There’s nothing like a great barbeque on July 4th followed by a fireworks show. It’s a great day to honor our country surrounded with friends and family.
Like any celebration, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun. The last thing you would expect is for something to go wrong while you’re celebrating. At the risk of sounding paranoid, this is exactly when we should do our best to keep safety a top priority.
According to the National Safety Council, July 4th is our country’s most dangerous holiday with the most deaths occurring on and around this date.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your loved ones safe while still enjoying the 4th of July:
1. Stay hydrated.
Most of the country will experience hot temperatures over the holiday weekend and the effects of dehydration can be very serious. Severe dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, sunburn or even heatstroke if in the sun for too long.
Eat high water content foods like watermelon and raw veggies to help you stay hydrated. Meat, potatoes and bread have very little water content to them. If those foods are the bulk of your July 4th diet then make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks, like soda, are also diuretics and strip water from the body. If you choose to indulge, be sure to drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic or soft drink. You’ll be glad you did when you wake up on the 5th of July sans hangover.
2. Be a safe spectator.
Setting off fireworks can be extremely dangerous. Leave the display up to the experts. Try to attend your local fireworks display at an organized event in your community rather than making your own backyard show. If you do find yourself at a backyard party where fireworks are being set off, keep yourself and your kids out of range if the worst possible scenario were to happen.
3. Be on crowd alert.
If you are heading to a parade or fireworks display with a group of people, make sure to check out the area for any suspicious activity or people. You can be calm and have fun while still keeping alert.
Make sure you know where the exits are if you are in an enclosed space and always have a way out mapped out in your head if there were any kind of disruption. Remember, you don’t always have to follow the crowd, especially in mass hysteria.
3. Light up your kids.
Keeping your kids close to you when in a crowd, at a parade or any public gathering is ideal, but not always realistic. Kids will be kids and will run off to greet friends, pet animals or play with bright shiny objects. It can be scary when they are out of your sight for too long. That’s why these Shoe Safety Lights by Mace Brand are ideal when you’re heading out after dark. These lights clip right onto the back of their heels and light them up so they will be visible to you from far away.
4. Use a rideshare app.
It goes without saying to not drink and drive. But, sadly, almost half of the deaths that occur on this holiday are alcohol related. Instead of driving, use a rideshare app like Uber, Lyft or a good old-fashioned taxi. The extra $10-$20 is way cheaper than a DUI, DWI, or even worse, getting in an accident with innocent people.
Have a fun and safe 4th of July!
Father’s Day is fast approaching and falls on Sunday, June 18th. Are you need of ideas of what to get Dad to let him know that you care and appreciate him? The following are my favorite must-have safety gadgets that every guy should have:
Mace Brand Flashlight and Stun Gun (http://www.mace.com/mace-brand-2-400-000-volt-black-stun-gun-with-bright-led-717)
A stun gun is a great idea for a Dad who doesn’t want a real gun in his home or on his person. This Mace Brand stun gun also has a flashlight, so it’s great to protect Dad against a nighttime intruder or for him to keep in his car.
2 Way Radio
What guy doesn’t wouldn’t like a set of walkie talkies? They may sound like a kid’s toy but if your Dad is an outdoorsman he could really use these. Using 2 way radios to communicate with his camping, hiking or snowboarding buddy can keep him safe if he got into any trouble, got injured or simply lost his way.
Anyone who uses a smartphone, tablet or laptop can use a portable charger for those times when there’s no place to plug in. If Dad travels a lot, this is a great gift for him to pack in his carry-on to make sure he is powered up even when travel delays get in the way. I particularly like portable chargers that have the option to use solar power for energy like this one from Goal Zero (https://www.rei.com/product/893309/goal-zero-flip-20-portable-charger).
Ring Video Doorbell
I love this for older parents who live alone and could use the extra protection. Ring allows you to virtually answer your door and actually speak to someone at your doorstep. Ring provides your with cameras that you can easily install around your house and at your main door. When someone rings the doorbell, you will get a notification on your smartphone and you can see who’s there and speak if you want, without actually being home! If you are at home, you’ll be able to see who’s there and choose if you want to get the door or not. You must have wireless internet to use this service. (https://ring.com)
Headlamps aren’t just for miners. Keeping a headlamp in dad’s bedside table is a great backup in case the electricity goes out and he has to get up to check out a noise or even just to go to the bathroom. He may even wear it to read in bed if Mom has an earlier bedtime. Here are some different headlamps from REI: https://www.rei.com/search.html?q=headlamp&origin=...
