Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are a 4th of July Tradition.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), there were an estimated 9,600 fireworks related injuries during the Fourth of July season in 2011.  Most of these injuries would not have occurred if the fireworks had been used under close adult supervision and if some basic safety steps had been taken.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:
  • Know your fireworks; Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
For more safety tips visit

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

National Safety Month - Overexertion

Did you know - overexertion is the third leading cause of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for about 3.2 million emergency department visits.

These injuries can easily be prevented by encouraging good ergonomic practices. The most common injuries resulting from overexertion are strains (tendons or muscles) and sprains (ligaments), especially of the lower back. These injuries usually involve moving materials, for instance, reaching for or lifting a load from one spot to another, transferring the weight of a load to a carrying position, or lowering a load to the ground or handing it to someone.

As with all preventable injury, awareness and foresight are the best medicine. Make sure you’re familiar with any overexertion hazards present in your home or office. Causes of overexertion to watch for include:
  • Heavy lifting
  • Bending at the waist (especially repeatedly, for a long time or with twisting)
  • Pushing/pulling
  • Long-term poor posture (while either sitting or standing)
  • Sitting while absorbing vibration through the body (as in truck driving)

These causes can be exacerbated by personal conditions like aging (with its loss of flexibility), poor physical condition and weight.

Once you’re aware of its causes, the key to preventing overexertion is to assess the situation and to work smart and comfortably, not hard. Ergonomic tips for avoiding overexertion include:

  • Use good lifting techniques
  • Avoid twisting or overextending your reach
  • Properly position chairs and workstations
  • Use devices like dollies, hand trucks, and pallet jacks
  • Know your physical limits
  • Manage personal factors by reducing stress, staying hydrated, keeping fit, and getting a good night’s sleep.
 More information is available from OSHA.

Monday, June 24, 2013

National Safety Month - Ergonomics

National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths. This weeks theme focuses on Ergonomics.

Ergonomics involves designing the job environment to fit the person and is
important to take into consideration at work, but also while working on projects
at home. It’s about learning how to work smarter and preventing conditions such as

Ergonomic conditions are disorders of the soft tissues, specifically of the muscles,
nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs.
These conditions are often caused by factors such as:
  • Overexertion while lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching
  • Repetitive motions
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing too long in one position
  • Using excessive force
  • Vibration
  • Resting on sharp corners or edges
  • Temperature extremes
Remember, these can occur from activities at work, such as working on an
assembly line, using heavy equipment or typing on a computer. They also can
result from activities at home like playing video games, helping someone move,
participating in hobbies such as sewing or through home repair projects.

Know the signs
Ergonomic conditions are best dealt with when they are caught early.
Common symptoms include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Tenderness
  • Clicking
  • Loss of grip strength
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to see your physician or
an occupational physician as soon as possible to determine the cause of your pain.

More information is available from OSHA.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Home Safety Month

In addition to be National Safety Month - June is Home Safety Month.

According to the CDC, more than 9 million children between birth and age 19 are seen for injuries each year in U.S. emergency departments, and injuries are the leading cause of death among children in this age group.

Home Safety Month is an ideal time to learn about the top causes of child injury and the steps you can take to prevent them.

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
  • Develop and practice a family fire escape plan.
  • Set your water heater's thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food unattended on the stove.

  • Install a four-sided isolation fence, with self-closing and self-latching gates, around backyard swimming pools.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and get recertified every two years.
  • Supervise young children at all times around bathtubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water.

  • Use playground equipment that is properly designed and maintained, and that has a soft landing surface material below.
  • Use home safety devices, such as guards on windows that are located above ground-level, stair gates, and guard rails.
  • Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, like stairs and playground equipment.

  • Store medicines and other toxic products such as cleaning solutions in locked or childproof cabinets.
  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone.
  • Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs.

For more information visit the CDC Web-site.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

National Safety Month - Emergency Preparedness Week

National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths. This weeks theme focuses on Emergency Preparedness.

Your home or work routines can be disrupted with little or no warning by natural disasters, fires or other catastrophic events. It's important that you and your family are prepared as help may not always be available. During large community wide emergencies, first responders – police, fire and emergency medical services may be overwhelmed with numerous calls for help or even physically unable to reach your location due to blocked roads.

