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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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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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

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Tornado Damage - Hallam, Nebraska May 2004

Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 21-25. We’ve all seen our share of “weather aware” conditions around the nation this week! On Wednesday, Nebraska had heavy snows, rain, hail, lightning and strong wind. There were blizzard warnings and tornado watches on the same day. As unpredictible as the weather can be, you aren’t completely powerless if you are prepared.
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Is My Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

When are your children ready to stay home aloneAs parents, we’re legally responsible for our children’s welfare until they reach adulthood. Under some circumstances, a parent can be charged with neglect for leaving children unattended or left with under-aged children, including siblings. Check your state law!

Unfortunately, there’s no magical age when our kids develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. However, there are some signs that can help you decide if your child is ready or not.

  • …indicates a willingness to stay home alone.
  • …shows signs he or she can be responsible.
  • …is aware of the needs of others.
  • …is able to get ready for school on time.
  • …can solve problems on his or her own.
  • …completes homework and household chores with minimal supervision.
  • …remembers to tell you where they are going and tells you when they arrive home.

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