RSS Feed

Category Archives: safety hints



“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” – Hippocrates

For the last few days I’ve had time to do a lot of thinking. Ever since the serpentine belt on my car broke, I have had trouble getting around because I sprained or jammed my ankle when I was getting into the tow-truck. I’m not tall, 5′-2″, and need assistance getting into trucks.  My husband knows this and will either already be in the truck to grab my wrist, or give me a boost in via my tush. Well it was raining and the man was hooking up my vehicle to the tow mechanism. I was getting wet and it was cold.  So I decided to get in the truck on my own. I was almost there when my foot slipped off the floorboard. There was no step and no handle to grab, so I went down hard on both my feet. Luckily I didn’t fall, but I either jammed my ankle when it hit the ground or twisted it as I slipped off the floorboard. In any event, today has been one week and I am still in pain. No I didn’t make a stink – that is just not my way and besides it didn’t seem serious enough at the time.

The day after my car was fixed, I returned with a cane to complete the presentation and CMA I was on my way to do when my car died. The man was nice enough and showed me around his home. It was difficult getting around but I managed. We talked for a good hour and a half, I finished my presentation and took a few pictures of the exterior. I went home in much pain, did the CMA and sent it to him the same day.  I thought I gave him a good price range to sell his home albeit an honest one. One year ago he took out a small loan against his home, had an appraisal done on his property and it appraised for “X” amount of dollars.  The CMA I prepared for him was between 5-10K less than the appraisal value he received one year ago.  Not bad considering the market is still trying to level off.

I received an email from his wife the following day, telling me they decided not to sell at this moment.

What is the lesson to be learned here?  Sometimes you need to put yourself first and just say no. The outcome would have been the same had I not gone back to do the presentation and CMA – but I could have rested my ankle and maybe today it would be feeling better.  Here’s another thought – if I hadn’t gone out there in the first place, I would have been in my town when my serpentine belt broke and could have called for help and maybe not have sprained my ankle at all!  If only we could see in the future, would we change what we are about to do?  This is probably a question that has plagued mankind for centuries and still, there is no answer.

What would you would have done?



Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other.” – Robert Benchley

Every year we celebrate the holidays and fill our homes with seasonal cheer for ourselves and our families. Lights, decorations, good food…what may seem beautiful and harmless to us may pose hidden dangers to our pets. Don’t let an emergency, or worse, a tragedy spoil the festivities! Take a few precautions now, and you won’t have to worry about your pets later.

Let’s start with foods, – The following can be toxic, and should be considered dangerous to pets: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bread dough, and sugar-free candy and gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol.

Even supposedly safe food can cause harm. Despite tradition, bones should never be given to pets. Beef, ham, and other “regular” foods that are not considered toxic can cause illness in pets.  If your pet is a moocher, keep a plate of your pet’s regular treats on the table to offer when your pet asks. He/she probably won’t know the difference!

When it comes to new treats and toys, even a pet-safe treat can cause stomach upset if it is new to your pet. Offer only one of these at a time (ideally, separated by a few days, just as you would when introducing new foods to a baby). If your pet becomes ill after eating a holiday treat, it will be easier to trace the source and discontinue it. Also, check new toys for sharp edges, pieces that can be chewed off, or other potential hazards.

I can’t stress enough about the dangers of the next item.  Hazardous plants include mistletoe, some evergreens (including some types of pine), and holly bushes and berries. Try to keep these plants away from pets, or at least supervise pets when dangerous plants are nearby.

Another top danger to pets are tinsel, tree ornaments, ribbons, string, and garlands  especially if these items are eaten by pets.  Keep these items away from pets when pets are unattended. Don’t forget to cover any electrical cords or keep them out of reach. Have you ever seen a pet poop with a long hair caught in the middle of a turd.  Imagine how much worse it would be if that hair were tinsel, not to mention the damage it could do on the way through your pet.

Monitor pets near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters. Also, don’t forget to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. Space heaters, furnaces, and idling cars (in a garage) can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets and humans.

Watch your pets when they are around your holiday tree. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the base of the tree, which can be toxic (especially if there are preservatives in it). Keep electrical cords and decorative lights out of reach, too. Cats especially, will think of climbing the tree and possibly knock the tree when they reach the top.  This can be very dangerous for the whole house, not to mention the loss of your grandmothers heirloom Christmas ornaments.

Please remember, if your pet has eaten or drunk something toxic, warning signs will include gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Other signs may include tiredness and lack of appetite, especially in cats that have eaten lilies. If your pet shows any of these signs, or if you think he or she has eaten something dangerous but is not showing any signs yet, please call you vet right away. Treating your pet as soon as possible is essential and could save his or her life!

Keep your entire family happy and healthy this Christmas season!



“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” – Victor Kiam

Beware of the ‘silent killer’

By Bill and Kevin Burnett
Reprinted from:  Inman News™

Q: Our house was built around 1940; the fireplace is original; and we installed forced-air gas heating about 10 years ago. We haven’t had the fireplace or furnace inspected. What do you guys recommend to get the fireplace and the furnace ready for winter?

A: Regular inspection and servicing of fireplaces and furnaces adds to comfort, makes them more economical and most important, keeps them safe. Regular inspections can prevent a deadly house fire or the introduction of a silent killer: carbon monoxide.

Here’s our checklist to keep you cozy and safe during the winter months:

Wood-burning fireplaces

1. Inspection by a certified chimney sweep is a must. For heavy use, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned annually. Go up to five years if the fireplace is used only occasionally. The sweep should inspect for proper operation of the damper and for cracks in the flue liner, as well as sweeping the flue to remove creosote and other combustion byproducts.

2. Close the damper when the fireplace isn’t in use.

3. Install a chimney cap if you don’t already have one. You don’t want creatures building their nest in your flue.

4. When starting a fire, “prime” the flue by holding lighted newspaper at the back wall of the firebox to start the warm air rising.

5. Burn aged, dry hardwood if possible. Fir or pine burns hot and deposits creosote in the chimney. Don’t burn construction debris. It may contain toxic chemicals that will vaporize in the fire and could enter the living space.

6. Do not clean out the fireplace when the ashes are still hot. And dispose of the ashes in a place where wayward embers won’t start a fire.

Fireplace with gas starter

1. If the flame goes out, wait at least five minutes before attempting to relight the fireplace. This allows time to clear the fireplace of gas.

2. Be alert for unusual odors or odd-colored flames, which are often a sign that the fireplace is not operating properly. In such cases, contact your dealer or licensed technician for servicing. Contact the gas company if you smell gas when the unit is off.

Gas furnace maintenance

1. An annual maintenance check of a gas furnace extends the life of the appliance and ferrets out any hidden problems. A qualified heating contractor should vacuum out the unit, inspect the blower motor, inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, check the electronics and perform a multipoint checklist to make sure the furnace is operating properly.

2. Clean or replace the furnace filter frequently during the heating season. This ensures that air returning from the inside of the house is unobstructed and clean when entering the combustion chamber.

3. Keep vents, space heaters and baseboards clear of furniture, rugs and drapes to allow free air movement.

4. Ensure there is free airflow around your furnace and make sure there are no storage items obstructing airflow.

5. Do not store or use combustible materials, such as chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline, or flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of the furnace.

6. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and lethal gas that can occur any time there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Any home that contains fuel-burning appliances, such as a fireplace or furnace, should have a carbon monoxide alarm installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Copyright 2011 Bill and Kevin Burnett



“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”    Henry Ford 

Colder temperatures send pests, such as field mice, spiders, water bugs, and cockroaches – or palmetto bugs as they call them here in Florida, searching for food, water and shelter inside your homes. Mice are a common winter nuisance here in the south, and only need a space the size of a nickel to enter your home.
I remember as a child, my father putting steel wool around the pipe openings, or if he made a repair, in the opening before sealing that repair.  It didn’t matter if there was no way anything could come into our home once the repair was made, as long as my mother felt secure, that is all that mattered. So to help you keep those unwanted house guests away here are some tips.

  • Seal any cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including utility and pipe entrances.
  • Seal the openings where a pipe comes into your home – under sinks etc. You can use that stuff that squirts into an opening then expands and hardens or you can use the old steel wool method.
  • Put screens on vents and openings to chimneys. This will also keep birds, bats, raccoons and squirrels away.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows, and at all entry doors. Helps with utility bills as well.
  • Keep attics, basements if you have one, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • If you store items in totes, make sure you tape up the holes.  Those holes allow spiders, roaches and other assorted bugs to crawl into the tote and nest.  You’ll usually find those holes in the handles or the carved out spaces for your hands to carry the tote.  Yes, those holes are there for ventilation, but I for one do not like to be surprised with a spider nest when I go for something stored in the tote. I would rather seal it, than create a nesting place for bugs and mice. Been there! Done that!


Posted on

“Set your head and heart upon a DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE and go to work right where you stand to attain it; and begin NOW!”     Napoleon Hill

Does your home need a facelift but you wonder, “That’s too expensive for me, how can I afford something like that?”  It’s not as expensive as you may think if you resurface.  Anything with a surface can become worn or outdated.  Whether you are remodeling or sprucing up, surfaces are a big part of the project. The following article titled “Resurface” will help you with some projects that will give your home a new look without breaking the bank.  Just remember, don’t take on more than you can handle.  The last thing you want are lengthy delays and costly mistakes.  Do your homework before starting the project!  The art of do-it-yourself projects is to know when you can!

Don’t forget to check out the helpful websites on the bottom right of the last page – you’ll be glad you did! Happy resurfacing!


Posted on

Many people think of their home as a safe place for themselves and their loved ones.  Unfortunately, injuries occurring on residential property result in nearly 21 million medical visits and 20,000 deaths each year[1].  It is important that you and your family be aware of potential hazards that may exist in your home and the ways to keep your environment free from danger.

Today’s article titled “Home Safe Home” outlines the most common causes of unintentional home injuries and deaths.  It also provides ideas you can implement to make your dwelling safer, such as ensuring that you have an emergency evacuation plan and checking for recalls on potentially hazardous items commonly found in residences.

As usual, to view this article, just click on the red words above to read or to save to your computer or print.

I hope that you find this information helpful.  Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.


%d bloggers like this: