Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 5

wileecoyotelatinToday’s lesson learned at the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly defy the laws of physics, perverse the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But here fire burns.

 

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What to do if a fire breaks out?  You have 3 choices if this happens.  A – You can immediately alert everyone nearby, evacuate the area and call 911 allowing the professionals to deal with it.  This is the preferred method.  B – You can quickly assess the situation and size of the fire to determine if using a fire extinguisher will put it out safely.  If you can, grab the extinguisher, making sure you keep yourself between the fire and your means of escape and P.A.S.S. (Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever and Sweep side to side)  C – Remember, you don’t have to be a hero. If the fire continues or gets out of control, evacuate and call 911.

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Whether at home or at work, make sure you know where all the emergency/evacuation routes are located and all the fire extinguishers, as well as smoke/carbon detectors, are current and fully operational.  At home, you need to have at the very least, two ways to get out as mentioned in Home Safety-Shouldn’t have to be an Escape Artist  If you haven’t done so yet, and please don’t tell me if you haven’t, change those batteries!  To me, the greatest act of karma is a smoke detector beeping its disapproval in the middle of the night. So you can do it then or you can get on the time change-battery change bandwagon.

Hope you are all staying safe and practicing social distancing while you stay at home.  I know it may have been tough to get adjusted to working at home and keeping the kids entertained but what a golden opportunity to solve a problem with the family.  Enjoy!

 

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Home Safety-Shouldn’t have to be an Escape Artist

 

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Houdini was the master of escape as no straight jacket, cell, chain or padlock could keep him trapped for very long.  However, most of us haven’t mastered the skills of Houdini and look and listen as we are made aware before takeoff the location of emergency exits, just in case.  Experts will tell you that you should always have at least two ways out in the event of an evacuation and that includes leaving your home quickly in the event of an emergency like a fire. 

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I live in a one-story house so if I’m in the bedroom and have to evacuate the building I have at least four easy ways out of the house.  The front door, a sliding glass back door, garage door, and the bedroom window.  As soon as I am out of the house and headed to the predesignated meeting area, I’m dialing 911 to report the emergency.  The meeting area is critical so you know everyone got out of the house.  It is the same thing companies do when they have to evacuate and may refer to the meeting area as the assembly area.  Either way, you want to do a head count so when the firefighters arrive they know if it’s a search and rescue or just fight the fire.

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In a two-story house, escape is a little more challenging.  If you are in a bedroom upstairs to exit the house you would need to come down to the ground floor using a staircase.  Not all homes have a front and back staircase to give you more than one way out so what happens if the stairs or both are blocked by flames?  Then you need to go out of the bedroom window as fast as possible.  That’s why an escape ladder is critical.  They can range in price from $35 to $100 depending on materials and manufacturer ask your insurance agent or local fire department for recommendations. It’s like insurance, you lay the money out to buy it for that peace of mind and hope you never have to use it. 

Don’t wait until an emergency to see if everyone can use the ladder.  It is highly recommended that you practice together at least once a year so everyone who may have to use the escape ladder is familiar and capable with it.  In fact, keep everyone on their toes and have an unannounced drill.  Whoever makes it to the meeting area gets pizza.  Also don’t forget to include plans to get the very young, disabled, the elderly, and pets out as fast and safely as possible.  

The best way to avoid having to evacuate in the first place is to practice good fire prevention practices in and around the home and then you won’t have to do a Houdini and escape.  If you have questions about fire safety or other safety issues in the home or workplace check out our blog archives for more articles or feel free contact us, we’re here to help.

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Hanukkah Candles, Christmas Tree Lights – Festive Dangers

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk – Don’t Kill Santa

As we show you how to make your home a safe haven for the holidays are there any other potential hazards that may exist?  What about that nice cozy fireplace that Santa will use to deliver presents?  When was the last time you used it and even more important, when was the last time you had the chimney cleaned?   Each time you use your fireplace, deposits  of ash, water vapor and other debris build up within your chimney and if not cleaned out can fuel a fire in your chimney that could spread throughout your home.  Be sure to keep flammable liquids and materials away from your fireplace, you don’t want to give the fire any added fuel to spread with and please avoid overloading your fire with too much wood.  Keep the fire manageable.  In addition here are 3 more tips for a safe fireplace.

1 – Don’t leave a fire burning in the fireplace when you go to sleep.  All it takes is one little spark to create a house fire.

2 – Don’t close the flue in your fireplace until all ambers and smoke is extinguished and out.  Closing it too early can cause dangerous carbon monoxide to spread throughout the house.

3 – Place all ash in a metal container, never in plastic or paper as any live ambers can burn through and create a house fire.

4 – Most important, test and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is operating.  

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Warehouseflow Advisors

Reduce Home Risk – Your Stove is a Diva

Your stove is very much like a Diva. When it’s on, it needs lots of attention to be happy but can become vexed in the blink of an eye.

You’ll be working with your Diva often during the holiday gauntlet, (the time period between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) and keeping focused and avoiding distractions while cooking and baking is key to a problem-free relationship.  

Still, being prepared and ready for any flare-ups and you’ve won half the battle if not more.  Also, check and then keep the filters and collectors in your stove hood clean and free of dirt and grease as it builds up quickly with all the holiday cooking.  Highly recommend that you set a schedule of cleaning them every two weeks like the pros do and you can set a reminder on your calendar.  Same for the stovetop and oven, keep them clean and free of debris.  

Then, of course, you should also know the 3 ways to put out a grease fire.

– NEVER use water on a grease fire.

1 – Put a lid on it.  Place a lid over the pan on fire and remove the heat source. This smothers the flames by cutting off its oxygen.

2 – Pour baking soda on it.  Yes, that handy versatile box of baking soda can also add firefighting to its long list of uses.  It also smothers the flames. 

3 – Use your fire extinguisher. Focus the stream on the center of the fire and sweep the area left to right and back until the fire is out. Sure you’ll ruin whatever was cooking but it’s much easier to replace a menu item then your house. If at any point the fire begins to get out of control leave immediately, close the door behind you as you exit, call 9-1-1

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are fun and joyous but they can be dangerous as well.  As people are gathering, visiting or traveling, cooking and eating, make sure your home is a safe haven for everyone during the holidays and not a house of horrors.  

Extension cords are not a solution either.  If there are too many items plugged in, it can heat up creating a fire danger as well as a trip hazard.

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The CERT Experience

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I recently had the pleasure to complete a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team ) class offered by the Vallejo Fire Department.  After 6 weeks of class every Tuesday evening which totaled 28 hours of instruction, demonstration and practice, that all came to completion on a beautiful Saturday morning on Mare Island with a final written exam, practical/drill and the breaking of bread between us new team members and our firefighter instructors.  

The instructors were fantastic, all of them seasoned veterans sharing their years of experience and knowledge.  The CERT program coordinator for Vallejo is Captain Eric Strom who is an excellent instructor, very good speaker who’s easy to listen too with a great sense of humor.  Not once did I feel bored or lulled into a nap, but that also could have been due to the robust firehouse coffee.  Captain Strom had a fantastic support group of fellow first responders as instructors; Battalion Chief Cliff Campbell, Captains Morty Culverwell and Art Gonzales and Engineer Ben Hill were all just as captivating and that’s what makes the course so worthwhile.  You are not only learning the materials in the course guidebook on what to do, which is pretty much black and white but you’re getting first hand accounts of actual real life incidents from first responders and what their thought process was on how they handled a situation.  You learn a lot including about our city fire department and you develop even more respect for what they deal with on a daily basis.  You also can network with other Vallejoans taking the course and build bridges.

godzilla I highly recommend the course.  Why should you take it?  The reality is cities of all sizes struggle daily with their budgets and the cost of firefighters, police, infrastructure repair & maintenance, parks and recreation, public transit, administrative staffing, courts, pensions and lawsuits.  The level of city services are not what they once were and that includes the number of police and fire on duty.  That means for those of you who live in areas where natural disasters can occur, like tornadoes in Oklahoma, hurricanes in Florida or earthquakes in California, when they happen, you and your family could be on your own for a few days if not weeks waiting for gas, water and electricity to return along with other services.  In Vallejo there are only 21 firefighters on duty each shift, that means in the event of a severe quake, they would be tied up responding to the hundreds of calls they would receive after.  Depending on the conditions of the roads in and out of town, additional off duty first responders could be greatly delayed if at all able to get here. The hospitals will be flooded with all kinds of injuries from walking wounded to severe trauma.  This mean you will have to shut off your own gas and water if needed as the fire department responds to the areas hardest hit and/or where fires may be happening.  It means that the fire department will use their resources the most efficient way possible to save the most lives.  So your son’s broken arm may be an immediate priority to you, but the burning seniors center will be the priority to them.

