Safety Tips

8 Heating Safety Tips

We're finally getting fall weather here in Southern California! It's cold, and we use different ways to keep our home warm and cozy - whether it be a portable heater or a fireplace. There are safety precautions you should take to ensure the safety of you and your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.

Home Remodel in Belmont Heights, CA. For more photos on this home, click  here .

Home Remodel in Belmont Heights, CA. For more photos on this home, click here.

Here are some tips from the NFPA to keep our homes warm and safe.

  • Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from a heating element.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment per the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Always turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Ashes should be cool before putting them in an empty metal container and keep container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

These tips can prevent most heating-related fires from occurring. For more information, you can check out the NFPA website here.

Tricks to Ensure Your Halloween is a Treat

Halloween is just around the corner! Here are some tricks from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for you and the kids to have a fun and safe Halloween!

 Photo Credit:  swansbill  Flickr via  Compfight   cc

 Photo Credit: swansbill Flickr via Compfight cc

Halloween Safety Tips 2016

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

ALL DRESSED UP:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

CARVING A NICHE: 

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

HOME SAFE HOME:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
    • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

Following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics will ensure you have a fun and safe Halloween with the kids!

Thursday, October 20 is Earthquake Preparedness Day

This Thursday, October 20, at 10:20 AM is The Great California Shakeout.

Living in California, one of the biggest natural disasters that occurs here are earthquakes. We get earthquakes in California every day. California is known as earthquake country. Just a couple weeks ago an earthquake warning was released to southern California by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services after a series of small temblors deep under the Salton Sea, which is located on the 800-mile-long San Andreas fault. Following the earthquake warning, there was a 2.4 magnitude earthquake centered at Seal Beach, CA. According to the California Department of Conservation,

"Each year, California generally gets two or three earthquakes large enough to cause moderate damage to structures."

With that being said, it is best to always be prepared. We don’t know when the “big one” will come, but at least we’ll be ready for it.

Photo Credit:  kellyb.flanagan  via  Compfight   cc  

Photo Credit: kellyb.flanagan via Compfight cc 

So how do we join in The Great California Shake Out?

The Great California Shake Out is an annual earthquake drill that businesses, schools, government agencies, and individuals participate in. You can register HERE. Once you register, you can join in on The Great California Shake out by practicing your earthquake drill.

For more information on how to participate in The Great California Shakeout, go to http://www.shakeout.org/california/

Participate in The Great California Shakeout on October 20, 2016 at 10:20AM! “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!”

Tips on preparing for an earthquake

Here are a few tips provided by the Red Cross and Ready.gov:

  • Pick a safe place in each room of your home, workplace, and/or school away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture.
    Windows can shatter during an earthquake, so you should find a safe place away from windows. Bookcases and tall furniture can fall on you during an earthquake.
     
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.
    In the event of an earthquake, power can be lost so it'll be good to have a flashlight near your bed. Sturdy shoes are important, especially if there is broken glass or debris from the earthquake.
     
  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
    This is especially important. If your home is not securely anchored to its foundation, your home has a greater possibility of collapsing.
     
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
    Bolting and bracing water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs will help prevent any water and gas leaks in the event of an earthquake.
     
  • Learn to shut off gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
    Going along with the previous tip, you do not want gas leaks in your home after an earthquake, so make sure you know where your gas valves are and learn how to shut them off.
     
  • Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.
    This is especially important when a strong earthquake occurs. Having an emergency supply kit ready and easy to access will help tend to minor or major injuries that occur after an earthquake until the medical aid arrives.
     
  • Store critical supplies, such as water, medication and documents.
    For devastating earthquakes, this is especially important. You may be left with no power or running water, so it would be handy to have food, water, medications, important documents, and other supplies stored.
     
  • Plan how you will communicate with family members.
    We never know when or what time an earthquake will happen, so coordinate with family members on how you will communicate or meet if you are all not together when an earthquake occurs.

Contact Kaplan Construction at 562-495-0483 or via email at BOB@KAPLANCONSTRUCTION.COM to check your home’s foundation.

More information on The Great California Shake Out and Earthquake Preparedness

For a complete list of the earthquake safety checklist, you can find it at: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240216_Earthquake.pdf and http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

Sources:
http://www.shakeout.org/california/
http://www.earthquakecountry.org/
http://www.conservation.ca.gov/index/earthquakes/Pages/qh_earthquakes.aspx
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake
http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

What to do if the Power Goes Out

With the hot weather and high electricity usage in the summer, California is prone to having power outages. There are also other factors aside from hot weather that cause power outages, such as problems at power stations or damage to equipment. Last summer, we experienced multiple power outages in Long Beach alone! 

Photo Credit:  jennifer helen  via  Compfight   cc

Photo Credit: jennifer helen via Compfight cc

When Power Goes Out

The Consumer Energy Center provides tips to keep in mind on how to respond to a power outage. 

  • Check if you are the only one without power. If you are, check your fuse box for tripped switches of blown fuses. If that seems to be the problem, reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If that does not solve the problem, call your local electricity company.
     
  • If there are downed power lines in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 and DO NOT go near the lines. Remember, call 9-1-1 only for emergencies or if someone is injured or in danger.
     
  • Avoid a power surge when electricity returns by turning off computers, TVs, and other electronics at the power strip.
     
  • Drink plenty of water. It is important to stay hydrated, especially with the warm weather. Always have bottles of water at home, especially if you rely on your refrigerator for water.
     
  • Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer. Opening your refrigerator and freezer will let the cold air out, causing perishable food to go bad faster. Leaving them closed will allow food to stay cold for hours. DO NOT eat food from your refrigerator if you haven't had power for more than a day.
     
  • DO NOT use candles for a source of light. Candles are a fire hazard. Stick to flashlights. It would be a good idea to keep flashlights around the house with a fresh set of batteries.

Things to Keep Around the House

Since power outages in California occur more often than we like, here are some things to keep around your home so you won't be left in the dark.

  • Bottles of water. If you rely on your refrigerator for drinking water, this is important.
     
  • Flashlights are good to keep around the house with fresh batteries.
     
  • A charged battery pack for your cellphone. This will help you keep your cell phones charged so you have a means of communication.

Keep these tips in mind so you're prepared for the next time a power outage occurs.

For more information on these tips, visit the Consumer Energy Center blog here.