Break Point!

Volume 2, Issue 10 View the Archives October, 1999
Break Point Gets Fired Up For Fire Safety
Planning Your Great Escape!
Monthly Smoke Detector Checks Save Lives!
React Fast to Fires, What to do When Fire Strikes
Keep the Fright from Your Halloween Night
Halloween is not Just for Kids
Next Month in Injury Prevention

Break Point Gets Fired Up For Fire Safety

Kathy O'Day
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Injury Prevention Program

Teamwork is the theme this year for Fire Prevention Week (October 3-9). Various departments are working closely together to increase awareness about fire safety and it's effects on the community. Prevention is the best way to keep your home safe from fires.

Nearly 4000 Americans die each year in residential fires. Most of these deaths are not from heat or flames but from inhaling smoke and toxic fumes. During the week of October 3-9, Loyola will have handouts and posters placed throughout the campus and the satellite centers. Please be sure to read the posters and handouts to help keep your family safe from fires.

October is also Halloween season. Safety concerns are heightened during this holiday due to the increased number of children out for trick-or-treating. This months issue also takes a look at at how to avoid Halloween injury scares.

Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program. Please call us at (708) 327-2455 or email to: Kathy O'Day with any comments or questions.




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Planning Your Great Escape!

There are only a few more devastating events than a fire. Fires can kill, destroy homes, and leave survivors with painful memories and disfiguring injuries.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that approximately 80 percent of all fire deaths in the U.S. occur in the home. Many lives can be saved if people react immediately when a fire alarm sounds. There is no time to plan an escape once a fire has started. Each home should have a detailed and rehearsed escape plan.

In a single family home, if a smoke detector is triggered, leave immediately- do not investigate. Here are some tips to help plan your "great escape":

  • Know two ways out of the house. Plan two escape routes for each room of the house.
  • Know how to unlock doors and windows. Windows should open easily and fully, to allow escape.
  • If you live in an apartment building, know all building exits. You should be aware of doorways between your apartment and the two nearest exits.
  • Develop a home escape plan with your family: Making a game out of it can be fun as well as educational.
  • Practice your escape plan with an exit drill every 6 months.
  • Pick a meeting place outside your home where everyone can gather once they've left the building.
  • Keep exit paths clear of furniture and clutter.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly visible from the street.
  • Make special plans for anyone who may need assistance escaping.



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Monthly Smoke Detector Checks Save Lives!

Halloween is a big night of the year for children and is growing more popular with adults. Halloween brings excitement to children's lives. There is lots and lots of candy, jack-o-lanterns, scary ghosts, goblins and costumes and a chance for a child to pretend for the night. Halloween can also be one of the most dangerous nights of the year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign in Washington, D.C.

Child pedestrians are four times more likely to be killed on Halloween evening than at any other time of the year. There is also an increased risk of injuries on Halloween night. With all the excitement of Halloween, it is important to remind your trick-or-treaters to follow some of the basic safety rules:

  • Children should carry a flashlight when they go out after dark.
  • Stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street and face traffic.
  • Stay with houses that you know. Go to houses that are well lit.
  • Do not enter any house where you are not familiar with the owner.
  • Make sure costumes fit. The costume should not drag on the ground and that their shoes fit well to avoid tripping
  • Children should avoid wearing masks, which can limit eyesight and restrict breathing.
  • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
  • Younger children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Older children should stay on the designated trick-or-treat route established by their parents.
  • Bring all candy home to be inspected by a parent. Do not eat any candy that does not have a wrapper.
  • Costumes should be made of flame resistant material.



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React Fast to Fires, What to do When Fire Strikes

Confusion, fear and anxiety are common feelings when the smoke detector sounds and awakens you from sleep. It is imperative that you remain calm. Close all doors between you and the smoke. Put your escape plan into effect. Roughly 11 people per day, die in house fires in the U.S. Many lives can be saved if people remain calm and act fast.

When the smoke detector sounds you should:

    Alert the other occupants of the home by shouting "Fire! Everyone outside!" and leave the home immediately.
  • Test doors with your hand before opening them; if the door is warm, use an alternate escape route.
  • Use windows as alternate exits.
  • If you must exit through smoke, crawl low, keeping your head 12-24 inches above the floor, where the air is filled with less smoke.
  • Get out and stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor's phone. Do not go back into the home for any reason.
  • If you are trapped, stuff rags towels or clothing in the cracks of the doors to keep the smoke out. Wait at a window; signal the fire fighters by waving a light colored cloth or flashlight and wait to be rescued.
  • If your clothing catches fire, stop where you are; drop gently to the floor or ground, cover your face with your hands to protect your face from flames, and roll over and over to smother the flames. If you cannot drop to the floor, smother the flames with a blanket or towel.
  • Teach children how to use the 911 emergency number, they should able to tell their name address and phone number in an emergency.
  • Teach children not to hide in closets or under beds during a fire. Make sure they know the designated routes out of the house.



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Keep the Fright from Your Halloween Night

Halloween is a big night of the year for children and is growing more popular with adults. Halloween brings excitement to children's lives. There is lots and lots of candy, jack-o-lanterns, scary ghosts, goblins and costumes and a chance for a child to pretend for the night. Halloween can also be one of the most dangerous nights of the year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign in Washington, D.C.

Child pedestrians are four times more likely to be killed on Halloween evening than at any other time of the year. There is also an increased risk of injuries on Halloween night. With all the excitement of Halloween, it is important to remind your trick-or-treaters to follow some of the basic safety rules:

  • Children should carry a flashlight when they go out after dark.
  • Stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street and face traffic.
  • Stay with houses that you know. Go to houses that are well lit.
  • Do not enter any house where you are not familiar with the owner.
  • Make sure costumes fit. The costume should not drag on the ground and that their shoes fit well to avoid tripping
  • Children should avoid wearing masks, which can limit eyesight and restrict breathing.
  • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
  • Younger children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Older children should stay on the designated trick-or-treat route established by their parents.
  • Bring all candy home to be inspected by a parent. Do not eat any candy that does not have a wrapper.
  • Costumes should be made of flame resistant material.



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Halloween is not Just for Kids

More and more adults are attending Halloween parties than ever before. Halloween is becoming one of the biggest nights out for adults too. With parties there is drinking and the increased risk for deaths and injuries.

Many people have not mastered the art of drinking responsibly. Even though the laws are becoming tougher against drunk driving, there are still thousands of deaths each year due to crashes caused by driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). When planning your night out, remember these safety tips to keep you and those around you safe:

  • Do not drink and drive. Have a designated driver. Make sure the designated driver does not drink. If you are drunk, surrender your keys to a sober friend or call a cab.
  • When driving to your party, watch for children dashing out between parked cars. Look out for children in dark clothing or costumes.
  • Avoid alcohol if you are supervising children. If children are attending a party with you where alcohol will be served be sure to keep alcohol out of the reach of children. Supervise them closely.
  • Do not let friends drive drunk. Have them stay overnight or call a cab. Walk them home even if it is a short distance away.
  • As always, whether or not you are driving, use and dispense alcohol responsibly and sensibly at parties and social gatherings. It is your best bet for avoiding injury.



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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention

  • Fall Safety Awareness
  • Safe Christmas Gift Ideas

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