Friday, December 3, 2021

Keeping You Safe: Is Your Home Poison Proof?



Chris Bowden

pill bottle, poison controlWith poisoning now being listed as one of the leading causes of death in the State of Florida, the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department strongly encourages you to poison proof your home. Preventing these tragic incidents before they occur should be everyone’s top priority.

As many of us know, children are very curious and will get into just about anything. With the blink of an eye, they can mistakenly swallow medications prescribed to mom, dad or even their grandparents.

Unfortunately, the epidemic of accidental poisoning does not discriminate with age. On the other end of the spectrum, the average age on Marco Island is 65. As we continue to age, we often become forgetful. A common occurrence for the elderly population is the accidental overdose. These accidental overdoses occur quite often and can lead to serious injury or death. In many cases, medications were taken in incorrect dosages or were taken and weren’t prescribed to them all together.

The Florida Poison Information Center receives over 500 emergencies and information based calls a day. These calls come from families like yours, whether it’s from the parents of a toddler who unintentionally swallowed potent medications or the elderly adult who was confused and took too much medication.

Nonetheless, these emergencies are completely preventable. So, how do we take action? First, we need to educate ourselves and our family members. We need to recognize that everything around us in our homes has the potential to be harmful. From the obvious dangerous chemicals we keep in our garages, workshops or storage closets, to the basic cleaning supplies we have under the sink in the kitchen. These everyday items are extremely dangerous and should be dealt with wisely.

Here are a few steps to poison proofing your home:

This fire safety message brought to you by the City of Marco Island Fire Rescue Department. Chris is the Public Education Coordinator for the department.  Chris can be contacted at or 239-389-5040.

Here are a few steps to poison proofing your home:

  • Display the Poison Control Hotline Number (1-800-222-1222) with other emergency numbers near your phone or program it into your cell phones.
  • Be sure that babysitters and grandparents have the poison control number available to them when watching your children.
  • Organize all prescription medication in the most effective way. Utilize pill organizers when the individual taking the medication is forgetful.
  • Remove all poisonous items from children’s reach. Be sure to tell them to never touch these items.
  • Safely dispose of medicines that are old or no longer needed. Do not flush down the toilet. The Marco Island Police and Fire Rescue departments will gladly discard any old medications if brought to either station.
  • Keep all poisons in a secure area. This can be in a high cabinet or a locked box in the garage.
  • Always keep products in their original containers.
  • Never mix chemicals or cleaners.
  • Locate and repair areas of flaking paint where children play.
  • Never call medicine candy. Teaching poison safety begins early.
  • Always remember, in the event of an emergency dial 911.

In the event of inhaled gases, chemical contact with the skin or eyes and the accidently ingested poisons, here are some initial first aid and safety tips:

For inhaled gases- Move person to fresh air immediately while avoiding contact of toxic fumes. Never operate a generator indoors or near an opened window.

Poison on the skin- Rinse affected area with copious amounts of soap and water. Always wear gloves when using chemicals or applying pesticides.

Poisons in the eye- Gently rinse the eye while tilting the head at a 45-degree angle with lukewarm water for 15 minutes.

Swallowed poisons- In the case of poisoning do not take anything by mouth before calling poison control. You should never induce vomiting because it can make things worse.

With all of these tips, remembering to call 911 during any type of emergency is top priority. For further information, please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *