by HGD Staff
The old adage has always been that April showers bring May flowers, and in Alabama, we know better than anyone that this month means azaleas bursting into bloom, longer spans of sunshine, trips to the beach, and plenty of opportunities for weekend barbecues. While May is certainly a time of sunshine-soaked renewal, it is also National Trauma Awareness Month. The flipside of those treks to the beach and springtime grill outs can mean a heightened risk for traumatic injury, which can equal financial strain, physical impairment, and even death.
Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death among all Americans from birth through the age of 46, according to the Coalition for National Trauma Research (CNTR). More than 192,000 deaths occur as the result of trauma each year, and the annual societal cost totals more than $671 billion. Moreover, for those survivors of trauma, financial woes related to medical care, time spent off work, and rehabilitation efforts often layer to create an overall burden that truly adds insult to injury.
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Since 1966, various federal agencies have dispensed reports citing a need for increased funding for trauma research, and while strides have been made, sufficient funding has yet to be appropriated on a national level. The CNTR ascertains that even a 5% reduction in trauma deaths would translate to 10,000 lives saved per year with a $33 million in associated economic costs saved every year. While gaps in clinical knowledge, research, and funding to support
trauma reduction exist, your ability to personally reduce your risk of traumatic injury can be dependent upon a few crucial preventative measures.
- Auto safety
Whether you’re slated to take a Memorial Day road trip down to the beach or you’re simply traversing the roadways to and from work, safe driving should be a priority. Make certain that you are adhering to the instructions included with car seats, and check to be sure the car seat is properly and securely positioned within your vehicle.
Take time to schedule regular car maintenance appointments. Just as we receive “check-ups” from the doctor, our vehicle must be investigated with regularly scheduled maintenance actions like oil changes, tire rotations, air filter cleaning/changing, and other basic steps to ensure the vehicle operates correctly.
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While you’re driving—whether going just a few miles or a few hundred miles—make it a priority to refrain from cell phone use and any distractions as you keep those hands at 10 and 2. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that eight people are killed in the United States every single day as the result of automobile accidents involving a distracted driver. Simply waiting until you pull over to change your radio station and planning to make and take your phone calls/texts only after you’ve stopped along your travels can make all the difference in arriving at your intended destination safely. No song is too annoying and no text is important enough to warrant risking your life and the life of those around you. Keep your eyes on the road and your mind on the drive to ensure maximum safety.
- Fire safety
While it may seem to go without saying that we should be careful when dealing with hot surfaces such as the grills that serve as the star of our springtime cook-out, as many as 18,000 people are sent to the ER as the result of grilling-related injuries. With charcoal grills, gasoline or lighter fluid is a factor in about a quarter of burn injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association, while roughly a third of gas grill injuries come from burns incurred while firing up the grill. Before starting a gas grill, always check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line, surveying for leaks and blockages. When using a charcoal grill, be patient! Never add fuel to an already lit fire and use extreme caution when handling lighter fluids.
When barbecuing, never leave the grill unattended and check to make sure children maintain a safe distance from the area where you are grilling. In addition, everyone—grill masters and those who just prefer to purchase barbecue from their favorite restaurants alike—should make absolutely certain that First Aid Kits are in an easy-to-locate spot in case an incident should occur. Also, fire extinguishers should always be present and operational, with all parties present fully aware of how to use them should the need arise.
For younger members of family, practice the stop, drop, and roll technique in addition to quizzing them on emergency contact information and the knowledge to contact 911 in case of an emergency. Post those emergency contact numbers in a central location that is easy to locate, and make sure to communicate a fire safety plan with all members of your household. Barbecues are meant to be a blast, not induce a blaze! Keep your gatherings safe by practicing the proper grilling procedures and being aware of what to do in the instance a mishap occurs.
- Charge, charge, charge
In today’s society, our cell phone serves as our link to the world around us. That iPhone, Android, or Galaxy Samsung can also signify the modern-day means of sending out a distress signal in the instance of an emergency. However, as with most technology, in order for these devices to serve their purpose, they must be adequately used. That means keeping your cell phone battery charged and keeping a charger handy at all times. Make it a habit of never letting your battery dip into the red, and pack a cell phone charger in your purse or vehicle whenever you’re on the go.
While these easy-to-follow guidelines for maintaining a safe spring and summer are certainly apt to reduce your risk of traumatic incident, sometimes things do happen to us that are beyond our control. Our best laid plans and normal routines can, unfortunately, be shattered by unforeseen and uncontrollable injury or traumatic loss. Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, a national trial law firm representing personal injury cases, mass torts, and intellectual property, is honored to offer legal assistance to individuals and businesses affected by tragic events. Heninger Garrison Davis’ Personal Injury Practice features attorneys dedicated to the specific legal needs of those who have suffered unimaginable situations. The attorneys at Heninger Garrison Davis treat every case as though it is going to trial. This means treating every single client with the utmost respect and consideration for their personal circumstance, all the while applying legal knowledge, meticulous planning, and tireless commitment to conducting proper investigation as a means of ensuring successful litigation. For more information about Heninger Garrison Davis’ passionate, steadfast approach to personal injury cases, visit hgdlawfirm.com or call 205-326-3336 today.