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Archive for the ‘Homeowner Safety’ Category

Beaulieu IndustriesWe’ve all been there. We’re running late for work, school or picking up the kids from daycare and there’s a plow truck in front of us crawling at a snails pace. We sigh, slam our hands on the steering wheel and glance at the time all while saying come on, come on. Should you blow the horn? Make a pass?

No, unless it’s a two lane road and there is plenty of room to safely make a go around. Chances are if you’re out braving the storm with the public works department, the roads are slick and narrow as it is.

The best advice is to slow down and be patient. If you are attempting a pass on a two lane road, make sure you can see who’s coming at you and behind. The last thing you want is to cause a crash or end up in the ditch – then you’ll really be late to wherever it is you’re going.

Safety Tips for Following Snow Vehicles

  • Remember, if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you
  • Drivers have a limited view in their trucks, so they may not see you
  • Snow plows can extend up to several feet beyond the truck
  • Leave room for plow trucks no matter which lanes they are traveling in
  • Chances are, the plow will cross over the center line or lane divider
  • Watch out for snow flying up and around the plow truck, it will reduce visibility
  • NEVER pass on a hill, curve, bridge or ramp
  • Not all snow vehicles are city vehicles (many cities use local contractors for snow work)

Please remember that plow trucks and city sanders are out working hard to keep our roads, schools and city parking lots clean and clear, and most importantly, safe for us to use. After all, we at Beaulieu Industries should know, we’ve been plowing for the city of Lewiston for over 30 years and we’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to winter and road safety in Maine.

Report an Issue (Lewiston, ME Only)

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Hurricane Sandy has blown in and out here in Maine and other parts of the north. While Maine didn’t receive the destruction other North Eastern states like Connecticut and New Jersey did, many of us still have lots to cleanup in our yards. When the weather settles in your area and it’s safe to head outdoors, there are a few things you can do as a homeowner to cleanup after Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Supplies

Depending on the amount of destruction left in your yard, you may need to pick up a few supplies before your cleanup process can begin.

Work Gloves
Wheel Barrow
Shovel
Handsaw
Safety Goggles
Steel Toed Boots

Tips for Safe Yard Cleanup

I think this goes without saying, but if there are any downed wires in your yard do not try to handle them yourself – call the proper utility company and report the downed wires to them. If a tree, branch or other debris has fallen on the wires, do not remove it yourself – report this to the utility company as well.

Pick up all Branches
Hand Cut Felled Trees for Easier Removal (for large trees you may need to call in a professional)
Collect & Bag Debris
Rake Up Broken Glass & Dispose
Clear Drainage Ditches
Clean Exterior Windows

Professional Yard Cleanup

In some cases, when a large tree needs removal or a washed out gravel road needs repair, you may need to call in a professional for cleanup and repairs. If that’s the case, get on the phone and call your trusted general contractor as soon as possible. Remember – always think safety first.

Tree Removal in Central Maine
Gravel Roadway/Driveway Repair in Central Maine
Drainage Installation in Central Maine

With all the weird weather we’ve been having here in Maine and the Northeast, do you think it’s a precursor to what we’ll see this winter?

Image: Ks0stm/CC-BY-SA-3.0

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Winter is an unpredictable time of year. When the snow flies and a winter storm warning is broadcast, many of us rush to the grocery store in preparation. While that’s fine and dandy, there is another way to prepare for an immobilizing storm; a winter emergency kit.

A winter emergency kit contains needed supplies to get you through at least 72 hours of no power or phone lines. Your kit should have essentials such as food and water along with other needed supplies. Keep your kit in an easy to reach place should you need to evacuate in a hurry.

When a winter storm warning is broadcast, check your winter emergency kit to make sure it contains the essentials. Assemble all medications in one place in case you need to get out of the door in a hurry.

Types of Food to Put in Your Winter Emergency Kit

Always have a 3 day supply of non-perishable food in your winter emergency kit. Choose foods your family likes and foods that do not require cooking. Does anyone in your family have allergies or special dietary needs? Keep those in mind while stocking up and don’t forget the can opener.