Plan Ahead
Man-made and natural hazards occur routinely in the United States. On average, nearly 70 Federal disaster declarations are issued annually. It is important to identify and learn about the hazards most likely to occur in your community. Make a plan and share this information with your loved ones to prevent needless confusion and worry.
  • Determine the safest course of action for you and your family for each hazard. In some situations, it may be better to stay where you are, also called sheltering in place. This would be necessary during a tornado or hazardous chemical release, for example. Sometimes, leaving an area to escape danger or evacuation is the safer course of action in situations such as a fire or hurricane. 
  • Stay informed. Know how your community alerts citizens in an emergency. It may be an emergency broadcast on the radio or TV. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door. If available, sign up for your community's emergency text or email alert system.
  • Plan for your family’s comfort during disasters. Severe weather, earthquakes, flooding and other emergencies may cause utility outages. Prepare a kit that can meet your household’s basic needs (food, water, etc.) for 72 hours. Don't forget a kit for your car. 
  • Practice with your family what to do in an emergency. Conduct regular drills for the most common hazards such as a fire, tornado or earthquake.
  • Know how to keep in touch. Local telephone service may be interrupted. Sometimes, it is easier to send a text message or contact a family member in another state. Each family member should know how to make contact to advise that they are safe.
More information is available at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

National Safety Month - Employee Wellness

National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths.

This week motivates the public to make educated decisions in regards to their health and wellness. With busy schedules and lifestyles, keeping the mind, body and soul healthy can be a major challenge. These tips to healthy living can help you meet that challenge:
  1. Get Physical – Exercise not only helps you build muscle, lose weight and gain self-confidence, but it's vital in maintaining a healthy heart. And, don't think you need to spend hours at the gym to achieve a new physical you. From strength training and cardio workouts, to walking the dog or taking the stairs – anything that gets your heart pumping will benefit your health.
  2. Stress is a Mess – Over time, stress can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, depression and even death. Wellness experts at Moen suggest that when you start seeing red, instead think blue – as in blueberries. Antioxidants found in the tasty fruit fight stress hormones. Also, don't forget to breathe. Inhaling a deep breath for 5 seconds then exhaling for another 5 seconds can help clear your mind and enhance blood circulation.
  3. LOL, Laugh Out Loud – Build your immune system through laughter! Health-increasing hormones like endorphins are released into your body when you laugh. Additionally, laughter works your abdominal muscles.
  4. Eat Healthy – We know we should eat healthy, and with new online tools it’s a no-brainer. The new MyPyramid program (, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows you to choose the ideal proportions or foods and food groups to eat according to your body size and structure.
  5. Get Plenty of Zzzzzz’s – Between work, family and extra activities, it’s sometimes difficult to get the necessary 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Be sure to avoid caffeine or exercise right before bed. Instead, try reading a book or mediating.
  6. What’s Up, Doc? – Going to the doctor only when you’re sick isn’t going to cut it. For both your physical and mental well-being, it’s wise to have a routine annual physical examination. Especially if your family has a history of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, getting regular check-ups can help prevent or detect serious health issues.
  7. Yoga-tta Do It – Yoga, an ancient practice of stretching and breathing techniques, has become a popular exercise for both men and women. In addition to releasing positive energy, yoga prevents injuries, promotes flexibility and can add relief to a stressful day. In fact, according to the book, Real Men Do Yoga, PGA golfer David Duval practices yoga every day. So, if it’s good enough for professionals, it may be an excellent addition to your weekly stress-relief routine.
  8. The Right to Recreation – You schedule meetings and appointments each week, so why not schedule time for recreation? Be sure to set time each week for activities you enjoy. Whether it’s dinner with family and friends, or taking the phone off the hook and curling up with a good book, be sure to block out time on your calendar with activities that you enjoy and will rejuvenate you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sun Safety Week

June 2 - 8 is Sun Safety Week.

