All posts by Pam Evert

Pam Evert is the Safe Communities Program Director for WMC Safe Kids and Safe Communities. She has worked for WMC more than 21 years and is committed to improving community health in any way possible.

New car seat inspection starting January 2014

On a windy Saturday in January, Safe Kids Central Wyoming held the first free car seat inspection at the new location – White’s Mountain Motors on East Yellowstone Highway. Moving the car seat inspections to White’s Mountain Motors is in alignment with our General Motors sponsor. General Motors has been a national sponsor for Safe Kids USA for over 16 years. The Buckle Up program has grown into the most comprehensive child passenger safety program in the nation. Measurement of the program is lives saved and injuries prevented. Since this program was started the number of deaths has been cut by a third, and the number of injuries have been cut in half today.
Even with the wind howling outside the service area, 10 vehicles showed up for the volunteer child passenger safety technicians to inspect 12 car seats to ensure they were installed correctly. Three car seats/booster seats were changed out to provide the correct equipment to the children that attended the event.

Child Passenger Safety technicians checking a car seat for a parent and child.
Child Passenger Safety technicians checking a car seat for a parent and child.

Safe Kids was very fortunate to have White’s Mountain Motors donate the removal of the old Safe Kids van graphics, along with purchasing and installing the new graphics. The graphics are the new Safe Kids Worldwide logos and decons.

The new van graphics displayed in front of White’s Mountain Motors on Sat. Jan. 11. Nice bright colors, shapes and new logos are apparent.
The new van graphics displayed in front of White’s Mountain Motors on Sat. Jan. 11. Nice bright colors, shapes and new logos are apparent.

Free Car Seat Inspections

Safe kids holds free car seat inspections on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at Whites Mountain Motors, 2400 E Yellowstone Highway in Casper.

‘Giving smart: keep your kids safe this holiday season

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Nearly 500 kids go to the emergency room every day because of toy-related injuries. Follow these toy safety tips from safekids.org to keep your child’s Christmas break healthy and happy.

1. Check for choking hazards: If you have young children, make sure the new toy is age appropriate and has no small  parts. This is particularly important with board games, which should be kept away from curious toddlers.

2. Mind the batteries: More than 2,800 kids are treated each year for swallowing lithium button batteries. As our electronic devices get smaller, there are more and more of them, in singing greeting cards, watches, thermometers, calculators, key fobs and many other household items. They are also found in many Christmas toys or ornaments. Seal compartments with duct tape to prevent young fingers from prying batteries out. If you suspect a child has swallowed a
battery, go to the hospital immediately. Do not try to induce vomiting.

3. Add a helmet: If you are giving a riding toy—bike, skateboard or scooter for example—wrap the appropriate helmet and other safety gear, and give it as part of  the gift.

4. Research the recalls: Check the latest recalls for unsafe toys at recalls.gov. You can also sign up for Safe Kids’ recall email alerts at safekids.org.

Save the Date!

Safe Kids of Central Wyoming presents the Kohl’s Winter Safety Event on Monday, Jan. 20. We will give away ski helmets and offer fittings, give out passes to Hogadon’s Learn to Ski or Snowboard event and provide winter safety lessons. Visit our website or call (307) 577-7904 for more information.

Don’t Wreck The Holidays campaign reminds people not to drink and drive

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At our “Don’t Wreck the Holidays” campaign, we took this photo of all of the Natrona County emergency vehicles that could respond in drunk driving crash including a WMC ambulance, an Air Methods Wyoming Life Flight helicopter, a Casper Fire/EMS fire truck, the Natrona County Coroner’s vehicle and vehicles from Natrona County Sheriff’s Office.

On Nov. 18, WMC Safe Communities kicked off its drunk driving campaign, “Don’t Wreck the Holidays,” at Casper College.

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Casper College Criminal Justice students created these snowmen displays to remind people that “buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

Thank you to our moving panel of speakers: Mike Reed from the Governor’s Council on impaired driving who spoke about how communities can work together; Deborah McLeland, mother of one of the eight University of Wyoming cross-country runners killed by a drunk driver in 2001; WMC Emergency Room doctor Lonnie Teague ; and Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen. Also thank you to Conner Washburn, a Casper College Criminal Justice student, who emceed the event.

The “Don’t Wreck the Holidays” campaign is a partnership between WMC Safe Communities; Casper College Community Criminal Justice department; the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department;, MADD; Wyoming Department of Transportation; Casper, Evansville and Mills police departments; and Natrona County Coroner’s Office.

December is a particularly dangerous month for drunken driving crashes. From 2007 to 2011, 29 percent of deaths in December car crashes involved drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 760 people died as a result of drunk driving-related crashes during December 2011.

