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FortifyFL App is LIVE

The FortifyFL app is LIVE. Now, any student, educator, parent or member of the public can report school safety concerns directly to law enforcement and school administrators anonymously and easily through the FortifyFL app or www.getfortifyfl.com. The Florida Legislature directed this tool’s development in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.

The app, which is available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices, is critical to ensuring all Florida schools are safe environments where students and educators can experience and share the joy of learning without fear.

Please note that the official app’s logo will look exactly as it does in the graphic above.

Halloween Safety

From www.healthfinder.gov

There’s no trick to staying safe on Halloween, safety experts say.

Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. It’s best if children wear light-colored costumes and face paint or make-up instead of potentially vision-obstructing masks, according to SafeKids Worldwide.

Costumes should be the proper size to prevent trips and falls. Children should carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. Don’t let children use electronic devices while walking and teach them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.

Instruct children to cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. They need to look left, right and then left again when crossing and keep looking as they cross. They should walk, not run, across the street.

Children should walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, they should walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. They should follow a direct route with the fewest street crossings.

Teach youngsters to watch for cars that are turning or backing up, and to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Children younger than 12 should have adult supervision while trick or treating. Those old enough to be out without adult supervision should stay in familiar areas that are well-lit and travel in groups, SafeKids said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on Halloween safety.

End of Summer Safety Tips for Your Children

Keep your children healthy and safe before the weather changes with these safety tips:

  1. Follow boating and pool rules, including wearing properly fitting life jackets.
  2. Wear and reapply sunscreen.
  3. Stay hydrated!
  4. Use bug spray to protect your kids from insect-transmitted diseases and irritation.
  5. Always check playground equipment for softness and faulty parts.

Get more tips to protect your children.

Are You Doing Recess Right? A New Tool Can Help

Despite the proven benefits, students probably aren’t getting the most out of recess, finds a new study that offers up a 17-point checklist to optimize the playground experience.

While there’s little doubt that children get exercise on the playground—recess accounts for up to 44 percent of their steps taken during the school day—schools often underestimate the social, emotional, and academic potential of playtime and fail to design recess to optimize those benefits.

To help educators understand what works on the playground—and what doesn’t—researchers visited nearly 500 elementary schools spanning 22 urban and metropolitan areas in the U.S. The researchers hoped to develop a tool that looked beyond simple questions of physical activity and playground equipment and toward a broader review of “safety, resources, student engagement, adult engagement, prosocial/antisocial behavior, and student empowerment on the playground.”

To learn more, including tips to maximize recess, read this article from Edutopia.

 

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms, but you can only see a few fluffy white clouds overhead. So you and your tennis partner grab your racquets and balls and head for the tennis court. You spend a few minutes warming up and then—wait! Is that thunder you hear? Was that a lightning flash?

What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get in your car and drive home?

Correct answer: If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get in your car and wait out the storm.

Why? Because being outside when lightning is present is not something to take lightly—ever.

Risks of Lightning Strikes

Although the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk. Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. Regional and seasonal differences can also affect your risk of being injured by lightning.

In 2017, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas had the most lightning deaths. Florida is considered the “lightning capital” of the country, with more than 2,000 lightning injuries over the past 50 years.

The consequences of lightning strikes are serious. Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. During 2004–2013, lightning caused an average of 33 deaths per year in the United States.

When you see lightning, take safety precautions.

Protect Yourself from Lightning Strikes

You can protect yourself from risk even if you are caught outdoors when lightning is close by.

Safety precautions outdoors

  • If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.
  • Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter.
  • The main lightning safety guide is the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
  • If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly over 100 feet away.
  • Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
    Although you should move into a non-concrete structure if possible, being indoors does not automatically protect you from lightning. In fact, about one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.

Safety precautions indoors

  • Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through plumbing.
  • Avoid electronic equipment of all types. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems.
  • Avoid corded phones. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.
  • Avoid concrete floors and walls.

Lightning strikes may be rare, but they still happen and the risk of serious injury or death is severe. So take thunderstorms seriously.

Learn and follow these safety rules to keep yourself safe from lightning.

Have Fun in the Sun With These Safety Tips

Planning for summer vacations and adventures can be exciting, but make sure sunburn doesn’t ruin the fun. Be sure to seek shade, wear hats and sunglasses, and apply sunscreen correctly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to make sure that your family is safe and protected while they’re outdoors with these tips and tricks to preventing sunburn.

Stay safe with these sun tips.

Stay Safe While Playing Sports

Taking part in sports and recreation activities is an important part of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids. But injuries can, and do, occur. More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

Thankfully, there are steps that parents can take to help make sure kids stay safe on the field, the court, or wherever they play or participate in sports and recreation activities.

Key Prevention Tips

Gear up. When children are active in sports and recreation, make sure they use the right protective gear for their activity, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

Use the right stuff. Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection.

Get an action plan in place. Be sure your child’s sports program or school has an action plan that includes information on how to teach athletes ways to lower their chances of getting a concussion and other injuries. Get more concussion safety tips.

Pay attention to temperature. Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay close attention to make sure that players are hydrated and appropriately dressed.

Be a good model. Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior, including wearing a helmet and following the rules.