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Security Tips 2/6/09

We are facing tough economic times. People are losing their jobs and their homes. Statistically, when there is an economic downturn, crime rates increase.

Not all crime is preventable, but there are things you can do to make it much less likely that you'll be victimized.

In 2007, the Safety and Security Committee distributed the Chattahoochee Run and Point Burglary Prevention Guide to all residents. Now is the time to review that Guide to make sure your home is a safe as possible. Listed below are 10 Quick Security Tips from the Guide. Many of these steps are common sense, but they can make a real difference to your safety. By securing your home and property you can, hopefully, save yourself the distress and expense of crime, and make our community a safer and better place to live.

A burglar only needs to spot an open window, unlocked gate or a cheap lock in order to make their move. Think about it -- if you know your home security is weak, so will a thief.

If you have misplaced your Guide, please download a copy from our community website at Burglary Prevention Guide.

10 QUICK SECURITY TIPS

1. Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars. Thieves are quick to spot weak locks that may be easily forced open. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one inch throw and reinforced strike plates with three inch screws. All windows should have window locks.

2. Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track and install vertical bolts. These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.

3. Always lock the door attached to the garage. Donít rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.

4. Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights, radios, and televisions. Making your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home, will deter criminals.

5. Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. Installing low voltage outdoor lighting is a cost-effective way to discourage intruders.

6. Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place to make it appear you are present.

7. Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal, everyday appearance in your home.

8. Never leave a message on your answering machine stating you are away from home. A message that you will return at a certain time leaves your home vulnerable in the interim.

9. Keep shrubbery trimmed away from entrances and walkways. While large, ornate hedges may be beautiful, they also provide a hiding place for burglars who need only a minute to break in through a window or door.

10. An alert community is a safe community.

Burglary Prevention 1/28/09

Think most burglaries happen at night? Think again.

Statistically, most home thefts happen during the day, when people are away at work or school. July and August are prime times for burglars, when families are away on vacation. Thefts also increase during hard financial times, when it is more difficult to find work. Thieves use force to enter your home 70% of the time but are caught only 13% of the time. There are more than 1 million burglaries a year, and the number is rising.

Eliminate Easy Entry

Sliding doors and windows are easy fixes. Close the door or window and measure the length of the exposed sliding track. Cut a piece of wood a half inch shorter than the sliding track. When you close up, lock the door or window, then place the wood in the slide track -- it prevents opening. Small, inexpensive track locks accomplish the same thing. Security screen doors can prevent thieves from having access to your entry doors and can be painted to blend with your home.

Close Windows of Opportunity

Open windows are used by burglars because they are visible from the street or alley and no forced entry is required. Windows can be locked partially open for ventilation with a track lock or length of wood 2" shorter than exposed sliding track (when the window is totally closed). This allows the window to remain 2" open, but no more. Take this precaution with all windows when leaving home, even those difficult to reach.

Honor They Neighbors

Neighbors can be good allies toward a common purpose. Offer to keep a lookout on their home when they are away and ask them to reciprocate. When going away for a period, remove signs of vacancy -- put mail and newspaper deliveries on hold and ask neighbors to remove fliers left at the front door. Establish trust with your neighbors so you can leave spare keys with them (experienced burglars know where to look for hidden spare keys).

Keep Records of Your Belongings

In case of theft, your homeowner's insurance may be of little value if you cannot substantiate your loss. Take photos of your possessions (especially jewelry and electronics), write down serial numbers and keep receipts in case you need them to file an insurance claim. Keep important documents in a home safe and give copies to your relatives to keep in case the originals are lost. There are also companies that perform a "home inventory" service.

On-Line Resources

National Crime Prevention Council (www.ncpc.org)

National Neighborhood Watch Institute (www.nnwi.org)

Baby Safety (9/26/08)

Continuing our celebration of National Baby Safety Month (www.familyresource.com), following are an additional eight tips to help create a safer environment for you and your baby (older children, too).

∑ Review your cooking habits. Are you using the back burners first and turning the pot handles to the back of the stove? Use the back burners for frying and boiling foods.

∑ Talk to your children about stove and oven safety. Teach them they are hot and never to touch them.

∑ If you have an unused freezer or refrigerator stored in your garage or yard, have it removed. Be sure to store it with the door towards the wall until it's gone. Children can climb inside and suffocate.

∑ How are the latches on your cupboards holding up? Have any broken off and need to be replaced?

∑ Can you name the 12 most common choking food for kids under five? (See answers at the end)

∑ Don't leave toddler's alone while eating. If they begin to choke you need to be nearby to assist.

∑ Get a piggy bank: this is a great place to put coins so they don't end up on the floor, in the couch cushions and then in your child's mouth.

∑ Flush old/expired prescriptions and medications down the toilet. Be sure that medications are placed up high where little ones cannot get access to them, keeping in mind, that they can climb. Don't call medication "candy". Children are unable to discern the difference.

Common choking foods for children under five years: popcorn, hot dogs, chunks of meat, raisins, ice cubes, chunky peanut butter, peanuts (nuts of any kind), hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, potato chips and corn chips.

Baby Safety (9/18/08)

Continuing our celebration of National Baby Safety Month (www.familyresource.com), following are eight more tips to help create a safer environment for you and your baby (older children, too).

∑ Check condition and sturdiness of toys. Discard any with sharp edges or are broken or falling apart.

∑ Check children's clothing for loose buttons and remove strings.

∑ Is your baby's pacifier still in good condition? Be sure it isn't coming apart. Never use strings to attach the pacifier to baby's clothes or crib.

∑ Is sleepwear fire retardant? Check the labels to be sure.

∑ Review safety gates and play yards. Do not use older accordian style safety gates (top looks like XXXXXXX). These are a strangulation hazard. Check the CPSC recall list (www.recall.gov) for your model.

∑ Where do you set baby's carrier when she's in it? Not on the counter please, or any high surface. Babies can wiggle and tip themselves over.

∑ Are you using an old walker? It's time to throw it out. Walkers can be dangerous (especially old ones that don't meet today's safety standards), they allow baby to move very quickly and reach things they normally can't. Never use walkers around stairs.

∑ Stroller check. If your stroller is collapsible, be sure latches are secure before putting baby in. Always check that your child's arms are out of the way when reversing handle directions so they won't get pinched. Be sure to use that safety strap. Don't hang overloaded or heavy bags on the handle of the stroller, this may cause it to top over.

Baby Safety (9/12/08)

September is National Baby Safety Month. In honor of this special month, Family Resource (www.familyresource.com) has created 30 tips to help create a safer environment for you and your baby (older children, too).

Following are the first eight tips. The remaining will be provided throughout the rest of September.

∑ Commit to taking care of all those little safety items around the house that have been nagging at you.

∑ Car seat safety check. Is it properly installed (refer to installation instructions and vehicle owner's manual)? Center of back seat whenever possible -- never in front passenger side when there is an airbag. Rear-facing for infants less than one year and 20 pounds. Your child must still be in a car seat until they are four years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. Remember, the Suwanee Police Department is certified in car seat installation. If you would like them to inspect your car seats, simply go to www.suwanee.com and request an appointment.

∑ If you have a pool or hot tub, is it surrounded by a locking 5 foot fence or is it completely covered with a safety cover? Are there alarms on all doors leading from the house to the pool area? Are all toys removed from the pool and surrounding areas?

∑ Have you talked to your children about guns? Tell them they are never to touch or play with guns, even if someone wants to only show them a gun, they are to leave and tell another adult immediately. If you own a gun: put the ammunition in a separate, locked place. Always unload the bullets from a gun. Keep the unloaded gun in a locked gun safe and the keys stored in a separate location unknown to your child.

∑ Do you have a fire escape plan? Write one out with your mate and other adults in the house today and share the plan with your kids so they know what to do.

∑ Check all fire safety equipment. Are smoke alarms working? Are fire extinguishers full and do adults and older children know how to use them? Are flashlights strategically placed in your home with extra batteries available?

∑ Play the stop, drop and roll game with your kids. If their clothes catch on fire teach them to stop, drop and roll. Practice yelling out "I'm in here!" in case they get trapped in a room and the fire fighters need to find them.

∑ Check baby's crib. Are the slats less than 2 3/8 inches? Are the slats secure? The corner posts should not be any higher than the end panels and never should they extend over the end panels. Are there any holes in the mattress? Are all stuffed animals removed? Make sure the crib is not near any windows, electrical outlets, lamps and there aren't any pictures over the crib. Have mobiles been removed if baby can pull up?

School Safety (8/28/08)

School is back in session and the American Academy of Pediatrics has a number of tips to help make the school year safer for your children.

Click on the link below for an informative article on making the first day easier, backpack safety, traveling to and from school, eating during the school day, bullying, before and after school child care and developing good homework and study habits.

www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/augschool.cfm

Food Safety (7/18/08 & 8/5/08)

There has been quite a bit of news lately about the safety of our food supply. While the reality is that we can never be sure that the food we purchase is free from bacteria and contaminants, there are ways to ensure that we don't increase the risk of contamination once we bring the food home. Keeping our kitchens clean is the first line of defense against food-borne illnesses. According to NSF International (www.nsf.org) many food-borne illnesses are a direct result of improper food handling and unclean kitchen surfaces. Take the following test to see if your kitchen passes the NSF food safety test.

