Consumer Group Talks Turkey on Food Safety

A consumer champion’s study of ground turkey meat, bought at retail stores throughout the US earlier this year, revealed that half of the meat contained bacteria and some contained other germs including salmonella.

Further tests by Consumers Union (CU) showed that most of the disease-causing organisms were resistant to the antibiotics usually used to fight them.

The study showed that ground turkey labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics” was just as likely to harbor bacteria but that these particular organisms had less resistance to antibiotics.

If you’re buying ground turkey meat, Consumers Union recommends opting for these labels, especially if they also say “USDA Process Verified”. Another helpful label is “Animal Welfare Approved”.

No meat is risk free, CU points out, but other things you can do to reduce the risks include buying meat just before checking out of the grocery store. Store it below 40 degrees if you plan to cook it within a couple of days; otherwise, freeze it. Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and wash hands thoroughly both before and after handling it.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has useful guidelines on how best to cook poultry safely at http://tinyurl.com/usda-pltry.

Four Home Fire Sprinkler Myths

When it comes to fire safety in the home, you could be forgiven for thinking that installing sprinklers seems a bit over the top. But that’s partly because of misunderstandings about how they work, how much they cost to install, and how vital a role they can play in increasing safety and reducing fire deaths.

According to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a trade body, residential fire sprinklers can contain a fire and may even extinguish it before firefighters arrive. This provides precious time to get everyone safely out of the house.

In fact, research by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests sprinklers could cut the incidence of residential fire deaths by as much as 83 percent, reduce direct property damage by more than two thirds, and cut firefighter injuries by 65 percent.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety highlights what it labels as myths about home fire sprinklers. These are:

  1. When one sprinkler activates, the whole lot go off. Not true. The sprinkler heads react to the heat in each room. 90 percent of fires can be contained by just one sprinkler.
  2. Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing water damage. This is highly unlikely. Sprinklers are designed to avoid accidental activation.
  3. Water does more damage that the fire it’s trying to quench. Though water may cause damage, by limiting the spread of the blaze it will actually do less damage. Plus, water from firefighter’s hoses, if the blaze hasn’t been contained, will do much more damage than sprinklers.
  4. Home sprinklers are expensive. This is one of the biggest myths. The Fire Protection Research Foundation estimates the cost to be around $1.60 per square foot of home. Against the value of what’s at risk in a fire, this is a relatively small sum.

There’s also no evidence that construction rates are inhibited when planning bodies require homes to be built with fire sprinklers.

A residential fire happens every 87 seconds in the US. Just think of the difference that home sprinklers could make.

How to Check Car Seats for Safety

 Car seats for kids can protect your most precious cargo … but only if they’re right for the job, both in terms of the type of seat and the way they’re used.

Here are some tips, courtesy of the non-profit SafeKids organization on how to make sure your young passengers are as well-protected as they can be in your car.

  • Check the label to make sure the seat is right for a child’s age, weight and height.
  • Keep all seats in the back. In fact all kids up to age 13 should travel in the back.
  • Up to age about 2, use a properly tethered rear-facing seat.
  • Check for firmness of tethering. You shouldn’t be able to move the seat more than an inch in any direction.
  • Ensure the harness is tightly bucked and threaded through the right slots. Check this with the manual.
  • In fact, always read the car seat instruction manual and, until you’re well practiced, check your installation against the guidelines in the book.
  • Look out for a car seat inspection event in your community. Visit the website safekids.org for events and details of certified child passenger safety technicians.

Tech Solutions for Seniors

 Despite the popularity of retirement homes, statistics show that more and more seniors plan or want to stay in their homes as they get into their 70s, 80s, and beyond. And while many of them are blessed with good health, there’s no denying that older people are more vulnerable to dangers in the home. In particular, many of them live alone, causing concern about monitoring their safety.

But modern technology and a bit of human ingenuity can solve many of the issues. Here, for example, are six ways to make life more comfortable and safer for seniors at home.

Simple Gadgets: Remote controls and cellphones are a boon, but they’re often difficult for some older people to manage. Fortunately, simplified versions are available, featuring large, easy to use buttons and user-friendly controls.

Medical Alerts: These are necklaces or bracelets used to summon help in an emergency. Sometimes they can be used just to raise the alarm with a neighbor or relative, after a fall for example. In other formats they’re linked to 24-hour support services, which charge a monthly fee.

Video Links: Computer technology can seem daunting, but you can set up a laptop with built-in camera for your older relative. All they have to know is how to switch the PC on and click a single button when you make a video call to them. Setting a fixed daily or weekly call time simplifies the process.

Home Monitor: Another way to monitor their activity and well-being is through the use of devices, rather like burglar alarm sensors, that are activated when they are passed. Software enables these monitors not just to detect activity but, just as importantly, inactivity, and relay that information to you via the Internet.

Managing Meds: Compartmentalized boxes are great for showing if a person has taken their medication for a particular day but they’re no good at actually reminding users. But you can get automated boxes that actually dispense the pills, deliver beeping reminders and even communicate with relatives if drugs have not been taken.

In the not too distant future, we can expect small wrist devices that monitor health factors like pulse, temperature, blood pressure and movement — to alert users of abnormalities and even send the info to us via the web!

RVOS Lodge 103 Awards Scholarships

RVOS Lodge 103 is pleased to announce that it has awarded scholarships to three graduating seniors.  Lodge President Brian Heitzman met with each student to deliver the scholarships.  This year’s essay subject was Texas History.

RVOS Lodge 103 President Brian Heitzman awarded a $1000 scholarship to Kaci Garbacik

Kaci Garbicek

Kaci Garbicek of Collinsville will attend Tarleton State University in Stephenville, majoring in Family and Consumer Science. She is the daughter of Tim & Debbie Garbacik.

President Heitzman and scholarship winner Craig Maynard

Craig Maynard

Craig Maynard of Whitesboro plans to study poultry science at the University of Arkansas. His grandparents are Marvin & Shirley Tischler.

Cortlyn Morgan accepts a scholarship from President Brian Heitzman

Cortlyn Morgan

Cortlyn Morgan graduated from Pilot Point High School. She will attend Oklahoma State University where she will major in interior design. She is the granddaughter of Morris & Bonita Morgan.