Here is a new year tip I got from the Malahat Volunteer Fire Department, near where I live.
I couldn't write it better than Rob Patterson, Fire Chief of Malahat Fire & Rescue, who kindly gave us permission to publish it.
Welcome to 2014!
Brand New Year! Same old bad habits?
Is this the year that we will really effect a change in our way of thinking and act safely, or are we all going to fall into the same old rut? Personally, I have no plan to get hurt or be part of another responder's "day". It's a known fact that we spend more time planning a vacation or weekend away than we do for day to day living. Don't let winter get you down... break old winter habits... be positive in all that you do.
Are you prepared for the week ahead? Do you have an emergency kit at home? In your car/truck? At work? If you are stuck in traffic do you have enough fuel, a snack, water, a charged cell phone, a blanket? Do friends and family know where you are? At home do you have spare gas for your generator, flashlights, batteries, a good supply of dry firewood?
Rely more upon yourself and be "that person who cares enough to check on others". The elderly and infirm just might need a hand and are not used to asking for help. Don't wait for them to ask, it may be too late. You never know how much just a simple act can affect someone. By getting out and checking on your neighbors you can do some real good. Salt/Sand their drive or walk, help to clear a roof or driveway of snow.
Have your chimney cleaned regularly if you burn a lot of wood for heat. Don't burn "green" wood, only seasoned dry wood. Check and test your smoke alarm regularly.
If you need to call for emergency services, please make it easy for them to find you (Address sign), flash driveway/house lights, meet us at the driveway if possible. If someone is hurt please don't move them unless they are in imminent danger. Stay calm, cover with blanket and reassure them. We will be there! Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time. Keep all important medical forms close at hand and easily found as it can be difficult to remember when a loved one is suddenly ill.
Be prepared! Be part of the solution not part of the problem. Fail to plan. Plan to fail!
From all of the team here at Malahat Fire & Rescue we wish all of you a prosperous and safe new year.
) (About Dave