Tag Archives: Safety

The Safety Pin I’m Wearing

There are a lot of opinions floating around on social media about the donning of a safety pin on one’s apparel. Some would agree that it is a visible sign that the person wearing it will help provide a safe place for people who identify as a member of the many targeted groups who have experienced hate crimes throughout history. Others have argued that it is something of a shield—an easy way for the wearer to escape any real action helping the same marginalized groups while still identifying themselves as one of the “good guys.”
I would like to respectfully address the latter.
I understand the argument comes from a place of anger, and perhaps the writer’s own embarrassment. Believe me when I say, I’m embarrassed also. I’m embarrassed that, despite my belief that those in the LGBTQ community should always enjoy the same rights and freedoms I occasionally take for granted, I let their recent victory in the Supreme Court make me lazy.
I’m ashamed that I took my extra money over the last few months and bought coffee or treats for myself while women in more conservative states feared that key resources like Planned Parenthood would disappear because of the life-saving, professional services they offer to some patients who choose not to carry their pregnancy to term for whatever reason.
I’m furious with myself for not engaging with those on social media who posted memes about gun control, subtly and not-so-subtly identifying Muslims as the force behind the violence we’ve witnessed in recent months. Additionally, I’m horrified that pressing a “delete” button or demurring from the “sensitive” topic of immigration and violence against minorities was my choice approach for so long. It was such because I believed that we lived in a country where yes, fear has a voice, but compassion, kindness, and acceptance were so close to eradicating it.
I’m embarrassed, but not by my safety pin.
We are surrounded by distractions that let us fall into the monotony of modern life without considering the hate and discrimination befalling humans across this planet and across our nation. A tragedy occurs and we change our profile pictures to represent our sympathy, but by the following week things are back to normal unless you are directly affected by the incident. Nothing is ever going to change unless we realize that we have a responsibility, as humans, to stand up for one another. Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when our newsfeeds are filled with engagements, babies, and accomplishments.
If my safety pin tells you that I am a safe space, that is a wonderful thing. I will stand next to you, and I will give you a shoulder on which you can cry, lean, or use to climb up and achieve your dreams.
But that little silver trinket is not, nor will it ever be, a plea for recognition or a pat on the back.
It is a reminder that history, in fact, does repeat itself if we aren’t careful. The Emmett Tills and Matthew Shepards of this world are still out there suffering. And when I look at my wrist, I make a promise to them that I will never let myself get lazy again.

Independence Day Safety

This July 4th marks the 240th birthday of the United States signing the Declaration of Independence. The Roanoke City & Alleghany District of the Virginia Department of Health encourages you to celebrate the occasion with the safe handling of food and fireworks.

The United States of America declared independence from Great Britain on July 4th 1776. Since then, we the people have taken part in an annual commemoration of the event with exceptional displays of fireworks and the consumption of a variety of home cooked foods that warm the soul and just feel like home. While the best way to enjoy fireworks and to prevent potential injuries is to attend a professional public fireworks display, below are helpful reminders designed to increase your safety this 4th of July.

  • Follow all warning labels and take extra precautions to properly handle fireworks to avoid injury. Don’t leave children unsupervised.  Fireworks are ignited with a flame and can cause burn injuries if mishandled. Even sparklers are designed to throw off showers of hot sparks with temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks and light only one firework at a time to allow time to quickly clear the area. Most fireworks contain an explosive element and projectile that can cause eye injuries, burns, cuts and bruises if misdirected. Always ensure fireworks are placed in a clear, outdoor area on a firm and solid base pointed away from any people, buildings or other obstructions before igniting. Never place a firework in your pocket or in a metal or glass container.
  • Do not drink alcohol while using fireworks.
    A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities without impairment. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.
    Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. Always have a bucket of water and charged hose nearby. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Do not experiment with homemade explosives and obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. When in doubt, leave the show to the professionals.