 

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“Main Street, USA” Where search and rescue drills are conducted.

We were lucky in this town for the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 but we sure got a wake up call from the 2014 Napa quake and this program teaches you how to be prepared by putting together a disaster kit, emergency supplies and how you can take care of yourself, family and then neighbors, like a broken arm, after a disaster, allowing firefighters to concentrate on the higher priority calls.  It’s like car insurance.  You hope you never have to use it but if you are in an accident or it’s stolen, you have piece of mind.  Same with the disaster kit.   You hope you never need it but nice to know it’s there.

You can take what you want out of the class.  Self preservation after the big one, doomsday preparation but I think the intent is to help develop a sense of community.  All to often you don’t know a neighbor until something bad like a disaster comes along.  Sure you nod or wave at each other but how well do you know them?  Are they frail, do they have physical limitations or other factors that limit their mobility.  Do they live alone and will they need assistance in an emergency or do they have skills that can help everyone in the neighborhood?   Don’t wait for the next disaster to meet them, get to know them now before you’re thrown together into a blender cause the anonymity happens.  My wife and I had lived in our first apartment together for 8 months before I was transferred to the bay area.  The day we were moving,  the woman who lived in the apartment next door came out and asked if we were moving in.  Never did get her name.

Don’t know when the next class is scheduled to happen but if you’re interested it may be a good idea to email secretary, City of Vallejo, Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division: Shirley.Herbert@city of vallejo.net  and let her know you’re interested in taking the next class. 

Next installment we’ll take a look at putting together an emergency supply chest.

 

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Just Putting it Out There – It is About Time

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Sunday, November 1st. most of us will be changing our clocks as Day Light Saving time comes to an end.  The good news about this time change is you’ll have the opportunity to get an extra hour of sleep.  This also serves as a great reminder to change the batteries in your smoke/Carbon Monoxide detectors as well as double-check that your fire extinguishers are still fully charged and operational. You want to do everything to protect your home and family.

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Don’t put it off.   You don’t want to wind up being haunted in the middle of the night by the death chant of a dying battery in your smoke detector.  Just like the professionals you also want to have the confidence that your fire extinguisher or any fire fighting equipment will work properly when you need it.  Do it any time this weekend or next, before or after your favorite game and make it a standard routine twice a year – at each time change, do it.  Get the family involved in making creative reminders or a master checklist you can all keep track off.  Remember the life you save may be your own.

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This is also a perfect opportunity to discuss with the kids, fire safety and how to use escape routes in case of a fire and where the evacuation meeting place is located.

If you have any questions about fire and home or workplace safety please contact us at Warehouseflow.com

 

Just Putting It Out There – Thanksgiving Safety Recipe

 

 

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Even with all the jokes about the interaction of families and the related stress on Thanksgiving Day, it’s roots originated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest which became an annual tradition in the United States in 1863 by presidential proclamation. All most four score years later in 1941 Federal legislation set the celebration of Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November and here we are.  As thankful and grateful as we may be this innocent looking day of celebration with parades, football, overeating and retail sales can also be the most dangerous day of the year!

Thanksgiving day has earned this reputation on several levels as the number of fatal traffic accidents just about triple on this day.  Domestic violence reports to police departments increase by 22%.   If this wasn’t enough, the chance of a fire in your home on this day more than doubles!  Unfortunately there will be about 4,000 kitchen fires across the nation.

So how do you still have fun and give your family and guest an awesome experience?  Would you like me to share that secret with you. It’s a secret family recipe going back, 3 generations.  It’s called – Preparation.  As with cooking and safety, preparation is the difference to a great safe holiday experience or a day waiting in the local E.R.  Be prepared for the worst, enjoy the best, or as my friend Ruby at Your Social Success says –

   Your social success

Your social success

Here are some things to plan and be aware of.

         McKesson Corp.

McKesson Corp.  

– Choking  With all the great food, conversation and commotion going on it’s possible for someone especially kids and seniors to have a piece of food like a walnut or piece of candy go down the wrong pipe. Brush up on your Heimlich maneuver.  If you have young kids get them involved and have them demonstrate to your guests before dinner the universal sign for choking like a pre-flight safety demo.

 

– Trips & Falls – Due to the size of your guest list you may have to expand your seating capacity by adding tables or moving into a larger area not usually used for dining. Watch for trip hazards in the new set up like the edge of a fireplace hearth that  may be blocked from vision causing a trip.  If you need to use extension cords cover them and tape it down to avoid trips.  Area rugs, bear rugs and child toys, keep it clear, you don’t want Grandma slipping and falling and having an extended stay at your home.

    warehouseflow.com

warehouseflow.com

Kitchen  This is where all the magic happens along with the chance of a fire doubling.  Remember, the main reason fires begin is distracted cooking and/or using too high a heat.  When you’re trying to entertain a house full of guests along with your critical mother-in-law it’s a challenge to keep things on the kitchen stove and oven under control.  Just about everyone has a smart phone these days, use the timers and alarms to help remind you to keep on point. Whether you rotate family members to monitor the stove so you can mingle or not, just make sure someone is watching and make sure they all know where the fire extinguisher is kept.  Also keep flammable items like paper towels, oven mitts and dish towels away from burners and don’t bother wearing the blouse mom bought you last Christmas with the long fluffly sleeves that you never wear.   You don’t want to be a human torch.  Having an Aloe plant near by or a tube of Aloe Vera is great for those small burns.  Best to run cold tap water over the burn and then use the aloe.  Make sure little hands can’t get to the knives, blenders, mixers or their electrical cords and pull them down onto themselves.  Have all handles for pots and pans facing to the side on the stove top.

It’s fine to encourage the kids to participate in the preparation and cooking but with all the activity going on you want to keep them safe as well so have an area set up in the kitchen where they can accomplish small tasks and feel part of the process but keep the area around the stove free and clear of kid traffic at all times.  A wad of pie dough and small rolling pin can keep them busy for quite awhile.

– Cross Contamination – You’re heard the expression, too many chefs can spoil the broth?  There’s something to be said about that as when you have family members all trying to help it’s possible to cross contaminate the counter or utensils after touching raw meat or fowl. Set separate areas and cutting boards for preparation of raw proteins, raw vegetables and cooked items. Remember to wash your hands before preparing or touching food.

Make sure what ever appliances you use that you follow the manufacturers guidelines and if you absolutely, positively have to fix it now remember to unplug it before touching anything.

– One last tidbit – I know at the point when everyone has gone home you just want to collapse into a comfy chair and finish that bottle of wine but first take a walk around your home and make sure everything is turned off, like the oven, candles or other smoking materials are properly extinguished and no liquid spills on the floor.  If you did use the fireplace, don’t assume the ambers in there are out.  Place the ash in a metal container and avoid the guess work.  Using a paper or plastic container the ambers can smolder for hours and long after you’ve gone to sleep erupt into flame.

Don’t let a lapse in safety spoil your holiday.

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Just Putting It Out There – Time For a Change

      warehouseflow.com

warehouseflow.com

This weekend most of us will be changing our clocks as Day Light Saving time comes to an end.  The good news is, this time, if you’re one of the lucky folks, you get an extra hour of sleep.  The time change is an excellent reminder for us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and make sure our fire extinguishers are fully charged and operational.  Don’t put it off, you’ll forget and then wind up haunted in the middle of the night when it beeps to remind you of the battery change.  Like the professionals you want to have the confidence your fire extinguisher or any fire fighting equipment will work properly when you need it.  Do it any time this weekend before or after your favorite game and make it a standard routine twice a year – at each time change.  Remember the life you save may be your own.