I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable winter. As a Police Officer, I have often been called to scenes where people have been seriously injured or died. In the investigations that followed, I looked for the causes of the incidents and often found that these deaths and injuries could have been prevented with the proper use of safety equipment.
Wearing a seat belt is the best protection in any automobile accident. Failure to wear a seat belt contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior, with 63% of those killed not wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on America’s roadways.
Data suggests that education alone is not doing the job with young people, especially males aged 16 to 25 (the age group least likely to buckle up). They simply do not believe they will be injured or killed, and yet they are the nation’s highest-risk drivers, with more drunk driving, speeding, and crashes. Education and fear of injury or death are not strong enough to motivate this tough-to-reach group. Law enforcement knows it takes stronger seat belt laws and high visibility enforcement campaigns to get them to buckle up.
No matter how you slice it, almost any boating accident imaginable has a predictable outcome – you in the water fighting for your life. Unless you are wearing a life jacket, your survival chances are marginal. The best case scenario would be falling overboard without sustaining an injury, and being quickly recovered by a person remaining in the boat, or by a nearby boater. In almost every scenario, surviving a boating accident that results in being ejected from the boat without a life jacket depends upon a quick rescue. Each year approximately 700 recreational boaters die, when nine of ten drowning victims may have survived if they had been wearing a life jacket.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,810 motorcycle occupants were killed on our nation’s roads last year, a 127% increase from 2000. Motorcycles helmets have been shown to save the lives of motorcyclists and prevent serious brain injuries. Twenty states require helmet use by all motorcycle drivers and their passengers; this includes Massachusetts. All-rider helmet laws are effective in increasing motorcycle helmet use, thereby saving lives and reducing serious injuries.
When a fire strikes, you may have less than one minute to safely get out of the building. Having working smoke alarms in your home can double your chances of survival if a fire occurs. Home fire deaths have been cut in half since the early 1970’s when smoke alarms were first marketed; 50%of the fire deaths that occur each year in the U.S. take place in the 5% of homes without smoke alarms. Smoke alarms warn residents in the event of a fire. They give you time to leave the building before your escape route is blocked by deadly smoke, heat and toxic gases. Remember to check these alarms regularly, changing the batteries as often as needed.
These safety tips may save your life or the life of a loved one. I hope you have a safe and happy summer, and remember a little caution and preventative planning can go a long way to ensure your well-being.