Your 4th of July Safety Guide!

Are you ready for this 4th of July weekend?  While the burn ban is still in effect for the Portland area, the ban on legal fireworks has been lifted.  That being said it is important to note how hot and dry the weather has been lately and to take the necessary precautions when celebrating the 4th of July this year.  We want you to have the best holiday ever, so here are a few tips to keep you, your family and your property safe this weekend:

Fire work safety:

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  • Light fireworks off a safe distance from your home, vehicle or any other structures; at least 25 feet.
  • Always light fireworks off a concrete surface or board, never directly off  the ground or near grass.
  • Have a bucket of water handy to completely extinguish all spent fireworks.  Have a fire extinguish nearby just in case a spark should catch.

Home safety

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  • Is your lawn bone dry from the heat wave?  Dry grass can catch fire very quickly, so make sure the grass and soil is damp before the festivities commence!  Water your lawn, mulch and shrubs continuously from now until the 4th.
  • Trim bushes to make sure they are not touching your house.  Should a spark cause a fire, you want to eliminate an easy path from your yard to your home.  Remove yard debris that may have gathered in window wells or around the edges of your property.
  • Remove leaves and pine needles from gutters; this would be a very easy place for a fire to start.  Spray down roof as much as possible.

 

Pet safety

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  • This can be a scary time for your furry friends!  Keep your pets indoors and comfortable as much as possible; if left outdoors your dog might panic and attempt to escape!
  • Once confined to a room in the house, leave the TV or music playing to calm your pet.  The continuous noise will make the sound of fireworks let startling.
  • An anxious dog can be destructive.  Give your pup an outlet for that nervous energy by providing him with appropriate, brain stimulating items to keep him occupied, like a Kong or frozen treat.

Stay safe and have fun this weekend!

10 Holiday Accidents to Avoid this Season!

It’s the most dangerous time of the year!  Well, maybe not the most dangerous, but with all the festivities and fun, accidents are common around the holiday season. To help guide you through these treacherous months, here is a list of the most common accidents and how to avoid them.

 

  1. Hypothermia – Playing in the snow can be a blast but it can lead to serious injury if you get too cold. Wear plenty of layers, making sure to cover extremities.  If you are working up a sweat shoveling snow, change out base layers to keep sweat from cooling against your skin.  Children should come inside frequently to warm up when playing in cold weather.
  2. Food borne illness – At gatherings and parties, food can easily sit out for several hours. All perishable dips and meats should be monitored to make sure they are still safe for consumption.
  3. Falling while decorating – Make sure to use a sound latter while hanging decorations and work with a buddy. Don’t lift boxes that are too heavy and avoid twisting and reaching too far to put that last ornament on the tree.
  4. Space heaters – As always, allow a 3 foot radius around all heat sources to prevent fires.
  5. Christmas tree fires – Keep your Christmas tree well watered and turn off all lights when the tree is unattended.
  6. Injury due to carrying luggage – All heavy luggages should be equipped with wheels to avoid back and shoulder strain from carrying bags. Use a cart when available.
  7. Children and animals ingesting plants or decoration – mistletoe, holly berry, poinsettias, and amaryllis can be toxic if eaten. Make sure to keep them out the reach of children and animals.
  8. Alcohol related accidents – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol related accidents are 2 to 3 times more likely to occur during the holiday season. Never drive while intoxicated and when hosting an event make sure that all parties have a designated driver.  Consume alcohol responsibly.
  9. Electrocution – String lights safely and carefully keeping in mind moisture and overloading your circuit.
  10. Stress and depression – While this time of year can be full of joy and love, it can also be very stressful. If the holidays leave you feeling depleted and depressed, try shaking up your holiday plans and focusing on the positive aspects of the season.  Volunteer your time or go on a family hike around the holidays to refresh your mood.

 

We hope you have a lovely holiday season!

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

Ask the Estimator!

Welcome to Ask the Estimator, where we pick the brains of the professionals who have seen it all! Today’s question went to estimator Jason Stephens. Jason came to Kennedy Restoration in 2013 with plenty of experience to contribute to the company. With 15 years in construction, 9 years in restoration and 6 years as an estimator, he is a wealth of knowledge!

 

The Question:

“What can I do prepare for severe damage to my home by water, fire, storm or other such events?”

