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Emergency Prep

Safety Tip of the Month, December 2016

Tis the season to follow a few simple suggestions that will make your holidays festive and safe.

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Christmas Tree Safety:

  • Make sure your real tree does not dry out. Obviously, a dry tree is more likely to catch fire than a well watered one.
  • Water your tree daily! As a rule of thumb, a tree needs one quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter.
  • Trees should be more than 3 feet from candles, fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, heat vents and other heat sources.
  • Artificial trees are not immune to fire risks.  Fake trees are likely to catch fire when electrical sockets are overloaded.

Lights and Electrical Safety:

  • Only purchase UL-listed lights and extension cords.
  • If you are decorating outdoors, use products that are rated for outdoor use.
  • Before placing your lights (inside or outside) inspect them for any damage that may have occurred in storage.
  • Unplug lights before you change bulbs.
  • If you need to get on a ladder to hang lights, try to use a wooden or fiberglass-reinforced plastic one instead of a metal one.
  • Do not connect too many strings of lights together. The general rule is three, but check with the packaging.
  • Do not overload extension cords or sockets, and do not make a daisy chain (connecting an extension cord to another extension cord.)
  • Check your lights every now and then and make sure the wires are not warm to the touch.
  • Always turn off your lights before going to bed or leaving the house. This is a big one that many of us are guilty of ignoring. We get it! After spending all that time decorating,it’s natural to want to show off your display. But safety experts agree that leaving lights on when you’re asleep or away could create an accident waiting to happen.
  • Please be sure all smoke detectors and CO alarms are in good working order.

 

The Del Rey Residents Association wishes all members and friends a very happy holiday season.  We hope to see you in 2017.

Safety Tip of the Month (November, 2016)

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According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 fires happen each Thanksgiving Day, usually in the kitchen.  Here are a few tips to help keep your holiday safe:

  • Never leave your food unattended while frying or grilling.
  • Use a timer and occasionally check what you’re cooking.
  • Never use a glass casserole or lid on the stove or burner, as it may explode when overheated.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to use it, but remember that…
  • Grease fires need to be treated differently than non-grease fires. Do not use water; turn off the heat; do not move the pan as you could splatter yourself; cover the pan with a metal lid to smother the fire; if the fire is small, baking soda if effective; if you have a CLASS B dry chemical extinguisher (which is different than your standard extinguishers), it should be used only as a last resort since it will contaminate your kitchen.
  • If you’re deep frying your bird, keep the fryer outside, away from walls and free from moisture.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are connected and in working order.
  • After the party, walk around the home and check that candles and fireplaces are extinguished, unnecessary appliances are turned off, and no potential hazards (leftovers, sharp/flammable objects) are in reach of your kids or pets.

The Del Rey Residents Association wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Safety Tip of the Month (September, 2016)

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Travel, Social Media and Safety

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become as much a part of our daily lives as the telephone or automobile.  They’re popular because we enjoy announcing to friends and co-workers that we are currently strolling along the Champs-Elysee.

But telling the online world when you are away from home has its risks.  Criminals increasingly trawl social media for information such as this, and there are even filter programs that allow them to monitor specific neighborhoods by zip code.

You wouldn’t announce to a crowd of strangers that you’re going on vacation for a week, would you? You put a hold on your postal delivery so a pile of uncollected mail doesn’t scream “empty house”, right?

Be equally circumspect about your online presence when you are away.  The safest strategy is to simply stay offline while on vacation.  Relax and forget Facebook for a few days.  Wait until you’ve returned home to post those fabulous photos and videos.

 

Safety Tip of the Month (July, 2016)

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July 4th Pet Safety Tips

Did you know that more animals end up in shelters on July 4th and 5th than any time of the year?  The reason is simple: Companion animals do not respond to fireworks with the “ooh” and “aah” fascination of their owners.  They get spooked and dash off in search of safety.

The best defense against this unfortunate outcome is to bring your pets inside before the fireworks start.  If you can stay with them, great, but if you and your family are heading off to an event, leave music playing (not too soft, not too loud) to provide a soothing backdrop.

If your pets aren’t chipped, please do so.  An ID chip is the safest, surest way to recover your animal if it does end up in a shelter.

Also, remember that backyard insect repellents such as citronella candles and coils are an irritant — or worse — to your pets.  Keep your animals away from these products when they are in use.

One final tip for everyone, whether you have a pet or not:  The only truly safe and sane fireworks are those set off by professionals.  Every year from mid-June to mid-July, a daily average of 230 people nationwide end up in the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries.  A few clicks on your favorite search engine will locate several local fireworks display options to meet your Yankee Doodle needs.

 

 

Safety Tip of the Month (June, 2016)

1168509_602104263271162_1067764224_nHere’s a quick, simple tip from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.  Consider using the same cell phone photo technique with children and adults when hiking or camping.  Having a same-day picture that shows what an individual is wearing can be a great help if a member of your party goes missing.

 

 

Safety Tip of the Month (April, 2016)

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What to Do When the Lights Go Out

On the heels of of DRRA’s Spring General Meeting with representatives from DWP, it seems appropriate to discuss how to safely deal with power outages.  This is a major topic, one worthy of more than one post, so April’s safety tip focuses on short-term failures.  How to handle longer outages will be the topic of next month’s tip.

Short-Term Power Failures:

When the electricity goes out, you have no way of immediately knowing if you’re facing a short or lengthy outage.  DWP has an outage map that is accessible with your smart phone at ladwp.com that provides estimates on when power will be restored.

If you don’t have access to DWP’s web site, start with the assumption that the outage will be less than 12 hours in duration since in the vast majority of cases, electricity is restored within that time period.

What do you do next?

Check to see if your neighbors still have electricity.  If they do, the problem could be inside your home.

Check your fuses or circuit breakers to see if they have blown or tripped.  Replacing a fuse or resetting a circuit breaker may restore your power.  Be sure you know how to perform these tasks beforehand.

If the problem is not a fuse or circuit breaker, call DWP.  A repairperson will be dispatched as quickly as possible.  This is another opportunity for you to get an estimate on the duration of the outage since the employee answering your call should have this information.

Unplug appliances with electronic components, such as microwaves, televisions and computers.  This will help prevent damage to these appliances from a possible voltage surge when the power is restored.

When your lights come back on, wait a few minutes before turning on these appliances.  This will reduce demand on the local electrical system.

Keep refrigerators and freezers closed to reduce the chance of food spoilage.

Finally, be sure to have an adequate supply of flashlights in case the outage occurs at night.  Check periodically to make sure the flashlights’ batteries haven’t gone bad.

Safety Tip of the Month (March, 2016)

Smoke Detector

 

“Springing ahead” as we do this weekend means losing an hour’s sleep, but we can gain peace of mind by using the time change to check the batteries in our smoke detectors.

We’re reminded to do this twice a year, but the importance of performing this simple task is underscored by the fact that three out of five residential fire fatalities involves a household without smoke detectors OR detectors with faulty batteries.

Detectors with batteries that have died are worse than no detector at all since they provide a false sense of security.  To avoid this, please take a few seconds today as you reset your clocks to verify that your smoke detectors are all in working order.

Safety Tip of the Month (February, 2016

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Safety Tip of the Month (February, 2016)

 

Preparation for natural disasters has been the focus of our previous tips, but in recognition of National Heart Month, the Del Rey Residents Association is using this month’s recommendation to encourage its members to learn CPR.  This technique has saved thousands of lives in the past, and classes — through the Red Cross and many other organizations — are easy to find with a simple Google search.

Although most of these classes include a modest fee, the reward could be the life of a loved one, a coworker or even a total stranger.

 

Safety Tip of the Month (January, 2016)

 

California desperately needs the El Niño rains, but no one needs a flooded home.  In an effort to mitigate damage from this winter’s storms, the Los Angeles Fire Department has 200,000 sandbags for distribution.  The list of stations with bags is available at  http://www.lafd.org/news/lafd-provides-sandbags-homeowners-1

The following link provides tips for the proper filling and placement of sandbags. https://dpw.lacounty.gov/wmd/homeowners/sandbags.cfm

Please note that supplies are limited, so consider calling ahead to make sure that your preferred station still has sandbags at hand.

 

Safety Tip of the Month November, 2015

Go Bags

In the event of a truly disruptive emergency that requires you to evacuate, you’ll need documents — copies of your identification (e.g. drivers license, passports), your banking information, your prescriptions, etc. to help facilitate your relocation.

You should have hard copies of vital documents placed in waterproof bags and readily at hand.  (A fireproof safe under the bed is a good place to store these papers.)  Digital copies stored on a thumb drive is also recommended.

The precise documents needed will vary per your individual situation, but here is basic list for a well equipped go bag:

Contact List (family, friends, doctors, banks, employers, insurance companies)

Birth Certificate

Drivers License

Passport

Social Security Card

Health Insurance Cards and/or Medicare, Medicaid

Recent Bank Statement for each account (Checking, Savings, Stocks and Bonds, etc.)

List of Credit Card Accounts (card numbers, expiration, and 3-digit code)

Prescriptions for Medications, Eyeglasses

Record of Insurance Policies

Property, Real Estate Deeds

Proof of Employment (paystub)

Living Will

Marriage License or Divorce Papers

Local and State Maps

 

Finally, your go bag is a good place to store your cache of small bills. Your money right there if you have to evacuate on short notice, and can always be accessed if you’re able stay in your home for the duration of the emergency.

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