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Agnesian HealthCare emergency departments stress night safety importance
January 23, 2013

The great outdoors offer many opportunities to enjoy being outside, whether taking a walk, going horseback riding against a bright moon, or bicycling in your favorite area.

These are all fun, healthy activities to enjoy, but emergency department teams from all three Agnesian HealthCare hospitals - Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital - are sharing tips for night visibility and safety while participating in outdoor activities.

All three hospitals are sharing quarterly messages around personal safety and are now also sharing the message of winter safety.

“It takes some very simple preplanning to ensure safety during nighttime hours,” says Tami Moffat-Keenlance, Ripon Medical Center ER/inpatient services director. “With some knowledge and effective tools, people can be outside enjoying what they like to do, but with greater safety measures in effect.”

For example, Moffat-Keenlance recommends that it is more effective for individuals to wear white or light colors at night. “At night, white can be seen up to about 200 feet while black can only be seen up to about 20 feet.”

Reflective accessories, especially on your arms and legs, will help drivers spot you more easily since they are more likely to see the reflective light when in motion. If carrying a light, place it on the side closest to traffic. In parking lots, stay away from walking behind cars with tail lights on or motors running.

One-inch wide reflective tape down the length of a fender is wide enough to be very visible. Reflective tape serves well on the back of a bike helmet, back of bicycling gloves and forearms of jackets. Mounting a blinking tail light on your bike which is more conspicuous than a steady tail light is also a good idea.

The emergency departments are spreading this safety message based on real cases they have seen. “We are working to spread the word on how everyone can be safer during evening and night hours,” says Barb Karsten, Waupun Memorial Hospital outpatient services director. “Our team at Waupun came together to create an informative display on night safety and drew names to win items that can be used for personal safety in the dark, like vests, dog leashes, reflective tape and more.”

In addition to ensuring others see you in the dark, Karsten also provides insight into personal safety measures. Invite a companion to provide strength and safety in numbers. If walking, running or biking alone, let someone know the route you are taking and how long you will be gone. And, avoid headphones when walking or running. Headphones diminish your ability to hear car horns and voices. Stay in well-lit areas.

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