Holiday Traveling Tips

The holiday season is here which means Christmas is right around the corner. With the season brings being able to see your family. In the modern days, the family is spread out across cities, states and even countries.  Make sure you are prepared as the driving conditions during this time of year are extra dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, an average of 343 people die in car accidents each year over the three-day Christmas period and an average of 373 during the three-day New Year holiday. Stay safe on the road with these holiday traveling tips:

Check your vehicle maintenance list twice

Make sure you fully inspect your vehicle before leaving the driveway. To start, you want to ensure all your lights are in working order, tires are properly inflated, windshield wipers are operational, and there is enough wiper fluid for the long road ahead. Keep an extra bottle of wiper fluid in the trunk, just in case. Have a qualified technician inspect your car before a hitting the open road, they are trained to look for worn, cracked, blistered or soft belts, hoses, and check your battery. Turn off the engine first when performing this task if you are doing it yourself. Check your tires every month for tread wear. Ensure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated.

Avoid fuel hikes at the pumps

The gas industry raises the prices every holiday season. Filling up earlier in the week or knowing the route with gas stations can come in handy. Make stops every 100 miles or two hours to avoid drowsiness or fatigue while driving. Map your route ahead of time and be prepared for busy roads. Consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.

Get a good night’s sleep and avoid fatigue

Make sure you get a full night’s sleep before departing on any major family trips. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your motor skills, slowing down your reaction time out on the road.  If you find your concentration slipping, take a break, grab a coffee, get out and stretch or go for a brisk walk. When traveling long distances, take turns driving with a passenger. If this is not an option, consider turning the trip from one day to two days, and spend an evening in a hotel to maintain your alertness and energy throughout your trip. Use books, games, DVDs — whatever will keep the kids comfortable and stop them from distracting the driver. Remember, they will need snacks and will need to make stops, so be prepared to spend more time on the road if you’re traveling with children.

Make an emergency road kit

According to AAA, a winter emergency kit should include a first aid kit, jumper cables, an ice scraper, and snow brush. You should also carry:
  •  Sand, cat litter or traction mats
  • Small shovel
  • Gloves, hats, and blankets
  • Flashlights with fresh batteries and warning flares or triangles
  • Shop rags or paper towels
  • Drinking water and nonperishable snack bars
  • Warm clothes
  • Basic hand tools
  • Chargers for your phone


Your friends at Blue River Restoration want to wish you Happy Holidays and safe travels.

4 Wood Burner Safety Tips

Most houses nowadays are warmed by a furnace but some have wood fireplaces and wood stoves as an alternative heating source. Some houses may just have wood burners as the only way to warm their house. These more simple ways of heating your home can provide that comfort and warmth during winter compared to a gas furnace. However, using wood stoves also presents risks, such as accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. A portable fire extinguisher can help you to quickly put out a small fire. Ensure your home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Install them outside each bedroom and on every level of the home. To minimize those risks, follow these 4 wood burner safety tips:

  1. It is not recommended to store your firewood in wet places as the wood will absorb a lot of the moisture around it. Inside of garages or in wood sheds are best as they allow for air to pass through keeping the firewood dry. Place your wood stove on a floor pad at least three feet away from walls, furniture, curtains, and other flammable material. Similarly, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the stove.
  2. Before the heating season begins, have your chimney, flue vents, and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. As a DIY task, check latches, hinges, and gaskets regularly, and keep an eye out for damage. Remove ashes regularly (every 3-5 burns or once a week) and dispose of them safely. Let ashes cool (as they can contain live coals) before discarding them in a covered metal container. Keep the container outside, 10 or more feet away from your home and other buildings.
  3. Burn only dry, seasoned wood, such as maple, beech, ash, hickory or oak. Don’t burn green wood, cardboard or trash to prevent creosote buildup in your chimney flue. Never use gasoline, charcoal starter fluid or other flammable liquids to start your fire or to increase the intensity of the fire. These substances might explode or flare up.
  4. Do not leave small children unattended around open fireplaces or wood-burning stoves for even 5 seconds. That’s just enough time for them to test how hot fire is by putting their hand into the fire causes serious burns which may require an emergency room visit. Teach them to stay at least three feet away from a hot stove. Don’t allow pets near the stove, either.


Here are some principal do’s and don’ts:

DO—make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls, and ceilings.
DO—place the stove on a noncombustible, fire-resistant base.
DO—have a person inspect the chimney.
DO—burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
DO—consider opening a window a crack for ventilation.
DO—dispose of ashes in a closed metal container outside the house.

DON’T—extend the stove pipe through a wall or ceiling unless there is no possible alternative.
DON’T—connect a wood stove to a fireplace chimney unless the fireplace has been sealed off.
DON’T—connect a wood stove to a chimney serving another appliance burning other fuels.
DON’T—start a stove fire with flammable fluids, such as gasoline.
DON’T—burn trash in a stove; doing so can start a chimney fire.
DON’T—let a wood fire full logs unattended or overnight. Some residual wood or ashes burning with the right circumstances is fine.


Let Blue River Restoration be the friend to help you out so tragic accidents do not happen.

Holiday Lights Safety Tips

The holiday season means many strings of lights in and around your home and buildings. With these lights brings amazing views but also can bring hazards. Be sure to check out these holiday lights safety tips:

When putting up your Christmas tree,  whether real or fake, both have there own set of hazards to watch out for:

  • Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Ditch old strands of lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.
  • Not all lights are rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights often have thinner insulation, which can become cracked and damaged when exposed to the elements outdoors. So make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.
  • If you have a metallic Christmas tree, never put electric lights on it to avoid the risk of electric shock.
  • Before using lights, check each set of lights for worn or broken cords, broken or cracked sockets, and loose bulb connections. Replace damaged lights correctly.
  • Connect no more than three standard-size sets of lights into an extension cord. Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords, instead plug lights into different circuits around your home.
  • Don’t fasten colored spotlights onto metallic trees. Use them above or beside your tree to prevent tree branches from becoming charged with electricity from faulty lights.
  • Although it may be tempting to leave them on all night, before leaving or going to bed, it is best to turn off your lights. The best way to make sure your lights don’t stay on for too long is to connect them to a timer that will automatically turn them off.
  • Keep pets safe by protecting electric cords and tree lights so that they can’t chew them and get electrocuted.

Outdoor Lights can be stunning to look at but also very dangerous. Watch out for these tips to help make the process safer:

  • Make sure outdoor lights are rated for exterior use by an independent testing laboratory. Exterior lights and extension cords used outdoors need to be weather-resistant.
  • Your source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit down if there is overcurrent.
  • When running extension cords along the ground, take care to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick, to keep snow, water, and debris out of the connections.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage. However, don’t attach light strings with nails or staples as these can cut through the wire insulation and start a fire. Use only UL-approved hangers.
  • Store lights safely after taking them down. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. They’re also a pain to untangle. Wrap the strings around a piece of cardboard, cover them in paper or fabric, and then store in a sturdy container until next year.
  • Take exterior lights down within 90 days to prevent hazards from weather damage or critters chewing on them.

Local Reviews