May is National Electrical Safety Month

If you’re reading this post you’re probably using it, namely electricity. It’s the pulse of our homes and our workplaces and powers our lives. It can also be deadly.

According to the NFPA, some 24,000 fires originated from faulty wiring between 2007 and 2011. 455 people die in those fires and 1,500 people were injured.

Here’s a list of things that you can do to make sure your home is safe:

  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI-protected.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they’re not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Extension cords are intended for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use.


Bike Safety Awareness and tips

May is National Bike Month

The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month, this year Bike to Work Week is May 13-17, 2013 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17, 2013.

Spring and Summer fun has begun. Kids are soon out of school on the streets, gas prices are at record highs, now is the time we dust off the bike from the storage shed and hit the streets. Here are a few key bike safety tips to know.

When you ride your bike on a sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians. Some sidewalk areas with heavy pedestrian traffic are signed prohibiting riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

When you ride on the road, your bike is a vehicle and you must obey traffic laws.

  • Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use helmet-mounted or bike-mounted rear-view mirrors. Always look back before changing lanes or changing positions within your lane, and only move when no other vehicle is in your way.

When passing a bike in a vehicle you must give at least 3 ft clearance to the bicyclist.

  • Go slowly on sidewalks and bike paths. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Give pedestrian’s audible (horn/bell/word) warning when you pass. Don’t cross driveways or intersections without slowing to walker’s pace and looking very carefully for traffic, especially traffic turning right.
  • When on the road, ride in a straight line whenever possible. Ride with, not against, the traffic. Keep to the right, but stay about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  • Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks and speed bumps carefully at right angles.
  • Choose the best way to turn left. There are two ways to make a left turn:
    1. Like an auto, look, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left.
    2. Like a pedestrian, ride straight to the far-side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. By law, cyclists must obey traffic laws when bicycles are ridden on streets and roads within the State of New Mexico and Texas.

  • Ride a properly equipped bike.
    1. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night and when visibility is poor. (By law, in New Mexico, to ride at night you must have a light-emitting headlight visible for at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible for 50 to 300 feet from the rear. Most states have similar laws.)
    2. Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly.
    3. For safety and efficiency, outfit it with a horn/bell, rear-view mirror(s), fenders (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bike bags.


Rule 1: Be Predictable
Ride so drivers can see you and predict your movements.

Obey traffic signs and signals. Bicycles must obey traffic laws like other vehicles.

  1. Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the left side of the road. Ride on the right, with the traffic.
  2. Use hand signals when initiating a turn. Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self-protection.
  3. Ride in a straight line. Whenever possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic but about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  4. Don’t weave between parked cars. Don’t ride over to the curb between parked cars, unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you move back into traffic.
  5. Ride in middle of lane in slow traffic. Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic. (Remember, your bike IS a vehicle when on the road and you ARE allowed to operate it in the middle of the traffic lane, not just at the right edge, when traffic is slow. You’re also responsible for signaling and stopping at stop signs and traffic lights like other vehicles.)
  6. Follow lane markings. Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked right-turn-only.
  7. Choose the best way to turn left. Remember: There are two ways to make a left turn. 1) Like an auto. Signal, move into the left lane and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian.
  8. Don’t pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  9. Go slow on shared paths. Yield to pedestrians. Give pedestrian’s audible warning when you pass. Do not ride on sidewalks where prohibited.
  10. When biking with others, ride in line when other traffic is present.
  11. Watch out for the parked car doors.

Rule 2: Be Alert
Ride defensively and expect the unexpected.

  1. Watch for cars pulling out. Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don’t see you until you are sure they do.
  2. Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  3. Avoid road hazards. Watch for sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily spots, gravel, and ice. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles.
  4. Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain.
  5. Watch for chasing dogs. Ignore them, or try a firm, loud, “NO.” If you can’t get away, dismount with your bike between you and the dog. Call Animal Control or your local Police Dept. on your Plateau cell phone.