 

The Answer:

 

  1. Know the risks for the area you live in – Planning for the worst differs depending on location, climate, and proximity to trees, elevation and many other factors. Understand the events that could affect your property and plan for them accordingly.
  2. Know your coverage – Make sure your insurance information is current and easy to find when you need it. Have all the necessary information to contact your representative handy and ready to go, should you have to leave your home during an emergency. Know your coverage limits and special endorsements (code upgrade, mold coverage, flood insurance, etc…).
  3. Know your home – Know where to shut off your water in case of leaking or pipe breakage. Any amount of water that is contained could potentially further damage. The more quickly you can shut off the running water, the less damage could be caused.
  4. Know your fire extinguishers – In case of a fire, make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order and everyone in the family knows how to use them properly. Inspect your extinguishers monthly and check the gauge to see when replacement or repair is needed.
  5. Know your emergency plan – Have a well stocked emergency kit with back up lighting and make sure all family members know its location. Run emergency evacuation plans with everyone in your household, making sure that all emergency exits are identified.

 

If you have a question to ask one of our estimators, send it our way!

Oregon Wildfire Information

This year has been a challenging one for those affected by the wildfires raging across Oregon.  If you plan on traveling to these areas, be sure to check the Oregon Department of Forestry website for daily updates on the status of these fires.  Our thoughts are with the homes and families that have been threatened by these events and those who work diligently to contain this damaging force.  Remember to always follow fire safety precautions and do everything in your power to prevent forest fires.  These videos demonstrate the severity of these fires, stay safe everyone!

 

10 Fireplace Safety Tips

While many residences are now heated by furnaces or boilers, the good, old fire place is still found in over one third of American homes.  Wood and pellet heated homes are wonderful; they add a certain coziness to a home that can only come from the crackle of a fire place.  This comfort can potentially come at a price; a fire place can pose a potential hazard to your home and family.  Through proper precautions the risks posed by fire places can be avoided.

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  1. Have your chimney and fireplace annual inspected by a certified chimney specialist.  These professionals will perform routine cleanings which will keep your chimney safe from build up as well as inspect the unit for potential fire hazards.
  2. Be sure to cap your chimney to keep debris from flying into it and causing damage.
  3. Use dense wood that has been properly stored and dried (for at least 6 months). Wood that has not been properly stored or is too green produces more creosote, which can damage your chimney over time.  Use only wood, never flammable liquids, cardboard or trash to start fires.
  4. Use a spark guard in front of your fireplace to prevent damage or injury.  Place a non flammable carpet in front of the fireplace to keep embers and sparks from damaging hardwood or carpet.
  5. Never leave a fire unattended in the home.  Make sure there is always an adult present while a fire is burning and children should be at least 3 feet away from it at all times.
  6. When removing ash to clean the fireplace, wait at least 3 days since the last fire before handling soot.  Embers can smolder for quite a while and have the potential to cause burns or fire damage if not cooled long enough.  Where a dust mask while disposing of the debris.
  7. When the fire place is routinely in use, clean out the fire box at least once a week.
  8. If you ever notice a smoky haze indoors while burning a fire, inspect your fireplace for potential build up or damage.  The air indoors should never be smoky and must be addressed immediately.
  9. Never build your fire too large so it burns too hot.  Start small and build the fire until it is an appropriate size and producing adequate heat.
  10. Install and regularly test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors!

Stay warm and safe!

Thanksgiving safety tips

Tomorrow is one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!  What a wonderful day to visit with friends and family, cook delicious food and enjoy some time to relax.  Ensure that your family will have a lovely and safe holiday with these tips!

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According to the NFPA, cooking fires (already the leading cause of home fire in the US) will triple the average on Thanksgiving Day.  Protect your home from these potential fire hazards:

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Always be in the kitchen when cooking stovetop.  It is easy to get distracted on such a busy day, but always keep an eye on what’s going on while cooking.  Never leave the house while cooking your turkey.  Check on your bird frequently to check temperature and to make sure nothing is dripping in the stove.

Keep children a safe distance (at least 3 feet) from the stove and cooking instruments at all times.  Take care to make sure they do not carry or come into contact with hot liquids like gravy or hot oil.

Wear short sleeves while cooking or roll your sleeves securely into place.  Lose clothing can easily drag through hot food or a heat source causing burns or a fire.

Make sure your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in working order.  You want them to be ready should you ever need them!

If you are planning on frying your turkey this year (a common cause of fire damage) make sure your bird is thawed before adding it to the hot oil.  Check that you have the correct amount of oil in the pot so when the turkey is added it will not overflow.

Many families travel for the holidays which can leave homes vulnerable to break ins.

Travel safety –

Don’t post travel plans on social networks; not everyone needs to know that your home is going to be vacant for days at a time!

Have a kindly neighbor stop by the home to pick up the paper and mail and do a general sweep of your property to make sure nothing looks out of place.

