Orlando Regional Level One Trauma Center is committed to providing education on trauma prevention to our community. The trauma prevention program focuses on community interventions and education through our exceptional relationships with EMS, law enforcement and community prevention partners such as MADD, county traffic safety teams, SafeKids, and the Red (EMS), White (healthcare providers) and Blue (law enforcement) team.
We urge you to review safety tips when it comes to pedestrians, defensive driving, water safety, lightning, alcohol, gun safety, boating safety, poison control and protection, and preventing burns. Opening your eyes and ears to the world around you, using common sense, and following the law are the first steps preventing traumas and can save your life or the life of a loved one.
When we hear about a motor vehicle crash, we assume that two cars collided. But about 95,000 times each year, a car collides with a pedestrian. Statistically, young children and the elderly are more likely than others to be killed or injured in a collision. The best way to avoid this is to be aware of the vehicles around you. Pedestrians have the right of way, but pedestrians should also show care for their own safety.
Collisions are almost always preventable with these precautions:
- When crossing streets, always follow the look "left, right, left" rule.
- When possible, use sidewalks and cross in designated areas.
- Give drivers ample time to stop prior to entering the crosswalk.
- Crossing at locations that have traffic signals help motorists to see you easier.
- Turn off your headphones when crossing the street, to hear approaching traffic.
- Avoid roads with blind curves and high speed limits.
- Always hold a child by the hand while crossing the street and remember WALK, don't run.
Remain sober whenever you drive to reduce your risk of causing a crash. You are at risk of being involved in a crash, because you do not know when an impaired driver will cross your path. Watch for signs from a driver who is not in control of their car and avoid them.
- Wide turns
- Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line
- Driving at a very slow speed
- Stopping or breaking unpredictably
- Responding slowly to traffic signals
- Turning suddenly or illegally
- Driving after dark with headlights off
Every time you get in a car, you assume an incredible risk. There is a greater than 50 percent chance that you will be involved in a serious automobile collision - and you will never know when. With these incredible odds, doesn't it make sense to be prepared?
Important things to remember:
- Check manufacturer's instructions for securing child seats for kids under four years old or kids that weigh less than 40 pounds.
- Remember to put children in the back seat, where they cannot be injured by the impact of an inflated air bag.
- The lap belt should be just below the waistline and against the hips; the shoulder belt should cross the chest and lie against the collarbone, not your neck.
- In 2003, seat belts saved an estimated 14,903 lives of passenger vehicle occupants over 4 years old.
- In 2003, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.
- In 2003, 73 percent of passengers wearing seat belts and who were involved in a fatal crash survived. Forty-two percent of those not wearing seat belts survived.
*(Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2005)
Make a Splash with Water Safety
Here in Florida, pools play an integral role in beating the heat. Unfortunately, they are also the scene of many incidents and children are often the victims. Without supervision, play time can take a tragic turn, so keep a close watch over children near water.
- An adult who knows CPR should supervise children near water at all times.
- Swimming lessons do not make children drown-proof.
- Teach children to use the buddy system.
- State laws require fencing around all pools to prevent a drowning. (Always lock the gate after use to prevent unsupervised swimming.)
- Safety equipment (such as a life ring, life hook, and a poolside phone) should be easily accessible.
- No one should dive into pools, except in designated deep areas. (Diving into a pool whose water is not deep enough for diving and striking the bottom of the pool is the cause of many serious neck and spine injuries.)
- Never run around the pool or leave toys where someone might trip over them.
- Keep pool chemicals out of the reach of children.
- If the phone rings, let it ring. Never leave children alone, even for a minute.
Beach and Boat Rules
- Children should always wear life vests in a boat. (Before buying or using a life vest, check to make sure it meets national safety standards.)
- Only take children to beaches with lifeguards on duty.
- Never leave designated swimming areas at the beach. (There could be drop-offs or strong under-currents in other areas.)
Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. The most likely place to be struck by lightning in Florida is near water. Boating, beach going, or fishing in a canal can all be deadly activities when lightning is near. The second deadliest location is near or under a tree. Trees may give some shelter from rain, but are often deadly locations during lightning. Here is how you can reduce your risk of being struck by lightning:
If you are outdoors:
- When you first see lightning or hear thunder go into a building or vehicle.
- Avoid water, higher ground, metal objects and open spaces.
- Where possible, find shelter in a building or in a closed vehicle such as a car, truck or van with the windows completely shut. If lightning strikes nearby when you are outside, you should:
- Crouch down. Keep your feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
- Keep your distance (minimum of 15 ft.) from other people.
If you are indoors:
- Avoid water
- Stay away from doors and windows.
- Do not use the telephone. Take off head sets.
- Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, and TV sets. Lightning can strike outside electric and phone lines, which will send shocks to inside equipment.
- Suspend activities for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.
If struck by lightening:
- Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so.
- Call 9-1-1 or send for help immediately.
There are a surprising number of serious traumas, especially head injuries that occur when people cycle or skate without proper safety equipment. When you are on wheels, you have less control and more momentum, so any fall or collision could have serious consequences. If you have an fall or collision, wearing a helmet could mean the difference between a minor injury and a lifelong disability.
