Make safety the best gift you give this year

6 December 2019

As we head into the festive season, Life Without Barriers wants to remind everyone to keep safety front of mind.

The safety of our staff, clients and their families is vitally important to us at Life Without Barriers. As the festive season and summer months mean we often get to take a well-deserved break, it's important to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe over this time too. Here we share some important things to remember this season:

Stay safe on the roads

The five biggest killers on the road

  • Distraction: Don't text and drive. People who are texting while driving are 6 times more likely to get into a car accident than a drunk driver. Remember the slogan, M8 IT CAN W8 and keep both yourself and other road users safe by not using your phone while driving.

  • Fatigue: Know the signs of fatigue; yawning, heavy eyes, blurred vision, reduced concentration. If you're experiencing these risk factors, pull over straight away, rest and swap drivers.

  • Speed: Keep to the speed limit and drive to the conditions. If it's raining reduce your speed by at least 10kms below the normal speed limit.

  • Drink/drug driving: Pre-plan how you are going to get home after a big night out such as an Uber, taxi or pre-planning who will be the designated driver. If you know you are going to have a big night, leave the car at home.

  • Seat belts: Seat belts save lives. In Australia, approximately 150 people die each year in car accidents because they are not wearing a seat belt. Don't become a statistic.

Be bush fire prepared

With this year's bush fire season being one of the worst on record it is important to be prepared before the threat of fire or evacuation comes to your doorstop. To be prepared the NSW Rural Fire Service recommends

  1. Discuss what to do if a bush fire threatens your home. Have this conversation around the dinner table, when everyone is focused.

  2. Prepare your home and get it ready for bush fire season, such as keeping grass low and having a cleared area around your home.

  3. Know the bush fire alert level. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.

  4. Keep all bush fire information and websites easily accessible. Download the app of your local fire service if they have one. Local fire services: WA, NT, SA, QLD, NSW, VIC and TAS

It’s a fact. If you and your home are well prepared, you stand a better chance of surviving a bush fire.

Be alert around water

It's a sobering fact, but 276 people died in Australian waterways and pools in 2018/19. There are a number of things you can do to stay safe around water:

  • Swim at patrolled beaches only, in between the red and yellow flags.

  • Provide active supervision to children and non-swimmers. This means being within arms reach of young children. All too often, kids drown silently.

  • Never swim alone, if you are a competent swimmer. This is especially important if you are older and your fitness levels have decreased over time.

  • Wear a life jacket for all water sports such as boating, canoeing and kayaking.

  • Don't drink alcohol and then swim or drive a boat. Alcohol can disorientate you, and this combined with hidden currents and other water hazards can be a lethal combination.

Tiredness and fatigue

We know tiredness is one of the biggest contributors to accidents at home and at work. Keep these things in mind this festive season:

  • Not all sleep is created equal. The length and quality of your sleep is what will help you to feel refreshed upon waking and able to concentrate while awake.

  • Adults need between 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night. Without this, your body will accumulate a sleep debt. If you are working long hours, it is important to catch up on sleep on your breaks.

  • If you're a shift worker, make sure you have adequate time between shifts in order to get a full night's worth of sleep.

  • Those who sleep fewer than 5 hours have a measurable impairment in their work and concentration.

  • While it may seem like alcohol can help put you to sleep, this effect only lasts for a few hours, after which the stimulating effects of alcohol cause you to wake up.