Need to clean up ash from the Woolsey fire? Follow these guidelines for safety

Ash from the Woolsey and Hill fires can have a far reach, raining down on communities many miles away.

Areas of California have not only been completely devastated by the recent wildfires in Northern California and the Malibu area, but many far away from the flames have been impacted in other ways with power outages or debris from the fires.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department sent out tips via social media on Wednesday on how to safely discard of ash and food that may have been impacted.

Wash off the ash

Ash may look like fun snowflakes to children, but make sure they don’t play in it – especially when it’s wet or damp.  And make sure any toys they play with are washed.

Don’t forget to also wash your pets that may have gotten ash on their fur.

Always wear gloves during clean up, along with long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid skin contact. Wash ash off as soon as possible if it gets on your skin.

If you eat vegetable or fruits from the garden, make sure you wash them before eating.

Don’t spread it around

Don’t use leaf blowers — they will push ash into the air and spread it out.

“Instead, gently sweep indoor and outdoor surfaces, followed by wet mopping,” the post reads. “A solution of bleach and water may be used to disinfect an area.”

Your regular home vacuum won’t cut it, and even shop vacuums can’t filter out small particles. Instead, they blow small particles into the air where they can be breathed in. However, HEPA-filter vacuums can filter out small particles.

Use a disposable mask, an easy item to find at home or hardware stores, when cleaning up. Make sure it has a rating of N-95 or better.

Avoid washing ash into the storm drains whenever possible. Ash and soot can become very slippery when combined with water.

“Walk carefully, wear boots with good soles, and use as little water as possible when cleaning an area of ash,” the post reads.

Throw it out

If ash has gotten onto plastic bottles, toss them.

“It is not enough to rinse off the bottles as these particles contaminate the caps, making them very difficult to decontaminate,” the advisory reads

Food that has not been stored in waterproof or airtight containers and has been covered with ash should be discarded. This includes products that have been stored in cardboard or other soft packaging, according to the sheriff’s department.

Food stored in sealed, previously unopened glass or metal cans or jars, such as baby food, should be safe for use, but the containers should be cleaned before they are opened and contents transferred to another container before being eaten.

If a power outage has impacted your area for a short time, your food should be safe. But if your power has been out for several hours, it’s best to throw away perishable foods such as meat, dairy products and eggs.

Items that have thawed in the freezer should be thrown away — do not re-freeze thawed food.

“Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.”

Original Article Source:https://www.dailynews.com/2018/11/14/need-to-clean-up-ash-from-the-woolsey-fire-follow-these-guidelines-for-safety/

21 things to do to prepare for El Nino

Los Angeles Rain 2015

1. Fix any roof leaks before it rains.  This is a sure way to prevent water damage to the attic, insulation, and ceilings within your home.

2. Gutters and downspouts should be clean and free of debris.  Also look for any breaks and make sure the gutters are tight against the roofline. Moving water away from the home with rain gutters and downspouts will help prevent water from damaging your home.

3. Buy a generator.  This standby generator will help provide light and possibly heat during a power outage.

4.  Install a sump pump for areas below grade.  Moving water from low lying areas will prevent ponding and potential water damage to your home.

5. Exterior surfaces of the home should be touched up, sealed, or painted. Seal up any holes from cables and other wires that penetrate exterior walls to prevent water damage.

prepare for el nino LA and prevent water damage and mold

6. Examine your windows. Look for holes in the seals and caulk the openings. Check and recaulk as needed.

7. Check balcony and deck slopes.  Look for holes, loose, and degrading layers of building materials on the surface of patios or decks.

8. Call an exterminator to prevent pests from intruding during the rain.

9. Store emergency repair materials (sandbags, heavy plastic sheeting) in a safe dry place.

10. Vechile – Maintain tires and fill up your gas tank.

11. Buy new windshield wipers.  This will help you drive safely during the heavy rains.

12. How old is your car’s battery? At three years, have it checked by a trusted mechanic.

13. Drainage.  Prepare your yard by sloping landscape away from your home.  Note new drainage patterns if you have recently changed to an environmentally friendly yard.

14. Automatic Timers:  Turn off your system.

15. Loosen compacted soil: Ground that has been allowed to dry out will repel water initially. Make sure soil levels are below the stucco line of your home to prevent water damage.

16. Have your trees checked: With the drought taking a toll on all trees, now is the time to bring in a certified arborist — not a simple tree cutter — to do a health check and risk assessment.

17. Secure your yard: Reinforce your fencing if needed. Store or tie down anything that might blow and cause damage in high wind.

18. Have materials on hand to divert water: Sandbags, concrete edgers and straw-waddle tubing can effectively channel water away from structures to drainage areas.

19. Secure important documents in the cloud or on a thumb drive.

20. Put together preparedness and disaster supply kits for your home and car. FEMA, the California Department of Water Resources and the Auto Club are just three of many organizations that list important things to have on hand. For more information, go to www.floodprepareCA.com (California Department of Water Resources), www.ladbs.org (Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety “Homeowners Guide for Flood, Debris Flow and Erosion Control”), www.ready.gov (National Weather Service) and www.aaa.com (Automobile Club of Southern California).

21. Prepare now: Experts agree that the toughest time to find solutions to rain-related issues is during a rainstorm.

Online Registration Now Open for the 8th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair

San Fernanado Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair 2015 Granada Hills. CA

San Fernanado Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair 2015 Granada Hills. CAOnline registration for the 8th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair (the largest in Los Angeles) opened on July 1, 2015. Please don’t be misled by the Valley in our name—everyone is invited to attend. Mother Nature pays no attention to our boundaries. By registering online, Fairgoers who bring their printed voucher to the Express Check-In Lane at the Fair will receive a token exchangeable at the Fair for one Family Emergency Preparedness (EP) Starter Kit (1 per family while supplies last). Online registrants will also receive Fair updates, directions, a site map, plus a free gift when they check in at the Fair.

Please encourage your stakeholders, family, and friends to register and attend! Everything at the Fair is free, thanks to our generous supporters and contributors, including many Neighborhood Councils throughout Los Angeles.

The emailed Welcome Letter that registrants receive will include information about the registrant’s Council District and Neighborhood Council specific to the address provided during the registration process. If your NC is one that has not yet submitted a short message (150-200 words) to your stakeholders for us to include in the Welcome Letter, please do so now. (Thank you to the NCs who have already submitted their outreach messages.) This is a valuable opportunity to communicate with your stakeholders, to let them know what you are doing for your community, and to encourage them to get involved. Please email your message to Bill Hopkins (Bill.Hopkins@SoCalPrep.us) right away.

For more details, or if your NC would like to host an Outreach booth at the Fair, send an email to Info@ValleyDisasterFair.com. Don’t miss this great opportunity to communicate with your stakeholders.

Thank you for helping all our stakeholders get prepared for disasters.

The 8th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair will take place on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Fire Station 87 in Granada Hills. Visit www.ValleyDisasterFair.com for more information and online registration. A Save The Date flyer can be downloaded here.

Online Registration Now Open for the 8th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair