Summer Pet Safety

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you just spent part of your day tossing tennis balls to your furry friend at the park. Heading home, you realize you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket; it should only take about five minutes. Sure, the sun is shining and it is about 80 degrees, but it will only be a few minutes, so there is no harm in leaving your friend in the car, right?

WRONG. You never leave your pet in a car on a warm day.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion as a result of being left in parked cars on warm days.  On a 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can climb to 110 degrees in only minutes. In 20 minutes on a 90-degree day, the same car can get up to 130 degrees inside which is unsafe for humans and animals. You may think cracking the windows will help your pet, but the truth is that opened windows make very little difference to the inside temperature of your car.

Heatstroke is the main danger for pets in hot cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. If they are stuck in a hot car, the cool air they receive is little to none and makes cooling down much harder.

Like most busy pet parents, you may be pressed for time and think that surely it’s okay to leave your pet for just a few minutes. The excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” do not amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a car.

If you love your furry friend as much as they love you, rethink leaving them in the car the next time you are out on a warm, sunny day.

Call When You Can …Text When You Can’t

On February 16, 1968, State Senator Rankin Fite phoned the police chief in Haleyville, Alabama. hq720 Though the men had spoken before, this call was different.  It was the first time 9-1-1, the new nationwide emergency number was used.  Eleven years earlier, the National Association of Fire Chiefs proposed the designation of an emergency call number which was unique, easy to remember, and easy to dial.

Today, 9-1-1 is the universal emergency number in the US, Canada, parts of Mexico, the Philippines, and beyond.  Other countries may use a different emergency number sequence.  When travelling abroad, learn the universal emergency number for the area you are visiting.

The National Emergency Number Association estimates that 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made annually in the US.  And, 70% of those are made on wireless devices.  To make it easier for wireless callers to access 9-1-1, NJ introduced Text to 9-1-1 last fall.  The ability to text is helpful to those unable to talk in an emergency and to those with hearing impairments or speech disorders.

How to send a 9-1-1 text

  • Open the message app on or phone or wireless device
  • In the “To” field, type “911” with no punctuation
  • In the message field, type the location (address and municipality) and a brief description of the problem (ex. 123 Main St Franklin I hear someone breaking in)
  • Press “Send”
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.  Keep text messages brief and concise.

 

When to text 9-1-1

If you have a speech or hearing impairment, notify 9-1-1 so they can inform responders

If speaking may cause you harm such as a break-in or domestic violence.  REMEMBER OT SILENCE YOUR PHONE SO THE SOUND OF THE 9-1-1 REPLY DOESN’T GIVE YOU AWAY.

If you are with a group and some members are doing something dangerous or illegal

If lack of service makes a voice call impossible, you may be able to get data service to send a text

DO NOT attempt to send videos or photos.  Limit your message to TEXT ONLY. Be as specific as possible about your location.  Provide as much of the following as possible:

  •                 Exact address including unit/apartment number and city
  •                 Business name
  •                 Names of both streets at the nearest intersection
  •                 Landmarks

Once you have begun texting, do no end the session until then 9-1-1 operator instructs you to do so.  Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than 1 person. Do not copy your emergency to anyone other than

9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others.  Translation services for text to 9-1-1 are not available.  Text in English only.

 

Winter is Here!

Car tires on winter road covered with snow

The winter is upon us and sooner or later, New Jersey will see itself covered in a freezing blanket of billowy snow. But as New Jersians, life doesn’t just stop because of a few flakes (or feet) of the white stuff. Getting your car “winter ready” before the first snow will ensure you’re ready to face the road ahead. Ensure vehicle fluids are changed, tires are checked or replaced, and ensure all exterior lights are in proper working order. Then follow these driving tips if you need to travel in the cold and snow:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Most vehicles keep the tire pressure information on the driver side door panel.
  • Check and replace (if necessary) windshield wipers.
  • Top off wiper fluid.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Do not use cruise control in wet, wintery, icy weather.
  • Avoid hard breaking in wet weather as this can make your vehicle spin out of control.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Keep non-clumping kitty litter or wood chips in the trunk of your vehicle. This will help your tires gain traction if you become stuck in snow.
  • When traveling long distances, make sure to keep a blanket, flash light, water, and snacks in your vehicle in case you become stranded.
  • When in doubt, stay home. If driving conditions make it extremely difficult to travel, please do not attempt to go out.

For more information on winter driving visit http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/#.WG0-FxsrJPY

Vehicle Theft Prevention

Picture source: http://www.autofreaks.com/news/the-importance-of-car-insurance-to-consumers/
Picture source: http://www.autofreaks.com/news/the-importance-of-car-insurance-to-consumers/

For many people, a car is more than just a motor vehicle. Cars can be personal extensions to our everyday lives. They can reflect the type of person we are.

