How to escape a submerged car

How to Escape a Submerged Car

With recent flooding in our coverage area (Roswell, Las Vegas, Santa Rosa and others) and other states (Colorado, Texas and Florida) this has become a new concern. Any car accident is frightening, but an accident in which your vehicle is thrown into the water, with you trapped inside, is absolutely terrifying. Such accidents are particularly dangerous due to the risk of drowning and in the states, 10 percent of drowning deaths can be attributed to being submerged in a car and about 400 North Americans die from being submerged in a car every year.

However, most deaths are a result of panic, not having a plan and not understanding what is happening to the car in the water. By adopting a brace position to survive the impact, acting decisively when the car ends up in the water, and getting out fast, being trapped in a sinking vehicle is survivable, even if it’s a flooded river .A person has about a minute to get out alive


Here are rules of survival:

Rule 1. Don’t Call 911 until you’re out of the car. You’re going to need every second to get out of that vehicle. Worry about calling 911 once you’ve made it out alive, or, as in the case of the I-5 collapse in Washington state last year this saved lives, if your vehicle isn’t submerged. Time is critical, If you touch your cell phone you’re probably going to die.

Rule 2. Unbuckle.

Rule 3. Don’t open the door! Roll down the windows instead. Opening the door is very difficult against the water pressure and it also allows so much water into the vehicle that it will speed up the sinking process.

You’ll have 30 seconds to a minute until the water rises to the bottom of the passenger windows. This is what called the floating period. After that, the water pressure will force the window against the doorframe, making it essentially impossible to roll down.

Caveat to Rule 3: Break that window. Since most vehicles these days have electronically controlled windows, the circuits probably will short before you have a chance to roll them down. In that case, you’ll need a tool to break the window open.

Two of the most popular are the LifeHammer ($14.95), which has a hardened-steel point to help crack open the window, and the ResQMe keychain ($9.95), which uses a spring-loaded mechanism to shatter glass. If you plan on practicing with either one of these, take it from personal experience and wear work gloves. Otherwise you will cut your hands. Make sure these tools are within reach at all times, otherwise you’ll never get to them in time And they won’t work underwater. Again, you’ve got act quickly.

Rule 4. Children first. Everybody should go out their own window if possible, but the kids are going to have a harder time fighting through the rush of water, so push them out if you have to. Starting with the oldest kids and taking the youngest out in your arms.

Rule 5. Get out. Swim through the broken window as fast as possible.

If you’ve failed to get that window rolled down or broken, you’ll still have the slightest of chances to escape. Once water fills the car, the pressure will be equalized and you will be able to open the door. But to do this, you will also have to be expert at holding your breath in an extremely stressful situation. that unless you’re a modern-day Houdini, the odds are pretty slim.

Other tips:

  • Your clothing and heavy objects in your pockets can make you sink. Be mentally prepared to kick off your shoes and remove heavy outer clothing such as jackets if necessary. The less clothing you have on the easier swimming will be. Even your jeans or pants will weigh you down significantly.
  • You can also use the metal part of the head rest to break the windows.
  • Don’t bother turning your lights off. Turn them on if you are unable to escape or if the water is cloudy. The light’s electronics are usually waterproofed, and the lights themselves will help rescuers find your vehicle.
  • It can be difficult to direct other people in this situation. Be prepared and discuss the possibility before it happens. Focus on children first; adults will need to fend for themselves until the children have been helped, so don’t be distracted.
  • Keep the tools for escaping within the vehicle at all times. The emergency window breaking devices are available from safety stores.
  • If you ride regularly with people and drive by water, discuss what to do if the car goes into the water. Anticipation and planning are critical to surviving life threatening emergencies like this one. Teach all family members including children the S-C-W-O method:

S-SEAT BELT Remove seatbelt

C- CHILDREN-Free children first

W- WINDOW– Open window

O-OUT-Get out fast.

  • Under certain circumstances pressure may not equalize until the entire cabin is flooded. In this situation, either fight the current or wait until the car is fully submerged before making your escape.

Information from AAA, NSC , ABC, CBS and popular mechanics



Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

How many dB are your power tools giving off?

I was working at home the other day, cutting 1/2″ sheets of birch plywood into 6″ strips. I was cutting 6 sheets and thinking that it wouldn’t take that long. Ended up taking a lot longer than I thought and, by the time I was done, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been using hearing protection (Stupid, I know!) when I turned off the saw and realized that I was still hearing a humming sound.

I know that you’re supposed to wear hearing protection when using power tools but if you’re like me you forgo it when you think it’s only for a short time. Not a good idea! For one, even short exposures to loud noises can damage your hearing long-term and for two you never know when what you thought was going to be a short job winds up taking a longer time than you anticipated (if we’re honest, that’s usually the case). First thing I did was to go find some reusable earplugs (I like the Moldex Twist in personally) and keep them right there by the table saw so that they are available any time I need to make even a simple cut.

Wondering how loud your tools really are? Check out the CDC Powertools database page for dB as well as vibration info on your tools. Pretty cool page to bookmark… after all real men buy new powertools as often as possible.

