Holiday Traveling? Remember these travel tips!

In our last blog “Protect your Home for the Holidays” we discussed ways to ensure the safety of your home while you are away.  Today we want to discuss some important tips for not only Holiday Travel, but traveling year round.

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Air Travel – it’s convenient, faster and safer than road travel on most occasions but what are the best tips to remember for your safety when visiting airports of flying on a plane?

  • Never leave your luggage unattended at the airport! 
    Aside from the obvious threat of theft, there is also the possibility of something dangerous and/or illegal being added to your suitcase that you are unaware of.  If you do not have a travel buddy to watch over your luggage, keep it at your side at all times. Also, never let anyone other than airport staff handle your luggage for the same reasons.
  • Do not accept packages or watch over luggage for strangers.  
    While you may see a desperate person who requests your help for just a brief moment, do not fall for this.  I know that sounds harsh, but criminal masterminds know how to prey about the weaknesses of others.  What may appear to be a struggling mother trying to manage a child, could actually be a woman acting as such who’s carrying highly illegal or dangerous content and has chosen you as her scapegoat. Obviously, you want to be helpful and kind but you must also be smart.  Advise those who seem desperate for your help that you will help them find airport staff to handle their needs.
  • If you see abandoned luggage or packages at the airport do not touch it!
    Instead, leave it exactly where you found it and report it to the nearest airport employee for handling.
  • Airport and Airplane rules and restrictions exist for a reason.
    These are created based on history and experiences over time and are for your safety.  Be sure to listen to all announcements and follow any instructions provided as well as reading any instructions that are posted in the airport or on the plane.  It is best to visit the website of the airline you are using in advance of purchasing your ticket so that you can view their rules and regulations to be sure you are able to comply.
  • If you see suspicious activity report it immediately! 
    You should be able to recognize what is suspicious such as seeing a person leave a bag unattended or a person who vocalizes threats.  Do you remember our blog about practicing situational awareness? Read it again for some great tips on recognizing suspicious activity and potential threats!

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Road Travel – Sometimes it’s easier to hit the road and sometimes we just prefer a road trip.  We’ve shared some great driving safety tips and vehicle safety tips throughout the year that would apply to holiday travel as well as for your daily commute such as how to get a grip on road rage, the dangers of distracted driving and driving safely in inclement weather.  But here’s some more useful tips for the road ahead:

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a professional prior to a long road trip. 
    It is important that your tires are in good shape, your fluids are all fresh and at the proper levels, filters are clean and in working condition and all the mechanical parts that keep you safe are in proper working order such as brakes, belts, and more.  A professional will know best.
  • Have your trunk stocked with emergency preparations such as a spare tire in good condition, a jack and the tools you may need to change a tire as well as a good flash light, roadside flares or reflective flagging and jumper cables.  If you will be driving in an area that may have inclement weather such as sleet or snow be sure you also have a bag of kitty litter or sand on hand to help you with traction in the event you get stuck. If you’ve never driven in snow, be sure you not only have tire chains but also that you know how to use them. Also, if your tires are not all-weather or snow tires you should not drive in snow conditions.
  • You should always have a first aid kit in your vehicle! This is a must at any time but especially when traveling long distance.  You can create your own first aid kit or purchase one like this one sold on amazon.com. You can create your own just by viewing what pre-packaged ones include. Also, don’t forget to pack your prescription medications in your first aid kit!
  • Be sure to get plenty of rest prior to a long drive.  Do not rely on energy drinks, caffeine or energy supplements to combat being tired.  A full night’s rest prior to the journey is the safest bet. Statistically, tired or sleepy drivers cause the majority of accidents on the road during holidays.  If you find you are tired on the road, take a break from driving and get a nap at a safe location such as a roadside rest area.  Remember your safety is more important than any deadline.
  • Be sure to eat well before traveling and bring snacks.  Hunger can cause mood swings, disorientation and other issues.  Make stops along the way to snack as well.  Just as your vehicle needs fuel to proceed so does your body.
  • Stay hydrated! Have plenty of water on hand and keep yourself hydrated to avoid headaches and other health issues as well as tiredness.
  • Planning ahead is the best way to travel: 
    1) Research the traffic laws, speed limits and gas stations you will encounter along      your journey.
    2) Plan your stops for fueling, snacking and resting.  Some stops, of course, cannot be planned ahead but do all the planning you can in advance.
    3) Keep an eye on the weather conditions you will be encountering along the way and plan around them.
    4) Examine the facts about the cities you will be passing through – are they safe? Learn where you should and shouldn’t stop to fuel or break along the way and plan around this.
    5) Plan your driving time with breaks so that you don’t feel rushed or frustrated and you don’t end up not taking breaks when you should.
  • Know yourself & don’t push it! If you feel tired, frustrated, hungry or uncomfortable don’t ignore what your body is telling you and keep on driving.  We recommend you take a break every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, relax and regroup along the way.  Do not drive on through your normal hours of rest.  Stay overnight at a hotel and keep your usual sleep schedule.

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Wishing you a Safe and Happy Holiday,
Close Range Safety Training Academy

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Halloween Safety Tips – no Tricks, only Treats!

