It’s Cold Out There!

Many of us are waking up this morning to ice, snow and dangerous wind chills. Taking preventative steps is your best defense when dealing with extreme cold weather. Prepare your home and vehicles in advance of weather emergencies. Keep abreast of changing weather and road conditions. Practice safety during these times of bitter cold and you’ll reduce your risk for weather-related health problems or injury.

If you absolutely have to venture outdoors, make sure you are dressed for extreme cold weather conditions.

How to dress in the cold

Learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires immediate emergency medical assistance. Check on neighbors, family and friends who may be susceptible to the cold. Learn more: Continue reading

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7 Super Things Parents & Caregivers Can Do

Love your children1. Talk often with your children from the day they are born.

2. Hug them, hold them and respond to their needs and interests.

3. Listen carefully as your children communicate with you.

4. Read aloud to your children every day, even when they are babies. Play and sing with them often.

5. Say “yes” and “I love you” as much as you say “no” and “don’t.”

6. Ensure a safe, orderly and predictable environment, wherever they are.

7. Set limits on their behavior and discipline them calmly, not harshly.

Source: The NEBLINE Newsletter (Nov/Dec14 issue) Early Development Network Babies Can’t Wait 

Here’s to keeping families first … until next time,

Soni Cochran

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Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

If you live outside of Lancaster County, Nebraska, be sure to check out the university extension resources in your community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml

Your vehicle gets HOT! Leave them at home, not in the car!

Never leave children, the elderly, persons with disabilities or pets in a parked vehicle on hot days! What’s hot? …

Did you know that even on an 80 deg F day, temperatures in a vehicle can raise to unsafe levels in just a couple of minutes. In studies, cracking the windows makes very little difference.

From the National Weather Service:

A vehicle heats up quicker than you might imagine. A dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F. These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation (red in the images below) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.

Shown below are time lapse photos of thermometer readings in a car over a period of less than an hour. These photos demonstrate just how quickly a vehicle can become a death trap.


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Collect! Share! Practice! Family Communication Plans

In May 2004, the “Hallam Tornado” (video) took a devastating path through southeast Nebraska. The tornado was on the ground for more than 100 minutes, covered 52 miles and was at points 2.5 miles wide. During the storm, we hunkered down in the basement heeding the tornado sirens going off in Wilber. My kids weren’t home at the time so of course I worried … “what if” moments. Is everyone safe? How do we let family know we are OK? 

Don’t wait for an emergency to think about the “What if’s”. The time to prepare is before something happens. Whether you are a work, school or home, it’s important to have a Family Communication Plan in place in the event of any emergency! Every member of your household should know how to reach each other and where to meet in the event of an emergency.

Once you have your plan, practice – practice – practice!

America’s PrepareAthon! highlights ten actions you can take to help keep your family safe in the event of an emergency. The Family Communication Plan has a checklist and a form where you can input your important contacts, print and share with family.

“TEXT IS BEST! If you are using a mobile phone, a text message may get through when a phone call will not. This is because a text message requires far less bandwidth than a phone call. Text messages may also save and then send automatically as soon as capacity becomes available.”

If there is an emergency, your mobile phone can be an important asset: Continue reading

Fireworks Clean-up. Photo by A. Rhodes, LLCH

Start with a Boom, End with a Broom

“Fireworks in particular, are made from several potentially harmful substances, including gunpowder and various metallic compounds. These substances can pollute air, water and soil.”

Guest Contributor: Adam Rhoads, Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department Environmental Health Educator

The 4th of July — a time for parades, backyard barbecues and, of course, fireworks. With the focus on fun, an important part of the celebration often gets forgotten. Every year following Independence Day, Lincoln and other Lancaster County communities are littered with fireworks debris. This summer Keep Lincoln & Lancaster County Beautiful (KLLCB) encourages residents to be responsible community members with one simple request: Start with a boom, end with a broom.

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Barbecue Safety

Hot! Hot! Hot! It is barbecue season! Make it Tasty! Keep it Safe! This blog is from our colleagues in the Nebraska Extension Nutrition Education Program. The post also features a tasty fish taco recipe that I’ve made many times myself and a peach salsa recipe (need to try this!). Enjoy!!! Soni

Budget Friendly Blog

Written by Brianna Frickenstein, Extension Assistant

Spring is here and summer is close behind, which means it is time to start barbecuing! It is important to remember the food safety rules (clean, separate, cook and chill) along with other important safety measures while having a barbecue.

From Grocery Store to Home

When shopping, be sure to buy perishable foods last to reduce the time they sit at room temperature. Separate raw meat and poultry from other foods in your shopping cart, and put those foods into a plastic bag to reduce the risk of meat juices dripping onto your other groceries causing cross-contamination. When the cashier is bagging the groceries, make sure your raw meat and poultry are in a separate bag.

Travel home soon after grocery shopping and store perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible. If you are unable to get those groceries refrigerated…

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Chemical Hazards in Your Home

Guest Contributor: Adam Rhoads, Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department Environmental Health Educator

Safe Pesticide Use and Disposal
Now is a great time of year to clean out unwanted and potentially hazardous chemicals from your home. Everyday household products, from bathroom cleaners to oil-based paint, can be dangerous to your health and the environment. But did you know some products pose a greater risk than others?

Pesticides: Pesticides are chemicals that discourage or kill pests such as insects and rodents. While effective, they can be toxic to humans. Consider the alternatives: Continue reading