Summer Pet Safety

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you just spent part of your day tossing tennis balls to your furry friend at the park. Heading home, you realize you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket; it should only take about five minutes. Sure, the sun is shining and it is about 80 degrees, but it will only be a few minutes, so there is no harm in leaving your friend in the car, right?

WRONG. You never leave your pet in a car on a warm day.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion as a result of being left in parked cars on warm days.  On a 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can climb to 110 degrees in only minutes. In 20 minutes on a 90-degree day, the same car can get up to 130 degrees inside which is unsafe for humans and animals. You may think cracking the windows will help your pet, but the truth is that opened windows make very little difference to the inside temperature of your car.

Heatstroke is the main danger for pets in hot cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. If they are stuck in a hot car, the cool air they receive is little to none and makes cooling down much harder.

Like most busy pet parents, you may be pressed for time and think that surely it’s okay to leave your pet for just a few minutes. The excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” do not amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a car.

If you love your furry friend as much as they love you, rethink leaving them in the car the next time you are out on a warm, sunny day.

Ready, Set, Run!

Lace your sneakers. Check your watch. Stretch your legs.  But before taking a lap around your block, check out our running safety tips:

Do Not Run Alone. Having a friend or dog with you as a running partner will make you a less attractive target for potential attackers. This also helps inspire others to join you while being active and having fun.

Run Against Traffic. This helps prevent traffic related accidents, especially if you are someone who likes to run early in the morning or at dusk.

Look Both Ways. At any time during your run, be sure to look both ways before crossing the street. Staying aware of oncoming traffic and cars that may not see you.

Always Bring Your Cellphone. Having your cellphone handy while running is the best way to communicate with others in case of any accident or emergency.

Know Where You Are Going. Running confidently not only displays confidence but also allows you to enjoy your run without any confusion or disruptions.

It does not matter how fast you run or how far you may go. The most important thing is that you have fun and participate in safe ways. June 6th is National Running Day and the day promotes simply putting one foot in front of the other so you can get moving.

Put on your running shoes, grab your running partner and embrace the day!

Call When You Can …Text When You Can’t

On February 16, 1968, State Senator Rankin Fite phoned the police chief in Haleyville, Alabama. hq720 Though the men had spoken before, this call was different.  It was the first time 9-1-1, the new nationwide emergency number was used.  Eleven years earlier, the National Association of Fire Chiefs proposed the designation of an emergency call number which was unique, easy to remember, and easy to dial.

Today, 9-1-1 is the universal emergency number in the US, Canada, parts of Mexico, the Philippines, and beyond.  Other countries may use a different emergency number sequence.  When travelling abroad, learn the universal emergency number for the area you are visiting.

The National Emergency Number Association estimates that 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made annually in the US.  And, 70% of those are made on wireless devices.  To make it easier for wireless callers to access 9-1-1, NJ introduced Text to 9-1-1 last fall.  The ability to text is helpful to those unable to talk in an emergency and to those with hearing impairments or speech disorders.

How to send a 9-1-1 text

  • Open the message app on or phone or wireless device
  • In the “To” field, type “911” with no punctuation
  • In the message field, type the location (address and municipality) and a brief description of the problem (ex. 123 Main St Franklin I hear someone breaking in)
  • Press “Send”
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.  Keep text messages brief and concise.

 

When to text 9-1-1

If you have a speech or hearing impairment, notify 9-1-1 so they can inform responders

If speaking may cause you harm such as a break-in or domestic violence.  REMEMBER OT SILENCE YOUR PHONE SO THE SOUND OF THE 9-1-1 REPLY DOESN’T GIVE YOU AWAY.

If you are with a group and some members are doing something dangerous or illegal

If lack of service makes a voice call impossible, you may be able to get data service to send a text

DO NOT attempt to send videos or photos.  Limit your message to TEXT ONLY. Be as specific as possible about your location.  Provide as much of the following as possible:

  •                 Exact address including unit/apartment number and city
  •                 Business name
  •                 Names of both streets at the nearest intersection
  •                 Landmarks

Once you have begun texting, do no end the session until then 9-1-1 operator instructs you to do so.  Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than 1 person. Do not copy your emergency to anyone other than

9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others.  Translation services for text to 9-1-1 are not available.  Text in English only.

