Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 7-13, 2017

There will be trouble. Expect it. Prepare for it.

According to NOAA, on average, 12 tropical storms will form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Six will become hurricanes.

In the Central Pacific Ocean, an average of three tropical storms, two of which become hurricanes, form or move over the area during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. During a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, one of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater)

What damage does each category of hurricane cause?

Category 1 – 74-95 mph winds

Don’t take a Cat 1 hurricane lightly. At this wind speed, you may have roof and siding damage. Dead trees will fall; branches will break. Power outages will last for several days.

Prepare: Trim trees, service your generator, make sure you have water, food, and an up to date emergency kit.

Category 2 – 96-110 mph winds.

Downed trees will block roads. Power can be out from days to weeks.

Category 3 – 111-129 mph winds

Expect devastation to buildings. You may lose your roof, gutters and siding. Power will almost certainly be out for at least two weeks. Water will be a problem. Fill bathtubs before the storm to use for flushing toilets and bathing.

Category 4 – 130-156 mph winds

You’ll be evacuated if this storm heads your way. Make plans before hurricane season for a place to stay for a minimum of two weeks. Your house will sustain major structural damage. There will be no water or power. Your pets cannot survive this storm. Make plans to take them with you.

Category 5 – 157 or higher mph winds

Catastrophic. You will be evacuated. After the storm, you will have no place to live. Houses will be reduced to timber. Travel will be impossible for weeks. No water or power for weeks. Not only will you need a place to stay for weeks, you’ll be filing an insurance claim for everything you own. Before the storm, use your smartphone to take a video of your home, room by room. Your pets will not survive this storm. Make plans to take them with you.

Storm surge

Surging waters can be a deadly effect of a hurricane. In Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was the storm surge that broke levees in New Orleans and caused flooding six to 12 miles from the beach.

Poison Centers are your lifeline in an emergency

Poison Centers are your lifeline in an emergency
Millions of people use the services of a poison center when faced with a poisoning emergency.

Set up to provide expert advice and information to healthcare professionals and the public, the 55 poison centers around the country, are available 24 hours a day, all-year-round. Specially trained nurses, pharmacists, and doctors offer a free and confidential service that includes interpretation services in 161 languages, emergency advice, as well as, the provision of educational materials on poison prevention and treatment.

According to data collected between 1980 and 2008, poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related death in the US. Coming into contact with a dangerous or potentially dangerous substance is called an ‘exposure’ and in 2014, there were about 2.2 million exposures and a call to a poison center every 11 seconds, Almost half of these exposures involved children under the age of 6, though the more serious cases occurred among adolescents and adults.

More than 75 percent of recorded exposures are unintentional and according to the 2015 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). The top 5 substances that affected adults were analgesics, household cleaning substances, cosmetics/personal care products, sedatives/antipsychotics, and antidepressants. Cosmetics, household cleaners, analgesics and foreign bodies/ toys were among the substances that affected children. Most exposures involve ingesting something harmful but also include inhalation and contact with the skin and eyes. People also call the poison center in the event of insect bites and carbon monoxide poisoning.

One of the roles of poison centers, which are partly financed by congressionally mandated federal funds, is to collect real-time data to help detect possible public health emergencies.

Recent studies have seen a rise in the annual rate of calls to poison centers related to cannabis exposure and an increased risk of unintentional cannabis ingestion and overdose by children. Data collected between 2000 and 2013, show that rates of cannabis exposures in children under the age of 6 in states where medical cannabis was legalized before the year 2000 were more than 2.82 times higher than in those where the drug remained illegal in 2013.

Signs That You Need To Replace Your Roof

Signs That You Need To Replace Your Roof
Studies show that most homeowners don’t know the right time to replace their roof. This puts them at the risk of getting injured in the event the top crushes. To help you out, here are signs that the top of your house is ripe for replacement:

It’s already too old
Experts report that top of the house can last up to 25 years. If your top is of this age or older, it’s time to think of replacing it. If you aren’t sure you should hire a professional to inspect it. If it’s in bad shape and puts your home and family members at risk, you should hire an expert to replace it.

The top is leaking
Most of the leakages can be fixed without having to replace the entire house top but if your top is leaking, it’s a sign that top is worn out and you should give it some attention. When the top of the house is leaking, it means that the flashing is damaged and you should replace it. When you notice a leak, you should have it fixed as soon as possible. This is because the leak allows a lot of water into the top that promotes the growth of mold which reduces the lifespan of the roof.

The shingles have buckled or curled
Curled or buckled shingles expose your home to outside elements. They also put your house at the risk of shingle blow-offs in the event of a storm. Two of the main reasons for buckled shingles are old age and moisture. To keep your family safe, you should replace your top when your see curled shingles.

There are algae on the top of the house
Algae are always in the air but germinate when they land on damp surfaces. If your top has moisture, the algae will grow and feed on the roof which weakens the top and over time, the top can come down. You should inspect the extent of the damage and if it isn’t that much, you should scrub off the algae from the top of your house. You can also remove the algae using zinc strips.

The chimney is leaking
The chimney should be properly flashed for it to work properly. If the chimney is leaking it means that the flashing isn’t properly connected to the top of the house. In most cases, this problem comes about when the top is deteriorated and needs repair. You should work with your contractor and confirm if you can fix the flashing. If you can’t, you should replace the entire top of the house.

You are having high energy bills
High heating and cooling bills mean poor ventilation and insulation brought about by a poor performing roof. You should ask a contractor to inspect the top and if in bad shape, replace it.

These are some of the signs that your roof needs to be replaced. To make the decision, you should hire an expert to first inspect the top of the house. For ideal results and for the unit to last for a long time, ensure that the new unit is of high quality.
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By Satvik Mittal | Submitted On January 31, 2017

Celebrate at home, not on the road

The holidays are here, bringing with them family, fun and a dose of partying. It may be no surprise then that December is known as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2013, there were more than 10,076 fatal crashes that involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

There is good news: The number of fatal, alcohol involved crashes in the entire year of 2013 has declined from a high of 13,582 fatal accidents involving alcohol in 2005.

To remind individuals of the dangers involved in driving while impaired, the NHTSA launches a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign each year, from December to January. The NHTSA reports that nearly 1,000 deaths occur because of impaired drivers during the month of December alone.

Although fatal crashes where drivers died have declined over the years, more drivers are impaired not by alcohol, but by other drugs. From 2006 to 2012, drug involvement in this type of crash increased six percentage points. Although the campaigns used to target drunken driving specifically, now that marijuana is legal in a handful of states, the campaigns have changed to target impaired driving as a whole, including driving after smoking marijuana or ingesting another drug.

For example, in May 2016, AAA reported that deadly crashes that occurred after drivers had used marijuana in Washington State doubled between 2013 and 2014.

These campaigns highlight the importance of making the right choices during the holiday season. If you’ve been out drinking, there are options: call a cab; get a ride with a sober friend; have a designated driver. There are always options that are better than getting into a car and driving after you’ve been drinking or partying for the holiday season.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Safety Hazards

Christmas is a time to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and to relax. But, it’s also a time when safety should be on your mind because the holiday season brings a unique combination of hazards into the home.

Christmas Light Safety

1. Make sure the holiday lights are meant for outdoor use. Lights made for outdoor use are designed to withstand cold and wet conditions. The tag near the plug will specify whether lights are made for indoor or outdoor use.

2. Make sure all cords and lights are intact. Frayed cords and cracked light bulbs are more likely to cause a fire.

3. Never leave lights on overnight. Be sure to turn off the lights before retiring for the night.

Christmas Tree Safety

1. If using a real tree, water often. A tree that dries out causes a fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that one of every 31 reported home fires in the holidays is caused by a Christmas tree fire and results in death.

2. Keep the tree away from heat. Trees, unlike humans and animals, don’t need to be kept warm during the winter months. This only dries the tree out and increases the risk of fire. Keep it away from the fireplace, space heaters, even living room lamps.

3. Use lights specifically created for indoor use. Although indoor and outdoor lights can look similar, they are very different. It may be tempting to use them interchangeably, but that is a bad idea.

Candle Safety

1. Use battery operated window or tree candles.

2. If traditional candles are a must, be very careful about placement. Place them on sturdy, non-flammable surfaces, away from decorations, curtains, the Christmas tree and anything else that could catch fire.

3. Do not allow candles to burn when no one is in the room.

Car crash deaths spike higher, report reveals

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in August that traffic deaths have spiked 7.2 percent, the largest single increase since 1966.

In fact, the NHTSA found traffic deaths rising in every segment of the population, including “passenger vehicle occupants, passengers of large trucks, pedestrians, pedal-cyclists, motorcyclists, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, male/female, daytime/nighttime.”

Nearly half of passengers who died in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.

Oddly, the use of seat belts reached a rate of more than 88 percent in 2015, up from 86.7 percent.

The dismaying reality is that while more people are wearing seatbelts, but there are also more people dying from not wearing them.

One explanation: Gas is cheap and more people are driving. According to NHTSA, in 2015 people drove 3.5 percent more miles than in 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years.

The Centers for Disease Control notes that primary enforcement actions by police can make a difference; this type of action allows a police officer to issue a ticket because a driver or passenger does not have their seatbelt on, but there are only 18 states that have primary enforcement laws for every seating position.

One other factor: People in the back seat don’t buckle up. “Rear-seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if they’re unbelted,” according to Consumer Reports.

Some technologies in newer model cars may also encourage people to put their seatbelts on. For example, a driver who loves music may be more inclined to buckle up when they realize that their vehicle (particularly Chevrolet cars and GMC trucks, like the 2015 Cruz, Colorado, Silverado, and GMC Sierra) won’t allow them to turn up the radio or get on the road until their seatbelts are fastened. There’s an optional package for certain GM vehicles that won’t let the car out of park unless seatbelts are fastened

How to handle two driving emergencies

How much time do you spend in your car?

Most Americans, drive an average of 29.2 miles a day, with trip length of 46 minutes per trip, as the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety’s survey of 2015 revealed. That’s more than 10,650 miles per year, and a whopping 279 hours in a car each year. Most of those hours are uneventful.

Yet, driving emergencies happen. Here’s what the experts suggest to do in two common situations.

Blown tire: Stay calm. Keep the foot off the brake. According to the experts at Popular Mechanics, gently press on the accelerator to stabilize the car, then let the car slow. Once the car has slowed, move toward the shoulder.

Remember that driving on an underinflated tire can increase the possibility of a blowout, as can an object in the road, according to the pros at Popular Mechanics.

Brake Failure: Most cars have dual braking systems, so even if the front goes out, the car may still have back brakes and vice versa, according to Allstate’s blog. There are several ways to slow a vehicle during a brake system failure.

First, slow the vehicle, carefully taking pressure off the gas pedal, and downshifting so the car will slow itself, thanks to the vehicle’s drag. When the car has slowed enough to be under control again, work to get out of traffic and off the road. Do not shut off the vehicle until it is off of the roadway, or it may be harder to control.

Eye injuries from fireworks can be devastating

Among the many potential injuries from fireworks, eye injuries are one of the most frequent and most damaging.

According to Prevent Blindness, fireworks are responsible for more than 10,000 emergency room visits each year. About 19 percent of those are injuries to the eyes.

Interestingly, bystanders have the most eye injuries, according to the US Eye Injury Registry. This suggests that bystanders are too close to the fireworks operators.

According to ophthalmologist, Tony Pira, injuries to eyes can be devastating. Fireworks can cause burns to the eyes and eyelid, scratches and cuts that result in infections and scarring, retinal detachment, and even rupture of the eyeball.

These potential problems are not taken very seriously by fireworks operators. The 2015 fireworks survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, shows that only 10 percent of fireworks users wear eye protection. More people wear eye protection while playing sports (13 percent), doing home repair projects (26 percent), and using power tools (47 percent). But somehow using devices that contain gunpowder is taken much less seriously.

Damage from fireworks can include shrapnel or other foreign material that can rupture the eye globe or lodge in the cornea. Gunpowder burns can leave permanent scarring and vision loss.
Still, doctors say rupture of the eye globe is the biggest worry. Any damage to the eye should be treated as an emergency. The first thing people should do is protect the eye itself. Do not rub, rinse or touch any part of the eye. Tape a cup over the eye to prevent any accidental touching and head immediately for the emergency room.

Do not try to pry open the eye. Do not try to rinse the eye.

Pira writes in Ophthalmology Times that injuries from fireworks occur because of the speed and unpredictable movement of the explosives.

“The power of gunpowder is such that the speed of fireworks and shrapnel are much faster than the blink reflex,” Pira writes.

Shatterproof glasses are essential for fireworks operators. Spectators should stay at least 500 feet away from the fireworks operator.

June and July are the ‘Fireworks Safety Months’

The only safe way to use illegal fireworks is by not using them.

Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety, urges consumers to not use illegal explosives or professional fireworks.

She says that in 2015 there were serious injuries caused by consumers using illegal explosives and/or professional fireworks.

Blogin cautions consumers to only purchase legal consumer fireworks from authorized stores or stands, and to never buy fireworks from individuals, or from vendors in back alleys or operating out of their house.

Blogin also challenges consumers to educate themselves on the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks.

If you are at a party where consumer fireworks are being shot, make sure that there is a designated shooter who has not been drinking any alcohol and that the fireworks are being used responsibly.
More safety tips:

* Only use fireworks outdoors and in an area free of overhead obstructions and away from dry grass or other flammable materials.
* Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
* Never give fireworks or flaming sparklers to young children.
* Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
* Always have a bucket of water, and charged water hose, nearby.
* Dispose of a spent product by wetting it down and placing it in a metal trash container where it will stay until morning, and one that is away from any building or combustible materials.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose sole mission is to educate the public on the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks.

The Fourth of July is the nation’s primary day for using fireworks. The second most popular day is New Year’s Eve.

Glasses that help cyclists see more

GPS maker Garmin is bringing safety information to the bike path with its Varia Vision In-Sight Display. It clips onto your sunglasses.

The display lets you view your speed, heart rate, power and other data without taking your eyes off the road.

It also gives navigation prompts, and when paired with a Varia Rearview Radar unit, alerts you when cars are creeping up behind you.

At just 28 grams, the unit has a cycling-glove-friendly touch-panel and an eight-hour battery. Available now at for $400.

Other bike safety tips:

Have the right gear, including the right sunglasses, gloves, shoes and padded shorts.

Always be visible. Especially at dawn and dusk, wear neon colors and reflective clothing. Some states require a white front light.

Consider not riding at night.

Stay aware of your surroundings. Avoid busy streets and riding on sidewalks, where you could hit a pedestrian.

Watch for potholes, obstacles and animals darting out into the street.