Winter Fires

Safety tips for your home

 Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Never use fuel burning appliances without proper ventilation. NEVER use a fuel not intended for the type of heater you’re using.

 Keep all flammables stored away from heating unit, preferably outside. NEVER fill the unit while it is on or if off while it is still hot. Fuelling should be done outside your home.

 If using the unit in a bedroom, be sure the room is properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.

 Wood stoves and fireplaces are common in more homes. Pay attention to the following for your health and safety.

 • Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. (If you have just purchased the house, ask the realtors when the chimney was swept last) wood stoves should be a minimum of 36” from a combustible surface, with proper protection for the floor.

• Wood stoves should be of good, solid construction and design, and UL lab tested to insure it meets safety standards.

• Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessarily by a licensed agent, especially if it has not been used for some time.

• Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire, this is not your outdoor grill.

• Keep a glass or screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks or embers from igniting a fire on your carpet or woof floor to help prevent burns to you or the loss of the house.

• The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15 -30 minutes to prevent creosote buildup.

NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. This can cause the fire to reignite and fill the house with carbon monoxide.

Never burn charcoal in the house

• It is important to have your furnace inspected to insure it is in proper working order.


Be sure every level of your house has a working smoke and carbon alarm, and be sure to check and clean them on a monthly basis. Replace batteries twice a year wither their beeping or not, the same for your heater and A/C filters.



Natural Disasters Increase More than 400% in the Last 20 Years

In the last 20 years, according to a report released by the British charity Oxfam. Oxfam The number of natural disasters around the world has increased by more than four times analyzed data from the Red Cross, United Nations and researchers at Louvain University in Belgium. It found that the earth is currently experiencing approximately 500 natural disasters per year, compared with 120 per year in the early 1980s. The number of weather-related disasters in 2006 was 240, compared with 60 in 1980. So, the question isn’t if you will experience a natural disaster; it’s really a question of when.

The recent early winter storms that occurred in the Northeastern United States left millions from Maine to Maryland without power. Even though residents had advance warning, many were unprepared for the severity of the storm. Two months ago, residents were also inadequately prepared for Hurricane Irene, which left extensive wind and flood damage along its path. Again, there was warning, but the hurricane’s severity far exceeded expectations.

Don’t be caught unprepared. Do you have the following items ready to see your family through an emergency or natural disaster?

• Grab and go kits for every member of your family, including pets
• Well-stocked first aid kit
• Emergency gas and water shut-off tool
• Emergency communications plan that instructs your loved ones regarding who to call and where to meet in case of emergency
• Enough non-perishable food to last your family for a minimum of two weeks; it may take emergency services that long to reach you in a severe disaster
• Water for drinking, cooking and hygiene – a minimum of one gallon per person per day and enough to last at least two weeks
• Alternative ways to cook and provide heat and light in case of a power outage
• Emergency kits in your car, at your workplace, and at your children’s schools
• Safety skills, such as first aid and CPR
• Fire extinguisher – be sure everyone in your home knows how to use it and where it is kept

We realize that this list may seem daunting. We encourage you to work on just one category each month. If you already have some items, take inventory to see what needs to be replaced or added. Then, follow through with replacing or adding those items. We talk to a lot of folks who know what they need but don’t take the next step to actually do it.

Take action today. Emergency planning is about preparedness, not paranoia. Knowing that your family can weather a disaster will bring you and them peace of mind.

Planning for a Flood

Planning for a Flood.

Yes, they happen everywhere in the United States!


Flooding threatens all regions of the United States, high and low. Even the smallest waterways are susceptible. Flooding can occur on its own or accompany many different types of natural disasters. Rivers overwhelmed by rain wash out waterfront property. Slow moving hurricanes trigger flash floods and storm surges, both of which hurtle a wall of killer debris before them. Levees and dams burst in earthquakes or heavy storms, submerging entire neighborhoods or towns.  In fact, floods are among the deadliest and costliest natural disasters.


Most floods in the West are triggered by snowmelt and rainstorms. In the East, hurricanes and thunderstorms are the primary culprits. Regardless of where you live, when a deluge is rushing your way, you can be certain of a few things: the water will be contaminated; it will vanquish any car; and when it reaches your front door, it won’t knock first.


They claim about 140 American lives each year, primarily due to in-car drowning. Damages to roads and structures average $6 Billion annually. Because of this, floods are the only hazard to be covered by federal insurance: FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. 


What’s Your Family’s Flood Plan?


Because floods can happen anywhere, every family should make advanced plans for such an emergency. Teach your family about survival techniques when stranded in water. In your plan, include which items to move to upper floors before a flood. These will include large appliances and valuable furniture. Store them in the highest place possible, away from windows and wrapped in blankets. If you have enough warning, you may want to consider a storage unit out of harm’s way.


