Monday, December 31, 2012

January Tips: Holiday Security

From the period of Christmas to the New Year season, there is typically tremendous pressure on everyone to buy gifts and do a lot of shopping. This therefore requires people to spend extra money for these gifts and entertainment. Criminals will use this opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting people.

Crime rate is usually on the increase with the festive season. It is therefore, necessary to remind us of certain risks associated with the season and how these could be reduced or prevented. 

The following security tips will help protect you from being a victim of crime.

While shopping:
  • Your safety and those of your family members should be a priority. If a criminal attacks you for your purse or packages, give him your belongings. Your life is more important!
  • Always choose a bank with an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) located in a highly visible, well-lit area. If you notice anyone suspiciously approaching, cancel your transaction and leave.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Don’t advertise large rolls of money in public. You don’t know who may be watching.
  • Though you may be in a hurry and have things on your mind, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • For women - keep your purse tucked close to your body at all times. Don’t let it dangle from your shoulder as this may be a perfect setup for a purse-snatcher.
  • For men – carry wallets in front pocket rather than back pocket or jacket. Thieves are looking for easy targets as they move through the crowded areas.
  • Don’t be talking on your cell phone as you leave the shop walking to your car. You need to pay close attention to your surroundings and anyone who looks suspicious.
  • Approach your car with car keys in hand and survey the exterior and interior of your vehicle before entering. Place your packages in the trunk all the while aware of anyone who may be nearby or approaching you.
  • Don’t get into your car if you are being followed or are suspicious of anyone standing near your car. If so, return to the mall or store or where there are other people. Ask for store security assistance.
  • If shopping at night, try to go with another person. If you need to go shopping alone and leave the shopping Centre late at night, ask a security officer to accompany you to your car.

When Driving:
  •        Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up. If it's hot and you don't have air-conditioning, wind your windows down only slightly (e.g. 2") and be alert for the need to roll them up quickly.
  •       Never keep purses, wallets, cameras or other valuables on the seat next to you. Put them under the seat, in the glove compartment, or trunk out of view.
  •       Whenever possible, drive in the centre lane to make it harder for would-be carjackers to approach the vehicle.
  •        Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you so if you can pull away forward if anyone threatens you.
  •       Never roll down your window to talk to anyone who approaches your vehicle when you are stopped in traffic. Wave them off. If they continue to approach, drive away.  
  •       If you feel there is anything suspicious about an accident, such as a deliberate bumping from behind, leave immediately. Drive to the nearest public place where there are people and a telephone, or to a police station.
  •       Keep your vehicle in good repair and full of fuel so breakdown will be minimized.
  •       If someone tries to pull you over, and you don't believe the person is a police officer, proceed to a well-populated and well-lit area. If it is a police officer, explain your actions politely.
  •        Always observe your rear view / side mirrors to determine if you are being followed and if being followed drive on to safe spot and not your home.
  •       Take note or write down important details such as plate numbers, body markings, color, and the model of the taxi, when riding a taxi especially at night.

These tips can actually be applied at any time of the year to ensure the safety and security of people and assets.
Have a prosperous and safe new year!

En-pact Solutions Limited, 2012
Twitter: @OReese2

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Healthy Living: wearing pink for breast cancer awareness ………Series 2

Statistics from the American Institute for Cancer Research states that 1 in 3 cancers can be prevented by staying lean that is maintaining a healthy weight, eating smart and moving more (being physically active for at least 30minutes every day) 33 cases of every 100 cancer cases could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes.

Healthy lifestyle:

The following are activities that can be adopted to ensure we maintain a healthy life. These practices can be developed into routines that fit individual lifestyle.

·       Maintain healthy body weight: A healthy weight is idea for good health.
o   Obesity has been linked to excess estrogen production.
o   Check Body Mass Index (BMI) frequently.

·       Exercise: Do regular exercise for at least 30-60minutes daily, avoid sedentary lifestyle.
o   Brisk walking can be as good as jogging.
o   Swimming is great for overall toning of the skin and all round exercise.
o   Cardiovascular exercise is key for it increase heart and strength of contraction.
o   For those with space constraint, marching on the spot is ideal.
o   Exercise reduce stress, stress, stabilize breathing and improves coordination.
o   It is advisable to undertake a round of stretching before and after jogging to improve blood circulation to and from the muscle.
o   Jogging should be done for 30minutes daily at least 3 days a week.

·       Reduce cocktails / alcohol intake: increased intake of alcohol and cocktails can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

·       Quit Smoking: Smoking increase the risk of developing cancer.
o   Reduce tobacco smoke and its by-products from exposure through active smoking for it accelerates ovarian follicular atrophy thereby accelerating menopause and increasing risk of cervical cancer.
o   Passive smoking is equally dangerous therefore women should avoid close contact with smokers and advise their husbands not to smoke around them.

