Safety Tips for Your Home During Holiday Seasons

We are approaching a very joyous time of the year – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or the New Year, it is a time to celebrate by gathering with family and friends. With many gatherings and parties, there’s usually a grand display of foods that someone has worked very hard to put together.  Whether you are given the opportunity to host a party for the first time, or you have been doing it for many years, it helps to take a minute and review some safety tips.

According to Foremost Insurance and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for cooking-related home fires. You can imagine millions of people cooking in the kitchen, many of them pressed for time and stressed out from wanting to make everything perfect. It’s more than likely that just a few carelessness or inattention in the kitchen will lead to big disasters. Although the following tips were written to advise people for holiday feasts, you can apply these same tips for whenever you are cooking in the kitchen:

  1. Make sure that no flammable objects, such as kitchen towels, oven mitts, paper towels, hot pads, and food packaging, are away from your stove top. If you are rushing or not fully paying attention, it’s easy to forget about where you put these objects. It helps to clean off your kitchen counter as you cook so that you have space to put your kitchen tools and can keep track of where things are.
  2. Stay in the kitchen at all times if you have something boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling. If you are an experienced cook at home, you probably think that you can leave the kitchen for a short period of time. But why risk having a tragic accident in your kitchen right before an important gathering? Always keep an eye on your stove, or turn it off if you need to leave the kitchen.
  3. Always check on your foods that are simmering, baking, or roasting. Just because your pumpkin cheesecake recipe states to bake for one hour and to not open the oven door while it’s baking, you can still look into the oven every now and then to make sure that everything is going smoothly. If you are a forgetful cook, always use a timer, especially for dishes that calls for long hours of cooking.
  4. Don’t use the stove if you are feeling sleepy or have consumed alcohol. It’s very easy to start cooking and fall asleep while you are waiting. Pass the torch to someone else who is alert and wide awake to do the cooking.

It’s very easy for anyone to be a victim to kitchen disasters, especially when you are busy entertaining guests or if you are preparing everything by yourself. Make sure you stay safe by reading the Foremost Insurance article as well as visiting the National Fire Protection Agency website.

Resources: http://blog.foremost.com/thanksgiving-fires-turkey-fryers-and-safety-choirs.asp

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

Summer Safety Tips

It’s back-to-school season, but the summer weather conditions persist across the country. If you live in Southern California, you probably know that the intense heat will continue for several more weeks. The heat may be bearable along the coast, but it can be unforgiving in the Inland Empire. As we enjoy the rest of the summer/vacation months, keep in mind the following heat safety tips provided by the American Red Cross. In addition, Red Cross has a few different apps you can download so that you can be notified of severe weather and emergency alerts.

  1. Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  3. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  4. If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  8. Postpone outdoor games and activities. The Red Cross has a First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches online course designed to give those who take it an overview of first aid and “best practices” for many first aid situations encountered by coaches.
  9. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  10. Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

Resource: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Heat-Safety-Red-Cross-Offers-Safety-Steps-When-Temperatures-Soar

Download the Red Cross App: redcross.org/apps

How to prepare your home for an Earthquake and what to do after one occurs.

California has experienced quite a few earthquakes in the last few months and it is suspected that there are more to come. Most people have prepared plans with their families on what to do to protect themselves during an earthquake. You know to take cover away from all windows and large pieces of furniture but what should you do to prepare your home?

The first step is to make sure all large pieces of furniture and hot water heaters are secured to the walls. You also want to make sure that you do not have any heavy objects over your bed such as large framed pictures or mirrors, although these may look great the risk of them falling off the wall in a large quake are great. If the quake struck at night the risk of you getting crushed by these objects is even greater.

Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Many times a large earthquake will disrupt gas connections. The carbon monoxide detector will warn you if there are unsafe levels in your home and you will have time to leave safely. You can also call the gas company and have them come out to do an inspection of your home to make sure that there are not any leaks and that all connections are still secure.

If the power is out try to use only battery-powered lanterns. If there is a gas leak lighting candles can ignite a fire. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Open all cabinets carefully, especially if there are heavy or potentially harmful martials inside. The earthquake might have shifted the objects around and they may fall on you so be cautious.

Prevent Drownings in your Home and at the Pool

Orange County drownings reached a four-year high in 2012. It takes only seconds and a couple inches of water for a child to drown. The following steps can help prevent drownings.

  1. Install safety locks on toilets and keep bathroom doors closed when there are small children in the home.
  2. Empty all cleaning buckets immediately after use.
  3. Empty kiddie pools immediately after using them and never leave children unattended around the pool when it is full.
  4. Install barriers around your home pool. These should be at least 4 feet high around the entire pool. Make sure the latch is out of the reach of small children. Installing alarms and pool covers add an additional layer of protection.
  5. Do not allow children to have breath-holding competitions.
  6. Do not consume alcohol when watching children swim. It takes only seconds to drown and if you have been drinking your reaction time might not be fast enough.
  7. Become CPR certified.

The signs of drowning are not as apparent as the movies make them out to be. Oftentimes most of the movement happens after the child is completely submerged under the water. Keep your eyes on your children at all times even if they are excellent swimmers.

Stay Safe this 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a huge celebration full of BBQ’s, fireworks, friends and family. It is easy to get caught up and to forget that a lot of things can go wrong.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. People tend to stay outside Barbequing or swimming. These activities can cause you to sweat and loose a lot of water. Keep bottles handy. Remember that soda and alcohol can cause dehydration. Water is your best option to keep from getting light headed, nauseous and possibly passing out due to dehydration.

Check with your city and your park to make sure it is legal to shoot off fireworks. If your city or park does not allow for at home fireworks check the local newspapers or go online to see if they have a firework show close to you. Click here for a list of shows in Orange County,  Here for San Bernardino County, and Here for Riverside County. These often boast pre-firework entertainment and all day fun at a low cost.

If your city allows at home fireworks know what safety precautions to take.  Always read all warning labels and follow instructions carefully, light fireworks in a large empty space cleared off all things that can catch on fire, have buckets of water ready, place used firework shells in water before discarding to ensure all sparks are put out. For more tips on firework safety click here.  Around 200 people per day are taken to the emergency room due to firework related injuries in the month of July, do not be one of these people.

Enjoy your 4th of July and Stay Safe!

Help Protect you and your Family from Home Invasion

The idea of home invasion is scary. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to prevent, and keep yourself safe in a home invasion situation.

1. Plant Thorny Bushes around the windows.

These are not only visual deterrents, no one wants to climb through bushes that can cause them physical harm, they can also collect DNA from the invader which can be used to track him down.

2. Keep the outside of your house well lit.

Home invaders do not want to be seen. If the exterior of your home is well lit they cannot make it inside with out being caught by the light.

3. Hang a bell on the door.

This will signal you if someone is entering your home.

4. Designate a room in the house as a Safe Room.

Make sure everyone in your house knows where to go if someone were to break in. This room should have a land line phone, a flashlight, and something that could be used to defend yourself i.e. Baseball bat. Mount the doors to this room so that they swing out; they are harder to breach than those that swing in.

5. Keep pepper spray or even bug spray by your bed.

This will allow you to defend yourself quickly by taking away the intruders ability to see.

These are just a few things that you can do. Remember to always call 911 if an intruder is attempting to enter your home.