Three Tips For Beautiful Volleyball Sets

In a previous article I discussed how important it is to have a solid footwork foundation. Now it’s time to expand your setting skills to include not only footwork but your hands as well.

There are three main principles that you should keep in mind when setting:

1. Your hands need to be both soft and strong.

As the ball approaches you your hands should already be above your head with wrists cocked back slightly. Cushion the ball as it contacts your hands by flexing your wrists just a little more and then straighten them quickly. Use both hands equally to direct the ball toward your chosen hitter.

Remember that there is a very small difference between soft hands that can cushion the ball and illegally holding the volleyball too long. If you break your wrists too much and appear to carry the ball, you’ll be called for a lift and your opponents will get a point.

Conversely, your hands can’t be too stiff either. Without some give in your wrists you’ll never get the ball under control. When using a forearm pass you’re just redirecting the ball’s momentum toward the target by allowing it to ricochet off your arms. Setting, however, demands that you alter the ball’s path as it leaves your hands.

As it approaches you (the setter) the volleyball is traveling toward the net. After the set you want it to travel parallel to the net. So without hands that are soft enough to cushion the ball and alter its path without holding on too long, you won’t be able to achieve accurate sets.

2. Thumbs in the eyes

Please keep in mind that I’m not advocating that you really jab your thumbs into your eyes. What I am saying is that as you receive the ball your thumbs should be almost directly above your eyes.

To achieve this position your wrists need to be flexed slightly and your fingers rounded. This type of position should direct your thumbs back toward your face; if they’re not pulled back they’ll be in the way of the ball, and jammed thumbs will ruin anybody’s day.

As mentioned in #1 we need hands that can cushion the ball without carrying it too long, which means we need nice ball-shaped hands. And of course the only way to get our hands to make a spherical shape is by pulling our thumbs back toward our eyes.

By making sure your thumbs are pointing toward your eyes and not your mouth or forehead you’ll be well on your way toward achieving a more consistent set.

3. Take a cue from soccer

I know this might seem a little odd since soccer players use their feet and setting involves just your hands, but to have accurate ball position when setting the volleyball we can imitate soccer players a little. More specifically, I’m referring to heading the ball.

If your footwork has been accurate and you’ve positioned yourself underneath the ball in preparation for setting, it should be approaching your forehead. Moving your hands away at the last second should result in the volleyball hitting your forehead, not your mouth or the top of your head.

Again, I’m not advocating that you actually let the ball hit you on the head or in the face.

Keeping the ball above your forehead will allow you to take full advantage of the power generated by your arms, wrists and leg muscles. Maintaining this ball position every time you set will also decrease the amount of time the ball is in your hands, making it less likely for you to be called for a lift.

Premature and Blue Babies Are Never Alone

Last week it was my daughter Heather's birthday-now 25! Out of college, employed, about to get married, and wise, and pretty, I could not be but the proudest father on Earth. I thought I heard her say, "… a promotion with a salary increase," as she punched the microwave buttons to heat the fudge.

In a hallucinating second, the kitchen surroundings became the delivery room at New York Hospital; The hospital where my baby was born. Clad in a white gown, I had been allowed to watch the delivery. And as I held my wife's hand and watched the miracle of birth, in a New York minute the dazzling brightness of the room change into dark foreboding.

Something was definitely wrong!

The turmoil that ensued left me paralleled: beepers resonated, screens flashed, voices became louder, commands snapped. At first I hear whispers: "umbilical cord …" "blue …" "oxygenation …" "blue baby!" And then shouts, "upstairs-code blue!"

The rush of the moment had beclouded my reason, and all I had lost my daughter; That my baby was born still. Since no one bothered to explain what was happening, my mind filled itself with the worst thoughts. All the offending acts of my life marched in procession in front of me, mocking me, reminding me that I was not a perfect human being, and that I had sinned against God, stranger, and neighbor. Guilt assailed me.

In my distress I called to the Lord

In utter despair, my mind beclouded, yet not quite panicked, I fell on my knees and I raised my eyes to the heavens and begged, "I have tested your patience dear Lord, punish me, but let this child live." Raspy and cracked and lame my voice kept repeating, "Take me God, but do not take her." Having forgotten my prayers, since I had been away from church for many years, all I could manage was to repeat my own simple words.

The nurse that had been left behind promptly attended to my wife, soothing her, calming her down. But she had no more information about my baby than I did. Seeing my distress, she assured me that the rush and the turmoil were really precautionary, and that the babies usually recovered; That they had a special unit on the sixth floor for the "pree-mees," (prematurely born), the "blue babies," and other difficult births.

"They got the best equipment and trained personnel in the world!" She boasted. "Upstairs, is like a space ship."

"Where, upstairs?" I asked her. "Will they let me in?"

"Yes, parents are allowed, but not during the emergency. But go and see."

My heart in my mouth, half-tripping on my own clumsy steps, I made a mad dash toward the elevators. Once on the sixth floor, through the wide glass windows I could see the obstetrician and his retinue gathered around an incubator. Appropriately, the child had been saved, for everyone in the group seemed to be collected; In fact they appeared cheerful, smiles showing on their faces.

Of all the faces in the group, one looked in my direction and nodded in a reassuring way; I found this incongruous, for the man was a giant, a tall and heavy African American, clad in a light blue uniform, with a matching cap.

Not wanting to be called out for trespassing, I hurried back to tell my wife that the baby was saved; That she was breathing on her own in an incubator. As I hustle back, the hallways seemed long and interminable, the elevator slow, my own steps ungainly, and I moved as if in the mid of a nightmare. Doubt filled my mind, was my baby really well? Or, had I conjured up that scene? "God, do not let me go off my senses," I begged.

I called out to my God

Early in the morning when my wife started having contractions, I realized that I had to miss work. Since I had just hired a new assistant controller, I immediately called him at home and instructed him to review the multi-million dollar payroll, transfer funds to cover it, check the protective collar or puts and calls I had on the investment portfolio, and Other tasks that I normally handled. In my arrogance and hubris, I feared my department would collapse during my absence. Needlessly I overwhelmed the poor man, as I snapped commands. Little faith I placed back then on the abilities of other people. Now, as I watched the hospital staff work as a team in seamless effort, it dawned on me that people care and they take pride in their assigned chores.

Within minutes, the obstetrician and the nurses returned and explained to us that the umbilical cord had twisted and knotted around the baby's neck and cut off the oxygen, and that they would have to keep her in the sixth floor for a few days. And though she was "a little blue," she did not fall into the category of 'Blue Babies Syndrome,' since these babies are born with a congenital heart defect.

As I listened, my heart was bursting with joy. Yet a voice of reason held me, for I wanted to yell my thanks to the heavens. The word Hosanna came to my mind, but I was not sure what it meant; So I kept quiet, enjoying the warmth, the ecstasy of triumph of life over death.

From his temple he heard my voice; My cry came to his ears.

With the doctor's permission, I was allowed to return to the sixth floor to see my daughter. Only the nurses are allowed near the incubators, so I had to content myself with watching Heather through the glass windows. The giant black male nurse walked in with a "pree-mee" -kicking and screaming– on the palm of his wide hand, and as he placed the loudhailer pree-mee in the incubator, the giant smiled at me. The man's name tag read, "Samuel Moseley."

Pointing at my baby I could see that he had twisted a piece of pink ribbon into a tiny bow and scotch-taped it on top of Heather's head. I gave the man a thumbs up as I mouthed through the window: "Thanks, Samuel."

What follows next is something I have never confided to anyone, but it's time to share my experience.

When I walked into my wife's room the next day, I felt a little silly carrying a bouquet of flowers, for flowers were all over the place. Some friends were already there, and well-wishers kept the telephone ringing. After a while I excused myself and ran to the sixth floor to see my baby and to give Samuel a box of chocolates. But Samuel was nowhere to be seen.

I ran to the reception station and asked the attendants to give the box of chocolates to Samuel later when he came in. The nurses looked at each other. "There's no Sam or Samuel-or male male nurses on this floor," one of them said. "You must be confused," the other forbidden added, "maybe in another building or floor."

The loud beeps from the microwave drew my out of my reverie. "Dad?" I heard Heather say. "I'm thinking about applying to law school-do you think I'm ready, or am I too premature?"

Cost-Saving Affordable House Plans

Building your dream home yet remaining within a realistic budget can be one of the most challenging aspects of home building. If you build the dream home you really want but can’t afford you either don’t build or surpass your budget and probably lose your home in the process. At the other spectrum, you may be able to build an inexpensive house but it may not please you at all, thus making you feel as though you just threw away a whole lot of money.

