Chalk Your Walk – Safety Tips

If walks around your neighborhood have increased in the past week, perhaps you have seen inspirational messages drawn across the sidewalk and pavement.  This art is called #ChalkYourWalk and it’s springing up everywhere.

Given we are all practicing #socialdistancing to #flattenthecurve,  walking or biking in the neighborhood is one of the few things we can continue to participate in safely – while remembering to keep 6-feet between you and other pedestrians.   Here are a few safety tips for both the #ChalkYourWork artists and those walking and biking in the neighborhood.

For Parents and Artists:

  1. For neighborhoods without sidewalks, have an adult present that can watch for oncoming traffic while drawing in the driveway.
  2. If possible, wear brightly colored clothes as you create your art so that motorists and those walking or biking can see you.

For Pedestrians and Cyclists:

  1. Walk or bike focused.  If you are listening to music, make sure you can still hear the activity around you.
  2. If you are biking in the neighborhood, be especially attentive to neighborhoods without sidewalks.  Children may be drawing in their driveways.
  3. Heads up and Phones Down: Whether on bike or foot or even driving, there will be more children playing outside and many of them will be in groups of five or less and may not be as visible.

As we navigate these very unprecedented times and learn to adapt to the restrictions that are in place, we remind everyone that we are all in this together.  Stay safe and stay strong.

If your children have created #ChalkYourWalk art, please email us at programs@kmm.org so that we may share their happy messages with our followers.

Spring Ahead – Daylight Savings Time Safety Tips

Hello, more sunshine and daylight!  This Sunday, we will move the clocks ahead one hour.  Along with the extra daylight and sunshine can also bring sleepy, tired folks.  Here are some tips to help you prepare and adjust to the change.

  1. Prepare – Beginning two or three days before daylight savings, head to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier.  This will allow your body to ease into the change in time.
  2. Don’t hit snooze – Resist hitting the snooze button on your alarm in the first few days.  Staying on your regular schedule will help tremendously in getting through the week.
  3. Avoid Afternoon Caffeine – By Monday afternoon, chances are you will be feeling sluggish and tired.  Fight the urge to have that afternoon cup of coffee.  Instead, have a glass or two of water and if possible, walk outside and soak in the sunshine and fresh air.
  4. Take a late-day walk – Given we have more sunshine, consider taking a walk after dinner.  Not only will it help digest your meal, but it will also help you fall asleep later in the evening.
  5. Be Smart – Despite taking all of these precautions, you may still be tired.  If so, do not operate any machinery including a vehicle or bicycle.  It’s best to just bite the bullet and take a long nap.  Driving, biking – operating any type of machinery – while drowsy is not safe.

Coronavirus: Implementing a Telecommute Contingency Plan

According to the CDC, Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.; this includes the workforce.  It is recommended that companies put a contingency plan in place.  Here are some guidelines to help you create your contingency plan.

Responsibility – Sit with your staff and have them identify their day to day functions and what programs they use to perform these functions.  Understand the tools and software they use and determine whether there are any security risks associated with them working remotely.

Hours – Although a simple idea, it’s smart to establish the hours in which the employee will be working remotely.  It provides accountability and a sense of routine.

Technology – Establish the ways in which you and your team will accomplish their daily tasks. Do they have internet access, laptops and the correct software needed while working remotely?  Can their office phone calls be forwarded to the remote phone line?

Cost / Logistics – What are the costs involved in working remotely? Once you have determined what is needed to work from home, be sure to outline what costs – if any – you will reimburse your employees (i.e. internet, phone calls).

Communication – The key to a successful telecommute program is communication.  Establish a schedule of when your office team will meet remotely and establish the tools you will use.  Skype, GoToMyMeeting and FaceTime calls are all ways for everyone to meet remotely.  Programs such as Basecamp can be a helpful tool for those working on different components of a project.

Accountability- In instances where telecommute programs are in place as a benefit, reviews are often scheduled every three months to ensure deadlines have been met and the work-from-home program is working for both the employee and employer.  However, in an instance such as a temporary telecommute program due to a crisis, these telework situations may last a few weeks.  None the less, it would be prudent to set up calls between all levels of staff and support to assess everyone’s performance.

Earth Day – 5th Grade Bookmark Contest

UPDATE: DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS 5/1/2020

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the United States Postal service is again issuing an Earth Day stamp.  Other countries, too, have celebrated Earth Day with a postal stamp.  Now, we want you to join in on the fun!  We invite all 5th-grade students in Middlesex County to draw a stamp commemorating Earth Day.