1. The temperature in the refrigerator in our home is:

a. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius)

b. 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius)

c. Don't know

2. The last time you had leftovers, what did you do with them?

a. Let them cool to room temperature, then put them in the refrigerator

b. Placed them in the refrigerator immediately after the food was served

c. Left them sitting out at room temperature for several hours/overnight

3. The last time the kitchen sink drain and disposal in our home were sanitized was:

a. Yesterday

b. Last month

c. Don't know

4. After cutting raw meat on your cutting board, what do you do before you start chopping other foods?

a. Nothing, just started chopping

b. Wiped the board with a dishcloth

c. Washed the board with soap and hot water, then sanitized

5. The last time we made cookies at home, the dough was:

a. Made with raw eggs, and I did sample some of it

b. Bought at the store, and I did sample some of it

c. I did not sample any dough until baked

6. How are the kitchen counters cleaned in your home?

a. With water only

b. With hot water and soap

c. With hot water and soap, then bleach/sanitizing agent

7. How are dishes washed in your home?

a. Cleaned by an automatic dishwasher and then air-dried

b. Washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink, then air-dried

c. Washed them the next morning with hot water and soap in the sink and towel-dried

8. The last time I touched raw meat, I:

a. Cleaned my hands by wiping them on a towel

b. Rinsed them under hot, cold or warm tap water

c. Washed them with soap and warm water

9. How does your family defrost meat?

a. Take it from the freezer and set it on the counter until thawed

b. Take it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator until thawed

c. Take it from the freezer, microwave until thawed, then immediately cook it

>>For those of you who have been waiting for the answers to the kitchen safety quiz, here they are.
>>
>> 1. The temperature in the refrigerator in our home is:
>> a. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius)
>> b. 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius)
>> c. Don't know

If you chose "B," give yourself two points. Refrigerators should stay at 40 degrees F (5C) or less, because it slows the growth of most bacteria.
>>
>> 2. The last time you had leftovers, what did you do with them?
>> a. Let them cool to room temperature, then put them in the refrigerator
>> b. Placed them in the refrigerator immediately after the food was served
>> c. Left them sitting out at room temperature for several hours/overnight

If you chose "B," give yourself two points. Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours of cooking. Generally, leftovers should be eaten within 3-5 days.
>>
>> 3. The last time the kitchen sink drain and disposal in our home were sanitized was:
>> a. Yesterday
>> b. Last month
>> c. Don't know

If you chose "A," give yourself two points. If you chose "B," give yourself one point. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe should be sanitized periodically by pouring a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the sink.
>>
>> 4. After cutting raw meat on your cutting board, what do you do before you start chopping other foods?
>> a. Nothing, just started chopping
>> b. Wiped the board with a dishcloth
>> c. Washed the board with soap and hot water, then sanitized

If you chose "C," give yourself two points. Improper washing, such as with a damp cloth, will not remove bacteria. Washing only with soap and water may not be sufficient to destroy bacteria.
>>
>> 5. The last time we made cookies at home, the dough was:
>> a. Made with raw eggs, and I did sample some of it
>> b. Bought at the store, and I did sample some of it
>> c. I did not sample any dough until baked

If you chose "B" or "C," give yourself two points. The only bad answer here is "A." Eating homemade products containing raw eggs may put you at risk for Salmonella infection. Commercial cookie dough is made with pasteurized eggs, so it would not be a food hazard.
>>
>> 6. How are the kitchen counters cleaned in your home?
>> a. With water only
>> b. With hot water and soap
>> c. With hot water and soap, then bleach/sanitizing agent

If you chose "C," give yourself two points. If you chose "B," give yourself one point. Bleach and commercial kitchen cleaning agents are the best sanitizers, but need to be used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Hot water and soap does a good job of cleaning, but may not kill all strains of bacteria.
>>
>> 7. How are dishes washed in your home?
>> a. Cleaned by an automatic dishwasher and then air-dried
>> b. Washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink, then air-dried
>> c. Washed them the next morning with hot water and soap in the sink and towel-dried

If you chose "A" or "B," give yourself two points. If you wash dishes by hand, wash them within two hours and let them air-dry.
>>
>> 8. The last time I touched raw meat, I:
>> a. Cleaned my hands by wiping them on a towel
>> b. Rinsed them under hot, cold or warm tap water
>> c. Washed them with soap and warm water

If you chose "C," give yourself two points. Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat.
>>
>> 9. How does your family defrost meat?
>> a. Take it from the freezer and set it on the counter until thawed
>> b. Take it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator until thawed
>> c. Take it from the freezer, microwave until thawed, then immediately cook it

If you chose "B" or "C," give yourself two points. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, so never thaw foods on the counter.

RATING YOUR KITCHEN'S FOOD SAFETY

18 points: A perfect score!

8 to 17 points: Although you follow several recommended food safety guidelines, you are vulnerable to potential foodborne illnesses. Review the answers to the questions for which you did not score any points to see what actions you can take to better protect your family.

7 points or below: You are at risk for foodborne illness due to the risky food safety practices followed in your home. Read through the answers to the questions above to see what corrective actions you can take to help protect your family..

Home Safety (7/1/08)

Following is a list of items you should always have on hand in the event of minor accidents at home such as cuts, sprains or minor burns.

∑ Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex)

∑ Sterile dressings to stop bleeding

∑ Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect

∑ Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection

∑ Burn ointment to prevent infection

∑ Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes

∑ Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as a general decontaminant

∑ Thermometer: non-glass and non-mercury

∑ Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers

∑ Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies

∑ Scissors

∑ Tweezers

∑ Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever

Remember, for any serious injuries, call 9-1-1.

For detailed information about any injuries you may sustain at home and how to treat them, go to www.webmd.com.

Safety Month (6/24/08

In celebration of "National Safety Month", this week's tip discusses ways to prevent home accidents.

Do things have a way of accumulating in your home? Because you are there every day, potential hazards can be overlooked easily. Periodic "proactive" inspections can help you avoid accidents and ensure the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Here are things to watch for:

Fight fire before it happens

Whether you are at home or away, fire is always a potential hazard. By the time firefighters arrive, it may be too late -- but you can take the following precautions:

∑ Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage and patio

∑ Only use space heaters with automatic shut offs and never operate them without someone in the room

∑ Install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in all areas. Smoke detectors provide early warning and are your first line of defense. Test them and change batteries regularly. A good way to remember is with spring and autumn time changes.

Check electrical circuits

When was the last time you checked your electrical appliances? Be sure to do the following:

∑ Check for worn or exposed wiring (particularly on lamps) and overloaded circuits

∑ Plug computers and televisions into surge protectors

∑ Familiarize yourself with the fuse box and circuit panel and place flashlights and batteries nearby.

Take your time with tools

Don't rush household chores -- tools can fight back. Most tools and utensils have sharp edges, particularly knives. Learning how to use them properly can be a valuable safety lesson. Here are a few reminders:

∑ Cut or stroke away from your body, not toward

∑ If you drop a knife or tool, don't try to catch it

∑ Don't use tools on live electrical items -- unplug them

∑ Always use tools in a well-lit area

∑ If you get cut or injured, seek first aid immediately.

Put poisons in their place

The most prevalent cause of accidental death at home is inadvertent poisoning. You can avoid this by keeping products sealed and out of easy reach from children. Always keep products in their original packaging for quick access to warnings and instructions and discard any expired medications.

Consult your physician, pharmacist or local recycler for assistance with the following:

∑ Household cleaners and office supplies

∑ Medications, vitamins and cooking ingredients

∑ Garage and garden chemicals

Next week, we will conclude "National Safety Month" with information on what you need in case someone is injured in your home.

Safety Month (6/16/08

The U.S. Congress, in conjunction with the National Safety Council, has designated June as "National Safety Month."

Be prepared for the unexpected. It's never too soon to provide the safest home environment for you and your family. Take the time to double-check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replenish emergency kits, look for unsafe conditions and formulate evacuation plans if you haven't already done so. And above all else, prevent accidents before they happen.

For the rest of the month, the tipster will be providing you with information to improve your safety at home.

One area that seems to be overlooked is what you will need in the event of an emergency where you may not have access to clean water, food or even your home.

It is a good idea to create a Home Emergency Kit and to periodically refresh and replenish as items expire or your kids grow out of their clothing.

Following is a checklist of basic items to include in your Home Emergency Kit.

∑ Three gallons of water per person

∑ Three-day supply of non-perishable food

∑ First aid kit and medications

∑ Extra clothing

∑ Flashlight with batteries

∑ Radio/weather radio

∑ Family documents

Next week, we will discuss ways to avoid home accidents.

Pool Safety (5/29/08

The pool is open and the heat of Summer seems to be upon us. What better way to cool off than to go swimming in our neighborhood pool, at the lake or in backyard pools? It can be fun, but exercising safety around water can help safe lives.

According to the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) drowning claims the lives of nearly 3,000 people every year. Although all age groups are represented, children four years old and younger have the highest death rate due to drowning. Most drowning and near-drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub.

Safety Tips

Never leave a child alone near water; on the beach, at a pool, or in the bathtub. If you must leave, take your child with you.

∑ Kids don't drown only in pools. Bathtubs, buckets, toilets, and hot tubs present drowning dangers as well.

∑ Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. But keep in mind that lessons don't make your child "drown-proof."

∑ Always follow posted safety precautions when visiting water parks.

∑ If you're visiting a public pool, keep an eye on your kids. Lifeguards aren't babysitters.

∑ Teach your children these four key swimming rules:

1. Always swim with a buddy.

2. Don't dive into unknown bodies of water. Jump feet first to avoid hitting your head on a shallow bottom.

3. Don't push or jump on others.

4. Be prepared for an emergency.

∑ Never consume alcohol when operating a boat.

