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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 2)

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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New HomeIn a new home or neighborhood, preparing for emergencies in advance might just save you or your family member’s life. In Part 2, we cover the basics for inside your house.

Know your home:

Learn how to turn off gas, electrical and water lines in the event a disaster damages power lines near your home. Memorize the easiest exits from all rooms in your home. Keep hallways and doorways clear of clutter on a regular basis to avoid family members being trapped, confused, or injured if the power goes out or during an emergency evacuation.

In a new home you go the builder will give you a walk-thru.  This is the time to make sure you are familiar with all utility shut offs. Especially water, gas and electric. In a resale home, you may not have that information.  During the inspection period, make sure the inspectors point out the shut off valves or switches.  Have the proper shut off tools in an easy access area.

Build A Kit

Create and maintain an emergency kit and keep your kit in an accessible place.

  • Water: Keep at least a 3-day supply of water for everyone in your family. This means 1 gallon of water, per person, each day.
    Ready.gov advises adding a small amount of household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to your kit. “When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color-safe or bleaches with added cleaners.”
  • Medicine: Keep a 7+ day supply of any medicine your family needs.
  • Food: Keep a supply of non-perishable food that you can make easily.
  • Tools: Buy an extra tool set. Add any additional gear you may need specific to your emergency zone. Keep several flashlights, matches, a camera, whistle, dust masks, can opener and a map of the local area. Add to your set plenty of batteries (any type you need for a radio, hearing aids, cordless power supply, flashlights, etc.).
  • Clothing and Comfort: Prepare a 3+ day supply of varying types of clothing for each person in your family. Keep and emergency blanket and personal sanitation wipes and towels in the kit.
  • Radio: invest in a battery operated or hand-crank radio so you can stay informed.
  • Contacts: Buy an emergency cell phone (a pre-paid one works fine), keep it charged, and with your kit—keep a charger in the kit that you do not remove. Put all your emergency contacts in the phone AND in a notebook in the kit.
  • Paperwork: If possible, prepare copies of all important documents for you and your family.
  • Situation Specific: Remember to adjust the content of this kit for your situation and your family. If you have babies, elderly family members, or pets, if you live in the city or the country, in a single-family home or a multi-unit building the items you need for your kit will vary. Make sure you know what you need.
  • Pets: Many shelters cannot accommodate pets. Find pet-friendly shelters in advance and assemble a pet-specific kit to keep your “best friend” safe.

Involve Your Family

Do not wait until emergency strikes to make sure your family knows what to do. You might be prepared, but if the whole family is not on board it can be a struggle to keep everyone safe. Walk your children through the emergency process you design and make sure they have an understandable instruction manual to reference (we suggest images like on airplanes) if you are not home and they need to act. Post the instructions on the fridge, in the bathroom and on the interior of their bedroom door. Make sure they know exactly how to reach you and emergency services.

Prepare well in advance for important documents or treasured photos. An option is to store images of them on a cloud server accessible from any computer. That way, you are not tempted to waste time searching for them when you need to leave your home.

Compliments of Virtual Results and Sheri Sperry, Sedona Real Estate Expert

How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 1)

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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New HomeWhen you move into your new home, you may not think to revise and update your emergency plan, but natural disasters strike without warning. Avoid being caught without a plan in place at your new address. Here are ten steps to take to make sure you are ready the day you move in and continue staying prepared to keep your family safe.

Plan for safety and make a plan:

Sounds simple, right? Despite all of the natural disasters, fires, storms and mishaps in the news, many people do not have a plan for where to go, what to do, and how to reconnect with family members.

1. Learn what disasters affect your area and stay in the loop to receive early warning. Local city or community websites often provide information about natural disasters affecting your area. Use your community’s resources to prepare.

  • WEAs: The national weather service provides free Wireless Emergency Updates (WEAs)—text message warnings and updates customized to your area. Check with your wireless carrier to make sure your device is WEA-capable and the service is enabled. Capable devices automatically receive government updates.
  • Check out apps like Weather Bug and Simple Weather Alert that offer weather warnings straight to your phone or desktop.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for information.

2. Know where to find shelter locations and learn how to “shelter in place”: Make sure you know where in your home is the safest and what community resources you can rely on to help you if you are not able to get home. If you have children, investigate the emergency response plan at their school to double-check their safety outside the home.

  • Hurricanes: Turn off propane tanks and small appliances. Switch your fridge and freezer to the highest setting and secure them closed if possible (if the power goes out you’ll want the cold to last as long as possible). Close all windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If possible, board up any windows without hurricane shutters (hurricane specific items to keep in the kit discussed below).
  • Tornadoes and Thunderstorms: Know where your safest underground shelter is at work and at home, i.e.: basement, storm cellar, etc. If you do not have an underground shelter, find your most protected interior room such as a closet, hallway, or bathroom.
  • Floods: When you receive a flood warning, whether at home or outside, move immediately to higher ground. If you are outdoors, be aware of drainage channels, canyons, or streams nearby. They fill with water quickly and may cut off your evacuation route.
  • Earthquakes: Secure furnishings, decor, and appliances to avoid damage or injury during ground movement.
  • Safe Spots: Know the safe spots in your home—inside walls and under furniture—and areas in your home to avoid near hanging objects, windows, and mirrors.
  • Self Protection: When an earthquake starts, drop to your hands and knees and move to the nearest safe spot immediately while covering your head and neck. Secure yourself and continue bracing your head and neck.
  • Fire: When a fire occurs in your home, get out and stay out. Move to safety before calling 911. Create a map of your home and memorize all possible exits to escape the fire. Practice low-crawling and Stop, Drop & Roll. Select a meeting place for your family so everyone knows where to go once they get out safely.
  • Evacuation Preparedness: City or community-wide evacuations can be chaotic and scary; keep yourself calm and safe by preparing ahead. Make sure your safety kit (below) is accessible in the event you need to evacuate quickly. Keep extra fuel available for your vehicle—you may not have enough warning to get to a gas station before needing to evacuate. Visit your local community website to learn the evacuation procedures and locations for your area so you know what to do. Obey evacuation orders immediately. Stalling to “see if you really need to” puts yourself and others in danger and taxes emergency personnel unduly.