Make sure to properly secure your home before leaving, checking all doors and window for properly locking mechanisms.  Remember to arm your alarm before leaving.

Nothing will put a damper on the holiday quite like a food borne illness; cook with caution!

Food handling –

Take care while thawing your turkey that it doesn’t drip on or contaminate other fresh foods.  Turkey can contain harmful bacteria that can make you very sick!

Keep your kitchen clean while cooking.  Utensils that come into contact with a raw bird should not be used on any other foods until they have been thoroughly sanitized.  Be aware of using porous materials, like wooden cutting boards and take extra care to clean them.

165 is the magic number when it comes to cooking turkey; this is the temperature at which harmful pathogens are destroyed.  If the temperature within the turkey is any less this, it can be dangerous to eat.  Make sure to test the temperature in a dense area like the breast.

When you’re done eating, don’t let your leftovers sit out for too long.  Package them up for turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey casserole and turkey everything for days to come!

Happy holidays from all of us here at Kennedy Restoration!

Halloween Safety Tips

It’s the spookiest time of year: Halloween!  This is a wonderful season for children of all ages to dress up, decorate and give out treats.  While Halloween is fun for the whole family there are some important guidelines to follow to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible.  Make sure to keep children safe while they go out to collect their goodies and keep a few of these safety tips in mind:

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  1. Do not allow children to trick or treat alone.  Go in groups along with trusted adults.
  2. Make sure costumes are visible by drivers; attach reflective tape if necessary.  Have children carry a flashlight or glow sticks for safety.
  3. Examine all candy before allowing your child to consume it.  Look for packaging that appears altered or tampered with; dispose of anything that look suspicious.
  4. Follow all pedestrian laws and use cross walks and proceed into the street with caution.  Use sidewalks whenever possible and avoid heavily trafficked areas.
  5. Drivers: be on high alert for children in the road.  The most popular trick-or-treating time is between 5:30 and 9:30 so take extra care while driving at these times.
  6. Don’t eat too much candy in one sitting and be sure to take care of those teeth!
  7. Use battery operated candles in pumpkins and decorations.  Flame candles can easily be knocked over and create a fire hazard.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

 

5 tips for Fire Prevention Week

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October 6th through 12th marks this year’s Fire Prevention Week!  Since 1917, Fire Prevention Week has been a time to draw attention to potential fire hazards and fire prevention tools.  This year’s theme focuses on a very important safety topic: “Prevent Kitchen Fires”.  The kitchen is the only place in the home that we use open flame and direct heat.  It is important that we take the proper precautions to ensure our kitchen, cooking equipment, and food preparation practices do not lead to a potential fire hazard.

Here are five simple ways to protect your home and family from kitchen fires:

  1.  Take care of your cooking equipment.  Oil residue and leftover crumbs can present a potential fire hazard.  Make sure that all electrical appliances are properly cared and maintenance as needed.  Wipe up oil spills on your stove; grease build up is flammable.
  2. Install a smoke detector near the kitchen and check it monthly.
  3.  Pull back your hair and roll up your sleeves while cooking.  This may seem like an unimportant step to cooking, but properly preparing to be around heat or open flames is crucial!
  4. Never leave cooking unattended.  Turn off the heat source and remove pans from burners if you need to leave the house or are distracted.  Unattended cooking is a leading cause of kitchen fires.
  5. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet from the stove at all times.  Make sure to turn pot handles in toward the stove.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit http://www.firepreventionweek.org.

5 Indoor Heating Tips

 

Rain, wind and cold weather has all come to the northwest over the past week; it is officially fall!  As the temperature drops outside, the urge to turn on our indoor heating units grows.  While turning up the thermostat may make us feel warm and cozy, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of using indoor heating. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.  Here are some important reminders to keep you safe in this cold weather:

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  1.  Do not leave clutter near a heat source.  Keep objects at safe distance of at least 3 feet from any portable heaters, vents, or fireplaces.  This includes furniture and bedding
  2. When unattended, always turn off and unplug portable heaters.
  3. If using a fire place, always use a fire screen to prevent damage caused by sparks and embers. Never burn garbage or rubbish in the fire and make sure your home is properly ventilated.
  4. Inspect all heat sources for potential carbon monoxide danger or have them inspected by a professional.  Install CO detection devices to ensure safety.
  5. Make sure your home is properly equipped with smoke detectors and check them monthly.

While these tips may seem like common sense, it is easy to overlook basic safety precautions when it comes to our home.  Stay warm, cozy and safe this fall!