Halloween 2014

pumpkinsThe fall weather has been a pleasant surprise lately, but winter will soon be upon us!  Hope it will hold out for a great Halloween night for kids and adults alike.  Read on for some tips on carving your pumpkin like an expert and staying safe on Halloween night.

T.

Pumpkin Carving

carvingCarving a pumpkin is easy, according to Tom Nardone of Extreme Pumpkins. Although many of the methods he uses apply to anyone, he gives a few suggestions, shortcuts and tricks on carving the perfect pumpkin.

Here are Tom’s Top 8 Pumpkin Carving Tips:

1. Choose the right pumpkin. I like them taller than they are wide because that is the shape of a face. I also like them big and ugly because that makes them look interesting.

carving22. Decapitation or Back Surgery?: You don’t have to take off the top, you can also take of the bottom or the back,. I cut off the bottom if I want the top to look untouched and I cut off the back if I want to use the entire front, top, and bottom for a design. Regardless, you do want to get in there and remove the seeds, if you don’t the squirrels will.

3. Cutting the Plug: Decapitating is the toughest thing to do, the top of the pumpkin is woody and tough. You need a strong blade. I use a drywall saw for this. They don’t cost much, about $6 and they are hard to match. If I didn’t have one, I’d use a filet knife and I’d be cautious. Cut the plug to be a cone-shape with a little jog in it, so that it comes out easily and fits back easily too.

carving34. Scoop the goop: I use my ice cream scoop. Not only that, but I’ve gotten my arm dirty enough times to have developed a way to stay fairly clean. Scrape around the sides, starting from the hole opening to the bottom. Then, after all of the walls are scraped, dump the pumpkin into the trash. Easy!

5. Draw the face: I use dry erase markers because if you don’t like your work, you can erase it! Also, after you are done, your pumpkin won’t end up with an accidental layer of guy-liner that screams “sloppy”.

6. I’m really lazy, so I use power tools to carve my pumpkins. Sure, a kit from the store will do the trick, but I want it done quickly. Mostly I use my jigsaw to remove chunks (like eyes and the mouth) and then a rotary tool to carve away the skin. For big areas I’m not afraid to break out an angle grinder. It removes the pumpkin skin and can even be used to shape the pumpkin.

carving47. Great Props Are Everywhere. I look for fun props everywhere, but my favorite places are the grocery store, home depot, and the craft store. I like to use twizzlers for dreadlocks, wood chips for teeth, taffy for tongues, home insulation for brains, all sorts of things. I’ve become the best pumpkin carver on the block by using some really cheap gags and you can too.

8. Preserving Your Pumpkin: Pumpkins rot. But yours doesn’t have to rot as quickly. When my pumpkin is done, I spray it with bathroom cleaner with bleach. This keeps the bugs, mold, and animals away.

Now to find the perfect place to show off your creation!  Enjoy!

Halloween Safety

…from our Fire Department

BEFORE HALLOWEEN NIGHT 

  • costumePlan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglemnent or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick or treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Secure  emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
  • Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
  • Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical lightsticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
  • This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home smoke alarm.
  • Teach children their home phone number and how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free from any phone.
  • Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll” should their clothes catch fire.
  • Take extra time to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.

BEFORE NIGHTFALL ON HALLOWEEN

  • ghost-lightsA good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider safety when decorating.  Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exterior doors.  To light up your path or sidewalk, why not take some empty plastic bottles, paint on a face and throw in a glow stick?  Safe and easy!
  • While children can help with the fun of designing a Jack O’ Lantern, leave the carving to adults.
  • Always keep Jack O’Lanterns and hot electrical lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children or pets will be standing or walking.
  • Plan and review with your children the route and behaviour which is acceptable to you.
  • Do not permit children to bicycle, roller blade or skateboard.
  • Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
  • Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare the household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds.  Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags.
  • Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
  • Adult party-goers should establish and reward a designated driver.

Labour Day Weekend 2014

Here it is… Labour Day weekend!  It’s the last weekend of the summer and time to prepare for the fall season and getting the kids back to school!  What a beautiful summer this has been!  Hope it’s been an awesome summer for all of you, with some vacation time and lots of outdoor activity!  As we enter into Labour Day, I hope you’ll enjoy your plans, whatever they may be – enjoying the cottage, finishing up on team sports or preparing for back to school days!

T.

