Don’t Get Burned
House fires injure or kill thousands each year. If a house fire happens to you, it’s critical to know what to do and to act fast. Here’s some potentially life-saving information.
In a serious house fire, you may have as little as five minutes to escape and survive. A manufacturer of home safety products has done extensive research on what happens when a home catches on fire. Some of the findings may surprise you.
For example, you can’t count on the smell of smoke to wake you if you are asleep. In fact, toxic fumes from a fire are more likely to put you into an even deeper sleep. The family dog has a much more sensitive smell than humans, but even that warning system might not work. The truth is, there’s no substitute for a system of well- maintained smoke detectors throughout the house.
Fire inside a house tends to be black, not bright red or orange as it would be outdoors where the fire can get plenty of oxygen. This means it will be difficult to see when you’re trying to escape. Depending on the fire’s source of fuel, a house can become an inferno in a matter of minutes.
More than 35,000 people are killed or injured in house fires each year. Your chances of surviving are double if you have a smoke detector on every floor. If the alarm sounds, get out fast and call the fire department from a neighbor’s house. Whatever you do, don’t go back in. Many are killed when they go back into the house to retrieve treasured objects.
At home and at work, the best plan is to stop fires before they start. On the job, stay aware, look for and report any hazards that might cause a fire. Good housekeeping is essential too. Be sure to dispose of oily rags, paper or scraps of wood. Trash, sawdust or almost any collection of waste can be a dangerous source of fuel for a fire. Also, carefully check to make sure that flammables are safely stored away from ant heat source. Don’t put off regular inspections of smoke detectors, heating units, wiring and fire extinguishers. Make sure you know where the fire extinguishers are kept and how to use them. If you do, you can stop a small fire from turning into a major disaster.
True, a good warning system is important to guard against fire, but the best protection is prevention and that means no fire at all.
DON’T GET BURNED! FIGHT FIRE WITH PREVENTION
*Copyright Harkins Safety 2008 B249
Football is all about long-bomb passes, amazing kick returns, and bone-crunching hits. But what really makes football the great game it is?
When a football team takes position on the line of scrimmage, every player has his job. Each player also knows-the more they work together, the more they win.
Take just one play, the flea flicker. It’s a surprise play that’s tough to pull off because it demands precise teamwork. Here’s how it’s set up. There are two guards on either side of the center. There are two tackles on either side of the guards. On the right is the tight end. Further out, there are left and right wide receivers.
At the snap, the guards, tackles and center plow into the opposing team’s defense. The wide receivers sprint downfield. The quarterback drops back as he throws a lateral to the halfback behind him. This tricks the other team into thinking it’s a running play.
But then the halfback laterals back to the quarterback, who has just bought himself lots of time. He looks downfield. He can hit either wide receiver. He can hit the halfback, who’s now running downfield. He can even hit the fullback who’s rolling out to his left. Picking his target, the quarterback launches his pass.
It’s a brilliantly coordinated effort among many toward one goal-winning. That makes it a lot like safety on the job.
You have a team of coworkers and you depend on them just as they depend on you. So here’s what you do.
Huddle Up. Meet with your coworkers beforehand and discuss how you’re going to approach the job with maximum safety. Communication is key.
Choose your play. Review the potential hazards and safety rules and regulations. Then decide on the safest way to go.
Execute. Follow your plan without shortcuts or risk-taking. Do your part, do your best and watch out for your team members.
That’s what it takes to win. Team players know it. That’s why New York Giants QB Phil Simms ran a flea flicker against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. He trusted his team and they scored a touchdown on the very next play.
On the field or on the job, teamwork makes the difference. Don’t be a lone wolf, don’t be a risk taker and don’t be a superstar. Why risk it? Your safety is too important to you, your family and your company. Instead, always remember…
Work Together, Win Together!
*Copyright 2010 Harkins Safety B271
A Shocking Undersea Tale B-168
Did you know that the South American electric eel can grow to five feet long, weigh as much as 40 pounds and produce an electrical discharge that can stun a diver?
It’s a fact! The South American eel is not really an eel at all but a true fish that is related to the carp. It has three electric organs: a small one at the tip of its tail used for navigation and another small one used as a trigger for the third blockbuster organ that produces the lightning-like discharge that kills its prey.
This strange creature, one of more than 200 species of fish, uses electricity by generating and discharging currents either in bursts or steady electric fields around its body. Depending on the species, they may use this energy to find and attack their prey, for defense or for communication and navigation.
These skates, rays, eels and other unusual denizens of the deep live and die by the effectiveness of their in-house batteries. Scientists have discovered that sharks, porpoises and some other species have extremely sensitive electric receptors that help them detect and avoid their high- powered salt-water neighbors.
Just like the receptors that protect sharks against the South American eel, we have our own systems in place to keep electricity where it belongs.
*Always lock out and tag out. We have lock out systems that are virtually foolproof when everyone follows the proper procedure. Disregarding these systems can lead to injuries and fatalities.
*Look before you reach. You might not see energized parts, so don’t reach into machinery. Make sure there is adequate lightning and scan the area carefully before you put your hands there.
*Use protective shields, barriers and insulating materials. These safety precautions can help prevent accidental contact that could result in tragedy.
*Check power tools. Don’t use power tools with broken plugs or defective insulation and always make sure tools are properly grounded before you use them.
*Watch out for water. Never use electrical equipment or tools in a wet environment without the proper protection or an insulating mat.
Electricity can strike in a flash! Beware!
You risk shock, burns, explosions and fire.
*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety (B168)
The America’s Cup
It began in 1841, a full 45 years before the Modern Olympics. It attracts the top sailors and yacht designers from around the world. It’s named after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner America.