Did you know -Insect Repellants reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to 1/3. When using a combination, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

Other Sun Safety Tips Include:
  • Over exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can result in sunburns which increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Therefore, check your local UV Index which provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. The UV Index forecast is issued each afternoon by the National Weather Service and EPA.
  • Seek the shade whenever possible! The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so remember the shadow rule when in the sun: If your shadow is short it’s time to abort and seek the shade!.
  • Don’t be deceived by color or cost of Sunglasses! The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. While both plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, UV absorption is improved by adding certain chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or by applying special lens coatings. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels will say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same thing as 100% UV absorption. Look before you choose!
  • Sunburn doesn’t only happen during the summer! Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Protect yourself year round by using sunscreen with protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and an SPF of 15 or greater. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin whenever possible! 

Block the Sun, Not the Fun!

Monday, June 3, 2013

National Safety Month - Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths. This weeks theme focuses on Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls.

Did you know - Falls are by far the leading unintentional injury accounting for more than 8.7 million emergency room visits each year in the United States.

Most falls are preventable. Many people attribute falls to being clumsy or not paying
attention, but many risk factors exist. Risk factors include physical hazards in the
environment, age-related issues and health conditions. Reduce your risk and find fall hazards
in your workplace and home to prevent injuries and keep others safe round the clock.

Remove common fall hazards:
• Keep floors and stairs clean and clear of clutter
• Maintain good lighting both indoors and on outdoor walkways
• Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas
• Use non-skid throw rugs in potentially slippery places, like bathrooms
• Install handrails on stairways, including porches
• Use a sturdy step stool when climbing or reaching for high places
• Clean up all spills immediately
• Wear sensible footwear
• Never stand on a chair, table or surface on wheels
• Arrange furniture to provide open pathways to walk through
• Periodically, check the condition of outdoor walkways and steps and repair as necessary
• Remove fallen leaves or snow from outdoor walkways
• Be aware that alcohol or other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter
medicine, can affect your balance and increase risk of falling.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Weekend

Memorial weekend is the traditional start to summer.

As you are enjoying time outdoors with friends and family, please follow these practical safety tips from cooking, to swimming, to boating. We want everyone to have a very SAFE Memorial Day Weekend!

BBQ Safety
  • Never use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies
  • Grills must be at least 30 feet from any multifamily apartment dwelling.
  • When using a grill at your single-family home, homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible, including your house.
  • Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill.
  • Only use approved ignition fluids—never use gasoline to ignite a grill.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire.
  • Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order.
Water Safety
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Always watch your children; never leave them unattended.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
  • Have a phone close by at all times.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Keep emergency numbers and rescue equipment (lifesavers, poles, etc.) poolside.
  • Never leave a child unsupervised in or around a swimming pool, even for a moment.
  • Tie up long hair securely to prevent it from getting caught in the drain.
  • Never rely solely on a personal floatation device to protect a child.
  • Never dive in water less than nine feet deep.
  • Refrain from horseplay around the pool area.
  • If the pool area looks "too deep" for you, you're probably right.
  • Homeowners should install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
  •  Homeowners should outfit the pool with an alarmed device that will notify residents when someone enters the pool area.
  • Air-filled swimming aids such as "water wings" are not substitutes for U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices.
  • Always wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices.
  • Children and adults should never swim alone; always use the "buddy" system.
  • Never rely on lifeguards to supervise your children.
  • Never underestimate the depth of a body of water.
Boating Safety
  • Before you board any watercraft/boat, make sure, the pilot of that ship has completed a boating safety course approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Always wear a personal floatation device and make sure it's buckled.
  • Don't let children operate personal watercraft such as jet skis.
  • Never consume alcoholic beverages of any type while you are a pilot or passenger of a water vessel.
  • Refrain from swimming near a marina or dock connected to electrical service lines.
Travel Safety
  • Plan for extra time to get to your destination.
  • Get plenty of rest prior to driving on a long trip.
  • Check weather forecast for all major cities along your route.
  • Stay calm, road rage often leads to tragedy.
And remember to pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service, the real reason for the holiday. Please observe a minute of silence at 3:00 p.m., local time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

1st Annual Central Nebraska Kids Safety Day

It was great seeing so many of you at the 1st Annual Central Nebraska Kids Safety Day!

We cannot wait to begin planning to next years event!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Kids Safety Day

May 18 is Safe Kids Day. Join us at the Buffalo County Expo Center for Safety FUN!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

National Bike to School Day

Today is National Bike to School Day!

Biking is a great way to get to school, unfortunately, more kids ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Each year, 112 children die from bike-related injuries and more than 289,000 nonfatal bike injuries occur.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers these tips to stay safe when biking:
  • We have a simple saying: "Use your head, wear a helmet." It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
  • Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
  • Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
  • When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It's also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.
  • Actively supervise children until you're comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.
More tips are available at

Monday, May 6, 2013

Motorcycle Safety Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.

According to NHTSA - despite historical declines in automobile fatalities, motorcycle deaths have increased every year for the past 14 years except in 2009 when there was a 16 percent decline.

To prevent motorcyclist's deaths and injuries, NHTSA offers the following safety recommendations:
For motorcyclists:
  • Never ride impaired or distracted.
  • Obey traffic laws, wear DOT-compliant helmets and other protective gear.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright colors and using reflective tape.
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if you think no one will see it.
  • Combine hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to yourself.
  • Position yourself in the lane where you will be most visible to other drivers.
For more information, visit

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bicycle Safety

With warmer temperatures - kids and bikes can be seen in most neighborhoods.

Biking is fun, healthy, and a great way to get around and be independent. But your bike is a vehicle, not a toy. Some bike crashes can cause serious injuries and most are related to the behavior of you (the bicyclist) or the motorist. There are a number of things you can teach your children to prevent a crash, and protect your brain if a crash occurs.

Remind your rider to:
  • Always wear a Bike Helmet. Helmets protect your brain, and can save your life.
  • Make sure the bike fits the rider. When standing over your bike, there should be 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
  • Check Your Bike. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that the brakes work.
  • See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, make yourself visible. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding, to make yourselves the most visible to others. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
  • TWO HANDS! Ride with two hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn. Place books and other items in a bike carrier or backpack.
  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Look for hazards that may make you crash, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
  • Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. This includes eye contact with drivers, turn signals, pointing to road hazards for bicyclists behind you, and stating “passing on your left,” or “on your left.”
  • Avoid Riding at Night. It’s harder for other road users to see bicyclists at dusk, dawn or nighttime. Use reflectors on the front and rear of the bike. White lights and red rear reflectors or lights are required by law in all States.
Visit NHTSA Bicycles for more bicycle safety information.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Keeping Yourself Safe

As recent news events illustrate - you cannot remove all the safety hazards from your life, but you can reduce them.

You can avoid major hazards and prepare for emergencies by taking the following steps:
  • Keep emergency phone numbers by your telephones
  • Make a first aid kit for your home
  • Make a family emergency plan
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Keep guns unloaded and locked up. Lock up the ammunition separately.
  • Follow the directions carefully when using tools or equipment

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daydream Believer

According the John Lennon -"You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one."  According to recent research released by the Erie Insurance Group, daydreaming while driving may be is five times as dangerous than texting or talking on your phone.

 “The results were disturbing,” Erie Senior Vice President Doug Smith, told NBC News. According to Erie’s findings some 62 percent of all distracted driving accidents in the U.S. each year that resulted in fatalities were blamed on the seemingly innocuous act of being “lost in thought.” By comparison, only 12 percent of distracted driving fatalities resulted from driving while using mobile phones.

"Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely," Smith told NBC. "We looked at what law enforcement officers across the country reported when they filled out reports on fatal crashes and the results were disturbing. We hope the data will encourage people to avoid these high-risk behaviors that needlessly increase their risk of being involved in a fatal crash."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are you Using an Electronic Device while Driving?

According to the NHTSA  - data from the 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey on Driver Electronics Use indicates that at any given daylight moment across America, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

To prevent distracted driving, the Department of Transportation recommends that drivers:
  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ATV Safety Bulletin

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2011 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, Nebraska ranked 36th for reported ATV deaths from 1982-2007; with 86 total deaths or an average of 5 deaths per year. Since 2007, the state has averaged 7.5 deaths per year for 30 ATV related fatalities. This upward trend is concerning.

