The calendar on my wall tells me it is November which means life has moved into the last days of autumn. When I walk outside now, it isn’t to see the green grass and smell flowers that were planted, but to hear the crunch of leaves underfoot and feel the brisk air brush my face. Many call me crazy but it is true – I love this time of year.
What does that mean for safety though? Are there things that happen now that impact safety? The short answer – yes.
Various agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Fire Protection Association and the National Safety Council publish hints and lists for fall as reminders of things to keep in mind. Let’s go over a few of the more common items.
- Take steps to prevent the cold and flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds
- If that isn’t an option then alcohol-based hand sanitizer is OK
- Get your flu shot
- If you are sick, stay at home
- Know when antibiotics are needed (antibiotics are not effective against viruses like the common cold and the flu)
- Test and/or replace batteries:
- Replace the alkaline batteries that are a part of most smoke/fire alarms. These should also be checked for functionality at least once per month
- Check the batteries in all Carbon Monoxide detectors. This should be done twice per year
- Refer to my previous blog “October, Cows and NFPA” for more information on this topic. The blog can be found here.
- Campfire Safety:
- Check the weather forecast for the possibility of wind gusts
- Choose an appropriate location – away from power lines, low-hanging limbs, tents, etc.
- Clear the area around the actual fire
- Do not allow children or pets near the fire or unsupervised while one is burning
- Remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL in an emergency
- Food Safety:
- The people preparing the food should wash their hands and cooking surfaces often
- Keep foods separate to avoid cross-contamination
- Cook everything to the proper temperature
- Avoid letting food sit unrefrigerated for long periods of time
- Furnaces, Space Heaters and Fireplaces:
- Have the heating system of the home inspected and/or serviced before cold weather arrives
- Read the safety information provided with all spaces heaters especially to see if venting is needed or the safe distance for use
- For fireplaces always keep the screen in place to avoid the possibility of sparks and embers from escaping. Also have the chimney inspected or cleaned each year
As William Cullen Bryant says, “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” By following these simple things, you can keep your family safe and enjoy this beautiful time of the year.