Let’s Be Careful in Here

This morning I almost dropped a dumbbell onto my foot. I casually grabbed hold of two four-kilo dumbbells to do squats with weight and one of them slipped in my hand. I was able to secure my grip before it fell. Had it fallen, it would have landed on the top of my left foot. The foot would have been shattered.

We’re all home a lot these days, in these days of isolation and lockdown. We’re doing more of the things we usually do at home more often, and we’re doing other things that we don’t usually do at home. With that slight slip of a workout weight, I’ve been thinking about home safety and COVID-19. With that thought, the signature line of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (played by Michael Conrad) in Hill Street Blues, “let’s be careful out there,” becomes “let’s be careful in here.”

Cooking fires can stress fire safety professionals and take resources away from other needs. Home injuries and accidents – like cutting yourself cooking, or falling, or dropping a dumbbell on your foot – add stress to our already stressed health system. Ambulances, safety equipment and public safety personnel are possibly diverted from other needs, which adds additional strain and stress to the system. Our goal with isolation, lock down and quarantine is to ease the stress on the system.

Along with avoidable stress on the public safety infrastructure and health system, we put these professionals at unneeded risk of contracting COVID-19 with avoidable house calls, and we could inadvertently be spreading the illness. Here’s a refresher on common home accidents, compiled from several on-line safety sites:

  • Falls – Falls are the leading cause of accidental home death in the U.S and injuries due to falls are among the most common household hazards. (I know this personally. My wife Ami z”l died of traumatic brain injury from a fall.)
  • Fires/Burns – Even candles or an unattended iron could lead to an accidental fire in your home. Burns can also be caused by both dishwashers and stoves.
  • Poisoning – The second leading cause of home fatalities is poisoning.
  • Cuts – This includes knives and sharp objects. There is a wide variety of common items with sharp edges that are used inside your home, like an opened can.
  • Appliances – Unsecured appliances, especially with a chord that a child can reach, can cause serious injury, including unlatched doors, such as dishwashers.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) – CO cannot be detected be smell. Low exposure to CO can cause headaches and dizziness, while high levels can lead to vomiting, impaired vision, and even death.
  • Choking/Strangulation – Choking can result from a bit of dinner going down the wrong way or a youngster accidentally swallowing a small item. Cords on window dressings like blinds or curtains present a common strangling hazard to small children and infants.
  • Drowning – In the U.S., deaths from drowning in a bathtub have increased by 70 percent in the past decade.

Slow down. Move with care. It’s easy to be distracted, to leave a child unattended or to simply dismiss the idea that injuries happen at home. Here are tips for home safety.

Let’s keep ourselves safe at home and avoid adding additional stress onto health care and public safety professional who put themselves at risk for us. Here are three prayers, one “For Police,” one “For Firefighters” and one “For Medical Scientists” researching coronavirus.

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists

God of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.

Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.

Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, רוֹפֵא כׇל בָּשָׂר, וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֺת׃
Baruch atah Adonai, rofeh kol basar, u’mafli la’asot.
Praised are You God, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.

For Police

God of the selfless,
God of the strong and the brave,
Watch over those who dedicate their lives
To serving and protecting others,
Men and women who have answered the call
Of honor, duty and service,
Who risk life and limb to maintain law and order,
Who risk life and limb among the first responders
To natural disasters and man-made terror.
Grant them protection in the pursuit of our safety,
Skill in the pursuit of our well-being
And wisdom in the pursuit of justice.

Bless the souls of those who’ve died in our service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
Bless their families with consolation and comfort,
And their colleagues with solace and support.
Grant Your healing to all who grieve.

Rock of Truth,
Watch over our communities with love.
Bring an end to crime and violence,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

Rock of Ages,
Stronghold and Shelter,
Bless all who serve in the policing professions with Your care.
Bless them fortitude and strength,
Insight and judgment.
In their lives, bless them with joy and health,
Security and well-being.
Let their deeds resound with fairness and integrity,
The calling of their profession,
A source of blessings in our midst.

For Firefighters

The heat, the flames, the wind.
The inferno rages
And you rush in.
God knows your mettle,
God knows your strength,
A child will live,
But you may fall.

God of the selfless,
God of the strong and the brave,
Grant Your loving care to those who dedicate their lives to our safety,
Men and women who’ve answered the call
Of honor, duty and service,
Who risk life and limb to fight fires,
In our cities, towns, forests and country-side,
Those who risk life and limb among the first responders
To natural disasters and man-made terror.
Grant them Your protection.
Grant them wisdom and skill when split-second decisions mean life or death.
May they stay alert in the face of fatigue.
May they stand true in the face of danger.
Let them return in wholeness and peace.

Bless the souls of those who’ve died in our service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
Bless their families with consolation and comfort.
Bless their colleagues with solace and support.
Grant Your healing to all who grieve.

Rock of Ages,
Stronghold and Shelter,
Bless our firefighters with Your care.
In their work, bless them with fortitude and resilience,
Insight and judgment.
In their lives, bless them with joy and health,
Security and well-being.
Let their deeds resound with passion and courage,
The calling of their profession,
A source of blessings in our midst.

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” is © 2020, “For Police” is © 2019 and “For Firefighters” is © 2016, all to Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Alden Solovy is the Liturgist-in-Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. A liturgist, poet, and educator, his teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud UK and synagogues throughout North America. He's the author of “This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day” and has written more than 750 pieces of new liturgy. His new book, "This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings," was published in 2019. He made aliyah in 2012. Read his work at www.ToBendLight.com.
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