 

Winter is Here!

Car tires on winter road covered with snow

The winter is upon us and sooner or later, New Jersey will see itself covered in a freezing blanket of billowy snow. But as New Jersians, life doesn’t just stop because of a few flakes (or feet) of the white stuff. Getting your car “winter ready” before the first snow will ensure you’re ready to face the road ahead. Ensure vehicle fluids are changed, tires are checked or replaced, and ensure all exterior lights are in proper working order. Then follow these driving tips if you need to travel in the cold and snow:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Most vehicles keep the tire pressure information on the driver side door panel.
  • Check and replace (if necessary) windshield wipers.
  • Top off wiper fluid.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Do not use cruise control in wet, wintery, icy weather.
  • Avoid hard breaking in wet weather as this can make your vehicle spin out of control.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Keep non-clumping kitty litter or wood chips in the trunk of your vehicle. This will help your tires gain traction if you become stuck in snow.
  • When traveling long distances, make sure to keep a blanket, flash light, water, and snacks in your vehicle in case you become stranded.
  • When in doubt, stay home. If driving conditions make it extremely difficult to travel, please do not attempt to go out.

For more information on winter driving visit http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/#.WG0-FxsrJPY

Pokemon GO ~ Safety Tips!

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Have you recently noticed gaggles of people walking in groups with their attention focused on the phones in their hand? They seem to be looking for something, find it, and then continue on their way – all without once looking up from their phones? Well, we have answers for you. It’s called
Pokemon GO and although it’s fun to play, it’s a pedestrian safety hazard!

Pokemon GO is an interactive game where users capture Pokemon characters in real-time and actual locations.  If you are like me (40+ years old) this makes absolutely no sense, right?  But bear with me.  The game encourages users to walk around their neighborhoods.  With eyes glued to their handheld device, the screen converts to a camera screen and just feet ahead of them lies a Pokemon character waiting for capture.  The farther and longer they walk, the more characters they can capture.  And the more characters they capture, the more points and levels they earn.

So what’s the harm in this game?  People of all ages are walking more and spending more times in their community. Seems like a terrific idea, right?   After walking close to 12,000K steps following my children around our neighborhood this weekend, the safety issues are plentiful.

Sure ,it was wonderful that my children wanted to walk around town with me, but by the end of our adventure, I was ready to put them on leashes.   They were walking into other pedestrians (some of whom were also playing this game), walking too closely to curbs and nicely manicured bushes and plants, and even walking into crosswalks!  I spent the better part of the walk yelling commands.    It was an “eye”opening experience (pun totally intended)!

(null)As a parent and a from a safety standpoint, I share with you these 3 tips to make your Pokemon GO experience safe.

  1. Although the app suggests its users be 10 years old,  if your children are under the age of 15, I recommend the app be downloaded to YOUR phone. That way, you can join them on their adventure.
  2. Designate one person to hold the phone and the others to navigate the path so as to avoid walking into others, crossing streets without looking and tripping over uneven sidewalks.
  3. Since the app’s release, some users have been lured to secluded places and robbed. Be sure to review the safety features on your profile.  Many features can make the user vulnerable to others finding them since the app is also multiplayer.

The game was just released on July 6, 2016.  Be prepared to see, hear, and learn more about Pokemon GO.  Most importantly, play the game safely and never play the game alone.

 

 

 

 

Employers and Schools Recognized at KMM’s Annual Meeting

wisnewski speakingOver 125 people attended the Annual Membership Meeting of Keep Middlesex Moving, Inc. (KMM) to hear Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Chairman, Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee discuss the looming depletion of the Transportation Trust Fund and his comprehensive plan to remedy the problem.  The May 19 meeting took place at the Forsgate Country Club.

Thirty-Six Middlesex County companies received the prestigious 2016 NJ Smart Workplaces Award.  These awards honor companies for their outstanding achievements in providing commute alternative opportunities for their employees, thus reducing traffic and congestion and improving air quality.  (List featured below)

sponsors“KMM’s programs promote mobility, safety, and sustainability.  But these programs can only be implemented with the help of our partners, like the employers we are honoring with Smart Workplace Awards,” said KMM’s Executive Director William Neary.

Neary recognized the sponsors of the Annual Meeting, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Johnson& Johnson, Magyar Bank, Provident Bank, GoCentralNJ, Magic 98.3, 1450 WTC and Northfield Bank.

In addition, KMM recognized four Middlesex County schools and one municipality in the NJ Safe Route to School Recognition Program, part of NJDOT’s statewide Safe Routes to School program.  The awards are given based on their commitment and involvement in the Safe Routes to School program. This year, two schools achieved First Step, one achieved Bronze, and two achieved Silver level recognition.  (List featured below.)bookmarkwinnersrts

“The NJ SRTS Recognition Program is a way for KMM to thank our school and municipal partners for their hard work throughout the year making it safer and easier for children and their families to walk and bike to school. We hope that our combined efforts can create a better neighborhood not just for schoolchildren, but for everyone who lives, walks, and bikes in these neighborhoods,” said SRTS Coordinator Peter Bilton.

2016 New Jersey Smart Work Place Recipients

Borough of Sayreville Bronze
Granville Y. Brady Jr. Au.D. P.A. Bronze
Magyar Bank Bronze
Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas LLP Bronze
Township of North Brunswick Bronze
Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce Bronze
County of Middlesex Bronze
Northfield Bank Bronze
Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer Bronze
State Theatre Bronze
South Brunswick Township Bronze
Wells Fargo Bronze
Bristol-Myers Squibb Bronze
Middlesex County Workforce Development Bronze
Township of East Brunswick Bronze
Monroe Township Bronze
Piscataway Township Bronze
New Brunswick Parking Authority Silver
Greater Media Silver
Borough of Metuchen Silver
Keep Middlesex Moving, Inc. Silver
City of Perth Amboy Silver
City of New Brunswick Silver
North Brunswick Township High School Silver
St. Peter’s University Hospital Gold
Township of Woodbridge Gold
Hyatt Regency New Brunswick Gold
Firmenich, Inc. Gold
Township of Plainsboro Gold
Township of Edison Platinum
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Platinum
IEEE Platinum
Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Platinum
Johnson & Johnson Platinum

2016 NJ Safe Routes to School Recipients

Silver:
City of New Brunswick
Oak Ridge Heights Elementary School, Woodbridge

Bronze:
Campbell Elementary School, Metuchen

First Step:
William C. McGinnis Middle School, Perth Amboy
Samuel E. Shull Middle School, Perth Amboy

Learning A Lesson the Hard Way

Almost everyone has been told – never text and walk – especially me. And sadly, most people don’t listen to these warnings – also me.

I’m here to tell you my story of texting and walking.

Like most kids, I play a sport. My sport is swimming. I swim five days a week so you can often find me on my way to swim practice or at swim practice.  On this particular day, I was leaving for practice and was talking to my friend, via text. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started to walk outside, still texting my friend.

As I walked down the steps, still texting and not looking where I was walking, I missed a step and twisted my foot. It hurt, badly but I continued to practice. When I got into my bathing suit and looked at my ankle,  it was red. When I got in the pool and started swimming, my ankle exploded with pain. I had to get out and ice it for the entire practice.  This was not good.kmm

The next day, with the pain still there,  I had to miss school.  I was upset – not about missing school, but the fact that in just three days I was to compete in my swim silver bronze championships.  I train all year round.  I wasn’t going to miss this.

Being the person I am, I swam in the swim meet, but didn’t do as well as I normally do.  All this pain because of one silly mistake I made. If I had put my phone down for just two seconds, I would’ve never slipped and got hurt.

You may say – you could’ve just slipped or it’s just one incident. But it truly isn’t. People all over the world are texting and walking and getting hurt much worse than a twisted ankle, and facing much worse consequences than missing school or doing poorly at a swim meet.

So put the phone down for one minute. It could save your life.

 

Guest post: IRF on #takeyourchildtoworkday2016

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.

 

Riding in the Road: 8 Tips for Safe Cycling

Andrew_Peter_May07-001As a bike rider, it can be challenging to feel comfortable riding in the road with motor vehicles, but roads are often the best way to get from A to B whether for shopping, commuting or enjoying a ride. Learning to ride defensively can increase your comfort and safety, and expand the number of roads where you can ride. Here are some tips for defensive bicycling.

