Winter Weather Readiness
It’s getting to be that time of year again, where Winter Weather is going to start invading our daily life. Winter storms can range from a light snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several hours or more. Icy Conditions are typical within our area, and many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power, and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region as was evident for last years February Storm that shut down DFW for days.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. So it’s extremely important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting ideas and tips on how to prepare before weather hits, what to do once it’s here, and how to respond after the weather is over, so check back often!
BEFORE WINTER STORMS
To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
· Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
o Rock salt, kitty litter, or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
o Sand to improve traction.
o Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
o Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
o Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
· Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
· A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
· Download FEMA’s Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications.
· Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
· Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Check back soon for additional information!
New Year's Celebration Safety
Fireworks are a popular tradition to celebrate and ring in the new year, but injuries, fires and home insurance claims are also an unfortunate part of this longstanding holiday.
Home insurance coverage
Basic home insurance covers fires. But if those fires are caused by fireworks your family sets off, your policy may not cover you if they are illegal in your area, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Even if your city allows fireworks, NAIC recommends getting in touch with your home insurance company because your policy may contain restrictions and safety requirements. Keep in mind, if someone else (not a family member) damages your home with fireworks, you're covered whether they're legal or not.
Beautiful and fun, but dangerous
In 2008, fireworks caused about 22,500 fires and $42 million in property damage, and even if you have the right home insurance coverage, setting off fireworks on your property entails risks. Fireworks are designed to shoot hot sparks in every direction and can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In addition to putting your home and your neighbors' homes in danger, fireworks can cause serious injuries. In 2008, hospital emergency rooms treated about 7,000 fireworks-related injuries, according to NFPA. About 40 percent of these injuries happened to children under the age of 18.
Protect yourself and your family
If consumer fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
• Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks, including sparklers
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
• Wear eye protection.
• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never throw or point fireworks at people or animals.
• Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves and flammable materials.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
Make sure that your home is equipped with working smoke alarms on every level, and that everyone in the home knows the sound the alarm makes and what it signifies. Have a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place. Practice the plan with all members of your household both at night and during the day.
Public events are also a big part of New Year’s celebrations. If attending a party at a public venue is part of your New Year’s Eve plans, the State Fire Marshal’s Office urges you to keep the following in mind:
Before you enter
• Take a good look. Does the building appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials stored against the building or blocking exits?
• Have a communication plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends.
• Plan a meeting place. Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.
When you enter
• Locate exits immediately. When you enter a building you should look for all available exits. Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit. You may not be able to use the main exit.
• Check for clear exit paths. Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire marshal to register a complaint.
• Do you feel safe? Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately.
During an emergency
• React immediately. Immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion if an alarm sounds or if you see smoke, fire, or other unusual disturbances.
• Get out, stay out! Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.
New Year’s celebrations can be an amazing tradition for you and your family, just remember to stay safe and remain alert.
- Wishing everyon a wonderful and happy New Year from all of us at SERVPRO of Park Cities and North Garland.
We at SERVPRO of Park Cities would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy football, food, friends and family. Most importantly it is a day for us to give thanks for the people and blessings that fill our lives. While Thanksgiving traditions vary between families, the turkey is the centerpiece of each and every home during the holiday.
With that in mind, if you decide to deep-fry your turkey, keep your family and house safe this Thanksgiving with these safe cooking tips.
Always use a turkey fryer outside, away from buildings or other flammable materials
Never use it on wooden decks or in garages
Make sure the fryer is on flat ground before using to reduce the chance of tipping
Never leave the fryer alone. Most units lack thermostats, meaning an unwatched fryer will continue to heat until it bursts into flames
Keep children and pets away from the fryer, even after you're done cooking, since the oil can remain hot for hours
Don't overfill the fryer
Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. It is also recommended to wear safety goggles to avoid splatter
Only cook a completely thawed turkey and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, water could make the oil spill over, creating a fire or explosion
If a fire does start, never use water to extinguish it. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher.
If the fire grows, immediately call 9-1-1