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!

Helpful electrical tips from Squires Electric

Welcome to another guest blog entry.  Our guest expert this week is Squires Electric, contact them to assist you with your electrical needs!

 

 

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Troubleshooting Guide

OUTLETThese are just a few easy steps to try before you call Squires Electric. Hopefully these can save you the cost of a service call.

First where is the problem located? Is it in a bathroom, kitchen, garage, or anywhere outside that might be protected by a G.F.C.I. (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)?  If so first locate your GFCI’s and look to see if one of them may have “tripped”. A tripped GFCI is pictured here.

The buttons may be different colors than this but, if the top one is sticking out the GFCI is tripped. To reset it just push the button back in. Now if the button won’t go back in, it is time to go to the panel and check your breakers.

 

Resetting Your Breaker

Lawn Mower Tune Up 101

Spring is near, can you feel it?  This lovely weather has flowers budding, trees blossoming, and lawns growing!  Is it time to take your lawn mower out for the fist time this year?  Make sure to give your mower a quick tune up before starting it up this spring.  Here are some tips from RepairClinic to help get you started!

Home maintenance calendar

Welcome to the New Year!  We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are excited about what 2015 will bring to you and yours!

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your home?  If so, we have a list to help you throughout the year.  Broken down by month, here are some chores to take care of as you work towards keeping your home safe, energy efficient and in good working order:

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January: Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.  Are your fire extinguishers in working order (do you know where they are?).  Review warranties and maintenance requirements on major appliances.

 

February: Check your home for signs of water damage and mold.  Inspect windows for incomplete seals and condensation.   Don’t forget areas that may not get as much foot traffic, like you attic and basement.  Neglect to these parts of your home may result in costly damage that could easily be remedied by early detection.

 

March: Check your roof!  How did it weather the winter wind and rain?  Check for lose or cracked shingles as these will only be further damaged by the sunny weather on the way.  Inspect flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and the chimney for damage as well.

 

April: Take a look around outside, what can be taken care of to de-clutter and freshen up your yard?  Throw away damaged flower pots and find new plants that will brighten your outdoor spaces.  Gather all the yard debris (fallen branches, leaves…) left over from the winter to prepare your lawn for a great spring and summer!

 

May: You guessed it, time for spring cleaning!  Whether you have hardwood, carpet or both, give your floors a bit of extra attention this month.  Now would be a great time to clean your windows, both inside and out and let all that lovely sunshine into your nice, freshly cleaned home!

 

June: Time to power wash your house, deck or patio!  The rain and weather from the winter and spring may have left your property dirty or mossy.  Take some time to address all the little nooks and crannies, your property will look great!

 

July: Summer is a great time to address areas of your home that may be costing you during the winter months. Perform an energy audit of your home by seeking out gaps around doors or windows where heat may be escaping your home.  These issues are more easily addressed in the summer months, your winter budget will thank you!

 

August: Make sure other creatures aren’t trying to invade your home!  Look for evidence of mice or rats by checking your home for droppings or nests.  These types of pests may also be indicated by holes and gnaw marks or an unusual odor in your home.  Check for signs of termites around your home as well.  Indicators of these pests include: hollow sounding wood in floors, walls or furniture, sagging wood, or frass (termite dropping).  Should you find signs of these pests, contact a professional to address the issue.

 

September:  Prepare for cooler weather by inspecting and, or cleaning your fire place.  Hire an inspector to ensure your fire place and chimney is in clean and working order.  It’s a good idea to have this inspection done once a year.

 

October: With leaves beginning to fall, it’s important to make sure gutters and downspouts are clear.  Clean your gutters of leaves and debris and inspect them for damage to ensure they are functioning properly.

 

November: With the temperatures starting to drop, now is a good time to inspect outdoor stairs and railings.  Railings that are broken or weak should be replaced to prevent slips on icy or wet steps.

 

December: Replace the filters in your heating and cooling systems.  During peak seasons of use, these should be changed monthly.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

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

Tornado in Longview WA

The National Weather Service declared a powerful storm system a tornado yesterday afternoon in Longview, Washington.  Thankfully, no on was injured but the storm did sustain damage to trees and property in the area.  This storm is a reminder that we should be prepared for the impact of any natural disaster.  What would you have done in a similar situation?  Would your family or workplace be prepared for such an event?  Being prepared means having fully stocked emergency supplies and having a plan in case of a disaster.

Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this event.

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!

 

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.