  • Choose your route 
    • Before your ride, select a route with the lightest or slowest traffic or the widest shoulder that gets you where you want to go. Select a route where you’re comfortable riding.
  • Ride predictably
    • Ride in a straight line, in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road. However, don’t hug the curb. Leave room to safely navigate issues such as pot holes, debris, sewer grates and other obstacles.
    • Obey traffic signs and signals, they’re for both bicyclists and motor vehicles.
    • Use extra caution around turning vehicles and at intersections. Avoid passing stopped vehicles on the right.
    • Use extra caution around large vehicle like trucks and buses, which have a larger blind spot and make wider turns.
    • When there is a short gap between parked cars, ride in a straight line rather than weaving in and out. This way, drivers see where you want to go and you can avoid merging back into the travel lane when you have to pass the next parked car.
    • Don’t swerve at the last second to avoid potholes or debris. Instead, move over early when you notice an obstacle up ahead.
  •  Be visible
    • When a travel lane is too narrow for both a bike and motor vehicle to share, move towards the center of the lane to make yourself more visible to motorists.
    • Use a front white light and red rear light in low-light conditions and at night. It’s New Jersey law.
    • Wear bright, highly visible clothing, preferably with reflective tape or patches.
  • Avoid distractions and hazards
    • Keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
    • Ride four feet from parked cars to stay out of the “door zone,” where you could collide with an opening car door.
    • Avoid drinking, eating, using your phone, or anything that requires your hands while bicycling.
    • At large, complicated or busy intersections, consider getting off your bike and walking across.
  • Communicate
    • Look behind you and scan for oncoming vehicles before making all turns.
    • Signal your turns, especially in mixed traffic and around other cyclists.
    • Make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians.
  • On the trail or sidewalk
    • When riding near pedestrians, let them know you’re there using a bell or your voice.
    • Reduce speed when passing pedestrians and other cyclists.
    • Slow down and use extra care at intersections and blind corners.
  • Have the right equipment
    • Wear a helmet every time you ride.
    • Ride a bike that’s the right size for you.
    • Keep your bike in good working order. Check tire pressure, brakes, and chain regularly.
  • Ride more and learn more!
    • When driving look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right of way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.
    • Consider taking a Smart Cycling class from the League of American Bicyclists.

The Best Commute in New Jersey

kmm guest post blogI boast to myself often, and sometimes to co-workers, that I have the best commute in New Jersey!   My name is Sam Gilbert, and I bicycle several days a week from Middlesex Borough to the Johnson and Johnson campus in New Brunswick.  Approximately 6 miles of my 9 mile commute is along the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. I enter the towpath at the Queen’s Bridge in South Bound Brook, and exit it at the Landing Lane Bridge.  And, it is a truly a pleasurable ride.

I average 70 or 80 bike commutes a year, excluding the winter.   Though I carry rain gear in my back pack when the weather is “iffy,” I tend to ride on days when the weather reports are favorable.  And, in case you’re wondering, I do have access to a shower at work!!

An added treat is the wildlife I enjoy along the canal.  A casual birder, I have seen herons, osprey, a great Horned Owl, a Bald Eagle and more!  Deer are a given.  But, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, muskrats are also to be seen.  And then, there are the beavers.

KMM guest post blogIn the past few years, there has been a population explosion of Beavers in NJ. I’ve seen few of them along the canal in the past.   But this year, beavers are swimming in the canal almost every day! There is beaver hut on the bank of the canal approximately 100 yards south of the footbridge near where Demott Lane meets the canal.  A beaver is often seen in this area, and I see another near the Landing Lane Bridge.  I suspect there is a beaver hut in this area.

“The best bicycle commute in NJ?  OK, maybe I exaggerate, but only slightly.   I REALLY do enjoy my ride.  Perhaps some other NJ Bike commuters will share their experiences of cycling to work.  If there is a better bicycle commute than mine, I’d sure like to read about it.

Post written by guest blogger, S. Gilbert.  Photos by guest blogger, S. Gilbert