The Best 'Sweetheart' Deal in the World

The Best 'Sweetheart' Deal in the World

This Valentine's Day, put safety first for those you love.

Deborah Hersman is president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Blog – Hearts are everywhere. In America, Valentine's Day is a time for recognizing who you care about most. What will you give? Flowers? Chocolates? Tickets to a Sweet Sixteen tournament game near you? The choices are endless, but what if your gift this year was focused on keeping your special someone safe and free from harm?

It starts with realizing that all "accidents" are preventable. When we don't pay attention to what we're doing, we're playing Russian roulette, not only with our lives but the lives of those around us.

Safety is no accident

Unintentional injuries are now the #4 cause of death, right behind heart disease, cancer and pulmonary disease. And of all these, unintentional injuries are 100% preventable – we know why they happen – so we can and should get to zero preventable deaths in our lifetime.

Safety professionals – people who spend their careers protecting others from injury and death – don't use the word "accident." They refer to events that result in harm by names such as crashes, overdoses, slips, trips and falls, and for the "close calls," they recognize what could have happened. We are grateful to the safety professionals who alert us to hazards, care for us when we are injured and investigate incidents to help us learn to avoid them in the future. But if we are going to get to zero deaths, we can't leave the safety job only to the professionals. It will take all of us.

The data show that 9 times out of 10 we will be injured at home or in our community, where it is our unique responsibility to identify risks and to pay attention to what we're doing.

An 'Accident Waiting to Happen'

To help illustrate why the National Safety Council does not believe in accidents, let me share two scenarios that may sound familiar to you. Can you picture yourself or someone you love in either of these situations?

Kevin Roper didn't intend to crash his truck into the back of Tracy Morgan's bus, killing Morgan's friend Jimmy McNair and severely injuring the famous comedian. But he was behind the wheel for more than 24 hours without sleep. Every year more than 35,000 people are killed on our roadways. We can prevent these deaths through better education, better laws, better enforcement and better technology.

Louis Miceli didn't join his high school football team expecting to die of a drug overdose. But after an injury, his doctor prescribed painkillers, which led to just that. Louis' mother, Felicia, works with NSC to address the risks of addiction. More than 18,000 people died of unintentional prescription painkiller overdoses last year. We can prevent these deaths through better prescribing guidelines, use of prescription drug monitoring programs, increasing the availability of addiction treatment programs and widespread distribution of the antidote for overdose, Naloxone.

What will you commit to?

These deaths were not accidents. We all have the opportunity and the obligation to be educated, alert and responsible when it comes to driving or the drugs we consume. At the National Safety Council we are committed to preventing the 100 fatal crashes and 52 overdose deaths that occur every day.

This Valentine's Day, commit to someone you love by putting safety first so you can spend many more holidays together.

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