Back To School!

back-to-schoolNo matter what age, all kids can use a gentle check-in from their parents about any anxieties they may be feeling about heading back to school. So as Sandra Mendlowitz, a psychologist in the anxiety program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, says, “You want the child starting the year off in a confident manner.”

The hallmark of anxiety is avoidance of the thing that is scaring us; for kids, that means they simply won’t want to go to school. The most common way this manifest itself physically is a stomach ache, Dr. Mendlowitz sas. It’s not fake, either; it’s a real physiological response. “It starts the night before or the morning of as the stressor approaches. And if the child doesn’t go to school, the stomach ache goes away.”

For younger children, to ease your kids’ fears, experts suggest mapping out the routine, even walking the route to school a few times. Some teachers will have had open doors this week, but even if you missed that chance, visiting the school back-to-school-2grounds can still be soothing.  If you’ve been the primary caregiver or seem to be more attached with your four-year-old , it may be clear that she is going to melt down as you try to peel her off you. It may be a good idea to send your spouse or an older sibling to walk to school with the child. And Dr. Mendlowitz says kids are never too young to learn simple deep-breathing techniques to calm themselves down.

Maybe you thought you were in the clear once your kids made it out of kindergarten alive? Transitions to a new school – especially giant high schools for Grade 9 – can be tough for other reasons, including fears around failure, bullying and hazing.  The anxiety of being at the bottom of the food chain can be paralyzing, Dr. Mendlowitz says. It’s not uncommon to speak to teens who have not visited their lockers for six months because they have forgotten the combination she says. “They say, ‘I don’t know who to ask.’ They’re afraid to look stupid.”

And let’s not forget, they are also in perhaps the toughest stage of human development. It’s an adolescent’s job to reject his parents. But he, too, may beg to stay home one day, paralyzed by anxiety. You can help them best by not pointing out this disconnect.

back-to-school-3“Listening is the most important skill for these older kids. You may think you know exactly what is bothering them, but you might be way off base.’ And once the lines of communication are open, resist the urge to share your own anxieties about high school. This is not the time to talk about drugs, sex or online porn.

Rule # 1. Don’t let them skip school. Parents have to be firm. Consider going to school the best way to conquer their fears. “Every day you do it, it becomes easier.” Routine is critical for children of all ages. In this case, experts say, the goal is to make what was once scary totally boring.

You know your children and what can work for them. For her kids, books and role-playing are big – when the boys faced some recurring fears around monsters, she dug out books that used humour to dispel the fears, such as Go Away Big Green Monster. Art therapy was less successful. When one parent got out paper and asked them to ‘draw their anger’ they looked at her like she was daft.

Also, don’t forget that your face is the ultimate mirror. Listen to your child’s concerns, of course, but don’t be all weepy and sad yourself. Be pleased and excited for your child.  Others suggest telling your own stories about school jitters – complete, of course, with a happy ending.

Needing help? How can you figure out whether your child’s anxiety is within the normal range or if you should see a professional? Dr. Mendlowitz says it’s handy to know the definition of a disorder as a constellation of symptoms that interfere with a child’s ability to function.  The most common type of anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder, in which children are often described as “worrywarts.” One lesser-known disorder, separation anxiety disorder, can affect teenagers who can’t shed the fierce reluctance to leave a parent that is common among toddlers. It’s the only anxiety disorder exclusive to childhood and the prevalence rate is about 4 per cent for school-aged children and 1.3 per cent of teens, Dr. Mendlowitz says. Ten per cent of North American kids experience some form of clinical anxiety. “That’s a large group,” Dr. Mendlowitz says. “Larger than any other medical problem, but it’s often overlooked.”

Excerpt from the Globe and Mail by Tralee Pearce, 2012

 

Crime Stoppers

A ‘shout out’ to Crime Stoppers for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the Niagara Region. There are unique policing challenges in Niagara with urban and rural development, a large influx of tourists, our proximity to the States and the effect of the nation’s busiest borders as well as a major summer cottage population in varying communities and a waterfront shoreline that surrounds the Niagara Region on 3 sides.  Crime Stoppers helps to provide a greater awareness in the community that there is a crime problem, a willingness by the community to fight back against crime if it is given the opportunity and motivation. and improved relationships between police, media, and the community.
Crime Stoppers is definitely here to stay. It has been accepted by police as a valid and effective investigative tool and the public, through its overwhelming response, appears to have accepted it as a more palatable alternative to traditional methods of giving information.

Thank you for the many Crime Stoppers volunteers and leaders in our community!  For more information, or to volunteer, click  Crime Stoppers.

P.S. It was a great experience to be one of the main sponsors at the Niagara Falls Crime Stoppers’ Convention in June this year.  Here are a couple of pictures from the day’s events.

Ernie Sibbett, Board Member, Carolyn Robertson & Me

Ernie Sibbett, Board Member, Carolyn Robertson & Me

Sponsored a Sightseeing Tour Bus

Sponsored a Sightseeing Tour Bus

Clocks Fall Back!!

clock-2.jpgSunday, November 6th, is coming this weekend.

This is the date we change our clocks back to Standard Time. Spring forward -Fall back.

This is also the best time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old it is recommended that it be replaced. They have a life span of about 10 years.

Carbon monoxide detectors are a different matter; they have a life span of about 5 years before they should be replaced.

This is also a good time to get into the habit of testing your smoke alarm on a regular basis.

A candle will smolder after it is blown out. This smoke should activate the smoke alarm if placed directly below it.

REMEMBER: Only WORKING smoke alarms save lives!

Test YOUR smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors today.

T.

Timothy Salisbury
Broker
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage
www.timothysalisbury.com
email@timothysalisbury.com
office ( 905) 937-6000
Toll Free 1-800-467-8498

P.S.: Remember, a referral is sending someone you care about to someone you respect. Please don’t keep me a secret! Who is the next person you know looking to buy or sell real estate?

Clocks Fall Back!!

clock-2.jpgSunday November 1st, is coming this weekend.

This is the date we change our clocks back to Standard Time. Spring forward -Fall back.

This is also the best time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old it is recommended that it be replaced. They have a life span of about 10 years.

Carbon monoxide detectors are a different matter; they have a life span of about 5 years before they should be replaced.

This is also a good time to get into the habit of testing your smoke alarm on a regular basis.

A candle will smolder after it is blown out. This smoke should activate the smoke alarm if placed directly below it.

REMEMBER: Only WORKING smoke alarms save lives!

Test YOUR smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors today.

T.

Timothy Salisbury
Broker
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage
www.timothysalisbury.com
email@timothysalisbury.com
office ( 905) 937-6000
Toll Free 1-800-467-8498

P.S.: Remember, a referral is sending someone you care about to someone you respect. Please don’t keep me a secret! Who is the next person you know looking to buy or sell real estate?

Spring into Fire Safety

thefireguy.jpg

Spring has finally arrived. Time to put away the snow shovel, and get out the lawn mower.

Let’s not forget safety.

Change the oil, install new spark plugs and new filters. Clean the mower deck and sharpen the blade. Move the mower to the outside. Re-fill the gas tank with fresh fuel taking care to prevent spills and carefully wiping up any that does. Now is the time to start your mower. Always run any gasoline engines out doors, preventing Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Before mowing, clear the lawn area of all debris that could be thrown by the mower.

Gasoline should always be stored in safety containers in the storage shed or garage. NEVER inside the house. Gasoline fumes can KILL.

Barbecue Safety

Time to get out the BBQ and get ready to cook outdoors !

First we have to clean up from the long winter. Wash off the outside with soap and water. Remove the briquettes and inspect the burner for rust and other damage. If large holes are present, this will cause erratic heating and poor heat distribution.

Check the venturi tube running from the valves to the burners for obstructions. Spiders love to nest in there during the winter. These obstructions must be removed, as they will impede the propane flow.

Move the BBQ outdoors. Now is the time to install the propane tank. Always check all connections with soapy water for leaks and re-tighten as necessary. Open the lid and follow the manufacturers  instructions for lighting. – Happy Barbecuing –

Yard Clean-up

Time to move outdoors and clean-up all the debris from the long winter. Raking the lawn of all loose debris and dead grasses. Bag it and put it out for the yard waste or compost pick-up. Remove any combustible waste from around the yard. Do not allow piles of newspaper or furniture to accumulate out doors where they may become a fire hazard. In years past there have been problems with unknown persons starting fires in back yards and garages.

Make sure your storage sheds and garages are secure and locked.

“Don’t Give Fire A Place To Start.”

In The House

This is the place we usually relate to when we talk of “Spring Cleaning”.