Bookmark Entry Rules:

  • The design must include original artwork in color.
  • The design must be submitted using this entry form.
  • One entry per student.
  • The winner will receive a $100 gift card from Magyar Bank. The winning bookmark will be printed and distributed to schools in Middlesex County.
  • Entries become the property of Keep Middlesex Moving.
  • Entries must be submitted by April 15, 2020

Download the Entry Form by Clicking Here

National Crossing Guard Day

School crossing guards play an important role in the lives of children who walk or bicycle to school. They help children safely cross the street at key locations and they also remind drivers of the presence of pedestrians.  Regardless of the weather, our crossing guards provide safety and smiles each and every school day.  Join us in recognizing the crossing guards across Middlesex County on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, by showing your thanks.

Our friends at New Jersey Safe Routes to School put together some ideas to recognize your crossing guards:

  • Students, parents, and other community members can sign Thank You cards and present them to crossing guards. Thank-you-card-template can be customized or design your own!
  • Work with your local government to recognize these municipal employees with a certificate at a town council meeting, school board meeting and/or school event.  Here is a Template-Recognition-Certificate-for-CGthat you can use and customize.
  • Coordinate with your municipal police department to present a pedestrian safety program in the schools and invite your crossing guards.
  • Work with your school’s PTO or PTA to organize a thank you breakfast for your crossing guards.
  • Recognize your crossing guards in the school newsletter, school email and on the website. Send the notice to the local media.
  • Post a thank you on outdoor school notice boards and lighted signs.
  • Create a thank you banner and hang it at the crossing guard post.
  • Post flyers around school and town to remind people to thank a crossing guard.
  • Simply say “Thank you” to your crossing guard.
  • During your school’s daily PA announcements, inform students about the recognition initiatives and encourage students to give their crossing guards a big smile and thank you.
  •  Ask parents to donate a small token of appreciation for each guard (pocket hand warmers, a cookie, a thank you card, etc.).
  • Solicit local businesses to donate gift cards or a small gift that could be given to your crossing guard.

 There are many inexpensive ways to show your appreciation to your crossing guards!
Thank your crossing guard today and every day!

Original post – click here

Legislation (A-4819), now Law

In an effort to facilitate increased demand for energy-efficient vehicles in New Jersey as the market expands, legislation to establish new goals and incentives that support the use of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) was signed into law by the Governor on Friday. The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Nancy Pinkin and James Kennedy.

The legislation (A-4819), now law, establishes new goals for the use of plug-in electric EVs, and establishes incentive programs regarding the use of light-duty plug-in EVs and in-home charging equipment. It pertains to a “light-duty vehicle” which under the law includes, but is not limited to, any vehicle commonly referred to as a car, minivan, sport utility vehicle, cross-over, or pick-up truck.

“Our goal is to get more electric vehicles on the road, which in turn will result in less greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, more local jobs to put the charging infrastructure in place, and cleaner air for our communities,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “For a cleaner, healthier State, this law puts forth strong attainable goals to increase the number of electric vehicles and charging stations in New Jersey.”
Among the new State goals established by the law:

  • At least 330,000 of registered light-duty vehicles in the State are to be plug-in electric vehicles by December 31, 2025, and at least 2 million by December 31, 2035;
  • At least 85% of all new light-duty vehicles sold in the State are to be plug-in electric vehicles by December 31, 2040;
  • At least 400 DC Fast Chargers to be available for public use at no fewer than 200 charging locations in the State by December 31, 2025;
  • At least 15% of all multi-family residential properties in the State are to be equipped with Electric Vehicle service equipment (EVSE) for the routine charging of plug-in electric vehicles by residents by December 31, 2025; and
  • At least 10% of new bus purchases made by NJ Transit are to be zero-emission buses by December 31, 2024, 50% by December 31, 2026, and 100% by December 31, 2032.

“It is estimated that 75 billion miles are traveled on New Jersey roads every year in vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. “By promoting the use of electric vehicles under these goals, we can help make New Jersey air cleaner which would be a huge win for the environment and public health. With the climate crises we are seeing across the world, it is imperative that we move to reduce our carbon footprint as quickly as possible.”

Under the provisions of the law, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is tasked with establishing and implementing incentive programs for the purchase or lease of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles; and purchase and installation of in-home electric vehicle charging equipment.

