7 Tips for Outdoor Running Safety

Fall weather in Ottawa is the perfect for running outdoors! Running outside is a great way to burn calories, boost your confidence, and boost your overall health. However, if you aren’t prepared for a run, you could face risks such as leg injuries, fall hazards, adverse weather, and dangerous traffic patterns.

Here are seven safety tips to keep in mind before you run outdoors:

  1. Wear running shoes that offer adequate support to help avoid severe injuries.
  2. Determine your baseline fitness level before you run so you don’t overexert yourself. You can do this by timing how long it take you to run one kilometre on a flat path, then create a running program based on this time and your future fitness goals.
  3. Plan out a route before you run to make sure it’s in a safe, well-lit area. You can do this by driving or biking along the route, preferably with a friend or family member.
  4. Always look at the weather forecast before you run to make sure you won’t encounter an unexpected storm or low visibility.
  5. Stretch before you run, and slow down to take a break or drink water whenever necessary.
  6. Always stay aware of your surroundings. It may be tempting to listen to music using earbuds or headphones, but this can make it harder to hear what’s around you, including dangerous vehicle traffic.
  7. Consider running in a group. Not only is it safer, but it can help motivate you to run more regularly.
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Chemical Safety Tips for the Home and Cottage

Though you may think that your family is protected against household chemical dangers, accidents can still occur. In fact, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, an average of three children (ages 14 and younger) die each year due to unintentional poisoning and another 900 are hospitalized with serious injuries.

To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take extra precautions when storing and handling poisonous chemicals in your home or cottage. Use the following tips to protect your family:

  • Place the local poison centre contact information next to your phone in case of an emergency. For added protection, program the number into your mobile device as well. The Ontario Poison Control Centre phone number is 1-800-268-9017.
  • Store harmful products out of the kitchen and away from food and drinks.
  • Read product labels when purchasing new items. If they contain the words caution, warning or danger, be extra cautious when storing and using them.
  • Keep chemicals and products in their original packaging so usage and handling instructions remain available.
  • Refrain from storing products that may release harmful fumes or catch fir inside your home. These items include paints, solvents, gasoline, fuels, and varnishes.
  • Check the City of Ottawa’ guidelines for instructions on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste. Never pour chemicals down the drain unless instructed.

Keeping in mind the above tips, you’ll ensure that you and your loved ones are safe from potentially deadly household chemicals.

How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes any of your attention away from driving is a distractions. There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Sending or reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving blindfolded for 5 seconds.

Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by notifications. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
  • Set destinations in GPS devices before you depart.
  • Make a playlist on your phone before you leave to avoid the temptation of selecting songs or changing radio stations.
  • Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
  • Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities.

Golf Cart Safety Tips

As surprising as it may be, there are many golf cart accidents annually, which result in personal injury, property damage, and even death. Since golfing is intended to be a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable outdoor activity, review the following safety tips to keep you and your fellow golfers safe.

  • Drivers and passengers should remain seated while the vehicle is moving at all times.
  • Never exceed the maximum capacity for a golf cart – everyone needs his or her own seat.
  • Slow down and honk when reaching an intersection to alert other drivers and pedestrians of your presence.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching pedestrians; they always have the right-of-way.
  • Reduce your speed when turning and passing other carts.
  • Use the safety mirrors when approaching intersections.
  • Keep all body parts inside the golf cart when it is in motion.
  • When it is not in use, place the golf cart’s control lever in the neutral position and remove the key.
  • Do not shift gears while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Maintain an adequate distance between you and other drivers.
  • Your maximum speed will depend on the terrain and weather conditions. Generally, you should operate a golf cart at the same speed as a well-paced walk.

Motorcycle Safety

There are more than 672,000 registered motorcycles and mopeds in Canada. Though they are a popular transportation option, motorcycles are also dangerous.

In 2015 alone, 200 motorcyclists died as a result of accidents, according to a study by Transport Canada.

To remain safe, motorcyclists should practice the following safety precautions:

  • Test drive your motorcycle before you purchase it to ensure that you can properly control it.
  • Take a motorcycle safety course.
  • Be mindful of the weather and road conditions at all times.
  • Wear a helmet and other safety gear.
  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Exercise extreme caution when you are carrying passengers.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while operating a motorcycle.

By utilizing the above tips, you can ride with confidence and avoid potentially deadly accidents.

5 Tips for Hiring the Right Babysitter

Finding a babysitter that you trust with the care and protection of your children can be difficult. And the added pressure of choosing someone who gets along well with your family is especially daunting.

Thankfully, the following tips will help simplify the babysitter-selection process:

  1. Hire a sitter who is at least 16 years of age
  2. Ensure that the sitter has taken CPR and other relevant courses
  3. Invite the sitter to spend time with you and your children before you hire him or her for the job. This will allow your children to acclimate and give you some insight into how the sitter interacts with your family
  4. Conduct a thorough interview and be sure to check references. Ask questions related to experience, availability, and cooking ability
  5. Trust your gut. Oftentimes, you will be able to get a good sense of what a person is like in the first 10 minutes of meeting with him or her. If your instincts are telling your something, it’s best to follow them.

When interviewing candidates, it’s good to keep the information of one or two backup sitters in case your top choice falls through.

The top chimney maintenance tips

Did You Know?

In spite of the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. To combat the risk of fire or inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, it is important for you to make chimney maintenance part of your home loss prevention plan.

chimney-maintenance-tipsChimney Maintenance

Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. In addition:

  • Have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to reduce creosote build-up.
  • Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote.
  • Replace cracked or damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
  • When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationality recognized testing laboratory.

There are two types of chimneys that require specific maintenance to minimize the dangers in your home.

  • Fireplace inserts (hearth stoves):
    • Vent should be connected to the flue of the chimney.
  • Factory-built metal chimneys:
    • Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney, as they cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.

Safety First

Do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue, as major complications car arise. If one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of the following serious problems:

  • Heavy creosote accumulation
  • Deterioration of the flue
  • Creosote blocking the lower heater vent
  • Carbon monoxide drifting into your home