According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than 30 million Americans enjoy using rifles, shotguns and handguns for hunting and target shooting. Secure storage of sporting firearms is extremely important for the safety of a household. The following rules from the NSSF for safe storage of sporting firearms can help you be responsible in the home.
- Always unload sporting firearms carefully and completely before taking them into the home, remembering to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Never load a sporting firearm in the home.
- Always make absolutely sure that firearms in your home are securely stored out of the reach of children. Unloaded firearms can be secured with a firearm locking device to make them inoperable. Unloaded firearms also can be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, firearm vault or storage case.
- Always store ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms and out of the reach of children.
- Always clean and place firearms in their proper storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
- Always re-check firearms carefully and completely to be sure that they are still unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents have occurred when a family member has borrowed or loaned a firearm and returned it to storage while it was still loaded.
- Always remember: you are responsible for making certain the firearms in you home are not casually accessible to anyone especially curious young people.
Firearm accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that guns are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location.
Firearms Kept for Home Security
Special safety measures need to be taken when using a firearm for security reasons. When keeping a loaded gun in your home, your number one objective is to create a situation in which the firearm is readily available to you, yet impossible for others to maintain. Special cases that lock and can be quickly opened by authorized individuals are some options to take into consideration. As the authorized individual, you must exercise full control at all times over your loaded gun. This means the gun must be unloaded and placed in secure storage with the ammunition in a separate location whenever you leave your home.
Most fatal home firearm accidents occur when younger kids, mostly children who do not live in the firearm owners home, discover firearms that adults thought were concealed safely .
People who keep firearms for home security have an important responsibility of ensuring that children cannot encounter their loaded firearms. The precautions that the owner takes must be completely effective or the outcome may end tragically.
Frightening Statistics about Handguns
- 10 children are killed by a handgun everyday.
- In homes with guns, the homicide of a household member is almost three times more likely to occur than in homes without guns.
- The risk of suicide is increased by nearly five times in homes with guns; the risk is higher still for adolescents and young adults.
- Firearms are the most frequent suicide method used by depressed teens, and 78% of all firearm suicide attempts are fatal.
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Each year over 200,000 children are injured on America's playgrounds. Falls to the surface account for about 70% of those injuries. Allegany County has over 35 community and school playgrounds. Some of these playgrounds meet safety standards, others fail horribly. Use the following checklist to help you decide whether your community playground is safe for your children. If you have any questions regarding the checklist please call us at (301) 777-5680.
- Surfaces around the play equipment should have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch or safety-tested rubber materials.
- Surfacing should extend at least 6 feet in all directions from the play equipment. For swings it should be twice the height of the suspending bar, front and back.
- Structures more than 30 inches high must be spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Spaces between areas such as ladder rungs and guardrails should measure less than 3.5 inches and more than 9 inches.
- Open S hooks or protruding bolt ends should not be present.
- Sharp points or edges on equipment should not be present.
- Tree stumps, rocks and concrete footings should not be present because they can cause tripping hazards
- Elevated platforms and ramps need protective guardrails to prevent falls.
- Play areas should be checked frequently.
- Children must be properly supervised while in the playground environment.
Other Helpful Links
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All-Terrain Vehicle Safety
35% of ATV-related deaths and injuries are youths under the age of 16. There were 139 injuries and 2 fatalities in Maryland in 1999, 19 of the injuries were in Allegany County. 83% of those injured in Allegany County were not wearing helmets.
Quick Safety Tips
Safety equipment is needed at all times, even when riding in your own yard.
Only one rider (this includes the driver) should occupy the ATV.
The size of the ATV should vary with the age of the rider. Youth under 16 should ride an ATV 90cc or less.
Remember to use the correct maneuvers while driving on hills.
Most injuries are a result of excessive speed.
Remember that alcohol impairs judgment while driving and often leads to fatal injuries
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Booster Seat Safety
Seat Belts are made for adult-sized bodies. Answer these questions to determine the best way to restrain your child over 40 pounds:
- Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat.
- Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered no to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat to ride safely in the car.
Allegany County Health Department Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) Loaner Program promotes proper use of child seats for all infants and children.
Seats are available for rent to residents of Allegany County. To make an appointment please call (301) 777-5671. Rentals depend on availability of seats. Only one seat of each size will be rented per child.
Prevention Services recently completed posters that review guidelines for using a booster seats safely. These posters can be used only with the permission of Prevention Services here at the Allegany County Health Department. Download our Booster Stage? Poster.
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In the United States, 10,000 people die from falls every year and more than 200,000 people, over 65 years of age, are injured from a fractured hip. In Allegany County, 72% of all fall injuries occurred in the over 65 age group and 37% of all hospital reported injuries were caused by falls.
Fall related Injuries should never be accepted as a normal part of the aging process. Most injuries that are fall related can be prevented with very simple actions.
Simple Steps to Preventing Falls
- Plan ahead for severe weather conditions, such as ice, snow, sleet, and hail.
- Make sure sidewalks are in good condition. Avoid pot holes and uneven pavement.
- Check the edge of your steps. Make sure they are clearly marked and have a railing present.
- When walking a pet be sure that there is no slack in the leash. This keeps you and your pet from being surprised about any sudden movements.
- Carpets should lie flat with slip resistant backing.
- Clean all spills as soon as they happen.
- Make sure electrical wires and phone cords are away from walkways.
- Make sure everything is well lit, especially stairs.
- Hand rails should be present in the bath tub or shower with bathroom mats.
- Kitchen items should be reachable without climbing or bending.
- Keep a light and phone near the bed in case of emergencies.
- Keep blankets and bedding from touching the floor to prevent tripping.
- Stairs and walkway areas should be clear of clutter such as magazines and bags.
- Handrails should be present on both sides of the stairs.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself
Protecting your bones as you age can decrease the severity of injuries resulting from falls.
- Maintain a calcium-rich diet throughout like. (Examples, low-fat milk or yogurt; broccoli; salmon)
- Performing weight-bearing exercises such as walking or dancing.
- Quit smoking and avoid excess alcohol - they deplete calcium.
- Women should use hormone replacement therapy after menopause to help slow bone loss.
To find out more information, call the Allegany Health Department at (301) 759-5077
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