the american civil defense assn.

Home » Maintenance

Category Archives: Maintenance

Christmas Safety Tips

Christmas house 2012 010

The staff and volunteers at the Red Cross offer these safety tips to help keep the season safe, happy and bright.

1. Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets, jumper cables, road maps, shovel and extra clothing.

2. Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If you must travel in bad weather, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.

3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if you’re sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead — dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.

5. Use a trained baby sitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified baby sitters learn to administer basic first aid, properly hold and feed a child and monitor safe play.

6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends that at least one person in every household have first aid and CPR/AED training.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired.

9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms!

10. Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents.

11. Going home for the holidays? Travel safely. Give your full attention to the road — avoid distractions such as cellphones.

12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now for emergencies in the coming year.

Shared from:

What To Do Before an Earthquake

earthquake kitchen

A close family friend recently posted this picture on Facebook.  This is what her kitchen looked like following the recent 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California.  I decided it would be a good idea to do a series of posts about Earthquake safety as a reminder for those who may live in or near areas where an earthquake is a potential threat.  (polly – blog administrator)

(Most of this material has been taken from the FEMA website, 2006)

Before an Earthquake

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

 Six Ways to Plan Ahead:

  1. Check for Hazards in the Home
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
  • Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.


  1. Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
  • Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
  • Against an inside wall.
  • Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
  • In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.


  1. Educate Yourself and Family Members
  • Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes. Also read the “How-To Series” for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
  • Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.


  1. Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Emergency food and water.
  • Non-electric can opener.
  • Essential medicines.
  • Cash and credit cards.
  • Sturdy shoes.


  1. Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
  • In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.


  1. Help Your Community Get Ready
  • Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals.
  • Conduct a weeklong series on locating hazards in the home.
  • Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
  • Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
  • Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
  • Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans.



Water in, Water out – Tips


(Courtesy of Bank of America)

Water and sewage problems can be costly and inconvenient to repair. That’s why proper maintenance to prevent problems is so important. Here are some tips you may want to consider:

• Periodically check the main water supply and fixture shutoff valves to ensure they are not stuck in the open position. Both these valves must be operable so water can be turned off in an emergency or when plumbing repairs are necessary.
• Annually inspect distribution and drainage pipes for leakage or signs of weakness. Look for rust, corrosion, greenish deposits and mineral deposits around fittings, valves, fixtures and along the length of the pipe. (Note: Water from small holes can evaporate before a drip forms, leaving only a telltale whitish or colored deposit.)
• Repair leaking faucets as needed. If faucet is a washer-type, replace washer and check washer seat for roughening; smooth if needed. If faucet does not have a washer, consult an installation manual or your local plumbing or hardware store for replacement procedures.
• In the fall, remove garden hoses from all outside faucets to prevent the valves from freezing and bursting during winter months.

• If you have a well, the water should be analyzed for bacterial contamination and chemical pollution every three to five years, or more often if water becomes discolored, has an unusual taste or an odor problem occurs.
• You should also have the well pump serviced annually to ensure the motor is clean and in good working order and that the water level in the well has a sufficient water table to use.
Septic tank
• As a rule, septic tanks should be inspected and pumped every three to five years to help prevent costly replacement of the filter field. If a garbage disposal is connected to the septic tank system, it may require more frequent cleaning.
• Do not depend on chemical compounds or septic tank cleaners poured down drains to eliminate the need for periodic cleaning.
• In the spring, inspect the leaching field of the septic system for strong odors or frequent wet spots, which may indicate that the soil field is unable to absorb the septic tank effluent.

Consult a professional to have a perk test performed if the condition persists or reoccurs regularly.

When it comes to home maintenance, a little prevention can save you time and money. I hope you find these tips to be helpful. Please keep me in mind if someone you know is considering refinancing or purchasing a new home. I can provide the information needed to help them choose a home loan that’s right for their situation.