∑ Always use approved personal flotation devices (life jackets).

∑ Don't underestimate the power of water. Even rivers and lakes can have undertows.

∑ Always have a first-aid kit and emergency phone contacts handy. Parents should be trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Wildlife Safety (5/12/08)

With all the discussion regarding wildlife in the Run and Point, it seems appropriate to address how we can safely (and peacefully) coexist with the wonderful animals that many of us have the joy of seeing in our backyards.

According to the National Wildlife Management Professional Association (www.wildlifemanagementpro.org), following are some simple rules to follow:

Don't feed wildlife! Direct feeding can alter an animal's normal behavior. Problems occur when animals become reliant on humans through a prolonged period of direct and/or indirect feeding.

Don't approach wildlife! Don't provoke an encounter by moving too close or trying to pet a wild animal, or by restricting its free movement.

Keep all trash around your yard contained and picked up. Many wildlife species are most active at night. Do not put your trash out for pick up the next day unless it is in a sealed container that wildlife cannot penetrate.

Keep compost in a container that allows the material to vent but keeps wildlife out.

Do not feed pets outdoors. This can attract wildlife right to your door.

Secure your pets. Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, there are wildlife species like coyotes that view cats as potential prey and dogs as competition for mates and food. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.

Remove bird feeders if problem wildlife species are seen around the feeders. The seed in birdfeeders can attract many small and medium sized mammals (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, mice). These animals in turn attract species that prey on squirrels, chipmunks, mice, etc. Try to find a birdfeeder that does not allow seed to spill onto the ground.

Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds. Wildlife will use these areas as dens for resting and raising their young. Also, keep your structure and chimney in good repair.

Educate your neighbors. Share this information with others. Your own good efforts could be futile if neighbors are purposely or unintentionally providing food or shelter for wildlife.

Internet Safety

Almost all children today have access to the Internet through schools, libraries, community centers, or their home. And most 8 to 18-year-olds, 74 percent, have Internet access from their home computers according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Not only do more children have access to the Internet than ever before, but they are using it more, too. Many schools incorporate the Internet into their curricula and encourage online research for projects. But that's not all kids are doing online. They also e-mail, chatt with friends through instant messenger and in chat rooms, play games, create websites and web blogs, and just surf the 'net.

Even as kids grow savvier in their use of the Internet, it can still be a dangerous place. The good news is that most dangers can be avoided if children and their parents learn about smart Internet use.

The following tips on what, you as parents, can do are found on the National Crime Prevention Council Website at www.ncpc.org.

∑ Talk with children about the benefits and risks of the Internet. Ask them what they do online, what websites they visit, who they chat with, and what games they play.

∑ When possible, go online with your children. Have them show you their favorite websites, online games, and chat rooms.

∑ Go online and look at the websites, chat rooms, and blogs that your children might visit. This will help you identify what you think is important to discuss with them. Make a list of any websites you find that you think your children will enjoy and share it with them.

∑ Keep the computer in a busy area of the house.

∑ With your children, agree on rules of what they can and cannot do online, when they go on the Internet, and how long they can stay.

∑ If your children tell you that they saw something inappropriate online, don't blame or punish them. Remember that how you react will affect what your children share with you in the future.

∑ Ask who your children talk to online and how they communicate (i.e., e-mail, instant messenger, chat rooms, blogs, etc.). Tell them that you expect them to be as nice online as they are offline. Make sure they know the dangers of meeting new friends online.

∑ Decide if you want to allow your children to purchase items or sign up for online services (e.g., membership to a gaming website) on their own or if they should ask permission first.

∑ Teach children about plagiarism. Explain that if they conduct online research they must give attribution to the author, organization, or website that created the content.

∑ Talk with children about downloading music and movies online. If you decide to let your children download files onto your computer, show them legal ways to do so, such as using pay per download or pay per month services like iTunes and Napster.

∑ Consider using a filter, blocking, or ratings system for your computer.

Bike Safety

As the weather gets warmer, more and more children and adults will be out riding their bikes in our neighborhood, on trails and bike paths. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) has the following bike safety tips:

∑ Buy a helmet that bears a label saying it meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z90.40 1984; the Snell Memorial Foundation standard B 90,B 90S, N 94, or B 95; the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F 1447 93 or F 1447 94; or the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA D113.2 M89.

∑ Wear the helmet flat atop your head. Do not wear the helmet tilted back at an angle.

∑ Make sure the helmet fits snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision.

∑ Always wear the helmet with the chin strap firmly buckled. Make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened to provide impact protection. No combination of twisting or pulling should remove the helmet from the head or loosen the buckle on the strap.

∑ Do not use a helmet after it has been involved in an accident. Damage to the helmet may not be visible to an untrained eye. Even very small cracks in the helmet may greatly reduce a helmet's effectiveness in preventing injury. Either destroy the helmet and get a new one or have it inspected by the manufacturer. The manufacturer will tell you if the helmet needs to be replaced.

Along with using safety equipment, rider actions and reactions play a major role in contributing to injury-free cycling enjoyment. Following are additional safety tips to help ensure safe summer cycling.

∑ Protect your head...Wear a helmet.

∑ See and be seen...Wear bright fluorescent colors during the day.

∑ Avoid biking at night...If riding at night, equip your bicycle with head and tail lights and wear reflective clothing.

∑ Stay alert...Keep a lookout for obstacles in your path.

∑ Go with the flow...Ride with traffic.

∑ Check for traffic...Be aware of traffic around you.

∑ Learn the rules of the road...Obey traffic laws.

∑ Assure bicycle readiness...Is your bicycle properly adjusted?

∑ Check brakes before riding.

∑ Check your wheels..."Quick release" wheels should be securely fastened.

Sun Safety

What beautiful weather we are having. It's warming up nicely and the sun is shining. While we are exposed to the sun all-year long, we have a tendency to think about protecting ourselves more when the heat of Spring and Summer are upon us.

The American Cancer Society (www.americancancersociety.org) has terrific information regarding how to protect yourself from the sun, how to detect skin cancer and a variety of other topics. This week's tip contains a parents guide to skin protection.

It's important to shield your children's skin from the damaging effects of the sun. No matter what they are doing, or what time of year it is, if they are outside, they need to be protected.

Build safe sun habits into your family's daily routine. Lead by example -- children will respond better when they see you protecting your skin. Begin by teaching them the American Cancer Society's easy and fun "safe sun habits": Slip! Slop! Slap!

The American Cancer Society recommends:

1. Slip! on a shirt. Wear protective clothing when out in the sun.

2. Slop! on sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher.

3. Slap! on a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears.

4. Plan outdoor activities to avoid the midday sun.

Helpful hints:

∑ Wrap on sunglasses for total protection

∑ Keep an extra bottle of sunscreen in the car

∑ Pack sunscreen in your child's knapsack or gym bag

Sun Facts

∑ Research shows a link between sunburns in children and an increased risk of melanoma and skin cancer later in life.

∑ Protecting skin from the sun during childhood and adolescence is important in reducing cancer risk later in life.

∑ Ultraviolet (UV) rays reflect off water, sand, and snow. UV rays also reach below water's surface.

Play in the Shade

The sun's rays are generally strongest from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. If your children are outdoors, be sure their skin is protected.

Teach your children the shadow rule. When outside, if your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is high in the sky, and the UV rays are intense.

Cover up with Hats and Shirts

Choose hats that shade your child's face, neck and ears. Choose shirts and slacks made of tightly woven fabrics that you can't see through when held up to light.

Use Sunscreen Every Day

Apply sunscreen every day on skin that is not protected by clothing or a hat. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. And remember to reapply after swimming, sweating, or toweling dry.

Protect children younger than 6 months of age with clothing and keep them in the shade.

The Finishing Touch

Sunglasses that block UV rays protect eyes and the surrounding tender skin.

Avoid Tanning Booths

Tanning booths and sunlamps are not a safe alternative to natural sun. They use UV rays that can cause damage. Encourage your children to appreciate the beauty of their natural skin tone.

April 2008

Strangers

The "Naked Man" has been arrested, but strangers can still easily get into our neighborhood. The National Crime Prevention Council (www.ncpc.org) has great information on it's website on how to teach children about strangers.

Who is a stranger?

A stranger is anyone that your family doesn't know well. It's common for children to think that "bad strangers" look scary, like the villains in cartoons. This is not only not true, but it's dangerous for children to think this way. Pretty strangers can be just as dangerous as the not-so-pretty ones. When you talk to your children about strangers, explain that no one can tell if strangers are nice or not nice just by looking at them and that they should be careful around all strangers.

But don't make it seem like all strangers are bad. If children need help--whether they're lost, being threatened by a bully, or being followed by a stranger--the safest thing for them to do in many cases is to ask a stranger for help. You can make this easier for them by showing them which strangers are okay to trust.

Who are safe strangers?

Safe strangers are people children can ask for help when they need it. Police officers and firefighters are two examples of very recognizable safe strangers. Teachers, principals, and librarians are adults children can trust too, and they are easy to recognize when they're at work. But make sure that you emphasize that whenever possible, children should go to a public place to ask for help.

You can help your children recognize safe strangers by pointing them out when you're out in your town. Also show your children places they can go if they need help, such as local stores and restaurants and the homes of family friends in your neighborhood.

