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Hints and Tips

Enjoy a Secure Holiday Season (article from Novi Today magazine)


Fireworks
Kids
Cooking Hints and Tips
Dryer Fires
EMS Hints and Tips

 

Fireworks

FireworksThe Novi Fire Department recommends community members enjoy fireworks at a professional event. If purchasing consumer fireworks for private use, the following safety precautions should be considered:

  • Before using any legal fireworks, read and follow all warning instructions printed on the label.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Sparklers burn at temperatures of approximately 1,800 degrees; hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • After fireworks fully complete their functioning, place the device in a bucket of water and leave it overnight to prevent a trash fire.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never use, ignite, or discharge any fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

Kids

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) offers important information and fun activities for kids of all ages!

Cooking Hints and Tips

Cooking Safety: Talking Points
Cooking Safety: Checklist
Cooking Fire Facts & Figures

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Dryer Fires

An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

Facts and figures

  • Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January at 11%.
  • Failure to clean (34%) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Dust, fiber, and lint (28%) and clothing not on a person (27%) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • 54% of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.
  • The risk of fire is roughly equal for gas-fueled clothes dryers and electric-powered clothes dryers.

Dryer Safety Tips

  • Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter. Clean lint filters before or after each use and remove accumulated lint from around the drum.
  • Make sure that the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs as overloaded electrical outlets can result in blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.
  • Be sure to remove all foreign items from clothing pockets, especially lighters.
  • Keep the dryer area clear of combustibles (i.e., boxes or clothing).
  • Dryers should be installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Have gas-powered dryers inspected by a professional regularly to ensure that the gas line and connection are intact.

Source: United States Fire Administration National Fire Data Center Volume 13, Issue 7 / August 2012, Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008–2010).

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EMS Hints and Tips

Bleeding Emergencies
Burns and Scalds
CPR
Head & Facial Injuries
Infectious Diseases

Bleeding Emergencies

Serious injuries don't always bleed heavily, and some relatively minor injuries can bleed profusely. Large scrapes and deep scratches can seem devastating when they really are not, but puncture wounds (which are often small and bleed very little) can be dangerous because of their high susceptibility to infection.

For the most part, wounds that damage only the surface layers of the skin can be treated at home. If the wound is very deep, you might be able to control the bleeding, but might need stitches. And sometimes, the bleeding cannot be controlled and emergency medical care is required immediately.    

As a general rule, any deep penetrating wound anywhere on the torso should be considered a serious emergency, especially wounds to the abdomen, where many vital organs are located. People who take blood-thinning medication or who have bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, may bleed excessively and quickly because their blood cannot clot properly, so even a minor wound can be dangerous.

In all traumatic injuries with blood loss, shock is the biggest concern. Shock is a life-threatening situation that occurs when there is inadequate blood flow through the body. Shock can occur for several reasons including heart problems, severe allergic reactions, dehydration and blood loss. Remember that blood loss can be internal, which may be very difficult to detect. Be alert for the following symptoms of shock:

  • Anxiety, agitation or confusion
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin or even profuse sweating
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness

Most common injuries will not lead to shock and can be handled with some basic first-aid skills, a good first-aid kit and a level head. If the injury does not seem severe, here are some tips for handling a bleeding wound:

  • Don’t panic. It’s probably not as bad as it looks. Direct pressure will stop most external bleeding. Use a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or even a piece of clothing. If nothing else is available, use your hand. Maintain pressure until the bleeding stops. Direct pressure is the simplest and most effective first step, and if you do it right, there will be a lot less blood to look at!
  • If bleeding continues and seeps through the material being held on the wound, do not remove it. Place another cloth over the first one.
  • Do not peek to see if the bleeding has stopped. The less a wound is disturbed, the more likely it is that you'll be able to control the bleeding. 
  • If the wound is superficial, wash it with soap and warm water, pat dry and cover with a sterile bandage.
  • DO NOT apply a tourniquet to control bleeding, except as a last resort. A tourniquet should be used only in a life-threatening situation and should be applied by an experienced person.
  • DO NOT probe a wound or pull out any embedded object from a wound.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if:

  • The bleeding is severe and can’t be stopped. Take steps to prevent shock until help arrives. Immobilize the injured body part. Lay the victim flat, raise the feet about 12 inches unless there has been a head, neck, back, or leg injury or if the position makes the victim uncomfortable.
  • An object is impaled.
  • Internal bleeding or shock is suspected.
  • Signs of infection develop including increased pain, redness, swelling, discharge, fever, or red streaks spreading from the site toward the heart.
  • The wound might need stitches, or if embedded gravel or dirt cannot be removed easily with gentle cleaning.
  • If the injury involves an animal or human bite. 
  • If you are not up-to-date on tetanus immunization (within 5-10 years).

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Burns & Scalds

There will always be some accidents that can’t possibly be predicted, but for the most part, minor burns and scalds are the result of actions or behaviors that were unsafe from the beginning.

Burn injuries are classified according to how seriously the skin and tissue has been damaged. There are three major categories:

  • First Degree burns are considered minor and involve only the outside layer of skin. The skin turns red, but there are no blisters. These burns are painful but they should heal within two to five days and there should be no scarring.
  • Second Degree burns are also generally considered minor unless they cover a large area of the body. They are characterized by redness, swelling and blistering. The outside layer of the skin is destroyed and the inside layer is damaged. These burns are very painful and usually heal within one to two weeks. Scarring is possible.
  • Third Degree burns destroy the entire depth of the skin and can even damage underlying tissues, organs or bones. The skin may appear blackened, charred or white and because of nerve damage, there is often little or no pain.

Minor First Degree and Second Degree burns can be treated by submerging the injury in cool water (not ice water) for at least five minutes. A dry, sterile bandage may be placed over the burn for protection. Second Degree burns that cover a large area or occur on the face, groin, hands or feet are considered serious and require medical attention.
Third degree burns—no matter how small—are especially susceptible to infection and must always be treated as serious life-threatening emergencies. Immediate medical care is required.

DO NOT apply ice, grease, butter or ointments to any burn and don’t pop any blisters. Never attempt to pull off any clothing or other material that is stuck on a burn.   
Aside from never trying to iron anything while you are wearing it, you can also minimize the possibility of incurring a burn or scald injury by taking some basic safety precautions and avoiding these common burn hazards:

  • Never leave children unattended around hot appliances such as irons, hair styling irons, coffee makers, stoves and ovens.
  • Make sure that the handles of pots and pans on the stove are turned away from the front so children can’t pull them down.
  • When removing lids from hot pots and pans, tip open the side away from you first to safely let out hot steam.
  • When handling hot liquids, take care to keep them out of the reach of children and always use a top when drinking hot beverages in the car.
  • Set the water temperature on your water heater no higher than 120°F. Always test water temperature before putting babies or small children in the bath.

If you are ever in doubt about the severity of a burn, or you develop signs of infection such as fever or redness and swelling around the injury, seek medical attention right away. 

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CPR

CPR stands for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and whether you prefer the three-letter term or the full word version, it means the same thing: a chance for survival.

According the American Heart Association (AHA), every year in the United States, cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac arrest claim the lives of 335,000 Americans before they reach a hospital. The AHA also says:

  • Almost 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home and are witnessed by a family member.
  • Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim's chance of survival by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain until more advanced care can be given.
  • If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall about 10 percent for every minute of delay until medical help arrives.
  • Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not immediate or inevitable. If more people knew CPR, many more lives could be saved.

The fact is that CPR saves lives, but only if there is someone present who knows how to perform it. In respiratory or cardiac arrest, every second counts.

There are some people who should learn CPR, no matter what. Caretakers of children or the elderly have a responsibility to know how to react when faced with respiratory and cardiac emergencies. Even teenagers who baby-sit regularly should attend a Safe Sitter course that includes CPR.

Really, all capable adults should take a CPR course at least once in their lifetime. There are several organizations that regularly offer CPR instruction including the Novi Fire Department.

