Family Safety Tips

 
Here in Florida we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the water year round. While the best thing you can do to help your family stay safe is to enroll your children in water safety lessons, it is also important to follow these tips whenever you are in, or around bodies of water:
  • Actively supervise children whenever they are near water - even if lifeguards are present. 
  • Never allow children to swim alone. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Install and use barriers around your pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, remove access ladders and secure safety covers when the pool is not in use.
  • At the beach, swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Boating fatalities often occur from drowning.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious near bodies of water including shorelines, rivers and lakes.
  • Enroll in home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED training to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
Each summer, the Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County provides funds for St. Lucie County's Parks and Recreation Aquatics Division to provide sponsorships to elibible St. Lucie County families who enroll their children in water safety and learn-to-swim lessons. For more information on the scholarships available, visit the County's website here.
 
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. 
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home. Practice the escape plan twice a year.
  • If a fire does occur in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL for help.
  • Before departing with children to any event, take a moment to snap a photo on your cell phone. That way, if the unthinkable happens and a child gets lost, you have a picture of how they are dressed and what they looked like that day. The photo can be immediately sent to police to aid in locating the child.
  • Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms. 
  • Have a plan in case you become separated, including a designated meeting place.
  • Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer.
  • Never dress children in clothing that displays their first or last names, prompting unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
  • Keep the same safety rules when traveling that you have at home. If your child needs a life jacket when swimming at home, make sure you have one with you. If you don't allow your children to go off on their own at home, don't allow them to do it on vacation. Being consistent with rules is an important part of safety.

PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON TODAY. While every hurricane season comes with uncertainty – when the next storm will come and where it will make landfall, residents can be certain they are prepared. Follow these preparedness tips from the Red Cross:

  • Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first-aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. 
  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at www.FloodSmart.gov.

Before hurricane season begins, download the free Red Cross Hurricane App that puts real time information on hurricane safety at your fingertips. The app features information on Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. People across the country planning to travel to areas that could get hit with the storm can use the app to receive weather alerts.