Rule 3: Be Equipped
You’ll ride more easily and safely.

  1. Keep the bike in good repair. Adjust your bike to fit you, and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly.
  2. Use lights at night or when visibility is poor. The law requires a strong headlight and rear reflector or tail light at night.
  3. Dress appropriately. In rain, wear a poncho or a parka made of fabric that “breathes”. Generally dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Avoid loose clothing. Purchase a “strap” at a local bike store to control your right pant leg to avoid catching in the chain.
  4. Use a pack or rack to carry things. Saddlebags, racks, baskets, and backpacks are all good ways to carry packages, freeing your hands for safe riding.
  5. Always wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet. This reduces the potential for head injury by 85%.

· Place the helmet low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.

· Helmet straps should be snug under the chin so the helmet stays in the same position.

· Helmet should not move back and forth or side to side.

Official IMBA Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail and Mountain Bike Safety

The following is the official list of mountain biking rules of the trail from IMBA, otherwise known as the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These mountain bike rules are designed to minimize our impact on our environment as well as promote friendly relationships between all trail users by creating a safe environment for us all. By following these rules we help ensure our access to trails in our local communities will continue and hopefully grow. Riding in control not only helps prevent crashes, it keeps others on the trail safe as well. When you ride out of control, you lose the ability to adjust to the terrain and environment as you pass through it. This can and does lead to dangerous crashes and injury to yourself and others.

Mountain biking is inherently dangerous and we all like to push the limits sometimes, but there is a fine line between pushing the limits safely and pushing them recklessly. Follow these steps to stay safe on the trails and on the right side of the danger line.

Gear up
Always wear a helmet and any other appropriate safety equipment for the riding conditions.

Never Ride Beyond Your Abilities
There is no shame in walking sections of the trail you don’t feel confident enough to ride, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Use Appropriate Equipment for the Terrain
Some bikes are better for different situations. Just because you can see tire tracks, doesn’t mean you can ride it with your bike.

Keep Your Speed in Check
Always keep your speed at a level that will allow you to adjust to any unforeseen obstacles or changes in trail conditions.

Know the Trail
Never push the limits on a trail you are not familiar with. You need to get to know the trail you are riding at slower speeds before you can ride it like the trails you’re used to.

Slow Down for Blind Corners
You never know what or who is around a corner when you can’t see past it.

Stop and Look
Stop and look at sections of the trail that look like they may pose a challenge before you ride them.

Plan on the Crash
Always look at the consequences of crashing in a particular section or on a particular stunt before trying to ride through it. Sometimes a section can look easy to ride but can have deadly consequences to a crash.

Start Small, Go Big
Work your way up to obstacles and stunts. Find ways to practice moves in less difficult and dangerous situations or at lower speeds before committing yourself to something more dangerous.

Play It Smart
If you think what you are doing is not the smartest, you are probably right. Think about what you are doing and trust your instincts.

Every mountain biker should know and live by these mountain biking rules from IMBA:

Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail
The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport’s access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA’s mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
Respect trail and road closures – ask if uncertain; avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2. Leave No Trace.
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control Your Bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4. Always Yield Trail.
Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don’t startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

5. Never Scare Animals.
All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders – ask if uncertain. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

6. Plan Ahead.
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.

Bicycles have the right to use on our roads; however, use of Interstate highways by bicycles is discouraged. Bicyclists Must:

  • Obey traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets and other basic traffic laws.A bicyclist has the same rights and duties on the road as drivers of other vehicles, and some additional responsibilities.
  • Ride as far “as practicable” to the right (or to the outside lanes on a one-way street), particularly when automobile traffic is moving faster than you are.
  • Be prepared to yield at all times.
  • Use hand signals when turning or moving from a lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Give audible warning when overtaking a pedestrian.
  • Keep at least one hand on handlebars. Keep control of the bicycle at all times.
  • Use a headlight with a white light visible from at least 500 feet ahead, and a red reflector visible from at least 50 to 300 feet behind, when riding from sunset to sunrise or whenever visibility is poor.
  • Keep brakes adjusted so that, when braked, your bicycle skids on clean dry pavement.
  • Ride astride a fixed seat (kiddy seat and tandems acceptable). Riding “double” is discouraged.
  • Ride no more than two abreast.

