:


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to send this link to my daughter!