With all the other news, we seem to have missed the switch back to daylight savings time.
You may be at home more in the next two weeks so here are some action items to stay busy and stave off boredom! You can even get the kids involved, if they are home from school!
- Check and replace batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If the devices are more than 10 years old, simply replace them.
- Check all the light bulbs (inside and outside). Replace with LED bulbs if possible.
- Check your flashlight batteries and replace, if needed.
- Check your first aid kit and your emergency kit for expired items and replace.
- Replace your furnace filter and schedule seasonal service.
- Clean the oven and stove.
- Re-organize the pantry and discard expired items.
- Re-caulk the shower or tub.
- Clean out the dryer filter vent.
- Check out the following items in your car:
- Windshield wipers
- Tire pressure
- Emergency kit
- Update your computer virus scanner.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance.
- Update the family emergency plan.
Let’s make the best use of our time around our homes with positive steps toward safety!
Stay Calm, Be Proactive and Age Safe®
If emergency officials in your community issued a mandatory evacuation order to get out of the path of a wildfire, hurricane or other natural disaster, are you prepared for an emergency; would you know what to take with you, the evacuation route you would take and where you would go until it was safe to return home?
Do you have a personal evacuation plan in place?
If you answered “yes,” you’re like 49% of the 1,795 respondents Mercury Insurance recently surveyed for its emergency preparedness quiz. However, if the question was rephrased to inquire about “having an evacuation plan and practicing it at least once a year,” the results show only 23% meet this criteria.
“Safety should be your first priority in any situation involving a possible disaster or emergency event, and you should respond to mandatory evacuation orders immediately,” said Christopher O’Rourke, vice president of property claims at Mercury Insurance. “Your first instinct might be to panic, so having an evacuation plan in place and practicing it regularly will help ensure you and your family are ready to go at a moment’s notice. And it will also help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that will undoubtedly be a part of such a nerve-wracking situation.”
The survey also revealed that 39% of homeowners were unsure if they have enough coverage to rebuild if their home is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, and 34% don’t have a home inventory they could provide to their insurance company to help get these items replaced. “Homeowners and renters should make a point of touching base with their insurance agents at least once a year to reassess coverage needs,” said O’Rourke. “It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough coverage as you accumulate more belongings, make changes to your home or your family expands – these details may affect your policy limits, as well as create a need for endorsements you might want to consider adding to your policy.”
There is some good news, however, as 88% of respondents said they have an in-home emergency kit stocked with essential items they will need if disaster strikes. If you don’t have a kit, here is a list of the items you may want to include in your kit:
* A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person), non-perishable food items and pet food, if applicable;
* A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries);
* A flashlight;
* A first aid kit;
* A whistle to signal for help;
* A can opener;
* Tools to turn off utilities;
* $200 in cash in small bills, as power may be out, making ATMs, debit and credit cards unusable;
* Fully charged battery packs so you can recharge your cell phone; and
* Prescriptions for you and your pets.
The bottom line is that extreme weather events are anticipated to increase, and you can never be too cautious or over-prepared to protect against Mother Nature. “It’s a bit alarming to discover that, although natural disasters are in the news on a seemingly regular basis, many Americans still aren’t properly preparing themselves if one happens in their neighborhood or city,” said O’Rourke. “These events can have serious repercussions and adopting a wait-and-see attitude is not an option.”
Fires can occur when you least expect it, leaving little time to plan your escape, so the time to prepare for an emergency isn’t when your alarm sounds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only 32% of American households have actually developed and practiced an emergency escape plan. Make time to sit down with your family to plan and practice what you would do in case of a fire or carbon monoxide (CO) emergency.
Consider the following tips when helping to prepare yourself and your loved ones:
1. Map it out. Begin thinking about a home fire escape plan by first drawing a map of your home, making sure to label each window and door. Identify two ways out of each room and walk through your home to make sure the doors and windows you’ve chosen as exits open easily. If your family’s home has a second floor, consider having escape ladders in each room. You can find templates online to help you get started.
2. Choose a meeting spot. After you have mapped out all of the ways you can exit, pick an outside meeting spot a safe distance away from your home, such as across the street, at a mailbox or in front of the neighbor’s home. Be sure that your family knows that once they are outside, they need to call 911 and stay outside. Additionally, explain it is important that everyone knows never to re-enter the home for any reason and to let a firefighter know if someone is missing.
3. Help your loved ones. Assign someone in your family who can assist infants, seniors or pets during a fire. The responsible person should be in good health and be able to provide the assistance needed.
4. Check your smoke alarms. Having working smoke alarms on each level of the home and in every sleeping area is key to having a safe home. Check that you have alarms properly installed throughout your home and remember to test all of the alarms regularly and replace them at least every 10 years. If you have children, consider installing a First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with voice and location technology throughout your home, and especially in their bedroom. This alarm will notify your child of an emergency, distinguishing between a fire or carbon monoxide incident, in a human voice as opposed to a regular alarm. This is especially helpful if a fire strikes at night.
