ESA hears tips on living in a safer world during recent meeting

Beta Chi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha recently met in the home of Deann Stewart, where Charlotte Garrett gave an educational report on “Living in a Safer World — Road Rage, Crime Prevention Tips, Telephone Fraud and Home Safety Tips for the Elderly”.

Garrett began her report by telling about road rage. Road rage has been around since cars were invented. Although road rage is not a new problem, it has been on the increase and may well continue to do so. One reason for this is the fact that the number of vehicles that are on the roads have increased and they are not keeping up with the number of roads that are needed for them, Garrett said.

Garrett gave some examples of road rage — exceeding the speed limit, running red lights and stop signs, turning right on red without stopping, making hand gestures at other drivers, abrupt and frequent lane changing and failure to use turn signals. She also gave some examples of how to avoid road rage — avoid cutting off other drivers in traffic, don’t tailgate, signal well in advance before turning or making lane changes, avoid gestures or eye contact with other drivers and dim headlights as soon as you know you are going to meet another driver. She also said give yourself ample time to reach your destination, obey speed limits and if someone follows you after an on-the road incident, drive to a public place or to the nearest police station or call 911. Garrett said keeping these tips in mind hopefully will make you less likely to be involved in a road rage incident which could result in an accident and injury.

Garrett also gave tips on telephone fraud. She told the group to be aware of voice mail fraud, this is where hackers can compromise your voice mail system to make collect, third party, or direct dial calls at your expense. Voice mail vendors provide new customers with a default password — usually an easy guessed combination such as 1234. Garrett said to make sure to change it to a six digit and change it often.

She also explained calling card number scams. This is done by a criminal calling and posing as a telephone company representative. They will ask to verify your calling card number and once they have it, they will make calls including international calls. Never give out personal information over the phone, the telephone company will never ask you for personal information, she advised.

The last topic was “Home Safety Tips for the Elderly.” She gave several tips to consider when safeguarding for the elderly’s homes or homes that the elderly may visit. She advised to avoid hazards such as throw rugs, reduce clutter, keep stairs and entry ways brightly lit and move low furniture out of traffic areas. She also said to use non-skid wax and floor cleaners to prevent a slippery floor, as well as textured bathmats in shower stalls and bathtubs. The house should be kept well-lit at night with night lights in the path of the bathroom. Smoke alarms are a must, she said, and make sure they are tested often. Smoke alarms with non-replacement batteries that are designed to last up to 10 years are also available.

Garrett said to make sure that anything that can burn is at least 3 feet away from furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters. She said you should never use your oven to heat your home and to always turn off portable heaters when leaving the room to go to bed. She also told the group that the local fire department offers free home safety inspections as well as free smoke alarms for seniors. For more information, call 870-543-5150.

The Beta Chi Chapter of ESA is currently seeking new members. Those interested in joining should contact Stewart at 870-540-7511.

The group meets once a month to do philanthropic work. Some of the organizations the group has helped include CASA, Neighbor to Neighbor, Easter Seals and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.