Safeguarding Your Summer: Backyard Bash Safety 🏡 đŸŽ‰

With summertime upon us, many are considering yard parties.  Fun in the sun, grilling, outdoor sports, and swimming all sound grand this time of year and that’s because it is grand!

Most outdoor parties come and go without a hitch, but unfortunately accidents do happen.  With that in mind, here are some simple ways to avoid accidents and host a worry free backyard bash:

  • outdoor-entertaining.jpgThoroughly inspect your yard for any things that could be a danger such as wasp nests, standing water (mosquito breeding grounds),anthills, holes, trip hazards, rotting trees or limbs that could fall, rusting equipment, low hanging electrical wires, or anything you can see as a danger – particularly to small children or adults who may be under the influence. (It’s a party, there will be alcohol!) Remove the hazards, cover them or flag them with reflective materials.
  • Be sure moving vehicles are away from your guests.  If possible, have a pedestrian entry to your party distanced from the parking.
  • Be prepared to accommodate children if your party is family friendly.  There’s more to this than just saying it’s ok to bring your children because once they are there if they are not occupied they will be underfoot and more likely to have or cause accidents.  Consider the age ranges and have play areas set up for little ones and some outdoor sports for the teens.  Be sure there are no choking hazards with any of the toys you provide.  Perhaps, ask guests in advance, what they recommend for their children or suggest their children bring their own entertainment to share.
  • Food safety is key to avoiding a party gone wrong! If your outdoor fun includes grilling hamburgers, play it safe by handling raw ground beef carefully. First, be sure you keep the meat cold (40 degrees F or less) until it is cooked. Second, cook ground beef to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F so that bacteria such as E. coli are killed. Poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to at least 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking. When preparing food, never use the same dish for raw meats and foods that will not be cooked. Don’t let perishable food sit out while swimming or during other activities. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F, food is not safe to sit out longer than one hour! Keep hands and all utensils clean when preparing food.  To learn more about grilling safely, check out our previous blog about Backyard Grilling Tips.
  • Be responsible with alcoholic beverages.  Adult beverages go hand in hand with adults partying and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a host there are certain precautions you should take to prevent any incidents caused by alcohol.  First and foremost you want to make sure none of your guests get behind the wheel after heavy drinking. Of course, it’s best to prevent heavy drinking if you are able.  Some easy ways to do that are;
    Make food more easily available than alcohol.  When your guests have a full tummy it slows the effects of alcohol and when alcohol isn’t right at the forefront of the party guests will likely drink less.
    Have a bartender or someone in charge of serving the drinks so that guests won’t be able to overpour the alcohol or consume it at a faster rate.
    To learn more about hosting a party with alcohol as well as being a guest who likes to consume alcohol, check out our Holiday Party Safety Blog!
  • If you have a swimming pool on your property, be aware of the dangers and kids-at-swimming-pool.jpghow you can prevent accidents. Prior to your party, make sure you have adequate anti-entrapment drain covers for your pool.  During your party, have a designated adult who knows how to swim watching over swimming pool activity at all times. Do not allow people who have consumed a lot of alcohol in or close to the pool.  If at all possible, have someone at your party who has been CPR/First Aid trained.  Learn more about swimming pool safety not just for your party, but for year round safety on the pool safety website.
  • Is your pet ready to party? Pet safety at parties is easy to overlook. Of course you want to include your pet in the festivities, but it’s important to honestly assess your pet before adding him or her to the guest list. If your pet is aggressive in any way, overly excitable, or very shy, he or she may not be a good guest at the party and may be better off at the sitters for the day.  Also, consider if any of your guests have allergies to pet dander.  And, lastly, consider if your beloved pet can avoid eating the wrong things at a party.  With so many guests and so many plates of food surrounding, your pet may snatch a bite of something you would never give him/her under normal circumstances or your guests may think it’s fun to give him/her some of the food available.  Some food that we humans enjoy is toxic to our furry friends, so be sure that if your pet is wandering around your party someone is 51dhlAusXTL._SL500_.jpgwatching over him/her carefully to be sure no dangerous food is gobbled up.
  • A first aid kit is always important to have on hand in any household, but most especially when the number of people on your property is larger than usual. To learn how to build a first aid kit for you home (as well as your for your vehicle) and for other helpful first aid information visit the Healthy Essentials Website.
  • Earthquakes happen! Obviously your party would be the worst time for one, but it’s always best to be prepared! If you and your quests should be outdoors in the event of an earthquake, remember to Move away from buildings, structures and utility wires. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops. When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave and go to an open space away from damaged areas. If you are trapped, do not move around just call out for help so others at the party can locate you and assist.  Be prepared to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” in the likely event of aftershocks.  Once safe, monitor local news reports for emergency information and instructions.  To learn more about earthquake safety and preparedness, please be sure to check out our earthquake safety blog for insightful information about preparedness and safety before, during an after an earthquake.

