Doubtless for some area residents the calendar seems to have skipped spring altogether, as cool temps clung to the region for what felt like a month too long. Forget April showers, this year seemed to lean toward April shivers.
But delayed though it may have been, spring clearly came a-calling this week, with the mercury shooting into the 70s and even 80s. Last weekend’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Kirby park may have felt a bit raw, but the blossoms were in spectacular bloom by Friday on Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square, colorful heralds of good weather yet to be.
And with spring come the perennial reminders that a change in the weather warrants a change in what to look for as far as risks go. Not to put a damper on the beautiful days before us, but there are plenty of safety tips to keep in mind.
• Start with housecleaning. If you have the urge to do some full-blown spring cleaning and get the must of a shuttered winter out of your home, don’t get so carried away you forget to read the precautions on those bottles of cleaning chemicals. Mixing the wrong sprays and scrubbing powders can be toxic, even explosive.
• While on the topic, don’t get lazy about keeping poisonous supplies out of the reach of children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 300 children are treated every day in this country for poisoning, and that two of those 300 die. An unlocked door does nothing to stop toddlers from getting into supplies stowed under the kitchen sink.
• Spring means snow thaws pouring water into creeks and rivers, often making water levels higher than they will be all year. Don’t assume that peaceful brook you could wade through — or drive through — last fall is still as shallow and calm.
• The long stretch of cold temperatures can make the urge to get some serious sun overwhelming, helping people forget about pesky precautions like sunscreen. Catching rays or simply enjoying T-shirt weather is great, but don’t bypass the SPF.
• Check the cords and plugs of all those electrical outdoor tools before you start mowing lawn and trimming hedges. A frayed power line can turn your yard work into a hospital visit. Wear safety glasses, sturdy shoes and long pants when you start whacking those dandelions.
• Up for a little gutter cleaning, outdoor window calking or other work requiring you get off the ground? Check ladders before you start climbing.
• Perhaps most importantly, remember that a lot more people will be outdoors, crossing streets, riding bikes, and enjoying the long-delayed warmth. Children, in particular, will revel in the chance to get outside and play (at least, if they have not become hopelessly tethered to glowing phone and game console screens). More people are also bound to hit the road in motorized vehicles. Be patient, be courteous and be alert when behind the wheel.
For many, spring is the season of blossoms, rebirth, migration and a return to the great outdoors. Some common-sense safety measures can assure the joy of winter’s end isn’t marred by avoidable accidents.
– Times Leader