It all starts with a fall. It is obvious that you can’t have a fall injury without a fall. However, we have a false sense of security because in our own personal histories we have survived many falls without serious consequences. Our challenge is that it’s nearly impossible to predict which falls will cause injuries and which ones will just be embarrassing. So our mission must be to prevent all falls, but can falls be prevented?
Of course, we can’t prevent all falls, but there’s undeniable evidence that we can reduce slip, trip, and fall injuries. My optimism is confirmed by the wide variety of organizations, such as the National Safety Council (NSC), the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), all of whom have published articles and programs for preventing falls. Furthermore, we already have proof that injuries and deaths can be reduced with concerted and focused effort. We have reduced the number of motor vehicle deaths by 18 percent while the number of miles driven and the number of drivers have increased. Furthermore, we have seen that the occurrence of slip, trip, and fall injuries and deaths at work are significantly lower than outside of work.
If we can reduce the risks of an injury while driving and reduce our slip, trip, and fall risks when we are at work we can reduce all slip, trip and fall accidents.
But the current programs that are focused on reducing STF injuries for the elderly have not been effective so Thom Disch, author of Stop the Slip, has developed the ALERT System providing us with a systematic five-step program that will enable us to reduce the risk of a fall and make everyone safer. To successfully reduce STF injuries, we need to approach the problem with a systematic approach. To do this, Thom developed a simple, five-step ALERT System designed to significantly reduce all falls.
We use the acronym: A-L-E-R-T to remind us of the five steps we can take that will reduce the number of falls and fall injuries.
Awareness is the first and most important step in preventing STF injuries. You should be on alert when you’re in higher-risk situations. Create a mental STF warning system.
Learn what you can do to prevent a fall accident. Most fall STF injuries happen in the places we know the best: our bathroom, our kitchen, our stairs, etc. This happens because we’re in our comfort zone, our guard is down, and we’re not paying attention.
Start Early. We know that everyone is at risk. Fall injuries cause a high percentage of emergency room visits at all ages. We also know that the elderly are at a greater risk for more severe slip and fall injuries and death. Learning how to avoid a fall when you are younger will reduce fall injuries when you are older.
React to what you’ve learned. If you see a slip and fall hazard, correct that it. Do it right when you encounter the risk or problem. Don’t count on your memory or your ability to react to a slip and fall problem in the moment.
Train your body and improve your balance. Train your mind to be aware of STF situations. Train your family. Train your friends. Train your co-workers.
For more information on how to prevent slips and falls preorder your copy of Stop the Slip, a comprehensive guide on how to prevent slips, trips, and falls by author Thom Disch.