National Preparedness Month

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FEMA-NPM2016_logo_vFinal_cs5-01The theme of National Preparedness Month is “Don’t Wait.  Communicate.  Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”  At Smart911, we’re encouraging everyone to take the time TODAY to make a crisis preparedness plan before an emergency strikes.

As part of that, take time to create or update your Smart911 Safety Profile to ensure 9-1-1 and first responders have the information they need to help you in the event of an emergency.

 

View the top 6 disasters and how to prepare:

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Share the materials below to remind others the importance of planning ahead.

 

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Back to School Safety

 

As the new school year commences, safety is top of mind for parents and teachers alike. Help us educate your friends and family about ways to keep our kids and school communities safe by sharing the Smart911 Back-to-School Safety materials.

 


 

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June is National Safety Month

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Starting June 1, Smart911 is celebrating National Safety Month, an annual event that aims to reduce the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.

Each week in June will be dedicated to a different safety topic:

Week 1: Stand Ready to Respond

Week 2: Be Healthy

Week 3: Watch Out for Dangers

Week 4: Share Roads Safely

 

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Watch this video created by the NSC in honor of National Safety Month:

 

 

5 New Year’s Safety Resolutions I Promise To Keep

I have not taken to reading one new book a month or frequenting the gym five times a week. I admit I have let many a New Year’s resolutions fail and have barely made it passed January 15th, but this year is different. This year I am making five New Year’s blog5resolutions to improve my health and safety. These are five resolutions I cannot afford to let slip. These are five important resolutions I promise to keep.

Resolution #1: I will wash my hands often.
I do not want the flu or cold this winter. I resolve to use soap and water or hand sanitizer to keep from spreading germs. Additionally, I do not plan to touch my face and will cover my mouth if I have a cough. All of these easy changes make a huge impact during flu.

blog2Resolution #2: I will create and update my home emergency preparedness kit.
Everyone has a different kit and should to fit your individual needs. At the very least, you should make sure your kit contains enough food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Your kit should reflect your needs for example, pet food for pets and any prescription medications.

blog4Resolution #3: I will not use my cell phone or text while driving.
According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million auto accidents occurred in the U.S. last year related to using a cell phone or texting while driving.  A trick I have learned is to keep my cell phone out of reach while driving. I store it in my purse on the passenger side floor. I have found that if it is out of sight and out of reach, I am less compelled to reach for it and more focused as a driver.

blog3Resolution #4: I will learn CPR.
If I witnessed someone having a heart attack and could not help revive them I would never forgive myself, which is why I have resolved to learn CPR because it is not unlikely that this situation could happen. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in adults. It accounts for 325,000 annual adult deaths in the United States. By learning how to effectively administer CPR my New Year’s resolution could mean the difference between life and death for someone.

blog6Resolution #5: Keep my Smart911 Safety Profile Up to date.  

Speaking of the difference between life and death, it is imperative that my Smart911 Safety Profile only contains accurate information for me and my household. In 2015, I will have moved twice and need to make sure they if I am unable to communicate my location, my profile will accurately display my correct address and other vital information about myself and my family.

If you are like me and can’t stick to a resolution, use the safety of yourself and your family as motivation to stick to your goals and make 2015 your safest and most prepared year yet.

Smart911 Offers Helpful Tips for a Safer Holiday Season

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From Not Posting Your Vacation Plans on Social Media to being Mindful of Fire Risks, the Creators of Smart911 Encourage All to Have Safe and Happy Holidays

The holiday season is a time of festivities and celebrations, yet each year there are tragic reports ranging from injuries to house fires to burglaries that could have been easily avoided with just a little bit of preparation. With this in mind, the experts from Smart911 are celebrating the season by offering useful tips to help assure a fun and safer holiday season for individuals and families.

“Six Holiday Hazards to Avoid” and other helpful tips may be found here. Tips include:

  • Keeping Burglars at Bay: Don’t share vacation plans on social media. While it may seem like family and friends are the only ones commenting on your Facebook posts, a profile can be seen by a much wider audience. The FBI reports nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. during the holidays and thieves look for signs that occupants are away. Avoid having large displays of gifts that can be seen through your windows. When traveling, have someone collect your mail, consider an automatic timer for your lights, stop newspaper delivery, make sure snow is shoveled and keep a vehicle in the driveway if possible.
  • Lessen your Fire Risk: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the leading cause of household fires. Have an extinguisher handy and never leave the area when cooking, and because a busy kitchen means an increased risk of accidents, keep people away. Make sure a Christmas tree has plenty of water and does not dry out. Candles should be used with caution – 13 percent of home fires begin with decorations catching fire – so keep them clear of anything flammable and never in a child’s care. Make sure smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries. When using a fireplace, be certain the flue is open and never burn wrapping paper – this burns intensely and can cause a flash fire. Also, according to the National Fire Protection Association, decorative lights start an average of 170 home fires each year. Inspect all lights – indoor or outdoor, new or old – for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and faulty connections. A single extension cord should have no more than three standard-size light sets.

