July 1, 2016

Dear Neighbor:

First and foremost, we wish you a happy, healthy July 4th Weekend! If you plan to attend Washington's Last Blast Fireworks, you will see us standing by with the ambulance. Please do stop and say hello. As long as we have no patients, we will be happy to give you and your family quick ambulance tours. (Note to Parents: We always stress that in an ambulance, everything has a place, and everything needs to be in its place.)   

Second, we are writing to share our Top Five Tips to Stay Out of the Emergency Room this weekend. Our tips are based on data about the accidents that do result in E.R. visits this time of year, as shown in the graph below. It turns out that bicycling and swimming accidents are the two biggest problems. Fireworks injuries hit their annual peak in the weeks just before and after July 4th.         

Top Five Tips to Stay Out of the E.R. This Weekend

#1. FOR DRIVERS: LOOK TWICE, SAVE A LIFE. Washington has almost 90 miles of roadway, and many of them (especially around Lake Waramaug) are both narrow and curvy. Follow these Ten Safety Tips for Motorists. Exercise patience ("patience, not patients"). Do not pass a cyclist until you can see that you can do so safely, giving the cyclist at least three feet of clearance. Signal every time you plan to turn, even if you do not see anyone else on the road. There may well be a bicyclist behind you, planning to go straight at the intersection where you plan to go right.     

#2.  FOR BICYCLISTS: PLAY DEFENSE. David Zabriskie, a professional cyclist, suggests 10 Safety Tips for Cyclists. These include wearing bright clothing, being highly aware of your surroundings and its hazards, riding consistently and predictably, and making sure that your brakes are always in top-notch condition.    

#3. LEARN WHAT DROWNING REALLY LOOKS LIKE. Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children, second only to motor vehicle accidents, and is most likely to happen in a home swimming pool. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most young children who drowned in pools were last seen indoors, had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes, and were under the supervision of one or both parents at the time. That's a case for pool barriers. However, children have also drowned in full view of adults who did not realize they were in trouble. The video below, which shows a real life incident in which a drowning child is rescued, will teach you to recognize the Instinctive Drowning Response. The key thing to know is that a child who is drowning will probably not appear to be in distress. They may look like they are playing. They won't call for help, because their heads are not above water long enough to take a breath and call for help. If you watch the video below and read the article Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning, you may one day be able to prevent a tragedy.      

#4.  TREAT FIREWORKS WITH RESPECT OR LEAVE THEM TO THE PROFESSIONALS. Over 10,000 people are injured by fireworks each year, with half those injuries affecting hands and fingers, and one third affecting the eyes, head, face or ears.
Most Injured Body Parts
Fireworks Information Center
The American College of Emergency Physicians has a handy list of 
Fireworks Do's and Don'ts, including DO keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand, and DON'T place your body over a fireworks device when trying to light the fuse. In a recent interview, the co-manager of a TNT Fireworks tent in Norwich stressed that many injuries occur when someone tries to relight a firework that hasn't gone off right away. It's also important to be aware that sparklers are hotter than they seem (2000 degrees, as hot as a blowtorch) and especially dangerous for small children (61 percent of that group's fireworks injuries are due to sparklers). Finally, since Connecticut has issued a drought advisory and we are in a High Forest Fire Danger Alert Period, it's better for both people and property to be extremely careful with anything flammable.     

#5. USE COMMON SENSE. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen, don't drink and drive, check for ticks. Check out this useful list of 2016 Summer Safety Tips.from The American Academy of Pediatrics. 


Have an excellent July 4th weekend! 

Fireworks. Colorful violet fireworks in Malta, dark sky background and house light in the far, Malta fireworks festival, 4 of July, Independence day, New Year, maltese fireworks.Zurrieq, Malta


The Volunteers of Washington Ambulance Association
Adam Woodruff, Chief
Heidi Johnson, Assistant Chief
Bill Hickey, Captain


| Washington Ambulance Association | 860-868-7913 | info@washingtonambulance.org |