Fall & Winter Safety
Back to School
As summer draws to a close, it's a great time for parents to spend some time thinking about and talking to their children about back to school safety. Topics range from travel safety to being home alone to dealing with bullying. It's important to discuss issues with your children and make sure they know how to keep themselves safe while you are not around.
The school bus system is a very safe mode of transportation - statistically safer than riding in a car. To make sure your kids stay safe while riding the school bus go over these important points:
- Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus. Keep a safe distance between you and the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are back away from the bus.
- Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
- Stay away from the bus until the driver gives his/her signal that it's okay to approach.
- Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, however, not all do. Protect yourself and watch out!
- Read more about school bus safety on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
Walking & Bike Riding
Walking and/or biking to school can be an excellent source of exercise and can be a great way to start today. Visit the Oak Harbor School District website for information on best routes to school. Another resource is Walk Bike and Roll to School, a website dedicated to promoting safety in walking and biking to school. Check it out and be safe out on the sidewalks!
Holiday Fire Safety
Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage. The year-end holiday season - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's - coincide with heating season. That, combined with the use of decorative lights and candles and parties where people drink and smoke, increases the likelihood of a residential fire. The most important thing you can do to be fire-safe is to plan ahead and pay attention. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following these tips, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.
Space Heaters: Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, and portable heaters. Keep space heaters and portable heaters at least three feet away from walls. Always use the proper fuel for liquid-fuel heaters, be sure they are vented properly, and refill them only in well-ventilated areas and when they are cool. Make sure the type of space heater you use is legal in your area and bears the label of an independent testing laboratory.
Central Heating: Have furnace installations and all chimneys inspected and cleaned once a year (before heating season begins) or whenever you suspect a problem.
Fireplaces: Keep fireplace fires small, and always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Do not leave children alone in a room with a fireplace fire. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace; burning paper can float up your chimney and onto your roof or into your yard. Remove ashes in a metal container and store them outside.
Celebrating with Children
Matches and lighters: Use only lighters designed to be child resistant, and keep all matches and lighters out of children's reach - up high and preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach older children how to light candles and fireplace fires safely, and supervise them carefully.
Party safely: Use only flame-retardant or noncombustible materials for costumes and decorations. Use chafing dishes with caution. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and keep an eye on anyone who is drinking and smoking. Empty ashtrays often - wet their contents before dumping them. After the party, check cushions for smoldering cigarette butts.
Lights & Candles
Electric lights: Be sure all indoor and outdoor holiday lights bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Throw away any set of lights that has cracked or frayed cords or loose or damaged sockets. Do not overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, or near heaters. Be sure extension cords are not pinched behind or under furniture, and unplug all decorative lights before leaving your home or going to bed. Never use electric lights on a metal Christmas Tree.
Candles: Put candles in non-tip candle holders and light them only when they are securely in their holders. Never burn candles near a Christmas tree or decoration or displays. Keep candles well away from curtains and other combustibles, and never put candles in windows or near exits. Do not leave candles burning unattended or within the reach of small children. Extinguish candles before you leave a room or go to bed.
Choose a fresh-cut Christmas tree. If you're not cutting it yourself, buy a tree that is not shedding its needles. Install the tree in a large, deep non-tip stand well away from fireplaces, exits, and heat sources. Be sure your tree has a constant supply of water - check the level daily. Store it well away from your home until you can dispose of it. The best way to dispose of a tree is to recycle it. Ask about tree recycling where you purchase your tree.
If you use an artificial tree, be sure it is flame-retardant.