American holiday 4th of July - Picnic TableIn comparison to explosives, your food may seem harmless, but food that has not been properly stored and cooked can have you rushing to the emergency room just as fast. It is important to remember that harmful bacteria can start to grow when perishable food is between temperatures of 41 and 135 °F; perishable food transported without ice or a heat source won’t stay safe long. When preparing meals remember to follow these safety tips:

  • Clean Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before handling food.
  • Separate Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods. If possible use separate cutting boards and utensil for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Cook Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 155°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
  • Chill – Keep your refrigerator below 40°F, and refrigerate food that will spoil. Leftovers should be eaten, frozen or discarded within 3 to 4 days. When reheating, make sure there are no cold spots in the food and the temperature reaches 165°F throughout to eliminate most harmful bacteria.

Grills burn too. The following tips can help reduce the risk for injuries and help prevent fires while cooking your Independence Day meal:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Keep children and pets clear of the grilling area.
  • Remember to keep your grill clean and remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be accidentally ignited.
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t light the grill.

If you experience symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting or have an injury this 4th of July, please visit your local healthcare professional or dial 911.

For additional public health Information visit the Virginia health department website at www.vdh.virginia.gov or the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

For additional information on firework safety please visit the US Consumer and Produces Safety Commissions Fireworks Information Center online at www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/.

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This article is part one of a five-part series from the Roanoke Alleghany District of the Virginia Department of Health meant to inform local residents about the risks and preventive measures they can take to protect the health of their families and friends this summer.
The Roanoke Alleghany Health District works to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, protect the environment, prevent injury, promote and encourage healthy behavior, respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery, and assure the quality and accessibility of health services for all members of our community.

Ten Tips to Make Your Home Safer for Kids

Home is where the heart is, and for most people, it’s where they feel safest. Yet for children, the home isn’t as safe as you might assume. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that 3.5 million children go to the emergency room every year for injuries that happen in homes.
Some parents are unintentionally putting their children at risk by making common mistakes in the home. For example, parents say they are worried about fire safety and 96 percent report they have a smoke alarm, yet 14 percent never check their smoke alarm battery, according to “Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home,” from Safe KidsWorldwide and Nationwide.
“Parents just can’t imagine a tragedy could happen to them, but it happens far too often,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Sadly, 2,200 kids die from an injury in the home every year. The good news is that we know how to prevent these injuries, and parents can take simple steps to protect their kids.”
Safe Kids Worldwide teamed up with Nationwide and its Make Safe Happen program to help families keep kids safe in the home. “We know parents want to protect their children,” said Terrance Williams, Nationwide’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s our hope that by bringing this information to families and caregivers, we can help them protect what matters most.”
Here are 10 tips to make your home kid-safe so you avoid preventable injuries. To learn more, visit SafeKids.org or MakeSafeHappen.com.

1. Make sure there is a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test the batteries every month.

2. Create and practice a home fire-escape plan with your family. Know two ways out of every room in case of a fire.

3. Give young children your full and undivided attention when they are in and around water. Only 1 percent of parents list drowning as a concern, according to the Safe Kids report, yet every week a child dies from drowning in a bathtub.

4. For young children, use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, attaching them to the wall if possible.

5. Keep cribs clear of toys and soft bedding, and make sure that babies sleep alone, on their backs, and in a crib every time they sleep. For children under the age of 1, suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death.

6. Keep all medicine up and away, out of children’s reach and sight. Think about places where kids get into medicine, like in purses, on counters and on nightstands.

7. Store all household cleaners, liquid laundry packets and other toxic products out of children’s reach and sight. Use cabinet locks to prevent young children from getting into products that may cause them harm.

8. Save the Poison Help line number into your phone and post it in your home where anyone can find it easily in an emergency: 1-800-222-1222.

9. Secure flat-panel TVs by mounting them to the wall and place box-style TVs on a low, stable piece of furniture.

10. Properly install window guards or stops to help prevent falls from windows. Each year, 3,300 children are injured by falling out of a window, yet 70 percent of parents say they have never used window guards or stops that prevent these falls.