·       Eat fresh food: Choose diet high in fiber and antioxidants ((cancer fighting foods).
o   Reduce foods high in carbohydrate for when in excess it is stored in the adipose tissue which secrets oestrogen and increases the risk of cancer.
o   Limit fat intake and adopt low fat diet with more fruits and vegetables.
o   Reduce red meat intake.
·       Nutrition: Certain food can reduce risk of developing cancer.
o   Vitamin A: Reduce the risk in those with family history: carrot, sweet potatoes, dried herbs and leafy vegetables.
o   Vitamin E: Clinically proven to slow growth of cancer cells because it contains antioxidants: spinach, nuts, wheat, fish, sea foods,  tropical fruits and also effective when taken as a vitamin pill.
o   Vitamin D: Reduce by slowing growth of cancer: fatty fish (salmon), milk, fortified cereal, orange juice and eggs.
o   Fiber: Reduce estrogen level such as brown or whole grain, flaxseed, fiber cereal, beans, wheat bread.
o   Fruits & Vegetables: Vitamins and nutrients to lower risk; aim for five (5) servings a day: cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, dark and leafy green vegetables (pumpkin leaf popularly known as ugwu).

·       Birth control: Increase the risk of developing breast cancer due to presence of high doses of exogenous (foreign) oestrogen especially in women who already have predisposing factors of breast cancer. A combination therapy or low dose of oestrogen based birth control is advised.

·       Breastfeeding: For at least 6months up to 2 years reduce the estrogen level which may lower risk of developing cancer and also reduce overall risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Shedding of tissue during lactation eliminate breast cancer cells at the end of lactation.

Finally, eating the right diet in the right amount, keeping your weight under control and daily exercise can all go a long way in promoting healthy living. Eat right, be physically active and remain healthy.

En-pact Solutions Limited, 2012
Twitter: @O Reese2

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Preparing for a "Green Christmas" celebration………going traditional

Another year has gone by and it is Christmas once again; oh how time flies. This season comes with a lot of activities, celebrations, decorating, gift exchange and travelling. As we prepare for the festivities, it is important for us to consider our safety and the environmental impacts of the celebrations. With the increasing concern of global warming and drastic climatic changes, let us all reflect on these activities usually associated with increased consumption of energy, resources/materials and subsequently an increase in waste generation.

Making this year’s celebration a “Green Christmas” should not diminish the excitement that comes with the season but should promote creativity, cost reduction, team work and conservation. In achieving this we can adopt the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in the hierarchy of waste management to ensure we reduce the volume of waste generated during with celebrations.

Here are just a few suggestions for preparing for an environmentally friendly Christmas celebration. Once you start, you may come up with your own green initiatives as you get involved and caught up in the spirit of Christmas.

  • Have a theme: Christmas is a time for reflection; not for extreme spending but reaching out to others and expressing the love mirrored by the season.
  • Plan ahead of the season: Planning in accordance with your theme will reduce the chances of impulse shopping. With most departmental shops and stores having promos or discount sales, it is tempting to buy superfluous items thus; faced with the challenge of disposal afterwards.
  • Consider making your Christmas decorations: There are lots of creative ideas on how to make Christmas decoration from used materials. Creating your Christmas decorations, cards and even gifts with your family and colleagues can create opportunities for improving relationships and creativity. 
  • Share Eco-friendly gifts: These include items made from recycled materials, energy saving, rechargeable or solar powered gadgets and appliances.
  • Reduce paper consumption: You can either make your own Christmas cards from recycled paper, buy cards printed on recycled paper or better still, send electronic-cards via email.
  • Eco-friendly hampers: An eco-gift could be a fruit hamper which contain fruits which are 100% biodegradable unlike the standard hamper which would contain items such as gift wrappers, tins which are non-biodegradable.
  • Use of disposable items such as plates, cups, and cutleries should be reduced to the barest minimum as this amount to a large volume of solid wastes. Instead, employ use of reusable utensils preferably ceramic that can be washed up and reused.
  • Conserve energy: With so many decorative items relying on electricity, energy consumption increases therefore directly or indirectly contributing to an increased greenhouse gas emission and subsequently global warming. Use of LED Christmas lighting is recommended for reduced power consumption over standard lightings. Also remember to turn off all lightings after power outages, when going to bed, leaving the office or homes to prevent fires.

