Real Estate Blog
Monday, March 05 2012
Make a home emergency preparedness kit with all the essential supplies to aid you in case a disaster strikes your area.
Putting together a home emergency preparedness kit you hope never to use may seem like a waste of time and money. But when disasters happen that are beyond your control, you can take charge of how you respond.
Items for an emergency preparedness kit
Store all items in an easy-to-carry bag or suitcase that’s readily accessible. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and what it contains. If you need to evacuate your home quickly, here are the essentials you’ll need for a basic “grab and go” kit:
- Water: One gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation; double if you live in a very hot climate, have young kids, or are nursing. Bottled water is best, but you can also store tap water in food-grade containers or two-liter soda bottles that have been sanitized. Factor in your pet’s water needs, too.
- Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishables and a can opener. Pack protein, fruit, and vegetables, but make sure they’re in a form you actually like—it’s bad enough not to have access to fresh food without also having to subsist on nothing but canned tuna. Include treats like cereal bars, trail mix, and candy bars. Store food in pest-proof plastic or metal tubs and keep it in a cool, dry place.
- Flashlights and extra batteries: Candles are not recommended because there are many house fires caused by candles left unattended.
- First-aid supplies: Two pairs of sterile gloves, adhesive bandages and sterile dressings, soap or other cleanser, antibiotic towelettes and ointment, burn ointment, eye wash, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, and stomach analgesics such as Tums or Pepto-Bismol, and a laxative.
- Sanitation and hygiene supplies: Moist towelettes in sealed packets, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, and plastic ties. You might also want travel-size shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrush, and deodorant.
- Radio or TV: Keep a portable, battery- or crank-operated radio or television and extra batteries to remain connected in case the power goes out, as well as an extra cell phone charger. You can buy an emergency radio online from the Red Cross.
- Helpful extras: Duct tape, dust masks, a signal whistle, toys for kids.
- Cash: Have at least $100 in your kit.
Tailor a emergency preparedness kit to your needs
Along with the basics like food and water, it’s important to have what you need for your particular situation. You may not need extra blankets in southern California, but you do need escape ladders in case of wildfire. And you’ll want extra blankets to survive a winter power outage in Maine.
Update your emergency preparedness kit regularly
Replace all food and water approaching its expiration date. Replace batteries. You might pick a specific time each year to check, such as before hurricane season in the south or after Thanksgiving if you live in the north.
Buy a pre-made kit
As an alternative to making your own kit, you can buy a fully stocked kit from the American Red Cross. A kit with a three-day supply of essentials for one adult costs $50 to $70.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/emergency-preparedness/make-home-emergency-preparedness-kit/#ixzz1ncZcTjyB
Monday, October 17 2011
Kitchen fires are eminently preventable. Here’s how to stay safe now and during the holidays when you really put your oven and stove through their paces.
I was troubled to see so many kitchen fires crowding the news today — especially since Sunday begins Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15).
Cooking fires, primarily started on ranges or in ovens, cause 40% of all house fires, and 36% of all fire-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Frying poses the greatest risk, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires.
So let’s stay safe. Follow these easy safety tips, courtesy of the NFPA.
How to prevent a kitchen fire
1. Be alert. If you’re tired or tipsy, don’t use the stove or oven.
2. Never leave the kitchen — even for a short time — when food is frying, grilling, or broiling. Don’t leave the house if food is simmering, baking, or roasting.
3. Use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
4. Clear away from stovetops anything that can catch fire, like cloth and paper towels, oven mitts, and wooden spoons.
How to put out a kitchen fire
1. Get out of the kitchen. Close the door behind you when you leave to help prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of your house.
2. When you reach safety, call 911 or your local emergency number.
3. Make sure others are out of the house and you have an escape route before you try to fight the fire.
4. Smother a grease fire by sliding a pot lit over the pan. Then, turn off the stove. Don’t remove the lid until the pan is cool.
5. If your oven catches fire, turn it off and keep the door closed.
For a look at another method of putting out a grease fire, check out this video:
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/emergency-preparedness/kitchen-fires-how-prevent-and-put-out/#ixzz1aPgHJxgT
Tuesday, August 30 2011
Having an evacuation and communication plan, and making sure everyone knows where to go in case of an emergency, can be the key to protecting your home and family.
Let’s face it — contemplating catastrophe can be stressful. Some people even feel like they’re courting a disaster by planning for one. That’s a natural response, but it’s not in your best interest as a homeowner.
“Denial is a pretty strong emotional mechanism for trying to put yourself at ease,” says Rick Bissell, Ph.D., a professor of emergency health services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. But, he cautions, “if you deny that a crisis will ever occur, you won’t invest the time or energy in preparing to respond and protect yourself, and you’ll likely be out of luck.” Part of that preparation should include an evacuation and communication plan.
Think about escape routes in advance
It’s hard to think clearly when the floodwaters are rising. That’s why you need to plan how to safely exit your house now, not when you’re panicking during an actual emergency. The particulars of your plan will vary depending on what kind of house you have and whether you live in Tornado Alley or quake-prone Los Angeles, but here are some general guidelines:
- Have two ways to escape every room. Buy escape ladders for upstairs windows, then practice using them.
- Check with local and state officials for regional evacuation routes. Learn the safest way out of town, and keep maps handy.
- Designate a meeting place if family members are scattered. If the rendezvous point is your house, also pick a second location, such as an office or relative’s house, in case home is off-limits.
- Figure out how you’ll transport Fido; a house that’s unsafe for you is also hazardous for your pet. Some communities designate a Pet Protector, a person responsible for retrieving and/or caring for animals if owners can’t. The Humane Society is a good source of information on disaster planning for your pet.
- Obtain a copy of your office or school’s emergency plan. If one doesn’t exist, you could volunteer to create it, helping safeguard your family and your community.
Designate a “communication commander”
An emergency can knock out telephone and cell service, so it’s important to have a “communication commander” who can receive and relay messages between family members. Choose someone out of your area whose phone service is less likely to be disrupted, and give that person cell phone, office numbers, and email addresses for everyone in the family. Each family member should carry the communication commander’s contact info, too. Program it into your cell phone address book and label it “ICE”—in case of emergency. If you’re disabled, an emergency responder will search your phone for ICE contacts.
Use technology to stay in touch
Even when some communications methods don’t work, others might. For instance, text messages can often be sent when other cell service is down; the government and private companies are currently working on a nationwide text-based Emergency Notification System. Here are some other technology workarounds that could help in an emergency or power outage:
- Hook your Internet router to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to keep online service running long enough to send out emergency notifications. You can buy one for under $100 that will keep the computer running for about 15 minutes after the power goes out.
- Keep a corded phone at home. In a power outage, cordless handsets are useless. You can also buy a hand-crank or solar cell-phone charger, such as the Sidewinder crank from Gaiam or the Brunton Solaris portable solar panel.
- If you get separated from your family but have Internet access, you can let others know where you are with the Red Cross’s Safe and Well program. On the homepage of redcross.org, click the “List Yourself Here” button. “One of the staples at shelters now is providing computers so people can get online and let people know they’re okay,” says David Riedman, a public affairs officer with FEMA.
Having a disaster plan does more than just keep your own family safe. It also serves your community. “When an individual is prepared to handle an emergency themselves, that alleviates a lot of the pressure on emergency response teams,” says FEMA’s Riedman, freeing up emergency workers to deliver help to those who need it most.
Wendy Paris is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in This Old House magazine and other publications. She keeps chocolate chips on hand in case of emergency.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/home-evacuation-plan/#ixzz1VlrqzQEc