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.


Download the Red Cross App:

How to Safely Get Rid of Your Extra Prescription Drugs

If you have medication that has expired, or if you did not finish a prescription, you may be tempted to dispose of the unwanted pills in the trashcan or by flushing them down the toilet. However, both of these options can be dangerous.

If you toss pills in the trash, someone could consume them. If you flush pills down the toilet you risk contaminating the water supply.

The best way to get rid of unwanted medication is to use the prescription medicine “Take-Back” programs that are offered by many cities and counties. Local pharmacies may also be willing to accept your unwanted medication (call them before bringing your unwanted medication to the store to be sure).

If neither of the above options is available to you, follow these steps to dispose of unwanted medications:

  1. Remove pills from their bottles. This will make it harder for anyone rummaging through the trash to identify the medication.
  2. Put pills in a bag with something undesirable, such as used kitty litter, mud, or coffee grounds. DO NOT mix pills or other medication with household cleaners, as this could cause a chemical reaction to occur.
  3. Seal the bag and throw it in the trash.


Earthquake Bracing your Mobile Home

Living in a Mobile Home in California you know that you run the risk of your home being damaged by an earthquake. There are many articles published about how to save the items inside your home but what about the home itself.

The first thing you should do is making sure that you have earthquake coverage written into your insurance policy. This is key, even if you have a bracing system, some damage may still occur and you want to be able to make repairs to your home as soon as possible.

Once you have done this you can move on to the following steps.

If you are purchasing a new home and are not planning to immediately install a brace system, ask the manufacturer to include the axles and hitch into the purchase agreement and leave them on the home once it is in place. This will not prevent the home from shifting during an earthquake BUT it should prevent the home from crashing into the ground and will make re-installation easier. These can be easily removed when a bracing system is installed later.

Make sure your steel piers are attached to the main beam of your home as well as to their footings. This will prevent your home from jumping off its piers.

Wind and Earthquakes both shift your home on its foundation. So logically, tying down your home according to the manufactures instructions for wind. Most manufactures recommend anchoring the two long sides of your home for wind, when anchoring with tie downs for earthquakes make sure to cover all four sides of your home.

For more information on bracing your home Click Here to download the HUD Manual.

Measles makes in appearance in Orange County

The Orange County Register reported that the forth case of the measles in Orange County has been confirmed. So far there have been 21 reported cases in California and 54 reported cases nation wide.

Measles is extremely contagious as it can be transmitted through the air and does not require direct contact with an infected person.

The symptoms usually start between 10-12 days after a person is exposed to the virus but on rare occasions can appear up to 3 weeks later. Symptoms usually present themselves with an incredibly high fever, typically around 105 degrease, feelings of discomfort or weakness, runny nose and pink eye.  A few days later a rash will develop, typically around the ears and hairline. It often spreads to the face and arms.

If you believe you have the measles call your doctor ahead of time and let them know you are coming in, OR instruct the ER nurse right away so they can keep you away from the other patients.

As always, it is suggested that you get vaccinated. According to doctors getting the vaccine will prevent contracting the disease 99% of the time.

Water, Conserve it, Save Money and California

Last year Californians weathered the driest year on record and the drought conditions are continuing. Orange County has done an amazing job in the last decade at conserving our states water supply. Our population has continued to grow but our water consumption has not grown at an equal rate. This shows our determination for stewardship. Here are some helpful tips to keep up the good work.

  1. Install water conserving hardware i.e. aerators in your faucets, high-pressure showers and ultra low flush toilets. These improvements can save 70,000 gallons of water a year per household. This reflects a yearly savings on your water bill of around $200.
  2. Water your lawn early in the morning or late at night to avoid evaporation.
  3. Install drip irrigation for trees, shrubs and flower beds.
  4. Integrate native plants into your landscaping; many of them need less water.
  5. Reduce your shower time by 5 minutes & turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  6. Only wash full loads of laundry and/or dishes
  7. Fill the sink to rinse dishes rather than running the water.
  8. Install an instant water heater on sinks and showers far from the main water heater. This keeps you from running the water while waiting for it to get hot.
  9. Wash your car with a bucket of water rather than leaving the hose running.
  10. Sweep your driveway with a broom rather than hosing it off.

For more tips on how to conserve water visit

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are a growing problem in California and can be quite expensive to get rid of once they have made your home their home.

The first step to getting rid of a bed bug infestation is to make sure the critters living in your home are indeed bed bugs. For help making sure your pests are bed bugs, you can contact an entomologist (insect expert) at many county extension services. Follow the link below to find your local extension service:

Once you determine that they are bed bugs the next step is to find an expert who can assist you in ridding your home of these bloodsucking pests. The cost can cause some residents who’s homes have become infested to take short cuts and attempt to treat the problem themselves. If you choose to treat the problem yourself (which is not recommended) make sure you are using a pesticide that is specifically for the treatment of bed bugs and check the label to ensure that it is safe for indoor use. ALWAYS follow the directions carefully.

