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Safety tips for during and after a blizzard.

Winter storms can pack a devastating punch bringing not only snow and ice, but by dangerously low temperatures, severe wind gusts, and flooding. These blasting storms can also cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs, and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions. We want you to take extra care of yourself and your family during this time. Below are a few safety tips on what to do during and after a major winter storm.

During Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

After Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Cold-related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
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Are the upcoming holidays getting you stressed? You can still be jolly and say “No-No-No” this holiday season.

Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!

But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.

Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.

George Pratt, PhD Psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California

Over-spending

Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.

Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.

Over-committing

As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.

Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.

Over-indulging

Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

It’s in the quiet moments, and in the white space that you are open to magic. Create that for yourself. Make room for magic, comfort and joy.


 

Sources:

www.bemorewithless.com

www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#stick-with-your-daily-routine

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How to keep your home safe while on vacation

The kids are out of school, you’ve got time of work and it’s time to pack for your summer family getaway. You’re all set to go, but is your house ready for you to be away on vacation?

A house or apartment left empty while you’re traveling is a tempting target for criminals. It’s imperative that before you go, take a few key steps to keep your home safe and sound while vacationing. These basic preventative measures, which take just minutes of preparation, can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

— Unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay plugged in, including televisions and computers, to protect them against power surges. This will help you save money as well; many appliances draw energy even when they’re turned off.

— Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by the house randomly (to avoid a pattern or anticipated time) to remove boxes from the doorstep, check the mail, pick up any delivered newspapers and take notices and fliers from the door. Ask them to park in your driveway if they live close by, and  make sure they have all your correct contact information.

You can also place a hold on your mail online at USPS.

house key chain

— Don’t tip off criminals on the web by announcing on social media that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks. If the temptation to post is unavoidable, ensure that all possible security measures are in place on all social sites.

— Consider shutting off the water to your washing machine, dishwasher, and toilets if you’re going to be away from the house for longer than a week. This can help prevent nasty, and potentially expensive, shocks when you return.

Another option is to install wireless leak sensors in flood-prone areas like your basement, laundry room, or bathroom, to notify you of leaks before significant damage is done.

— Keep expensive and irreplaceable items such as old family photos, artwork, electronics, and stamp collections off the ground in case of water damage. Store them up on shelves and/or in waterproof containers.

— If you have outdoor furniture, bring glass tables, chairs, and umbrellas inside to avoid wind/storm damage to yard items or the exterior of your home.

— Schedule random light timers throughout your home. This will give the appearance that someone is there and will help to deter burglars and vandals.

— Remove your spare key, that plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key.

Most importantly, make sure you look all doors and windows before heading off to paradise. Once you've taken these few precautions, travel safe and enjoy your time away, knowing that you're home is fully prepared for you to be gone for a while.

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Sources:

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/20160724_Vacationing__Tips_for_keeping_the_house_safe_while_you_re_gone.html

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 9 Essential Tips

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