June is National Safety Month: Stay safe at home as well as at work

  • Published
  • By Rick Fleming
  • AEDC Safety

June is National Safety Month, and we need to get serious about safety in the home, workplace and community. The observance was created by the National Safety Council in 1996 to raise awareness about the importance of safety. This year's theme is "Safety at Home."

Preventable injuries, commonly known as “accidents,” are the fourth leading cause of U.S. deaths.  Everyone needs to work together to highlight leading causes of preventable injury and death. Be aware of your surroundings and change anything that is unsafe.           

We have emergency plans here at work, but do you and your family members know how to react to an emergency at home? We all have contact numbers in our phones, but what if the phones are not available?

Here are a few personal observations and some suggestions from the National Safety Council:

Plan for all kinds of events – power outages, severe storms, fire, ice storms, floods, earthquakes and more.

Your home should have a carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and first aid kit. Everyone in your home should know where they are and how to use them.

Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room and practice using them with your family. Include your children. Make it into a game to play so they will know what to do, just in case.

Identify safe places where everyone should meet if you need to evacuate, or you cannot go home. Choose one location near your home and then identify a location outside of the immediate neighborhood.

Arrange for each family member to call, email or text the same out-of-town contact person in case of an emergency. Be sure all of you have their name; their home, work and cell phone numbers; an email address; and a home address.

Make copies of important documents – birth and marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, land deeds and insurance. Be sure to have current photos of family members. Keep one set in the home and one with a friend or family member.

Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe that you may be in danger. Take your emergency kit, wallet, personal identification for each family member and copies of important family documents. Bring a cellular phone, spare battery and charger with you.

When you can, contact your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Once you are safe, let them know.

If you go to an evacuation center, register at the registration desk. Do not return home until authorities advise that it is safe to do so.

Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. You will need a package that is easy to find and easy to carry and everyone in the household should know where it is. You may even want to separate some of these supplies into individual backpacks so each person can personalize his or her own grab-and-go emergency kit.

Limit phone calls to urgent messages only. Keep calls short to free up the lines for others.

If you think your water is contaminated, check with your municipality or local authorities for details. When in doubt, do not drink water you suspect may be contaminated.

Keep some cash on hand, in small bills, as automated bank machines and their networks may not work during an emergency. You may have difficulty using debit or credit cards.

Keep a corded phone in your home, as most cordless phones will not work during a power outage.

Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities. Local officials may advise you to stay where you are. Follow their instructions.

In closing, update your emergency plans every June. Review your contact information, practice your emergency evacuation plans and restock your kits.

We never know when an emergency may happen. Having a plan and supplies allows us to have the tools we need to get through it.

Basic Emergency Kit

  • Water – at least two liters of water per person per day.
  • Food – items that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods.
  • Manual can-opener
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries. Replace batteries once a year.
  • Crank or battery-powered radio and extra batteries, or a weather radio with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit
  • Extra keys to your car and house
  • Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills.
  • Basic tools
  • A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
  • If applicable, other items such as prescription medication; infant formula; equipment for people with disabilities; and food, water and medication for your pets or service animal.
  • Other items that you may need. Personalize your kit according to your needs.

Take care of each other.