A wood-burning fireplace can add warmth and charm to your home. However, if certain precautions aren’t taken, these devices pose a serious hazard. To ensure your home and family members remain safe, here are five practices you should adopt.
1. Use the right wood
Wood smoke contains a number of pollutants. To minimize emissions, opt for hardwood like elm, maple, and oak, and avoid softwood such as spruce and fir. Additionally, make sure the logs are clean and dry.
2. Install quality alarms
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Purchase quality devices from a recognized brand, test them regularly, and always have extra batteries on hand.
3. Keep an extinguisher nearby
A single misdirected spark or fallen ember can lead to a devastating fire. Make sure you always have easy access to a fire extinguisher and that you know how to use it.
4. Store ashes safely
Keep your fireplace clean by putting hot ashes in a sealed metal container outdoors and away from buildings and flammable materials. Wait a few days before transferring the ashes to the garbage.
5. Clean the chimney
Get a professional to clean and inspect your chimney every year. This will ensure proper ventilation and reduce the risk of chimney fires.
If you carefully follow these tips, you and your family will be able to safely enjoy the benefits of having a wood-burning fireplace in your home.
Transplant daylilies and hostas in October
When you look at your yard or garden this fall, you probably see plants that should be separated or moved. We’re talking about daylilies that are choking each other so they won’t bloom as well next year.
How about that expensive hosta, for example, that has grown so big it no longer fits where it is? If you separate it, you’ll have two plants next year instead of one overgrown specimen. Here’s how to do it.
* Pick a new site and prepare the soil.
* At dawn or dusk, dig some distance around the old plant so you won’t cut the roots, then lift it out of the ground. Cut off its foliage 1 inch above the base.
* To divide it, place it upright on its side and cut with a large knife or a spade. Plant both parts immediately.
* Pat soil around the plant, leaving a ditch around it that creates a saucer to collect water. Water it regularly for two weeks.
4 benefits of spaying or neutering your puppy
Spaying and neutering are safe procedures and have many advantages. Here are four benefits of sterilizing your puppy.
1. It alleviates behavioral problems
Sterilized dogs are calmer, less aggressive, and less likely to get into fights with other animals. They’re also less likely to run away or mark furniture and other household items.
2. It lowers the risk of disease
Spaying and neutering can reduce or eliminate the risk of reproductive problems such as prostate disease and ovarian, uterine, mammary, and testicular cancers.
3. It increases their lifespan
Sterilized dogs live longer and healthier lives than unsterilized dogs.
4. It helps your community
Spaying and neutering reduce the number of strays in your community and helps prevent overpopulation.
The recovery from this surgery tends to be the easiest on young dogs. In general, it should be done between six and 15 months of age, depending on the breed. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more.
Store it right to prevent back injuries
At home or on the job, storing heavy items properly can cut your risk of back injuries.
Some heavy items should not be stored on the floor, which might seem counter-intuitive.
People tend to store heavy items on the floor since it offers the best stability and support. Heavy objects won’t fall and cause injury when stored on the floor.
But while that’s great for storage, it is terrible for retrieval.
Heavy objects that are frequently lifted should be stored at waist level rather than on the floor or shoulder level.
Lifting a heavy object from the floor — even when you lift properly — is twice as risky as lifting an object while you stand upright, according to Safety and Health Magazine.
That makes perfect sense when you think about it. To retrieve something from the floor, you’ll have to bend down to get it. Even if you lift with your legs and bend your knees, you are still lifting the weight of your body plus the object, putting stress on your back.
Heavy items stored shoulder level or above are not only at risk of falling but also put a strain on the neck and shoulders.
At waist level, you can easily hold an object close to the body to move it while you maintain a straight spine.
If you do have to take something off the floor, lift properly:
* When you must lift a load from the floor, keep your head up, back straight, bend at the hips — not the waist — and lift with the legs.
* Do not twist your body as you walk. Instead, shift your whole form.
* When you’re ready to set down the load, use your leg muscles to lower it to the floor, clear of fingers and toes.
4 tips to communicate better with your teenager
Open and honest communication is a key building block for any healthy relationship. However, when it comes to talking to your teenager, this may not always be easy. Here are some tips to help you converse with your teen.
1. Listen mindfully. This is one of the best things you can do to improve how you communicate with your child. Focus on what’s being said, and don’t interrupt. Let your teen finish their thoughts before you interject.
2. Pay attention to timing. Choose the right moment to have a conversation with your teen, and make sure they’ll have your undivided attention. Having a conversation while participating in an activity together such as walking or cooking can help take the pressure off the conversation and foster an open dialogue.
3. Be understanding. Put yourself in your teen’s shoes. Try to start all conversations from a place of understanding and avoid being judgmental or critical. Your teen will be more likely to confide in you if they feel understood.
4. Tailor your message. Think before you speak and choose your words wisely. Use “I” statements, and avoid making accusations, as they can cause your teen to feel attacked and get defensive.
If you find it difficult to communicate with your teenager, or you’re concerned about changes in their mood or behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Smoke alarms: The sound of fire safety’
Do you know the sounds of fire safety?
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make specific sounds for different situations:
* A continuous set of three loud beeps — beep, beep, beep — means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
* A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
* Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the entire unit must be replaced.
Homeowners sometimes unplug or remove the device after a false alarm. That’s a very dangerous move.
* The kitchen fire alarm is the one most likely to be removed because residents burn toast or food and don’t want to be bothered by the sound. Then they don’t bother to put it back in place. In home fire deaths, some 23 percent of smoke alarms had been purposely disconnected.
* Cooking is still the number one cause of home fires and injuries. One of the most significant things you can do is to update your smoke alarm system.
* Replace batteries and check the alarm to be sure it works.
* Install another smoke alarm in a different area of the house, such as near bedrooms. Interconnected alarms that sound at the same time increase safety.
* Consider having smoke alarms hard-wired into the electrical system. Permanent installation eliminates the task of changing batteries. Hard-wired alarms worked in 91 percent of home fires in recent years, while battery-operated units worked only 75 percent of the time. More than half of smoke alarms in reported fires and two-thirds of alarms in homes with fire deaths were battery operated.
Kids’ Corner: Visualization – a tool that can lead to success
Visualization is a mental tool that anyone can take advantage of to help them achieve positive results. By imagining yourself being successful at a task you want to complete, you’re more likely to attain the desired outcome. Here’s an overview of what you should know about using visualization.
What it is
Visualization involves imagining actions you’re about to take. All you need to do is close your eyes and concentrate on picturing yourself performing each movement. You can also try doing some gestures with your eyes closed. Visualization is particularly effective if it’s done in the space where the performance or event will take place.
Reasons to use it
Visualization improves communication between the neurons in your brain and your muscles. It can help increase your confidence and motivation, as well as keep you calm and focused before an important event.
When to use it
You can use visualization to help you successfully execute a gymnastics routine, dance number, music production, or other performance. You can also use it prior to giving a speech, auditioning for a show, competing in a race, or participating in any other type of event to help you attain positive results.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying to use the power of visualization to achieve your goals.