Recognizing and Handling Dangerous Situations

Perhaps the most important way parents can protect their children is to teach them to be wary of potentially dangerous situations--this will help them when dealing with strangers as well as with known adults who may not have good intentions. Help children to recognize the warning signs of suspicious behavior, such as when an adult asks them to disobey their parents or do something without permission, asks them to keep a secret, asks children for help, or makes them feel uncomfortable in any way. Also tell children that an adult should never ask a child for help, and if one does ask for their help, teach them to find a trusted adult right away to tell what happened.

You should also talk to your children about how they should handle dangerous situations. One way is to teach them "No, Go, Yell, Tell." If in a dangerous situation, kids should say no, run away, yell as loud as they can, and tell a trusted adult what happened right away. Make sure that your children know that it is okay to say no to an adult in a dangerous situation and to yell to keep themselves safe, even if they are indoors. It's good to practice this in different situations so that your children will feel confident in knowing what to do. Here are a few possible scenarios:

∑ A nice-looking stranger approaches your child in the park and asks for help finding the stranger's lost dog.

∑ A woman who lives in your neighborhood but that the child has never spoken to invites your child into her house for a snack.

∑ A stranger asks if your child wants a ride home from school.

∑ Your child thinks he or she is being followed.

∑ An adult your child knows says or does something that makes him or her feel bad or uncomfortable.

∑ While your child is walking home from a friend's house, a car pulls over and a stranger asks for directions.

What Else Parents Can Do

In addition to teaching children how to recognize and handle dangerous situations and strangers, there are a few more things parents can do to help their children stay safe and avoid dangerous situations.

Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere. Give your children your work and cell phone numbers so they can reach you at all times.

Point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there's trouble.

Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.

Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it's okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.

Encourage your children to play with others. There's safety in numbers!

March 2008 - ATMs

ATM bank cash machines have been incorporated in our way of life. They offer a real convenience to those on the run, but at the same time offer an element of risk. Using a bank ATM machine safely requires awareness and a little planning. Just because a bank ATM machine is open and available 24-hours a day doesn't mean it is always safe to use it.

According to Chris McGoey, aka, The Crime Doctor (www.crimedoctor.com), most ATM robberies occur at night between 7pm and midnight when the machine only produces 10% of the daily transactions. Between 7pm and 4am, the ATMs handle only 11% of the total daily transactions but suffer 60% of the crime.

If you or your family members use ATM cash machines on a regular basis, here are some tips that can make the process a little safer:

∑ Only use ATM machines in a well-lighted, open, high-traffic area

∑ Use ATMs at inside busy supermarkets when possible

∑ If lights around the AMT are not working, don't use that machine

∑ Avoid bank ATM machines adjacent to obvious hiding places

∑ When you approach an ATM, scan the area first for loiterers

∑ Have your card ready and leave quickly, not counting your cash in public

∑ Walk, run, or drive away immediately if your instincts tell you so

∑ Beware of offers for help from strangers during an ATM transaction

∑ Tell any suspicious person in a loud, firm voice to back-off

∑ Don't argue with a robber, if confronted, and give up the cash

∑ Don't fight with or attempt to follow the robber

∑ Drive or walk to a safe place and immediately call the police

Online Safety

There are many ways to keep you and your personal information safe online. Following are four websites (click on each to view) devoted to educating consumers on ways to protect themselves (courtesy of The Week, February 29, 2008).

www.onguardonline.gov - collects practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry on how to protect yourself online.

www.ic3.gov - the home page for the Internet Crime Complaint Center. A "partnership of the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center," this site acts as a vehicle for filing and processing complaints of cyber crime.

www.staysafeonline.org - a non-profit awareness group, educates consumers, children, and small businesses about online safety with video tutorials and other resources.

www.wi-fi.org - home of a non-profit international organization known as the Wi-Fi Alliance, regularly posts press coverage and informative pieces on wireless security. Its "Knowledge Center" offers a glossary of terms you should know.

Auto Theft

At our PACT meeting last week, Officer Stewart mentioned that as the weather warms The Police Department generally sees an increase in crime. He particularly noted that auto break-ins have a tendency to increase. With that thought in mind, following are a few tips from The Crime Doctor (www.crimedoctor.com) on how you can reduce becoming a victim of auto theft.

∑ Never leave your car running and unattended, even to dash into a business.

∑ Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.

∑ Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.

∑ Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight.

∑ Always park in a high-traffic, well-lighted area, if possible.

∑ Install a mechanical device that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake pedal to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. Commonly called clubs, collars, or J-bars, these devices can act as a highly visible physical deterrent if installed properly.

∑ Investigate the purchase of an auto alarm system if your car did not come equipped with one from the manufacturer. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.

∑ If you park in a fee garage, take the pay-ticket with you. It's the thief's ticket out of the garage, too.

∑ If you use valet parking, leave just he ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no identifying information is attached to the key. Do the same when you take your car in for repairs.

∑ Carry your driver's license, registration, and insurance card with you. Don't leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.

∑ Copy your license plate and vehicle identification (VIN) numbers on a card and keep the on you with your driver's license. If you vehicle is stolen, police need this information promptly.

Cell Phone ICE

A campaign is underway encouraging people to enter an emergency contact number in their cell phone's memory under the heading "ICE."

ICE is an acronym for "In Case of Emergency".

This contact information will allow paramedics and police officers the ability to contact the designated relative or next-of-kin in the event of an emergency.

Following are five easy steps to "ICE" your phone.

1. Open your address book in your cell phone.

2. Create New Contact. Address book features will vary by cell phone make and model.

3. Enter in the Contact name as ICE. You can add more than one ICE contact.

4. Enter in the Contact's phone number. Note: This may replace an existing contact.

5. To purchase ICE stickers for your family, please visit www.icesticker.com

Ladiesí Safety

On 2/26/08, Sergeant Casanas of the Suwanee Police Department hosted a very informative discussion on ladies safety issues. The discussion included valuable tips on how to stay safe when traveling alone, renting cars, experiencing a roadside emergency and many other topics.

Sergeant Casanas was kind enough to make copies of his PowerPoint presentation. If you would like a copy, please send an e-mail to safety@chattrunpoint.com and a member of the Safety Committee will deliver it to you.

Child Safety

Spring is rapidly approaching with warm weather and the chance for children to get out and play. The National Crime Prevention Council (www.ncps.org) has some tips on how to keep your children safe.

Know where your children are. Have your children tell you or ask permission before leaving the house and give them a time to check in or be home. When possible, have them leave a phone number of where they will be.

Help children learn important phone numbers. Have your children practice reciting their home phone number and address, and your work and cell phone numbers. If they have trouble memorizing these, write down on a card and have them carry it at all times. Tell your children where you will be and the best way to reach you.

Set limits on where your children can go in your neighborhood. Do you want them crossing busy roads? Playing in alleys or abandoned buildings? Are there certain homes in your neighborhood that you don't want your children to go to?

Get to know your children's friends. Meet their parents before letting your children go to their home and keep a list of their phone numbers. If you can't meet their parents, call and talk to them. Ask what your children might do at their home and if they will be supervised.

Choose a safe house in your neighborhood. Pick a neighbor's house where your children can go if they need help. Point out other places they can go for help, like stores, libraries, and police stations.

Teach children to settle arguments with words, not fists. Role-play talking out problems, walking away from fist fights, and what to do when confronted with bullies. Remind them that taunting and teasing can hurt friends and make enemies.

Work together with your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious and unusual behavior in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and their children so you can look out for one another.

February 2008 - Fitness

Now is the time of year when some of our New Year's Resolutions might be found on a back burner compared with the rest of our busy lives. Our goals of "getting in shape', "losing weight", "increasing activity", etc. may seem more and more difficult to attain. An exercise program, if conducted properly, will increase your energy level, reduce stress, help you fight disease and allow you a better night's sleep. Consider these suggestions from the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) to help you develop a safe exercise program.

∑ Begin your program by evaluating your current fitness level.

∑ If you are under the age of 35, in good health and relatively active, it may be fairly safe to embark on an exercise program on your own. If you are over 35 or a smoker you may want to consult a physician before starting a program.

∑ Gradually ease into your regimen, particularly if you have not exercised on a regular basis for some time. Set reasonable goals and monitor your progress -- being careful not to do too much too soon. Listen to your body; it will tell you if you are over-extending yourself.

∑ A well-rounded workout should include exercises that address five fitness areas; muscle strength, muscle endurance; flexibility, weight control and cardiovascular endurance.

∑ Weight lifting and other resistance exercises help to build muscle strength. Stretching exercises increase flexibility. And aerobic exercises such as dancing, jogging or swimming, will develop muscle and cardiovascular endurance as well as aid weight loss.

∑ Always begin your workout with a warm up and end with a cool down.

Taking time for exercise is a smart investment in a healthy body and a healthy mind!

Walking/Running at Night

Work schedules prevent people from walking, running, or bicycling in the middle of the day. They must exercise early in the morning before work or in the evening after work. During the summer these hours are still light. However as the days get shorter in the winter, people end up walking, running or riding in the dark. Our neighborhood is especially difficult to navigate in the dark due to the low voltage street lights. Pedestrians are very hard to see if they are wearing dark, non-reflective clothing. And, as we know, some drivers in our neighborhood have a tendency to drive too fast and/or run stop signs. Please make yourself as visible as possible.

Following are some safety tips for running and walking when it is dark outside. These tips apply to bicyclists as well as pedestrians walking by themselves, in groups or with their dogs.

The problem is to both see and be seen in the dark. If you can see clearly, you can avoid potholes and similar hazards hidden in the dark roads. If drivers can see you, they are less likely to hit you.