Then, make a sandbagging plan. Sandbagged walls, which absorb incoming water, can be a life and property-saver. Decide who will build your wall and where you will obtain supplies. Even better is to store the supplies in your basement or garage at all times. A one-foot high by 20-foot long wall of 100 sandbags will take two people about an hour to construct.


Minor flooding may not lead to evacuation. In these instances, plan to sanitize bathtubs and sinks, then fill them with clean water in case the water supply is later contaminated. Finally, turn off all utilities (except natural gas) and secure outdoor items before heading to the highest level of your home. Have a portable radio, a whistle to signal, flashlight and first aid kit.



5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for a Flood


1.      If you live in a floodplain, reinforce your home now to keep your property as high and dry as possible.

2.      Use waterproofing compounds to seal the walls of your lowest floors, especially the basement, where most flooding occurs.

3.      Be sure your sewer drains have check valves, to keep floodwater from coming into your house through sinks and tubs.

4.      Raise your water heater, furnace and electricity panel above floor levels. This is common today.

5.      Build physical barriers around your house such as levees and flood walls to keep waters at bay.



Why You Should Stay Out of Your Car during a Flood


·         Flooding is the number one weather killer in the United States.

·         More than 50 percent of flood deaths occur inside vehicles.

·         A mere six-inch flood can cause a car to hydroplane.

·         A foot of water can flood a car.

·         Two feet of water can wash away a SUV.



What to Do if You Are Trapped at Home


·         Avoid touching floodwaters, which may tainted by sewage or chemicals.

·         Disconnect electrical appliances only if you are dry, never if you or the floors are wet.

·         Collect drinking water.

·         Turn off gas and water.

·         Grab your 72-hour kit, warm clothing and first aid supplies.

·         Collect flashlights, signaling devices, and emergency radio.

·         Move to the highest point of your house.

·         Wait for help.

·         Do not try to swim to safety.



What to Do When You Return Home After a Flood


·         Only return to inspect your home after local authorities give the okay.

·         Wear sturdy shoes and clothing.

·         Before entering, turn off outside gas lines.

·         Open all windows (there may be gas fumes).

·         Have an electrician inspect all wiring.

·         Have a serviceman inspect and repair your septic tank, cesspool, pit, or leaching system.

·         Have an engineer or mechanic check for structural damage.

·         Cover broken windows or holes in the roof.

·         Throw away all food touched by flood water even if it was in a sealed package, such as a can.

·         Boil all drinking and cooking water for ten minutes until authorities clear your supply.

·         Disinfect items that touched flood waters.

·         Document and photograph all damage.


EXPERT TIP: Floods usually result from heavy or prolonged rain, rapidly melting snow, or broken dams. Flash floods can occur with little or no warning and are dangerous because their swift currents and unpredictable nature. [Girl Scouts]



See us at for all your emergency preparedness needs. 


Have You Included Your Pet in Your Disaster Preparedness Planning?

Whether an emergency keeps you away from home for a day, or a week or more, you’ll need essential supplies and an emergency plan for your pets and large animals.

Have a Plan
Know where you and your pets will be going after an emergency. Have at least two pre-planned boarding locations for your animals in case you are sick, injured or must evacuate during a disaster. These facilities should be located away from your home and far apart from each other to reduce the likelihood that they will be affected by the disaster.

Grab-and-Go Kits for Your Small Pets
Assemble emergency kits for your pets and place them in a spot where they are handy to grab. Duffel bags, covered trash containers, or buckets with securely fitting lids make great containers for your pet’s kit. Items to include are:

• Wire cage or carrier with good air circulation along with a cover for sun, rain, ash, etc.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses and collars with a ground mounting device for tying up pets temporarily
• Food and water for several days
• Your pet’s medications
• Pet beds and toys
• Current photos of you with your pets in case you are separated
• Name and contact information of your veterinarian

Be sure that all dogs, cats and small pets are always wearing collars with securely fastened identification. Identification microchips are highly recommended for all pets.

Horses and Large Animals
Emergency preparedness is important for all animals, but preparedness for horses and other large animals is critical because of their size and special transportation needs.

Horses and large animals should be evacuated as soon as an evacuation warning is issued. Do not wait for an evacuation order. If you’re unprepared or wait until the last minute, you may need to leave your animals behind.

Network with your neighbors prior to an emergency. Work together with those who do not have horse trailers or who may be away during an emergency.

Risks after a Disaster
After the crisis has passed, it may be some time before you can return to your home. Even if your house is intact and you are allowed to return, the area may not be safe for your pets.

Risks to animals after a disaster include:
• Cut paws or feet
• Burns if there has been a fire
• Eating or inhaling toxic substances or residues
• Escaping because of downed fences or other damage
• Loss of shelter and shade
• Lack of water, power, or other services

Keep in mind that when animals return to a changed landscape, they will be upset, disoriented, and easily stressed. Try to be calm and follow normal routines whenever possible.

