Archive for June 30, 2009

H1N1 Update

Since March 2009 after the H1N1, also know as Swine Flu, caused its first illness in Mexico, the virus has spread to more than 70 countries. Speading to the United States, the first reported patient was confirmed on April 15, 2009 and has since spread to over 27,717 Americans with 127 deaths as of June 25, 2009 (CDC). According to the CDC, “On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the novel influenza A (H1N1) Virus. A Pase 6 designation indicates that a global pandemic is underway.”

Over the past few weeks, the number of infected humans has been increasing. Although the number has been rising, “…many of the cases reportedly had links to travel or were localized outbreaks without community spread. The WHO designation of pandemic alert Phase 6 reflects the fact that there are now ongoing community level outbreaks in multiple parts of the world.” (CDC)
The raising to Phase 6 by the WHO reflects the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness casued by the virus. Because the H1N1 virus is a new virus, many have little or no immunity to fight it, and illness may be more. There is currently no vaccine to protect against the H1N1 virus.

Although most in the United States who have become ill from the virus have recovered without medical treatement, the CDC does anticipate more cases occuring, more hospitalizations, and more deaths in the coming weeks. Most people have turned to medical masks to help protect themselves while traveling, or when in heavily populated areas.

Every individual has the ability to lessen the risk for themselves and others from contracting this virus. Some things as simple as washing your hands often, throwing your used tissues away, and avoiding sick people, may seem like small everyday hygiene tasks, but are surprisingly not practiced by many. For more ways to protect yourself and others click here.

Public Safety Vests – ANSI 207 Vest Requirements

About the Standard:

ANSI 207 Public Safety Vest standard was created in response to public safety user group’s demand for high visibility safety vests that differentiate Police, Fire, EMS and EMS personnel from other non-related personnel: Red is for Fire Officials, Blue is for Law Enforcement, Green is for Emergency Responders, and Orange is for DOT Officials.

207 public safety vests are designed shorter to allow quick access to belts and tools. Many of these safety vests feature (but are not mandatory to the standard) loops, pockets, badge holders, mic tabs and ID panels to meet the user’s need for functionality while still offering an effective high visibility garment. Unlike the ANSI 107, Public Safety Vests have no classifications – It’s just the Public Safety Vest Standard (PSV).

ANSI 207 requires 450 square inches of background material and 201 square inches of reflective material. Please note ANSI 207 vests do not meet the requirements of ANSI 107 and therefore do not currently meet the requirements of 23 CFR 634. For more information about ANSI 107 click here.

The DOT/FHWA has proposed a number of changes that will affect 23 CFR 634. Of the most immediate concern is that they propose allowing ANSI 207 vests for emergency responders. This change did not go into effect in time for the November 24 deadline and is not likely to go into effect until the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2009.

Comparing Sports Drinks – Sqwincher vs. the Other Brands

For situations that require rigerious activity, the potential of encountering a heat stress disorder increases. In order to help prevent heat stress symptoms, most look towards sport drinks such as Gatorade and other popular drinks, as well as water, to hydrate and replenish electrolytes lost. However, Sqwincher is a scientifically proven electrolyte replenishing drink that has been around for years and continues to outperform its competition. “Sqwincher’s scientifically developed formulation…is absorbed into the body at a significantly faster rate than water, allowing the body to replenish the electrolytes and minerals needed for proper rehydration.”

Sqwincher is a cost-effective way of increasing productivity, while helping to lower the number of workplace accidents. According to Sqwincher, “Sqwincher is isotonically formulated. That means it is designed within a certain range to match the weight (specific gravity) of body fluid. This is important for an optimal absorption of water and electrolytes into the muscle system.” Unlike other sports drinks, Sqwincher has 50 percent less sodium and approximately 50 percent more potassium.

Sqwincher vs. The Others
Product Sodium Potassium Magnesium Carbs Calories
Sqwincher 55 mg 45 mg .47 mg 16 g 50
Gatorade 110 mg 25 mg not listed 16 g 55
10K 55 mg 30 mg not listed 15 g 60
Quickick 116 mg 23 mg not listed 11 g 43
Powerade 55 mg 30 mg not listed 19 g 70
Average Soft Drink 16 mg 13 mg not listed 26.8 g 10

Sqwincher continually proves to be one of the most effective electrolyte replacement drinks in the market. So what are electrolytes exactly? According to Sqwincher, “Electrolytes are minerals (magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium) that are lost through perspiration or other forms of dehydration, particularly in heat stress situations. Under ideal conditions, electrolytes flow through muscle cells to keep them functioning normally.” Muscle tissue weakens as perspiration occurs because it depletes cells of fluids. “Within seconds of drinking Sqwincher, the electrolytes are put back where they belong, and in the process, energy is back where it belongs.”

NFPA 70E – Arc Flash Standard for Electrical Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created NFPA 70E, a standard for Electrical Safety in the workplace. This standard is designed to protect workers around any device capable of generating arc flash by requiring arc flash protective clothing for their corresponding Hazard/Risk Category. The information below is a high level overview.

NFPA 70E Requirements:

The NFPA published the latest edition of the NFPA 70E standard in 2009. It requires employees to wear flame resistant protective clothing that meets the requirements of ASTM F1506 wherever there is possible exposure to arc flash. It also requires employers to perform a flash hazard analysis to determine the flash protection boundary distance. For additional requirements please review the NFPA70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace 2009 Edition.

Why should I comply with NFPA 70E?

The NFPA 70E is not only recognized by OSHA but can save your life! Numerous arc flash burn injuries and deaths are caused each year by arc-flash explosions. Wearing proper arc flash protection can minmize the likelihood of inuiry and fatality. OSHA has confirmed that garments which meet the requirements of ASTM F1506 are in compliance with OSHA 29 CR 1910.269 Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution, with regard to garments not contributing to burn severity.

What Should Be In Your First Aid Kit?

Whether it’s for your home, car, or workplace, a properly constructed First Aid Kit is essential for emergencies. According to the American Red Cross, carrying a first aid kit with you or knowing where you can find one is very important. You can purchase a first aid kit or make one yourself. Some kits are specifically designed to fit different activities such as outdoor sports. Whatever your activities consist of, make sure you have the proper items you may need. Aside from the basic first aid essentials, make sure you include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers. Practicing regular upkeep to your First Aid Kit, such as checking expiration dates and replacing any used or out-of-date items, is essential. The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First Aid Instruction booklet

Whatever your daily activities include, whether at work or at play, make sure you have a First Aid Kit available and fully stocked to fit your needs.