Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Storm Prep: 5 Ways to ensure you stay safe during a blizzard

Winter season is rolling up quickly and you might be faced with a blizzard or two this winter. Are you prepared and ready to deal with a snowstorm? Check out these five ways to make sure you and your family stay safe during a blizzard.

Assess Your Home Before the Blizzard Hits

Before a blizzard strikes, take some time during nicer weather to inspect your home. Check your roof to make sure there are no loose shingles or damaged areas. Check the gutters to make sure they are secure. Put storm windows or weatherproofing plastic in place over windows. Have boards or plywood ready to put in place over the outside of your windows in case a blizzard brings hurricane force winds.

Do you know what your insurance covers if your home is damaged by a blizzard? Contact your insurance agency if you need a quote for additional homeowners insurance or have questions about the insurance policy you currently have.

Have Your Heat Source Inspected

One of the most important things you will need to stay safe and survive a blizzard is a heat source. You need to make sure your main heat source is ready to go. Call in a HVAC technician to check out your furnace or hire a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney or stovepipes are clean and in order.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Underwriters Insurance Brokers (BC) Ltd recommends testing every smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home before a blizzard hits. If you don't have any, or enough for every level in your home, now is the time to get them. Put fresh batteries in each detector then test them. Take the time to run through fire drills with your family and talk about symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case the unthinkable happens.

While you are checking your smoke detectors, take a look at your fire extinguishers. Find out if they need to be inspected or upgraded then make sure it happens before bad weather hits.

Stock up on Items You Will Need

Make a list of necessities your family would need if you are snowed in. Stock up on non-perishable food items, bottled water, personal hygiene items, and food for your pets. Bring in additional wood or call for additional gas or fuel oil to heat your home before the bad weather starts. Have flashlights and a battery-operated radio on hand in case the electricity goes out.

Stay Home, Don't Go Out

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety during a blizzard is to stay home and don't go outside unless absolutely necessary. Make sure you are well-stocked with food, personal items, and fuel or wood for heat. If you have to go outside, use a rope to tether yourself to your home so you can find your way back.

Planning ahead and being ready for a blizzard can ensure that you and your family stay safe and sound -- inside. Start planning now, before winter starts, and you will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.


Karleia is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys scrapbooking and enjoying time with friends and family.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Important Role Of Cleaning in Food Safety

Foods (cropped) Food safety is one of the things we barely think about. Most of the time we only wash our hands prior to food preparation. But is it enough? According to specialists, it isn't, and other measures should be taken as well. Check this article for more information.

Why cleaning is important in regard to food preparation

It is vital that all equipment which may be in direct contact with food is kept clean and free of viruses. If a contaminant gets on the food to be processed, it may spread onto it, later causing food poisoning. This is not the only reason why one should keep their kitchen clean.

By maintaining your kitchen you will create a nice working environment. In addition, you'll keep cockroaches, flies and other insects away. Not to mention rats.

If you want to protect your family from food poisoning or contamination, you should not only keep your kitchen utensils and surfaces spotless, but also clean your food. Veggies and fruits should be rinsed well with cold water before consumption. Physicians advise that your soak them in water for about half an hour or so to enable pesticides to get out. Some produce can also be cleaned with vinegar. Just spray a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts of water on fruit and vegetables and rinse well.

In addition, remember to wash your hands well with soap before you start cooking.

What to disinfect

What areas should you disinfect before you start cooking? Every surface that your hands or food are going to be in direct contact with during cooking will need to be disinfected. This includes:
  • Light switches
  • Fridge and door handles
  • Knives and other utensils
  • Chopping boards, slicers and other work surfaces
  • Sink, countertops
Why is sanitising crucial? Most of the time washing is not enough. See, washing removes soil which is easy to see. But there are a number of bacteria that are not visible and should be removed. This can be achieved by sanitation or disinfection.

Paper towels or rags?

According to Global Hygiene Council, a number of bacteria can be found on a cleaning cloth or rag. They conducted a survey, which revealed not surprising but still rather shocking news – many domestic rags and cloths contained E.coli. The ironies of life: homeowners use towels and cloths to clean but unfortunately they only achieve the opposite effect and put their health at risk.

Luckily, there is an alternative to rags and cloths, but it is a bit more expensive. For example, you can use disposable wipes or paper towels. If you find this option too costly, you can just use a sanitiser. Make sure you disinfect all the cloths you use in cleaning every day. Also, think about whether you store them properly. Be sure to sanitise the surfaces they come in contact with. Yet, to clean a surface where food is going to be consumed you'd better use paper towels.

What disinfectants to use

There are to main types of disinfectants to use to sanitise surfaces: Quats (Quaternary Ammonium Compounds) and Hypochlorites (Chlorine based disinfectants). The former are very powerful. They may be the perfect disinfectant-cleaner because they are non-corrosive and don't have a bad odour. They are also very widely available. The latter are very common too. They are cost-effective and very efficient. One of the so called Hypochlorites is bleach, which is again widely used in the household.

When it comes to using sanitisers, you should keep in mind that some of them may need to be diluted. The reason for this is that some chemicals are very concentrated. Always check the label for instructions on just how much water to use, or the product will not be effective.


Written by http://www.perfectcleaning.org.uk/deep-cleaning-st-johns-wood-nw8/