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

Boating Safety Tips

For this week’s safety tips, we turn to our assistant general manager Tanner Kennedy!  No matter the weather, you can always find Tanner on his boat, fishing with friends and family.  Tanner has some excellent advice to help keep everyone safe and having fun while enjoying their time on the water:

It is that time of year when boat and personal water craft owners are out recreating on the water. If you are a boat owner, you should always put safety on the top of your priority list.  Here are some helpful tips to help you be as safe as possible on the water.

 

  • Carry the correct Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s) for your boating application.  This must include one lifejacket/vest for each person on the boat and an approved throw able rescue device for a man overboard situation.  Here is a great link to help you determine the proper PFDs for your application. http://www.pfdma.org/choosing/types.aspx  Keep in mind, if you have the inflatable type life vests that are so common now and your vessel is inspected by the Coast Guard, they will only accept them as an appropriate PFD if they are being worn properly. If that is the only kind of PFD you have in your boat and you and your passengers are not wearing them, you will most likely be cited for not having proper PFDs on board.
  • Inspect all PFDs to make sure they are in good working condition.  Look for tears in the fabric, compression or deterioration of foam floatation and worn straps, buckles, etc.  Any PFDs that have any such damage should be disposed of and replaced with new ones. Never remove any of the sewn on factory tags from a PFD.
  • Make sure that you have a horn or other Coast Guard approved noise making device such as a whistle in your vessel. I personally have a built in horn, a whistle and a hand held air horn on my boat.River boat
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher regularly. The gauge should be in the green at all times. If it is not, replace it.
  • If you have an inboard motor in your boat, make sure you have an operational blower fan in your motor compartment and that the duct lines are hooked up correctly allowing any fuel fumes to escape the motor box/compartment. Make sure you run your blower at least a couple of minutes before you start your boat. This will evacuate any fumes that may be trapped in the motor compartment and reduce the chance of fire/explosion when the boats ignition is engaged.
  • Be alert and watch for other boaters and other hazards at all times.
  • Be courteous to other boaters, especially ones that may be on anchor. Remember, you are legally responsible for any damage that may be caused by your boat wake.
  • If you are following another boat, give yourself plenty of stopping distance. Remember you cannot stop a boat like you can stop an automobile.
  • Do not follow directly behind a boat that is towing a skier, wake boarder or another boat.

Have fun and enjoy your time on the water but always keep boater safety in mind when enjoying yourself on the water.

 

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:

Fire safety

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!

Do you know mold?

Think you know mold?  Take our quiz and test your knowledge!

 

 

Mold can take root and propagate in areas of:

A.  Very low humidity

B.  High humidity

C.  Humidity has no affect on mold growth

 

 

Answer: B. Mold can take root and propagate in areas of high humidity.  Moisture and warmth are the food sources that allow mold to grow, both of which are found in areas of high humidity. 

 

Signs of mold can include:

A.  Visible indication of mold presence

B.  A musty smell

C.  Allergies or persistent illness

D.  All of the above

 

 

Answer: D. Signs of mold include: Visible indication of mold presence, a musty smell, or allergies and persistent illness.  Do not rely on visible signs of mold alone to confirm its presence.   

 

Which type of mold produces mycotoxins?

A. Black mold

B.  Food mold

C.  White mold

 

Answer: A. Which type of mold produces mytotoxins? Black mold.  Mycotoxicosis is the end result of prolonged exposure to mycotoxins produced by mold spores.  Extended contact with mold can lead to chronic inflammation resulting in a variety of symptoms.  These symptoms vary depending upon the type of mycotoxin, duration of exposure and pre-existing health conditions.

    

 

While mold exposure is potentially a health hazard for everyone, some groups of people are more likely to be affected than other.  Those people are:

A.  Pregnant women and children under the age of one

B.  The elderly,

C. Those with pre-existing lung conditions

D. All of the above

 

Answer: D. While mold exposure is potentially a health hazard for everyone, some groups of people are more likely to be affected than other.  Those people are:  pregnant women and children under the age of one, the elderly and those with pre-existing lung conditions.  Special caution should be taken to reduce the risk of exposure with these populations as they are more likely to be negatively affected by mold.    

 

 

If you suspect your home has a mold problem, the best course of action is:

A. Use household cleaners on the mold

 B.  Spray the mold with bleach

C.  Contact a professional to address the issue

D.  Ignore the mold growth situation

 

 

Answer: C. If you suspect your home has a mold problem, the best course of action is: contact a professional to address the issue.  Never ignore a mold issue as it will only grow over time and become more difficult to address.  Using household cleaners and bleach can also cause the mold spores to spread, causing more mold growth elsewhere.  Kennedy restoration provides mold remediation services with the precision, knowledge and extensive experience to keep you and your family safe from the potentially harmful effects of mold.  

 

 

 

How did you do?  Our mold technicians are extremely knowledgeable and skilled; we are always here to assist you should you find mold in your home. 

 

 

 

    

 

        

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!