Mace Brand Alert 911
Again, if Dad is getting up there in the years, the Mace Brand Alert 911 is a great tool to keep him safe if anything suddenly happened to his health. He can wear it around his neck at home or when he’s out and about and when pressed, it will call 911 for him. If he’s fallen on the sidewalk or has sudden pain in his chest, 911 can be a button push away, versus having to find his phone that may not be on his person.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there!
This past year has not been a great year for women’s safety while running. 10 months ago three women were murdered while out running. The first, Karina Vetrano, was running in a park in Queens, NY, when she was raped and murdered. The second, Vanessa Marcotte, was running in Princeton, Massachusetts, near her mom’s house when she was also murdered and her body set afire. Alexandra Brueger was the third woman who was murdered while out running in Rose Township, Michigan. She was gunned down by her assailant.
Back in March, Kelly Herron, was attacked in a public bathroom in a park while she was four miles into her run. Her assailant took her to the ground and she fought back long enough until a man passing by came in and the two of them were able to lock the attacker in a bathroom with a carabiner until the police arrived.
In May, a woman named Renee (she didn’t want to have her last name released), was attacked while running the Ragnar Relay in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She was in the middle of her first leg when a man attacked her and she fell to the ground. Luckily, during her struggle a woman heard the distress and called out to Renee. That alone was enough for the attacker to be scared off.
Although these were all isolated incidents, it does sound scary when reading about them all at once. This article is not meant to scare anyone from running alone ever again. The purpose of this article is to empower us to feel strong, safe and prepared while out running.
Here are a few ways women can feel more strong and safe when running outside alone.
Share your location.
Before you head out the door, there are a few apps you can use to track your route and share your route with other people. Strava and Find My Friends are examples of such apps that allow you to share your run with a partner, friend, roommate or parent so someone will always know where you are, as long as your phone is still with you.
Check your six.
Make a habit of looking behind you (6 o’clock) from time to time while on your run. Make eye contact with anyone that you see, therefore they know they can no longer surprise you. You’ve seen them and made a mental note of their appearance. Look for any strange behavior. That’s how Renee noticed a man running behind her during her Ragnar race and his odd behavior of jumping on and off the sidewalk, especially when cars approached.
Turn down the volume.
I know it’s unrealistic to advise people to leave their music at home. But, if you do choose to listen to music on your run, leave one ear bud out and turn the volume low enough so you can hear what’s going on around you.
Switch up your route.
Try not to run the same course every time. Switch up your runs so you don’t become predictable to a would-be stalker.
Be prepared for the worst.
Visualizing what you would do in different safety scenarios can help keep you on high alert while out running alone. For example, visualize yourself in Kelly Herron’s shoes if you were to enter a public bathroom and there was a man standing in one of the stalls. Give yourself multiple options of ways you could keep safe.
In most of the stories above, it was reported that the women fought back against their attackers. Sometimes, fighting back is enough to have your attacker change their mind. Sometimes, screaming and making enough noise will help a bystander hear you and want to help you. Either way, it can’t hurt to learn at least the basics to help you physically defend yourself if ever needed.
Carry pepper spray.
If running alone is your thing, I highly recommend carrying pepper spray. This Mace Brand Hot Pink Jogger Pepper Spray (http://www.mace.com/products/personal-defense/defense-sprays/jogging-fitness-mace-pepper-spray) is perfect for runners. If you don’t like having things in your hands while running, try the Booby Trap Bra to carry your pepper spray in. A woman who was attacked while wearing her active gear created the Booby Trap Bra. She decided to take her experience and create a product that would empower women to stay active while having the means to protect themselves on their body. You can find out more about the Booby Trap Bra here. (http://boobytrapbras.com/how-it-began/)
We want to hear from you! How do you practice personal safety while out running?