Safety may not be the most exciting topic to ponder, but it certainly is one of the most important. From “stop, drop, and roll” to “look both ways before you cross the street,” there are lessons we learn and pass on all our lives whose full value may not be known until we are tested by a critical few seconds. While you may never need to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) or you usually do remember to wear your seatbelt when in the car, there are many areas in which just a little knowledge or a slight behavior modification can make all the difference in your safety — or that of someone you love. In a nationwide effort focusing on how to reduce common risks of injury and death, the National Safety Council (NSC) annually sponsors the month of June as National Safety Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44 and are the reason for 2.5 million hospitalizations. Top risks by age group have been identified as mechanical suffocation for those under 12 months old, traffic crashes for ages 1 to 24, poisoning (often from prescription pain medication) for ages 25 to 64, and falls for those age 65 and older. While not everyone has a baby in the home to worry about, tips such as placing infants on their backs to sleep and keeping cribs free of clutter (specifically suffocation hazards like stuffed animals and blankets) can easily be suggested to someone who does. The risks in the other age categories are widespread problems. We can all benefit from not using electronic devices while driving, never sharing prescriptions, and using non-skid mats in the tub or shower. Since safety can be compromised in seemingly endless ways, the NSC chooses to focus each week of the month on one area. This year, the topics are: Week 1 — Stand Ready to Respond. Assessing potential risks and having a response plan will help you handle an incident with better results. Suggestions include getting trained in CPR and first aid, having an emergency preparedness kit in the event of a natural disaster, practicing a home evacuation plan in case of fire, and carrying updated medical/emergency contact info in your wallet or on your mobile phone. Week 2 — Be Healthy. Legally obtainable painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin are highly addictive, and their effects can be made worse when mixed with alcohol. Ask about alternatives to these opioids if they are recommended to you, take precautions when driving or working if on one of these drugs, keep all medicines away from children (store them up high, preferably in a locked container), and find out about interactions before mixing medications. Week 3 — Watch Out for Dangers. Complacency and routine can be hazardous to your health. Consider looking at familiar surroundings through a new safety lens. Is there a fence around your neighbor’s pool? Is there a GFI next to your kitchen sink? Do you have an accessible home fire extinguisher? Are the railings on the stairs at work in good condition? Have you had any close calls while walking because you were distracted by your phone? Week 4 — Share Roads Safely. Last year, 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million were injured on U.S. roads. Driving defensively can help you be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Set your GPS and music up before moving. Never use your cell behind the wheel. Don’t speed, tailgate, or drive impaired. Help teens sharpen their skills by driving with them even after they are licensed, and help older people by being honest with them if their driving abilities have decreased. Take an active role in safety this month. If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the personal injury attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm. We have years of experience helping people and we can help you. Our knowledgeable legal team will work closely with you every step of the way and will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Based in Pikeville, KY, we proudly serve communities throughout the Bluegrass State. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.