We previously discussed the four types of emergency alert and warning systems used by public safety agencies. When faced with a disaster, crisis situation or working incident, it is important to quickly provide the media with as much information as possible. A press briefing is a logical next step once an emergency alert has been communicated. More informal than a press conference, press briefings are used to give updates during a developing event. In our latest blog post, Mark Brady revisits our webinar, “Time-Critical: Communicating Effectively During Disasters and Major Incidents,” and discusses strategies for press briefings – information, timing and best practices.
Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let's face it, it can be a nightmare. Skip the stress and keep your pets safe this year by following these 10 easy tips.
Teddy and Baylee enjoying Halloween before going indoors for Trick or Treaters - Mark Brady - PGFDPIO
1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.
All forms of chocolate—especially baking or dark chocolate—can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoningmay include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. “Xylitol ingestion can also cause liver failure in dogs, even if they don’t develop symptoms associated with low blood sugar,” adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor with petMD. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it's better to be safe than sorry.
2. Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution. Make sure your black cats are safely housed indoors around Halloween.
3. Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Indoors is certainly better than outdoors on Halloween, but your door will be constantly opening and closing, and strangers will be on your doorstep dressed in unusual costumes. This, of course, can be scary for our furry friends, which can result in escape attempts or unexpected aggression. Putting your dog or cat in a secure crate or room away from the front door will reduce stress and prevent them from darting outside into the night…a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.
4. Keep glow sticks away from pets.
While glow sticks can help keep people safe on Halloween night, they can add some unwanted drama to the holiday if a pet chews one open. “Thankfully, the liquid inside glow sticks is non-toxic, so it won’t actually make pets sick,” Coates says, “but it does taste awful.” Pets who get into a glow stick may drool, paw at their mouth, become agitated, and sometimes even vomit. Coates recommends that if your pet does chew on a glow stick, “offer some fresh water or a small meal to help clear the material out of the mouth.”
5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.
While small amounts of corn and pumpkin can be fed safely to many pets, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn displays can cause big problems. Gastrointestinal upset is a possibility whenever pets eat something they aren’t used to, and intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed. Coates adds that “some types of mold produce mycotoxins that can cause neurologic problems in dogs and cats.” So, keep the pumpkins and corn stalks away from your pets. And speaking of pumpkins…
6. Don't keep lit pumpkins around pets.
If you are using candles to light your jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decorations, make sure to place them well out of reach of your pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or causing a fire.
7. Keep electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach.
Electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations are certainly safer than open candles, but they still can present a risk to pets. Pets who chew on electrical cords can receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock or burn. Batteries may cause chemical burns when chewed open or gastrointestinalblockage if swallowed. Shards of glass or plastic can cause lacerations anywhere on the body or, if swallowed, within the gastrointestinal tract.
8. Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know they'll love it.
If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn't dangerous or simply annoying to your pet. Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. Coates warns that pets who are wearing a costume should always be supervised by a responsible adult so that if something goes wrong, it can be addressed right away.
9. Try on pet costumes before the big night.
Don’t wait until Halloween night to put your pet in a costume for the first time. “Any time you want to introduce your pet to something new, it’s best to go slowly,” Coates says. Get your pet costumes early, and put them on for short periods of time (and piece by piece, if possible). “Make it a positive experience by offering lots of praise and treats,” Coates adds. If at any time, your pet seems distressed or develops skin problems from contact with a costume, consider letting him go in his “birthday suit.” A festive bandana may be a good compromise.
10. IDs, please!
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be returned. Collars and tags are ideal if a Good Samaritan is able to collect your wayward pet, but microchips offer permanent identification should the collar or tag fall off. Just make sure the information is up-to-date. Use Halloween as a yearly reminder to double check your address and phone number on tags and with the company who supports pet microchips.
HALLOWEEN SHOULD BE A FUN, NOT DANGEROUS NIGHT FOR CHILDREN
NOVEMBER 25, 2013
Washington, D.C.– Halloween might be scary for different reasons than you think. On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. With a few tips and tricks, kids can stay safe while out walking. Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx Express® urge parents to prepare their children to walk safely, and remind drivers to be particularly alert this Halloween.
“On Halloween, more children are on the street after dark than normal, and they are so excited that they may run out into the street without thinking,” said Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Drivers need to take extra care and slow down on neighborhood roads. And, of course, it’s very important that drivers put down mobile devices to avoid distraction.”
Safe Kids and FedEx are teaming up to keep kids safe on Halloween. Across the country, 156 Safe Kids Coalitions, with support from FedEx volunteers, will provide reflective materials and safety information to children and parents. Children are encouraged to wear the reflective material on Halloween night to increase their visibility to drivers.
“Parents need to talk to their children about watching out for cars while trick-or-treating,” says Carr. “And make sure that their costume has something reflective on it so cars can see them. You could even have kids put on a glow stick necklace or a reflective slap bracelet.”
Safe Kids and FedEx recommend these top tips to keep kids safe on Halloween.
Top safety tips for kids:
Costumes can be both creative and safe. The most important thing is to make sure you can be seen by drivers. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct your vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible. Carry glow sticks or flashlights so you can see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
Walk on sidewalks or paths.If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Slow down and stay alert - Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don’t dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
Top safety tips for drivers:
Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Reduce any distractionsinside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
In 2000, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx Express launched the Walk This Way Program in the United States to educate motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities. Safe Kids and FedEx address the issue through research, physical improvements to school zones, and education and awareness campaigns throughout the year.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions in the United States and in 23 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 55 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at safekids.org.