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Savings / Safety Tips for October 2017 from All Safety Products, Inc.

National Fire Prevention Month: Time well spent: Fire safety awareness 

A lot of things are annoying: Long meetings, traffic jams, tax forms. And fire drills. The truth is one can't ignore annoying things because the consequences are usually catastrophic. In the case of fire drills and fire safety, this is exceptionally true. Because we are safety oriented, fire isn't an everyday threat. We've built our infrastructure and environments so that we can have some peace of mind. And this also becomes the problem.

In office buildings and plants, it is essential to have open exits and essential that people know where they are. One oft-cited case from 1991 tells a tragic story of locked doors, obstructed exits and no fire plan. The case involved a food products company. Oil from a hydraulic line leaked out a few feet from a natural-gas fired cooker. The blaze blew up instantly, trapping workers who couldn't get out locked or obstructed doors. No fire suppression system was in place and exits were far from work stations. Out of 90 employees, 25 died and an additional 54 were injured, according to OSHA. While this was an exceptionally tragic case, blocked exits and locked doors are possible to find in any location. Usually, these situations are easy to remedy and all it takes is a fire-safety attitude.

In fact, the threat of fire is highest during working hours. According to FEMA, non-residential building fires occur most frequently from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. An estimated 86,500 nonresidential building fires are reported to United States fire departments each year, according to FEMA. These fires cause an estimated 85 deaths, 1,325 injuries, and $2.6 billion in property losses per year.

In workplace cases where the blaze is not contained, the most common areas for fires to occur is in vehicle storage areas or other storage areas. Electrical malfunctions and cooking areas follow closely as areas of ignition. Regardless of where a fire starts, the key is knowing how to escape a building. Don't ignore the occasional, and annoying, fire drill. The consequences can be catastrophic.

Does knowing heart disease risk change bad habits?

A vacationer hearing about rain in the forecast might alter his plans. A traveler hearing about a plane crash might even take the bus. But will a person who hears they are at risk for heart disease change his or her lifestyle?

Surprisingly, no. A 2016 report in the British Medical Journal analyzed 18 studies and found that even when people were shown genetic tests indicating increased risk factors for heart disease, they weren't likely to change their diet, exercise more, or quit smoking.

This finding flies in the face of simple logic saying that a person would want to act in a way that keeps them alive longer. Genetic testing, according to The National Institute of Health, has become much more popular and affordable lately with companies like 23andMe and Sure Genomics offering personal testing for anywhere from $100 to $2,000. These tests can uncover inherited disorders and genetic risk factors that would leave a person predisposed to developing a heart problem. Researchers speculated that testing might lead to informed patients taking prevention into their own hands, but it seems this theory was not correct.

On one hopeful note, knowing their genetic predisposition to disease didn't inspire healthy behavior, but it also didn't inspire new risky behaviors either. Testing didn't make people more or less depressed or anxious. Experts at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that knowledge of risk factors coupled with behavioral counseling seems to help people take action. A program that has multiple sessions with patients over several months can help with setting goals to lose the weight and get healthy.

Healthy Tip For October Study: Yoga or therapy may help back pain

Study: Yoga or therapy may help back pain If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you might be desperate for some sort of solution to the debilitating condition. Chronic low back pain is a widespread problem. According to WebMD, Americans spend over $50 billion each year on back pain. About 80 percent of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.

There has been a lot of publicity touting the benefits of yoga and physical therapy for back pain relief, especially as doctors move away from painkillers as a solution. But a recent study suggests aching consumers shouldn't expect complete relief. The study results showed that both yoga and physical therapy help some people some of the time, but they don't work for everyone and the pain relief was not perfect.

According to the June 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 320 patients with persistent back pain were assigned either yoga, physical therapy or educational instruction on managing back pain. After 12 weeks, about 48 percent of the yoga group had a 'clinically meaningful' improvement in their pain. The same was true for 37 percent of physical therapy patients.

The study's authors said the difference between the yoga and physical therapy results were not statistically significant and both therapies appeared to make some difference during a year's time. In an editorial accompanying the study, one of the authors, Dr. Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, cautioned on overselling yoga as a solution. "The reality is, yoga was not a panacea for most of these patients." If you want to try yoga for your back, be sure you take a beginner's class with gentle poses aided with chairs.

Healthy Tip and Recipe Suggestion: Pumpkin pies -- a uniquely North American treat

North America treat mystifies Europeans. October through December are prime months for pumpkin pies -- a uniquely North American treat that mainly puzzles Europeans. In fact, expats routinely complain that finding cans of pumpkin in October and November is nearly impossible on the continent.

According to The Guardian, Brits never really understood a vegetable-based pudding and pumpkin has never caught on. In fact, in Europe, most expats end up substituting butternut squash or sweet potatoes for pumpkin.

Nonetheless, North Americans love their pumpkins and it does more than satisfy the taste buds. It wins big time for its nutritional values. A slice of pumpkin pie has up to three times the recommended daily value of beta-carotene plus the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. The carotenoids in pumpkin neutralize harmful free radical molecules, while lutein and zeaxanthin are potent free radical scavengers, according to Rutgers University in Brunswick, N.J. A diet that includes these antioxidants can help prevent many of the diseases associated with aging, including heart disease and cancer. Lutein and zeaxanthin are naturally found in the lenses of the eyes. Studies suggest that eating foods high in these compounds help block formation of cataracts and decrease the risk of macular degeneration.

Canned pumpkin has virtually the same nutritional value as fresh, and it's far less work to prepare.

You can make a nutritious pumpkin pie from a can of pumpkin pie mix or two pies from a 16-ounce can of pumpkin (just add your own eggs, sugar, and spices. The recipe is on the can.)

Some tips about pie made from canned pumpkin: If you find your pie cracks in the center or doesn't hold together well enough, your eggs are probably too small. Use three eggs instead of two. To reduce the fat content of your pie, (pumpkin itself has no fat) use fat-free canned milk.

If you will use whipped cream as a topping, select fat-free whipped cream at the supermarket for a flavor that's still very good. For more intense flavor from pumpkin pie mix, add a bit of extra spice and a tablespoon of brown sugar. For more daring pie, put in three tablespoons of rum.

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