Right now somewhere in the U.S. a car has just been stolen. In fact, according to the FBI, in the U.S. a motor vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds.

Crazy, right?

Would you be prepared if it happened to you? The best way to prevent motor vehicle theft is to prevent the theft in the first place. Luckily, here are a few preventive measures you can take to keep you car safe.

Never leave your car running or the doors/windows unlocked. Especially while your vehicle is unattended – this is very important. If your car is off but your doors are unlocked, a theft can easily make their way into your car and take whatever they want.

You should never leave keys in your car where they are visible to others passing by. You should ALWAYS take them with you when you park or leave your car.

Lastly, never leave valuables in your car. Not in plain sight where they will become easy targets for a theft. Cell phones, GPS’s, laptops and money are possible items that a theft can be looking for. If these items are easily spotted, then they can easily be taken.

Research shows that 40-50 percent of vehicle thefts are due to an error made by the driver. Many errors are silly mistakes that can be fixed. By acting today and following these preventive measures can help save you and your car from motor vehicle theft.

The World Gathers to Demand Climate Change Action Plan

mombabyclimatemarchUN Secretary General Ban K-Moon was there.  So were NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Leonardo DeCaprio.  So was an unnamed baby resting on his Mother’s chest.   My wife and I were there, too.  We were among the 310,000 marchers who gathered in Central Park on Sunday for the People’s Climate March just 2 days before the UN Climate Conference on September 23.

New York City was not alone.  Hundreds of thousands like-minded people came together in cities around the world to support climate change action now.

The purpose of the UN Conference is to catalyze “action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society … for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions …that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.”  The Secretary General called for UN members to “innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap.”

March organizers said it was time to “demand action not words.”  Yet, it was through the words in chants and on banners that participants got their message across.

“There is no planet B”

“Don’t nuke the climate”

“Don’t frack with us”

Fracking= Climate change

“Treat your mama (Earth) with respect.”

 climatemarchkmmMy wife and I were fascinated that people of all ages, nationalities, religions and political perspectives marched peacefully and energetically united in a common cause.  As concerned citizens who worry about the future of our planet for our grandchildren and yours, we were proud to be part of the Climate March and left NYC feeling hopeful about the “day after tomorrow. “

 

5 Tips for Driving in the Rain

kmm driving in the rain tipsSummer brings long days, warm weather and more time spent enjoying the outdoors.  However, the occasional (or more-like weekly, these days) thunderstorms also make their summer appearance as the skies open and deluge us with heavy, blinding rain.

While it’s safest to stay off the roads during these heavy storms, sometimes the rain comes quickly and fierce.  KMM shares with you five important tips for driving in the rain.

  1. First and foremost, drive slow and focused.
  2. If driving on a highway, drive in the center lane since water tends to pool on the left and right lanes.
  3. If your wipers are on, so should your lights.  This keeps you visible to other drivers and helps you navigate the blinding rain too!
  4. Never drive through moving water, especially if you can’t see the roadway.
  5. Follow the tread marks of the car ahead of you and make sure to keep at least 5 seconds of driving distance between you and the car ahead of you.

Join INN

INNIn the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, one thing was clear. Information is key and getting it fast is essential. With widespread power outages, many of our commuters depended on their smart phone to get information during and after the storm. Armed with this knowledge, KMM has completely re-invented the ETN to give subscribers a greater degree of information delivered right to their smart phones.

KMM is proud to introduce Middlesex County Information Notification Network – be in the INN and get the information you need.

INN is customizable based on the type of information the user is seeking. INN offers traffic alerts, train alerts, bus alerts, municipal alerts and ozone alerts, in addition to the many other options. Users can receive this information via text or email and can manage their profile on the KMM website.

INN provides commuters and residents with a central, easy to access information page personalized for their needs. For example, a commuter who lives in Cranbury and commutes to North Brunswick could register for not only traffic alerts, but could register for the municipal alerts for both townships. During emergencies, the commuter will receive the latest information on current road status and other information relevant to the origin and destination points.

Current ETN members have been automatically transferred to the new system without disruption in their selected customized alerts. Already, many have begun to take advantage of new types of alerts INN provides, and it’s all at no cost to subscribers.

We can’t control forces of nature but we can stay informed and connected. The KMM staff, like many of the commuters who use our services, understand the need to continually improve upon programs like INN, and we are committed to providing the most comprehensive program we can. Join INN and register for the Middlesex County Information Notification Network by visiting kmm.org/inn.

Remove Your Car From the Street… It Could Save Your Life

Awhile back, I was a member of the governing body in my town.  From time to time, constituents would call about any number of issues.  Calls piled high immediately after a snow storm.  Mostly, residents complained that they had been ticketed for leaving their cars on the street.

