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As the weather starts to change once again, we look towards the fall season. This means it is important to remember to prepare your house and family accordingly for the season change. Preparing for fall can help save money, and protect your family and home.  Check out these tips about preparing your home both inside and out, along with family (including pets).

Inside the house

  1. Service your furnace / air conditioner. Be sure to call your local heating and cooling company to service and make sure everything is working properly. Double check furnace for any leaks.  This will save headaches and money later when the temperatures drop.
  2. Check to make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors are properly working.  It’s important to know the alarms work, and that fresh batteries have been installed. Replace any fire extinguishers that have expired with new ones throughout the home.
  3. If you keep emergency kits, make sure they are full and stocked with small medical items, water, flashlight with fresh batteries, and any supplies needed. There should be enough to last you and the family about a week.
  4. Stock up on winter supplies. If you live in a climate where it snows frequently or ices, stock up on shovels, ice scrapers, sidewalk salts, etc. If your climate features heavy rain or hurricanes, make sure you have plenty of tarps, bottled water, duct tape, etc.
  5. Use caution with space heaters and fireplaces. Place a fireplace screen in front of fire to prevent sparks from flying out. Never leave a burning fire unattended, and make sure the fire is out before going to bed.  If your space heater requires ventilation, make sure it vents to the outdoors. Never use a stove or oven to heat home. Always allow three feet of empty area around the space heaters.

Outside the home

  1. Reconsider burning the big pile of leaves. Check with your city’s regulations. It may be illegal to burn leaves. Burning leaves produce dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  If you are going to burn the leaves, wear a protective mask.  Make sure that you are far away from the house or any other structures. Double check the weather forecast for the day for windy activity.
  2. Watch for power lines if trimming trees in the yard.  Look and survey your yard area for power lines hanging above. Notice the placement of your ladder and trimming tools.
  3. Use caution while using a ladder. If you have to clean leaves out of the gutter, remember to have on appropriate footwear to avoid getting caught in between steps. Watch the steps for water or moisture to avoid slipping and falling. Make sure the ladder is secure and placed before climbing.
  4. Check all of the outdoor lighting fixtures. Make sure they all are working properly and secure. Outdoor lights are also effective deterrents for crime.
  5. When you’re cleaning up your yard, prevent injuries by standing straight and upright while raking leaves. Pull from your arms and legs, lift bags with bent knees using your legs, not your back, for support.  If you’re using a leaf blower, wear appropriate clothing, eye protection, and tennis shoes or boots to prevent injury.

Family

  1. Go get a flu shot. There are still possibilities of getting sick after receiving the shot, but it will protect you from severe complications.
  2. Not just for employees returning to work, wash your hands. Use hot water, plenty of soap, and scrub for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Bundle up if it is cold. Wear a jacket and dress accordingly.
  4. Pets. If your furry friend lives outside,  feed them more in the cooler times to help them retain body heat.
  5. Keep an emergency kit in your car. If you haven’t already, make up an emergency kit and keep in your trunk. Some are in stores already made-up.  To make your own, include a flashlight with fresh batteries, first-aid kit, jumper cables, windshield washer fluid, and basic tools.
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