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Public Education

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
About 230 people die each year from CO poisoning related to fuel burning household appliances, such as furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, clothes dryers, kitchen ranges, wood stoves and fireplaces. Each year, approximately 25 people die and hundreds more suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning when they burn charcoal in enclosed areas such as their homes - in a bedroom or living room for heat or cooking. Some also burn charcoal in campers or vans, or in tents. When inhaled, carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless gas, is easily absorbed into the blood. The gas is lethal when it replaces the amount of oxygen needed to sustain heart and brain function. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and nausea, are often dismissed as a "touch of the flu," even by doctors.


Thunder Storms
  • Avoid wide, open areas such as fields, but don't huddle with others. Spread out at least 15 feet apart.
  • Don't stand near trees or tall poles. Get at least 7 feet away from tall objects.
  • If you are in a lightning strike zone, get to the lowest point of ground you can, and kneel or squat to minimize your contact points with the ground. Do not lie flat. This will make you a bigger target.
  • Remove steel-toed boots or shoes with metal spikes.
  • Avoid metal objects such as lawn mowers, pipes, golf carts and clubs.
  • Lighting can move through a home's plumbing, attracted to the metal or water. Avoid using sinks and showers.
  • If you're out on the water, get to land. If you're in a pool, get out.
  • Never swim when thunder or lightning is present.
  • Electrical wiring attracts lightning. Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies.
  • Disconnect computers, TV's and other delicate electronic equipment. Consider attaching surge protectors to such equipment.
  • Stay away from windows during strong winds. Tree limbs and other wind-borne objects can be a hazard.
  • Rain reduces traction and causes tires to hydroplane. Slow your speed accordingly.
  • Water on roads may be deeper than it looks. Watch for vehicles traveling too fast. They can throw up blinding sheets of water.
  • Pay attention to hazard signs and roadblocks. Ignoring them threatens life and property, and can result in enforcement action by police.

Downed Power Lines
  • Stay at least 100 feet away.
  • If the power line has fallen on your car while you're in it, don't touch anything metal in the car, and stay inside until professional help arrives.
  • Never try to help someone trapped by a power line. You endanger your own safety. Instead, call 911 immediately.


Water Safety
  • Learn to swim.
  • Teach children to swim.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Never allow children to be near a pool or any water source alone.
  • Never swim while under the influence of alcohol or medications.
  • Never swim when thunder or lightning is present.
  • Only swim in approved areas.
  • Wear a Coast Guard approved PFD (personal floatation device) when boating, skiing or any other water sports. Air filled devices (inner tubes) are NOT approved PFDs.
  • Check the depth of the water with the lifeguard (if avalible) before jumping in.
  • Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water.
  • Know where your children are at all times.
  • Always have a designated child watcher. A responsible adult should always watch children during all activities in or near water.
  • Don't assume that children who know how to swim don't need supervision. Accidents can happen to anyone, no matter what age or swimming ability.
  • Don't assume that someone is watching. Just because there are adults present doesn't mean they are watching the swimmers. Adults socializing might not even notice that a child is in trouble until it's too late.
  • Floaties don't take the place of supervision. There is NO substitute for adult supervision.
  • If you leave the pool area, take the children with you.
  • Most child drowning incidents occur when an adult "just walked away for a few seconds."
  • Have life-saving devices near the pool and know how to use it. A pole, rope and personal flotation device are recommended.
  • Do not allow children to play around the pool.
  • Remove all toys from the pool and deck area after every use so that children are not attracted to them and tempted to gain access to the pool.
  • Just having a pool on your property is a potential drowning hazard, even when there are no swimming activities.
  • Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house.
  • Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences.
  • Post the 9-1-1 number on the phone.
  • Learn CPR and make sure that everyone in your home know what to do in case of a pool emergency. Every second counts when it comes to drowning.


Pets and the Holidays
Holiday decorations can pose a threat to your pets. Consider pet proofing your home to prevent any accidents.
  • Cats & kittens can break their limbs by falling out of Christmas trees.
  • Chewing on electrical wires can cause serious mouth burns as well as severe problems from electric shock.
  • Breakable ornaments and "angel hair" - which is actually spun glass - can cause severe cuts in the mouth and throat, which may require surgery.
  • Poinsettias and the berries of holly & mistletoe are toxic to pets.
  • String used to secure roasted turkey or ham can be very tempting to pets. If eaten, the string may cause serious problems requiring surgery. Be sure all strings & netting are disposed of properly.
  • Turkey & chicken bones should never be given to pets - they splinter easily and can cause choking.
  • Chocolate is toxic to pets, even in small amounts.
  • Pets are not "party animals" - giving alcohol to helpless creatures to get a laugh is cruel, and it can result in serious problems.
  • Do not give aspirin, Tylenol or any painkillers to a pet unless under the advice of a vet - they can be lethal.


