Kid Safety at the Bus Stop (Part II)

The best thing you can do as a driver is to pay attention to the bus stops. 

For Drivers (Continued)

Watch for Kids Approaching or Leaving: Children are unpredictable. They frequently jump out into traffic when they are in a hurry to catch the bus. Also, horseplay at the bus stop can be a hazard as kids can sometimes end up in the street. Be watchful of children walking on sidewalks and crossing the street close to bus stops and be really cautious when they are nearby.

Avoid Distractions: When kids are near or at a bus stop, drivers need to use their whole peripheral vision to remain focused on what is happening around them. Avoid distractions like texting and be alert. It is not worth risking a life to read an email. 

Tips for Children

Listen to the driver. Remind your children to pay attention to any directions that come from the driver and bus monitor. These two individuals are great resources for children and trained to offer the safest trip possible. Introduce your new rider to the driver and supervise so he can learn their names and will feel comfortable talking with them if questions or issues come up. 

Cross with caution. Explain to your kids that he shouldn’t walk behind the bus. If they need to cross the street, they should do so in front of it. It’s critical to make eye contact with the bus driver so the driver knows they are crossing. Be sure your child walks on the sidewalk or along the side of the street to a spot at least five big steps in front of the bus before crossing.

Watch the wheels. Safercar.gov warns that if a kid drops something after getting off the bus and it rolls beneath the wheels, he or she should tell the driver instead of trying to get it. 

 

Kid Safety at the Bus Stop (Part I)

Bus stops can be dangerous but these tips will help keep your child safe. 

Kids who are walking to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, and getting on and off the bus are in danger of different types of hazards, like slip and fall accidents, vehicles driving nearby, and numerous others. We all have to do our part to make sure that kids can get to and from school safely.

Here are some tips for drivers and parents to keep school kids safe around bus stops:

For Parents

Have your child(ren) Arrive Early: Safety begins with being sure your children get to the bus stop before the bus’s scheduled arrival. Regardless if you are walking them to the stop or they are going on their own, make sure they get there at least five minutes or so ahead of time. Hurrying to catch the bus at the last minute can create all types of hazards, so make it a habit for your kid to get to the stop ahead of time.

Exercise Caution around Buses: School your children to be careful when they are waiting for the bus. Have them remain at least seven big steps away from the curb and let them know that the bus stop is not a place to be running around and playing. Kids must never walk behind a school bus. If your kid has to cross the street at a crosswalk opposite a school bus, teach them to always make eye contact with the bus driver so they realize the driver can see them.

For Drivers

Drive Slowly: When driving in behind buses or in school zones, make sure to slow down and give yourself lots of time to react to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and quick school bus stops. Buses often need to slow down to drop off and pick up children. Also, they are obliged to come to a total stop at all railroad crossings. Always drive at a safe speed when you are behind a bus and while children are around the bus stop.

 

For Women: Staying Safe at the Gas Station

Always stay aware of your surroundings at the gas station.

It’s a probable danger zone for women traveling alone: the gas station.

When stopping for gas or getting some snacks, women can find themselves in danger if they’re alone.

Don’t read texts or play with your phone while pumping gas. It’s even okay to be rude if someone approaches you. You need to focus on the task at hand and getting back on the road all the while staying safe. Using common sense in regard to your safety when at the gas station is always imperative. Below are some ways to stay safe when at the pump.

Go to the gas station in the daytime if possible. Typically speaking, incidents are more likely to happen if you go to a gas station in the middle of the night or at dark, when there are few people around. If you’re on the road early in the morning and need gas, contact a towing service for assistance or ask a friend/family member to pick you up.

Go to a well-lit gas station in a safe neighborhood. Sometimes you might not have a choice, but you shouldn’t have to be nervous when stopping at a gas station, especially if you have other options.

Once you find a pump and leave your car, cut off the engine and lock the doors. Don’t ever leave your car running or your doors unlocked as you get gas. It only takes seconds for someone to jump in your vehicle. 

Keep your personal items by your side. Do not leave your cell, purse, wallet in the car.

Refuel and move on. After you’ve filled up the tank and paid for your gas, put the cap on and get into your car promptly. No stalling.

While not a guarantee of stopping any wrongdoing, being accompanied by another individual when at the gas station is better than going by yourself.

Be careful and use discretion if approached by an individual wanting money, to use your cell, etc. 

Staying Safe During a Tornado (Part III)

These tips help keep you safe if you find yourself in the path of a dangerous tornado.

If you’re in Your Car or Truck

Don’t attempt to outrun a tornado. It’s quicker than you and doesn’t have to stick to roads. Instead, safely go to the closest sturdy-looking building. Once there, park your vehicle outside of any traffic lanes and go inside. If you’re caught inside your vehicle: park, be sure your seat belt is on, put your head down under the windows, and cover your head and neck with a blanket, coat, seat cushion, or your hands. 

The vehicle’s airbags and frame will provide some protection. Don’t drive to an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a flat, open, low location.

If you’re Outside

If reaching shelter in time is not feasible, you have some options. If you can get close to a building, do so and squat next to a strong wall. If you’re completely out in the open, get away from cars, trees, and other possibly deadly debris. Lie face down flat in a ditch or low-lying space. Cover your neck and head.

