Fact Finder: Personal safety

March 10, 2010 

Safety is freedom from harm or the danger of harm, it is also the percautions people take to prevent accidents. Many people cite safety and being a victim of crime as major concerns. Follow the links below to keep you as well as your family safe.

Safety at Home

Did you know that about one-third of all accidental injuries occur in the home?

Avoid unnecessary injuries by observing a few simple safety rules.

  • Never use a chair, table, or boxes to reach high objects; use a ladder. Store heavy items on lower shelves and lighther items higher up to avoid awkard climbing and reaching.
  • Prevent cuts by keeping knives in a knife rack and sweeping up broken glass as soon as possible. Never pick up glass splinters with your bare hands.
  • Avoid burns and scalds when cooking by turning pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Install nonslip strips and handrails to prevent falls in the bathtub.
  • Keep medicines locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Install a smoke alarm to help insure safety in case of fire.
  • If you have firearms in your home, keep them unloaded and lock them in a rack or cabinet. Ammunition should be locked in a separate place.
  • If you have a swimming pool, guard it with a fence and a locked gate, the pool should be drained when not in use.

Safety at School

Do you have school age chidren? Remind them of possible risks at school. While state and local laws require schools to provide clearly marked exits, fire escapes, and first-aid equipment, it remains the responsibility of the student to avoid accidents. Encourage your child to:

  • Walk not run in corridors and on stairs.
  • In the classroom keep feet out of the aisles and never throw items such as pencils, pens or paper clips at other students as this could cause eye injury.
  • If you participate in sporting events make sure you follow the safety precautions for that sport; for example if you play football be sure to wear the proper protective equipment.

Safety Away From Home

While your away from home (shopping, walking, driving or vacationing) guard against becoming a victim of a crime by following these safety tips.

  • Don't shop or conduct bank business on the 1st or 15th of the month when many government checks and paychecks are issued. Talk with your bank about setting up a direct deposit account.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money, jewelry or valuables while you're out.
  • Leave important papers such as birth certificates and medical records at home.
  • Walk confidently and behave in an alert and self-assured manner and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Be cautious when approached by strangers.
  • Avoid getting into an elevator with a stranger but if you must stand near the control panel.
  • When traveling use credit cards instead of cash and always travel with a companion.
  • Keep your distance from drivers who stop to ask for directions by remaining a few feet away from the vehicle.
  • Keep your car doors locked while driving.
  • Don't leave keys or other valuables in an unattended automobile.
  • Don't leave packages in your car where they will be visible to thieves. Hide them, lock them in the trunk or take them home.
  • If you become lost while driving or walking, get to the nearest public place and ask for directions.
  • Never leave small children unattended in your vehicle, not even for a minute.
  • Park your car or walk only in well-lit, populated areas. Avoid dark, deserted areas.
  • Don't stop at isolated cash machines or pay phones(you should own a cell phone) where you could become a carjacking victim.
  • Have your car keys in hand before approaching your vehicle, it is a good idea to place a whistle on your keychain for use in case of an emergency.
  • Check your surroundings before venturing into parking lots are other unfamiliar areas.
  • Other Crime Prevention Resources

    National Crime Prevention Council's brochure featuring "McGruff the Dog" with information on staying safe at home, outside, and at work. Information includes tips for kids and senior citizens.

    Self defense courses
    Want to take a class in self defense? The Association for Women's Self Defense Advancement has a directory of instructors. Search by country and then state.

    Avoiding fire and carbon monoxide dangers at home
    Sources of these dangers and prevention tips.

    Avoiding vehicle fires
    Statistics and tips on preventing vehicle fires.

    Tips for your home from the American College of Emergency Physicians

    Child safety
    List of common childhood accidents, how to prevent them and even what to do if they happen.

    Sources: World Book Encyclopedia and Sheriff's Office, Broward County, FL

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