Some people in Brockport could learn a lesson from the people in Fairport about preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
There is a big story in Wednesday’s Rochester Democrat & Chronicle about how the Village of Fairport is doing something to make life in their village a little safer.
In Fairport, it is only about a four foot drop from the canal bank to the water in the canal, but that is enough of a fall to cause someone to become completely disoriented in the water.
Nobody has fallen into the canal in Fairport recently and gotten hurt or drowned, but in 2012 two special needs children plunged into the canal in Rochester after their father lost control of their stroller.
The children were rescued, when their father, two police officers and three people who were passing by jumped into the Canal. That story made the national news.
Fairport Mayor Fritz May doesn’t want anyone to fall into the canal and drown so he decided to do something about it.
May convinced the New York State Canal Corporation to install eight safety ladders along the canal bank in Fairport between the Lift Bridge and the Parker Street Bridge, a distance of about 700 feet.
Brockport is ahead of the game on this issue, there are already seven similar safety ladders along the canal bank between the Main Street Lift Bridge and the Park Street Bridge in Brockport.
The startling news about the new safety ladders in Fairport is that they will cost about $18,750 per ladder to install.
Since the Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority, the cost of the ladders will be financed by toll revenue from the New York State Thruway.
The cost may be outrageous, but you don’t hear anybody in Fairport saying not to install the safety ladders because people seldom fall into the canal.
That’s because it would be foolish not to prepare for the possibility of someone falling into the canal. Like airplane crashes, falling into the canal doesn’t happen very often, but when it does the results are often tragic. So it is a good idea to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The same is true of falling off a roof.
That’s why the Brockport Village Code requires that roof areas, used for anything other than normal maintenance, must be provided with banisters or railings to minimize the hazard of falling.
The Code should probably be modified to ban sitting in lawn chairs on slanted roofs, but at least two people in the Brockport area think that trying to prevent an accident is either stupid or malevolent.
One of those people even made the incredible statement that partying on a slanted roof is not a disaster waiting to happen and that a person “has a much greater chance of being in an automobile accident and being crippled for life. There is a greater chance of slipping on an icy sidewalk and being crippled for life.”
What absolute male cattle manure. The man who wrote that comment obviously just pulled that statement out of his backside without bothering to check the facts, because government statistics say that just the opposite is true.
The federal government’s statistics on Accidents or Unintentional Injuries are compiled by the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC does not keep records specifically on the number of people who fall off a roof after climbing out a window to sit in a lawn chair on the sloped roof, but it is possible to use the existing government data to form a solid estimate of how dangerous such a practice is.
According to Accidents or Unintentional Injuries statistics from the Centers for Disease Control there is very little difference between the death rate for motor vehicle traffic accidents (10.7 per 100,000 population) and the death rate for unintentional falls (9.6 per 100,000 population).
That is only a difference of 1.1 per 1000,000 population, and that is not a significant statistical difference.
However, if you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the death rate for roof workers, you find a huge statistical difference between the death rate of people who work on roofs (38.7 per 100,000 population), and the motor vehicle traffic deaths (10.7 per 100,000 population).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the death rate of roof workers in 2013 was 38.7 deaths per 100,000 workers. That is more than three and a half times higher than the death rate for motor vehicle traffic accidents.
One of the most common causes of death and injury among roof workers was falling from heights.
Roofing Contractor magazine reports that, “fatal falls for roofers average about 73 percent of all of their work-related deaths.”
So when you talk about falling off a roof, it is false to say that a person, “has a much greater chance of being in an automobile accident and being crippled for life”.
The key factor in the death rate isn’t how often the accident happens happening, it is the intensity of the accident that determines whether you walk away or get carried away in a box.
For example, if you are driving a standard shift car and you accidentally put the car into the wrong gear, the worst that usually happens is that you grind the gears.
But if you are flying a jet airplane and you accidentally shut the engines off during landing, the worst that can happen is that the plane crashes and everyone on board is killed.
If you trip and fall off a roof, you might bet bruised or you might get killed. When you fall off a roof, the intensity of the accident depends on whether you land on your head, your neck, your back, or your feet.
If you land on your head or your neck, kiss it off.
It is even more ridiculous to claim that, “There is a greater chance of slipping on an icy sidewalk and being crippled for life”.
The incidence of people dying because they slipped on an icy sidewalk is so rare that neither the Centers for Disease Control, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nor the New York State Insurance Fund keep statistics on how often it happens.
In fact, the New York State Insurance Fund uses falls on icy sidewalks as their prime example of how even the rarest occurrences can kill you.
The outcome of any fall is unpredictable. Diet Doctor Robert Atkins died after slipping on an icy sidewalk – a fall of one person’s height. Window washer Alcides Moreno survived a plunge of almost 500 feet in 2007. His brother, Edgar, who worked next to him, died of his injuries.
It is baffling that some people in Brockport want to do absolutely nothing to prevent a dangerous situation from causing a crippling injury or a death.
For some reason, they don’t believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.