In the first year of the incentive program for electric vehicles, the amount of the incentive is to equal $25 per mile of EPA-rated electric-only range up to a maximum of $5,000 per eligible vehicle. For in-home charging equipment, individuals will be eligible to receive one-time payments of no more than $500 per person.

“Incentivizing the switch to electric vehicles will not only help save money and reduce emissions but will be critical in laying the foundation for a self-sustaining market in the long term,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “This law equips us to build on year-to-year successes.”

The law also provides for the creation of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Incentive Fund administered by the BPU to be used solely for disbursements under the light-duty plug-in electric vehicle and in-home electric vehicle charging equipment incentive programs. It further requires that no less than $30 million in annual disbursements from the fund be made available under the programs.

Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection will develop and implement a public education program to provide consumers information regarding the availability and benefits of plug-in electric vehicles, the new State goals and availability of incentives.

The law was given final legislative approval 65-9 in the full Assembly and 27-12 in the Senate in January 2020. It will take effect immediately.

This article is shared from NJ Democrats 

Bonfire Safety

As the air turns colder and crisp,  bonfires are a great way to enjoy the falling temperatures. There’s nothing quite as cozy as a fire on a cool night, but it presents safety hazards. Keep these tips in mind when it comes to fire use:

Never leave a burning fire unattended. Always make sure a fire is completely out before leaving it alone. In addition, keeping a fire in its proper place by using a fireplace screen or bonfire set up, helps keep the fire out of the open.

Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important. Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences, and trees to avoid anything catching flames. It’s best to have a designated fire area that is in the clear open. When it comes to burning the fire, only burn dry material like wood and paper to avoid tons of smoke. Liquids on top of fires will either put the fire out or start huge flames, which can become dangerous pharmacieinde.com.

Most importantly, keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby. A fire can get out of hand quickly so it is always important to be prepared for emergencies. If a real emergency does occur, calling the fire department is your best source for safety.

And… we would be remiss if we didn’t remind everyone about candle use:

Candles are a great way to give a room that warm glow, but they can also cause fires. According to the National Candle Association, almost 10,000 home fires start with improper candle use. Never leave candles or fires burning if you go out or go to sleep.

Autumn Driving Safety Tips

There’s nothing more beautiful than an evening drive during the fall season, but this season brings more hazards for drivers than you may think. Being aware of the potential dangers while on the road can help keep you safe and prevent accidents.

The changing colors and falling leaves are what autumn is all about. However, as leaves begin to fall they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring your vision. Traffic lines, street signs, and other pavement markings become hard to see. Be aware of limitations in your visibility and slow down if you can’t see well.

With the days getting shorter and more storms approaching, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in the dark. This makes it more difficult to see children playing or pedestrians walking and biking. Using dimmed headlights in bad weather or low visibility is a good way to stay seen while on the roads.  Children also love to play in piles of leaves, so use extra caution whenever you see leaves piled at curbside.

Together, we are all responsible – as drivers and pedestrians, to make sharing the roads safe and efficient.

Share the Road. Share the Responsibility

Drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility of keeping themselves and others on the roads safe. Pedestrians should follow certain safety practices to help ensure their own safety when sharing the roadways. Here are some useful tips and guidelines to follow as a pedestrian:

Be Visible. You can do this by wearing bright-colored clothing during the day and reflective colored clothing at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32% of pedestrian-auto accident fatalities occur between 8 pm and 11:59 pm. The use of flashlights and reflective stickers can help make you visible during these late hours.

Avoid Distractions. It’s time to put down your phone and other electronic devices. The use of electronics is a daily part of life, but they distract your attention. When you decide to walk and text or listen to music through headphones, your attention focuses on that instead of the possible street signs and vehicles surrounding you. As a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best way to keep safe.

Use Caution. Before crossing the street always look left, then right, and left again. Make sure traffic has come to a complete stop before proceeding. You should cross only at intersections or street corners with crosswalks. By doing this, motorists should see you coming well in advance.

Remember, you as a pedestrian have a job to be seen and be alert at all times!

Fall Safety Tip Series

As the air turns cooler and leaves fall from the trees, it’s important to keep a few important fall safety tips in mind. This is why we have created our Fall Season Safety Tip Series! Our five blogs will cover the most important things to focus on during this year’s Fall season. We will cover the topics:

  1. Pedestrian Safety
  2. Driving Safety
  3. Weather
  4. Fire Use
  5. Lawn Maintenance

Make sure you stay connected with our KMM Website as well as our social media platforms to stay connected and informed! We will be posting a blog each week for the rest of the Fall.