189f930fba5525b43a8a6d61fe82d65dThe best way to enjoy a party is safely.  Being prepared for emergencies and using preventative tactics is the easiest way to ensure a safe but great time for you and your guests.

Close Range Safety Training Academy shares helpful blogs about your safety and health regularly and we’d love for you to follow our blog! We look forward to you having a safe, healthy and happy celebration and life!

 

🍗🍗🍗The Day You’ve Been Waiting for is Almost Here! Don’t Spend it in the Emergency Room…

In the last 30 years it has been documented that Thanksgiving and the weekend that follows bring the largest annual amount of emergency room visits in the United States.  While most professionals state there is no exact reason for this coincidence and most issues patients are facing are common issues, it is a phenomenon that patients and hospitals alike wish could be avoided.

The preparation and mass consumption of a rich variety of food can send people to the emergency room for minor issues such as a cut thumb while turkey carving. Moderate and Major ailments and emergencies can also occur including gastrointestinal pain, sugar consumption issues, heart attacks and many others.

Dr. Corey Slovis, chairman of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says the emergency department at Vanderbilt sees more patients coming in with chest pain on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening than on other days. “Some people consuming massive amounts of food are not in good shape to begin with,” he says. Overeating at a meal also can be a risk for some, as an excess of salt can be dangerous for people with conditions like congestive heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. “We see the effects of overindulgence,” Slovis says. “If people have heart disease, it can cause heart attacks.”

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Food preparation can result in emergency department visits. A common incident, according to Slovis, is people accidentally cutting their fingers and hands with a carving knife. Other times, people might get burned while trying to deep fry a turkey. The CDC cautions about proper care of food to avoid food-borne illnesses. The agency estimates that food-borne diseases each year cause roughly 1 in 6 Americans, or 48 million people, to get sick each year, hospitalizing 128,000 and killing 3,000. Bacterial contamination is high with any raw meat, says the American College of Emergency Physicians, and some food can make people sick if not heated properly or refrigerated afterward.

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To learn more about safe and proper food handling and preparation, please visit the website for: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of the American College of Emergency Physicians say another common emergency department visit involves injuries from people playing football, or doing anything athletic, when they aren’t used to such activity.

The holidays also can bring about mental health issues in addition to physical ones. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people diagnosed with a mental illness report that the holidays make their conditions worse, increasing symptoms such as sadness, loss, fatigue and frustration.

And, of course, there are always issues with long distance driving.  Nationwide, nearly 90 percent of holiday travelers this year will journey by car between Wednesday and Sunday. This represents the highest volume seen since 2007 and the third-highest since tracking by AAA began in 2000. Thanksgiving in recent years has been the deadliest holiday for road travelers.  In 2012, 416 people died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday, which is defined as lasting from Wednesday to Monday, according to the most recent available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of The majority of victims who died – 60 % were not wearing seat belts, and 42 % were killed in crashes involving a drunken driver.

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Here are 5 ways for you and your loved ones to avoid that crowded ER Waiting Room and enjoy your quality time together:

  1. Know your dietary limits!  Does your health require dietary guidelines that need to be followed? While we all want to give in to seasonal treats, some of us simply cannot afford to.  Do not cheat on any restrictions your physician has provided you for your own health! If possible, let the host know in advance of your restrictions or bring food items within your approved diet.
  2. Know your physical limits! If you’re not an athletic individual or you don’t exercise on a regular basis, do not overextend yourself in any physical activities such as back yard football. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving celebration at your home, be sure to offer less physical activities such as horseshoes or charades!
  3. Safe handling of food is a must! Without proper care in the preparation and handling of your holiday eats, your entire party could end up in the emergency room! Learn the important steps in food handling and preparation by visiting the CDC’s food safety webpage here:  https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/groups/consumers.html
  4. Smart and Safe Driving is a must! Remember thousands of holiday travelers will be on the same freeways as you between November 23rd-27th this year (and every year that number increases).  Many drivers will be tired from eating a big feast and family activities while others may be intoxicated after celebrating more than they are used to.  We urge you not to drink and drive by having a designated driver, using a professional transportation service, or eating plenty to sober up after drinks. Avoid driving when you are extremely tired.  History shows us that people are generally sleepy after a large Thanksgiving meal, so be sure to get proper rest before getting behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, not everyone will follow these important driving suggestions so be sure that you and all of your passengers wear your seatbelts!
  5. Remember your loved ones who are ill.  Be sure to have foods available to supplement the dietary needs of your guests who have special needs.  Labeling your foods is a great way to advise your guests what items they may need to avoid.  But, don’t forget physical illness is not the only illness some people suffer.  People with mental illness suffer in silence. So, be sure to take a moment to reach out to everyone you love and let them know they are in your thoughts.  Sometimes, just a brief moment of showing you care to someone who feels alone makes an incredible impact on their day.  Encourage those who are alone to celebrate with you.  Just by opening your door and your heart you could save a life!