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Head & Facial Injuries

For the first year after a toddler begins walking on his own, it will seem like you can’t get a single picture of him without some sort of bump, scrape or bruise on his face—sometimes all three! And while they will fall less frequently as they get older, they will continue to fall now and then throughout childhood.

Most childhood falls will result in minor injuries that can be fully cured with hugs, kisses and band-aids. But head injuries can be tricky, especially in young children who are unable to express themselves. It is unreasonable to run to the emergency room every time a child bumps his head, but you should look out for certain signs and symptoms of serious injury anytime a child injures his head or face, so you can determine whether he needs medical attention.

First of all, don’t let the sight of blood cloud your judgment. The head and face are home to tons of blood vessels located close to the skin surface. Any small cut or scratch on the head or face will bleed more than other areas of the body. An "open" head injury is often less serious than a "closed" head injury, but the presence of blood will create panic. Just remember that some of the most dangerous injuries to the head never break skin.

For an "open" head injury, remain calm (this will go a long way toward calming your child, too) and apply direct pressure to control the bleeding. Once the bleeding has slowed, look at the injury to determine the size and depth of the cut or scratch. In most cases, the pressure will do the trick and the injury will be less serious than all that blood might have suggested. But if it looks very deep or you can’t stop the bleeding, contact your doctor or plan for a trip to the emergency room for some stitches.

With anything more than a minor bump to the head, you should always contact your child’s pediatrician as a precaution. The doctor will likely ask you if the child lost consciousness. If he did not, you will probably be instructed to apply a cold compress to help the swelling go down. You can expect some crying from pain and fright, but the child should remain alert and responsive. Continue to monitor the child very closely for the development of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Constant headache that continues to get worse
  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme irritability, combativeness or other abnormal behavior
  • Dizziness that does not go away, unusual clumsiness or difficulty walking
  • Difficulty staying awake or waking up
  • Vomiting
  • Unequal size of pupils (the dark center part of the eyes)
  • Oozing blood or watery fluid from the ears or nose
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms anytime after the injury, call your pediatrician and/or 911 right away. 

Remember that if your child is under the age of 2, has a significant developmental delay or a pre-existing neurological condition, it will be more difficult to recognize some of these signs and symptoms so you will have to be much more cautious.

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Infectious Diseases

Flu Season
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year in the U.S. an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu, and nearly 36,000 people die from flu or flu-related complications. Flu complications such as pneumonia and dehydration can be severe and the flu can also seriously worsen chronic medical conditions like asthma and diabetes.

Although most healthy people can recover from the common seasonal flu, there are some people at higher risk for complications like young children, the elderly, women who will be pregnant during flu season and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Flu season usually runs from November through April or May, with a significant peak between December and March. During this time, flu viruses spread easily from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. People can also become infected by touching objects with flu viruses on them and then touching their mouth or nose. It is not easy to fend off the flu during flu season, but here are some tips that might help:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and if you are sick, stay away from others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue whenever you sneeze or cough, even when nobody else is in the room. This will help minimize the spread onto surrounding objects where people can come in contact with the virus.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Get children in the habit of washing hands too.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth which are the main routes of absorption for viruses.

The CDC states that the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination every fall. Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated, but people at high risk for flu complications and people who live with or care for them, should especially get the vaccine. Here is some more information about the flu vaccine:

  • October is the recommended month to get the flu vaccine, but you can still get it later in the season. Just remember that it will take a couple of weeks for the protection to build up in your body.
  • The vaccination will only last through one season because the vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against the most prevalent strains of virus for the upcoming season.
  • Even with the vaccination, you can still get the flu. Protection depends on your age and health status, and also the similarity between the virus strains in the vaccine versus the viruses in circulation.
  • The flu vaccine does not protect against the common cold and other bacterial infections which can mimic flu symptoms.
  • Certain people should NOT take the flu vaccine without consulting a doctor first. These include people with an allergy to chicken eggs, people who have previously had a bad reaction to a flu vaccine and infants under 6 months old. Anyone with a moderate to severe illness with fever should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.  Always consult with your primary physician.


 

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