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! 

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

The power’s out! Now what?

 

The lights dim then flicker out to quiet darkness.  Your television and computer are down, your phone is nearly out of battery and you have no idea where your flashlight is.  We’ve all been caught unprepared when the power goes out!  Sometimes we get a heads up when we know a storm is going to bring strong winds, but often (as we found this past week) a power outage gives us no warning at all.  So, what should you do if the power goes out?

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  1. Check your own fuse box first to ensure that the power outage is not localized to your own property.  Use caution while inspecting the electrical source to prevent serious injuries.  Ask neighbors if they are also experiencing the power outage.
  2. If the power outage extends beyond your own home, call your local power supply company: do NOT call 9-1-1 unless there is a power line down, or there is an immediate emergency beyond the loss of power.
  3. If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, food in your refrigerator may begin to spoil.  Maintain the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer for as long as possible by keeping the doors securely closed.
  4. Unplug major electrical appliances, such as washers, dryers, televisions and computers, to avoid a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
  5. If you have a wood stove, use it as a heat source.  Do not rely on kerosene lanterns, BBQs or any outdoor heat source as they contain hazardous, combustible materials.  Never run a gas powered generator indoors. Generators burn fuel and release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless toxic gas. Each year people are killed during power outages by running generators in the homes or garages.
  6. Stay in the smaller rooms of your home for heat supply. A candle or body heat will be more effective heating a smaller space.

Supplies to have in case of a power outage:

  1. Wind up or battery operated emergency radio
  2. Warm Clothes, Blankets, Sleeping Bags
  3. Flashlights with charged batteries.
  4. Candles
  5. Matches or lighters
  6. First aid kit
  7. Bottled water, (1 gallon per person per day) as purification systems may be affected by the outage.
  8. 1 weeks worth canned or dehydrated food.
  9. Extra batteries.
  10. Plenty of activities to keep kids busy!

The best plan of action is to stay indoors and wait to hear further instructions or information regarding the outage.  If you must leave the house be careful while driving as traffic lights may also be without power.  Be prepared for power outages and fewer electronic gadgets so you can take advantage of this time to re-connect with your family!