New Year’s Safety Tips
Next week we close the book on 2014. Every year, around this time, before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s almost certain that many around the globe have decided to do something different in the next year of their life. Sometimes it’s a commitment to lose weight, while others decide to spend more time at the gym or volunteering and for some to make more memories with friends and family. While New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy, it is all up to you to make the resolutions a reality. When you make your New Year’s resolutions this year, will personal safety considerations play a role? The New Year is always about beginnings and endings. The double entendre of “resolution” sums it all up rather nicely: wrapping up and putting to rest the old while planning for and committing to the new: both what was and what will be. And who is to say what the New Year will bring us.
While our cities, communities and workplaces are protected by dedicated police and security officers, ultimately, we are all responsible for our own personal safety. Even the simplest activities can reduce our personal safety risk…
1. Deter and Detect Identity Theft
Theft — As identity theft continues to increase, proactive steps are needed to protect ourselves and our personal information.
- Review your credit report regularly. (Free at annualcreditreport.com)
- Shred documents containing personal information.
- Keep your Social Security number and any debit card or pin numbers confidential.
- Opt out of unnecessary mailing lists.
- Food Safety- Every party host is used to planning an attractive display of their party’s food and beverage. In addition to creating an inviting food spread, the hostess of a New Year’s Eve party owes it to their guests to be sure that the food they serve is safe. According to WebMD, over 250 different diseases can cause food poisoning. Their “Food Poisoning and Safe food Handling – Prevention” section outlines food safety guidelines. To avoid illness, they recommend:
- Wash hands before, during and after food prep
- Don’t handle or pet animals during cooking
- Cook meats and eggs thoroughly to avoid E-coli and salmonella
- Thoroughly clean utensils and cutting boards after cutting raw meats before using again
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before serving.
- Keep hot foods hot [140F or above] and cold foods cold [40F or below].
Other common sense food safety tactics include those flying corks. Champagne Corks can cause serious eye injuries. If you follow the advice of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and remember the number 45. That is, you should chill your champagne to at least 45°F, as this will make the cork less likely to pop out unexpectedly, and you should hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, pointing it away from yourself and others. Then, after removing the wire hood, place a towel over the top of the bottle and grasp the cork. With the bottle in one hand, slowly twist the cork, applying gentle upward pressure. When you feel the cork about to pop out, reverse pressure to a slight downward tilt. If all goes well, you’ll have a cork in one hand, a full bottle in the other, and no eye injuries in sight.
- Be Smart When You Park — In our hurried lives, we often forget about potential dangers that can occur in dark or parking areas. Be sure to:
- Park in well-lit, heavily trafficked areas.
- Walk briskly, with your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
- Have your keys in hand and look into your vehicle before entering.
- Lock all doors as soon as you are in your vehicle.
- When alone at night, ask for a security escort to your vehicle and be extra careful during any backing out of parking spots for rear end collisions or people walking behind your vehicle and always watch for playing children.
- Drive for Life — Driving can be a safety risk all on its own and there are many other factors that can influence our safety. To ensure a safer driving experience:
- Be extra cautious while driving at night and in hazardous conditions. Stay alert and attentive, careless or driving too fast accounts for over 66% of all accidents
- Carry emergency supplies including flares or reflectors. Something very high visibility.
- Take valuables with you or store them out of view of any potential thieves.
- Do not give rides to strangers.
- Always buckle up; Seat belts are the most effective means of reducing fatalities and serious injuries in traffic crashes. They reduce your chance of being a fatality by 50 %.
- Never drink and drive, alcohol related or impaired fatalities accounted for over 33 % of all traffic accidents.
- Weatherize your car and always adjust your driving to weather conditions Over 450,000 injury crashes occur annually in adverse weather conditions or on wet or slick pavement.
- Beware of Telemarketers and Scams — Phone scams often catch us off guard as we would never expect to become a victim within the safety of our own homes. But it does happen.
- Generally, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is.
- If you are considering making a purchase by phone, and you did not initiate the call, ask for a catalog or information to be mailed to you first.
- Never reveal your checking account, credit card or Social Security numbers to a caller regardless of whom they say they are.
- Travel Safe Not Sorry — use extra caution to protect your personal safety while traveling. Watch out on the roadway not only for the drunk drivers but also the drowsy drivers during the late night festivities.
- Carry minimal cash and keep tickets secure in an inside pocket.
- Do not leave luggage unattended and report abandoned baggage.
- Only use taxis with official markings and at official pick-up areas.
- If you are traveling by car, be sure your vehicle is serviced and route planned. Tell loved ones or friends of your plans for your new year’s celebration.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers and keep your vehicle locked.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery, and hide empty trash cans
- Be Smart About Flames and Fireworks-
Flames and alcohol are dangerous. When planning for a party, consider the fact that after a few hours, a portion of their guests will be feeling invincible, full of alcohol-inspired energy, and moving clumsily. Plan accordingly by:
- Nixing the real candles. Instead of burning real candles at a New Year’s Eve party, use battery operated candles for safe, ambient lighting. With NO Fire Hazards.
- Keeping fireplace, heaters and fire pit flames under control. Use safety screens at all times and make sure seating is at a safe distance from the flame or potential sparks.
- If fireworks are part of the plan, ensuring that the individuals shooting off the fireworks are sober and observe safe handling. As well, make sure the inebriated guests aren’t too close to the show. It’s recommend to always check with the local authority regarding the prevailing laws before using fireworks. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and ready to use if the fireworks should start a fire.
Information provided by NSC, FDA, CDC and NM Dept. of Health
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald , CHSO, STS , EHS Supervisor , DFA-Portales NM