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TN Rolls Out ‘More Cops, More Stops’ Campaign

Press release from the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation; April 8, 2013:

Nashville, Tenn. – In an effort to save lives on Tennessee’s roadways, local law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force beginning April 12 through April 15, and from April 19 through April 22, as part of the “More Cops. More Stops.” campaign to crack down on drivers who are speeding, driving while under the influence or distracted, or not wearing seat belts.

Breaking traffic safety laws has deadly consequences. Of the people killed in Tennessee motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2011, 57 percent were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Twenty-seven percent of the fatalities involved drivers or motorcycle riders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above and 23 percent were involved in speeding-related crashes.

More violations of basic traffic safety laws like not wearing a seat belt occur during nighttime hours. In 2011, 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants in the Unites States were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes at night (6:00 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.). Of those killed in nighttime crashes, 62 percent were not wearing seat belts, compared to 43 percent of daytime (6:00 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.) occupant fatalities.

“The statistics prove that violating Tennessee’s traffic safety laws can be deadly, and law enforcement officers will be out in force cracking down on unsafe drivers,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “We hope the high visibility of the More Cops. More Stops. enforcement campaign will remind people to drive responsibly, reduce traffic crashes, and ultimately save lives in Tennessee.”

Tennessee law enforcement teamed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to test the effectiveness of a combined highway safety law enforcement campaign called More Cops. More Stops. For more information on the More Cops. More Stops. campaign, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or www.tntrafficsafety.org for more information.

Gov’t Warns Lonely Tennesseans to Beware of Online Dating Scams as Valentine’s Day Nears

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance; February 4, 2013;

NASHVILLE, TN – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and some consumers are banking on online dating as a way to hatch a serious relationship. Unfortunately, some fraud artists are also banking on online dating as a way to scam people out of their money.

Relationship scams, also known as sweetheart swindles, often follow this pattern:

You meet someone on a dating site and things get serious. You send messages, talk on the phone, trade pictures and maybe even make marriage plans. Soon, you find out the person you met, who claimed to be an American professional, is going to Nigeria or another country for work. Once he or she is there, that person needs your help, asking you to wire money.
The first transfer may be small, but it’s followed by requests for more. You’re told your money is needed to cover costs for a sudden illness, surgery for a son or daughter, or for a plane ticket back to the United States. The promise is always to pay you back. You even might get documents or calls from lawyers as “proof.”

But as genuine as the relationship and requests for money might seem, they’re part of an elaborate scam. The money that was wired – and the person you thought you knew and loved – will be gone.

“These relationship scams are often a long, drawn-out process where the con artist nurtures a relationship, then persuades the victim to send money,” Commerce and Insurance’s Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell said. “These scammers have been known to steal even the real names and photos of U.S. service personnel to set up a fake profile, and prey on the sympathy and patriotism of victims. They also have also been known to use religious singles sites, using religion as a ploy to gain trust before asking for money. Any time someone you’ve never met in person asks for money, it’s usually a warning sign that something isn’t right.”

“Always use caution and common sense when dealing with someone you haven’t met in person,” Cordell said. “Never wire money to someone you meet online, no matter how compelling their story or how strong their appeal to your emotions might be.”

Signs that you may be dealing with a scammer:

  • The pictures posted on the person’s profile mostly seem to be professional quality model images, instead of candid pictures from a person’s everyday life. If a picture looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The online companion professes love way too early in your interaction with him or her.
  • You are asked to send money for gifts, a sick relative or a plane ticket to the U.S.
  • The person claims to be a U.S. citizen working in another country, claims to be well off or a person of important status.
  • The person makes excuses about not being able to speak by phone.
  • The person’s writing includes frequent spelling or grammar mistakes.

Proceed with caution with online dating. Even if you use only dating sites whose reputations are well-established, still keep your wits about you.

State Distributing 20,000 Smoke Detectors

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance; November 21, 2012:  

NASHVILLE, TN – Fresh off the news from the National Fire Protection Association that Tennessee has improved its fatal-fire rankings by four positions, on Nov. 27, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will begin distributing smoke alarms to the counties most likely to have residential fire deaths.

“This massive, statewide, months-long distribution of smoke alarms is all part of our effort to both educate and equip Tennesseans to incorporate fire safety into their daily lives,” Tennessee Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “We want residents to make sure they have functional smoke alarms in their homes, as well as a rehearsed fire-escape plan. These are tools proven to save lives – because even one fire death is one too many.” The program kicks off 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Elizabethton Fire Department in Carter County.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Fire Prevention Grant to purchase 20,000 smoke alarms for installations across the state of Tennessee. Eight thousand of these alarms will be distributed by the end of December 2012. The remaining 12,000 alarms will be distributed throughout the first 6 months of 2013.

