Speaking of practical ways that the government can provide useful information to citizens online… there are various government webpages that help citizens become informed on being safe around fireworks. Here’s a sampling of them…
“According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) annual death and injury report (PDF, 325 Kb) on fireworks, approximately 40 percent of fireworks injuries occur to children younger than 15 years of age. In addition, CPSC received reports of three fatalities related to fireworks in 2010″ (source).
Who is at Most Risk?
In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. 73 percent of these injuries occurred between June 18 – July 18. Of these:
- 65 percent were to males and 35 percent were to females.
- Children under 15 years old accounted for 40 percent of the estimated injuries.
- Children and young adults under 20 years old had 53 percent of the estimated injuries.
- An estimated 900 injuries were associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 30 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 17 percent with illegal firecrackers, and 53 percent where the type of firecracker was not specified.
- An estimated 1,200 injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
- The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent), and head, face, and ears (16 percent).
- More than half of the injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently.
- Most patients were treated at the emergency department and then released. An estimated 7 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital or admitted to the hospital. (source)
Fireworks Fire Safety Tips
- Sparklers are not toys. They can reach 2,000o Fahrenheit–hot enough to melt some metals.
- Leave pieces of fireworks on the ground after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode.
- Stand several feet away from the professionals lighting fireworks; fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. (source)
Here are some more tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission…
And OSHA has this safety information for the fireworks industry…
This is a collection of links that I’ve come across recently related to technology, transparency, and government. Not all of them came out this past week, but they haven’t been included in former Friday posts like this. Know of any that should be included? Add them to the comments below!
- How can election officials use social media? Why should they? The U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a roundtable discussion throughout the day on “Voting Goes Viral. Using New Media to Manage an Election and Communicate with Voters”. Here’s some takeaways…
- “comScore, Inc. … released data from the comScore Video Metrix service showing that 176 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in May for an average of 15.9 hours per viewer.” (emphasis added)
- “83.3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.”
- “Seismic shifts in the economy are forcing dramatic changes in the nation’s cities and counties. Many jurisdictions have made deep cuts across the board, eliminated entire functions, or both, while seeking new means of support and collaboration. This is a time when relevance and adaptability of government — and by extension, the public-sector information technology community — is being subjected to a very real-world test. What’s more, this test is being conducted in full public view, every day and with every encounter between citizens and their government.The urgent question is around how well, how nimble and how agile government is at adapting to the current environment while never losing sight of the future. This special report offers some answers in the form of best practices gleaned from our extensive local government surveys.”
On Friday, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a roundtable discussion throughout the day on “Voting Goes Viral. Using New Media to Manage an Election and Communicate with Voters“. The archived video of the webcast is available here.
Their premise going into the day?
There are a multitude of social media sources for information about elections and voting. In this rapidly moving, multi-source environment it is more important than ever that there are official resources about voting that the public can rely upon. (source [PDF])
Here’s some interesting statements that are made in the Agenda and Meeting Information [PDF]
- The voting public increasingly relies on information that is generated and exchanged amongst themselves, about elections, including the basics of how, where and when to vote. Candidates, parties and voting activists have their own strategic uses of social media. Social media outlets are the platforms in which information about elections is being shared and repeated.
- Journalists and election officials share a common goal of informing the public about election procedures and election outcomes, and both groups are using social media to inform the public.
- An important point to make about social media is that it is not a technology; it is a culture. And, yes, it can be scary and unfamiliar to some of us. However, we have to remember our goal – serving voters. They are on Twitter. They use Facebook. And we have a responsibility to go where they are and make sure they have reliable, credible information about exercising their right to vote. Remember, using social media is not about getting a return on your investment; it’s about having conversations with the people you work for. It’s about collaboration, interaction and it is the way business is being done.
- In an era of dynamic changes in voting technologies, increased voter expectations and reduced budgets, journalists and election officials need to find common ground and explore ways to improve the efficiency and effectives of communicating critical election information to the public. A natural tension between these two groups has been speed versus accuracy regarding unofficial election results.
- The social media environment is fast-paced, unforgiving and can be cruel. If you enter it, you will make mistakes, big and small. It’s important to develop a strategy, but also be confident enough to experiment. At the end of the day, election officials should always remember that these efforts are being undertaken on behalf of the public. You want to make sure they have accurate information about how to successfully cast a ballot. Get ahead of rumors and take advantage of this built in early warning system. Get unfiltered feedback, which all true leaders want. It may get weird out there, and it is normal to be scared, confused and excited. But you are helping more people and you are accomplishing your mission.
The archived video of the webcast is viewable here.
Here are some Tweeted insights from the @EACgov Twitter account from throughout the day …
More Information About the Event
Their Agenda included the following sessions:
- Social Media: What Is It?
- Social Media: Who Uses It?
- Journalism and Social Media
- Strategies & Stories from Election Officials
- Chuck Todd — NBC News political director
- Lee Rainie — Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project director
- Chris Chambless—Clay County, Florida, supervisor of elections
- Alysoun McLaughlin — District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics public affairs manager
- Brian Newby — Johnson County, Kansas, election commissioner
- Dana Chisnell — the Usability in Civic Life Project
Also, see techPresident’s post about the event.
- This includes 6 tips…
- The 1st of which is: “Make a start… accept that it’s not as complicated as you might think. Even on a very limited budget you’ll be surprised at what can be achieved and the difference it could make to the people in your community”
- “Launching a website in “beta” used to be a way to test functionality before releasing a more polished product for public consumption, but according to some federal technologists…”
- What would be beneficial about this (or would it possibly be a negative step)? Hear what some have to say…
Last Friday, a new policy paper by Peter Levine was released entitled: “Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication“.
“His paper is the sixth in a series focused on implementing the Knight Commission’s 15 recommendations for creating healthy informed communities across the country released in 2009 in a landmark report, Informing Communities.” (source)
There are 5 main strategy recommendations:
- Create a Civic Information Corps using the nation’s
“service” infrastructure to generate knowledge (view online)
- Engage universities as community information hubs (view online)
- Invest in face-to-face public deliberation (view online)
- Generate public “relational” knowledge (view online)
- Civic engagement for public information
and knowledge (view online)
What do you think? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!
Quotations from the paper: Peter Levine, Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication, Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, April 2011.