  • Canned Goods
  • Ready to Eat Meats (i.e. tuna, chicken)
  • Veggies
  • Fruit (sugar free/light syrup)
  • Dry Goods
  • Granola/Protein Bars
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Low-Sodium Snacks
  • Dried Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Water (1 Gallon per member of household per day)
  • Vitamin Water
  • Baby Food/Formula (if needed)

Other Winter Emergency Kit Supplies

Think of the individual needs for each member of your household and include items in your winter emergency kit accordingly. It’s a good idea to include a few games or books if you have children.

  • Can Opener (manual)
  • Utensils (can be disposable)
  • Plates (can be disposable)
  • Paper Towels
  • Matches
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Portable Radio (battery operated)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sanitary Wipes
  • Trash Bags
  • Anti-Bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Small Hand Tool for Turning off Appliances
  • Feminine Hygiene Products (if needed)
  • Candles
  • Personal Needs Items
  • Diapers
  • Pet Food
  • Warm Blankets (1 for each member of household)

What other foods or supplies can you think of that should be part of a household winter emergency kit?

Preparing for & Surviving Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Portable generators can be a homeowner’s best friend during a power outage. Winter, especially in Maine where I live, is a popular time of year to buy and install a generator in the home. For a brief introduction on portable generators, read below.

What is a Portable Generator?

A portable generator, which runs off of gas , diesel, or propane, provides usable electricity during a power outage. Depending on the type of generator, electricity is created to a specific wattage. This means you can plug in appliances such as your fridge and television during a power outage.

Before Buying a Portable Generator

Before buying a portable generator, figure out how much wattage you’ll need to keep the appliances in your home running. Most homeowners consider the fridge, freezer, and some lights to be top priority during a power outage.

For help figuring out how much wattage your appliances* use and which size portable generator you’ll need, try this free wattage calculator.

Using a Portable Generator

* Before plugging appliances into your portable generator, add up the wattage of the appliances. Look for the plug on the appliance. A plate clearly stating how much wattage the appliance uses should be located nearby.

Make sure the total wattage of all the appliances you want to plug in doesn’t exceed the amount of wattage your generator produces. Remember, a portable generator is a temporary solution to a power outage and is measured by the amount of hours it runs not days.

Portable Generator Safety Precautions

For safety sake, a portable generator must never be run directly inside the home. Portable generators emit carbon monoxide which can be fatal. Only run your portable generator in a well ventilated area. Secondly, portable generators need to be used in dry conditions, not placed in a puddle in the driveway or left outside in the rain.

If you have no choice to run a portable generator when the weather turns wet, make sure to place the generator on dry ground, and then construct a canopy over the generator to keep it dry and protected from the elements.

Under no circumstances should you ever touch a running generator with wet hands. You can be electrocuted.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss the different types of portable generators for home use.

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Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As you are well aware, the days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder as fall quickly ushers us along towards winter.

Many children, depending on which region you live in, wait for the bus each morning in freezing cold temperatures, snow, and rain.

If you want to keep your children safe and out of the elements, why not build a bus shelter? There are several websites that offer free, step-by-step plans for building bus shelters at the roadside.

Simply choose which type of bus shelter is appropriate for your area, children, and budget by using the how to build a shelter directory below.

Print your materials list and the step-by-step instructions straight from your computer. Always check with your local town or city to see which permits, if any, are needed to build a bus shelter and which regulations must be followed.

How to Build a Bus Shelter Directory

Build a Bus Shelter Plans for Beginners

EHow.com: Tarp Shelter, Inexpensive

Build a Bus Shelter Plans for Intermediates

Ehow.com: Wooden Shelter

EHow.com: Rustic Adirondack Shelter

Build a Bus Shelter Plans for the Advanced

Lowes.com: Wooden Shelter

OutdoorLife.com: Fancy Adirondack Mini-Shelter

LsuagCenter.com: Adirondack Shelter

According to eltownhall.com, children are safest when waiting for the bus out of the “danger zone.” The danger zone is about 10 feet away from the road. For more information on keeping your children safe at the bus stop, visit 2safeschools.org and schools.peelschools.org.