Dressing in costume and dancing around bonfires to ward off the unwanted spirits and preparing their harvest for winter amidst celebrations was what the Celtic people called Samhain which later transitioned into the holiday we all know and love – Halloween.
While we all love to celebrate Halloween today, we must remember to put the safety of our children first.  As one of the most popular holidays for children to enjoy, there are some crucial tips to remember to ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween experience.
Let’s start with costume tips:
  • Choose your child’s costume wisely by looking for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder breathing ability.
  • Be sure to avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip your child.
  • Select light or bright colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, attach reflective kids-halloween-costumes.jpgtape to the costume for visibility. A few strips on the back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick.
  • Ensure your child’s emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you’re not going to be with him/her.
  • Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don’t look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
Let’s make sure those treats aren’t tricks!
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Yes, some will want to begin immediately so please be sure they are aware that waiting is part of the process.
  • The signs of candy that has been tampered with or could be dangerous are as follows:
    An unusual appearance or discoloration
    Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers
    Spoiled or unwrapped items
    Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.
  • Tell children not to accept — and, especially, not to eat–anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
  • Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.
  • Remember, when it doubt THROW IT OUT! (If you have questions about possibly tainted candy you can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or your local police department for assistance.
While Trick-or-treating, remember the following:
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
promo292884444.pngIf you are out and about on the night these little gremlins are trick-or-treating, please remember to be extra cautious while driving and keep your eyes peeled for children darting out from between vehicles or in odd places that aren’t crosswalks.
If you decide to stay in and offer treats to children, be sure the path to your doorway is well lit and clear of any trip hazards.  Also, if you have pets, be sure they are secured in a safe place to avoid escape during this active time which may be stressful to them.
And, lastly, if you wish to enjoy some adult Halloween Festivities be sure that you too are dressed appropriately if you are walking in dark areas.  If you are driving to Halloween festivities, be sure to avoid alcohol or make arrangements for a designated driver instead. 
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween,
Your friends at Close Range Safety Training Academy

 

🍗🍗How to Safely Prepare, Cook, Carve, & Store Your Thanksgiving Turkey🍗🍗

Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful way to bring family and friends together. Even prepping & cooking the bird and other fixings with others can be a joyous, social experience. So let’s keep it that way by following some helpful tips to ensure you and your guests stay healthy and happy!

How to Safely Thaw a Turkey

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  • Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave.
  • A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature can creep into the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

How to Safely Handle a Turkey

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Bacteria from raw poultry can contaminate anything that it touches. Thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.

How to Safely Cook a Turkey

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  • Set the oven temperature to at least 325°. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the bird.
  • To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, check by using a food thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint.
  • Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Learn more about safe minimum cooking temperatures and how to use and calibrate a food thermometer for turkey and other foods.

How to Carve a Turkey

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  • Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
  • Keep your knife handles and cutting area dry to avoid slips. Good lighting around the cutting area is also important.
  • Keep all cutting utensils sharp. Having a sharp knife will avoid the need to use a lot of force when cutting, which can be dangerous. Dull knives are more likely to cause slips and are still sharp enough to cause an injury. If possible, use an electric knife.
  • Use kitchen shears to tackle the job of cutting bones.

If you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.

How to Store Your Leftovers

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  • Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
  • Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days.
  • If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.

For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline or email  mphotline.fsis@usda.gov

🍗🍩🌰🍻8 Thanksgiving Day Foods That Can Kill Your Dog🍻🌰🍩🍗

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Turkey Skin

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High fat foods, like delicious turkey skin, can be hazardous to your dog’s health. The skin holds marinades, spices, butter, and oils, and is difficult to digest. High fat foods lead to pancreatitis. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Cooked Bones

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Cooked turkey and ham bones are NOT safe for dogs. They can SPLINTER in the dog’s digestive tract and your holiday may include a pricey and unexpected trip to the emergency and WORSE. Dispose of bones carefully so that your pup isn’t tempted to eat them.

Onions and Garlic

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Onions and garlic contain sulfides, which are TOXIC to dogs, and can lead to anemia. Onions are more toxic than garlic and cooking them does not reduce their toxicity.

Alcohol

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Many dogs love the taste of beer, but that doesn’t mean you should share your frosty brew with your best bud. Any alcohol, and particularly the hops in beer, is toxic, and in some cases, can cause DEATH in dogs.

Nuts

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Specifically WALNUTS and MACADAMIA nuts are VERY dangerous for your dog. They can cause a toxic reaction called “macadamia nut toxicosis”. Within twelve (12) hours of eating them, dogs are unable to stand, vomiting, having tremors, fever, weakness, and elevated heart rate. Usually symptoms go away, but this can lead to DEADLY shock.

Nutmeg

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Used to spice sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other holiday foods, nutmeg can cause SEIZURES and CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM PROBLEMS if your dog ingests it. In extreme cases, it can even cause DEATH. Both sweet potatoes and pumpkin, in moderation, are good for your dog – just make sure they don’t have any nutmeg on or in them before you give them any.

Sage

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Sage contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset. Best to this herb out of reach from your pup’s paws!

Chocolate, Dough and Batter

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We all know that chocolate is a NO-NO, but did you know that dough can actually RISE INSIDE your dog’s stomach, causing severe pain and bloating? Additionally, dough and batter contain raw eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Keep you pup out of the kitchen while you bake and clean up any spills right away.

If you thing your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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