Studies have shown children may have an easier time waking up to the sound of a human voice rather than an alarm. Smoke alarms are designed to give early warning in case of fire, and making sure your home has properly installed and maintained alarms is the best defense against one, said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. As far as CO is concerned, the only way to detect this fatal gas is with a CO alarm, so have one installed on each level of the home and near every sleeping area.
5. Plan. Practice. Repeat. Once your escape plan is finalized, your job is not done. Gather your family together and put your plan in action. Practice this plan at least twice a year, so if disaster strikes, your family will feel confident in their ability to exit the home safely. To make the drills as realistic as possible, conduct them both during the day and at night. Planning ahead can save a life, added Wey. Talk with your family to make a plan that fits all of your needs. For more information about escape planning and fire safety tools, visit www.firstalert.com.
Happy Labor Day Stay Safe!
Labor Day is famous for barbecues, also known unofficially as the holiday that marks the end of summer, the start of football season and a Monday off. It’s a holiday that celebrates the contributions of the millions of hardworking Americans that Labor every Day to make this country great!
Labor Day is a US federal holiday celebrated annually on the first Monday of September. But it is thought to have originated in Toronto, Canada in 1872 and adopted by the United States in the 1880s. The first United States Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. On that Tuesday, 10,000 citizens marched for labor rights down the streets of Manhattan. During this time the average American worked 12 hours a day, six days a week and that included young children who were sweating it out in factories to help contribute.
Today Americans work on average 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. Thanks to the Adamson Act, which was passed on September 3, 1916, federal law started regulating hours worked for private companies. Because the law was passed in early September, Labor Day also celebrates the Adamson Act.
Labor Day ironically causes some of the longest working hours for retail workers. In fact, many other professionals are expected to work on Labor Day as well including correctional officers, police officials, firefighters, nurses, and more. It is also the second most dangerous holiday weekend to drive on U.S. highways. So please Be Safe!
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms – often due to missing alarm batteries or expired alarms. Fortunately, a new generation of home safety technology – combined with tried-and-true safety practices – can help keep homes and families safer from the threat of home fires. First Alert offers the following steps to keep your home safe from fires, plus tips and products to keep your family safe and healthy:
Be safe, replace: If you can’t think of the last time you installed a smoke alarm, chances are, it’s time to replace your old ones. All smoke alarms – including battery and hard-wired models – are tested to function for 10 years. Installing new alarms ensures you are protected with the most advanced smoke-sensing technologies and latest safety features available. Conversely, by neglecting to replace alarms, you could be putting yourself, your family or tenants at serious risk.
Go for a 10: One of the greatest advancements in smoke alarm technology in recent years has been the development of new 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms, such as First Alert’s 10-Year Atom Smoke & Fire Alarm, which consumers have used to add fire protection to their homes. The Atom features an advanced smoke entry system designed to reduce the chances of false alarms, along with a loud, penetrating siren. In addition, 10-year alarms provide hassle-free protection so homeowners, property owners and renters no longer need to remember to replace costly batteries for the life of their alarms. They also eliminate the risk of ever having an alarm deactivated due to battery removal.
In many areas of the country, upgrading to 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms is also the law. Several states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, New York and Oregon, as well as the cities of Phoenix, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and New York City, have passed laws requiring 10-year battery smoke alarms in residential buildings. Numerous other states and municipalities are considering similar legislation.
Double-up on safety: There are two main types of smoke alarms – photoelectric and ionization – which utilize different technologies to sense smoke and fire. Ionization smoke alarms are generally more responsive to fast-flaming fires, while photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called “smoldering fires”). Rather than relying solely on one, install both – or a dual-sensor alarm – to maximize your protection. The NFPA and other safety advocates recommend having dual-sensor alarms because they provide the best potential for early detection of all types of common household fires.
Featuring Smart Sensing Technology to better detect slow smoldering and fast-flaming fires, the First Alert 10-Year Alarm Life Dual Sensor Smoke & Fire Alarm provides the peace of mind of a dual-sensor alarm with the convenience of a 10-year sealed lithium battery. The alarm better detects real threats and helps to combat false or “nuisance” alarms that may lead to device deactivation – all while providing a decade of protection without the need for battery replacement. It also signals an end-of-life warning, notifying consumers when it needs replacement.
Cover your bases: Even if you have smoke alarms in your home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you don’t have enough devices. To ensure the highest level of protection from smoke and carbon monoxide, the NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms at the top of each staircase and one in every bedroom or sleeping area. To put this into perspective, the average-sized home in America – a two-story, three-bedroom house – needs a minimum of five smoke alarms.
To learn more about 10-year alarms and alarm laws in your state, or tips for protecting your family from smoke, fire and carbon monoxide, visit the First Alert website at http://www.firstalert.com.
America has long stood as a beacon of hope and opportunity, and few embody that spirit here at home and beyond our borders more than the members of our Armed Forces. Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to all those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for you, our Veterans.