To see simply carry a flashlight. Particularly when running, most people don't want to carry the extra weight. Modern LED flashlights or small mag light flashlights are more compact for the amount of light they provide. Those who do not want to carry anything in their hands can strap a headlamp flashlight onto their foreheads.

To be seen, wear reflective clothing. First avoid dark colored clothing. Light colors reflect more light. Light colored clothing is a good start, but modern highly reflective clothing that is designed for maximum nighttime visibility is much better.

There are several high tech reflectivity options:

∑ Buy reflective tape that is designed to reflect light back to its source. Apply this tape liberally to your exercise clothing. Drivers from any direction will see the bright strips.

∑ Wear a reflective safety vest, similar to those worn by highway workers. It can be worn over exercise clothing to allow drivers to see a bright human outline. It can be worn with any exercise outfit and does not require modifying your clothing.

∑ Many running clothing companies sell exercise apparel made of highly reflective fabrics. This clothing is often sold as running gear, but can also be used for walking, bicycling or any other exercise. This highly reflective running clothing serves the dual purpose of making you highly visible at night and keeping you warm in winter weather.

∑ Adding LED safety lights with any of these options will increase your visibility. For example, safety armbands with LED flashers can be purchased at www.shop.safetyselections.com. This website even has LED safety bands for pets.

Cold Weather Tips

With this cold snap we are experiencing, now seems the appropriate time to discuss fireplace and heating safety.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) home heating costs this winter will on average cost consumers 25.7 percent more than last year. Natural gas and heating oil customers are expected to be hit the hardest. And as Americans begin to receive their winter heating bills and begin to explore alternative ways to heat their home, the CPSC is warning consumers about alternative heat sources and reminding them to follow safety precautions while keeping their home warm in winter.

Two hazards of most concern to the CPSC are fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CPSC recommends consumers have a professional inspection of all fuel-burning heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.

Space heaters can cause fires if they are placed too close to flammable materials such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Fireplaces can cause fires if the chimney is cracked, blocked or coated with creosote, or if sparks and embers reach flammable materials. Fuel-burning appliances can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are improperly installed, poorly maintained, have defective or blocked venting systems, or are misused.

Space heater tips:

∑ Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

∑ To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the space heater off if you leave the area.

∑ Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.

∑ Make sure your space heater is correctly rated for your home. An oversized heater could deplete the available oxygen, causing excess carbon monoxide to be produced. Keep a window in the room open at least one inch and keep doors open to the rest of the house to ensure proper ventilation. This helps prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion.

∑ Follow the manufacturer's instructions to provide sufficient combustion air to prevent carbon monoxide production.

∑ Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually to ensure proper operation.

∑ Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate excessive carbon monoxide.

∑ Be aware that manufactured homes require specially-designed heating equipment.

∑ Do not use unvented gas space heaters where prohibited by local codes.

∑ Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house, inside every bedroom, and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.

Fireplace safety tips:

∑ Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.

∑ Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Never close the damper or go to bed if the ashes are still warm. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

∑ Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Never keep flammable fuels or materials near a fire. Never store flammable liquids in your home.

∑ Never use charcoal in a fireplace because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

∑ Keep a screen or glass enclosure around a fireplace to prevent sparks or embers from igniting flammable materials.

January 2008 - Recalls

The following website was mentioned in "Tips" last year, but is important enough to repeat this week.

Recalls have become an almost daily occurrence in our country. For example, recent recalls involved Toy Wrestler Figures for lead; New Era Canning Company's bean products for possible botulism risk and ground beef from producers in Minnesota.

In order to keep up with all the various recalls, the best site the tipster has found is www.recall.gov.

Please check out the site as often as you can. It just may save your life.

What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen

The following article is the final installment of a three-part series on identity theft. Parts one and two of the series can be found on our neighborhood website at www.chattrunpoint.com/Safety.htm.

Following are some tips on what to if you suspect that your identity has been stolen. This information was compiled from a very informative website at www.ftc.gov.

What should you do if your identity is stolen?

Filing a police report, checking your credit reports, notifying creditors, and disputing any unauthorized transactions are some of the steps you must take immediately to restore your good name.

Should you file a police report if your identity is stolen?

A police report that provides specific details of the identity theft is considered an Identity Theft Report, which entitles you to certain legal rights when it is provided to the three major credit reporting agencies or to companies where the thief misused your information. An Identity Theft Report can be used to permanently block fraudulent information that results from identity theft, such as accounts or addresses, from appearing on your credit report. It will also make sure these debts do not reappear on your credit reports. Identity Theft Reports can prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft, or selling them to others for collection. An Identity Theft Report is also needed to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

You may not need an Identity Theft Report if the thief made charges on an existing account and you have been able to work with the company to resolve the dispute. Where an identity thief has opened new accounts in your name, or where fraudulent charges have been reported to the consumer reporting agencies, you should obtain an Identity Theft Report so that you can take advantage of the protections you are entitled to.

In order for a police report to entitle you to the legal rights mentioned above, it must contain specific details about the identity theft. You should file an ID Theft Complaint with the FTC and bring your printed ID Theft Complaint with you to the police station where you file your police report. The printed ID Theft Complaint can be used to support your local police report to ensure that it includes the detail required.

A police report is also needed to get copies of the thiefís application, as well as transaction information from companies that dealt with the thief. To get this information, you must submit a request in writing, accompanied by the police report, to the address specified by the company for this purpose.

How long can the effects of identity theft last?

Itís difficult to predict how long the effects of identity theft may linger. Thatís because it depends on many factors including the type of theft, whether the thief sold or passed your information on to other thieves, whether the thief is caught, and problems related to correcting your credit report.

Victims of identity theft should monitor financial records for several months after they discover the crime. Victims should review their credit reports once every three months in the first year of the theft, and once a year thereafter. Stay alert for other signs of identity theft.

Donít delay in correcting your records and contacting all companies that opened fraudulent accounts. Make the initial contact by phone, even though you will normally need to follow up in writing. The longer the inaccurate information goes uncorrected, the longer it will take to resolve the problem.

What can you do to help fight identity theft?

A great deal.

Awareness is an effective weapon against many forms of identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen.

Armed with the knowledge of how to protect yourself and take action, you can make identity thievesí jobs much more difficult. You can also help fight identity theft by educating your friends, family, and members of your community. The FTC has prepared a collection of easy-to-use materials to enable anyone regardless of existing knowledge about identity theft to inform others about this serious crime. To learn more, go to www.ftc.gov.

December 2007 - Holiday Safety

Following are some tips on how to keep your pets happy and safe during the holidays, courtesy of the ASPCA (www.aspca.org).

Beware of toxic holiday plants. Lilies are often used this time of year, and all varieties can cause kidney failure in cats. Common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can also be toxic to pets. Poinsettias are low in toxicity, though they may cause mild vomiting or nausea if ingested by your pet.

Place harmful decorations out of pets' reach. Traditional decorations such as ribbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause instestinal obstruction if ingested. Decorations made of glass or toxic substances such as bubbling lights can be very dangerous if they break open. Consider decorating your tree with ornaments that are less enticing to pets, such as dried non-toxic flowers, wood, fabric or pinecones.

Be cautious with Xylitol. Candies and gum containing large amounts of this sweetener can be toxic to pets, as ingestions of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression and seizures. Keep such products out of the reach of your pets.

Keep pets away from Christmas tree water. The water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested. Stagnant water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria and, if ingested, a pet could end up with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Water well covers will help to keep your pet away from the toxic water in the Christmas tree base.

Don't give your pets holiday chocolate. Depending on the dose ingested, chocolate (bakers, semi-sweet, milk and dark) can be potentially poisonous to many animals. In general, the less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be -- unsweetened baking chocolate contains almost seven times more theobromine (a substance similar to caffeine) than milk chocolate. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog.

Avoid a sour stomach. Keep your pets on a normal diet. Any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. Do not feed pets holiday leftovers, and be sure to keep them away from the garbage. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause stomach upset; spoiled or moldy foods could cause food poisoning, tremors or seizures.

The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) offers these suggestions to help make your holiday season merry and safe.

Decorations - Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass "angel hair". It can irritate your eyes and skin. A common substitute is non-flammable cotton. Both angel hair and cotton snow are flame retardant when used alone. However, if artifical snow is sprayed on them, the dried combination will burn rapidly. When spraying artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions carefully. These sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them.

Fireplaces - You should not try to burn evergreens or wreaths in the fireplace or in a wood stove to dispose of them. They are likely to flare out of control and send flames and smoke into the room. Also, do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace because it often contains metallic materials which can be toxic if burned.

Candles - Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.

Toys and Gifts - Be especially careful when you choose toys for infants or small children. Be sure anything you give them is too big to get caught in the throat, nose or ears. Avoid toys with small parts that can be pulled or broken off. If you are giving toys to several children in one family, consider their age differences and the chances that younger children will want to play with older kids' toys.

Older adults - Select gifts for older adults that are not heavy or awkward to handle. For persons with arthritis, make sure the gift does not require assembly and can be easily opened and closed. Choose books with large type for anyone with vision impairment.

Plants - Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat. But many plants can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of children's reach.

Food and Cooking - The holidays often mean preparing large meals for family and friends. Wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw meat and poultry. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (less than two inches deep) within two hours after cooking. Date leftovers for future use.

Alcohol, Parties and Driving - Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers, people who do not drink, to drive other guests home after a holiday party.

Stress - The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can't avoid stress completely, but you can give yourself some relief. Allow enough time to shop rather than hurry through stores and parking lots. Only plan to do a reasonable number of errands. When shopping, make several trips out to the car to drop off packages rather than trying to carry too many items. Take time out for yourself. Relax, read, or enjoy your favorite hobby at your own pace.

Packing Peanuts

If you are like many people, you are ordering more and more of your holiday gifts online. Besides getting all those great gifts for friends and family, the packages come loaded with packaging peanuts. The peanuts generally end up in landfills where they do not degrade and can cause harm to birds and wildlife.

Please consider recycling your packaging peanuts. The UPS Store in the Publix Shopping Center will accept the peanuts and reuse them.

Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning has recently become a hot topic in the news. There are many ways in which you can be exposed to lead but there are also ways to prevent such exposure. An article too lengthy for this e-mail forum can be found at www.nsc.org/library/facts/lead.htm. This article contains information on the following topics: What is lead and who is affected?, Where is it found?, What are the health effects?, How can I check my home to see if it contains lead-based paint hazards?, What are some simple steps to take to prevent or reduce lead exposure?, What laws help prevent lead poisoning?

The Safety and Security Committee encourages each of you to download this article.

November 2007

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it's that time of year again to talk about turkey safety. Believe it or not, over 200,000 Americans get sick every day due to improper handling, cooking, and storing of food. Thanksgiving can be one of the riskiest days of the year for food poisoning, and the effects can be quite serious.

Food poisoning is most risky for pregnant women, small children, older adults, people with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, those who have recently had surgery or are recovering from an injury, and anyone with a weak immune system.

In fact, this preventable illness leads to 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year. The good news is you can keep yourself and your family safe by following these basic guidelines:

- If you purchased a frozen turkey always defrost it in the refrigerator -- never on the countertop or in the sink. The bacteria in raw turkey grows very rapidly between the temperatures of 40 and 140 Fahrenheit, so thawing at room temperature is a guaranteed risk. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Dietectic Association and ConAgra Foods, nearly one in three Americans (31 percent) typically thaws frozen meat on the kitchen counter, under hot water in the kitchen sink, or in the oven -- all big food safety no-nos.

- Carefully wash anything at all that has come into contact with the raw turkey or juices, including your hands, utensils, countertops, dish rags, sponges, plates and any other items. Unfortunately, you can't see, smell or taste bacteria, so it can continually re-contaminate your kitchen and hands if you aren't careful. Wash any contaminated item thoroughly with hot soapy water, or place items in the dishwasher or hot cycle of the washing machine right away.

- Always cook the dressing or "stuffing" separately from the turkey -- cooking it inside increases the risk of consuming live bacteria. After carefully cooking the dressing and the turkey separately, you can place the dressing into the turkey before serving if you wish.

- Be sure to cook your turkey thoroughly. Cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all of the bacteria. The only way to really know if it's at the right temperature is to use a meat thermometer (insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the muscle away from the bone). According to the ADA/ConAgra Foods survey, nearly three out of four Americans say they do not know the proper temperature to which a whole turkey should be cooked -- and more than half (52 percent) do not consistently use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness. Instead, 40 percent wait for meat to "look done" or for "the juices to run clear," while a small percentage (5 percent) use unconventional methods such as wiggling turkey legs, poking meat with a fork or even conducting a taste-test! Remember, the ONLY way to know if your turkey is safe to eat is to use a meat thermometer.

- Always wash your hands before and after handling any food on Thanksgiving Day. And of course, be especially careful about handwashing after using the bathroom, changing diapers, touching your nose, face or hair, or handling pets.

- Throughout the day, be sure to wash all kitchen surfaces often, including cutting boards, utensils and countertops. Use hot soapy water and don't re-use dish towels -- you could just be spreading around bacteria that you can't see.

October 2007

In addition to the great information that was sent by Sgt. Casanas a couple of weeks ago (see below), The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) has the following tips for a safe Halloween.

MOTORISTS
- Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

PARENTS
- Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
- Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older chidren's companions.
- Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
- Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never enter a stranger's home.
- Establish a return time.
- Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.
- Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
- Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

COSTUME DESIGN
- Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
- Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
- Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)
- If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retroreflective tape should be used to make children visible.

FACE DESIGN
- Masks can obstruct a child's vision. Use facial make-up instead.
- When buying special Halloween make-up, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," "MeetsFederal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic." Follow manufacturer's instructions for application.
- If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

ACCESSORIES
- Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
- Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retroreflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
- Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

ON THE WAY
- Do not enter homes or apartments withouth adult supervision.
- Walk, do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
- Be careful walking in the street.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.

TREATS
- Give children an early meal before going out.
- Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
- Wash fruit and slice into small pieces.
- When in doubt, throw it out.

Safety Tips from Sgt. Casanas of the Suwanee Police Department

Trick-or-Treating Tips:

* Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries after dark.
* Wear identification that's easy to read.
* Always trick or treat in groups, accompanied by an adult.
* Do not approach pets, especially dogs. They may be afraid and
bite.
* Stay on the sidewalks and out of the streets. Cross only at
intersections and designated crosswalks.
* Walk. No running.
* Don't trample through flower beds and gardens.
* Watch out for open flames in jack-o-Lanterns.
* Make sure costumes don't block kids view of the sides. They may
not see oncoming cars.
* Walk with your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
* Only visit well lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses.
* Don't enter any houses unless you know the people.
* Carry a spare Halloween bag -- in case yours breaks or you fill
your original one.
* Don't cut across yards and stay out of back yards.
* Follow traffic signals and don't jaywalk.
* Always watch for cars backing up or turning.
* Review the "stop, drop and roll" procedure in case your costume
catches on fire.
* Never accept rides from strangers.
* Respect other people and their property.
* Be polite and say "thank you."
* Don't eat any candy until it's inspected for tampering under
bright lights.
* Avoid candy that has loose wrappings, is unwrapped, has puncture
holes, or is homemade.
* Small children should not be allowed hard candy they may choke on.
* Report any suspicious or criminal activity to an adult or the
police.
* Consider having a party instead of Trick or Treating.

Maybe you can use some of this. Thanks again.

Sgt. Elias Casanas Jr.
Training/Community Relations
City of Suwanee Police
373 Hwy 23
Suwanee, Ga. 30024

770-945-4607 Ext. 327
770-945-2985 fax
elias@suwanee.com

Childrenís Health Month

Following are some final tips in celebration of "Children's Health Month."

- Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Talk to childcare providers, grandparents, babysitters, and all caregivers about SIDS risk. Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS.

- Prevent Fire. Install smoke alarms outside bedrooms and on every level of the home. Change the battery in your smoke alarms every six months. Keep lighters out of the reach of children.

- Keep Children and Mercury Apart. Replace mercury thermometers with digital ones. Don't let kids handle or play with mercury.

- Prevent Poisoning. Use child-restraint packaging. To get help for anyone who has been exposed to poison or for information on how to prevent poisonings, call the National Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

- Plan for emergencies. Keep an emergency list of health care provider and ambulance service numbers next to every phone

- Promote a Safe and Healthy Diet. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating and peel them whenever possible.

- Keep Pesticides Away from Children. Read product labels and follow directions. Store pesticides and chemicals out of kids' reach and never use containers that kids can mistake for food or drink.

- Protect Children from Contaminated Fish. Eat a balanced diet but avoid fish with high levels of mercury. Be aware of local fish advisories. Contact your local health department for more information.

- Protect Children from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Check fuel-burning applicances, furnace flues, and chimneys yearly. Never use gas ovens or burners as heaters. Never use barbecues or grills indoors and don't run cars or mowers in the garage. Never use non-vented gas or kerosene space heaters in closed rooms or in rooms where you sleep. Install carbon monoxide alarms that meet current standards in your home.

- Protect Children from Lead Poisoning. Wash floors and windowsills to protect kids from dust and peeling lead-based paint, expecially in older homes. Repair peeling and chipping paint in older homes. Don't try to remove lead-based paint yourself -- let a professional do it.

- Safeguard Children from Radon. Test your home for radon with a home test kit. Fix your home if your radon level is 4pCi/L or higher.

- Keep Infants Save While Sleeping. Ensure your baby's crib meets current safety standards and has a firm, tight-fitting mattress and tight-fitting bottom sheet. Remove soft bedding such as pillows, thick quilts and comforters.

- Protect children from too much sun. Wear hats, sunglassses and protective clothing. Use sunscreen with SPF15+ on kids over six months and keep infants out of direct sunlight.

- Develop healthy children. Make time for regular plysical activity with your children. Provide healthy foods that include five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables. One serving equals 1/2 cup.

- Help Children Breathe Easier. Keep homes, schools, and child care centers clean. To reduce asthma triggers, use dustproof, zippered bedding covers, keep pets away from sensitive children and reduce mold-inducing moisture. Limit outdoor activity on ozone alert days when air pollution is espcially harmful. Limit motor vehicle idling.

- Keep Lines of Communication Open. Talk with your children every day and know what is going on in their lives. Teach them about the dangers of smoking, drugs, and alcohol.

- Keep Children Safe in the Bath. Always keep your child within arm's reach in the bath. Never leave a baby or child alone in the bath or in the care of another young child.

- Keep Children Safe on Bikes, Scooters, and Skateboards. Always have your children wear bicycle helmets (and wear them yourself, too) even when riding in your own neighborhood. For scooters and skateboards, wear knee and elbow pads.

- Promote Good Hygiene. After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or playing with pets, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice).

