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Time to Assess Autumn Risks

Posted October 31, 2012 in Adel, Advice Column

Fall is my favorite time of year, bringing crisp weather and color-changing leaves.

It’s always a busy time as well, as we hurry to finish up all those projects that didn’t quite get done over the summer and prepare for the inevitable winter weather to come. Fall and winter also bring increased risks for fire and other dangers, so be sure to keep safety in mind as you work around your home and yard.

Every month should be fire prevention month, but we tend to plug in a lot more devices in the fall and winter. It’s important to test all smoke alarms and have a family fire drill. Remember to replace used and expired fire extinguishers as well.

Turn your furnace on before the temperatures really plummet so you can ensure it works. An annual checkup by a technician now may save you an emergency service call later.

If you use a portable or space heater, keep it away from clothing, bedding, drapery and furniture. Remember to shut them off if you leave the house, and don’t leave them unattended if you have children or pets.

If you have a fireplace, inspect the chimney to confirm it is free of debris and creosote buildup. Make sure the bricks, mortar and liner are in good condition.

Avoid laundry room fires by cleaning filters after each load and removing lint that collects in dryer vents.

Do a quick check for areas that may need repair before extreme weather hits. Clean out gutters of leaves and debris, check roof shingles to be sure they are in good condition for wind, ice and snow, check windows for deteriorated sills and putty to prevent water damage to walls and ceilings.

Temperatures can also affect driving conditions. Frost can form on the road surface without being visible, so be cautious in wooded areas, bridges and overpasses, where ice can quickly develop. Remember, leaves plus rain can also make for a very slippery surface.

In Iowa we have a saying — “Don’t veer for deer.” Meaning, don’t swerve. You could lose control of the car quickly, especially if you are on a curve or narrow road with little to no shoulder. Instead, brake firmly with both hands on the wheel to come to a controlled stop.

Make the fall season safe and get outside to enjoy the great weather as long as it lasts.

Information provided by Lori Brocka, owner/agent, Reich & Loynachan Agency, 993-4135





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