November 27 2014

The Perfect Christmas Tree

It’s that time of year again! Most people start looking for that perfect Christmas tree about a month from the treasured holiday. For some families, they simply go out and buy an artificial tree and spend an evening putting it together and decorating it with their family. Other families prefer to go out to a Christmas tree lot and buy one from a tree dealer. Then there are those that prefer the age-old tradition of going out onto a tree farm or out into the woods to find their very own Christmas tree. If that’s your idea of a good time, then lets talk about the perfect Christmas tree!

We don’t want to be a downer, but the most important thing to remember is safety when you plan on going out to cut your very own Christmas tree. There are two main options that you can choose for cutting down your own Christmas tree.

First, there are tree farms all over the place outside of most cities and towns around the holiday season. Find one that is in your area and call them to ask about the rules on their tree farm. Some have different prices, rules and amenities. You will find that some of the tree farms have other attractions like the option to take a hay or horse and buggy ride or even get your picture taken with Santa! Some tree farms will have tools ready for you to use to chop down your tree, others will require you to have your own tools (ax, saw or chainsaw) and some will even do it for you, but what’s the fun in that?

If you’ve never chopped down a tree, don’t think that it’s easy to use an ax. Healthy, green trees can take some hard work to chop down with an ax and often the tree will have jagged edges. It’s usually best to use a saw or chainsaw if possible on your tree. Some tree farms will allow you to use a chainsaw, but it’s best to call before you leave just to make sure. You can typically use a chainsaw in some forests or parks, but you should always call your ranger station before you go to learn the rules for your local forest or park. Saws and chainsaws leave clean smooth edges and are usually easier to deal with when setting your tree in its base when you get it home.

If you plan on going out into the forest or park to get your tree make sure that you and your family dress appropriately and it’s a good idea to bring along a snack or a lunch, especially if you’re going to be traveling or walking a long distance to get your tree. If it’s cold make sure to dress warm and wear good waterproof boots, if there’s a chance that you will have to go through wet areas or mud.

After you pick your location, you get your tools ready, your have your food packed and you’re dressed for the occasion, don’t forget that your tree may be pretty heavy. A good tip is to bring something to tie or wrap your tree up so it can be easily moved and not drag half the forest back to your vehicle with you. If you have a sled to pack your tree out, bring it. A sled can make a world of difference when moving a 150 lb tree a few miles through rough terrain. Don’t forget to make sure your tree gets plenty of water after you cut it. If you fail to get your tree into water quickly, it may dry out and seal the cut meaning that you will have to cut it again at the base. We hope that you tree is perfect and that you and your family have a beautiful Christmas and holiday season! Tarion is a private corporation which was founded in 1976 to protect the rights of new home buyers and regulate new home builders.

November 07 2014

Home Trauma Emergency… Plan Ahead

Bad things happen and while there are professionals to help you handle different situations in life, more often than not, they’re only there to help you ‘after the fact’. When most problems happen, you’re the only one there so if you’ve planned ahead at least you’ll be able to mitigate some of the consequences of what happened. In this case, let’s talk about home trauma emergencies.

What are home trauma emergencies?

They include things like cutting yourself with a knife in the kitchen, running the lawn mower over your foot (or somebody else’s), falling off a ladder, dropping the baby when you were trying to make a funny home video, and the list goes on.

There’s another category of home trauma cleanup that a lot more serious. It’s called ‘crime scene cleanup’ and it’s a huge industry too. The technical term for this type of service is CTS Decon (Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination). In this kind of trauma cleanup services, it’s usually assumed somebody was either severely injured or killed. Many of the same procedures for minor home trauma are equally applicable to CTS Decon.

The overriding concern with home trauma emergency is to return the area to its pre-incident state of cleanliness. The biggest danger in any kind of home trauma cleanup environment is that biological materials from the person injured might be left behind and could contaminate someone else. That’s the dangerous side of the problem.

The other side of the problem is just the mess that sometimes results from home trauma emergencies. Here we’re talking ‘blood and guts’, OK? Not a pretty thought, right? That’s why CTS Decon is such a big business…. it’s not something average people are prepared to do.

In your situation, hopefully, some common sense, first echelon first aid procedures and supplies will be adequate for the initial response. You should always have some bandages, medical tape, something to use for a brace or a splint (i.e. for broken bones), disinfectant, scissors, something to use for a tourniquet is always a good idea, some type of burn medication is good to have (for accidents in the kitchen) and maybe have some aspirin too. You can actually buy good ‘home medical emergency’ kits either online, at good pharmacies or at various kinds of specialty stores.
In most cases, for minor home trauma, it’s not life threatening and simple washing and cleaning and bandages will do the trick. If necessary, you can always take a run down to the nearest hospital emergency room. If it’s a more serious situation than that, that’s what 911 is for. Or you can call an ambulance yourself.

Health insurance will usually cover at least part of the cost of an ambulance.

The Red Cross has several free courses to cover these types of situation too. You can learn how to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, how to move or when not to move subjects, and many other valuable things. If you’re young, single and healthy you might not care about such things but if you’ve got a family, it would be something good to pursue. Better to be prepared for a home trauma emergency that you never have than to have one and not be prepared and thereby make the consequences even worse.