Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Winter

People treat their pets like family, so if this is you, think how you can keep them safe and warm during winter.

Best way? Keep them indoors. Most pet cats and dogs are not acclimated to the cold weather. They do have fur coats, but not all of their bodies are covered with it.

Letting your pet out to do its business for a minute or two is not a problem. Walking them might be.

They can get frostbite like humans. Their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and the bottom of their paws are not covered in fur. Keep your walks to a minimum, preferably during the warmest part of the day. Your cat or dog might need booties or a sweater. Chances are if your pet needs a coat, it's too cold for anyone to be outside, so make it short. Watch for salt in the roads and sidewalks. This could irritate paws and other exposed areas. make sure YOU are also prepared for slippery and cold weather when taking your dog for a walk.

Help them stay healthy by giving them plenty of food and water.

Some dog breeds, and cats, are made to be outside in the cold. Snow can even be fun. But remember, when temperatures drop below freezing, they can get cold if not equipped for it.

If you have cat or dog that stays outside, put up a shelter for it with warm blankets. It should keep the pet dry and be up off the ground if possible. Even make a doggie door in your side garage door if possible so they can bed down there. Straw or hay makes a good insulator against the ground. You could also make a flap for the front, keeping colder air out.

Be very careful when starting your car. The engine stays warm and can attract animals to lay on either on or under the hood. This is very dangerous for any animal. Just slap the hood with your hand a couple of times to scare them off.

Another option for an outdoor dog, is to put newspapers and a blanket down in a laundry room or back porch. Be sure and allow it out to do business and stretch its legs.

>> Watch two formerly feral cats having fun in a loving home!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Moving Tips

There are options for moving. You can either rent a truck or trailer and move yourself, hire professional movers, or even rent those big boxes that you fill and are stored elsewhere for later delivery. Either way, it can be expensive and time consuming. Did you know there are ways of saving money when you move?

First of all, you don't have to move everything. This may sound strange, but then it actually becomes logical. Think about it. Your house or apartment is full of stuff. A lot of it junk that you will never use or need again. Why not donate it, sell it, or trash it? The less stuff and junk you need to move, the cheaper it will be. Don't sell anything you know you will need to replace at a higher cost. Moving boxes and containers can be a big expense as well. Less stuff to move means a smaller truck to rent. A smaller truck means less money spent on gas. Look for creative ways of getting boxes or packing. Stores have cardboard boxes that they might give away, especially grocery stores. That's free. If you buy some boxes, remember that you can reuse them later if need. Don't throw them away. You can pack breakable items in drawers of your furniture, and use the clothes as padding. You can also use your clothes as packing material in other containers as well. More "free" packing and padding material can be your sheets, blankets, bed spreads, curtains, and towels. No need to buy packing material. There is no need to empty your drawers. If you rent your own truck, ask your friends to help you pack up! Offer to buy lunch, which is a much lower cost than hiring professional movers. Good luck with your move!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stuck in Your Car During a Snowstorm?

Here are some tips on surviving a snowstorm in your car.

If you are stuck in the snow, it is safer to just stay in the car. Unless you have a nearby building or business that is open, and, you can see it clearly is within walking distance.

You should not keep the engine running. You may run out of gas. Better to start and run the car every 20-30 minutes, then shut it off. Never sleep with the car running. Check to make sure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow. You may get carbon monoxide poisoning.

Without the car running, you need to keep warm anyway you can. Wrap yourself in anything available in the car. It is warmer inside the car, even without the heater. You can move around a bit to warm yourself up. Move your hands, clap, stretch, do some arm exercises, etc.

Do not use your cellphone unless you need to. Save the battery life.

Drink any water you have, but melted snow will cool you down.

If emergency personnel show up, follow their instructions. Getting your car out of a tow yard is better than freezing to death.

If you do get unstuck, and are able to drive again, be careful. Go slow and stay in a low gear, even with an automatic transmission. If you have antilock brakes, you can brake harder, but you should still tap them lightly as well. Be careful of bridges and other black ice situations. Another reason to slow down or not drive at all. You need to be aware of snow plows and ice trucks. Don't block them or you may get a ticket. Also do not stop in the middle of an intersection. Avoid hills with ice.

Stay safe by staying off the road!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Driving Tips

Winter has set in and many people in cars will be stranded. Don't let that happen to you. Even if you are stranded, you should have a kit to help you until you can get help, or the weather improves. The biggest tip of course is to not drive. Don't drive in bad Winter weather unless you absolutely must.

Check your headlights and taillights. You need to be seen when the weather gets bad. Visibility can be a major contributor to accidents. You can't see them or they can't see you. Slow down.

Before driving, check your engine. If you have difficulty starting or the engine sounds bad, get it checked by a mechanic. Driving a car with something waiting to go wrong is a bad idea in any type of weather, but could prove fatal in Winter. Check your battery for fully charging and loose wires or connections, and any corrosion.

These are always an afterthought: Windshield wipers. People just don't check them until the need them. Always check your wipers before driving to make sure they are cleaning the window and make good contact.

Check the tire pressure. With cold temperatures the tires lose pressure. Very low pressure could make for a dangerous driving situation.

Put emergency supplies in your car. Here's a good list: Blankets, gloves, hats, water, flashlight, flares,  tool kit, and boots.

Stay safe driving, but only drive in bad weather if you have to!

>>Choosing the right generator.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Christmas tree fires are fairly common. Many times it can not only injure your family, but burn your house down in the process. Take precautions to keep your home and loved ones safe. Nothing beats the smell, tradition, and grandeur of a real tree for Christmas. Don't make it a Christmas of tragedy.

It might seem too logical, but the first thing to do is to pick as fresh of a tree as possible. Going to a tree farm and cutting one down is as fresh as you can get. If you can't do that, choose the freshest tree on the lot. Look for ones that do not have easily falling or brown needles. Brown needles are a dead give away. The fresher your tree is, the better.

Put your Christmas tree in a big pot of water.. The bigger, the better. Keep it watered constantly. Check it daily. You never want the reservoir to go low. This is the number one thing you can do to keep your tree fresh and almost fire resistant.

Watch those decorations. They need to be fireproof. Check the boxes and labels. Buy lights that do not get hot enough to start a fire. Check how many strings you can connect together, and maybe do one less than that. Old fashioned screw in bulbs can get hot, and the metal screw in can touch a branch. Everything you put on the tree should be flame retardant.

(It goes without saying that at this point you should check all fire alarms and make sure they are working!)

Keep pets and kids from being able to knock the tree over.

Don't put the tree in an area that could be blocking an escape route in a house fire.

Never leave the tree lights going when you leave the house or go to bed.

Keep your Christmas tree as far away from heaters, candles, and fireplaces as possible. Three feet or more. To be safe, more than three feet.

It may seem bad, but as soon as you see needles dropping off regularly, the tree is past its prime. It needs to be tossed out.

Never burn your tree in your yard or fireplace. The sap ignites like a fireball! Dispose of it properly.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keep Your Home Safe from a Wildfire

If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, or even one that is nearby, you are the first line of defense to keep your house safe. Here are some tips to landscape your house for fire prevention.

Watch where you park your car. Don't park over dry grass or brush. The underside of your vehicle can get very hot, with a potential to touch off a fire.

Mowing, edging, and other gasoline power tools may spark a fire. Be sure they all have spark arresters. Also, just like the cars, be very careful when using them on dry grass or brush. If you are using metal blades, be careful of striking rocks and creating sparks.

Don't plant trees and other plants that have a lot of sap. Choose the ones that have a high moisture content as ground covers.

Here are some good fire-resistant ground covers: strawberry, ice plant, rock rose.

Here are some good fire-resistant shrubs: honeysuckle, sage, lavender.

Fire-resistant trees: maple, poplar. Choose a hardwood.

Do not plant anything near or touching a wooden deck.

If you can, use other material other than wood for making structures like porches, decks, and even planters. Using brick and stone is a wise choice when possible.

You can create fire-breaks around your home using pebbles, rocks, gravel, or even stepping stones.

Your roof may be made of fire-resistant materials. But what about the stuff that accumulates on it and the gutters? Leaves and branches are flammable. Clear these areas often.