If you’re a pet owner, then the holidays pose unique hazards you’ll need to worry about that don’t necessarily come to bear at other times of the year. Therefore, we’d like to turn your attention to some of the holiday-centric pet safety tips provided by the Anti-Cruelty Society in a new report out of Chicago.
With Christmas coming up, some people may be tempted to get a friend or loved one a new pet as a gift for the season. Please do not do this. Although your generosity should certainly be commended, you don’t want to create a situation where the owner either wasn’t planning on getting a pet or the pet didn’t meet their particular needs.
If they’re thinking about getting a pet, it’s best to say you’ll help pay for an adoption fee or something like that. That way, the pet is their choice, something that will end up being better for the animal and the human.
Should you end up hosting guests for a holiday party, make sure to keep the pets in a room by themselves if they’re skittish, and if not, at the very least ask everyone to use caution when coming through the door so the animals don’t run out.
Also strive to minimize the danger posed by wires on Christmas lights or poisonous plants like poinsettias. Pets can be severely injured if they chew on either of these things. You also have to make sure your pet won’t bite the tree or the ornaments on it.
The Transmitter portion of Linear Personal Emergency Reporting Systems are being recalled by the Carlsbad, California-based Linear LLC because of their potential to fail when called upon by a user. Four models are affected by the recall, adding up to a total of 48,000 transmitters. These products are used by persons who may need to seek out assistance at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, corrosion of the battery clips is a possibility on these products, which can cause outright or intermittent failure that would not be accompanied by a warning. One failure without injury has been reported, and to ensure safety, citizens are being asked to get in touch with the company to obtain new transmitters at no cost. Between this past June and August, these products were available across the country.
Follow this link for more about the recall.
Conventional and All American school buses of the 2014 model year are being recalled by the Blue Bird Corporation because of a possible problem with the suspension on the vehicles. 1,747 buses that have a ZY on the front suspensions’ bolt heads are potentially impacted by a manufacturing issue that could cause a breakage of the front suspension bolts. This would make the bus harder to steer, and the increased workload then placed upon the driver could make the likelihood of a crash grow. The recall should start some time this month, so owners can expect to hear from Blue Bird soon. A free inspection and repairs (if necessary) will be carried out by dealers.
For more about the recall, follow this link.
34,500 lawnmowers are being recalled from around the United States by the Bloomington, Minnesota-based Toro Company because of a possible injury threat posed to users. The recall pertains to 30-inch Toro TurfMaster and TimeMaster mowers of the 2013 model year. The blades on these mowers are in danger of breaking while the mower is being used, and when that occurs, they could do harm to anyone nearby at that time. While ten incident reports have been filed, those thankfully did not lead to any injuries. Available from dealers between last November and this past October, the mowers should not be used until such time that the owners are able to obtain no-cost repairs from Toro.
Click here for more about the recall.
One of the biggest fire hazards at this time of the year is something that families all across the country welcome into their home on an annual basis: the Christmas tree. While having a fresh tree as opposed to a plastic one can certainly make your Christmas celebration feel more festive, it’s important to realize that there are dangers associated with the tree that you can’t ignore. Those dangers are explored in detail in a new report offering safety tips from the chairman of the Fire Safety Commission of the state of New Jersey.
Safety begins with picking out the right tree for your residence. You don’t want a tree that’s going to dry out long before Christmas even gets here. Instead, be on the lookout for a tree that is as fresh as it could possibly be. Run your hand down the tree so you can feel its needles: do they come off in your hand? Are they hard to the touch? If so, you may want to look elsewhere.
Once you finally have the tree you want, you have to set it up in the right manner. Instead of habitually putting the tree in the same spot every day, really take a look at the tree’s surroundings. A tree should be clear on the other side of the room from the fireplace. It also needs to be kept away from space heaters, lamps, and anything else that could quickly dry out a tree and even cause it to be set ablaze.
This week is really about as early as you want to put up a tree, as anymore than that and you’ll run afoul of the two-week window in which a cut-down tree loses its freshness and begins to become dry and brittle. You can help keep it fresh as long as possible by taking the time to water it on a regular basis, refilling whenever the stand has become depleted. At some point, though, it will become too dry, so if you’re erecting the tree this week, you shouldn’t let it linger too long after Christmas.