After the Tornado

If you’re trapped by debris, FEMA suggests you don’t kick up dust, try to move, or push your way out. You might get injured and may make things worse for yourself. Instead, tap on a wall, pipe, or other material to make noise. Yell or whistle if you can so rescuers can find you.

When the storm has passed, check in with your loved ones to be sure nobody is harmed. Keep them together in the aftermath. Turn on your radio and for instructions from local officials and emergency personnel. Use great caution as you start to clean up. 

Stay away from damaged buildings, debris, and fallen power lines. Look out for broken glass and other sharp objects on the ground. Make sure to have on protective clothing while you handle debris and don’t attempt to lift heavy debris by yourself. If your power is gone out, use lamps and flashlights, not lighters, matches, or candles. 

Staying Safe During a Tornado (Part II)

One sign of a tornado is hail.

If you’re not close to your phone or in an area with bad coverage, there are other tornado signs. Listen and look for:

  • Dark thunderstorm clouds
  • Heavy rain or large hail 
  • Whirling debris or dust 
  • A thunderous rumble that sounds like a train 

Knowing these warning signs can save you plenty of time. Time is of the essence in emergency situations.

When the Tornado Strikes

Once a warning has been issued or you can see the storm coming yourself, it’s time to find shelter ASAP. Don’t wait. Bear in mind, wherever you end up, make sure to safeguard your head. Most tornado injuries entail flying debris. Also, never leave a building trying to escape a tornado. You can’t outrun it.

If You’re at Home

Go inside and move to a windowless, small interior room. If you have a basement or cellar, take cover in there. Stay away from doors, corners, windows, and outside walls. The point is to put as many walls between you and the outside as you an. 

Once you’re in a safe room, go beneath a sturdy desk or table, covering your head and neck with a heavy coat, your arms, a thick blanket, or pillows to safeguard from debris. If you live in a mobile or manufactured home, leave quickly and head to the nearest sturdy building. Mobile homes have very little to no protection. Keep pets in a carrier or crate.

If You’re at Work or School

Head to a pre-designated safe area, such as a storm cellar, a safe room, or a window-free interior room. If you live in a high-rise building, go to a small interior room on the lowest floor. If possible, avoid any buildings with long-spanning roof areas, such as arenas, gymnasiums, or shopping malls. These buildings have a great chance of collapsing from the pressure or a tornado.

Staying Safe During a Tornado (Part I)

Tornadoes are the most dangerous storms on the planet, so it’s crucial to know how to stay safe if you find yourself in their path.

Each year, around 1,300 tornadoes hit the U.S., damaging everything in their paths. They can form in any season, almost anywhere, and bring with them over 250 mph winds and funnels that can be over a mile wide. This is what you must know to stay safe and survive a tornado. 

When and Where They Occur

Most tornadoes in the U.S. happen east of the Rockies. They are particularly concentrated in the central and southern plains (“Tornado Alley”), as well as parts of Florida and the Gulf Coast. That said, tornadoes can happen practically anywhere. Therefore, it’s good to be ready for them wherever you live. 

While tornadoes can happen any time during the year, they will probably strike in the spring and summer. More often than not, they occur in the early evening and late afternoon when the pressure is quickly changing. 

Know the Warning Signs

Tornadoes can strike fast and out of nowhere, though there are typically warning signs of some type. Be sure you understand what different weather warnings mean:

Severe thunderstorm watch: Weather conditions suggest severe thunderstorms might form in your area. Severe thunderstorms are an early warning sign of a possible tornado.

Severe thunderstorm warning: A severe thunderstorm has been seen by spotters or on radar and is happening in your area. These storms can bring hail, rain, lightning, and winds of over 55 mph. These warnings last for about an hour or until the storm passes or upgrades to a more severe one.

Tornado Watch: Weather conditions suggest severe thunderstorms are possible and might develop into tornadoes in your area. If you see this warning, go over your emergency plans and begin preparing for the worst.

Tornado warning: It’s happening right now. A tornado has been seen in your area so implement your emergency plan and take cover ASAP.

 

How to Stay Safe If You’re Stuck in an Elevator (Part II)

Stay calm and dial 911.

Use your cellphone to call for assistance. If no one is answering the call button in the elevator, try using your cell. Dial 911 and speak to an operator about being stuck in the elevator. Speak clearly and calmly to the operator, giving the building name and address, and where the elevator is in the building.

Bang on the doors for help. If no one is answering the call button and you don’t have a signal on your cell, try banging on the elevator doors for help. Making noise in the elevator can alert someone on the other end to get help. Scream “help” loudly to get some attention.

Staying Calm and Safe in the Elevator

Stay seated inside the elevator. Don’t attempt to climb out of the elevator or pull the doors open. This will likely lead to harm and be hazardous. Instead, remain seated on the floor of the elevator. Standing up in the elevator can lead to feelings of vertigo and panic.

Do some deep breathing. To help you remain calm in the elevator, do some deep breathing. Find a comfortable seated position. Then breathe through your nose, hold it, and then exhale through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel relaxed and calm.