Yes, the America’s Cup is the biggest, most famous yacht race in the world-the Super Bowl and World Series of sailing all in one-with a fascinating history. In 1851, the schooner America raced 15 yachts around the Isle of Wight near Great Britain, and the America won. Queen Victoria asked who was second. The reply? “There is no second, your Majesty.”
Thus the lore of the America’s Cup was born. The British, stung by the loss, tried to win back the trophy, but the New York Yacht Club remained unbeaten for 25 challenges over 113 years, the longest winning streak in sailing’s history.
One of the most famous challengers was Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton, who attempted five unsuccessful challenges between 1899 and 1930, all in yachts named Shamrock. After World War II, the New York Yacht Club retained its winning streak in eight more races, from 1958 to 1980. But in 1983, the Australia II won easily over Dennis Connor’s Star & Stripes. Disappointed but unbowed, Connor returned with a newly designed boat, a new race plan and renewed confidence. In 1983, he prevailed and returned the cup to the New York Yacht Club.
By refusing to be sidetracked and keeping his eyes on the prize. Dennis Connor came back a winner. When we’re charting our course to safety, we need the same determination. Safety is vital to you, your coworkers, your company and your family. That’s why we have to stay alert to hazards–from keeping work areas clean and orderly to eliminating fire hazards to working safely with electricity to lifting and carrying properly. There’s a safe way to do the job and it’s your responsibility to know it. That way, you’re a winner every single day.
Will America be the winner in the upcoming 33rd America’s Cup? Time will tell. The race is scheduled to take place between 2009 and 2011 and promises boats that are bigger, sleeker, lighter and faster than ever. But one thing’s for sure—just as the captain and crew need to train, plan and prepare, we need to do the same on the job to stay safe. Because working safely every day is our idea of smooth sailing.
CHART A COURSE FOR SAFETY!
*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B229
A Stunt With a Shark
You’ve heard it in conversation. You’ve probably even said it yourself—someone or something has “jumped the shark.” It’s a common expression, but where did it come from? It’s a fascinating story.
It all began, strangely enough with the popular TV show Happy Days. The show’s first episode aired in January 1974 and the series ran for a full ten years.
Happy Days was pure Americana as it told the story of Midwestern teenager Richie Cunningham, his family and his friends, Potsie Weber and Ralph Malph. But the character who really stood out was Arthur Fonzarelli-The Fonz. Wearing his trademark black leather jacket, the good natured greaser befriends Richie and becomes a friend of the family.
The fateful episode came in the fifth season. In it, the Cunninghams take a vacation to Hollywood with The Fonz. While there, Fonzi accepts a dare to don a pair of water skis and jump over a tank filled with man-eating sharks-while wearing a swimsuit and his black leather jacket of course.
The episode was so contrived and the special effects depicting Fonzie’s jump were so poorly done that it became the low-water mark of the series. As a result, the expression “jump the shark” has come to describe the point at which a sense of routine has set in and quality has begun to decline.
As the now infamous episode shows, complacency can turn up in unexpected places. But when it happens on the job, the consequences are anything but entertaining.
Complacency happens when you think you have all the job experience you need and know all the hazards just because you’ve done a task many times before without getting hurt. That’s dangerous thinking and it leaves you open to injury.
It’s vital to approach every task, no matter how familiar with fresh eyes. Stop and think before you start. Double check the safety procedures. Consider all the possible hazards. As you work, keep your awareness sharp at all times.
After Happy Days jumped the shark, it went on for another five years in decline. But we can’t afford to be in decline on the job. We can’t afford to be complacent, not even for one day, not even in one task. There’s too much at stake—your livelihood, your health, your safety, not to mention your self-respect as a pro. Don’t let your job experience lull you into complacency. Better to bring all your experience to bear on staying safe.
HAZARDS LURK IN COMPLACENT WORK
Stay Alert-Make Caution Your Routine
*Copyright 2011 Harkins Safety (B278)
In a state know for wildfires, this one was off the charts. It caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents. It was responsible for millions in property damage. It threatened entire cities. It endangered over 6,000 firefighters.
The fire was first spotted on a Wednesday in a forest south of Prescott, Arizona. Strong winds and dry terrain stoked the blaze as firefighters and forest crews sprang into action. The fire raged and within days it consumed 1,000 acres spreading to within three miles of downtown Prescott. Over 1,500 residents evacuated as the fire waged war on southern Arizona.
Meanwhile in eastern Arizona another wildfire rose up in Show Low. It roared across a 330,000 acre area. As firefighters and forest workers battled the blaze, their worst fear seemed unavoidable. The two separate wildfires were heading toward each other and within eight days, they merged into one fearsome conflagration of flame, ash and smoke.
Devastation reigned. The American Red Cross provided food and shelter to displaced residents. The President came to witness the destruction and the federal government designated the site a disaster area as firefighters battled the blaze. More voracious than ever, the fire continued its rampage of destruction.
Cooler weather and the firebreaks eventually began to have an effect. Five weeks after it began, the wildfire was starting to be contained. But the toll was sobering. This fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history, decimated 517 square miles, an area larger than Los Angeles. It reduced 423 homes to ash and cinder. It caused 30,000 evacuations.
Whether in a forest, at work or even in your own home, the power and fury of fire can destroy in minutes what took months or years to build. Your best plan is to fight back with prevention.
*Dispose of trash, flammable fluids, oily rags and other waste properly.
*Handle extension cords and electrical equipment with care.
*Remove frayed cords, replace damaged plugs and don’t overload electrical circuits.
*Smoke only in designated areas, and make sure cigarettes, etc., are completely extinguished.
*Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
EXTINGUISH THE CAUSES OF FIRE
*Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety B157