By Kirk Fechter, Fort Meade Garrison Safety Office
Safety on the Fly – Safety inside autumn’s colors
Autumn brings one of the most beautiful times of the year with colorful leaves and pumpkins littering the ground. The season also brings up safety issues for the entire family. During the time of autumn, nature presents beautiful displays in the form of fall leaves that welcome hikers and outdoor adventurers outdoors.
Maintenance tasks also need attention during fall. Prepare for the changing weather of the fall to ensure that your family is both happy and healthy the whole season long.
The following are some helpful autumn safety practices:
• Driving Safety. There are multiple autumn safety issues that relate to the road. Since days are getting shorter during the fall, more driving will occur when it is dark out. This can lead to drowsiness which leads to more accidents. Plan for more rest throughout the season.
This year, because of COVID-19, there were be a reduction of school buses and small children walking to the bus. Continue to be vigilant for changing situations. Leaves may cover the road and become slippery with weather. This requires careful road travel, especially for bicycles and motorcycles.
Tire pressure can be affected by the cool nights and warm days of autumn. Make sure to check on tire pressure throughout the season.
• Weather Safety. Summer often comes to mind when thinking of sunscreen, but people should also apply it during fall to protect their skin from the sun.
When hiking or camping, be aware of quickly-changing weather conditions, especially during late fall. Mountain hiking can be particularly dangerous because of the potential for colder temperatures, ice and snow as people reach higher elevations.
Bring along plenty of warm clothing and blankets on a camping trip.
• Home Safety. Gutter-cleaning and other outdoor home maintenance projects present the risk of falls. Secure ladders before removing debris from gutters or handling other repairs on or near roofs.
Tools should be in proper working order and put away as soon as people are finished to prevent injuries. Some homeowners burn leaves or have bonfires in the backyard during the fall months. Avoid burning on windy, dry days. A water source nearby helps prevent the fire from spreading if it goes outside of the burning area. Children need to understand the basics of fire safety if they are outdoors during this time.
• Lower Temperatures. As autumn comes into full swing, the temperatures may be lower in your area than in other areas which can lead to several safety issues. When using portable space heaters to warm the house, keep them away from water, curtains and flammable items. Do not leave a space heater unattended and buy one that shuts off automatically if it falls over. Keep homes ventilated even if the temperatures drop to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Use carbon monoxide detectors and have your home heating systems inspected before the temperature drops.
• Child Safety. A pile full of leaves gives kids a way to enjoy fall, but the leaves also present a safety concern. Piling leaves on the street invites children to play near traffic, leaving them at risk for getting hit by cars. A driver might not realize a child is present if she is buried in a pile of leaves on the street. Keep leaves in the yard and put rakes away when finished to prevent child injuries.
Following autumn safety practices gives piece of mind that people are taking the proper precautions to keep you safe as you enjoy this special time of year.