CDC Seriously Worried about Antibiotic Resistance

CDC just released Threat Report 2013 outlining in a 114 page document (available for download) the very real dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

A few facts from the National Summary Data section:

  • Over 2 million people will get sick from antibiotic resistant bacteria this year.
  • 23,000 of those will die
  • Most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

When antibiotics are administered to treat an illness, the antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the illness as well as the good bacteria in your body that fight diseases. The few bacteria that aren’t killed, no longer face any opposition from your good bacteria and “take over”.

Right now, the hazard level is listed as serious but… “If infection rates of MDR and XDR TB increase within the US., this antibiotic-resistant threat will change from serious to urgent, because it is transmissible through respiratory secretions, and because treatment options are very limited”

Download and read the entire document from the CDC website here.

New Smart Phone App for Hydrogen Fuel Safety

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with support from the Department of Energy has launched a new app for hydrogen fuel safety.

From the PNNL website:

“With hydrogen being deployed in a greater number of applications, it’s the perfect time to make a safety tool like this app broadly available. Many people are unfamiliar with the technology, and this app is intended to make the information they need available at their fingertips.”

The app is available as a free download from the Apple App Store.

Read the complete press release here.

Cell Phone and Social Media in Emergencies

Whether it’s an earthquake, a tornado, a tsunami, floods or any number of other disasters, one of the givens is that more than likely you’ll end up without power. It’s one thing to know that and be prepared with backup heat, ways to cook, etc… but there’s more to it than that.

According to the FEMA website, your cell phone and your laptop can become an important part of your emergency back up plan.

First of all, before any emergency or disaster strikes, start by texting PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to get texts from FEMA in the event of an emergency. Knowing if and when help is on the way is crucial. Knowing how to help as well.

Texts are a lot more likely to get through than phone calls. They also don’t tie up the lines as long or as much. Send a group text to let family and friends know you’re okay or what the situation is. Try to conserve battery power as much as possible and keep a spare battery on hand for back up power.

Here’s on that I realized a couple of years back when we were without power for almost a week:

If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power.

For more tips on technology in case of emergency check out the FEMA “Get Tech Ready” page.


Safety actually does pay

A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine set out to test the hypothesis that safety really does increase the bottom line.


The conclusion of the study? “Companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce yield greater value for their investors.”

The reasons why this is so, though not specifically studied, have been suggested.

1. Companies that manage safety well manage the rest of their business well. This simply makes sense. If you’re sloppy and irresponsible in one area, chances are you’re going to function that way in other areas of your business as well.

2. Employees who see that the company they work for are serious about the well-being and health of their employees are more likely to work harder and stay with the company longer, increasing revenue for the company.

Further study would be necessary to establish specific cause and effect links between these hypotheses and possibly find other reasons for this connection between safety and profitability but for now, it does reestablish a basic understanding that taken care of your employees will pay off in the long run.


Site Inspection Checklist

Your wife has a “honey do” list for you at home. You make a shopping list when you go shopping. You might even have a to do list at work.

The reason for “to do” and “Shopping” lists is simple, it’s so you won’t forget anything important.

So why not download and print out a site inspection list to make sure that the work site is in tiptop shape when OSHA does a surprise inspection. Here’s a great list of the different checklists that you might need provided by Oregon OSHA.


RIGHT-click the Word documents below and select “Save Target/Link As…”
to save them to your computer for editing.
Checklist name Word Word PDF PDF
Abrasive wheel equipment grinders Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Checklists for maintaining the foundation Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Chemical exposures Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Compressed gas and cylinders Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Compressors and compressed air Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Confined spaces: permit-required Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Cranes and hoists Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Electrical safety Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Elevated surfaces Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Emergency action plan Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Employer posting Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Environmental controls Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Ergonomics: computer workstations Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Ergonomics: general Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Exit doors Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Exits (Access and Egress) Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Fire protection Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Flammable and combustible materials Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Floor and wall openings Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Hand tools and equipment Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Hazard communication Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Industrial trucks Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Infection control Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Ladders: portable Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Lockout and tagout Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Machine guarding Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Materials handling Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Medical services and first aid Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Noise: hearing conservation Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Personal protective equipment (PPE) Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Piping systems: identification Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Recordkeeping Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Safety Committees and Meetings Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Split rim and multi-piece wheel tire inflation Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Spray finishing operations Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Stairs and stairways Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Tools and equipment: portable power-operated Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Transportation: employees and materials Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Ventilation for indoor air quality Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Walkways Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Welding, cutting and brazing Word iconWord PDF iconPDF
Work environment: general Word iconWord PDF iconPDF

Dog Bite Prevention

For most of us dogs are a part of our household, part of our “family”. We dote on them, spend a small fortune on them (Americans spend $41 billion on their pets each year) and pamper them.

Sometimes, however, our furry friends can turn on us! We tend to forget that they have a mouthful of extremely sharp teeth designed to rip apart meat and if and if certain safety measures aren’t met those teeth can rip into us or our children (Children are the largest percentage of those who are injured).

4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the US each year. 20% of those bites require medical attention. Back in 2006 some 31,000 people had to have reconstructive surgery because of dog bites.

According to the CDC page on dog bite prevention:

Before you bring a dog into your household:

  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.
  • Dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler.

If you decide to bring a dog into your home:

  • Spay/neuter your dog (this often reduces aggressive tendencies).
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
  • Don’t play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling).
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

To help prevent children from being bitten by dogs, teach the following basic safety tips and review them regularly:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.
  • Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

Check out the CDC page for more information or to listen to a 4:05 minute podcast.