“While everyone knows that driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired seriously jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others on the road around you, we still see far too many lives lost each December,” said Sgt. John Becker of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department.

Watch for our materials around Natrona County through the New Year and remember that buzzed driving in drunk driving. Follow these steps to ensure holiday celebrations don’t end in tragedy:

* Designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin, or plan another way to get home safely at the end of the night.

* If you are impaired, call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member or use public transportation. You can also ask servers and bartenders at bars and restaurants for a Safe Ride voucher for a free taxi ride home.

* Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.

* If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.

Pam EvertPam Evert is the Safe Communities Program Director for WMC Safe Kids and Safe Communities. She has worked for WMC more than 21 years and is committed to improving community health in any way possible.

Safe Communities offers turkey prep safety pointers

free range turkeyAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans  will get sick from dangerous food borne bacteria this year. The holiday meal and its preparation is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration and safe food handling in the kitchen is a very important part of the holiday.  To keep your friends and family safe from food poisoning there are certain steps that everyone should know:

 

DO …

DO ask all kitchen helpers to wash their hands using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

DO keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook.

DO defrost a frozen turkey by refrigeration or cold running water.

DO allow one day for every 5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator.  In a cold water bath, change the water every 30 minutes.  A 20 pound turkey will take 12 hours to defrost in cold water and should be cooked immediately after thawing.

DO use a meat thermometer to check if turkey is done.  The turkey should cook until the internal temperature reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

DO remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is cooked.

DO store the turkey and stuffing separately.

DO store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.

DO store leftover stuffing and gravy in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.

 

DON’T…

DON’T defrost a turkey at room temperature. Bacteria can multiply to unsafe numbers on outer layers before inner layers have defrosted.

DON’T leave an uncooked thawed turkey out of the refrigerator longer than 2 hours.

DON’T partially cook the turkey one day and continue roasting the next day.

DON’T prepare food if you are sick or have any nose or eye infection.

DON’T leave leftovers out on the counter longer than 2 hours.

DON’T store leftover stuffing in the turkey.

DON’T re-freeze a completely thawed uncooked turkey.

DON’T stuff turkeys as it makes it difficult for the internal temperature to reach 165°F within a safe period of time. If you must stuff your turkey, stuff it lightly before cooking and leave room for the oven to cook the interior of the turkey and stuffing.

 

Pam EvertPam Evert is the Safe Communities Program Director for WMC Safe Kids and Safe Communities. She has worked for WMC more than 21 years and is committed to improving community health in any way possible.

International Walk to School Day

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Casper Fire/EMS and Caper police officers talk with a student as he arrives at Willard Elementary on International Walk to School Day on Wednesday.

Wednesday was International Walk to School Day and WMC’s Safe Kids of Central Wyoming stopped by Willard Elementary and Evansville Elementary schools to teach children about pedestrian safety.

Volunteers gave out Frisbees, rulers, karabiners, tattoos (provided by FedEx) and other prizes whenever children answered questions about pedestrian safety.

Street safety is the responsibility of both pedestrians and drivers. So, please keep an eye out for children as you drive to and from work, mind all school speed zones and look for people crossing the street before turning across an intersection.

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Volunteers at Evansville Elementary talk with the students about pedestrian safety on Wednesday.

Students commit to not text and drive

The students of high schools throughout Natrona County really listened to the no-texting-and-driving message.

We started the 2013 “It Can Wait Drive 4 Pledges” week off with Natrona County High School’s mostly ninth- and 10th-graders during their 90-minute PE class early Monday morning.  I was really impressed at how attentive the students were as we showed the 34-minute AT&T “From One Second to the Next” video.  With over 100 students in the auditorium at each session, you could not hear a pin drop.  It is a very moving and impactful video to stress to viewers the importance of paying attention to their driving and putting their phones away or letting a passenger text or call for the driver.

The students really liked the hands-on activities.  Driving the simulator while texting or just driving showed how impaired they really were.  Many of these students just received their learner’s permits or were soon to get them.  These new drivers are the exact age group we wanted to reach as they are the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

In talking to the students during the activities I was encouraged by their responses to “are you going to text and drive?”  They always said no and stated they learned a lot today.  One student said he used to do it but quit after his friend got in an accident and broke his legs.

The total attendance at NC’s event was 334.

Natrona County High School students listen to the opening before the video was played.
Natrona County High School students listen to the opening before the video was played.

Tuesday we presented at Roosevelt High School for 100 students and teachers.  Again the audience was fully engaged in the video.  One of the teachers said that any time you can get this group of students quietly watching a video is totally awesome.  After the video the students all enjoyed the hands on activities.  One of the students was asked how she liked the assembly and she said, “It was great – I loved all of it.”

Another teacher pointed out that the visual means everything for this young generation.  They understood how texting can really impact someone’s life because of the video.

