Of recreational hazard and occupational safety-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, March 3, 2014
THE month of March always reminds me of two things, fire safety and women. Just as I am pondering on what to write for my Tuesday column, I witnessed a lady horse rider fell right before my eyes. Where I was seated and parked at the pony station in what many locals refer to as Kantri Klab Gilid or besides the Baguio Country Club waiting for my daughter working there, I heard the scream of a frantic girl on a galloping horse fell from her mount and hit the newly concreted road at the junction with a thug. I witnessed the tension when the girl’s cousin who was also riding another horse and other relatives who were following closely in a white pickup sports vehicle saw how she fell. Unconscious, the girl was carried and brought to what could be a hospital or a clinic. While trying to assess the incident or what went wrong, my instinct as a newsman forced me to snap the scene with my mobile phone for whatever it is worth just as I did with some mishaps and accidents that I encountered in the past. I reckoned that as both girl and horse were approaching the parking area, the latter was not clinging to the horse’s rein and was off balanced in attempting to dismount. I also observed that perhaps the horse couldn’t be stopped at that time because the girl’s family members riding the white pickup were following closely attempting to slow down the horse. My inquiry with the pony boys and the lady guide who walked beside the rider revealed that the later said she can be left alone with the horse as she’s not new with such animal.
Anyway, after about thirty minute of wait as my daughter had a little overtime, the girl’s family returned on board the white pickup with grim faces and paid the rent of the horses. I suppose, the girl’s fall was not fatal and life threatening.
In my professional years as public information officer, the month of March always reminds me of fire prevention month as the season when the climate turns warm and hot necessitating everyone to be extra cautious when dealing with fire. Where places and areas are prone to fires such as grassy lands, we should take extra precaution not to start a disaster by not throwing lit cigarettes, empty cans or bottles that can spark a fire when directly under the intense heat of the sun. It pays to invest on a good fire extinguisher but we should note down it expiration periods. Store volatile and highly flammable substances in cool and safe places and keep matches and lighters away from the reach of small children.
Make sure that all your family members know what to do in the event of a fire. Each household must have at least two ways of escaping during fire and for this, a floor plan is recommended. Try to understand the basics of electricity and do not make the big mistake of dousing burning appliances with water as you might be electrocuted because of the water.
It is a good idea to keep a flashlight, a mobile phone, transistor radio and directory of important service providers to call in cases of emergency.
As to recreational activities or even work related functions such as horse riding, construction work and field services like pizza delivery, it is always best to be prepared to any eventualities. It has been observed that we are not that strict in the implementation of the seat belt law. The non-use of standard helmet by motorcycle riders has starting to be given attention by enforcing the helmet law and apprehending those that violates. Perhaps horse riding should be likened to that of a motorcycle ride where riders are required to wear helmets.
Just as bicycle policeman, cyclists and construction workers wear safety gloves, skull guards or head protectors, it must also be required for tourists and non-professional horseback riders to have something for body protection like a knee pad and cushioned headgear that lessens injury and body impact during fall. As we always say during disaster drills and disaster awareness programs, an ounce of preparedness is always better than a pound of cure. Stay safe.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 04, 2014.