Saturday, September 29, 2012

Be Careful Texting While Smoking Near a Cliff - And How To Waste Time Blogging

The Anchorage Daily News had a short piece in the paper Thursday: 
"The home of the woman . . . sits on the cliff. While texting on Sept. 17, she walked close to the edge to discard a cigarette butt. She slipped on wet grass and fell. . ."
She went, it says, sixty feet down into rocks with the tide coming in. 
"She was in the rocks between the boulders and she was calling for help," Burke said. "She was screaming in agony."
Bayside Fire Department received the first call for help. Chief Bob Himes said the Kodiak Fire Department was quickly summoned for its expertise in rope rescues.
The online report has more details.   This happened almost two weeks ago and it reports she's recovering in an Anchorage hospital.   I wish her a speedy recovery.

I admit the snark section of my brain lit up first when I read the headline.  After all, we have a law against texting while driving.  Do we need one about texting while walking?   And if you've ever picked up litter, you know that the most common single item of city litter is the cigarette butt.  (There was no mention of the person she was texting or even what happened to the phone.)

But the punishment here is a little severe.  It is a reminder that most dangers lurk, not in the exotic situation, but right near home.  And we've all done dumb things that could have gotten us seriously injured or killed, but we were lucky.  Rather than smirk, we should reflect.

Then I tried to find a source for the 'injuries happening near home' thought.  Ah, the curse of verification and why many (most?) bloggers skip it.  There were a lot of posts repeating the meme from those internet  "Ask" sites like WikiAnswer:
"More than half of the crashes that cause injury or death happen at speeds less than 40 MPH and within 25 miles from home."
But without a reference.  And you find it in the many self-appointed internet expert essays used as website filler such as this one from Living With My Home

"Preventing the Top 5 Most Fatal Home Accidents

We like to think of our "home sweet home" as our haven of safety and security. However, home accidents are responsible for more fatal injuries than any other cause except motor vehicle accidents. Although home accidents are often caused by human error and typically can be prevented, they amount to 18,000 deaths and nearly 13 million injuries a year.

The 5 leading causes of death from home accidents are:

  • Falls
  • Poisonings
  • Fires
  • Suffocation and choking
  • Drowning"
This one even referenced a source from which the whole essay (there's a lot more) was taken, but gives no sources for the data.  The data is so precise that one is tempted to assume it was lifted from somewhere legit.  The author is listed:
Courtney Kreuzwiesner has 11 years' experience working in the public relations and communications fields.
Googling "The five leading causes . . ." brings up a whole slew of websites that have the list.  Including "Safe Haven" a report from the Home Safety Council which says this comes from one of their studies, The State of Home Safety in America™, which I decided not to spend time looking for after the first couple of pages of Google.  But I did find out why the website - - says "Save Kids, USA" when you get to the site.  They merged.

In any case, here's what they say about falls around the house:
Every year, nearly 5.1 million people in America are injured by falls occurring in and around the home.  As the leading cause of home injury,  falls account for one-third of all unintended home injury deaths, and more than 40 percent of all nonfatal home injuries.

While the circumstances surrounding the majority of falls in the home are unknown, research indicates that falls from stairs and steps are responsible for almost 20 percent of fatal falls.1 The survey found that only about half of adults have taken any of the recommended actions to help prevent falls on the stairs in their own homes. Half of the adults surveyed indicated that they clear clutter from stairs; a little less than half indicated having lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs (48 percent); and less than one quarter have handrails on both sides of the stairs (22 percent).
But none of their recommendations would have prevented this fall.  In fact the woman seems to be following one of their fire prevention recommendations:
If you smoke, smoke outside. 

The Center for Disease Control  (CDC) wants to change how people even think about accidents, by saying they are NOT accidents.
Injuries at home and at play are not accidents. They can be prevented. CDC focuses on the science behind making people safe – working to prevent leading causes of injuries, including drowning, falls, fires, and poisoning. Home and recreation-related injuries affect people of all ages, from infants to older adults, and account for about a third of all injury-related emergency department visits. CDC works to ensure that all people have safe and healthy homes and places to play. Preventing unintentional injuries is a step toward ensuring that all Americans live to their full potential.
My son pointed this out to me years ago.  He would talk about crashes because he thought 'accidents' made it sound like they were unpreventable.

I never did find the source of "unintentional injuries mostly occurring within 25 miles of home," though I did see a lot of websites saying something like that.  It does, of course, make sense, because I would guess that we spend most of our time within 25 miles of home.

I left this wandering post like this to reflect my writing path, so you can see how I bounce from site to site trying to write these blog posts.  Usually, I throw out most of what I find, (and most sites I visited are not mentioned here either)  but I thought I'd leave some of this up because it's useful to look behind the scenes now and then and because I don't want to lose any readers, so I want them all to avoid any injuries if at all possible. 

Save Kids USA has a bunch of reports on Kids Safety you can find here.

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