Through its ATV Safety Training Program, the Nebraska Safety Center hopes to reverse the upward trend in ATV fatalities through basic safety training for youth and adult riders. According to Dennis Holtz, CDL/AG Safety Pillar Manager, “As ATV use continues to rise in popularity both in the work place and as a recreation vehicle, safety education is important for all riders, especially youth in reducing fatalities.” Insurance costs may be less for riders that have taken an ATV safety course. Contact your insurance provider to see if this would apply to you.

The Nebraska Safety Center is committed to providing affordable ATV safety training for all ages. Classes are being scheduled for this summer and dates, times, and locations will be announced soon.

When riding an ATV remember these GOLDEN RULES:
  • Always wear protective gear – especially a helmet – when riding ATVs. Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of these injuries. Select a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.
  • Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger. ATVs are designed for interactive riding – drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
  • Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles also can be deadly. According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, since 2004, 26 fatalities have occurred on public roadways.
  • Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. Nationwide, children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding youth ATVs.
  • Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, two essential skills for safe ATV use.
  • Take a hands-on safety-training course. Formal training teaches drivers how to control ATVs in typical situations. Drivers with formal, hands-on ATV training have a lower injury risk than drivers with no formal training.
For more information on ATV Safety Courses offered by the Nebraska Safety Center, contact Dennis Holtz (308) 865-8562 or

Monday, April 8, 2013

Distracted Driving Awareness

Think sending or receiving a text while driving isn't a big deal? After all you only take your eyes off the road for few seconds.

Try this little test.
Walk across your office. How long did that take you? 4 maybe 5 seconds.
Now close your eyes and walk the same route. No problem right - you know know where everything is and can navigate your office blindfolded. Now walk in a busy public area for 4 - 5 seconds. Did you bump into furniture? Another person? Have a near miss? Did you feel uncomfortable?

When operating a motor vehicle at 55mph - you will drive the length of a football field in 4.6 seconds. Do you really think it is no big deal to drive down the highway, blind for the length of a football field?

Remember the fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Join the Nebraska Safety Center and make the commitment to drive phone-free today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Distracted Driving

How many times in the last week did you use your cell phone, eat a snack, change the radio station, or do any other task while you were driving? For most of us, driving isn’t our only focus when we’re behind the wheel.

“Distracted driving” was the 2009 word of the year according to Webster’s Dictionary. Unfortunately, Distracted Driving is no passing fad. Distracted driving has become a trend with deadly, real consequences. According to data collected by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, in 2011, 11% of all crashes involved a Distracted Driver.

The goal of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All” campaign is to help drivers understand that texting, cell phone use, and other distractions behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.You can find more information about the campaign at

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Alcohol Free Weekend: April 5-7, 2013

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has decalred the first weekend of Arpil (April 5-7, 2013) to be Alcohol-Free Weekend.

The goal of this weekend is to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, businesses and our communities.

During Alcohol-Free Weekend, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans to engage in three alcohol-free days. Any individual or family member who finds it difficult to get through the 72-hour experiment is urged to contact local NCADD Affiliates, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon Family Groups to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving is an epidemic on America's roadways. We see it every day: Drivers swerving in their lanes, stopping at green lights, running red ones, or narrowly missing a pedestrian because they have their eyes and minds on their phones instead of the road. Yet, people continue to assume that they can drive and text or talk at the same time.

What is Distracted Driving?  Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

Throughout the month of April we will highlight the facts about distracted driving and  how YOU can help end this epidemic.

Friday, March 29, 2013

National Severe Weather Awareness Week

National Severe Weather Awareness Week comes to an end - Did you know - 
  1. Tornadoes cause an average of 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries in the U.S. each year.
  2. Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  3. Straight-line winds are responsible for most thunderstorm wind damage.
  4. Lightning occurs in all thunderstorms; each year lightning strikes the United States 25 million times.
  5. Most lightning fatalities and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
  6. The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000°F--hotter than the surface of the sun!
  7. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet; a depth of two feet will cause most vehicles to float.
  8. Most flash flood fatalities occur at night and most victims are people who become trapped in automobiles.
  9. Hail causes more than $1 billion in damage to property and crops each year.
  10. Large hail stones fall at speeds faster than 100 mph.