 

Compliments of Virtual Results

Use Memorial Day Sales to Your Home’s Advantage!

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Memorial Day SalesKeeping your home comfortable and up-to-date seems like an expensive endeavor. With trends changing so fast, our wallets can hardly keep up! Lucky for us, Memorial Day is just around the corner. If you shop smart at the sales this holiday you can give your home the facelift you desire.

5 Simple and Affordable Options to Look for Deals on This Holiday:

1. Curtains: For bathrooms, bedrooms, or living rooms, a simple curtain change can do wonders to the look of your room. Memorial Day is great for getting those curtains you have been lusting after for months, on clearance! Look for great deals on trending summer patterns. If you shop early and wisely, you can update multiple rooms in your home by making the one simple change.

2. Couch and Chair Covers: Want to lighten your furniture for summer? Look for great couch covers to change up your look and create a blank canvas for new colors and patterns. Try out upholstery changes in your dining room by purchasing chair covers with patterns and colors similar to upholstery changes you might be considering.

3. Throw Pillows and Blankets: Experiment with new colors and patterns without breaking your budget or making big changes to your home using pillows and throws. Find new styles to mix and match this summer and let them marinate in your home a couple months before you make more permanent renovations.

4. Duvet Covers: Give your boudoir multiple personalities to match your different moods! You will keep your wallet in check by giving yourself simple ways to switch it up without making large purchases.

5. Rugs: Rugs come in varying sizes, shapes and prices but you don’t have to make a large investment to get something classic, classy and fun. Summer rugs are usually lightweight canvas, jute, and sisal. These materials add a fresh, airiness to your home that is great for warmer months. Shop rug sales over the next few weeks and grab yourself a second option to use until winter!

Great Stores for Home Decor Deals:

Online and Off

TIP: Many of these stores offer their best deals on site instead of online. This being the case, we remind you of a typical sales tip. GO EARLY! Most of these shops are located in or near malls; you might only be shopping decor but everyone and their mother is shopping for something. Be sure to get in early to get what you want!

Online Only Shopping

TIP: Many stores/brands also have an Amazon or Wayfair presence in addition to their brick and mortar location or even their own website. Since consumers expect to find deals at these locations, sometimes it is best to find what you want online then search for it again at a place like Amazon—pricing is not always different, but when every dollar counts, it is worth the extra Googling.

Plus! Do not forget to check in with your local boutiques. They might be small but they love to get you a good deal too! Big stores seem to have better sales, but a truly unique home comes form that special piece that only you have.

TIP: Check in with your favorite boutiques early and make sure you know when their sales start. Small shops do not carry as much inventory as chain stores and they tend to start their sales a couple days (or weekends) early to keep up with the competition.

Our Gift to You! Here are some links to promo codes and coupons for upcoming sales!

Compliments of Virtual Results

Enjoy the Backyard of Your Home More

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Enjoy the Backyard of Your Home MoreSpring is in the air and its time to journey outside your home and enjoy the crisp air, beautiful flowers and sunshine.  Chances are you will find yourself spending more time outside enjoying this new season and catching up with the pruning, trimming and gardening around your home.

You may have recently bought a home and have plans to create a playground in your backyard or outdoor kitchen, too.

Whatever your reason for stepping outside, you’ll probably notice some areas you can improve around your home, before summer comes and you begin a season of entertaining outdoors.  As you look over your backyard or patio, take the time to notice the feelings you have in that space.

Is the yard of your home relaxing and inviting?

Your week is filled with the hustle-bustle of life, with time constraints, and demands placed upon you by others, shouldn’t your evenings and weekends be a time of enjoyment and reflection?

If you agree that your home and its exterior space should be an oasis of sorts, start small and consider adding a fountain or fire pit to your landscaping to make your yard more retreat-like.  Perhaps a backyard swing or an outdoor kitchen is more to your liking.  Gather your dreams in online ideabooks on websites like Houzz or Zillow digs and plan out the next project for your home.  Just thinking about it will make you smile.

Vacationing Away From Your Home

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Vacationing Away From Your Home

Warmer weather and cloud-free skies may have you dreaming of leaving your home for a vacation.

No matter where you choose to journey for your break away trip, take the time to make preparations to your home before leaving.

A few smart steps toward protecting your home while you are way, could mean the world to you when you return.

 

Tips For Securing Your Home

 

  • Appoint a look-out.  Ask a good friend or “watch-worthy” neighbor to keep an eye on your place while you’re away.
  • Wait until after you return from vacation to post your photos to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Otherwise you are alerting “friends” and others that may be less than friendly of your absence.
  • Think about ways to keep your home from looking empty while you are vacationing.  From house sitters and timers to placing holds on your mail and newspaper delivery, there is plenty you can do to make your home seem less vacant. 
  • Secure your garage door and any pet entrances with locks before leaving town as it can provide easier access to your home.
  • Timed lights, a well-kept home, and motion detectors can be a deterrent to thieves as well.
  • And although pets can be a great deterrent to those who may harm your home, when you leave town, you must make arrangements for their boarding and care.

 

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