June is National Safety Month
Over the past century, through the combined efforts of the safety movement, great progress has been made in addressing hazards by implementing better design, working conditions and accountability. As a result of safety, advocacy and innovation, we are better able to protect people and the planet.
The National Safety Council (NSC) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. is preventable injuries.
Every year throughout the month of June, the NSC designates an area of focus each week. This year they have chosen the following topics:
- Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
- Week 2: Wellness
- Week 3: Falls
- Week 4: Driving
Denton County works to educate its citizens on steps they can take to reduce preventable injuries.
Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
Denton County Emergency Services believes the best practice of emergency preparedness is through education on “Emergency Preparedness”. Denton County provides free emergency preparedness training through our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. The CERT program educates citizens about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact our area and teaches basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Denton County’s Community Emergency Response Team Program educates citizens to prepare for the types of disasters that our community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members: Learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards; help organize basic disaster response; promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community events.
To learn how you can register for CERT at www.dentoncountycert.org
Training is open to all Denton County citizens of all ages. While volunteering with Denton County CERT is optional, continued training is invaluable and offered to active CERT members.
Week 2: Wellness
Every decision we make influences our overall well-being, from choosing a healthy afternoon snack to getting a good night’s sleep. Denton County Public Health (DCPH) encourages many wellness initiatives within our communities like diabetes support groups, nutritional and lactation assistance, and health education. DCPH builds and maintains community partner relationships, helping lead our communities to a healthier place to live, work, worship, and play. Outside of encouraging residents to follow recommended vaccination schedules, DCPH staff also ensures safe vaccine storage and accurate vaccine record keeping in medical, childcare, and school settings. DCPH’s health education team works persistently to further promote mental and physical well-being to all through health fairs, the Denton County Dash, and other local community events. In the most recent collaboration, DCPH joined Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at a local elementary school to work with students on reading nutrition labels correctly, healthier food choices for meals and snacks, and kitchen safety – educating children on health components that are important for all ages. DCPH strives for countywide physical and mental wellness with a commitment to lead our communities to a healthier future, further maintaining Denton County’s title of Healthiest County in Texas.
Week 3: Falls
One out of three seniors will fall this year, but fewer than half of them will talk with their doctors about it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls are also the No. 1 cause of injuries in seniors, resulting in hip fractures, cuts, and even severe head and brain injuries that can be fatal. And even when there’s no serious injury, a fall can still be so frightening that seniors may avoid specific activities because they are afraid they will fall again. You can make your home safe from falls with just a few basic changes.
- Clean up clutter. The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home neat and tidy.
- Repair or remove tripping hazards.
- Install grab bars and handrails.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing.
- Light it right. Inadequate lighting is another significant hazard.
- Make it nonslip. Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches, can become extremely dangerous when wet.
- Live on one level. Even with precautions like guardrails, stairs can present a significant falling hazard.
- Move more carefully. Dr. Bunning explains that many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa.
Week 4: Driving
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed. 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
More statistics on distracted driving and other risky driving behaviors are available at this link: https://bit.ly/2l19VXO
Denton County Mosquito Season
If you have been outside lately, you have probably felt the increasing Texas heat and, quite possibly, a mosquito or two. It’s officially mosquito season in Denton County. Denton County Public Health started arboviral surveillance in May for the 2018 season, and DCPH wants to remind residents of the importance of taking precautions in our yards and neighborhoods to better protect our family and neighbors. Mosquitoes only need a few teaspoons of standing water to breed and multiply, so draining any standing water in your yard is highly beneficial in your own fight against these bothersome insects. Water can often collect in places we would forget about, such as clogged rain gutters, flowerpots, and stagnant birdbaths. Making sure these are routinely flushed thoroughly can provide a beneficial preventive offense around your home. Another effective offense when outside is to make sure your family is dressed for protection and defending with repellent that use ingredients like DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
Mosquito surveillance efforts and positive mosquito results can be found at DentonCounty.com/WNV, along with information on local mosquito monitoring, spraying, and press releases related to this season’s mosquitoes. You can also follow DCPH on Facebook for additional information about common backyard mosquito sources and use the Three Ds of drain, dress, and defend to fight the bite this mosquito season.
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If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected], and my office number is 972-434-3960.