Finally, according the the US Department of Transportation, on average, there are over 6,301,000 vehicle crashes each year.
  • 24% of these crashes—approximately 1,511,000—are weather-related. Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, and/or fog) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement). 
  • On average, 7,130 people are killed and over 629,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year.
    (Source: Fourteen-year averages from 1995 to 2008 analyzed by Noblis, based on NHTSA data)
 The vast majority of most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall:
  • 75% on wet pavement
  • 47% and forty-seven during rainfall 
A much smaller percentage of weather-related crashes occur during winter conditions:
  • 15 % of crashes happen during snow or sleet
  • 13% occur on icy pavement 
  • 11% of weather-related crashes take place on snowy or slushy pavement
  • 3% happen in the presence of fog
    (Source: Fourteen-year averages from 1995 to 2008 analyzed by Noblis, based on NHTSA data).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Statewide Tornado Drill

With springtime soon upon the region, it is never too early to start preparing for the severe weather season.  As long as no severe weather is occurring or expected, the statewide tornado drill will be conducted by the National Weather Service today - Wednesday, March 27 between 10:00 and 11:00 am CDT.

The purpose of the drill is to ensure that Nebraskans can adequately receive a tornado watch and warning, and to practice any actions which would be taken to protect your life in the event of a real tornado.  The test will be sent through all communication channels which are normally used for severe weather dissemination. 

This tornado drill presents an excellent opportunity for everyone at work, school, or home to practice their safety measures, and we hope all will participate.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Severe Weather Awareness Week

The calendar says it is Spring...which means it is time to start preparing for the severe weather season.

Are you prepared for severe weather to strike?
Do you now the difference between a severe weather watch and warning?
Do you know where to take shelter in the event of a tornado warning?

Severe Weather Awareness week, provides the opportunity to review our severe weather plan, brush upon severe weather terms and actually participate in the statewide Tornado Warning drill on Wednesday, March 27.

According to the National Weather Service, even with the drought like conditions in 2012, 44 tornadoes were reported, which is only 9 less than the 30 - year average of 53. Hail the size of softballs (Hastings - May 2 and Coleridge - May 27). Wind gusts over 80 mph (Blair - May 19) and even flash flooding were just some of the severe weather reports across the state in 2012.

No one knows for sure what kind of weather 2013 will bring, but if we don’t take this opportunity to prepare, even for just a few minutes, it could cost us all in the end.

Friday, March 15, 2013

National Poison Prevention Week

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.

The U.S. Congress established National Poison Prevention Week on September 16, 1961 (P.L. 87-319). Shortly thereafter, the Poison Prevention Week Council was organized to coordinate this annual event and promote poison prevention. 

National Poison Prevention Week, the third week in March each year, is a week nationally designated to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. However, every day people can and do prevent poisonings. We invite you to review the information on this site and become actively involved in helping ensure the safety of children and adults in your home and your community. 

For more information go to Poison

Spring Break - Traveling Abroad

Heading out of the US to a warmer climate?

You want your trip abroad to be a well-deserved vacation, not a vacation nightmare.

Check out the US Department of State's  Travel web-site.

Students traveling abroad can access the students Abroad website for information specific to students interested in traveling abroad.

Safety tips including how to Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with our embassies abroad:
And remember - ALL persons - including U.S. citizens - traveling by air from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, must have a passport to enter the United States, Even if the foreign country visited does not require a passport for entry.

Information about how to obtain a U.S. passport, and about traveling abroad, is available on the Department of State's website at  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break - Snow Safety

Heading to a snowy destination for Spring Break?

Sledding, Ice Skating, Snowboarding, Skiing and Snowmobiling - fun activities, if you don't get hurt.

Sledding is a great way to play in the snow. Make sure you know about the hill where they will be playing. Is it steep or covered with trees? If so, it's not a good location for sledding. Also, watch out for hills with rocks or those near busy roads.Sledding injuries can be very serious, resulting in broken bones and trauma to the abdomen, head, and neck. So it's wise to supervise your kids when they go sledding. Experts also suggest having kids wear helmets to help prevent head injuries.