 

  • Decorate with Care: When putting up decorations, use a proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. When climbing a ladder, always grip the rungs and not the side rails, and keep three points of contact at all times (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand). Make sure your ladder is on solid ground and be sure to have someone on-hand as a “spotter.” When outdoors, get down from a ladder during inclement weather – high winds can blow you off and precipitation can make rungs and the ground slippery. Don’t place mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and other poisonous plants within reach of children. Also, keep tinsel, ornaments (and toys) that have small parts, metal hooks, or look like candy, out of reach of children and pets. And when you’re visiting others, remember your host’s household may not be child-proofed, so keep a watchful eye.

 

Finally, citizens are encouraged to create a Smart911 Safety Profile containing details about their household that they want 9-1-1 to have during an emergency. This can include all family members and photos, information on medical conditions and disabilities, home and vehicle details and even pets. Once created, when a citizen places a 9-1-1 call the Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the call-taker and can be immediately relayed to teams in the field, allowing for a better understanding of the situation and more effective emergency response.

Each Smart911 Safety Profile is private, secure and only available to 9-1-1 call takers during an emergency call. Smart911 is currently available in 37 states and more than 1,000 municipalities. If you’re traveling this holiday season, remember that Smart911 is a national system, so a Safety Profile can be delivered with an emergency call in any area of the country if the local 9-1-1 call center is supported by the service.

To check Smart911 availability, or to create a free Safety Profile, please visit http://www.Smart911.com.

Holiday Hazards

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As you celebrate the holiday season with your friends and family, avoid these 6 holiday hazards to keep your friends and family safe.
1. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture. Always use a proper step stool or ladder.
2. Don’t place mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and other poisonous plants within reach of children
3. Don’t use a dull blade. It requires more pressure, which increases the potential for injury.
4. Don’t post if you are traveling or going to be away from home on social media.
5. Don’t let your Christmas tree dry out and become a fire hazard. Pick a fresh tree and keep it hydrated.
6. Don’t burn or throw gift wrap in the fireplace. Recycle your gift wrap instead.


Share these holiday safety tips

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November Is Diabetes Awareness Month

Managing and Preparing for Every Circumstance

Diabetes is a serious disease with no cure. However, there are many ways people can manage it to minimize its impact on their lifestyle. Over 29 million Americans have diabetes and 1 out of every 4 is completely unaware they have it. There are three types of diabetes:

Type 1:

Type 1 diabetes is when the body doesn’t create enough insulin which regulates the bodies blood sugar. Type 1 is a far less common form of diabetes and approximately 5% of those who have diabetes have type 1. Though extensive research has been done, no one knows yet how to prevent type 1.

Type 2:

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease it occurs when the body can’t use insulin properly and is unable to regulate its blood sugar and keep it at normal levels. Nine out of 10 people with diabetes has type 2 and it has been linked to several risk factors including being overweight, physically inactive, and being directly related to someone with type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational Diabetes is when a pregnant woman develops diabetes during her pregnancy and can be a risk to the mother and baby. Gestational diabetes often develops around the 24th week of pregnancy and is the abnormally high blood sugar levels. The cause of gestational diabetes is unknown however it is believed that the many hormones from the placenta and developing baby can block the mothers insulin in her body. It can also lead to type 2 diabetes later in life.

Living Right and Preparing Well: 

Today, there are numerous options for managing all types of diabetes with and without medication. From healthy eating and exercising habits to medications proven to help, it’s possible to notdiabetes-awarness-month-graphic only live with your diabetes, but thrive with it too. Maintaining a healthy diet and monitoring your blood sugar is essential to helping your body regulate its sugar levels better. Exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can not only reduce your risk but also improve your body’s blood sugar. Take advantage of the research and resources made available through organizations like the CDC and  American Diabetes Association. You can prepare yourself and those you love by taking advantage of new technologies that allow you prepare for an emergency ahead of time like Smart911.

How does Smart911 help me or my loved ones with Diabetes?

-Create a Smart911 Safety Profile: https://www.smart911.com

-List your type of Diabetes and the degree of the signs and symptoms. Include any medications being taken or and their location in the home.

