The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Firework Safety - Home Fires

Every year thousands of people visit the emergency rooms in incidents related to a firework injury.

Each year homes catch fire from the burning embers of a downed firework casing resulting in the following statistics:

• In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.

• In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.

• The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.

• On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Be careful where you light fireworks. There doesn't seem to be a lot of dry grass in the Omaha area this year but there may be areas that could ignite. Use a flashlight to inspect your roof at the end of your lighting ceremony, or the neighbors, for that matter. Have the hose prepared with a spray nozzle that could reach the peak of your roof line.

If one of your "high-in-the-sky" fireworks goes off course, at a low angle, follow up to be sure it did not catch your neighbor's home on fire. Be sure it is snuffed out.

Enjoy the celebration but be aware and take some measures to avoid becoming a statistic. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Prepare in Times of Disaster

The threat of rising river water and more flooding has people evacuating that had never thought the river could rise to the level it has. It may go even higher in the next few weeks. Preparing for an evacuation should be done prior to the rising waters so when they come the family can continue to thrive after the emergency.

Ready in 10 Minutes Kit.

If a disaster was eminent, such as flooding, a chemical leak or a tornado bearing down on your community and you only had 10 minutes to evacuate, what would you do? It is vitally important to have a plan and an evacuation kit that is ready to go at any moment.

Ready in 10 evacuation plan must include a way to instantly locate and safeguard the vital information, documents and keepsakes that you’ll need to have access to after the emergency has passed. To start the plan you need to know:

• Who will be going with you, of course your immediate family and pets but others may be considered.

• Where you will go for the different disasters that may take place

• Where you will stay for both short term and long term stays. It may be a while before you can return or you may not have a home to return to.

• How will each of you get there?

The ready in 10 plan should also include a checklist of vital items to escape with:

• Medical records and medications for each person

• Insurance and deed information

• Wallet, purse, cell phone, chargers, keys, contact information for others

• Vital information documents, birth certificates, marriage license etc.

• Toiletries and a change of clothes for a couple of days

• Food and water necessities for the trip out

• Battery powered radio, flashlight.

• Keepsakes or treasured items

• Financial documents

A person or family can never fully prepare for a disaster but being able to pick up their lives after the emergency is the second most important task behind surviving it in the first place. Taking time to prepare your evacuation plan prior to any emergency situation may save your life and make it much easier as a survivor.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tips for Tornado Season

June is tornado month in Nebraska. More tornados occur in June than any other month in our state.

With the recent terrible loss of life in Missouri and Alabama there are some tips we can do to protect ourselves in case of a tornado.

1. Have a plan. If you do not have a plan your chances of surviving a direct-hit tornado are slim. Retreating to the basement is not enough. Many times the force of the winds can pull you and your family right up out of the basement. If you do not have a basement find the location of the nearest storm shelter and become familiar with the route and time it takes to get there.

2. Create a shelter area in the basement with very strong walls and ceiling over your head. Many folks will use the area under the stairwell or in a corner. Beef if up, mount the walls and ceiling into the concrete structure of the basement. Follow the FEMA guidelines at for creating a “safe-room” in your home. It may cost up to $2000 to create the safe-room but the cost is minor compared to loss of life.  Think of a tornado as a vacuum cleaner.  How could you survive if a huge vacuum cleaner was placed above your home?

3. Keep in mind that the average length of time spent in a storm shelter is ½ hour to 2 hours. Have something for the kids to do to take their minds off the situation. Make sure you have a battery powered radio, flashlight, blankets, water and snacks and a whistle, air-horn or other means of alerting for help.

4. Don’t be one of the people that think “it will never happen to me.” Many people in Missouri and Alabama may have had that same attitude. It happened to thousands who are without a place to live right now and over 500 so far this year have lost their lives just in tornado related deaths.

5. There may be some state or federal monies available to assist in the purchase and installation of a safe room or storm shelter.  Look to FEMA or your state Emergency Management Agency for more details.