Ice skating, a great cold-weather activities, but require safety smarts, too. Make sure you avoid injuries by wearing properly fitted skates whenever on the ice. Ice skaters should also consider wearing helmets. Rinks are always safer than ponds for skating. If you only have access to a pond, check the thickness of the ice to prevent falls through it and supervise your kids while they skate.

Before they hit the slopes with a snowboard or ski, make sure your kids are wearing helmets and protective goggles. Skiers' safety bindings (the attachment that secures the ski boot to the ski) should be checked yearly, and snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. All equipment should fit well.

Snowmobiling is more popular than ever, and the machines also go faster than ever. When snowmobiling, follow these safety steps:
  • Everyone should wear goggles and a helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles.
  • Kids younger than 16 should not operate snowmobiles, and those younger than 6 should not ride on them.
  • Travel in groups and make sure someone knows where the snowmobiles are going.
  • Know your machine and its capabilities.
  • Respect other snowmobiles and yield to those who have the right of way.
  • If it's necessary to snowmobile on frozen bodies of water, do so with extra caution.
  • When crossing a roadway, make sure the way is clear in both directions.
  • Operate at a reasonable and prudent speed for trail conditions.
And remember that alcohol and winter activities do not mix!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Break - Beach Safety Tips

It is beginning to feel like spring.  For those of us in Nebraska -Spring break is right around the corner..

It is a great time to get away from the cold, dark days of winter and have some fun in the sun. Keep yourself and your family safe on the beach with the the following tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Sun Safety for the Family
  • The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
  • The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Put on sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

 Beach Tips *
  • Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard
  • Never swim alone.
  • Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in one, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
  • Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
  • Watch out for traffic – some beaches allow cars.

    ©American Academy of Pediatrics 2/12
    *used with permission from Florida Travel and Tourism Bureau 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time: ruining our sleep schedules since 1918. Yes, it’s that dreary time of year again; the time we all lose an hour of sleep. Daylight Savings Time kicks in this weekend on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. So, despite “spring forward” sounding cheery, start preparing now for grumpy co-workers, bitter they’re stuck feeling fatigued. There’s nothing we love more than turning our clocks forward one full hour.

And believe it or not, the ancient tradition of day light savings time is actually dangerous. For those of you unfamiliar, during daylight saving time we move our clocks an hour ahead. As a result, the effects of daylight saving time is that we sleep an hour less. Researchers at the Sleep Program at Loyola University Health System said on average people sleep about 40 minutes less than normal. Other research shows there's a higher risk of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries on the first Monday of Daylight Saving Time.

Driving to work in the dark - You are now driving to work an hour earlier. Guess what? The earlier you drive, the darker it is outside. Drowsy driving in the morning is only exacerbated by a darker outside. Those of you who have gotten used to a brighter setting and commute need to be warned to be more alert on the road as you might find yourself fighting harder than usual to stay awake on your morning commute.

Caffeine-When you "spring Forward", do not drink any caffeine in excess of your morning cup. Caffeine is a stimulant many of us need to get through the day, however overuse can prevent you from following your sleep schedule. In addition, there’s a common misconception out there that alcohol helps you fall asleep. Now it may come off that way, but alcohol actually messes up your sleep-wave and leads to a lower quality of sleeping; therefore, you’re not going to be nearly as alert in the morning.

Finally, to get quality sleep all the time - "unplug" and hour to two hours before you go to sleep. Turn of the computer, the television, put your phone on the vibrate or turn the ringer low in you still have a land line. Unplug from the internet, dim the lights in your house and go to a quiet place, prepare yourself for sleep.

Other helpful tips for the Loyola researchers offer tips for helping make the time change:
  • In the days before the time change, go to bed and wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier each day.
  • Don't nap on the Saturday before the time change.
  • To help reset your internal body clock, expose yourself to sunlight in the morning as early as you can.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Some Sleep Drugs Can Impair Driving

Many people take sedatives to help them sleep. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reminding consumers that some drugs to treat insomnia could make them less able the next morning to perform activities for which they must be fully alert, including driving a car.

People with insomnia have trouble falling or staying asleep. Zolpidem, which belongs to a class of medications called sedative-hypnotics, is a common ingredient in widely prescribed sleep medications. Some sleep drugs contain an extended-release form of zolpidem that stays in the body longer than the regular form.

