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Helpful Tips
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 15:04

How to Develop a Family Disaster Plan

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ALBANY, N.Y. – State and Federal emergency management professionals encourage individuals and families to be ready in case there is an emergency. Every one should have a plan – know what to do and when to do it during an emergency – and have a fully-equipped emergency supply kit packed and ready-to-go.

You should be prepared to take care of yourself and family members for the first 72 hours – that's three days – following a disaster, such as a severe storm or hurricane. An emergency preparedness kit should include food and water for each family member, a battery-powered or hand-held radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, non-electric can opener, dry clothes, bedding, toilet paper, and garbage bags for personal sanitation. Don't forget extra eye glasses, medications, copies of prescriptions and special products for babies, the elderly and medically fragile or disabled family members.

Other items to consider include sleeping bags or blankets, paper towels, books, puzzles and games for children and food for family pets. It's helpful to have cash in case banks are closed and ATMs are not open. Have important insurance information and other important documents readily available.

Make an evacuation plan and learn the evacuation routes in your neighborhood. Traffic congestion is inevitable. Plan for a significantly longer travel time to reach your destination. If possible, evacuate using only one vehicle. Have a communication plan with phone numbers of family members in case people get separated. Identify a friend or family member in another town, who can be contacted during an emergency.

Store the emergency supplies in an easy-to-carry plastic storage container or duffel bag, so that you can grab it quickly and go when an emergency forces you to leave your home. Putting together an emergency kit isn't expensive. Many of the items are probably in your home already. Any additional supplies you may need can be purchased over a period of time.

More information on emergency preparedness, including how to put together a family communication plan, can be found on FEMA's Web site (in English and Spanish): FEMA, and NYS OEM.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Tuesday, 09 August 2011 14:59

Hurricane Brochure

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The best way to prepare for a hurricane evacuation is to know your evacuation zone and develop a plan ahead of time.

Click here to read more.

Monday, 08 August 2011 18:37

Dryer Vents

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Clothes dryer fires account for 15,600 structure fires annualy.

Click here to read more.

Friday, 27 May 2011 13:17

Sidewalk Talk

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Many homeowner liability insurance claims arise from defective sidewalks. Otsego Mutual, as part of its inspection process, makes an attempt to determine if the sidewalks of our insureds need updating or replacing. In some cases the company may require an insured or prospective insured to repair or replace a defective sidewalk.

Although a homeowner may feel their sidewalk is defect free and poses no danger to pedestrians it takes as little as a ½” difference in elevation between one flag and the next to cause a possible tripping hazard.

The following photos show defective sidewalks which are not only unsightly, but could be hazardous to pedestrians:
Friday, 27 May 2011 13:16

Documenting Your Possessions After A Loss

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Your worst nightmare has just happened! You’ve had a fire or been robbed.

Can you document what was stolen or destroyed? The insurance company will ask you to do just this and it’s your responsibility to prove what you lost and its value.

Here are some suggestions to help you cope with this difficult task.
Friday, 27 May 2011 13:14

Woodstove Safety

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Protecting Your Home

woodWith the ever-increasing cost of home heating, more and more energy conscious people are installing wood stoves. An undesirable result has been a corresponding increase in the number of wood stove and chimney fires. In fact, over one-half of the one-and two-family dwelling fires in rural and suburban areas are caused by wood fuel use.

Burning wood requires more work and attention than simply adjusting a thermostat. To reduce the chances of having a fire in your home, follow the recommendations in the Woodstove Safety pamphlet below on proper selection, installation, maintenance and operation of a wood stove.

Friday, 27 May 2011 12:00

Home Heating Safety Tips

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According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly two thirds of residential heating fires and related injuries involved space heaters and similar equipment such as fireplaces and chimneys. Proper use and maintenance of these appliances will ensure the safety and efficiency of your home heating system.

Space Heaters

Only use heaters that are approved by an independent testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Look for models with an automatic shut-off device and temperature control. Never put anything on top of the heater and provide adequate space from walls and furniture. Electric and kerosene heaters should never be left unattended. And use only crystal K-1 kerosene in your kerosene heater – never gasoline or camp stove fuel.
Friday, 27 May 2011 11:58

Fire Prevention & Safety

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House fires are devastating. The overwhelming sense of loss caused by fire, smoke and soot are traumatic. In many cases fires can be prevented, however, even the most safety conscious efforts can't prevent the unexpected.

The following safety tips can help you prevent or escape the devastating effects of a house fire:

1) Fire Extinguishers

Place fire extinguishers on all levels of your home, especially areas where there's the greatest risk for a fire – the garage, kitchen and basement.

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