Dr. Vicki: Be Safe Out There

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

by Victoria Rhoades, ND, with thanks to Melanie at Shoreline Fire

This is the time of year when we are all celebrating, but for some, it's a time of tragedy. The news has had many stories of car crashes and house fires, resulting in injuries, loss of property, and even fatalities. To keep your holiday happy, remember the following:

1. Avoid drinking and driving. A cab is way cheaper than a DUI ticket, and the police are really out in force this year. Better yet, arrange in advance to celebrate at a friends' house and to spend the night. Or if you go out with a group, one of you can surely agree to be a designated driver for the rest.

2. For all designated drivers, bravo! You are helping to keep everyone safer. Plus, you won't have a hangover the next day. And it can be really entertaining to see what your friends look like drunk. It's especially fun when they are assuring you that they feel no effects and are not impaired in any way. Maybe you'd better collect the car keys before the party starts.

3. Do not ever smoke in bed. Or put clothing, bedding, decorative pillows, kids' stuffed toys or anything flammable or that can burn, where it can cover a wall heater or space heater. Fires happen, and a heater can be turned on, but not running at the moment that you look at it.

4. Speaking of heaters, if the power goes out, never EVER use a propane heater, hibachi, or BBQ inside the house. Seriously, carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you, plus there is a fire hazard.

5. Don't walk out of the room and leave candles burning. Nothing says 911 like a puddle of burning wax.

6. Do not discharge firearms in celebration. It's illegal to discharge firearms within city limits. And the bullets don't just go into the air and stay there - they land somewhere.

7. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. They are illegal because even if you don't blow your fingers off, you may start a fire, not to mention scaring the dogs and making the neighbors think they are hearing gunfire. Make sure your teenagers don't have plans involving fireworks.

8. If you see unsafe driving, smoke or flames where there should be none, or anyone discharging firearms or fireworks, please call 911 - trained professionals are paid by you and me to deal with these things. Do not follow an unsafe driver, but do call in the license plate, car description, location and heading - and then stay out of their way.

9. Does everyone have the non-emergency numbers handy? It's who you call if you don't have a 911 emergency situation, but you want to report something. Go to King County's Links by Zip, enter your zip code, and print out and post the list of numbers. Everything from non-emergency police numbers, to the crisis clinic. 

In keeping with my best wishes, please have a very happy, but SAFE New Year! I will be staying in and toasting NYE with my lovely husband - I may have a neighbor or three over, and walking will be our transportation to our own homes afterwards.

Victoria Rhoades, ND practices in Lake Forest Park.

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