Let’s not forget Fire Safety inside as well. Have we taken a good look at the furnace room. Can we get rid of some of the things that have accumulated over the winter. Other areas that seem to be out of sight – out of mind, we all have them, closets that are overflowing, hallways that seem to be impassable, spare rooms that are used for nothing else than to collect things which we will never use. Get rid of what we no longer need. Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. Have a yard sale to dispose of the things we no longer need.

“A Tidy House Seldom Burns”

* * * * * * * * * *

Visit The Fire Guy
www.thefireguy.ca

Clocks Fall Back!!

clock-2.jpgSunday November 2nd, is coming this weekend.

This is the date we change our clocks back to Standard Time. Spring forward -Fall back.

This is also the best time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old it is recommended that it be replaced. They have a life span of about 10 years.

Carbon monoxide detectors are a different matter; they have a life span of about 5 years before they should be replaced.

This is also a good time to get into the habit of testing your smoke alarm on a regular basis.

A candle will smolder after it is blown out. This smoke should activate the smoke alarm if placed directly below it.

REMEMBER: Only WORKING smoke alarms save lives!

Test YOUR smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors today.

T.

Timothy Salisbury
Broker
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage
www.timothysalisbury.com
email@timothysalisbury.com
office ( 905) 937-6000
Toll Free 1-800-467-8498

P.S.: Remember, a referral is sending someone you care about to someone you respect. Please don’t keep me a secret! Who is the next person you know looking to buy or sell real estate?

To Go?? or To Stay?? Your Safety Depends on the Right Decision

thefireguy.jpg

Your fire safety is your responsibility! If you live in an apartment or condominium, your safety also depends on the actions of the building management and other residents. Every fire is potentially dangerous and unpredictable, so do not underestimate the risk to your life. Fire and smoke move very quickly, and the conditions in any part of the building may change in an instant. Smoke can spread throughout a building and enter your suite even when the fire is many floors away. During an emergency, you will not have much time to decide what to do. Make sure you know what to do ahead of time.

Q. Some information I have read tells me to evacuate immediately in case of fire. Other information says that I will be safer if I stay in my suite. Which is correct?

A. To go or to stay … the decision is yours. Each option involves a major commitment on your part. Your choice will depend on the circumstances at the time of the emergency. You should understand the consequences of this important decision. Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as possible. If you let this opportunity pass, you must be prepared to protect yourself from smoke and other effects of fire until you are rescued or told by the fire department that it is safe to leave. This may take a long time and the conditions in the building may deteriorate. Do not try to leave your suite a long time after the fire alarm has sounded. The longer you wait to evacuate, the more risk there is that heavy smoke and heat will have spread into the stairways and corridors. Your chances of survival are significantly reduced. The following information will help you to make the right decision and to develop a personal fire emergency response plan ahead of time.

Q. When should I go?

A. Evacuation is appropriate under any of the following conditions:

As soon as possible when you hear the fire alarm or discover a fire. The earlier you leave, the better are your chances of getting out safely no matter where you are located in relation to the fire area. It is extremely rare for stairways and corridors to be contaminated by smoke in the early stages of a fire. Proceed as quickly as possible to the outside.

– When the fire is in your suite. You are in immediate danger and should ensure that everyone who is in your suite leaves with you. If you have physical limitations, plan ahead to ensure that you can get the assistance you need to evacuate quickly. Close the suite door behind you. Activate the fire alarm system and warn other residents located on your floor as you exit the building. Call the fire department when it is safe to do so.

– When the fire is on your floor or the floor below you. You are at high risk and should evacuate as quickly as possible if you have reason to believe that the fire is on your floor or on the floor immediately below you. Activate the fire alarm system (if the bells are not yet ringing) and warn other residents located on your floor as you exit the building.

Q. When should I stay in the suite?

A. Remaining in the suite is appropriate under any of the following conditions:

– If you encounter smoke in the corridor on your floor. This may be an indication that the fire is in an advanced stage or is located on your floor. If you cannot safely reach an exit stairway, return to your suite as quickly as possible. Take actions to protect yourself from smoke. Call the fire emergency number and provide details of your situation.

– If you encounter smoke in the exit stairs. The fire may have breached the stairway enclosure. Do not travel through smoke. Do not go to the roof. Re-enter the floor area immediately. If the corridor is free of smoke, try an alternate exit stairway. Otherwise, seek refuge in a suite on that floor as quickly as possible. Take actions to protect yourself from smoke. Call the fire emergency number and provide details of your situation.