MH900289534I would explain that our town, like many communities, requires vehicles to be removed from the street when snow fall reaches a certain level. For some towns, it’s two inches.  In others, it may be “when the street is snow-covered.”  In my town, the day before a storm, the Public Works guys post signs up and down the street, reminding people to move their vehicles off the roadway.  Some communities use reverse 911 messaging systems to call residents.

These policies were not adopted to be mean.  They are not meant to inconvenience people.  They are definitely not meant to be revenue generators, as a disgruntled citizen always suggests.  They are meant to save lives.

Think about it.  Cars parked on the street, impede snow removal.  If the snow can’t be removed, the roads cannot be plowed adequately.  If the roads cannot be plowed adequately, ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars may not be able to respond quickly to emergencies.  If emergency personnel cannot respond quickly, a house could burn down or someone could die.

So, follow the rules.  Get your car off the street prior to a major snowfall.  Squeeze your family’s vehicles into your driveway or onto your lawn.  Make arrangements with your neighbor or a local business.  Learn if your town allows residents to move their cars to municipal parking lots.

Yes, it’s a pain.  But it would be a lot more painful if you or your family needed emergency services, and first responders couldn’t respond.

~RAK

Winter Driving Tips

snow
With winter in full swing here in Central New Jersey, we thought it would be best to brush up on our winter driving skills.  Before you climb into your car, take a moment to review and refresh!

Driving in Bad Weather

• Carpool: two heads are better than one.
• Sign up for the KMM Emergency Traffic Alert system and receive traffic reports for the roads YOU travel on.
• Be alert. Don’t drive when fatigued.
• Allow plenty of extra time for trips.
• Have alternative routes for how you’ll drive from point A to point B. Anticipate worst-case scenarios and prepare for them.
• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have the charger handy.

Tips for Readying Your Car

• Keep the gas tank at least half-full when driving in bad weather. You’ll be more prepared for periods of slow driving or when traffic stops altogether.
• Keep your wiper blades in excellent condition to ensure good visibility.
• Make sure your tires have good treads.
• Carry emergency supplies in your vehicle, no matter what the weather. A good emergency checklist includes a blanket, window scraper, flashlight, first-aid kit, shovel, jumper cables, flares, and non-perishable snacks.

Braking and Skidding

• When applying the brakes on a vehicle equipped with conventional brakes, avoid locking them by pumping.
• For vehicles equipped with anti-lock brakes, apply the amount of brake pressure needed, and don’t pump the brakes.
• To avoid skidding, stay within the speed limit, and, in poor weather, slow down. Keep adequate distance between your vehicle and others.
• Slow down before entering turns or bends, steering steadily.
• While on icy or slippery roads, don’t brake heavily or jerk the steering wheel.

Snow, Ice or Mud Conditions

• If your car is stuck in snow, ice, or mud, proceed carefully. Acceleration that is too rapid will spin the wheels and only dig the vehicle in deeper.
• Try to stay calm and turn the steering wheel gently from side to side to clear snow, ice, or mud away from the wheels. Lightly accelerate forward with the wheels straight ahead, alternating with a slow movement in reverse. This may help rock the vehicle out of its rut.
• Be aware that moisture on overpasses and bridges becomes icy more quickly than on ground-level roads, since cold air is beneath these structures.

This is the perfect time of year to investigate ridesharing or mass transit as an alternative for your commute. Contact KMM to inquire about carpool or vanpool matches for your route, and get free mass transit schedules for your area. Why not start commute habits now that will benefit you all year-long? It could make for a better commute!

Be Prepared – And its New Meaning

Many of us thought that if we had batteries stocked, bottled water stored and our smart phones handy, we were prepared.  Unfortunately, we were proven wrong last October as Hurricane Sandy crashed upon our shores.  Since then, our approach to preparedness has changed.  Our emergency kits haveMH910221066 evolved and our attention to warnings has heightened.

With the New Year upon us, we at KMM thought to share with you what is in our emergency kit.  Some of these items have been listed before, but it is important to keep the kit current.

  • Water in plastic containers – one bottle per person.
  • Cell Phone/ Laptop Chargers – this should be in addition to your everyday charges – one that is always in your kit.
  • A list of important numbers – local police and fire and township and insurance agency – these days, most numbers are programmed in devices that only work with power.
  • Evacuation Routes and Center location – know before a storm where to go.
  • Copies of Important Documentation – insurance, mortgage and social security cards.
  • All medicines, prescriptions – enough for two weeks.
  • Transistor radio – when power is lost, this can be your only lifeline.
  • Subscribe to Nixle, NJOEM, American Red Cross and our very own ETN – alerts will be sent to your smart phone and keep you updated.

So along with eating healthy, exercising more and saving money – make sure to be prepared is right there on your list of things to change for 2013.

From our office to you and yours, A Happy and Safe 2013!

~CCF