According to data released by the American Red Cross, nearly 70 percent of Americans have been involved in a summer emergency of some kind—ranging from small things like bug bites to more serious things like heat strokes and other life-threatening situations.
Florissant Patch spoke to Sgt. Kevin Boschert, the former public information officer for the Florissant Police Department, who offered his top summer safety tips for Florissant residents.
Pool Safety Tips
While swimming pools are a summertime fun and exercise staple, they present many dangers to kids and adults alike, Boschert said.
“We don't want children out there alone in the pools, so parents should never leave kids unattended in pools at home or even public pools,” Boschert said. “We recommend swimming lessons for kids so they can take care of themselves if something does happen.”
Boschert added that residents need to be especially careful when they go to public pools.
“Protect your valuables—lock them up and put them away,” he said. “And make sure you’re following the safety advice of the people running the pool.”
Summer Cookout Tips
Florissant families often barbecue during the summer and Boschert said that safety measures need to go along with the fun. He said that people often think they can barbecue in their garages or carports, but that it’s not safe to do so.
“There is a concern with carbon monoxide,” he said. “It doesn’t ventilate like it should and people can be seriously injured because of it. Just don’t do it.”
Fires can get out of control and cause property damage or injury when left unattended, so Boschert advised Florissant residents to be sure they pay close attention when cooking out.
“Be careful with lighter fluid too,” Boschert said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who spray it on smoldering coals and that is really dangerous.”
He said that propane grills have their own set of safety issues.
“Make sure all seals and valves are working properly before starting your propane grill to be sure it doesn’t have a leak, which can cause a flash fire,” he said.
Bike Safety Tips
According to data published by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 630 bicyclists were killed on United States roads in 2009—and 74 of them were age 14 or younger. In the same year, 51,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic, up from 43,000 two years earlier.
Boschert said that the police department encourages kids to wear their bicycle helmets. He said a lot of kids get peer pressure to stop wearing their helmets, but parents need to be firm and tell them that it’s a safety issue, just like wearing a seatbelt.
“Let your children have a say in the purchase of the helmet and pick out the one they want, and let them put stickers on it or decorate it however they want,” he said. “They are more likely to wear it more frequently that way.”
Boschert added that a local man, Gary Behlmann, has a bicycle helmet program that fits kids for helmets and sells helmets at a substantial discount.
“He’s done that for years and years,” he said. “He’s been involved in activities around town for a long time.”
Fireworks Safety Tips
Data published by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that in 2009, about 8,000 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries associated with fireworks, and more than half of them were burns that mostly inovled the head, hands, fingers and legs. Kids and people under the age of 20 acconted for more than half of the injuries.
Boschert said that fireworks are illegal in Florissant, even sparklers.
“If parents are going to do it, make sure kids are under adult supervision at all times,” Boschert said. “Kids have a tendency to think sparklers are safe, but they’re very hot and can cause serious damage.”
Boschert said parents might be better off to just take their kids to one of Florissant’s fireworks displays.
“If someone is caught with fireworks, they could be issued a summons and receive a fine for that,” he said.
He said that if a resident calls to complain about a neighbor using fireworks, the police department will go and investigate the situation.
On a lighter note, Boschert said that one year, a local woman called to complain about fireworks.
“We asked her where she was, and it turned out she was complaining about the city’s fireworks display,” he said, laughing.
Boschert said that the Florissant Police Department just wants residents to have a fun and safe summer.
“Enjoy the summer and always be mindful to keep yourself and your family safe,” he said. “Safety first.”