– If instructed to remain in the suite by fire department personnel handling the fire emergency. Attempting to evacuate at this stage may expose you to smoke unnecessarily and may impede fire fighting operations. If you are located on the fire floor or on the floor immediately above the fire floor, you are at high risk and may require rescue. Take actions to protect yourself from smoke. Call the fire emergency number and provide details of your situation.

– If you are physically unable to use the stairs. Take actions to protect yourself from smoke. If you are located on the fire floor or on the floor immediately above the fire floor, you are at high risk and may require rescue. Call the fire emergency number and provide details of your situation.

Q. What else can I do to prepare myself before a fire emergency occurs?

A. Become familiar with the fire safety features provided in your building. For example, the effects of fire will be significantly reduced in a fully sprinklered building. This is an important consideration if you are unable to use stairs to evacuate the building during a fire emergency (e.g. physical disabilities, medical condition, etc.) or where the fire department has limited capacity to carry out rescue.

Learn the location of the exit stairways and practice using them. Know which floors you can use to cross from one stairway to another. Familiarize yourself with the fire alarm signal. Identify the location of fire alarm manual pull stations and read the instructions about how to operate them. If your building has a voice communication system, learn how it will be used by supervisory staff during an emergency. Get a copy of the fire emergency procedures from your building management and read them carefully. They may also be able to provide you with other important information. Keep this material in a prominent place and review it periodically. Contact your fire department for more information or to request a fire safety presentation for all residents.

Q. How can I identify the location of a fire when I hear the fire alarm?

A. In some buildings, the fire alarm system may have different tones (evacuation and alert signals) which will assist you to identify when immediate evacuation is required for your floor. If the building is equipped with a voice communication system, supervisory staff may be appointed to provide information on the location of the fire to the building occupants. Find out if these features apply to your building by becoming familiar with the building fire safety plan and emergency procedures as discussed above.

Q. What actions can I take to protect myself from smoke entering the suite during a fire?

A. The following steps can be taken to protect yourself from smoke entering the suite during a fire emergency:

– Make sure that you have a roll of duct tape readily available. Duct tape can be purchased in most hardware stores.  Use duct tape (masking tape may also be effective) to seal cracks around the door to your suite and place wet towels at the bottom. Seal vents, air ducts and other areas where smoke is entering the suite in the same manner.

– If smoke is worse in one room (e.g. bathroom), close the door and seal off the room with tape and wet towels as noted above.

– If the suite fills with smoke, move to the balcony (if you have one) and close the doors behind you. Take a cordless or cellular phone with you if available. Call the fire emergency number and provide details of your situation. Also, take warm clothes or blankets if the weather is cold. If you do not have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room, close the door and seal it with tape and towels. Open the window for fresh air but be prepared to close it again if this makes the conditions worse. Never break the window to get fresh air or you will not be able to seal it off if conditions change.

– Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner.

Q. I have read that most people die trying to evacuate during a fire. Is this true?

A. Experience shows that people who evacuate in the early stages of a fire can safely reach the outside. Most people die because they attempt to leave the building through smoke-filled corridors and stairs in the advanced stages of a fire. Although the conditions are different for each fire, this could occur as early as 10 minutes after the start of the fire. If you made the decision to stay in the suite during the fire emergency, do not change your mind and attempt to evacuate later. Please refer to question No. 1 for details of when evacuation is and is not appropriate. If you encounter smoke during evacuation, look for an alternate route that is clear of smoke, return to your suite or seek refuge with other occupants on the nearest floor. Do not use the elevator for evacuation (except under direction of the fire department) and never go to the roof since it is not designed as an exit.

Q. What else should I know?

A. Many people are reluctant to evacuate unless they are certain that there is a real fire. This problem is made worse by nuisance alarms. Remember, a real fire grows for every minute that you delay and you may lose the only opportunity to evacuate safely. For this reason, all occupants who are able should begin evacuation procedures immediately upon hearing the alarm. If you made an initial decision to stay in your suite when a fire emergency occurs, do not attempt to evacuate in the advanced stages of the fire. You cannot outrun the effects of fire and smoke and will be placing yourself in extreme danger. Each suite is designed as a fire compartment and will afford you a degree of protection during the fire emergency. However, smoke spread into your suite is very likely, so be prepared to protect yourself from smoke for the duration of the emergency. This may be a long time.