For many years, Tennessee has held the undesirable ranking of the state with the second-most fire deaths in the nation. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been committed to working alongside local fire departments to reduce this high fire mortality rate. These efforts were reflected when the NFPA recently released its latest report of U.S. Unintentional Fire Death Rates by State and listed Tennessee as having the sixth-most fire deaths in the nation.

“While this is a major improvement, the State Fire Marshal’s Office wants Tennesseans to know that the work does not stop there,” Fire Prevention Assistant Commissioner Gary West said. “We are thankful our incorporation of scientific data to pinpoint at-risk areas across the state is paying off in a reduction of fire deaths.” The State Fire Marshal’s Office is targeting 78 Census tracts across the state that have been identified as having the highest risk for fire fatalities. These areas were identified as part of a study done by the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service and the Tennessee Municipal League. According to the study, several social, economic, and housing variables correspond with residential fire deaths. These included education variables, median household incomes and median home values.

These variables were used to identify the census tracts in which no fire deaths had yet occurred, but we’re most like those tracts where fire deaths had occurred during 2002-2010.

The distribution will start with the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 a.m.
    Elizabethton, TN (Carter County)
    Elizabethton Fire Department
    121 S. Sycamore Street
    Counties targeted: Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Washington, Sullivan
  • Wednesday, November 28, 10:00 a.m.
    Greeneville, TN (Greene County)
    Tusculum Fire Department
    145 Alexander Street
    Counties targeted: Greene, Cocke, Hamblen, Jefferson
  •  Wednesday, November 28, 5:30 p.m.
    Rogersville, TN (Hawkins County)
    Rogersville Fire Department
    106 E. Kyle Street
    Counties targeted: Hawkins, Grainger, Hancock, Claiborne

The following week, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will go to the southeast portion of the state. That will be followed by distribution in West Tennessee and in Middle Tennessee. For distribution updates, go to http://tn.gov/commerce/sfm/getalarmed.shtml.

In addition to the smoke alarm distribution program, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is joining the Kidde Company in their efforts to increase public awareness of the importance of having working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan. The State Fire Marshal’s Office and Kidde are encouraging everyone to visit www.Alarmpledge.com and take the “Be a Hero, Save a Hero” pledge to help protect your family and our firefighters.

THP to Motorists: Avoid Running Over Rutting Deer

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety; October 17, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol cautions motorists to watch out for deer on or near the roadways this fall season. An increase in deer-related crashes is likely during the months of October through December due to deer mating and hunting season.

“Deer pose a danger to motorists throughout the year, but especially in the fall,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “November is typically the worst month for deer-related crashes. It is important to exercise caution, slow down and stay alert in areas where deer are populated.”

In Tennessee, between 2007 and 2011, 9.2 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. In 2011, there were 5,644 deer-related crashes, including 285 that involved injuries and two that were fatal. That was up by 4.2 percent from 5,418 the previous year. However, since 2007, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have increased 5.9 percent.

Additionally, State Farm®, the nation’s leading auto insurer, estimates 1.09 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. That’s nine percent less than three years earlier.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency suggest the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

  • Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.
  • Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
  • Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
  • Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.
  • When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
  • If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

“Our agency appreciates the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s efforts to remind drivers to be aware of the increase of deer activity at this time of year,” Don King, TWRA Chief of Information and Education said.

In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible, and dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance.

The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and a State Trooper will be dispatched to the location.

Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours. For TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org

Enclosed are statistics for deer-related crashes in Tennessee from 2007 – 2011. Additional data regarding deer-related crashes can be found at: http://www.tn.gov/safety/stats/CrashData/StatewideDeerCrashesByCounty.pdf

Deer Crashes Statewide by Month, 2007 – 2011
Crash Month 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 5 Yr Totals 5 Yr Average
January 413 417 353 320 428 1,931 386
February 292 270 304 275 345 1,486 297
March 279 288 252 334 276 1,429 286
April 256 248 314 301 301 1,420 284
May 289 310 354 386 369 1,708 342
June 397 369 363 385 374 1,888 378
July 365 292 269 317 272 1,515 303
August 345 293 246 226 275 1,385 277
September 346 278 216 306 288 1,434 287
October 588 599 594 660 589 3,030 606
November 1,035 1,230 1,348 1,292 1,317 6,222 1,244
December 724 610 707 616 810 3,467 693
Totals 5,329 5,204 5,320 5,418 5,644 26,915 5,383
Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Research, Planning, and Development;
 16 Oct, 2012.

