News for Constituents

New Handbook Provides Helpful Information About Family Caregiving 

Across Pennsylvania, more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians are caring for older parents, spouses, or other loved ones, assisting them to live independently rather than in one of the Commonwealth’s long-term, institutional nursing homes, according to the PA Homecare Association.

Dedicated family and friends are providing $20 billion annually in uncompensated care allowing seniors to safely live at home and in their community. 

The Association is making available “Secrets No One Told You About Family Caregiving”.  The 48-page handbook features tips, tricks, and helpful hints for family members caring for a loved one.  Obtain your copy by calling PHA at 1-800-382-1211. 

Advance the level of care delivered through 59 free online video training courses offered by the PA Homecare Association’s “My Learning Center”.  Find resources for everything from caring for an Alzheimer’s victim to understanding the family dynamics within which you are functioning. 

Award-Winning PA Amusement Parks Await Your Visit

Pennsylvania’s award-winning amusement parks offer food, carousels, funhouses, children’s rides, modern steel and retro wooden coasters, water attractions, and much more, according to VisitPA

Amusement parks with a history abound in PA.  Some have risen from a fish hatchery, another as a picnic and relaxation area for a company’s employees, and two others with ties to popular children’s TV shows. 

For safe and fun-filled memories of your trip to the amusement park, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Division registers, inspects, and educates park visitors, as well as owners and attraction operators.  Questions may be directed to the Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., at 717-787-2291. 

Exercise Safety Precautions When Summer Heat and Humidity Hit

When summer is delivering high temperatures, exercise special safety precautions, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Combine summer heat with high humidity and the human body’s ability to cool itself through evaporation is impaired.  Heat stress becomes heat stroke as the body’s core temperature rises.  Within 10-15 minutes, a 98.6 degree body temperature can increase to 106 degrees leading to permanent disability or death. 

Prevent symptoms of a heat stroke including cramps, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headaches, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating. 

 

PA’s Black Fly Suppression Program Accepting Official Complaint Reports 

Thirty-eight Pennsylvania counties participate in the Pennsylvania Black Fly Suppression Program, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

For the remaining counties, DEP recommends avoiding black fly infected areas, participating in outdoor activities during midday, and staying indoors during warm, cloudy, and humid days.  DEP finds gnats or black flies are most aggressive before summer thunderstorms and advises against exposure. 

Following DEP’s tips for wearing a light-colored hat, tucked-in pants and long-sleeves, along with glasses or goggles, will significantly add to your protection against black flies.  Skip attractants such as perfume, deodorant, hairspray, and toiletries, in favor of insect repellent. 

Black fly complaints may be submitted to your Region between April 1 and November 30. 

 

Biking Safely in PA 

When riding between sunset and sunrise, a bike must be equipped with a front lamp and rear and side reflectors that are visible from at least 500 feet, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  The appropriate lights allow you to illuminate your path while helping motorists see you. 

A proper fitting helmet is a must for children under twelve years of age and younger and highly recommended for all other riders.  Your rear-view mirror may be helmet-mounted or attached to the bike’s handlebars. 

Add a frame-mounted water bottle and a handlebar rack-mounted bag or carrier for a small toolkit, fingerless gloves, extra clothing, and a bike lock.  If your bike has not been used recently, PennDOT also recommends that a qualified mechanic assess your cranks, brakes, handlebars, and seat for comfort and safety. 

Before biking the trails, see PennDOT’s Bicycle Safety and Laws webpage to refresh your memory on bicycle laws contained in the Commonwealth’s Motor Vehicle Code and detailed in the PA Bicycle Driver’s Manual.

 

Beyond the Pothole

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation continues to operate the Customer Care Center at 1-800-FIX-ROAD or 1-800-349-7623, receiving calls beyond reports of potholes and dead deer. 

The county-based system is available for the reporting of conditions on state-owned roads, issues with construction projects, absence or placement of signs and signals, and speed limit concerns.

Claims against the Commonwealth for damage to your vehicle or personal property should be submitted for review by the Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management of the PA Department of General Services.  The Bureau also requires PennDOT to review all claims associated with state-owned highways prior to final determination.  Line paint claims must be submitted to the county in which the incident occurred.  Be prepared to provide the date, time, county, state route number, and the location of the occurrence. 

 

Summer Boating Safety

Pennsylvania witnessed 70 recreational boating accidents, resulting in 11 fatalities last year, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).  Seven of the eleven victims were not wearing the life jackets onboard their boats. 

From the basics of boating to regulations to water safety, the PFBC offers the details for a quiet canoe ride down a meandering stream or an exciting powerboating excursion across an expansive lake.  Accidents and drownings occur more frequently by a boat capsizing or passengers falling overboard rather than collision. 

Enjoy great boating in PA streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.  Pennsylvania’s “Where to Boat” webpage helps you locate specifics including, boat launches, rentals, moorings, marinas, sailing, whitewater, scenic floats, and water trails.