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Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department EMS Lt. Todd Wallace highlighted several ways to prevent and prepare for emergencies in the home during the Newcomers and Neighbors Club of Southern Maryland’s monthly luncheon Wednesday at the Ruddy Duck in Solomons.

Wallace, who joined the Solomons VRSFD about a year ago after moving from Indiana, has been involved in emergency services since 2001 and is employed by Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital. Wallace said the main goal of his presentation Wednesday was to go over home safety issues.

One of the No. 1 emergency calls EMS responds to, Wallace said, is for falls. The most common cause for falling, he said, is people tripping over pets. To prevent falls inside the home, Wallace said, people should make sure they have rugs secured to the floor so they do not slip and the rugs are not frayed. Wallace said electrical cords should not be secured underneath rugs but should be run along baseboards. In stairwells, handrails should be securely fastened to the wall so they are sturdy, Wallace said. Also, he said, the stairwells should be well lit.

When EMS receives a call for a response, Wallace said the first questions they ask are what, if any, medications a person is on, what allergies to medications a person may have and what a person’s “health history” is. Most people forget to tell EMS personnel “important things” like what medications they are taking because they are worried about what their symptoms are.

“You should always carry a list of medications if you’re on them,” Wallace said. “If you do have a lot of health issues, you want to make sure you have a good list to make sure we’re doing everything that we can for you.”

General safety tips for around the house include having emergency numbers and access to a telephone, Wallace said.

“If you’re walking around the house and your phone isn’t cordless, you should probably carry a cellphone in your pocket, just in case,” Wallace told the club members.

Other safety tips, Wallace said, include making sure an emergency exit is identified in case a quick exit from the house is needed, and making sure exiting from windows is possible. Wallace said people also should make sure entrances and exits are clear on the outside of the home so EMS can get in with their equipment.

The Newcomers and Neighbors Club of Southern Maryland is a branch of the Newcomers Club, an international network of social clubs, according to the club’s website. The Southern Maryland branch was founded in 2003, the website states, by two women who had recently moved to Calvert County and were interested in meeting new people and learning more about the area.

The club is for both new and longtime area residents of both Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, the club’s website states, and its goal is to provide an enjoyable environment that fosters new friendships. The club holds a monthly luncheon where guest speakers share their knowledge and hosts interest groups and field trips for members to experience the cultural and recreational opportunities available in the area, the website states.

The club holds its monthly luncheon September through May. Upcoming monthly luncheons at the Ruddy Duck include guest speaker Associate Judge of St. Mary’s County Circuit Court David Densford on Wednesday, March 20, and guest speaker Dr. Bruce Wilson, English professor at St. Mary’s College on Wednesday, April 17.

For more information and a list of upcoming events, go to