8 Driver Centers to Open Statewide on 1st Saturday in Oct., Nov. to Issue Voter IDs

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; October 1, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced a reminder that it will open eight of its driver service centers on the first Saturday of October and November to give citizens additional opportunities to obtain photo identification in order to vote in the upcoming state and federal general election. The centers were chosen based on the size of the populations they serve and the response from citizens to centers that were opened on Saturdays before the primary election.

A new state law effective this year requires citizens to present a federal or state-issued photo ID to vote at the polls. The law also requires the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to issue photo IDs for voting purposes at no charge.

As of October 1, 2012, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security had issued 22,933 photo IDs for voting purposes. The vast majority (21,468) of those issued were non-photo driver licenses converted into photo driver licenses, while 1,465 were original photo identification cards.

“Any citizen who needs a photo ID for voting purposes may obtain one at no charge by visiting any of our 51 driver service centers during normal business hours. As an added service, we are again opening certain centers for special Saturday hours to make sure everyone has an opportunity to get a photo ID,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.

“Once again, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is demonstrating its strong commitment to helping Tennesseans get the proper identification needed to vote. We are pleased to continue to partner with Commissioner Gibbons and his colleagues in their efforts to encourage civic participation,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.

The eight driver service centers will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, November 3. The centers will issue voter photo IDs and convert non-photo driver licenses into photo driver licenses only. No other services will be available during these special hours.

The following driver service centers will provide this special Saturday service:

Davidson County
6604 Centennial Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209

Hamilton County
6502 Bonny Oaks Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37416

Knox County
7320 Region Lane
Knoxville, TN 37914

Madison County
100 Benchmark Circle
Jackson, TN 38301

Putnam County
4600 Jefferson Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38506

Shelby County
3200 East Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38118

Washington County
4717 Lake Park Drive
Johnson City, TN 37615

Weakley County
8598 Highway 22
Dresden, TN 38225

To minimize the possibility of wait times during Saturday hours, groups or organizations planning to make a group visit to a driver service center should schedule an appointment by calling Melissa Long at 865-712-4908 (east Tennessee contact) or Rochelle Bryant at 931-242-7282 (west Tennessee contact).

For more information on the new voter photo ID law, including acceptable forms of photo identification and documents needed to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes, please visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s website at www.tn.gov/safety

State Fire Marshal Urges Safety with Home Oxygen Use

Press release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office; September 28, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, TN – The presence of portable, medical oxygen in the home has grown over the past decade, and so has the need for education about the fire hazards associated with its use. Medical oxygen adds a higher percentage of oxygen to the air a patient uses to breathe. Fire needs oxygen to burn. If a fire should start in an oxygen-enriched area, the material burning will burn more quickly.

“When more oxygen is present, any fire that starts will burn hotter and faster than usual,” State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak says. “It is crucial to follow safety precautions when medical oxygen is in use in a home.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2003 to 2006, hospital emergency rooms in the United States received an average of 1,190 thermal burns per year caused by ignitions associated with home medical oxygen. In the past five years in Tennessee, there have been eight fire deaths where oxygen equipment was involved – the most recent occurring January in Dickson County.

Oxygen saturates fabric-covered furniture, clothing, hair and bedding, making it easier for a fire to start and spread. Smoking is the leading heat source resulting in medical oxygen-related fires, injuries and deaths. Homes where medical oxygen is used need specific fire safety rules to protect people from fire and burns.

SAFETY TIPS

  • There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. Patients on oxygen should not smoke.
  • Candles, matches, wood stoves and even sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in the home.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet from heat sources, open flames or electrical devices.
  • Body oil, hand lotion and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away from where oxygen is in use.
  • Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
  • Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs in and outside the home to remind people not to smoke.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are working by testing monthly. Daylight saving time weekends are great times to replace smoke alarm batteries. Also consider using 10-year batteries for smoke alarms.
  • Practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room at least twice a year.

For more information on how to keep your family safe from fire, make plans to attend the State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Prevention Week Kick-off Event on Friday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the plaza of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, 600 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office also has a downloadable fire-safety home checklist at http://tn.gov/commerce/sfm/fsk/documents/checklist.pdf.

State Reminds Tennesseans of Groundwater Safety Importance

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation; Sept. 7, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is joining the Tennessee Department of Health to encourage Tennesseans and private water well owners in the state to observe Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 11.

Sponsored by the National Ground Water Association, in partnership with a variety of federal, state and local partners, Protect Your Groundwater Day highlights the importance of the state’s underground water resources. It also is designed to raise awareness among private water well owners on the importance of yearly testing and proper well maintenance to prevent illness.

“Protect Your Groundwater Day is a great time to reinforce the importance of good ground water quality,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “In addition to private water wells, a large percentage of public systems in the state rely on ground water for its drinking water supply. There are a number of steps Tennesseans can take to preserve and protect ground water for human and environmental needs.”

Tennessee contains beautiful streams, rivers and lakes, and protecting the state’s unseen groundwater system also is important. Regional aquifers are large bodies of hidden underground water and supply a substantial amount of the state’s public and private drinking water.

Tennesseans can do their part in promoting good stewardship of the state’s ground water by properly maintaining their home septic systems and any abandoned wells they own and through proper storage and the appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products or hazardous household waste, including common products such as gasoline, oil, paints, fertilizers, pesticides and cleaning products. For a schedule of TDEC’s upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection events slated for this fall, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/swm/pdf/hazcoll.pdf.

The safety requirements for public drinking water systems do not apply to private wells, so it is the responsibility of private water well owners to ensure their water is safe from contaminants. For more information on the readily available resources for well owners and drillers, please visit TDEC’s Division of Water Resources at www.tn.gov/environment/dws. The website contains several program links, including the list of Licensed Tennessee Well Drillers and Installers and the Tennessee Healthy Well Manual.

According to the Department of Health, at least three outbreaks of waterborne illness related to the consumption of water from a private well or spring have been investigated in Tennessee since 2007. These outbreaks resulted in 16 persons becoming ill. Recommendations to well owners include testing private water supplies annually for bacteria and chemical contaminants. In some areas where karst or limestone geology predominates, filtration through the earth is not effective; continuous purifying treatment such as home filtration, distillers or chlorinating systems are often necessary for drinking water to be reliably free of contamination.

Information about Protect Your Groundwater Day can be found on the National Ground Water Association’s website at www.ngwa.org.

State Releases Labor Day Weekend ‘No Refusal’ DUI Results

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; Sept. 4, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced Tuesday that the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated zero alcohol-related fatal accidents in the 16 counties chosen for “No Refusal” DUI enforcement efforts over the Labor Day holiday period. Additionally, just one DUI suspect detained by the THP refused to take a blood alcohol level test in these enforcement counties and one search warrant was obtained for a blood sample under the new “No Refusal” law. The enforcement effort was coordinated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, along with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO), local district attorneys, and various local and state law enforcement agencies.

“We believe awareness of the ‘No Refusal’ enforcement effort really served to deter people from getting behind the wheel while impaired. That is our main goal with this new law, to prevent tragedies caused by drinking and driving,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.

The “No Refusal” enforcement period started at 6 p.m., Friday, August 31 and ran through 11:59 p.m., Monday, September 3. This special DUI enforcement was effective in selected counties: Roane and Campbell (Knoxville District); McMinn and Meigs (Chattanooga District); Robertson and Rutherford (Nashville District); Shelby and Tipton (Memphis District); Jefferson and Sullivan (Fall Branch District); Cumberland and Warren (Cookeville District); Bedford and Lincoln (Lawrenceburg District); and Chester and Weakley (Jackson District). State and local officials conducted sobriety and driver license checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols, in those counties as well as in other parts of the state.

The “No Refusal” law, enacted this year by the General Assembly, allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. Previously, a suspected impaired driver could refuse a blood alcohol content test and face charges of violating the implied consent law. This new law enables law enforcement to legally obtain blood samples by working with prosecutors and judges throughout the state during the warrant acquisition process.

The results for the “No Refusal” Tennessee Highway Patrol enforcement effort in each of the 16 counties are listed below:

Roane County
DUI Arrests: 2
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Campbell County
DUI Arrests: 12
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

McMinn County
DUI Arrests: 18
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Meigs County
DUI Arrests: 3
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Robertson County
DUI Arrests: 1
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Rutherford County
DUI Arrests: 21
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Shelby County
DUI Arrests: 2
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Tipton County
DUI Arrests: 1
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Jefferson County
DUI Arrests: 1
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Sullivan County
DUI Arrests: 3
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 1

Cumberland County
DUI Arrests: 2
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Warren County
DUI Arrests: 2
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Bedford County
DUI Arrests: 2
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Lincoln County
DUI Arrests: 4
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Chester County
DUI Arrests: 0
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Weakley County
DUI Arrests: 0
Refusal to take BAC test/
Search warrants obtained for blood samples 0

Government’s Tips for Kids to Beat the Heat

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; August 15, 2012:  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Between 1998 and 2010, 32 children in Tennessee died from heat-related causes, with 13 of those fatalities occurring in vehicles. Last month alone, three children died. As the searing heat of summer continues, the Tennessee Department of Health is reminding residents and visitors to increase their efforts to prevent deaths from heat stroke in cars, trucks and SUVs.

