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Nevada News Briefs

Troy Wilde
Nevada News Service

Red Cross focuses on reducing deaths from fire

Nationwide, more than 2,300 people died and nearly 13,000 were injured in home fires in 2012, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

This month the American Red Cross is kicking off a national campaign to reduce deaths and injuries from house fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Installing smoke detectors and changing their batteries is an important part of fire safety, but Anne Marie Borrego, a Red Cross spokeswoman, says a family’s escape plan is just as important.

“I would say if there’s one thing that you can do today, it’s to go home and really practice that escape plan,” she advised. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to sit down and talk with your family and actually see how long it’s going to take you to get out of your home.”

A recent Red Cross survey found that people believe they have more time than they do to escape a burning home.

Fire experts estimate people have as little as two minutes to escape, while 62 percent of respondents believe they have at least five minutes.

According to the survey, nearly seven in 10 parents believed their children knew what to do if their house caught on fire, but less than one in five families with children has practiced home fire drills and less than half of them talk with their children about fire safety.

Borrego said fire safety is a conversation worth having with your children.

“My advice would be to do it in a very matter-of-fact manner,” she said. “It’s important to talk with them about the need to prepare just in case and to reassure them that mom and dad are doing this just so everyone stays safe. “

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms installed inside of every bedroom and on every level of your home.

EPA: New vehicles get better gas mileage

Drivers are saving money at the pump, as U.S. fuel economy reaches an all-time high, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA reports that model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon.

That reflects a half-mile per gallon improvement over the previous year, and an increase of nearly five miles per gallon since 2004.

Will Toor, transportation program director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said the numbers show that automakers are working hard to achieve the federal government’s fuel economy standards.

“Leading automakers, I think, really partnered with the administration and said, ‘We can do this, and we’re not going to fight it,’ and instead are really focusing on a variety of improvements,” he said.

The EPA credits the fuel economy improvements to automakers’ using more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers and advanced transmissions.

The Obama administration has standards in place requiring that new vehicles average the equivalent of 54 miles per gallon by 2025.

Toor said getting better gas mileage will have a positive impact on reducing the emissions that cause climate change.

“Emissions from transportation account for about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” he added. “And the bulk of that is from personal vehicles.”

The EPA projects that the increased fuel standards will double fuel economy by 2025, cut vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half and save Americans $1.7 trillion dollars at the gas pump.

Employees report bullying at work

Bullying is typically considered a schoolyard problem, but millions of American adults say they’ve been victims of bullying on the job.

According to a 2014 national survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27 percent of workers report being bullied by a co-worker or boss.

The institute’s director, Gary Namie, said victims face threats, humiliation, work sabotage and verbal abuse.

He calls it a silent epidemic that typically occurs behind closed doors.

“In adulthood, they – the bullies – target the people who pose a threat to them,” he said. “So, based on envy, jealousy and attributes that they don’t possess, like technical skill and being well liked, people are targeted.”

October is Bullying Prevention Month and Namie hopes it raises awareness about the effects of bullying on victims.

He said bullying can traumatize a person, and even result in post-traumatic stress disorder. An estimated 65 million Americans are affected by workplace bullying.

In the workplace, Namie said victims often struggle to get employers to take their case seriously – that’s why employer accountability is an important part of anti-bullying legislation.

“All the advice is, ‘Well, you need to confront your bully,’” he said. “Well, if you could’ve, you would’ve, and confrontation by a bully target is ineffective – not because they’re ineffective people, but because the power of the employer is behind the bully, not the target.”

Namie’s organization has introduced a Healthy Workplace Bill in 26 states, including Nevada.

He says it defines an abusive work environment and provides protections, both for employees and employers

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Nevadans are encouraged to consider adding a new member to the family during “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month” in October.

Kimberly Wade, senior manager of communications and events with the Nevada Humane Society, says her organization is holding special events throughout the month to promote shelter dog adoptions. She says adopting a shelter dog has benefits over going to a breeder or retail pet store.

“Every animal that comes through Nevada Humane Society, every dog and cat, they are spade or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped,” she said. “In addition, the adoption fees you pay for a shelter pet, especially here at Nevada Humane Society, are a lot lower than breeder fees.”

Wade said not only does adopting a shelter dog make good financial sense, it also saves the life of an at-risk animal. She adds all adoption fees go toward caring for other homeless animals.

Wade said, in general, people are gaining a better understanding of the value in adopting a shelter pet in Nevada and across the U.S. She says organizations like the Humane Society also are doing a better job promoting shelter animal adoptions.

“With so many groups across the county doing so nowadays, that word is growing and yes, that does mean more and more people are adopting from rescues, but we’re still here, our job isn’t over,” she said. “We still have to push that to people overall.”

She added the Nevada Humane Society currently has close to 600 pets looking for new homes. For more information on this month’s pet adoption events, visit “nevadahumanesociety.org.”