- To be effective, a helmet must fit correctly. It should sit evenly between the ears, fit snugly and cover your forehead.
- Make sure the helmet meets safety standards. (Look for an ANSI, Snell, ASTM or federal certification sticker.)
- Replace a helmet if it has been in an fall or collision, even if it has no visible cracks or signs of damage. (Also remember other essential equipment for inline skating - elbow and knee pads, and wrist supports.)
In the event of a poisoning, call your Poison Information Center or doctor immediately. Put your Poison Information Center phone number on your phone. Keep syrup of Ipecac on hand, but only use it if instructed to do so by the Poison Information Center or your doctor. The phone number for the Florida Poison Information Center is 800 282-3171.
Substance abuse contributes to a significant number of traumas, from fights to worksite injuries to household injuries. But no where are the horrible effects of alcohol more apparent than on our highways. Alcohol plays a part in almost 40 percent of all traffic fatalities, and someone is injured in an alcohol-related crash every 30 seconds.
Florida statistics (source: NHTSA, 2000)
- For one of every 110 miles driven in Florida in 2000, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08 (the legal limit) sat behind the wheel.
- Police in Florida reported 23,578 crashes involving a driver or pedestrian with a BAC of .01 or more.
- An estimated total of 135,300 crashes in Florida involving alcohol killed 1,191 people and injured an estimated 49,100.
If you are of legal drinking age, there is nothing wrong with having an occasional drink, just do so responsibly. Do not drive when you drink. Be a good friend and do not let other people drive when they drink. Choose a designated driver before going out or offer a friend a ride, cab or place to stay if he or she has been drinking.
Burns are some of the most serious and painful injuries, and treating the burn patient requires special capabilities. With Central Florida's only Level I Trauma Center and dedicated Burn Unit, ORMC can care for people burned by fire, chemicals or electricity, and offer them the best chance for maximum recovery and minimal scarring.
Heat from any source can do serious damage to nerves and tissues. First-degree burns are the least severe, usually only causing surface redness; second-degree burns leave blisters, redness and greater pain; and third-degree burns are the worst type, involving charring and deep tissue damage of the skin. Infection is a common threat when the body's protective outer layer is damaged. Even minor burns should be treated as a traumatic injury.
- Sunburn: Use sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Chemical burns: Keep harsh chemicals out of the reach of children. Mark containers clearly and close tightly. Wear protective glasses and clothing.
- Scalding: Never set your water heater above 120 degrees. Never try to do other things while holding hot coffee or tea. Turn pan handles away from the edge of the stove.
- Fire: Install smoke detectors according to manufacturer's instructions and check batteries regularly. Check the battery every time you adjust your clocks at daylight savings time. Never leave burning candles or cigarettes unattended. Practice family fire drills.
- Electrical burns: Never use electrical appliances near water. Replace appliances with damaged cords. Take shelter from lightning. Teach children to stay away from electrical lines, outlets and electrical boxes.
If you own a gun, you MUST follow the law and use it safely. Contact you local police station for information on gun registration and safety. The following gun safety rules are essential for all ages:
- Children should NEVER TOUCH A GUN. Teach them to notify an adult if they see or find a gun.
- Never treat a gun as a toy.
- Always keep the muzzle pointed away from you in a safe direction.
- Be certain of your target and what lay beyond it before you pull the trigger.
- Always unload a weapon and apply a trigger lock before storing it.
- Store ammunition and guns separately, out of the reach of children.
- Do not use alcohol or mood-altering drugs, including medication, when you are handling guns.
Domestic violence hurts many people, not just the victim and the abuser. Families, friends, and employers suffer. What is even more disturbing is that it's a cycle that often repeats itself. Abuse is rarely an isolated incident, and it is often passed from generation to generation. To put an end to the pain, you must first seek help, and that means admitting that you need it.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, check the phone book for local help centers under the heading of Abuse or Domestic Violence. Operators can provide information and referrals for victims of violent crimes.
Factors that influence abuse:
- Drug abuse
- Personality disorders
Far too many traumatic injuries happen simply because people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they become victims of crime. Stay safe with these street smart tips:
- Be cautious of emergencies. If someone comes to your door and asks to use the phone, offer to make the call, but do not open the door.
- Do not leave your name or any personal information on your answering machine.
- Do not participate in phone surveys. Simple questions can help a criminal to target victims.
- If you go for a walk outside or use public transportation, do not wear expensive jewelry or clothing. Also keep valuables, like your wallet and keys, in your pocket.
- Use only well-lit, busy ATM's. Go to drive-up cash machines whenever possible.
- If you walk or jog, do not wear headphones. Look and listen to what is going on around you. Better yet, workout with a friend.
- Check your car before getting in and lock your doors when you are seated inside the car.
- If you think you car is being followed, do not go home. Drive to a police or fire station and honk your horn for help.
- You are most likely to be victimized by someone you know, so do not share personal information with acquaintances or co-workers.
- Use caution on the Internet. People are often not who they say they are, and many will use any information they can get against you.