Why does creating a Smart911 Safety Profile help?

-Put in your address and medical information. If ever there is an emergency, your Safety Profile will allow 9-1-1 call takers to know medications you may or may not be on and share that information with EMS and medication location within the home.

-At the 9-1-1 center, they can append a note to the person’s address and mobile number, which could be leveraged in an emergency (Example: Amanda Jessup has type 1 Diabetes. Medication is located in upstairs hall bathroom cabinet above the sink).

-In your Safety Profile, you can write in the notes section what hospital you or your loved one is associated with so that a first responder can bring the patient to their health care provider for financial reasons and convenience.

Breaking the Silence: Escaping Years of Mental Abuse

“…I slowly made my way towards the door, his gun pointed at my back. I knew this was it. He was going to kill me.”

 

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My name is Loretta and this is the story of how my ex-husband pointed a gun at me and pulled the trigger.

2003

In 2003, I was a single mother of a beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyed 2-year old little girl, Sarah.

I met a broken man named Jack. I thought I could help him. I felt my love was strong enough to heal him. I thought I could lift him from the demons of an alcoholic suffering from severe depression. I knew this was going to be a tough road, but we would tackle it together. My love and energy were strong enough.

From 2003-2009, I watched him drink from the time he woke up until the time he passed out at night every single day. By the time the sun started falling, he became depressed, angry, and hateful until he passed out in his recliner. This was his daily routine.

2005

domestic-violence-wp-graphic3_dw-01I soon realized how jealous Jack was.

In 2005, I stepped down to a part-time shift at work because he didn’t like me working with other men. If I took too long at the grocery store, I had to tell him who I had seen, who I spoke to, and what we spoke about. There were times I had to show him the receipt to prove I came straight home after leaving the grocery store.

In his eyes, everyone was a threat.

I often wanted to cry out for help, but was too fearful of the consequences.  I couldn’t risk it.  Like many others, I chose silence over freedom.

Besides, Jack was very good at hiding the verbal and mental abuse from other people, especially my daughter. Or, at least I thought he was.

2006

In 2006, I worked in a 9-1-1 dispatch center and answered a 9-1-1 call, “What is the address of your emergency?”  The deep voice on the other end said, “The emergency is at your house.” It was Jack. “Loretta, I can’t move.”

After dispatching rescue to my own home, I followed and found Jack completely immobilized. His powerless body was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, and within four hours he started experiencing delirium tremens (DTs), one of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

At the hospital, the verbal and mental abuse became relentless, and this time he didn’t wait for others to leave the room. The humiliation was excruciating.

Jack spent the following two months in the ICU where he battled respiratory distress, respiratory failure, liver failure, and kidney failure – all due to his alcohol abuse.  Christmas Eve marked the day he was finally released from the ICU. His Christmas present was having his trach removed.

After the trauma, relearning how to walk and eat on his own, Jack only waited 3 months until he started drinking again.

2008

domestic-violence-social-graphic2-01New Year’s Eve 2009 was a turning point for me.

I cozied up with my daughter and when the clock struck twelve, Sarah and I exchanged kisses and happily gabbed about our predictions for the year to come.

Ready for bed, Sarah passed Jack’s man cave on her way to the bathroom. Since he had been drinking since noon, this was enough to set him off.

His drunken body hovered over me, calling me names, threatening me, and reminding me of how worthless I am.  His rage was enough to scare me into silence, but instead I begged him to stop. By the time Sarah came out of the bathroom, Jack had passed out in the next room.

As I sat staring at the blank wall in front of me, I heard Sarah’s gentle voice over my shoulder, “Mom, do you ever just want it to be you and me?”

My heart broke into a million pieces knowing Sarah had been aware of the abuse and negativity polluting our household over the years. I couldn’t breathe.

As the tears of hurt, shame and feeling like a horrible mother streamed down my face, Sarah reached out to grab my hand, “Mom, I love Jack, but I want it to be just me and you.”

This was the moment I started planning our lives without him.

2009

On New Year’s Day, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing about my and Sarah’s new future together.

I immediately started downsizing our belongings and putting money into a private savings account.

I was mentally preparing myself to leave him, and I think he could sense it.

peggy_blog-quote_graphic-02On January 17, I returned home after an exhausting shift at the dispatch center to find Jack waiting for me in the kitchen with his favorite drink resting on the table in front of him. The hollow look in his eyes made my stomach turn.

Something wasn’t right.

He was paranoid again, accusing me of cheating. Except this time he didn’t yell, cuss, slams doors or put his fist through a wall. Instead, he quietly turned his head towards me and demanded I get my stuff and leave.