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❄😔Holiday Blues got You Down? Try These Prevention & Survival Tips for a Happier & Healthier Winter Season😔❄

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but for some people they are anything but jolly. Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.

Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”

As we enter what many people consider the happiest time of year, thousands of people will be suffering silently. Some with an ongoing battle with depression and others who suffer from seasonal depression, also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). So if the family gatherings, the endless parties, and the shopping get you down, you’re not alone.

Despondency during the holidays can be tough, especially when feeling disconnected from the holiday spirited world. “I think a lot of people would say that the holidays are the worst time of the year,” says Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Many people have, or come from broken homes, and the added emphasis of “family” during the holidays can be a real trigger for them. Those suffering from depression need to be especially careful when coping with holiday stress,  and those of us who are not facing this battle should learn how to recognize and ease the suffering for our loved ones who are.

While people with clinical depression should seek professional help, those with a touch of the holiday blues can try these strategies recommended by experts to assure a merry holiday and a happy new year:

  • Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself such as taking on hosting responsibilities for events or trying to be the peace keeper in family conflicts. Remember no one is perfect and you can’t perfect things in an imperfect world. So, it’s ok to say no rather than putting unreasonable demands on yourself. Sometimes, tasks that seem reasonable to others are not for you, and you are not in a competition to keep up with those who can.
  • Plan ahead by creating prevention routines for yourself and doing your best to follow your schedule. Set up a calendar of to do lists for positive actions for yourself. For example, schedule a time to read a favorite author, create art, write in a journal, take a nap, go on a long walk in a new area, etc.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others. Maybe now is not the time to scroll through social media seeing everyone’s perfect holiday pictures. Understand that everyone puts on their best face for these circumstances and trying to compare yourself to their world is unrealistic for anyone.
  • Remember it’s ok to grieve. If you’ve suffered a loss and this season is a painful reminder of that, don’t be ashamed to grieve that loss. Feelings are a sign that you’re human and reflect where you are in your healing process.
  • Don’t rob yourself of proper rest! Sleep and rest are important to everyone. Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is directly connected to depression. Do not cut back on your sleep in order to get more done during this busy season. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Keep sunshine in your life. Many times seasonal depression is not linked to holiday activity as much as it is simply a darker time of year. Humans rely on sunshine and vitamin D (provided by sunshine) to live a healthy life both physically and emotionally. You can prevent this by simply enjoying 30 minutes of sunshine outdoors each day. Take a walk before work or during your lunch break, or go to a park and sit in the sun’s rays.
  • Avoid binging on food and alcohol. What feels good at the moment will have you facing regrets later on. Know your limits and stick to them at all times. In the moment binging may seem like a solution, but in actuality it creates more problems.

Most importantly, concentrate on what really matters and don’t let the static around you mix your signals! Remember, it’s ok to say no rather than over extending yourself financially, physically or emotionally. While the holiday season is a time for giving, never forget that every day is a time to take care of yourself first.


If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, do one of the following immediately: 1. Call 911  2. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room. 3. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Could I be Suffering from Depression?

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Depression is an invisible illness that goes unrecognized because many people don’t understand the causes, effects, or symptoms. Sometimes it goes unrecognized by those who suffer the illness, and often times it goes unrecognized by others because they simply cannot relate.

Depression is a treatable medical illness involving an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. It’s not a character flaw or a sign of personal weakness. Just like you can’t “wish away” diabetes, heart disease, or any other physical illness, you can’t make depression go away by trying to “snap out of it.”

It’s an exasperating disease to live with because being depressed, frustrated, sleepless or numb for long periods of time is exhausting – especially when you can’t prove to anyone that you’re really sick. Many times depression is caused by hormonal imbalances, grief (death of a loved one or divorce), or situational factors (loss of a job or a move to a new city) beyond our control. No one should be ashamed of having this disease. Remember, like any other disease, treatment helps.

