Other Voices: Keeping kids safe when school’s out | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Keeping kids safe when school’s out

The carefree days of summer are often characterized by hanging out by the pool, visiting with friends and relatives or driving to a vacation destination. But don’t let the relaxed mindset of easy, breezy summer days set you up for accidents.

June is National Safety Month and Waste Management in Nevada County is highlighting safety in the community it serves throughout the month, reminding customers to put safety first for themselves and their families.

As children begin their summer vacation, they often spend their free time outside, so it is important to watch them closely. Waste Management encourages parents to talk with their children about safety while playing outside and to watch out for our large waste and recycling trucks as they follow their routes through your community.

We like to encourage friendly relations between our drivers and customers, but we also need to emphasize that people need to stay clear of our trucks while we are on our routes. Parents need to let their children know that it’s fine to wave at us from a safe distance like the front porch, but not to get too close. Remember that these trucks have lots of moving parts so that even when they are stopped people should keep their distance.

Safety is our No. 1 priority. We want to use National Safety Month to remind our valued customers to be mindful when they see us out on the road so we can deliver our services as safely and efficiently as possible.

Safety tips when around Waste Management trucks:

• Every Waste Management truck is equipped with a back-up alarm. Whether you are walking or driving near one of our trucks, if you hear this sound (a loud beeping) or see the white backup lights, be sure to move out of the way of the truck.

• Keep your children and pets at a safe distance from the truck. Never get near or climb on the truck – whether it is parked or operating. Do not play or stand in or around trash bins or cans, since you may not know when the truck is coming to empty them. On your collection day, be sure to move toys or cars out of the path of the truck and away from your collection containers.

• Try to avoid cutting in front of or stopping suddenly in front of a Waste Management or any commercial vehicle. Large trucks require greater stopping distance than a passenger car. Extend the same courtesies as you would to other drivers and keep a proper cushion of space between you and the truck.

• Do not follow the truck on your bike, skates or skateboard. Our trucks make frequent stops and often back up. While driving, pass slowly as soon as it is safe.

• All of our trucks are equipped with a radio or some kind of communication device that connects our drivers to our dispatch centers. If you are experiencing some type of emergency and need help, stand at a safe distance away and wave your arms to motion for help. Do not approach the truck unless the driver tells you it is safe to do so.

In addition, Waste Management is providing some general safety tips from the National Safety Council to ensure your well-being while on the road:

• When you’re driving, drive. Don’t multi-task. If you need to do something while in transit Ð makeup, phone call, breakfast Ð pull over, put the car in park and do it then.

• Don’t reach under or behind the seat to retrieve things or turn around to talk to passengers.

• Put the cell phone down, especially in hazardous conditions such as heavy traffic, higher speeds or bad weather.

• Know the side effects of any medication you’re taking and be alert for any symptoms of impairment, such as drowsiness, excitability, altered depth perception and altered reaction time. Many over-the-counter drugs can impair driving, particularly antihistamines and cough and cold preparations. So, too, can prescriptions, particularly anti-anxiety drugs.

For more information on National Safety Month, visit the National Safety Council’s Web site: http://www.nsc.org.


Steve Cameron is the district manager for Nevada County Waste Management. He lives in Grass Valley.

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