I knew through the dark tone in his voice I needed to leave or I may not be given a second chance.  I quickly grabbed some clothes and personal items for Sarah and left.

The very next day, I signed a lease agreement to a two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ours.

 

Months Later

After we moved, Sarah had very little contact with Jack, but the mental abuse I endured only worsened as his control over me waned.

After divorce, I continued to clean his house, took him to the doctors, and did his grocery shopping.  It would take six years and a near-death experience for me to walk away completely.

2015

The year 2015 came fast.  I was on my way to the store when I received a text from Jack begging me to get him out of the house. I decided there was no harm in letting him come along for the ride. I turned around and headed toward his house.

As I made my way down to his man cave, I was struck by a wave of bourbon, the smell so strong I could taste its smoky flavor on my tongue.

He was the drunkest I had ever seen him. He could barely hold his drink up straight.

I told Jack I couldn’t be around him, not like this.  He begged me to stay. I knew I needed to leave.

As I turned around to face the door, the desperate sound in Jack’s voice changed, “So, who are you going to see?”

peggy_blog-quote_graphic2-02I shook my head in disappointment and took one step closer towards the door.

At that moment, Jack pulled out a gun and pressed the barrel against his right temple.

I stood frozen in place. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure he could hear it from across the room.

I reached out my hands and very calmly asked him to put the gun down. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” I told him. “Please don’t do this.”

I watched in slow motion as he adjusted his grip, turning the gun to aim at me. The world around me stopped, and the only thing I could manage to concentrate on was Sarah.

“Jack, look at me,” I said firmly. “I’m going to turn around now, and I’m going to walk out this door. You will never see me back here again. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Right then, I slowly made my way towards the door, his gun pointed at my back. I knew this was it. He was going to kill me. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of Sarah growing up without her mother.

Reaching for the knob, I struggled to control my trembling hands. The warm breeze against my tear-soaked face was a welcomed reminder I was still alive.

And that’s when I heard it: the piercing sound of a single gunshot.

The sound shocked me motionless. Seconds went by before I realized I hadn’t been hit.

Did he shoot himself?

Before I could fully process what had happened, I crawled into the front seat of my car and called Jack’s parents. I was so hysterical they could hardly make out the words I was saying.

Jack’s mother assured me his father would be there any minute, but I couldn’t let his father be the one to discover his body.

Carefully inching my way toward the house, I watched as the sun reflected against the bullet hole in the glass door.  Inside I could see that Jack was still alive and passed out in his chair.

Walking back to my car, I knew this was goodbye. I would walk away. Jack and all of his demons would forever be in my past.

2016

Cutting all ties with Jack was not easy and it still isn’t. Suddenly, I was forced to acknowledge the years of abuse I endured and learn how to overcome it. In the beginning, I felt worse than ever: my anxiety and depression were off the charts. I couldn’t handle everyday stress. Night terrors were a frequent occurrence. Even loud noises made me jump out of my skin. The worst part was that I blamed myself every day for letting the abuse go on as long as it did.

Today, I am breaking my silence. I am accepting what I cannot change and owning my experience. I gradually entered a healing process where I am learning to love, appreciate, and respect myself again.

To me, the word “healing” means not being an enabler. It means not running to him every time I hear he’s hit rock bottom. It means taking back control of my life. And yes, it means forgiving Jack, but most importantly, it means forgiving me because I am not to blame.

I’ve chosen to live in the now. I actively do things that make me feel happy and whole, like meditating and spending time outdoors. I also found comfort in being honest with Sarah about Jack and our abusive relationship. My hope is she will take my experiences and learn to only support healthy relationships that bring her joy in the future.

Thank you for listening. I hope my story helps someone get out of a similar situation and find his or her voice.

If you are concerned for your own safety or the safety of a loved one, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

This blog article was originally posted on the Rave Mobile Safety website. Click here to view the original post.

 

November Awareness: Is 9-1-1 Aware?

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November celebrates several awareness months: Epilepsy, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Caregiver’s.   As awareness is spread about each of these causes, take a moment to think, Is 9-1-1 Aware?

If you had to dial 9-1-1:

  • Are they aware of your medical condition?
  • Are they aware that you may need a specific treatment plan?
  • Are they aware that you may not be communicating because of a medical condition?
  • Are they aware of where you live when you call from your mobile phone?
  • Are they aware of your emergency contacts that should be notified?
  • Are they aware of your service animal?

They can be, if you take some time to plan ahead.  Create a Safety Profile with Smart911 and make them aware.  It can save seconds in an emergency.


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