Ensuring Your Home against a Fire

Fire safety is something that you should be prepared for at all times of the year but as we get into the winter season, and some of the coldest months of the year, it’s important to be vigilant about protecting our families and our home.

Our home is filled with loved ones and personal belongings that often time carry a sentimental value so safeguarding what’s closest to us should start from the moment you move in. During the final walkthrough with your realtor, test and make sure the smoke alarms in the residence you’re about to close on are working.

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Owners of one-and two family residences must have installed in their home a working smoke detector that provides an audible alarm within each sleeping area. This sound provides an early warning to those sleeping that there is a fire and a greater chance of getting out of the home immediately. It is a requirement for every home in New York State.

Did you know that if a fire starts you have less than two minutes to get out safely? In such a short amount of time you have to be ready to spring into action and one of the ways to do so safely without wasting a moment is to already have a fire escape plan in place that has been practiced on a regular basis. Once you move into your new home, formulate that plan early on and make sure everyone is prepared in the event a fire breaks out.

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Escape Plan

  • Know two ways out of every room.
  • A closed door can stop the spread of gas, heat and smoke.
  • Have a meeting place outside your home.
  • Know how to call 9-1-1 from outside to report a fire.
  • Practice your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home at least twice a year

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While there are many different reasons why fires break out here are the top five:

  • Kitchen – Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. It takes only seconds for a pot or a pan to overheat and grease to splatter. Most kitchen fires start because people get distracted; never leave an open flame unattended.
  • Heating Equipment – Have your furnace checked annually and if your home has a fireplace, make sure to have the chimney cleaned and inspected. During the colder months many people use portable space heaters; these can be dangerous if used improperly. Keep them away from anything that can burn and never use them to dry clothes or shoes.
  • Smoking – If you must smoke, try and do it outside. Your bedroom should be off limits; how many times do you get drowsy, just lying in bed, watching TV. A lit or improperly extinguished cigarette is dangerous. And never put an ashtray on or near anything that will burn.
  • Electrical equipment – With all of the gadgets and electronics that are out there these days it’s easy to overload outlets with plugs; do not overuse extension cords. Also, be careful of do-it-yourself electrical projects. Sometimes it’s best to leave those in the hands of a professional electrician. And check to ensure your appliances do not have loose or frayed cords/plugs.
  • Candles – Who doesn’t love the smell of a scented candle! But they be dangerous if not used properly. Keep all candles on a level surface in a sturdy holder away from combustible materials and out of the reach of children and pets.

Remember… only working smoke detectors save lives.

  • TEST your smoke detectors at least once a month. Push the test button or blow smoke into the detector.
  • CLEAN your detectors at least once a year to remove dust.
  • REPLACE the battery every year. Better yet, twice a year – when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Replace the smoke detector after 10 years.

Tips for Beating the Bugs this Summer

When the warmer months arrive we all ease off the Netflix and crawl out from hibernation. Unfortunately our bug buddies think they’re invited to come out and celebrate the sun too. We’ve put together some tips to help keep your home bug-free, because the best place for a bug’s life is in your DVD player.


Stop! Put down that toxic spray full of chemicals! Ants may be able to carry 5,000 times their body weight, but there are a number of natural walls that those tiny pests just can’t get over.

  • Before putting cucumbers in your fresh summer salad, peel them and leave the peels wherever those antagonizers are entering your home.
  • Before putting that lemon slice in your margarita, squeeze a little into the holes or cracks where the pests are sneaking in.
  • Herbs like spearmint and peppermint have plenty of purposes, and when planted around the periphery of your home, will repel those little guys by thousants!


Just like vampires, these bloodsuckers are not so fond of garlic. Eating garlic gives you a repelling scent that these guys (and maybe your friends) will want to steer clear of. For an attractive and more pleasant smelling repellent, plant lemongrass, citronella and lavender in window planters and outdoor areas where you entertain to make your home a nosquito zone!

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 9.07.54 PMCockroaches

With these creepy crawlies, prevention is key. After reducing clutter, vacuuming, washing hard surfaces and cleaning kitchen appliances, the next step is to shut the roach rascals out. Identify cracks and holes where they might enter and fill them with boric acid, silica gel, or diatomaceous earth – available at most hardware stores. Be sure to pest-proof your food in airtight containers, keep your trash contained, put your food away immediately and don’t even think about leaving those dishes to “soak” in the sink overnight!

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If they can infiltrate the United Nations, none of us are safe. We’re getting itchy just writing this. Apart from resisting the urge to take home delicious street furniture, the best way to prevent bed bugs is to defend your perimeter. Sprinkle that magical diatomaceous earth dust in cracks and crevices in baseboards and moldings, around radiators and service lines. After dusting, seal cracks with caulk. For extra protection spray perimeters of baseboards with an insecticide spray like Bedlam.

fruit2Fruit Flies

Like us, these guys are wine lovers. Have a bottle of Chateau Diana sitting around that a “friend” brought over and that you’re never going to drink? Pour a glass out for your fly foes, add a little detergent to it, and voila, the demise of the flies.