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

Space Heater Safety

Brrrr, it’s cold out there! In efforts to stay warm many of us are cozying up to space heater and other heat sources that if used improperly could present a potential hazard. “In 2011 alone, around 18,000 fires involved stationary or portable space heaters, killing over 300 people, and injuring over 1,100 more, according to National Fire Prevention Association.” If used improperly or without inspection, portable heating devices can cause a fire and or injury. Take note of these tips to make sure you are using these devices safely!

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  • As a general rule for all heat sources (fire places, space heaters, and stoves) make sure that your heater has at least 3 feet of clearance from anything that could potentially cause a fire. This can include clothing, papers, rugs or bedding. Make sure that small children observe this 3 foot radius as well.

 

  • Move heaters out of the way of foot traffic, including the cord. A misplaced heater could pose a tripping hazard, which could also damage the cord, power outlet, or heating device.

 

  • Do not use extension cords or power strips when plugging in your space heater. A heater plugged directly into the wall poses less threat for electrical issues than one that is powered through an extension cord.

 

  • A space heater should never be plugged into the same outlet as a computer.

 

  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off and unplug the device when you leave the room.

 

  • Don’t use a heater that has frayed wires or damaged electrical components. Compromised cords and plug ins can cause fires and should not be used until repaired.

 

  • A plug in should never be forced into an outlet, nor should it be lose. A space heater plugged in incorrectly can cause major damage. Check to ensure that the cord is never hot when you unplug the device, this is an indication that an electrical component is not working correctly.

 

Stay safe and warm this winter!

Winter Weather – were you prepared?

We had a heck of a winter storm these past few days!  While the Pacific Northwest gets plenty of wind and rain, many are not prepared for snow and ice like we experienced this past weekend.  Storms can hit suddenly without warning, so it is important to always be prepared for extreme weather conditions.  Here are a few ways to stay safe during a winter storm:

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Stay informed – The storm we recently experienced was reported on the news; make sure you are checking in with news and weather sources to stay up to date on how the weather may impact your area.  Such sources will have updates on school and road closures as well.  Make sure you have access to these outlets if your power should go out by having an emergency radio and charging phones and tablets. 

Supply kit – Make sure your emergency supply kit is well stocked should you be unable to leave your home. For a detailed outline of what your emergency kit should contain, check out our previous blog here.

Freeze prevention – Frozen pipes can potentially be a costly damage to your home should they burst.  It is a very common incident we encounter here at Kennedy Restoration, especially when temperatures begin to rise after a freeze.  Protect your pipes from freezing with these tips.

Driving – Whenever possible, do not drive in the ice or snow.  While you may be an expert driver, others on the road are not and even the best of drivers can get into serious accidents due to icy road conditions.  However, if you must leave be sure to follow these safe driving tips in the ice.  Add a few items to your emergency kit to make sure you can leave the home, including sand, kitty litter, snow shovels.  Make sure your tires are equipped for the weather and your vehicle is capable of the excursion. 

Loss of power – As we experienced here in Portland, power outages are common with the onset of snow and ice.  Frozen moisture on tree limbs weigh them down, causing them to crack and fall on power lines.  Be prepared for such outages and potential loss of heat! 

So, how did you do?  Do you feel that you were adequately prepared for the weather over the weekend, or do you have some adjustments to make to your preparedness techniques?  As always, if you experienced any damages to your home or property, Kennedy Restoration is here to help! 

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!

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!