October is Children's Health Month and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the White House and other federal agencies are urging parents and caregivers to "Discover the Rewards" of protecting children's health. A calendar of potentially life-saving tips has been created for Children's Health Month. A copy of the calendar can be found at www.childrenshealth.gov. For this week, the safety tips include:

Keep Children Healthy. Make sure infants and small children follow a regular immunization schedule. Call 1-800-232-2522 for more information.

International Walk to School Day. Encourage physical fitness, and reduce traffic and pollution. Walk, bicycle, join or form carpools, and take public transportation.

Get to School Safely. Make sure children arrive at the bus stop on time. Children should wait five giant steps away from the road and avoid rough play.

Keep Children Safe in the Car. Set an example by always wearing your seat belt. Place kids age 12 and under in the back seat. Secure children who are shorter than 4'9" in a booster seat with a lap-shoulder belt and never use just a lap belt.

Help Children Breathe Easier. Don't smoke and don't let others smoke in your home or car. Pledge to keep your home smoke free. Call 1-800-513-1157 for more information.

Child Car Safety

The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) offers the following tips for keeping children safe in the car.

- Does your child ride in the backseat? The back seat is generally the safest place in a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it is essential for children 12 and under to ride in the back.

- Does your child ride facing the right way? Infants should ride in rear facing restraints (in the back seat) until age one and at least 20-22 lbs. Infants who weigh 20 lbs. before one year of age should ride in a restraint approved for higher rear facing weights. Always read your child restraint manual for instructions on properly using the restraint. Children over age one and at least 20 pounds may ride facing forward.

Please note that several Suwanee Police Officers have received training as child safety technicians. They are certified in the proper installation and use of child car seats. If you would like one of the officers to inspect your child safety seats, send an e-mail to seu@suwanee.com.

- Does the safety belt hold the seat tightly in place? Put the belt through the correct slots. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt path for each direction. Check the vehicle owner's manual and safety seat instruction book for guidance.

- Is the harness buckled snugly around your child? Keep harness straps snug over the child's shoulders. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

- Does your child over 40 pounds have the best protection possible? Keep your child in a safety seat with a full harness as long as possible, at least until 40 pounds. Then use a belt-positioning booster seat which helps the adult lap and shoulder belt fit better. A belt-positioning booster seat is preferred for children between 40-80 pounds. It is used with the adult lap and shoulder belt.

- How should a safety belt fit an older child? The child should be tall enough to sit without slouching, with knees bent at the edge of the seat, with feet on the floor. The lap belt must fit low and tight acrosss the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child's back. The adult lap and shoulder belt system alone will not fit most children until they are at least 4'9" tall and weigh about 80 pounds.

Emergency Planning

You cannot predict when you and your family will be faced with an emergency. However, you do know that every second counts when it comes to emergency response. So be prepared for your first -- or next-- emergency and make every second count for your family's safety. The following Family Preparedness Checklist was compiled by the National Safety Council at www.nsc.org.

- Do you have a home emergency plan? Does it cover all emergencies like fire, weather, etc.? Does your family practice this home emergency plan?

- Does your plan include smoke, gas and carbon monoxide detectors?

- Do you have a weather radio and do all members of your family know what the signals mean?

- Can each member of your family tell you two ways out of your home? If your second way out of a two-story home is a window, do you need a safety ladder?

- Can all members of your family operate the locks, windows and doors for escape?

- Does your family understand to leave or seek shelter when an alarm sounds?

- Does each member of your family know where to go after evacuating your home?

- Does each member of your family know who to call for help and are the telephone numbers posted?

- In a weather-related emergency, does your family know where to seek shelter?

- Escape planning and smoke detectors are essential for getting everyone out safely. Are the batteries routinely replaced?

- Does your family understand that once they are outside, they should stay outside?

- Do you have a first-aid kit and is it fully stocked?

- Do you have a fire extinguisher and is it serviced?

- Do you encourage family members to take first-aid and CPR classes?

- If needed, do members of your family know how to shut off the water, gas and electricity to your home?

- Does your plan cover whom to call in case of a utility problem?

- Do you maintain a supply of tarps or plywood to cover openings created by a storm or fire?

- Do you have flashlights, radios, etc., and more importantly, batteries located in a central area known to all family members?

- Do you have a written inventory and photographs of all valuable items in your home? Do you have more than one copy located outside of your home?

- If you have pets, have you provided for them in your home emergency plan?

If your responses to the majority of the questions asked in the checklist are "yes," then you are well on your way to developing a plan. If your answers are "no" to all or most of these questions, then develop and implement a home plan as soon as possible.

September, 2007 - Ladder Safety

It may not seem like it today, but sooner or later we will be heading into cooler weather. Cooler weather means starting those outside projects that were just too hard to handle in the heat. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a number of tips on how to safely prevent ladder injuries (www.cpsc.gov/tips.html).

- Make sure the weight your ladder is supporting does not exceed its maximum load rating (user plus materials). There should only be one person on the ladder at one time.

- Use a ladder that is the proper length for the job. Proper length is a minumum of 3 feet extending over the roofline or working surface. The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on.

- Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at about a 75-degree angle.

- All metal ladders should have slip-resistant feet.

- Metal ladders will conduct electricity. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder in the vicinity of power lines or electrical equipment. Do not let a ladder made from any material contact live electric wires.

- Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.

- The ground under the ladder should be level and firm. Large flat wooden boards braced under the ladder can level a ladder on uneven ground or soft ground. A good practice is to have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder.

- Do not place a ladder in front of a door that is not locked, blocked or guarded.

- Keep your body centered between rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.

- Do not use a ladder for any purpose other than that for which it was intended.

- Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf or atttempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.

- Never leave a raised ladder unattended.

- Follow use instruction labels on ladders.

PRIDE

The City of Suwanee offers many community-based programs to enhance the City's security and quality of life.

One such program is "Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error)." This program, offered in cooperation with the University of Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, is designed to help reduce the high number of crashes, injuries, and deaths involving teenage drivers. The two-hour course, which addresses driving attitudes and teen behavior, is for teenagers and their parents.

The next program will be offered on Sep 29. Go to www.suwanee.com/cityservices.police.php#commpol, scroll down to "Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE" and click on "Application" on the left side of the screen.

Weather

Finally, rain!!! Our thirsty lawns and gardens have needed it.

While the rain has been wonderful, along with it comes thunderstorms and general bad weather. The Weather Channel and local news channels are helpful in predicting the weather, but they are not always accurate. In order to ensure that you are aware of impending bad weather, you may want to consider purchasing a weather radio. These radios will alert you to severe weather watches and warnings occurring in our surrounding counties so you can be prepared to get to safety when necessary. And, with a battery back-up, you will continue to receive information even during a power outage.

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office (in our case, Peachtree City). NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In addition, NWR is now working with the Federal Comunication Commission's Emergency Alert System to become the source for emergency information as well. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards -- including natural (storms, tornadoes, etc), environmental (such as chemical releases), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).

Weather radios can be purchased at Radio Shack and through various online stores.

August, 2007 - Backpacks

Here we are at the beginning of the school year. Everyday, at every bus stop in our neighborhood we see children carrying backpacks filled with their daily school work. Are these backpacks causing injury to our children? According to the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) the answer may be "Yes."

Overloaded backpacks used by children have received a lot of attention from parents, doctors, school administrators and the media in the past several years. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were more than 21,000 backpack-related injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, and clinics in the year 2003. Injuries ranged from contusions, to sprains and strains to the back and shoulder, and fractures.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that a child's backpack should weigh no more than 15 to 20 percent of the child's body weight. This figure may vary, however, depending on the child's body strength and fitness.

WARNING SIGNS THAT A BACKPACK IS TOO HEAVY

- Change in posture when wearing the backpack

- Struggling when putting on or taking off the backpack

- Pain when wearing the backpack

- Tingling or numbness

- Red marks

TIPS FOR SAFE BACKPACK USE

- Wear both straps - Use of one strap shifts the weight to one side, causing muscle spasms and low back pain. This is true even with one-strap backpacks that cross the body. By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed, and a well-aligned symmetrical posture is promoted.

- Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles - The size of the backpack should match the size of the child. It is also important to pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back. The backpack should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and permit free movement of the arms. Make sure that the straps are not too loose and that the backpack does not extend below the low back.

- Lighten the load - A heavy backpack forces the wearer to bend forward. Choose to carry only those items that are required for the day. Each night remove articles that can be left at home. When organizing the contents of the backpack, place the heaviest items closest to the back to reduce kinetic forces that cause postural malalignment and overworked muscles.

- Use proper lifting techniques - Bend at the knees and use your legs to lift the backpack placing one shoulder strap on at a time.

TIPS FOR SELECTING A BACKPACK

- Choose ergonomically designed features that enhance safety and comfort

- A padded back to reduce pressure on the back, shoulders and under arm regions, and enhance comfort

- Hip and chest belts to transfer some of the backpack weight from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso

- Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight in the backpack, keep items secure, and ease access to the contents

- Commpression straps on the sides or bottom of the backpack to stablize the articles and compress the contents so that the items are as close to the back as possible

- Reflective material to enhance visibility of the child to drivers at night

Recalls

The news has been full of stories lately regarding the harmful products coming out of China. Whether it's catfish tainted with vet meds or toys with lead paint, it's all too scary. Unfortunately, the reality is that imported goods are not the only risk to our population. Over the past year, we've seen E-coli in spinach, various bacteria in peanut butter, all within the U.S. What can we do to protect ourselves? While the answer to that question is not easy there is a way to at least keep current on recalls as they become available by bookmarking www.recall.gov on your computer. This website keeps current on all recalls (both mandatory and voluntary).

