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The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic reach beyond the effects of the virus itself. New sources of stress and disruptions to our daily routines are contributing to increased risk of injury for many members of our community. The Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Program—an initiative of the Brigham’s Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation—has compiled a list of resources to help combat the risk of injury while social distancing.

Mental HealthThe COVID-19 pandemic is causing stress, anxiety, and overwhelming emotions for many adults and children. Dealing with these emotions can be challenging, but there are healthy ways to cope. Here are some tips for managing stress and anxiety.

Firearm Safety

During this time of increased stress and time spent at home, it is important to ensure safe storage of medications and firearms to protect you and your family from unintentional injury.

Safe Storage Tips

  • Store your medications and/or firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, or container.
  • Gun locks cause guns to be inoperable and can be used in addition to storing the guns in a locked container.
  • Store your firearm ammunition separate from your gun and store guns unloaded.

Safe Storage Resources

Violence Prevention

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are required to maintain social distance and stay safe at home. However, for some, home may not be safe. Victims of domestic violence may be stuck at home with their abuser and unable to connect with friends, family, or coworkers, making them at increased risk of violence in the home. The complexity of their situations may also be exacerbated by additional marginalization, such as financial insecurity, structural racism, and/or other forms of oppression and discrimination. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence at home, know you are not alone. Here are some resources to help.

Traffic Safety

While less people are driving on the roads as a result of social distancing, the rate of deadly crashes doubled in April 2020 as compared to April 2019. Speeding has become more of a problem due to emptier roadways. Boston, in particular, has seen fewer motor vehicle crashes overall, but the crashes that have occurred have been more severe as a result of high-speed impacts.

Safe Driving Tips

  • Slow down: Drive no faster than the designated speed limit
  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Drive sober
  • Drive hands-free and undistracted

Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety

Due to the stay-at-home orders and the closure of fitness facilities, more people are taking up walking or cycling as a means of exercise and getting outside. It is important to practice safe measures when walking or cycling during this pandemic.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

  • Use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible
  • Refrain from walking at non-daylight hours. If walking at night, make sure to wear light, visible clothing or reflectors so that you are more visible to cars
  • Never assume a driver sees you
  • Make sure to social distance as much as possible while out walking—keep at least six feet away from others
  • Wear a mask while you walk

Cyclist Safety Tips

  • Wear a helmet while riding
  • Use a bike lane when possible
  • Ride at a safe distance away from others
  • Wear a mask while you ride
  • Plan your route on less crowded road ways
  • Ride a bike that works and fits you
  • Ride hands-free and sober

Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety Resources

Fall Prevention

With so many of us residing at home during this pandemic, it is important to practice safety measures that keep you and your family safe while social distancing.

Home Safety Tips

  • Falls Prevention
    • Talk to your provider about having a falls risk assessment
    • Do not rush to answer the phone
    • Refrain from wearing non-slip footwear like slippers, sandals, or high heels
    • Use your cane or walker instead of holding on to furniture for stability
    • Make sure your hallways and stairs are well lit—place night lights and bedside lamps in rooms
    • Tape all throw rugs to the floor
    • Pace rubbers mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping
    • Make sure electrical cords are organized and out of the way
  • Burn Prevention
    • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Check batteries every six months
    • Develop and practice a fire escape plan
    • Blow candles out before leaving the room or going to sleep
    • Use safe cooking practices: never leave a stove unattended
    • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of an emergency
  • Poison Prevention
    • Store poisonous substances in a locked cabinet or up and away from children. These substances include medications, household cleaners, alcohol, etc.
    • Keep all poisonous products in their original containers
    • If you suspect a poisoning has occurred, call the National Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for guidance from poison control professionals
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