Camping Safety Checklist

02Sep / 2014

Camping Safety Checklist: Food and Fun


Prepare healthy and safe food.

Bring healthy food along on your camping trip. Follow these steps to keep your food safe:

  • Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers. Keep them in an insulated cooler.
  • Wash hands and surfaces often. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
  • Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
  • Cook foods to proper temperatures (for instance, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees).
  • Chill foods promptly.
  • Planning Meals at Home and On the Go
  • Food Safety – Prevention and Education

Include safe physical activities.

Camping is a great way to get physical activity. Do things such as walking, hiking, biking, or swimming to keep you active during your camping trip. Be sure to bring protective gear, such as helmets, sturdy shoes, and life jackets. Avoid poisonous plants, like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Know your limits, and take steps to avoid injury during activities. Never hike or swim alone. Watch kids closely. Adults should get at least 2½ hours a week and kids should get at least 1 hour a day of physical activity.

The is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Camping Health and Safety Tips and Packing Checklist.” For more information, please visit

College Students: Essential Fire Safety Tips

02Sep / 2014

College Students: Essential Fire Safety Tips

There are several specific causes for fires on in on- and off-campus college housing, including cooking, candles, smoking and overloaded power strips. For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students know their fire risks and prevention actions that could save their lives.


  • Cook only where it is allowed.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and free of anything that can burn.
  • Keep an eye on what you are cooking, especially if you are cooking at high temperatures.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.


  • Place candles in sturdy holders.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles away from anything that can burn.
  • Use safe flameless candles.


  • Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarettes butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays. Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to burn.
  • After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.
  • Don’t smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.

Electrical safety

  • Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
  • Never use an extension cord with large appliances, like a refrigerator.
  • Do not overload outlets.
  • Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, Campus fire safety outreach materials.” For more information, please visit

Controlling Ground Water

Controlling Ground Water by ServiceMaster
When water collects next to a foundation wall, or when the water table (the water level under your property) is higher than your basement floor, hydrostatic pressure can force water through cracks, joints and porous areas in concrete walls and floors and through cracked or crumbling mortar joints in masonry walls. Causes can include:

  • Poor construction practices.
  • Clogged or non-existent footing drains.
  • Poorly applied or nonexistent waterproofing on the foundation
  • Cracks through the wall.
  • Improper grading.

Correcting any of these problems is a major job that requires digging out the foundation to the bottom of the footings. Though this may very well be the most permanent repair, first try the remedies that follow. If they don’t work, then you’ll have to contact a foundation engineer or contractor for a more lasting solution. CAUTION: If you see horizontal cracks in a wall that’s bowing inward, long, vertical cracks wider than 1/4 inch, or a crack that’s getting wider (measure periodically), you have a structural problem. Contact a soils or foundation engineer at once.

Exterior Remedies

Roof and surface water collecting next to the foundation may be causing the dampness in your basement. Make a careful inspection outside, using the following checklist, and correct any problems you find.

  • Gutters and downspouts should be clear and should direct water away from the foundation.
  • For tips on cleaning gutters and improving drainage at downspouts, click here.
  • Make sure you have proper grading around the house. The ground should drop one inch per foot for the first ten feet away from the foundation walls to ensure good surface drainage.
  • Planting beds next to the foundation should keep water from collecting or pooling.
  • Window wells around basement windows should be free of debris, have good drainage, and be properly sealed at the wall.

Interior Remedies

These simple interior repairs may alleviate or cure your water problems:

  • Apply a coating to the wall. Most coatings are painted on, though some are plastered on with a trowel. Except for epoxy coatings, all are cement-base products with various additives. Epoxy does the best job. Look for coatings at home improvement or masonry supply centers.
  • Patch cracks in walls and floors with Portland or hydraulic cement patching compound. Hydraulic cement expands and dries quickly, even in wet conditions. Cracks wider than 1/8 inch should be undercut-chiseled out so the bottom of the crack is wider than the. This will prevent water pressure from popping out of the patch.
  • Chisel out a groove along the wall if water is entering through a floor/wall joint. Fill the groove with hydraulic or epoxy cement and cove (form in a concave shape).
  • Chisel out cracked mortar joints in masonry walls and fill them with hydraulic or epoxy cement.

Water that comes through cracks in a concrete floor or through the joint between the floor and wall is caused by hydrostatic pressure.

In addition to those described above, remedies include:

  • Installing drains under the floor.
  • Adding a sump pump.
  • Laying a new floor over a waterproof membrane placed on the old floor.

Back to School Safety Tips for Motorists

Sharing the Road Safely with Child Pedestrians

All drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially those that are children. Young, elderly, disabled and intoxicated pedestrians are the most frequent victims in auto-pedestrian collisions. Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections; however, regardless of the rules of the road or right-of-way, you as a driver are obligated to exercise great care and extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians.

  • Drivers should not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. Do not stop with a portion of your vehicle over the crosswalk. Blocking the crosswalk forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle and puts them in a dangerous situation.
  • In a school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are blinking, you must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.
  • Always stop when directed to do so by a school patrol sign, school patrol officer or designated crossing guard.
  • Children are the least predictable pedestrians and the most difficult to see. Take extra care to look out for children not only in school zones, but also in residential areas, playgrounds and parks.
  • Don’t honk your horn, rev your engine or do anything to rush or scare a pedestrian in front of your car, even if you have the legal right-of-way. All drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially those that are children. Young, elderly, disabled and intoxicated pedestrians are the most frequent victims in auto-pedestrian collisions.
The above is an excerpt from the article, “Back to School: Safety Tips for Motorists.” For more information, please visit

8 Tips to Exert and Improve Your Self Control by Annie Pilon

If you’re tired of reading self help books and seemingly never getting anywhere, you may be interested in a study that found a single factor — self-control — to be one of the primary keys to success.

John Tierney and Roy Baumeister, co-authors of the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, recently hosted a discussion about the importance of self control. In this video from Reason TV, Tierney explained:

“This was something that had been kind of out of fashion. But more and more studies started showing that no matter what kind of successful outcome you looked at – in school, in careers, in marriages and relationships, financial security, health – in general, there were two qualities that correlate with success. One of them is intelligence. The other is self control.”

8 Tips to Exert and Improve Your Self Control

1. Know Your Limits

You only have a finite amount of usable willpower. If you use too much of it over a certain period, you won’t have any left to exercise for other things. Because of this, you should limit the number of goals you try to attain. Otherwise, they could compete against each other. Instead, focus on each one sequentially instead of all at once.

2. Build Your Willpower

Willpower can also act like a muscle. It can get tired. But if you exercise it regularly, it will get stronger. Even simple things like working on your posture over a few weeks can lead to increased self control over time.

3. Eat

You can’t exercise self control properly if you’re starving. Of course, this tip correlates to success in every area except dieting.

4. Avoid the Planning Fallacy

People tend to underestimate how long big tasks will take to complete. If you’re able to be more realistic, then you’ll be more in control of your actions.

5. Make a To-Do List That’s Actually Doable

Unfinished tasks can nag at your brain and impact your self control. For this reason, it’s best to try to accomplish completing tasks on your to-do list as early possible. But the trouble is that many people tend to put vague items on their to-do lists that are difficult to accomplish. Instead, choose items for your to-do list that are very specific. Have a specific plan for getting things done. This way, you’re more likely to complete the tasks and less likely to deplete your willpower by having to focus on unfinished projects.

6. Keep Track of Goals

It’s hard to control something if you’re not keeping track of it. So if you’re trying to save money, track your spending. If you’re trying to lose weight, weigh yourself daily. Luckily, there are smartphone apps and websites that can track online activities and keep track of many types of goals for you.

7. Utilize “The Nothing Alternative”

If you’re having a hard time getting motivated for a project, follow this simple advice. Instead of forcing yourself to work on the project at hand, simply avoid doing anything else that might distract you until that project is completed. If you don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other things, you’ll eventually be so bored you’ll have to work on that main project.

8. Conserve Your Willpower

The authors insist this is the most important tip of all. People with high self control actually spend less time resisting temptation. That’s because they set up their lives to run smoothly and try to avoid temptation in the first place. If you can put yourself into situations where you don’t need willpower, you’ll use less of it and be able to exercise it in important situations later.

Car Seat Recommendations for Children

Car Seat Recommendations for Children

There are many car seat choices on the market. Use the information below to help you choose a car seat that best meets your child�s needs.

age size chart

Birth – 12 Months

Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

1 – 3 Years

Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It�s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat�s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

4 – 7 Years

Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat�s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it�s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

8 – 12 Years

Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it�s safer there.



Before A Tornado Strikes

Before A Tornado Strikes

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

Before a Tornado

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Tornado Facts

Quick facts you should know about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

The above is an excerpt from the article, “Tornadoes.” For more information, please visit

What is needed for Filing for Abatement on your Vehicle


• Vehicle sold or traded: Bill of sale and plate return receipt from the RMV or new registration form if plate



• Vehicle stolen or total loss: Police report or insurance settlement letter and plate return receipt, C-19 form

(Affidavit of Loss or Stolen Plate from RMV) or new registration


• Vehicle repossessed: Notice from lien holder and plate return receipt, C-19 form or new registration.


• Vehicle junked: Receipt from junk yard and plate return receipt, C-19 form or new registration.

• Moved out of state: Date of move and registration from new state.