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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Survival Tips After The Storm: CPSC, FEMA and USFA Warn About Deadly Dangers After Hurricane Sandy Passes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Hurricane Sandy is a massive, slow moving storm that has left millions of Americans along the East Coast without electricity. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are warning residents in hurricane-impacted areas about the deadly dangers that still remain as Hurricane Sandy tracks north.

 Consumers need to use great caution during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from portable generators, fire from candles, and electrical shock from downed power lines increases.

In order to power lights, keep food cold or cook, consumers often use gas-powered generators. CPSC, FEMA, and USFA warn consumers never to use portable generators indoors, in basements, garages, or close to a home. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), greater than that of multiple cars running in a garage, which can quickly incapacitate and kill.

"Our goal is to save lives and prevent further disasters in the aftermath of Sandy," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Never run a generator in or right next to a home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. CO is odorless and colorless and it can kill you and your family in minutes."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Mid-Atlantic states who've been affected by this storm. We strongly encourage all of those in affected areas to stay indoors, in a safe location and to continue to monitor conditions," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "As the federal government continues to support the life-saving efforts of state, tribal and local officials, individuals need to do their part and remain out of harm's way. Do not try to return home until local officials give the all clear."

"We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators. These risks often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences," said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell. "When you consider the challenges faced by firefighters and their departments to also recover from the same disasters, it is important that all of us remember even the simplest of fire safety behaviors following disasters of any type."

Deaths involving portable generators have been on the rise since 1999 when generators became widely available to consumers. There have been at least 755 CO deaths involving generators from 1999 through 2011. While reporting of incidents for 2011 is ongoing, there were at least 73 CO related deaths involving generators last year. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home's living space, in the basement or in the garage.

Do not put your family at risk. Follow these important safety tips from CPSC, FEMA, and USFA in the aftermath of the storm.

  • Portable Generators

Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.

  • Charcoal Grills and Camp Stoves

Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

  • CO Alarms

Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms' batteries every year.

  • Electrical and Gas Safety

Stay away from any downed wires, including cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage. If you are standing in water, do not handle or operate electrical appliances. Electrical components, including circuit breakers, wiring in the walls and outlets that have been under water should not be turned on. They should be replaced unless properly inspected and tested by a qualified electrician.

Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced. Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house, leave the door(s) open, and call 911. Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.

  • Candles

Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

Consumers, fire departments and state and local health and safety agencies can download CPSC's generator safety posters, door hangers and CO safety publications at CPSC's CO Information Center or order free copies by contacting CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772.

Download FEMA and USFA's lifesaving information on disasters at and

To see this press release on CPSC's web site, please go to:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Clutter: My Worst Nightmare


verb (used with object)
to fill or litter with things in disorderly manner

choices for each object when decluttering your homeClutter – I hate it.  Both professionally and personally.  In my business, attempting to sell a cluttered home can be a recipe for disaster.  In my personal life, I operate most efficiently if I can limit the amount of clutter around me.

This simple image, if properly applied, with enough time and determination, can help you unclutter your home, and keep it that way.

The supplies, when used properly, encourage you to take on the task in bite-sized chunks, help you make decisions, and help you finish each decluttering session with positive steps taken, without it looking like a whirlwind has come through your house making it look worse, not better.

As you can see, the equation is not complex, it just takes a timer, boxes, trash bags, recycling bin and you'll get a home that is decluttered and ready for you and your family to enjoy together (or for me to promptly sell before the clutter re-enters).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

What better time than now to march down to your local shelter and take home a canine in need? A new dog can greatly improve your life, like:

• help you get outside and exercise
• provide companionship for you and your family
• provide protection from intruders
• improve your mood
• provide assistance for people with disabilities

But if you can't take in an animal, don't worry, there are ways you can still help! Consider fostering animals who are looking for homes, volunteering at your local shelter, or making a donation to a shelter or animal care organization.  I often donate my used blankets to the shelter as well as dog food.

You can help too!  Here are a few local resources in the Thurston County/Olympia Area:

Concern For Animals 360-456-8176