5 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Any Emergency Food Storage Products

Are you thinking about starting or adding to your food storage but aren’t sure what’s available? Follow these guidelines to avoid any costly mistakes.

1. How does the food taste?
Yes, if you’re hungry enough just about anything tastes good, especially in an emergency. Why settle for cardboard? Both Wise Foods™ and Daily Bread™ products provide an assortment of great-tasting, gourmet entrees, breakfasts and beverages that your family will love to eat! The entrees consist of both freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients to insure the best taste, texture and nutritional value.

2. How long can the food be stored before I have to throw it out? Most canned and dry food from the grocery store is only good for two years at the most, requiring frequent replacement of the items. Wise Foods™ and Daily Bread™ have an extended shelf life of up to 25 years.

3. How much space is my food storage going to take? I have limited room. Wise Foods™ meals are packaged in Mylar pouches and then incased in durable plastic containers with handles. Wise Foods™ are light-weight and condensed. A one-year supply of food for an adult with 1,080 meals weighs less than 60 pounds and comes in nine stackable and easy-to-move grab-and-go plastic containers.

Daily Bread™ is packaged in #10 cans, which are then shipped in boxes with four cans per box. A one-year supply for one adult will fit in a space measuring 44 inches high by 130 inches long and 13 inches deep. The boxes are stackable.

Is the food time-consuming or difficult to cook? Both brands couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Just add water and wait 10 to 12 minutes. You don’t even need to heat the water unless you want to. Although, we think it tastes better when you do. What could be easier?

5. How much money is food storage going to cost? Wise Foods™ and Daily Bread™ products are offered at great prices with entrees as low as $1.50 per serving when ordering multi-serving packages. There are many options for the size of your order, ranging from an entree for just two people up to a 12-month supply that will feed four adults. Because the products have a 25 year shelf life, you won’t need to rotate and replace the products for many years, making them even more economical and saving you money.

We hope you never need to rely on your emergency food storage. However, when a disaster occurs, make certain that you and your loved ones are ready.

To order these and other emergency preparedness products, please visit us at

What’s In Your Grab-and-Go Kit?

Use our checklist to help you put together a potentially life-saving
kit today

The recent natural disasters throughout the world and in the United States
remind us that any of us could be in a similar situation.
We may not experience a flood, hurricane, earthquake or tsunami, but no
part of the world is exempt from natural disasters.

If you had to evacuate your home quickly, what would you do?  Are you prepared with a grab-and-go kit?  If you have one, great!  Be sure to inventory the contents to make certain you have all you need, that the food and water is not out of code, and that every item is in working condition.

If you don’t have a kit, let’s get started. You may wish to have a separate kit for each member of the family.  Determine what will work best for you.  We have ready-made kits, which offer a quick and easy way to begin.

The container should be easy to move and waterproof if possible.  A backpack, a rolling suitcase, or a wheeled trash can hold a lot and are easy to carry, roll or drag if necessary.

Your basic kit should include:

o 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days

o At least 3 days of food that is ready to eat or requires minimal preparation

o Manual can opener and other cooking supplies

o A change of clothes, sturdy shoes, and rain gear for each member of the family

o Medications/eyeglasses plus copies of prescriptions for each

o A minimum of $50 cash that is in small bills

o Personal hygiene items (teeth, hair, body, feminine)

o Identification

o First aid kit

o Radio & extra batteries

o Flash drive or external hard drive with copies of important documents, such as

  • Contact list with phone      numbers
  • Insurance policies
  • Home inventory with photos
  • Family photos
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Backup of computer files
  • Medical records
  • Passports, visas
  • Banking and investment  information
  • Wills and trusts
  • Pension and employee benefits information
  • Court documents
  • Mortgage records
  • Tax returns
  • Business records

o Gum and hard candy

o Flashlight & extra batteries

o Basic tools, such as work gloves, pry bar, N95 masks, duct tape, sheet plastic

o Lotion, sun block, lip balm

o Pocket knife

o Waterproof matches

o Cards, games, books, etc. for entertainment

o Extra house and car keys

If you have children, seniors, pets, or disabled members of your family,
make sure that any special items they may need are included in their kits.

If there are items that you may wish to take from your home, such as family
keepsakes, be sure to make a list so you know just what to quickly grab.  Keeping that list inside your kit means that you know exactly where it is, saving you precious time.

For all your emergency preparedness needs, see


Irritability and anger
Loss of appetite
Inability to sleep


Lack of concentration
Increase in alcohol or drug consumption

• Talk with someone about your feelings – anger, sorrow and other emotions – even though it may be difficult.

• Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.

• Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work. Do join a Community Emergency Response Team, (CERT) This will give you the training to help those in your neighborhood and then in the other needed areas.

• Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation and meditation.

• Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.

• Spend time with family and friends.

• Use existing support groups of family, friends and religious institutions.

• Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan. Doing these positive actions can be comforting.