If you decide to hire someone to control bed bugs or any other pest, make sure they are currently licensed and certified to apply pesticides. Ask to see the certification. Ask for the brand name of the pesticide and the name of the product’s active ingredient in case you or a member of your family gets sick from exposure to the product. Read the label of the product the pest control applicator is planning to use to make sure it is for indoor use.

The final step is notifying local health agency and let them know about the infestation. For more information on bed bugs you can visit the California Department of Public Health’s website. Click Here.

You may also download a short fact sheet provided by the Department of Public Health.

Mold In Your Mobile Home

Mold spores are present everywhere in the air we breathe, they usually die or settle into a perfect location to grow. Do not let your mobile home become that location.

Mold thrives in moist and warm environments, do not think that just because we are moving into winter and a colder season that mold will be unable to grow in your home. As the weather grows colder many people turn the heat up in their homes, if your windows are not sealed correctly, or your insulation is ripped, moisture could seep into your home. This wetness coupled with the warmth from your heater produces the perfect environment for mold.

Protect yourself and your home by making sure your windows and doors are properly sealed and check for any leaking pipes, sinks, toilets or washing machines. All of these can allow moisture into your home.

If you find mold in your home make sure to clean it quickly and thoroughly. For more information on how to do this you may visit the California Department of Public Health’s website. You may also click here to be directed to their website.

Tips for Conserving Electricity and Cutting your Energy Costs

    1. Unplug

  • Chargers: For your cell phone, tablet or other devices when you are not using them. They still pull energy even though they are not in use.
  • Use a Power Strip for all televisions, dvd players and home theater equipment. Turn off the strip “unplug” when they are not in use. When these items are in “Standby” mode their consumption can be equivalent to that of a 100-watt light bulb running continuously.

2. Set Computers to Sleep and Hibernate and shut them down completely when you are finished using them for the day.

3. Take Control of Temperature

  • During the summer set thermostats to 78 degrees during the day. During the winter set them to 68.
  • Close shades during the summer to keep heat out and leave them open during the winter to allow the sun to warm up your home.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater between 120-130 degrees. Lower temperatures can save more energy.

4. Use Appliances Efficiently

  • Set your refrigerator at 38-42 degrees and your freezer between 0-5 degrees.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes AND clothes this saves on water and electricity costs.
  • Wash most of your cloths with cold water and ALWAYS set your rinse cycle to cold.

5. Turn out the Lights

  • When you leave a room turn the lights off. If you have a dimmer keep the lights on a lower setting.

Norovirus: What it is and how to keep yourself from getting infected.

Norovirus is extremely contagious and affects 21 million Americans a year. Often referred to at the “stomach flu” it is responsible for 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths a year according to the San Bernardino County Health Department. It causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Due to the many strains of the virus you can become infected multiple times in your life. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Norovirus, so prevention is crucial.

You can become infected with the virus if you have contact with someone who has the virus. This can happen in various ways including sharing food or drinks with someone who has the virus (they could have it and not be showing any symptoms yet and still pass along the virus), public areas can harbor the virus if not disinfected and cleaned properly.

In order to prevent yourself from picking up this terrible virus make sure to wash your hands before touching your mouth for any reason including, eating or putting on lipstick. Wash your food, as you do not know who was handling it before you bought it at the store. Most importantly if someone in your home gets the virus make sure to wash all laundry thoroughly and wash your hands each time you come into contact with the infected person.

Click here for more information on prevention and treatment of Norovirus.


One Can Never Be Too Prepared

It is important for everyone to be prepared for a disaster but it is particularly important for seniors. Many seniors live alone. If this is the case you need to add an extra step to your disaster planning and establish a personal support network. This is a group of individuals that agree to check on one another should a disaster strike.

There are seven things that you must discuss and implement with your network in order to be prepared:

  1. Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
  2. Exchange keys they may need to enter your home incase you are incapacitated and unable to let them in.
  3. Show them where you keep all emergency supplies in your home.
  4. Make and keep copies of your relevant emergency documents and make sure your network knows where these are located.
  5. Agree on methods other than phones to contact one another in an emergency. Phone lines and Internet could be down.
  6. Always notify one another when you are out of town. This will help them if a disaster strikes to know where you are.
  7. Know that the relationship is mutual and you are all responsible for one another.

Aside from your support network the American Red Cross advises everyone to Store these items in easy to carry containers near the exit of your home.

-Three-day supply of food (non-perishable, canned or boxed)

– Manual can opener

-Three-day supply of water (They recommend 1 gallon per person per day)

– Flashlight and extra batteries

– First aid kit

– Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, toilet paper and other hygiene items

– Matches in a waterproof container

– Whistle (for communication: 1 blow for “Yes”, 2 for “ No”, and 3 for “Help”)

– Extra cloths and blankets

-Photocopies of identification cards and other important documents

– Cash and Coins

– Medical Supplies

– Garbage bags and duct tape

– Tools

– Pet supplies (if you have one)

They recommend that you update your kit once a year and as your needs change. Water needs to be replaced every 6 months.