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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

My Blog

Holiday Handbook: Tips for Safe Decorating

November 16, 2015 12:57 am

Adorning your home with twinkling lights this holiday season? Keep safety in mind, urges the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), inside and outside your home.

“Winter is the peak season for home fires, but these fires can be prevented by adopting a proactive approach to safety,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Communications for the NFPA. “Understanding the hazards that are commonly associated with the holiday season and following basic safety guidelines can help ensure that the holiday season is happy and disaster-free.”

“Electrical problems are factors in one-third of home Christmas tree fires,” adds ESFI President Brett Brenner. “Be sure not to overburden your electrical system, and be vigilant for warning signs, such as blown fuses or flickering lights, that could signify a serious electrical problem.”

To keep your household safe from fire this season, the NFPA and the ESFI recommend the following tips:

• Avoid using candles when possible.  Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.

• Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight.

• Choose holiday decorations made with flame-resistant or non-combustible materials.

• Use only electrical decorations and lights that have been approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

• Carefully inspect each electrical decoration before use. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

• Follow the use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations, and always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.

• Keep young children away from holiday lights, electrical decorations, and extension cords to prevent electrical shock and burn injuries.

• Avoid plugging too many holiday lights and decorations into a single outlet. Overloaded outlets can overheat and cause a fire.

• Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation. 

• Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.

• Make sure any electrical decorations used outdoors are marked for outdoor use.

• Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.

• Use caution when decorating near power lines. Contact with a high-voltage line could lead to electrocution.

• Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Additionally, those purchasing Christmas trees should choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. (A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree.) Add water to the tree stand daily. If purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. Ensure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

Source: ESFI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


10 Things Not to Buy at the Grocery Store

November 13, 2015 12:54 am

According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average family goes to the supermarket 1.6 times each week and spends an average of $102.90 weekly.

Watching for sales and using coupons can make a dent in the weekly tab. But, say  MarketWatch consumer editors, you’ll almost always pay a premium for some items at the grocery store. To help pare your weekly spend on food and related items, here’s a list of 10 things not to buy at the supermarket:

Beer and Wine – Alcoholic beverages almost always cost between 10 and 20 percent more at the grocery store than at warehouse club stores.

Individually Packaged Snacks – If you regularly buy small bags of chips, crackers, and other lunchbox snacks, you can save 10 percent or more by buying them in quantity through Amazon. Better yet, buy larger, more economical packages and repackage them into sandwich bags.

Cakes – Buy that next birthday cake at a warehouse store, where you’ll pay $18 or less for a half-sheet cake instead of that much or more for a quarter sheet at the grocery store.

Kitchenware – It’s convenient to buy that frying pan or muffin tin while doing your weekly shopping, but you’ll pay an average of 30 percent more at the supermarket than you will at discount retailers or even at the local dollar store.

Office and School Supplies – They are much in evidence everywhere, especially at back-to-school time, but there are few bargains at the grocery store. Look for loss-leader prices at office, big-box, or drug stores.

Personal Hygiene Products – Everything from shampoo and deodorant to razors and blow dryers will cost significantly less at the big-box stores than at the supermarket.

Batteries – For worthwhile savings, buy them at big-box or warehouse stores, or from Amazon. Or pay pennies on the dollar for off-brand batteries at the dollar store.

Cleaning Supplies – There are great savings everywhere if you buy generic brands, but you can save as much as 40 percent on soaps and cleaners by buying them at the dollar store or big-box retailer.

Greeting Cards, Gift Wrap and Balloons – Save up to 50 percent on these items at the dollar store.

Spices – Never pay supermarket prices. Save big at the dollar store, which has a huge selection of commonly used spices.

Published with permission from RISMedia.