Communicate with others in the elevator. If you are stuck in the elevator with other folks, ask if there is anyone with a medical emergency or issue. Check-in with them to see how they are doing and count the total number of folks in the car. Be calm and pleasant. State that you have called for help and that it is coming. Most emergency personnel will respond within 25 minutes to an hour after being called to a stuck elevator.

Wait for help to arrive. Though you might feel anxious in a stuck elevator, try to sit tight and wait for help to arrive. Getting upset will only create tension in the elevator and make everyone, including yourself, nervous. Be assured that when help is called, people are typically rescued from a stuck elevator within 60 minutes.

How to Stay Safe If You’re Stuck in an Elevator (Part I)

If you ever get stuck in an elevator, focus on staying calm and getting help.

Getting stranded in a stalled elevator can be frightening, particularly if you aren’t a fan of enclosed spaces. If you are stuck in an elevator, don’t fret. Focus instead on getting help and then remaining calm in the elevator so you’re safe and aren’t at risk of injury. By following the tips below, you will likely be out of the stranded elevator quickly.

Getting Help in the Elevator

Don’t panic! Most elevators are secure when they are stuck. They won’t free fall and are secure even when stopped. Also, the elevator is not airtight so you will have plenty of oxygen to remain in the elevator safely.

Besides, you shouldn’t worry about being stuck in the dark in the elevator. Most elevators will still have working lights even when stuck. There is likely emergency lighting that will come on in the elevator if the power goes out.

If for some reason there is smoke in the elevator, you might attempt to pry open the door to let in fresh air or to try to escape. But this can lead to being injured. So, unless the smoke is severe and overpowering, you must not tamper with the elevator doors in any way.

Press the “call” or “alarm” button in the elevator. Look for these two buttons on the panel in the elevator. Or, it might have a phone symbol or alarm bell on it. Press this button to let building maintenance know that you are stuck in the elevator. There should be someone on the other end who can answer your call and get assistance for you.

If there is no alarm button, there might be an emergency telephone in the elevator. Use the emergency telephone to call for help.

 

 

Staying Safe When You’re Stuck on the Side of the Road

At some point in your life, your car will likely break down on the side of the road even if it’s just a flat tire. Remember these tips to stay safe during this dreadful experience. 

Breaking down on the road can be stressful and scary but knowing how to remain safe is key. Check out these tips to get help and stay safe on the side of the road.

Try to get your car to the shoulder

Cars coming around a curve will be rattled if you are sitting in the blind spot of the curve. If the driver is startled, they could end up rear-ending you, bringing on more damage and perhaps injuring you too. It is rare that your vehicle will just stop working. You should have enough of a warning to move onto the shoulder.

Lock your doors

Stay inside the car to avoid being hit by traffic and lock the doors. You don’t want someone unexpectedly getting into your vehicle.

Call for help

Make a call for help to either a tow truck or roadside assistance if you have it on your auto insurance policy. If your phone is dead, hang something white outside of your window and secure it by rolling the window up. This will notify highway patrol officers that you need help.

Have on your emergency blinkers

This will let other vehicles see that your car isn’t moving and to watch out. Usually, drivers who can see you ahead of time will get into the other lane, but this is not always possible.

Be cautious of who stops to assist

Criminals target those who are on the side of the road as an easy target. If you have called for help, keep your windows up and your doors locked. Thank the person for stopping and tell them you’ve called for help. If they don’t leave and stay outside of your car waiting, call 911. Safety is number one when broken down.

If your phone is dead and they are the first person to stop, ask them to call the police, but you can do this all while staying in your car and only cracking your window a little. If they are truly wanting to help you, they won’t ask you to get out of your car.

 

How to Be Safe If You’re Caught in a Mass Shooting (Part VII)

 

After the Situation is Over

Once the area is secure, police will most likely organize an evacuation, while EMTs or other authorities will come in to see who might be injured or unable to leave on their own. Like mentioned earlier, the whole situation might have you stuck in a room somewhere, far away from whatever possessions you might have had with you at the time, and probably way away from loved ones or friends who might have been separated from you at the time.

Depending on the scale and size of the situation, you might not even be approached by the police. If you aren’t, and you have to follow up, go to an officer and make yourself available. Let them know you want to help, but you also left some personal items behind, and that now’s not the time, you’d like to follow up with someone when everything is settled.

Workplace or School

If it’s a workplace or school, your stuff will possibly be where you left it. If it’s a public place like a park or mall, pay attention to the news. You might hear there first when the place re-opened and where to go for more information. Don’t underestimate the value of social media here. Local governments, law enforcement, and malls and shopping centers all use it.

Being involved in mass shootings can be taxing on your mental health.

Finally, don’t overlook the emotional and mental stress that being in a violent situation can have on you, or on your loved ones, particularly if they’re children. Be sure to seek out the right medical help for any injuries you could have. If there’s counseling available to people affected, take advantage of it. Don’t just try to power through it. Talk to someone, even if it’s a professional.

Hopefully, you won’t ever need any of this advice. Though, violence is a fact of life. If you find yourself caught up in it, paying attention to your surroundings and calm nerves can go a long way to keeping you safe.