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October 2021 – Safety Blog
Fire Safety Week/Month | Safety Culture Week | Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness | School Bus Safety | Youth Substance Abuse | Occupational Noise | Breast Cancer Awareness
Hello everyone, and welcome back to DWD WC Division's - Safety Corner, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Division of Worker's Compensation (DWD/WC) safety blog! I'm using this forum to share some of the current, pertinent safety news and information that I receive from my network of workplace safety professionals and pass along to employers and organizations across Wisconsin.
National Fire Prevention Week / Month
October is the National Fire Prevention Week/Month! Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the first (or second) week of October as the public observance of Fire Prevention Week, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 - NFPA Fire Safety Week 2021. The NFPA Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871.
Check in with your local Fire Department and Fire safety emergency response organizations for ongoing activities throughout Fire Safety Week/Month for your organization and home safety. Also, visit the NFPA website for additional fire safety week and year round ideas and resources. NFPA Fire Safety Week - 2021 Theme & Activities.
The National Safety Council and many fire safety vendors extend Fire Safety Week to include the entire month as Fire Safety Month, given the life safety importance of the topic, and as furnaces, fireplaces and other portable heating appliances typically come back into use.
During October communities, private employers, schools, and other organizations take part in a month-long exercises of fire safety planning and education, including reviewing fire extinguishers use (Fire Ext - P.A.S.S. - Method¹) fire & smoke alarms maintenance, and practicing emergency evacuation plans.
According to First Alert - Did You Know?
Fire Prevention week/month is the perfect time to educate and talk with your whole family about fire safety – include testing alarms, changing the batteries or upgrading to 10-year sealed battery alarms, how to use a fire extinguisher and escape route planning.
- Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms.
- Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental poisoning in the US.
- 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly*.
- Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their home.
- Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan*.
- Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of home fires. Fire Safety Month - First Alert²
Coincidently, Northeast Wisconsinites will recall that October 8, 1871 is also the date of the massive Peshtigo fire. On the night of October 8 through October 9, 1871, fueled by extreme drought and high winds, this horrific conflagration destroyed a swath of forest 10 miles wide and 40 miles long, obliterating the towns of Peshtigo and Brussels, killing about 1,500 people in just two hours. Read more about the great Peshtigo fire on the Wisconsin Historical Society website.
Additional October Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) activities of interest include:
- October 18 - 22, 2021 is Safety Culture Week - Oct 18_22 2021³. Plot your safety culture strategy for 2022 by checking out this safety vendor's website. They offer a full week of free online events and digital resources centered around improving one's safety culture - Safety Culture Week 2021 - Activities⁴.
- Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month: Have you heard of Commotio cordis? Commotio cordis (Latin, "agitation of the heart") is generally understood to mean “instantaneous cardiac arrest produced by non-penetrating chest blows in the absence of heart disease or identifiable morphologic injury to the chest wall or heart”. Ball and stick sports athletes are especially vulnerable and susceptible. Sudden cardiac arrest can also be caused by an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system/structure and is both the leading cause of death on school campuses as well as the No. 1 killer of student-athletes. It is estimated that 1 in 300 youth unknowingly have an underlying, undetected heart condition.
- As youth Fall and Winter sports activities move into high gear it's prime time to "refresh" one's CPR/AED training skills. Learn these skills at - Learn "Hands-Only" CPR - Learn "Hands-Only" CPR⁵ and, #CPRsaveslives⁵ – AHA.org/YouTube.
- Learn more about both sudden cardiac arrest phenomenon's at - Commotio Cordis CPR-AED Success Stories⁶, and Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation⁷ website; or, read Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation survivor stories⁸. Also, see - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, National Red Cross, and American Heart Association. Your various First-Aid/CPR/AED vendors and local hospital/medical organizations can also provide additional guidance/training.
- October 18 - 22, 2021 is also "National School Bus Safety Week." Check out their week of safety activities and year round safety tips at - National School Bus Safety Week napt.org⁹ and School Bus Safety Tips napt.org¹⁰.
- October is also Youth National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse, which includes underage drinking, alcohol dependency, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use. Visit the web site for resources in combatting this often deadly issue - Youth National Substance Abuse Month¹¹.
- October is also National Protect Your Hearing Month. Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Each year, about 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. Over 30 million U.S. workers are exposed to chemicals, some of which are harmful to the ear and hazardous to hearing. In addition to damaging workers’ quality of life, occupational hearing loss carries a high economic price to society. Visit the CDC.gov website for their DOL/OSHA and CDC hearing conservation resources - Protect Your Hearing CDC.gov¹².
- Finally, on the home front, did you know one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime? October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Google or check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation¹³ website for ideas on how to get involved to raise awareness, including regular preventive screenings. Also visit the CDC's breast cancer awareness resources¹⁴ for more information.
As a "look ahead" preview, stay tuned for autumn safety tips later this month. November signals the end of daylight savings time, low ambient light/night time driving challenges, the onset of inclement weather, and the holiday season. More to follow accordingly.
Have a Safe Day, Always!!
Dave Leix, CSP, Safety & Risk Manager - Bio: Dave Leix - CSP, Safety & Risk Manager