  • Christmas cards, calendars or magazines from previous years can be used to make decorations, cards, gift tags, 3D snowflakes and other creative crafts
  • ·       If you choose to buy decorative items, purchase high quality, durable items that can be reused over a long period of time. Cheap decorations are not eco-friendly because they have disposal challenges and are mostly non-biodegradable.
  • Artificial Christmas trees are environmental friendly because they provide the opportunity of being reused as opposed to cutting down living trees that promotes forest thinning and deforestation thereby altering the ecological system and reducing biodiversity
  • Fabric or clothing can be used to wrap gift items neatly; they can also be sewn into gift bags

  • Discarded items such as papers, old clothing, and appliances can be crafted into decorative items and cards.
  • Use existing gardens and flowerbeds for outdoor decorations: Use of twigs, fruits, pine cones, fallen leaves to make wreath and other ornaments for outdoor decoration.
  • Buy locally grown food: Transportation cost, increased carbon emissions and packaging with non- recyclable materials are some of the environmental impacts of importing food to be used for the Christmas celebration. Buying locally produced food can ensure you eat fresh and healthy foods

Be creative:

We can start now by integrating some of these initiatives in the preparation and celebration of Christmas. 
Having a “green Christmas” gives us an opportunity to provide solutions to the growing environmental concerns. 

Remember Christmas is for a season but the earth is our future; let us preserve it. I wish you all an Eco-friendly holiday.

Further reading:

En-pact Solutions Limited, 2012
Twitter: @OReese2

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wearing Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness………Series 1

The month of October has been dedicated globally for creating awareness on breast cancer. Lots of slogans and activities were developed last month to promote this awareness; such slogans include “get pink on purpose”; breast cancer walk; pink for October; pink ribbon, “wear it pink”, “go passionately pink for the cure", “tough enough to wear pink” to mention a few.

The questions that come to mind are: what is the impact of this awareness on the public; has it actually changed the attitude of people to this globally increasing life threatening illness and finally what are the next steps to take?  
Let us take a step further and DO SOMETHING.

The aim of this piece is to steer us all to be proactive as early detection is the key to total eradication of breast cancer.
Now lets understand some facts about breast cancer; for this purpose of this forum we will have three series on the topic viewing from our perspective.

Firstly, identifying the risk factors as discussed below, secondly adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will be discussed in the next series and finally early detection, which involves constant and periodic physical examination and this, will be extensively discussed in the last series.

 Identifying/Assessing your risk.

Risk factors are predisposing factor that increase your chances of developing breast cancer they include but are not limited to:
  • Age:  The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
  • Gender: Women are more prone to breast cancer than men although a small percentage of men also have the disease.
  • Family history/Genetics: 5-10% 0f breast cancer occurrence occurs in families with mutated genes BRCA1 & 2.
  • Heritage: Certain races or lineage such as African American carry BRCA gene mutation, which is positive for breast cancer.
  • Personal history: A woman that has had breast cancer previously has an increased risk of having the cancer again.
  • Menstruation: Women who start menstruation younger than 12 years and achieve menopause older than 55 years are at a higher risk of having breast cancer.
  • Breast density: High breast density makes detection of tumors more difficult with screening mammogram.
  • Chest radiations: Women who had chest radiation treatment at a younger age especially during breast development are more prone to developing breast cancer
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure: Women who took DES; a form of hormone estrogen during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage are of higher risk of breast cancer.

These are some of the factors that could lead to breast cancer. However, risk can be reduced when these factors have been identified and control measures put in place, hence preventing exposure to cancer.

For further reading, see links below:

 En-pact Solutions Limited, 2012
  Twitter: @OReese2

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Going social with Health Safety & Environmental awareness

Daily living can be dangerous sometimes for we may be faced with encounters we do not have control over. There are several things we have taken for granted and accepted as “part of life” but they continually expose us to harm. It is about time we started looking critically into our lifestyle and be proactive in sustaining ourselves as individuals and those around us; our assets or properties and most importantly the environment we tend to overlook.
I have had the urge to start this forum for a long time but have been stalling. The necessity was recognized years ago when I got into the health safety and environmental field and I realized that there is a gap in providing the basic information on health safety and environmental issues. There are various ways in communicating HSE awareness but with the growing interest in social media; this provides a means of reaching out to a larger audience at the same time. Topics discussed will show correlation between health safety and environment issues and lifestyle activities.
I would like this medium to be as interactive as possible because we can learn various things from each other and it would also bring out the best in me. The topics that will be discussed will be open for discussions to all. It will be appreciated if you could suggest topics of interest that could stir up constructive discussions for us all to imbibe into our lifestyles.
The goal of this forum is to promote “going green” for sustainable living. I know we can all work together to achieve it. I would solicit for the support of everyone so we can make this work and also spread the world to family, colleagues and friends so we can promote this good course.

En-pact Solutions Limited, 2012
Twitter: @OReese2