FDA is particularly concerned about extended-release forms of zolpidem. They are sold as generic drugs and under the brand name Ambien CR. New data show that the morning after use, many people who take products containing extended-release zolpidem have drug levels that are high enough to impair driving and other activities. FDA says that women are especially vulnerable because zolpidem is cleared from the body more slowly in women than in men.

FDA also found that some medicines containing the immediate-release form of zolpidem can impair driving and other activities the next morning. They are marketed as generic drugs and under the following brand names:
  • Ambien (oral tablet) 
  • Edluar (tablet placed under the tongue)
  • Zolpimist (oral spray)
Drowsiness is already listed as a side effect in the drug labels of insomnia drugs, along with warnings that patients may still feel drowsy the day after taking these products. However, people with high levels of zolpidem in their blood can be impaired even if they feel wide awake. "All insomnia drugs are potent medications, and they must be used carefully," says Russell Katz, M.D., director of FDA’s Division of Neurology Products.

The entire article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Monday, March 4, 2013

​National Sleep Awareness Week

Sleep is vital to our health and well-being. Yet millions of us are not getting enough sleep or are suffering from other sleep problems.

March 3-10 is the National Sleep Foundation’s annual week-long campaign to celebrate the health benefits of sleep.

National Sleep Foundation

Friday, March 1, 2013

Save Your Vision Month

March is Save Your Vision Month

The eyes are wonderful sensory organs. They help people learn about the world in which they live. Eyes see all sorts of things - big or small, near or far, smooth or textured, colors and dimensions. The eyes have many parts - all of which must function in order to see properly.

People who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time often encounter a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Headaches, neck strain, backaches and wrist pain are common, but, sadly, the most prevalent symptoms of prolonged computer use-eye strain, blurred vision and dry eye-are often overlooked. In fact, eye and vision problems are the most frequently reported health care problems among computer users.

For more information visit the American Optometric Association web site. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Share a cab. Share your food. Share joy! But don't share medications.

Sharing medications, even over-the-counter medications like aspirin,can be a prescription for disaster.
Side effects and drug interactions:
It has become common practice for family and friends to share medications. The medication prescribed for you or other family members may cause serious problems for others with bad side effects such as severe allergic reactions and unhealthy interactions with another prescription medication that is being taken. In fact, sharing one medication may decrease the effectiveness of another medication. The medication you share may work with other prescriptions to double the potency and cause a reaction similar to an overdose. Even herbal and dietary supplements can do this.
Not all symptoms are alike:
You may think the symptoms your friend is suffering are the same as yours, but he or she may have a very different medical problem. By sharing your medication, you may be delaying his or her trip to a doctor, and may even contribute to the worsening of a medical condition. Sharing medication with someone is like diagnosing and treating him or her. You wouldn’t expect your doctor to come to you workplace and do your job without the appropriate any training, so don't try to diagnose and treat your friends.
Unique responses:
We are unique and so are our reactions to medications. You have heard the statement,"I can take that medication and not be the least bit drowsy, but my sister falls asleep two minutes after swallowing it." Our body chemistry, composition, and how fast our liver works to clear medications out of our system are evidence of our differences, and those factors play a role in medication use. So just because a medication works for you does not mean it will work the same for someone else.
Medications, particularly those that have a narcotic component, may be habit-forming and may pose a severe risk to safe driving. Side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion have a direct impact on the focus,concentration, and stamina needed for for a variety of day-to-day tasks.

As we stated before, even though you may not have an adverse reaction to the medication, someone else may. Thus, sharing a medication with another person who may have a different reaction to the medication can cause serious public safety concerns. It's improper, unsafe, and potentially illegal to share any prescriptions with other people. Doctor prescribed medications are strong, even some antibiotics can cause serious reactions. Your good intentions may cause dangerous results to health and safety while on or off the road-especially if the person you share with is unaware of how the medication will affect them. In addition, sharing a controlled substance is illegal and could result in legal problems for you.
Photo Credit
Finally - if your medicine cabinet looks like this -  it may be a good idea to always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines to prevent a mix up.