Many were able to try the driving simulator while texting and they all really got into that activity.  It is so rewarding to see what an impact we can do to bring the message to the students.

Roosevelt High School students watch one student try out the driving simulator as he tries to not hit a deer or a pedestrian while texting and driving.
Roosevelt High School students watch one student try out the driving simulator as he tries to not hit a deer or a pedestrian while texting and driving.

We traveled a bit out of the way to make a stop at Midwest School, which serves the small communities of Midwest and Edgerton.  We wanted to make it special for them being so far out of town, so we pulled the crashed texting car up there for them to check out.  Over 100 students attended.  The younger group was not quite into driving yet but we still got the message to them. The students actually listened and did not text and drive so it took longer for them to make a mistake or crash in the driving simulator.

This group of volunteers traveled to Midwest School to present for the students and  local law enforcement and Fire/EMS.
This group of volunteers traveled to Midwest School to present for the students and local law enforcement and Fire/EMS.
One of the hands-on activities at Midwest School included using concussion goggles and a shape-matching game.
One of the hands-on activities at Midwest School included using concussion goggles and a shape-matching game.

We finished our texting events at Kelly Walsh High School during lunch periods on Thursday with 712 students attending.  They enjoyed the hands-on activities as well.  One student named Jonas came up to me and said, “Ma’am, thank you very much for everything today. This program and other ones are going to save lives.”   This was a great comment coming from a student.

The Kelly Walsh High School pledge banner had the most signatures pledging not to text and drive.  All four schools had their own banner to sign and we left it in the offices for them to display as a reminder to the students about texting and driving.
The Kelly Walsh High School pledge banner had the most signatures pledging not to text and drive. All four schools had their own banner to sign and we left it in the offices for them to display as a reminder to the students about texting and driving.
We delivered the crashed texting car along with signs telling the story of the crash to the corner of Second and Conwell streets near Wyoming Medical Center for the public and employees to view.
We delivered the crashed texting car along with signs telling the story of the crash to the corner of Second and Conwell streets near Wyoming Medical Center for the public and employees to view.

The video contained more messages than just the no texting and driving so many students related in different ways to it.  Rachel Hauglid from PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) heard from a friend that her daughter attended one session at Natrona County High School and came home that night and raved about the event and all she learned.  It was nice to hear the feedback so quickly.  One of our partners, Jake Black from Casper Fire EMS, said that after the last presentation that he felt Safe Communities took the texting event to a higher level this year and was very happy with the turnout.

Thanks to AT&T, American National Insurance, Casper Fire/EMS, Casper Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, PARTY, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Evansville Fire/EMS, Midwest Police Department and Fire/EMS and WMC Safe Communities for the great collaboration for these events!

I am not a clinical person.  I am not a teacher.  It is very rewarding to see that you can make an impact on people by what message you deliver.  We truly touched lives.

Safe Communities and Casper police host first wet lab for drinking and driving awareness

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Casper Mayor Kenyne Schlager gets a field-sobriety test from Casper police officer Scott Jones to check how one drink affected her eye coordination.

Normally, it’s new officers who are trained at a “wet lab” – a monitored drinking period to discern the effects of alcohol on one’s body. But last month, it was Casper Mayor Kenyne Schlager, Rodeo Rick Darcy from Town Square Media and Jeff Goetz of the Wyoming Department of Transportation who drank cocktails for the sake of alcohol awareness.

Wyoming Medical Center Safe Communities and Casper Police Department hosted the first wet lab in Casper on Aug. 29. David Reed from Poplar Wine and Spirits provided the alcohol.

People often feel the effects of alcohol long before reaching the legal driving limit of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). After each drink, Schlager, Darcy and Goetz underwent field sobriety tests to determine how their motor skills responded to the alcohol. With a .03 BAC, well below the legal limit, Schlager told the Casper Star-Tribune that she felt too wobbly to drive.

Read reporter Kelly Byer’s article on the wet lab here. Scroll through the rest of the photos for more scenes from the event. Wyoming had 37 alcohol-related fatal accidents in 2012. With events like the wet lab, Safe Communities works to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving and to reduce the number of dead on Wyoming roads.

Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Goetz and Rick Darcy sample their drinks.
Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Goetz and Rick Darcy sample their drinks.
Rick Darcy tries to walk the line in a field sobriety test.
Rick Darcy tries to walk the line in a field sobriety test.
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Casper police officer administers a breathalyzer on Jeff Goetz.

 

 

Safe Communities is building a safer Casper

In August, Safe Communities and Safe Kids of Central Wyoming had two great community outings  to spread the word about safety in cars. At Riverfest on Aug. 24, we battled good ole Casper wind, but talked safety with many kids who stopped at our Safe Kids booth. At Casper College’s Back to School barbecue on Aug. 25, kids used the Safe Communities driving simulator to learn first-hand the dangers of texting and driving.

* Riverfest 2013: With more than 3,000 people attending, Safe Kids made many contacts with Casper children. Kids who stopped at our booth painted a safety sheet or colored an activity book. We passed out bags filled with safety activities and educational materials.

Safe Communities focused on drinking and driving, texting and driving and wearing seatbelts. People were surprised at how few drinks they can before they register a BAC (blood alcohol concentration). Check out the poster below to see how many drinks it takes you to be over the legal driving limit.

corrected poster

texting suburban
In 2009, a girl was driving down Casper Mountain Road in this suburban. She was reading a text when she rolled the vehicle – luckily she was wearing her seatbelt and survived. Safe Kids, Safe Communities and the Wyoming Department of Transportation displayed the Suburban at the Back to School Bash to remind drivers that texting can wait.

* Back to School Bash: More than 700 students and family attended Casper College’s annual event. Safe Kids, Safe Communities and the Wyoming Department of Transportation displayed a car crashed in a 2009 texting incident. The visual, with the details of the crash, made an impact on students.  Megan Capellas from AT&T gave out pledges for students to sign to not text and drive along with information.

Wyoming Highway Patrol helped with impaired goggles for students to “walk the line” interactive participation to show how drinking impairs your vision.  The students flocked to participate in this and were surprised how bad they actually did.  Safe Communities provided the driving simulator to let students experience driving while texting.  This simulator goes all the way from crashing, being picked up by police, court and even victims’ families talking with you.  The students loved this interaction as a reminder not to text and drive as it is against the law in Wyoming.

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The Wyoming Highway Patrol uses special goggles to show students how hard it is to walk a straight line if you are impaired. This was a great hands-on activity that everyone enjoyed.

Reaching this age group of students and making a difference in their lives is very touching.  I’m very proud to be a part of Safe Communities and Safe Kids to provide such great opportunities to our community.

Wyoming Medical Center is the lead agency for Safe Communities and Safe Kids of Central Wyoming. For more information on their services, visit their page on our website.

Alive at 25

As the Safe Communities program director, I attended a recent Alive at 25 driver awareness course in Casper.  Traffic crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities, accounting for 44 percent of teen deaths.  The 4.5-hour class is designed to teach 15- to 24-year-olds about the dangers of inexperience, distraction and peer pressure and ways to reduce their risk.

It’s everything Safe Communities is all about – preventing accidents and traumatic injuries.

Two Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers presented the education to the group of young adults.  Some had a choice to attend, while others were court-ordered because of speeding tickets, DUIs or MIPs.  It was interesting to watch their responses as the class progressed.  Some of the kids thought they knew it all, but by the end, they were all listening and responding to the troopers’ questions.  I truly believe these troopers made a difference in the lives of these kids.

Teaching our children the dangers of driving and strategies to save their lives and prevent injury is well worth four hours of their time.  It could save your child’s life.

If your child is between the ages of 15 and 24, I strongly encourage you to register them.  The earlier the better.  The classes are offered on a regular basis around Wyoming.  For more information, go to aliveat25.us.

Safe Communities urges teens not to text and drive

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In 2009, a girl was driving down Casper Mountain Road in this Suburban. She was reading a text when she rolled the vehicle – luckily she was wearing her seatbelt and survived. Safe Communities and other Casper agencies will take this Suburban to four Casper area high schools the week of Sept. 16-20 to remind teenagers of the dangers of texting and driving.

Do your teenagers understand the dangers of texting and driving?

Through the week of Sept. 16-20, Safe Communities will teach students these dangers at four Casper high schools – Natrona County High School, Roosevelt High School, Midwest High School and Kelly Walsh High School. We want to prevent crashes before young drivers are tempted to text while behind the wheel.

For 90 minutes at each school, students will get to try our driving simulator and impaired goggles on an obstacle course. They will also hear from a family who lost a loved one from texting and driving.

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Encourage your children to participate by texting their pledges not to text and drive at the event.

Several agencies are partnering to raise awareness about texting and driving including the Casper Police Department, Casper Fire/EMS, Mothers Against Drunk Driven (MADD), Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) of Casper, AT&T, American National Insurance, State Farm Insurance and WMC Safe Communities.

For more information about taking the pledge against texting and driving, go to Texting & Driving … It Can Wait.

Wyoming Medical Center is the lead agency of Safe Communities.

Pamela Evert is the program director for Safe Communities and an employee of Wyoming Medical Center. This article was originally published in the For Your Kids’ Health e-newsletter, a project by Wyoming Medical Center and Natrona County School District. Find more articles and health tips for children of all ages by clicking on For Your Kids’ Health from The Pulse’s homepage.