Here are some symptoms to help identify depression in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Struggling with concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
  • Loss of appetite or significant increase in appetite
  • Escalating irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Developing an increase in alcohol consumption or reckless (acting out) behavior
  • Thoughts that your life is not worth living or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Unexplained aches and pains

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek professional help immediately. If you observe these symptoms in a loved one, gently encourage them to consider professional help.

If you are suffering this invisible illness, you need to know you’re not alone. Millions of people do understand your situation. It is a clinical illness that can be helped. What you are feeling may be connected to other health issues, seasons, previous life incidents and many other factors. In fact, just because you may have the symptoms of depression it does not always mean you have the illness. It is important that you seek medical attention if you think you may be suffering from depression and get a professional assessment.

For a listing of depression support groups, please visit the DBSA online. 


For Family and Friends

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Keep in mind that a mood disorder such as Depression is a physical, treatable illness that effects a person’s brain. It is a real illness, as real as diabetes or asthma. It is not a character flaw or personal weakness, and it is not caused by anything you or your loved one did.

A “tough love” approach is widely considered  unhelpful in terms of aiding someone with depression. Here are some simple ways to reach out to someone battling depression this holiday season:

  • Please Do educate yourself about your loved one’s illness, its symptoms and its treatments. Read brochures and books from DBSA and other dependable sources.
  • Please Don’t ask the person to “snap out of it.” Your friend or family member can’t snap out of this illness any more than he or she could overcome diabetes, asthma, cancer or high blood pressure without treatment.
  • Please Do give unconditional love and support. Offer reassurance and hope for the future.
  • Please Don’t try to fix your loved one’s problems on your own. Encourage him or her to get professional help.
  • Please Do have realistic expectations of your loved one. He or she can recover, but it won’t happen overnight. Be patient and keep a positive, hopeful attitude.
  • Please Do take care of yourself so you are able to be there for your loved one. Find support for yourself with understanding friends or relatives, in therapy of your own, at a DBSA support group, or other support group. It is important to take care of yourself, and it is normal for you to have symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression when someone you care about is ill. It’s important for you to build your own support system of people who will listen to you and be concerned about your well-being, including friends, relatives, and possibly a doctor or therapist. You might think your problems are minor in comparison to what your loved one is coping with, but that doesn’t mean you are any less deserving of help and comfort. Take time out for yourself, and make time to do things that relax you and things you enjoy. You will be best able to support the person you care about when you are healthy, rested and relaxed.
  • Please Do express your understanding and concern by acknowledging their struggles as a whole. Make helpful recommendations such as getting treatment. Arm yourself with helpful information about treatment and ways they can achieve it. Offer help if needed such as transportation and your willingness to join them if they don’t want to go alone.

What can I do to make sure my loved one gets good treatment?

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Encourage your loved one to seek treatment. Explain that treatment is not personality-altering and can greatly help to relieve symptoms.

Help him or her prepare for health care provider appointments by putting together a list of questions. Offer to go along to health care appointments.

With permission, talk to your loved one’s health care provider(s) about what you can do to help.

Encourage or help your loved one to get a second opinion from another health care provider if needed.

Help him or her keep records of symptoms, treatment, progress and setbacks in a journal or Personal Calendar.

Help him or her stick with the prescribed treatment plan. Ask if you can help by giving medication reminders.

Depression may cause someone to have feelings of unbearable sadness, guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness. The person does not want to feel this way, but can’t control it. Make sure the person’s doctor knows what is happening, and ask if you can help with everyday tasks such as housekeeping, running errands, or watching children.

Help your loved one try to stick to some sort of daily routine, even if he or she would rather stay in bed.

Spend quiet time together at home if he or she does not feel like talking or going out.

Keep reminding your loved one that you are there to offer support. It can be helpful to say things like: “I’m here for you”, “I care”, “I may not understand your pain, but I can offer my support”, “You are a worthwhile person and you mean a lot to me”, “Your brain is lying to you right now, and that is part of the illness”, “Don’t give up. You can get through this.”


What to do in Crisis Situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.

In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

Can You “Party Hearty” Safely? Holiday Party Do’s ✅ & Dont’s🚫

The term “Party Hardy” originates from a misinterpretation of “Party Hearty” and though they are similar in meaning, the urban translation of “Party Hardy” is dominated by the ‘college rules’ of partying hard with alcohol whereas the “hearty” concept is focused on celebrating with loved ones.  Today, both terms exist and it’s not impossible to achieve both while being safe.

