Holiday safety tips from your 452 safety office

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The clock is ticking down and the holiday season is upon us. Many of us are all rushing around for last minute shopping, packing our suitcases for travel and preparing our home with decorations. The Air Force teaches us to use Risk Management in our jobs to minimize hazards and prevent injuries. The same principles are also sound for our off duty activities.

On the Road: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in reported crashes that involve a distracted driver.  According to DRISTRACTION.GOV, the official U.S. Government Distracted Driver website, there are many forms of distracted driving:

• Texting

• Using a cell phone or smartphone

• Eating and drinking

• Talking to passengers

• Grooming

• Reading, including maps

• Using a navigation system

• Watching a video

• Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies reveal that at any given moment in the day 660,000 people are using cell phones while driving. Keep your eyes on the road. Did you know that while driving just 55 mph if you look away for five seconds you have traveled the length of a football field? Is that text or call worth the price of admission to a hospital, or worse? If a text or phone call is important enough, get off the highway to a safe location where you can devote your full attention to the conversation. Doing so may save your life or the life of another.

If you are planning a road trip give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Make sure your vehicle is fit for the trip and complete any required repairs or servicing prior to departure. Keep an emergency kit in your car for unexpected emergencies.

Around the House

Christmas trees:

• If you are using a live tree, make sure you cut two inches off of the bottom to allow the tree to get more water from the tree stand.

• Check the water in the stand at least daily and add water when necessary.

• Make sure your tree is placed at least 36 inches from heat sources. One-in-four tree fires is caused by the tree being too close to a heat source. (NFPA)

• After Christmas, check with your community disposal service and accordingly, dispose of the tree as soon as possible.

• Don’t leave the tree in the garage or leaning against the house.

Outdoor decorations:

• Remove decorations as soon as possible after the holidays to make them last longer and reduce hazards.

• Make sure you use a good ladder when removing lights, and use a spotter at the base of the ladder to steady it and help you hand down the lights.

• In the U.S. 175,000 people are injured severely enough on ladders to require a hospital visit. Of these, 13,000 are injured putting up or taking down Christmas decorations.

Use good Risk Management for your holidays, and have a safe and enjoyable season! We want you back safe and sound for the New Year.