Back to School!

It's hard to believe that school is starting next week. Where has the summer gone?

Unfortunately, back to school means increased traffic in our neighborhood. Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so. With that in mind following are some school bus safety tips from The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org). Please review this important information with your children.

GETTING ON THE SCHOOL BUS

- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private property.

- Line up away for the street or road as the school bus approaches.

- Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.

- Use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.

BEHAVIOR ON THE BUS

- When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed.

- Never put head, arms or hands out of the window.

- Keep aisles clear -- books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency.

- Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.

- At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat. Then, walk to the front door and exit, using the hand rail.

GETTING OFF THE SCHOOL BUS

- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver.

- Make sure that the driver can see you.

- Wait for signal from the driver before beginning to cross.

- When the driver signals, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.

- Stay away from the bus' rear wheels at all times.

CORRECT WAY TO CROSS THE STREET

- Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.

- They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.

- If students' vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles -- then stop, and look left-right-left again.

Security Alarm

In addition to the security alarms we have installed in our homes, following are a couple of simple things you can do if someone is trying to break into your home.

1. Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get inside your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. Test it -- it should work from anywhere in your home, regardless of whether you park your car in the driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar won't stick around.

2. Another item to keep by your bedside at night is your cell phone. In the event someone cuts your phone lines you won't be able to contact the police. Your cell phone will be your only way to communicate if you have a problem. Be sure to put the Suwanee Police Department number (770-945-8995) as number one on your speedial.

July, 2007

A few tips on how to keep your kitchen germ free.

Sponges can harbor bacteria. Wash your sponges carefully and replace them regularly. Bacteria laden sponges can re-contaminate your dishes and countertops. Wash sponges in the hot cycle of your dishwasher, or disinfect them in a chlorine bleach solution.

Did you know that washing your dishtowels in cold water may not kill all the bacterial they carry? Be sure to wash your kitchen towels in hot water (perhaps adding bleach as well as soap) or use disposable cloths instead.

Identity Theft

It seems that everywhere you turn you hear information about identity theft. In this first article of a three-part series, you will learn about how your identity can be stolen. All of this information was compiled from a very informative website at www.ftc.gov.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The FTC estimates that as many as nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.

The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn't make -- or until you're contacted by a debt collector.

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

How do thieves steal an identity?

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is a good as gold. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

- Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

- Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

- Phishing. They pretend to be financial insititutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

- Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

- Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.

- Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal infromation from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

What do thieves do with a stolen identity?

Once they have your personal information, identity thieves use it in a variety of ways.

- Credit Card Fraud. They may open new credit card accounts in your name. When they use the cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquent accounts appear on your credit report. They may change the billing address on your credit card so that you no longer receive bills, and then run up charges on your account. Because your bills are now sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there's a problem.

- Phone or Utilities Fraud. They may open a new phone or wireless account in your name, or run up charges on your existing account. They may use your name to get utility services like electricity, heating, or cable TV.

- Bank/Finance Fraud. They may create counterfeit checks using your name or account number. They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks. They may clone your ATM or debit card and make electronic withdrawals, draining your accounts. They may take out a loan in your name.

- Government Documents Fraud. They may get a driver's license or official ID card issued in your name but with their picture. They may use your name and Social Security number to get government benefits. They may file a fraudulent tax return using your information.

- Other Fraud. They may get a job using your Social Security number. They may rent a house or get medical services using your name. They may give your personal information to police during an arrest. If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.

How can you find out if your identity was stolen?

The best way to find out is to monitor accounts and bank statements each month, and check your credit report on a regular basis. If you check your credit report regularly, you may be able to limit the damage caused by identity theft.

Unfortunately, many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after some damage has been done.

- You may find out when bill collection agencies contact you for overdue debts you never incurred.

- You may find out when you apply for a mortgage or car loan and learn that problems with your credit history are holding up the loan.

- You may find out when you get something in the mail about an apartment you never rented, a house you never bought, or a job you never held.

Barbeque

Here we are at the peak of barbecue season. For a safer barbecue (as well as in-home cooking), consider the following tips to prevent food borne illness:

- Never return cooked meats to the raw meat plate.

- Do not use the same utensil on both raw meat and any other foods unless you wash the utensil first.

- Do not taste food with a utensil, and then return it to the food.

- Store leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator immediately after eating.

- Eat leftovers within a few days or discard.

Independence Day

July 4th is just two days away and while we get together with friends and family to celebrate the birth of our great nation, caution must be used when lighting fireworks.

Statistics show that annually there are an estimated 9,500 injuries caused by fireworks. Children under the age of 15 account for nearly half of those injuries. The hands and eyes accounted for the highest percentage of injuries. To help make your use of "Sparklers" the safest it can be, the Gwinnett County Fire Marshal's Office (www.gwinnettfiremarshal.com) offers the following safety rules:

- Always read the directions carefully in a brightly lit setting and follow them. Inspect "Sparklers" for any defects.
- NEVER give "Sparklers" to children.
- Always keep a bucket of water, a garden hose, or fire extinguisher close by.
- Store them in a cool, dry place, out of reach of children and away from any open flames.
- Ignite outdoors, away from buildings, vehicles, combustible vegetation and light on a firm stable ground.
- Never attempt to fix or re-ignite malfunctioning "Sparkers." Soak them in a bucket of water.
- Allow enough room for proper functioning and never light "Sparklers" in windy or stormy conditions.
- Light one "Sparkler" at a time and use a punk or BBQ lighter.
- Keep a safe distance away.
- Before going in for the night, inspect the area of the "Sparkler" use and surrounding area to double check that no fires have started from falling debris.

June, 2007

Fireworks are another area regulated by the Gwinnett Fire Marshals Office as well as the State Fire Marshal. The use of Fireworks in Georgia is illegal. 'Fireworks' as defined by Georgia State Law (OCGA Title 25 chapter 10) means any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substance or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation, including blank cartridges, balloons requiring fire underneath to propel them, firecrackers, torpedos, skyrockets, Roman candles, bombs, sparklers, and other combustibles and explosives of like construction, as well as articles containing any explosive or flammable compound and tablets and other devices containing an explosive substance. The term 'firework' shall not include model rockets and model rocket engines, designed sold, and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable aero models; wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are nonexplosive and nonaerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes; snake and glow worms; trick noise makers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops each consisting of 0.25 grains or less of explosive mixture; toy pistol paper caps in which the explosive content does not average more than 0.25 grains of explosive mixture per paper cap nor toy pistols, toy cannons, toy canes, toy guns, or other devices using such paper caps; nor shall the term 'fireworks' include ammunition consumed by weapons used for sporting and hunting purposes.

Our community is a little unusual since we do not have sidewalks. Unfortunately this forces children and adults alike to walk, run and bike on our streets. There are a couple of things you should remember when you are out there enjoying this fine weather.

1. When riding your bike, scooter or any other wheeled vehicle, always ride with traffic. Motorists aren't looking for riders on the wrong side of the street.

2. Conversely, when walking or running you should go against traffic. This will give motorists a chance to see you and for you to see them.

With the heat of the summer upon us, following are some tips for staying safe in the heat, courtesy of the American Red Cross:

- Dress for the heat - Wear lightweight, light colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hat's or use an umbrella.

- Drink water - Carry water or juice with you and drink countinuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol or caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

- Eat small meals and eat more often - Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase metabolic heat.

- Slow down - Avoid strenuous activity. If you much do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.

- Stay indoors whenever possible.

- Take regular breaks - When engaged in physical activity on warm days take regular breaks. Take time out and find a cool place.

Some of the signs of heat related illness are:

- Heat cramps

- Cool, moist, pale skin

- Headache

- Dizziness and weakness or exhaustion

- Nausea

If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

April, 2007

It's hard to believe but the end of another school year is rapidly approaching. With the end of the school year comes summer vacation and fun-filled family getaways. While you are planning that trip to the beach or Disney World, you may want to consider some ways in which to keep your home safe from burglars while you are gone. The key is to create the illusion of everyday activity. Following this checklist will make it appear that someone is home, which is your first defense against burglary. You can find these and other tips at the Burglary Prevention Council's website at www.BurglaryPrevention.org.

Ask police to check your home and patrol your neighborhood more closely while you are away. All you have to do is register with the Suwanee Police Department by going to www.Suwanee.com, click on "Forms" and then "House Check-ups" and submit the completed form.

Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or have a trusted neighbor collect them while you are away so that they do not accumulate. Also ask your neighbor to remove any advertising flyers that are deposited in your mailbox or around your door, driveway or lawn.

Secure all doors, windows, pet entrances and garage doors.

Transfer valuables to a safety deposit box.

Place timers on indoor lamps and appliances to illuminate your home at night, and set timers to turn on radios and televisions randomly during the day.

Check that no bulbs are burned out on your indoor lamps, outdoor lighting fixtures or low voltage lighting system.

Arrange to have your landscaping continued.

Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal appearance.

Have one trusted friend check your home, inside and out, each day.

Remove messages from your telephone answering machine daily so that the "beep" is always short. And don't indicate on your message that you are on vacation.

Contact your alarm company and provide them with information regarding how long you will be gone and where you can be reached in the event of an emergency. Make sure your alarm company knows to call the Suwanee Police Department directly at 770-945-8995 for non fire emergencies.

And, finally, have fun riding on Space Mountain or lounging on the beach. Just don't forget your sunblock.

Have a wonderful Summer.

 

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