It’s that time of year again, the season when everyone is throwing a party! 🎉🎉🎉

Parties are a great way for people to socialize and have fun. Whether you are hosting or attending a party, it is important to be safe. No one wants a party ruined by beligerent  behavior, damaged property, or someone being injured. When you’re feeling festive, safety may be the last thing on your mind. We don’t want to rain on your parade with a list of things that can go wrong, so we’re sharing ways to ensure things go right!

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For the Hosts with the Most

Careful planning of your party can help reduce the risk of problems occurring and ensure everyone has a great time. If anything goes wrong at the party, or even after the party, and you haven’t taken care to prevent this, you could be held liable. Follow these wise tips for hosting your event to have a well safe an lively soiree at your home this Holiday Season:

Set up 

How a party is set up can influence your guests’ behavior and either assist or hinder security.

Do place food where people gather but keep the alcohol serving area small and away from crowded areas. Eating can slow the pace of drinking.

Do fill people up so they are less likely to drink, it slows down the process of getting drunk. Only serving alcoholic drinks on request and do not let anyone go around topping off alcoholic drinks.

Do consider having a person who is not drinking in charge of the bar area who can help control the amount of alcohol consumed.

Entertainment 

Do provide activities such as a pool table, board games, dance music, karaoke and movies. This may keep people entertained and take the focus off drinking.

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For the Best Guest

When going to a party, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you and your friends have an enjoyable and safe time. Many require the safe and sensible consumption of alcohol. When too much alcohol is consumed, drunken behavior can spoil a party. Follow these sensible suggestions to be sure you get invited to all the festivities:

Transportation

I know we don’t have to remind you not to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car, but we’re doing it anyway!

Don’t drink and drive, please!

Do organize a lift with a person who is not going to be drinking.  Use Über or Lyft on your smart phone, have local cab service contact information stored in your cell phone, or see if the hosts have offered guests to stay overnight.

Don’t drive while overly tired. Even if you stay sober, when you party hearty or hardy you may be too tired to drive which can be just as dangerous!

Behavior 

Being a appealing guest depends on your behavior.  Remember, excessive alcohol consumption effects your behavior. So, to avoid embarrassing yourself or other guests,

Do keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum by starting your evening with a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before drinking alcohol and have a non-alcoholic drink every second or third drink to stay at a reasonable pace.

Don’t gulp down your drinks in situations where you feel the need to keep up the pace. Try drinking a low alcohol % drink or drink from a smaller glass.

Eat Well 

Do eat before you arrive at the party as well as snacking between adult beverages.  If you have a full stomach, alcohol will be absorbed more slowly.

Don’t eat too many salty snacks – they make you thirsty so you drink more.

Stay Active 

Do play games, dance or talk to friends. If you have something to do, you tend to drink less. Be the social butterfly you know you can be!

Stay Smart 

Do refuse a drink if you feel the need. It’s perfectly ok! Only you know your limits.

Don’t encourage them to drink when they refuse, you cannot know what they’re limits are either.

Other Things to Consider

Invitations: The type of guests invited will influence a range of decisions about the type of party. A children’s party will require different planning than a party for older teenagers, and a party aimed at adults will have different requirements from one aimed at families. For some parties, written invitations send a message that the party is for invited guests only. Including a request to RSVP can help with planning. If the party is for younger people, the invitation provides a first point of contact with other parents.

Food and Drink: Will you be supplying food and drinks, or is it BYO? If people will be drinking alcohol,  make sure there is food and plenty of low-alcoholic, and non-alcohol alternatives. If you are preparing the food be sure to follow the rules for safe and healthy food preparation.  Label foods that may effect food allergies such as “Brownies with Peanuts”.

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Locations: Will people have to drive there? How many people can it capacitate comfortably? Is it an open space or are there gates and doors you can use to monitor who is coming and going? Think about how people will be getting home and who is driving. What if they are affected by alcohol or too tired to drive safely? You may need to have spare bedding available for guests who need to stay overnight or other arrangements to ensure guests can get home safely.

Security: You may wish to consider organizing security to help at the party. We also encourage you to register your party with your local police station or security service in gated communities. This ensures they already have all the information they need to know about the party in the event they need to be called for assistance.


We hope you are invited to all of the finest affairs you can handle this Holiday Season, or that you host the most fabulous shindig in town.  And, we wish you only the best of times!

 

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