Be ready…anywhere!

As we mentioned last week, September is Emergency Preparedness Month!  It is important to be prepared for an emergency of any scale no matter where you are.  An earthquake isn’t going to wait to strike until you are safe in your home and an electrical surge doesn’t have the courtesy to hold off until you are finished at work.  This week we have a few tips for stocking up on your emergency preparedness kit no matter where you are!

Your home should provide you with the bulk of your supplies needed in case of an emergency situation.  Make sure to communicate to your family your emergency plan and where the supplies are located.  Regularly check these items to make sure they are fully stocked and in their proper place:

  1. Food – Enough for at least three days.  Non perishable items are best, such as canned and prepackaged food
  2. Water – One gallon per person per day for at least three days
  3. A well stocked first aid kit; regularly check to make sure all necessary items are present
  4. Battery powered or hand crank radio
  5. Flashlight
  6. Plenty of batteries
  7. Copies of important documents, local maps and extra cash
  8. A seven day supply of all prescription medications
  9. Multipurpose tool
  10. Emergency blanket
  11. Cell phones with solar chargers or portable charging unit
  12. Pet care supplies

In our cars, we are more vulnerable than we would like to imagine ourselves to be.  Any number of emergencies can occur while we are in transit: from a collision in a populated area to running out of gas far from the nearest town.  Being prepared for a event in your vehicle is every bit as important as preparation in your home.

 Here are some basic supplies that should be present in every vehicle:

  1. Drinkable water – at least one gallon
  2. High calorie food
  3. Blankets and warming devices – especially in the winter months
  4. A working flashlight
  5. Basic tools
  6. First aid kit
  7. Flares
  8. Jumper cables and a spare tire
  9. Good walking shoes

One place that is often forgotten when assessing your emergency readiness is the workplace.  Much of our lives are spent in our place of employment, so it is crucial that we are prepared for any type of emergency while at work.  While many of the supplies may be similar to those we would have in the home, it is important to communicate an emergency plan and have a committee in place should such an emergency occur.

 These are some steps to take to ensure you and your coworkers are ready for anything:

  1. A rehearsed evacuation plan
  2. Emergency contact information for all employees
  3. Designate a safety team
  4. Enough food and water for 3 days
  5. Battery powered radio
  6. A well stocked first aid kit
  7. Flashlights
  8. Blankets and pillows
  9. Basic toiletries

All About Mold

The majority of us spend most of our time indoors. Even during this wonderful weather, many people will only be able to enjoy it for a few hours after work and on the weekends. Living in the northwest means accepting that mold will eventually permeate these indoor spaces.  Mold prevention and extraction is extremely important to everyone’s health!

 Mold can take root and propagate in areas of high humidity.  Though an area may not seem damp to the touch, undetected moisture can provide the perfect habitat for mold to spread.  In order to grow mold needs both a food and a water source, which can both in found in these high humidity areas.   

 When inhaled, the body may ignore these mold spores and remain unaffected.  For others, however, mold may cause an allergic reaction, most commonly resulting in upper respiratory distress.  Those with asthma may also experience a heightened reaction to the inhalation of mold spores, causing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or a potential asthma attack.  Prolonged exposures to mold spores also have the potential to cause respiratory infections.

 Mold exposure may also cause far more serious health risks.  When the body takes on large amounts of mold spores, either through inhalation or ingestion, the results can be very dangerous.  Mycotoxicosis is the end result of prolonged exposure to mycotoxins produced by mold spores.  Extended contact with mold can lead to chronic inflammation resulting in a variety of symptoms.  These symptoms vary depending upon the type of mycotoxin, duration of exposure and pre-existing health conditions.

While mold exposure can potentially be dangerous for anyone, there are specific groups of people who are most likely to be affected by it.  Children under the age of one, the elderly, pregnant women and those with pre-existing lung conditions are more commonly agitated by mold spores. Special caution should be taken to reduce the risk of exposure with these populations. 

 Kennedy restoration provides mold remediation services with the precision, knowledge and extensive experience to keep you and your family safe from the potentially harmful effects of mold.  

 If you suspect mold growth in your house or workplace, it is important to contact a professional to address the issue.  Using household spray cleaners such as bleach on mold can actually exacerbate the issue.  The mold feels as though it is being attacked and fights back, releasing mycotoxins into the air and spreading spores, which are the seeds for new growth.  A qualified person such as an industrial hygienist or indoor environmental professional is the only certified person who can act as a 3rd party and help you to detect mold that is not visible with the naked eye.  Kennedy Restoration can do a visual mold assessment but we do not do mold testing.  Mold assessment, done by a certified 3rd party, can assist in identifying the species of mold and the extent of the mold hazard in a structure. This is commonly done via air sample testing, tape lift testing and visual inspection.  The hygienist can send samples to labs to be processed and then provide a written protocol for the remediator to follow. 

 As always, Kennedy Restoration is here to help should you discover a mold issue in your home that requires remediation.