“A vehicle’s internal temperature can rise quickly to a dangerous level, so it’s important to never leave a child alone in a car,” said TDH Commissioner John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Any of us can be distracted so we need to take some simple memory steps, like putting something we need when we leave our cars such as a briefcase or purse, beside our child to prevent a distraction from becoming a terrible tragedy.”

Heat stroke can occur when a person’s temperature exceeds 104 degrees F and his or her ability to handle heat is overwhelmed. The first symptoms include dizziness, disorientation and sluggishness, followed by loss of consciousness, hallucinations and rapid heartbeat. When the body’s core temperature reaches 107 degrees F, internal organs often stop functioning.

A study by the San Francisco State University Geoscience Department looked at how quickly heat can rise in a vehicle. To investigate heat build-up, researchers used a dark blue mid-size sedan with a grey interior, with the windows slightly cracked open and ambient temperatures between 72 and 96 degrees F. The temperature increase inside the car was 19 degrees in 10 minutes, 29 degrees in 20 minutes, 34 degrees in 30 minutes, 43 degrees in 60 minutes and between 45 and 50 degrees in two hours.

The Tennessee Department of Health offers these safety suggestions to prevent hyperthermia deaths:

  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle.
  • If you see a child left unattended in a hot vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Place a stuffed animal in the child safety seat. When you place your child in the seat, move the stuffed animal to the front seat with you. The stuffed toy will remind you about the child in the seat.
  • Always lock your car to make sure children cannot get inside while it is unattended.
  • If a child is missing, check swimming pools and bodies of water first, then nearby cars and trucks, including trunks or other spaces that appear to be locked.
  • Place your briefcase, purse or keys beside the child safety seat, so you have to go to the seat before leaving the vehicle and entering a building.
  • Tape a reminder note to your dashboard; the National Weather Service motto is excellent for this: “Beat the heat, check the back seat!”

“Parents may be overwhelmed or have other issues clouding the decision-making process,” said Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP, director of TDH’s Division of Family Health and Wellness. “We all have a responsibility to help; if we see a baby in the backseat, a kind remark such as, ‘That sure is a pretty baby in the seat there,’ could help save a life. If anyone ever sees a baby alone in a hot car, don’t be concerned a parent might get mad about you dialing 9-1-1. The parent might consider you a lifesaver.”

For additional information about hyperthermia deaths, visit http://ggweather.com/heat.

Government’s Tips for County Fair Safety

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; August 14, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Thousands of Tennesseans will be enjoying the sights, sounds and foods of county fairs in the upcoming weeks. The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture remind visitors and exhibitors to prepare for a healthy trip to the fairgrounds by remembering the following tips:

  • Wear a hat and sunscreen, preferably a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Apply liberally and often. Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection should also be worn during daylight hours.
  • Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing to protect against insects and sun. Also remember to wear insect repellants that contain 20-50 percent or more of DEET on exposed skin.
  • Drink water to avoid heat-related illnesses and limit sugary beverages with caffeine.
  • Be thoughtful in choosing foods. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or weight-related health issues, remember to enjoy foods in moderation.
  • If you feel weak or light-headed, find a cool place to sit and rest. If there is an air-conditioned building on the property, go there, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Most fairs have emergency medical personnel to provide aid.
  • If you take medications, be sure to have them with you in case you need them and make sure you carry emergency contact information in case you become ill.
  • Be aware of noise levels if you bring small children to the fair. Some loudspeakers and other sound-carrying devices can damage developing ears. An inexpensive set of earplugs is a convenient way to protect hearing.
  • Wash hands well with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals. Don’t eat, drink or allow children to put things in their mouths while in animal areas.

Livestock exhibits are also popular attractions at fairs, and the Tennessee Department of Health is working cooperatively with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to help safeguard the health of people and animals. Some states have reported cases of a strain of influenza that has thus far been mild, known as H3N2v, that has infected pigs and, in some cases, humans in close contact with them. No cases of H3N2v have been reported in Tennessee.

Whenever individuals visit a petting zoo or livestock exhibit they should avoid eating and drinking around animals and wash their hands carefully with warm soapy water afterward. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers alone may not be effective. Parents should avoid taking strollers into areas where livestock are kept, and children should not take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles or similar items into animal barns.

“We want the public to enjoy and support their local fair but to also observe good health practices while around livestock for their own protection and that of the animals,” says State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM.

TDA and TDH are monitoring the situation closely and want the public to have increased awareness about precautions. Officials also note there is no risk in eating properly cooked pork products.