Creating a Safer Home and Community for Your Family
(ARA) - One of the best parts of living in a community you love is knowing that it is a safe and healthy place for your family and neighbors. Having a safe neighborhood is important to all of us. But most communities are subject to some safety concerns, and even small hazards can become problems if they are not addressed.
The good news is there are many things you can do to make your home, neighborhood and community a safer place to live, work and play, according to Betsy Reithemeyer, director of the Wal-Mart/SAM’S CLUB Foundation, which is funding thousands of projects in local communities nationwide focused on improving safety. This year the Foundation is donating more than $5.1 million to local police, fire, rescue and EMS organizations through the company’s Safe Neighborhood Heroes grant.
“These organizations are our neighborhood heroes because of their tireless commitment to keep all of us safe,” says Reithemeyer. The grants will help fund local projects such as bullet-proof vests for police, K-9 dogs for sheriff’s departments, thermal imaging cameras for firefighters, children’s fire safety education programs and jaws-of-life for rescue/EMS teams.
Here are a few suggestions for safety projects you can do on your own.
* Check state child safety/booster seat laws to be sure your children are properly secured.
* Make sure you insist all passengers in your vehicle wear seat belts at all times.
* Create a family emergency preparedness plan so that every family member knows what to do in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tornado or flood.
* Make sure children wear helmets when riding bikes or skateboards.
* Make an identification card for your children, or stop by a Wal-Mart store on Saturday, Oct. 4, for the Wal-Mart Good Works Child I.D. Event where a special photo and identification card will be made free for all children who attend.
* Make sure your children understand fundamental rules for their own safety around strangers. While at the Child I.D. Event, pick up a free copy of “Knowing My 8 Rules for Safety,” a brochure written for kids and sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Wal-Mart.
* Put together a family disaster plan that includes a supply kit for your home with food, water, first aid supplies, tools and any special items such as baby formula or medications. Also plan two escape routes out of each room in your home and make sure each family member knows what to do in case of fire.
* Check smoke detectors once a month and change batteries when you set your clocks forward and back for Daylight Saving Time in April and October.
* Ask someone from your state department of health to speak to a civic or church group you are involved with about ways to keep your family and other members of your community, especially the elderly, safe from health concerns during times of extreme temperature.
* Make a list of emergency telephone numbers, including police, fire, hospital, your family physician, and 911 if your community has it; and keep the list where all family members and guests can easily find it.