All lights placed on the tree should have the approval of Underwriters Laboratories (as denoted by the UL symbol) so that you can be sure the lights themselves don’t pose a fire risk. Frays or damage should prompt you to refrain from hanging the lights on the tree, and broken bulbs need to be replaced prior to usage. Keep the number of strands plugged into any one outlet to a minimum (absolutely no more than three) so that overloading and attendant sparks aren’t possible.
Finally, when it comes time to get rid of the tree, discard it in the appropriate venue. Look up what kinds of programs your neighborhood has put together for disposal.
Back in 2008, California was the site of a train crash that claimed the lives of 25 individuals. At that time, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the matter and sought to determine how such accidents could be prevented in the future. The solution they came up with involved installing video cameras on the back and front of the trains.
The hope was that such a system would minimize the number of crashes that would take place on the tracks and that it would give rail companies the ability to evaluate engineers, making sure they were acting in the safest manner possible.
Cut to 2013, and New York is reeling from a train accident that left 67 people with injuries and four people dead. Although it’s been five years since the NTSB’s camera recommendation arrived, rail companies have still not been compelled to adopt such a system, something that riles Connecticut and New York senators in the wake of the most recent crash.
They are calling upon the Federal Railroad Administration to pass a rule making such cameras mandatory for trains. One Senator pointed out that doing so would allow for more accountability, as the operators’ every move would be recorded. He also said that installing these cameras would be cost-effective. The other Senator expressed perplexity as to why these recommendations still have not been acted upon by the FRA.
Self-driving vehicles, which were once relegated to the realm of science fiction, may now only be a few years away. Various automakers have put together semi-autonomous vehicles that can assist a driver as they go about their commute, while Google has been busy putting together test miles for vehicles that can purportedly drive of their own accord.
However, in order for such vehicles to achieve widespread adoption, states need to provide a regulatory framework in which the cars can function. California lawmakers have been some of the first to achieve this framework, and the Los Angeles Times has released a new report focused on their latest efforts.
Rules that could be finalized by spring 2014 have reportedly been put together by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Basically, the rules would provide guidance to the types of tests that the automobiles would need to go through before they could be introduced to the market.
This puts California ahead of Florida and Nevada, two other states that have begun the process of introducing autonomous vehicle regulation. The DMV’s rules provide benchmarks in terms of how safe the vehicles have to be, how the results are compiled and reported, and what type of insurance issues would need to be sussed out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has grown concerned about the increasing numbers of drivers above the age of 65 who are going to be on the roads in the coming years. There were 35 million such drivers last year, which is up from the 21 million that were on the road in 2003.
This growth has arrived in conjunction with an increase in the number of fatal and injurious accidents involving these drivers. Injuries in 2012 jumped by 16% and fatalities rose by 3%, to 214,100 and 5,560, respectively. In order to meet the demands the heightened levels of drivers in this demographic create, the NHTSA has come out with a plan to address the needs of such drivers.
First, the agency intends to continue their promotion of technologies designed to help a driver avoid a crash altogether. The hope is that systems like lane departure warnings, active collision avoidance and more can help prevent a crash. The NHTSA has also unveiled a Silver rating to be given to those automobiles that have been rated as being safe for seniors.
The NHTSA will carry out research designed to compile data about various trends related to older drivers, as such information may be used to enact future safety efforts. They will also put together various educational initiatives designed to help persons become the safest drivers they can be.
A new report takes a look at a growing industry of apps that seek to help drivers get away from engaging in distracting activities with their phones, but it also points out a growing concern that these apps are actually doing more harm than good. A Texting Awareness Foundation spokesperson, for instance, points out that an app that would require some type of driver input is still going to be a distraction that isn’t as helpful as simply keeping a phone turned off entirely. The creator of an app called Road Wars believes differently. He thinks that an app may be necessary to correct a phone-answering habit that has become ingrained in our minds as a society. The particular app he created turns safe driving into a competition that uses a point system to reward safe driving while penalizing unsafe actions.
For more about the debate, click here.
Car seats get a lot of media attention, but there’s another type of child safety seat that parents have to be aware of for safety purposes: the high chair. Between 2003 and 2010, research estimates that an average of 9,400 kids younger than three have had to receive emergency treatment on an annual basis due to a high chair-related injury. To combat these injuries, officials from the Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital have compiled safety tips that parents can put into practice. A new report relates that advice, starting with the fact that a parent should affix the straps whenever the child is placed within the seat, a situation that ought to only occur during mealtime. The seat should not be treated as just another play area. A parent ought to supervise the child at all times and keep up to date on the latest recall information.
Follow this link for more safety tips.