Help Us to Help You!
IT’S ALL IN YOUR NUMBER!
While we are in the business of making “house calls”, and we know the in’s and out’s of our neighborhoods, finding the exact location of your home quickly can make a big difference for your emergency! This is especially important for medical calls, where a family member or injured person might not be able to wave us down from the street.
Please look at your home from the street. Is your address clearly visible in large, contrasting numbers? Do you have plants that have grown in front of your address? Do you live down a long driveway and if so, is your address clearly identified at the street?
Here are a few tips on how you can help us to easily find you:
- Post your house number in large numbers. The numbers should be at least 4 inches tall.
- Use reflective numbers, and/or numbers that contrast with the paint color of your home. Light numbers on dark paint, dark numbers on light paint.
- Ensure that you numbers are illuminated at night so we can see them when it’s dark.
- If you have a mailbox at the end of your driveway, place your numbers clearly on your mailbox.
- If you live off of a long driveway, consider placing a post or sign with your house numbers at the street.
Here are a few ideas of easy to see numbers that are large, contrasting and visible:
KNOWING HOW TO QUICKLY MANAGE YOUR UTILITIES
- You wake up to the sound of running water. You investigate and discover that a pipe has broken under a sink, or maybe in your crawlspace. A lot of water is now flooding your home.
- You smell something acrid like burning plastic and don’t know where it’s coming from.
- You notice that your lights are flickering, or maybe an appliance isn’t working correctly – an outlet is buzzing or smoking.
- Something has caught fire in your oven and you don’t know what to do.
The first thing you do is call 911 for help! But what can you do to help yourself while we are on our way?
- WATER SHUT-OFF: Do you know where the water shut-off to your home is? If you are able to shut-off the water, it will help reduce the amount of water flooding your home before we get there. Water shut-offs are always located at the street, and most homes have an additional shut-off located in the garage, or in a utility area of the house. Spend a few minutes to locate yours.
Turning the water off is a very quick process and can significantly reduce the damage to your home. You should have a water meter box at the end of your driveway by the street. You will probably need a screwdriver to pry off the lid. It will most likely have a dirt mound covering the inside valve and pipes (the dirt protects the pipes in the winter) and you might have to move dirt away from the quarter-turn lever.
Turn the lever a quarter-turn clockwise and this will stop the flow of water to your home. Open a non-damaged faucet such as a tub or sink in a different area to quickly drain the water out of the system so less drains from your broken pipe.
- ELECTRICAL PANEL: Keeping your electrical panel clearly labelled and maintaining a clear space around it can be instrumental in averting and reducing hazardous situations in your home.
Whenever you think you might have an electrical emergency CALL 911 FIRST! After you do that, managing your electricity can be very helpful. If you have a clearly labelled breaker panel, turn off the breaker to the appliance, run of outlets, or run of lighting that appear to be having a problem. This will stop the flow of electricity. If you cannot identify where the problem is, turn off the MAIN BREAKER at your panel.
If you have caught dinner on fire in your oven, or your “self-clean” has gotten a bit out of control, you can also turn off the power to the oven at the panel. AGAIN CALL 911 FIRST AND NEVER OPEN YOUR OVEN DOOR. With the oven door closed, the problem is isolated to the oven. When you open the door, the problem now has grown to the surrounding area.
Always make sure that your panel is in good working order and not overloaded!
- NATURAL GAS: Do you have natural gas at your home? Do you have appliances (furnace, water heater, hot-tub, oven, cooktop) or a fireplace that use natural gas? Have you done a recent remodel project? Again, if you suspect a NATURAL GAS EMERGENCY CALL 911 AND IMMEDIATELY EXIT YOUR HOME. Having an understanding of your natural gas appliances will help us to better mitigate your emergency. If you can let us know if your appliances have been recently serviced or have had any recent work done on them, or if you have been having any problems with your appliances, that helps us to pinpoint the problem. Also if you can let us know if you have done any recent remodeling where the natural gas line has been modified, that is also helpful.
We will always check your natural gas meter. Just like with your electrical panel, it is important to keep it clear and accessible.
RESIDENTIAL FIRE ALARM – IS YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION CURRENT?
You have installed or inherited a residential fire alarm system for your home. You are cooking and trip your alarm system.
If your alarm system is a monitored system (you receive a monthly or annual monitoring bill), the monitoring company will automatically dispatch the fire department to your home. They will also immediately contact you! When they contact you, they will try to assess what the emergency is: is it a false alarm, is your house on fire? This is information that we receive while we are responding to your home.
Please make sure that your contact number on file with the alarm company is a current so they can immediately reach you!
When your alarm activates, please answer your phone. The information they get from you helps us to better prepare for your emergency.
If you are unsure if your system is monitored or not, and your alarm activates, please call 911. You can tell the 911 call receiver that you have had a residential fire alarm activation, and then let the dispatcher know your situation. If it is an accidental activation, they will let us know and we will cancel. If you are unsure of the extent of the emergency, we will always come help you sort it out.
MANAGING YOUR PETS PRIOR TO OUR ARRIVAL
Like almost all other animals, dogs and cats are usually more afraid of people than the other way around. Even if you believe that your pet is “really friendly” and just “loves everyone”, nervous and fearful animals become unpredictable.
Remember that we are “strangers” to your pet and are coming into your home under what your animal can sense as a stressful situation. We come in a group, carrying equipment, and don’t have time to allow your animals to socialize with us to become comfortable. This can create a threatening environment for your animal.
Also remember we are there to help you. When your dog or cat is afoot, it can make it challenging for us to work around your animal in assisting you. It is also challenging if your dog is in close proximity and barking. Again, we are there to help you and the best way we can do that is to reduce the distractions that animals can inadvertently create.
Prior to our arrival, please take a moment to secure your pet (even the friendliest of them) in a place in your home where they feel safe and away from where we will be assisting you.
Please don’t feel offended if we ask you to secure your pets prior to entering your home. We are doing this for both our safety and yours.