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Image: Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Deicers are made to melt ice; keeping your stairs, walkways, driveways, and the road you travel on every day ice-free and safe to walk and drive on. While you need not worry about deicing the public roads, your stairs, walkways and driveways are another story.

Learning about the different types of deicers will help you choose the best deicer to use at your home or business.

 

 

Types of Deicers

Rock Salt: One of the most commonly used deicers on the market
Hits: Rock salt is safe to use on concrete and is inexpensive
Misses: Ineffective in temps under 22˚F and can be harmful to vegetation and corrosive to metal

Calcium Chloride: Works by giving off heat which melts ice
Hits: Melts ice in temps up to -25˚F
Misses: Can leave a slimy film behind. May harm vegetation if used in excess and is corrosive to metal

Potassium Chloride: Works best when mixed with rock salt (50/50)
Hits: Melts ice in temps up to 12˚F
Misses: More expensive than other products and can harmful to vegetation if over used

Magnesium Chloride: Newest deicer to hit the market
Hits: Melts ice & snow until temps hit -13˚F. Less damaging to vegetation and concrte
Misses: May lead to damage of utilities and corrosion of aluminum or steel poles/pole hardware

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA): Prevents re-freezing on roadways – leaves slush behind  *
Hits: Least harmful to concrete and plants
Misses: Becomes less effective when temps dip below 20˚F

Urea: Also used as fertilizer
Hits: Works in temps up to 15˚F
Misses: Can be harmful to vegetation

These deicers are relatively safe to use around your home. When the snow melts or it rains, the water is usually enough to wash away any residues that might harm metals or vegetation.

* If you’ve ever driven on a roadway in Maine during the winter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’d like to give a thanks in advance to all the road crews that work long, tiring hours to keep Maine roads safe in the winter.

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Smoke detectors save lives and should be a fixture in your home. If a fire should break out while you’re asleep, the smoke detector is meant to wake you and your family and allow you time to safely evacuate your home.

Choosing the right home smoke detectors and placing them in the proper areas should be at the top of your to-do-list.

Types of Smoke Detectors for the Home

There are 2 types of smoke detectors for the home; photoelectric and ionization. These are the best smoke detectors for residences. Many people use both types or a combination of the two to keep their homes and families protected.

Photoelectric Smoke Detector: Fast reacting to smoldering fires. Good for kitchens because this type of smoke detector doesn’t typically react to cooking.

Ionizaiton Smoke Detector: Reacts best to fires with open flames. This type of home smoke detector is one of the least expensive types on the market.

Home smoke detectors come both battery and electrically powered. Battery powered smoke detectors are common in most homes.

Home Smoke Detector Placement

Smoke detectors should be placed on every level of your home. This means placement on all floors, even where there are no bedrooms. Smoke detectors should be placed in bedrooms where the occupant sleeps with the door closed.

For occupants that sleep with the bedroom door open, smoke detector placement in the adjoining hallway is sufficient according to FEMA.

Home smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling or near the top of the wall. For detectors placed near the top of the wall, they should be at least 4″ from the ceiling but no further than 12″ away.

Also, smoke detectors should be placed at least 3′ away from kitchen and bathroom doors (for bathrooms with a shower). Steam or a burned dinner can set off a smoke detector.

If you have a forced heating system in your home, place your smoke detectors at least 3′ away from the supply register. The air blowing from the register can trick smoke detectors into sounding their alarms.

FEMA does not recommend smoke detector placement in garages, kitchens, or unheated areas of your home. Exhaust and cooking fumes can set off a smoke detector and areas in the home that are too cold or hot can effect how the detector works.

How to Keep Home Smoke Detectors Working

Check the batteries in your home smoke detectors at least once a year. An easy way to remember to do this is to associate checking your batteries with a specific time of year, holiday, or birthday. Many people check their detector’s batteries when they change their clocks back in the fall.

When the batteries in your home smoke detector need to be replaced, the unit will beep about every 20 seconds. Do not remove the batteries and then forget to replace them. Battery powered smoke detectors will need to be replaced every 8 to 10 years.

There have been studies conducted about whether or not smoke detectors will wake a sleeping child. For information about kids and smoke detectors, visit the FEMA website.

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