Mardi Gras Safety
  • Research the routes and traditions of parades. Some parades are suitable for adult audiences only.
  • Be sure that you are in a safe neighborhood for viewing the parades.
  • Watch the weather report and dress children accordingly. They can suffer from exposure more quickly than adults.
  • Take a blanket for to sit on. Once the parade starts, the blanket can be used to wrap up in if the weather is cold or damp.
  • Face paint is better than masks, which can obscure a child's vision.
  • Teach your children their name and phone number.
  • Mark your children's clothes on the inside with name, address and phone number.
  • Go to the same area to view parades if possible and teach your child a landmark to meet if separated.
  • Find a place to make a home base, away from the throngs of parade-watchers and if possible at the home of a friend or relative who lives along or near the parade route, or even back at the car. Crowds can be overwhelming to children, and they need a place to rest periodically.
  • Children stay calm if lost, and go to a uniformed police officer.
  • Teach your child not to be afraid of police officers and if possible take them up to one prior to the parade.
  • If no police officer is in your area teach your child to go to another parent with children for help.
  • Make sure your children know to stay with you and away from strangers.
  • If a stranger tries to talk to you, "You're not my Parent", and get away.
  • Be safety-conscious.
  • Never allow children in the street, try to find an area with barricades and stand behind them.
  • Don't get too close to floats. Floats cannot stop on a dime and accidents have occurred.
  • Do NOT run into the street between floats for a trinket!
  • Never follow behind floats, bands, etc.
  • Never run after throws.
  • Always watch what your children catch, especially toddlers and infants who can choke on broken beads and trinkets.
  • Never eat the candy that is thrown, before an adult checks it.
  • Don't put your hands on the ground.
  • Don't fight over throws.
  • Avoid putting people on your shoulders. Doing so can put both you and your child in danger. Crowds can move unexpectedly, making it easy for the child to be knocked over or for you to lose your balance and trip.
  • Be alert to aggressive float riders, who in the process of tossing throws may inadvertently strike a child, particularly one on a ladder.
  • Never throw anything at the riders.
  • Do not double-park or park in driveways, on neutral grounds (medians), in front of fire hydrants, within 15 feet of curb corners! Your car will get towed away.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption. It impairs your judgment and limits your ability to care for your children.
  • The drinking age is 21 and it is enforced.

Practice ladder safety!
Ladders are popular and a great way for a good view....but if you bring a ladder, it has to be behind a barricade or as far away from the street as the ladder's height in the event the ladder is knocked over. Many people have built seats on the top of the ladder so their children will have a great view! Parents should stand on the backs of ladders to protect children from fast-flying objects and anchor the ladder. If you put your children in a ladder, use one with a seat and a bar in the front and make sure it is standing on level ground a safe distance from the curb. Children under 2 should not be placed on ladders because it could scare them. Try not to place your ladder too close to people with nets or other bead-catching paraphernalia.


Halloween Safety
  • When shopping for costumes and accessories, look for those with a label indicating that they are flame resistant.
  • Get costumes that are bright and reflective. Also, add reflective tape to Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Make sure that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Masks can limit or block eyesight. You may want to consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • Write identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
  • Don't simulate knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible enough to prevent injury.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.
  • Never block exits with decorations
  • Use only battery powered lanterns in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
  • Always keep Jack O' Lanterns and hot electric lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be walking.
  • Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway.
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Stay in a group.
  • Plan a route with your children and a specific time when you'll return home. Then, leave a copy of the plan with a family member in case of an emergency.
  • Give flashlights with fresh batteries to all children and their escorts, along with coins for non-emergency phone calls. By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
  • Make sure your children know how call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on.
  • Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street and only cross as a group.
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, because some drivers may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters.
  • No treats should be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an Adult.
  • Examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Report any suspicious or unlawful activity to Law Enforcement immediately.
  • Adult partygoers should establish a designated driver.