I have been struggling for a while to write my posts mostly because there is constant power failure (so my laptop and iPad battery are always dead or close to dead) thanks to the notorious fuel scarcity situation in my country. The truth is I haven’t been able to do anything productive for about 3 weeks and it is hard to not get bothered by it. Anyway, today I got the chance to charge my iPad and decided to write on this topic that has been on my mind for a while now. So happy reading.
If I asked you to define safety you would probably say something in the line of “safety is being free from harm or injury” and yes you are right but in what context? When your hear “safety” the first thing to comes to mind is that it has to do with work right? All you will probably think about is that your workplace has to be free from harm and injury. Now think about children – many have no concept of safety. In Nigeria, you see kids walking or running in front of moving and reversing vehicles without a care in the world. They do this because adults do it all the time and they act all shocked when they hear the sound of your horn like they own the road and your vehicle is committing an offence by being on it or even moving at all.
At my mum’s school, at one point, we were constantly having to remind the students to walk and not run. They would fly down the stairs with so much recklessness a lot of times and run around and play roughly despite the fact that they know the rule concerning that. You don’t want kids under your care going home with all manner of injury – it is definitely not good for business and more often than not, the kid gets a scar for life. As a form of punishment, training and a reminder, we send them back up the stairs and watch them walk down the stairs majestically. We make them aware of why they are being asked to walk and not run. Today some of them still run down the stairs while some show they have been listening by walking as they have been instructed. The thing is, you don’t have to be there to watch them do it. Sometimes I watch from my office window and I see the way and manner some of them walk around. It is pleasing to know that they don’t have to be watched before doing what is right and this is what safety is about.
Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe at home and in public places. Consider them the best ways and places to practice safety
- Teach your kids how to safely use kettles, charge phones, turn on the TV, answer the door bell etc. Don’t assume they must have an idea on what to do. Train them so that there are no accidents or mistakes. Children can be very inquisitive so don’t think you are doing them a favour or protecting them by not telling or showing them these things. If they have to explore or do things themselves, then they should do it the right way and safely too. I remember as a child, my siblings and I would set small fires outside in our compound and cook sand and water, pretending we were making stew. I can’t remember how we succeeded in making these fires, but we did make them and I am glad there were no accidents.
Children like to help charge phones and tablets. Teach them to use plugs safely. Remind them they cannot use wet hands or stick metal objects into sockets. Use child safety plugs when sockets are not in use and let your children know the punishment for tampering with the child safety plugs. Instruct them with firmness and love and give them a reason for why you expect them to do things a certain way, just the same way you explain to your employees and colleagues why tasks must be done a certain way.
- Have an emergency plan and escape route. Now this is really difficult in Nigeria. I say so because every home has sturdy burglary proof. If you were in your room and a fire broke out in your home, how would you escape. The window is a definite no no. What if the door that leads out of your home is far away from your room and the path you can take to the door is consumed by fire what will you do? It is hard to solve this problem in Nigeria as “no burglary” means “yes to robbers”. All I can say is do everything you can to prevent a fire outbreak in your home.
– do not store petrol inside your home. With the fuel scarcity, people tend to but more than they need. They don’t have enough storage and end up storing them in their home. This is dangerous! Very dangerous.
– remember to turn off your gas from the main supply once your cooking is done.
– avoid using candles. If you must, you a non-flammable candle stand. As a child I almost burnt down my home with my family in it when I left a candle stuck on my small radio while reading a book and slept off. I woke up to find the radio next to me on fire. From that day henceforth, you couldn’t find a single candle in my home thanks to my parents.
AT PUBLIC PLACES:
- Take care before you cross that road. In Nigeria have never seen the green man at the traffic light we see in the UK and developed countries. Once the light with green man comes on, you know it’s safe to cross the road. For places in Nigeria where you have no green man to lead you then you need to out on your common sense cap and be patient (very important). Wait till the light is red where you intend to cross. The red light means vehicles have to stop. Now don’t immediately get on the road, ideally you should but I noticed bus drivers and some private cars do not obey traffic rules and still speed past. Be watchful. Make sure it is safe to cross before you do.
- Stop walking past reversing or moving cars. Most times when I am reversing, I see people casually walking past my car. They hear my horn and look at me angrily expecting me to turn off my ignition if possible. Even little children do this. Again be patient, let cars go past before you hit the road. And you dear car driver, when you get to the zebra crossing, you really need to stop! We all complain about how the country is lawless but we forget we the citizens have to do what is right for the supposed existing laws to work.
- Dear pedestrian use the pavement. Again while driving I have to use my horn to get people off the road. They leave the pavement and walk on the main road like the pavement will swallow them up. Use the pavement and save your legs and possibly your life.
- Those pedestrian bridges are not to beautify the environment. You are meant to use them and not run across the express road. My first time in Abuja I noticed many people running across the deadly express road. Some cars were even reversing. I thought “yes an accident is about to happen and I am probably going to die today!” I was actually screaming and the taxi driver was laughing at me. I had just returned from the UK after almost 9 years so these things were new to me. The driver told me it was a normal occurrence and many people had lost their lives that way. Now when I see things like this happening I just shake my head and wonder “when will all this come to an end?”
- Teach your children how to cross the road safely. Many children have died on the road because they lack “road crossing” skills. Many even run across express roads. Teach them the 4 points mentioned above and you won’t have to mourn any of them.
All this post aims to achieve is to open your eyes to the need to apply what you are presently doing at work to home and public places. Don’t leave safety at work, take it everywhere with you. Have you got any points to add? Then please leave a comment.