Remember, your bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle. It is not easily seen on crowded streets and will seldom attract attention on its own. At all times, do everything you can to make sure you are noticed. Safety First, Safety Always, Safety is our target.

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

You can contact him at

May is Motorcycle Safety Month

If you live in WA like I do and go out at all this weekend you couldn’t help but notice all the motorcycles out on the roads. It was a beautiful weekend for it and they came out in masses to take over the roads and highways.


Unless proper safety is observed, this might be a recipe for disaster. That’s why May, the month were some many motorcyclists, fire up their motorcycle engine for the first time after a long winter, is Motorcycle Safety Month.

Here are a few safety tips both for drivers on the road with motorcyclists as well as for motorcyclists themselves.

Safety tips for those sharing the road with motorcycles:

  • Be aware that motorcyclists are out there sharing the road. Look for them. They are obviously much harder to see then cars.
  • When motorcyclists downshift or ease off the throttle the motorcycle will slow down without the break lights going on so make sure you give them plenty of room.
  • Motorcycle turn signals may or may not turn off automatically when the turn or lane change has taken place. Don’t assume that a motorcycle is actually turning, just because that’s what the blinker indicates.
  • Being smaller means that motorcycles are easier to miss in your vehicles’ blindspot. Make sure you check thoroughly before you change lanes.
  • It is difficult to judge how rapidly a motorcycle is approaching, much harder than a car or truck.
  • While the rules of the road say that the driving distance between your  car and the motorcycle is the same as the one between two cars, it is safer to allow a greater distance. What might be a simple fender-bender between two cars can become a fatality when a motorcycle is involved.

Safety Tips for motorcyclists:

  • Understand that you are much more difficult to spot than a car is. Maximize your visibility with hi-viz clothing, reflective stripes and by leaving your headlights on at all times.
  • Know your bike. Practice driving in all times of weather and all kinds of road conditions. Knowing what you can or can’t do based on conditions around you can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Especially when on the highway, drive as if you were a car. Do not weave in and out of traffic, ride the shoulder or zip between cars. Doing so puts you at risk.
  • Wear a helmet and proper protective gear at all times.

Learn more about motorcycle safety from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website. Of special interest is the library that they have available with several good documents, curriculum, reports, papers and a whole lot more.

Health and Safety Alert- Stroke Awareness

May National Stroke Awareness Month

May is here. Some of us have had personal experiences with family, friends or loved ones that have had or know someone that has experienced a stroke.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. While most strokes occur in people aged 65 years and older, strokes can occur at any age. Learn the signs and symptoms and how you can lower your risk for stroke.

Strokes strike fast. You should too. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

New treatments are available that can reduce the damage caused by a stroke for some victims. But these treatments need to be given soon after the symptoms start.

Knowing the symptoms of stroke, calling 9-1-1 right away, and getting to a hospital are crucial to the most beneficial outcomes after having a stroke. The best treatment is to try to prevent a stroke by taking steps to lower your risk for stroke

What is a stroke?

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor problems such as weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be paralyzed on one side or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.


Ischemic (Clots) Hemorrhagic (Bleed) TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Often called a mini stroke, these warning strokes should be taken very seriously. TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) is caused by a temporary clot.

Anyone can have a stroke. But your chances for having a stroke increase if you meet certain criteria. Some of these criteria, called risk factors, are beyond your control — such as being over age 55, being male, being African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander, or having a family history of stroke. Other stroke risk factors are controllable.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:

· Age

· Gender

· Race

· Family History

· Previous Stroke or TIA

Controllable Risk Factors:

· Stop Smoking

· Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure

· Prevent and Control Diabetes

· Maintain a healthy diet, weight and exercise regularly

Stroke Symptoms

People at risk and partners or caretakers of people at risk for stroke should be aware of the general symptoms. The stroke victim should get to the hospital as soon as possible after these warning signs appear. It is particularly important for people with migraines or frequent severe headaches to understand how to distinguish between their usual headaches and symptoms of stroke.

The National Stroke Association lists the following five warning signs of stroke. PEOPLE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IF THEY EXPERIENCE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS:

· Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

· Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

· Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

· Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

· Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay! If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common types of stroke.

Stroke Detection

The National Stroke Awareness Month program places emphasis on making the public aware about Acting FAST.

According to the National Stroke Association a person experiencing a stroke can be treated if people have acted FAST – 80% of strokes can also be prevented.

FAST (Face. Arms, Speech and Time) being an acronym for things to check in a suspected stroke victim:

A. Face- Have the person smile and check for signs of weakness on one side of the face

B. Arms-Have the person raise both arms at the same time and check for weakness or numbness in one or both the limbs

C. Speech-Ask the person to say a simple sentence(i.e. Lunch is ready), check for any slurred speech or trouble speaking

D. Time- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately and note the time the stroke signals started.

NOTE: New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue

Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue…if the tongue  is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other,  that is also an indication of a  stroke.

If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay!  If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common types of stroke.

Stay with the person they may feel fearful or anxious. Most often they do not understand what has happened to them. Offer comfort and reassurance, but never give them food or water and wait till Emergency Medical Service arrives.

Public Stroke Prevention Guidelines

1. Know your blood pressure. If it is elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. Have your blood pressure checked at least once each year—more often if you have a history of high blood pressure.

2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (AF). If you have AF, work with your doctor to manage it. Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to collect in the chambers of your heart. This blood can form clots and cause a stroke. Your doctor can detect AF by carefully checking your pulse.

3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles the risk for stroke. If you stop smoking today, your risk for stroke will begin to decrease.

4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Drinking a glass of wine or beer or one drink each day may lower your risk for stroke (provided that there is no other medical reason you should avoid alcohol).  Remember that alcohol is a drug – it can interact with other drugs you are taking, and alcohol is harmful if taken in large doses. If you don’t drink, don’t start.

5. Know your cholesterol number. If it is high, work with your doctor to control it. Lowering your cholesterol may reduce your stroke risk. High cholesterol can also indirectly increase stroke risk by putting you at greater risk of heart disease – an important stroke risk factor. Often times, high cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise; some individuals may require medication.

6. Control your diabetes. If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully because diabetes puts you at an increased risk for stroke. Your doctor can prescribe a nutrition program, lifestyle changes and medicine that can help control your diabetes.

7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine. A brisk walk, swim or other exercise activity for as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your health in many ways, and may reduce your risk for stroke.

8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet. By cutting down on sodium and fat in your diet, you may be able to lower your blood pressure and, most importantly, lower your risk for stroke.

9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems. If so, work with your doctor to control them. Fatty deposits can block arteries that carry blood from your heart to your brain. Sickle cell disease, severe anemia, or other diseases can cause stroke if left untreated.

10.  If you have any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

The next CPR/First Aid class will be held May at 9:00 am in the Learning Center. Please contact me if you are interesting in learning how to save a life!
Information provided by and American Red Cross

To receive more stroke awareness information  call 1-800-STROKES (1-800-787-6537).

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

May is National Building Safety Month says President Obama

In a white house price release on May 9th, President elect Barack Obama declared May 2011 to be “National Building Safety Month”.

What this means, is that President Obama would like to “…encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of building safety, and I further urge Americans to learn more about how they can contribute to building safety at home and in their communities.”

You can view the press release here.