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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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Kitchen Fires Spike during Holidays: Keep Your Family Safe

November 27, 2014 1:44 am

(BPT)—During the holidays, more Americans spend time in the kitchen preparing meals for family and friends. That additional kitchen time also means added risk of home fires. In fact, according to claims data from Liberty Mutual Insurance, three times more fires occur on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day than on any other days of the year, yet many Americans aren't practicing basic kitchen safety.

More than half of Americans plan to cook for family and friends during the holidays, with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more, based on findings from a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance. However, the majority of people admit to engaging in dangerous cooking behaviors which increase the likelihood of kitchen fires, including leaving cooking food unattended to watch television, talk or text on the phone, or do laundry. Even more concerning is that nearly one-third admit to disabling a smoke alarm while cooking.

These dangerous cooking behaviors not only risk the safety of your loved ones, but can result in significant economic repercussions. In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home structure fires, and caused 470 deaths, 5,390 injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

"The hectic nature of entertaining during the holidays makes it easy to overlook even the most basic cooking safety rules," says Tom Harned, fire safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and Chief Fire Officer in Gilbertsville, Pa.

Harned encourages all home chefs to follow these simple fire-safety tips:

1. Stay in the kitchen. Don't leave the kitchen when you are frying, broiling or grilling. If you leave the kitchen even for a brief time, be sure to turn off all the burners on the stovetop. Don't use the stovetop or oven if you are tired or have consumed alcohol or drugs.

2. Set a timer as a reminder that the range or stove is on. Ranges were involved in three of every five home cooking fires in 2011, with ovens accounting for 16 percent of home fires, according to the NFPA. Check your food frequently, and use a timer to remind yourself that the range, stove or oven is on. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.

3. Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stovetop. Pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels and other flammable objects should be kept a safe distance from the stovetop.

4. Keep a lid or cookie sheet, baking soda and oven mitt nearby when you're cooking to use in case of a grease fire. Fire extinguisher use without training can cause a grease fire to spread and increase the chances of serious injury.

5. Ensure your smoke alarm is fully functional before the holiday cooking season begins. Install a photoelectric smoke alarm (or one having a hush button feature) that is at least 10 feet away from your kitchen and use the test button to check it each month. Replace the battery at least once per year and never disable a smoke alarm.

"If you're considering disabling a smoke alarm, think about this: almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms," says Harned. "In addition to following basic safety rules in the kitchen this holiday season, everyone should have a home fire escape plan with at least two ways out of every room. Practice at least twice a year to ensure the safety of everyone in your home all year long."

Source: Liberty Mutual

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

November 27, 2014 1:44 am

(Family Features)—Heather Loenser, DVM, knows first-hand the joys and challenges of traveling with her dog. She and her family recently adopted a year-old Border collie named Calvin.

"As a new dog in our house, Calvin is experiencing some separation anxiety, so we don't want to board him or leave him with a pet sitter," Dr. Loenser explained. "Even though he suffers from car sickness, when the family goes on vacation, Calvin comes with us."

Dr. Loenser is often called upon to help her clients prepare for vacations with their dogs. Her top five travel tips are:

1. Consider Car Safety

When it comes to car trips, practice safety first. In some states, it is illegal for dogs to ride unrestrained in a vehicle. The Center for Pet Safety tests vehicle restraints for dogs; their recommendations can be found at www.centerforpetsafety.org.

2. Be a Considerate Guest

Whether at a pet-friendly hotel or at the in-laws' house, not everyone will love your dog as much as you do. Make sure your dog is well-groomed and don't forget canine etiquette. A quick refresher course in the basics commands: sit, down, stay, quiet and come will help make your dog welcome wherever you go.

3. Take First Aid on the Road

Accidents happen; be prepared with a mobile app offered by the American Red Cross. It contains veterinary advice for everyday emergencies, interactive features and a locator for American Animal Hospital Association-accredited hospitals across the nation. Download the app at: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/pet-first-aid-app.

4. Avoid Dietary Changes

Stay as close to your dog's regular feeding schedule as possible and avoid giving extra treats or different types of foods that may upset their stomach. Dr. Loenser suggests giving regular meals in a food dispensing toy, which will also help use up some stored energy from the trip.

5. Consult Your Veterinarian

One of the main reasons dogs get left behind is, like Calvin, they suffer from motion sickness. "My clients often try over-the-counter remedies first," Dr. Loenser said. "However, OTC products are not very effective and have a sedative effect that can be unpleasant for the dog."

"I prescribe an FDA approved medication for dogs called CERENIA(r) (maropitant citrate) to prevent vomiting due to motion sickness in my canine clients 16 weeks and older - and Calvin." Dr. Loenser knows it is safe and effective because it's the medicine she uses every day to prevent and treat other causes of vomiting in her patients. She advises dog owners to talk to their veterinarians who can help find a solution for their dogs' car sickness.

"When you think about it, taking your dog along on vacation can be less expensive than paying for a kennel or dog sitter. That leaves more to spend on fun activities to enjoy with your dog."

Source: Cerenia

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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