Take action against injuries

Published 2:46 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Preventable injuries rank among the top 10 causes of death for people of all ages—yet simple steps can make homes, schools and workplaces safer and healthier, says the area’s top public health official.

“We are focusing on raising awareness of injury and violence prevention through our month-long campaign ‘Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-Free,’” said Southwest Health District Health Director Jacqueline Grant.

“Our message during the first week of April is: Injury Prevention Starts at Home,” she said.

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“Each year, nearly 150,000 Americans die from injuries, and another 30 million are hurt seriously enough to go to the emergency room.”

But just as it only takes a moment for an injury to occur, it only takes a moment to prevent one, Grant said.

“You can protect yourself, your family and your community by taking action to make your home a safer place,” she said.

Here are a few examples.

• Check your home for potential hazards such as poor lighting and uneven surfaces to prevent falls.

• Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

• Make sure electrical outlets are covered and inaccessible to small children.

• Establish an emergency evacuation plan.

• Supervise young children when they are near cooking surfaces and never leave food unattended on the stove.

• Secure home swimming pools behind gated fences.

• Store cleaning supplies and medicines out of reach of children in locked cabinets.

• Program or post emergency numbers, such as the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222).

• Check your hot water heater routinely to ensure the thermostat is 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid burns.

“It’s not something we usually think about, but the potential for injury is all around us. The important point is that injuries aren’t ‘accidents,’ and with simple steps we can stop them before they happen,” Grant said.

For more information about injury prevention, visit www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org or www.nphw.org.