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    New Year, New Safety Plans

    Happy New Year! We’re not going to jinx ourselves by wishing 2021 a fond farewell, (didn’t we do that for 2020? Look where it got us!). Instead, we’re ringing in the new year holding lessons over the past few COVID years dear to our hearts. After

    Image of items needed in an emergency preparedness kit

    all, we’ve realized we can no longer take our personal safety, or that of those we love, for granted.   

    As we move forward into 2022, we’ll be focusing on building and/or refreshing our emergency preparedness kits. We’d encourage you do the same. And listen, we know this is overwhelming. It certainly is for us! But if the past two years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected, and that includes being prepared for large scale emergencies such as major power grid outages or “the big one”.

    Before we get started, remember this is a marathon, not a race. Emergency kits do not need to be build in a day, a week, or even a month. Every single item you add is more than you had the day before. Taking a slow and steady approach not only increases your chance of actually building a kit, but it also helps mold the behavior change necessary to maintain a kit.

    Let’s get started. If you’ve never built an emergency preparedness kit before, (or if you’d like to refresh your kit) gather your household and play this simple game:

    1. Give everybody a method to make a list – think pen and paper, audio recorder, crayons and a napkin.
    2. Grab a timer. A phone will work!
    3. Ask everybody to spend the next five minutes independently making a list of all the items they’d need for a camping trip.
    4. When time is up, share your lists.

    Chances are, everyone mentioned something along the lines of shelter, food, warmth, clothing. Congratulations! You now have a basic outline for your emergency kit! That’s a victory! Celebrate it. Now amplify that camping trip to a minimum of 14-days, (the time experts anticipate you could be on your own in a disaster), and you’re well on your way.

    Still intimidated? Fear not! We’ve got a slew of resources you can check out to make this process easier, conveniently located on our website.   

    Heating Safety

    It’s that time of year when leaves have been falling off trees, our homes and cars are sometimes covered in frost as we awaken, and we’re cheering on our favorite football teams. The cooler temperatures mean we are spending more time inside and are starting to crank up the heat to stay warm. While we want everyone to stay cozy, there are some basic guidelines to follow to keep yourselves safe as you do so. The National Fire Protection Association offers these tips:

    Photo showing portable space heater

    Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

    Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

    Never use your oven, or in the case of a power outage your BBQ grill, to heat your home.

    Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

    Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.

    Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

    As Daylight Savings Time ends in November, change the batteries in your smoke alarms. Also ensure to test them once a month.