Costs are now more important than ever. Faced with rising construction material costs, it is important to carefully examine ways of keeping building costs down. Whether you are a single person with a limited budget, a retiree on a fixed income or financially comfortable yet cautiously conservative you will undoubtedly want to exercise some effective control over the budget.

Quality Of Plans

Generally there are two variables that can influence cost: quality and quantity in the construction, but there is a third, equally important variable; that of quality of plans. The structural design of the house plans can be one of the most effective means of achieving valuable cost saving measures. Economical house plans that reduce construction costs follow a standardized grid system layout in their design.

Recent studies have been reported in major building magazines demonstrating the positive results of preplanned designs and smart value engineering applied to new construction. Builders, developers and homeowners alike are taking notice. The potential dollar savings resulting from reduced construction cycle time also decrease construction loan costs, further enhancing the benefits of efficient building design.

The key to cost savings in frame construction is preplanning, using standard lumber, panel and pre-engineered components in the house plan design. By employing a modular type grid system when laying out a design with the major module of 48″ and the minor module of 24″, a standardized planning guide is applied to the overall exterior house dimensions (or foot print). Coordinating floor, ceiling and roof construction with these dimensions enables full use of standardized, readily available construction materials at significant savings.

House plans that employ this system in their overall design layout and structural configuration are a must toward implementing money-saving techniques.

Other Quality Features In Affordable House Plans Include:

  • Simplicity – When choosing house plans also look for simplicity in form. Busy, multi gabled roof lines and other complex structural forms add major dollars to the framing costs before you even contemplate interior finishes. Instead, create interest and variations with non-structural elements. For example, using built-ins around a standard window can transform it into a window seat without the expense of a structural bump-out. Keep roof lines simple with minimum use of dormers and cuts. When bump-out windows are used support them with cantilevered floor joists or support brackets thus avoiding expensive foundation corners.
  • Minimum Details – Minimize excessive interior trim details to keep cost down. Use them sparingly as a means of defining key aspects for special areas rather than just repeating them throughout the house.
  • Non-Structural Tricks – Interior visual, non-structural tricks such as alcoves with lowered soffits can add aesthetic interest without the structural expense normally associated with such variations in form. Eight foot ceilings may be run of the mill but they can be more affordable than high ceilings. A good alternative would be combining cathedral, vaulted or raised ceilings with standard 8′ or 9′ ceiling areas. This can achieve the effect of providing dramatic spaces while still remaining within budget.
  • Standard Units – The use of standardized, stock cabinetry dressed up with a few specialty items can be just as attractive as having the entire kitchen custom built while saving a fair amount on labor costs. Use standard window sizes and configurations. Custom windows involve serious money; try limiting them to one or two focal points. This will not only save money but retain the uniqueness of that custom window setting it apart from the others.

Cost-Saving Methods And Materials

In addition, the building industry today provides some beneficial standard material and methods which can help to minimize construction costs:

  • Floor Systems – Standard floor joists of 2X10’s are the most common floor systems in use today and will generally span a given distance depending on conditions and species. Pre-engineered trusses are a great alternative to standard dimensional lumber joists since they allow for longer unsupported spans. This enables more flexible use of floor space below creating greater efficiency under one roof. In addition, ductwork and wiring can be installed between and through the trusses.
  • Wall Studs – The use of pre-cuts can also save considerably on labor. To achieve 8′ ceilings use pre-cuts measuring approximately 93″; when added with the sole plate and double top plate (after factoring in finish flooring and ceiling) the result is an 8′ ceiling height. Pre-cuts measuring approximately 105″ are also available to achieve 9′ ceiling heights. Since drywall is now available in standard 54″ widths as well as the usual 48″ having a 9′ ceiling height is now economically feasible.
  • Roof Systems – Pre-fabricated and engineered roof trusses have made roof framing much easier, less complicated and less labor intensive. Using computerized equipment to calculate the most efficient and effective method of construction, roof trusses can be made at much lower cost and installed at greater speed than manual roof framing.

Economical and affordable house plans achieve savings through their quality. Efficient house plans that use grids and modules in their design layout can save money by avoiding waste of materials. Selective usage of methods and materials are vital in cost-saving construction. Simplified structure and standardized building unites will save you money. Choose wisely.

5 Tips on Preparing Crock Pot Meals

Slow cookers are often tucked away in a cabinet and seldom thought of as a regular kitchen tool. Most of us cook from habit; grab a familiar pan and stand over the stove stirring and adding ingredients. Think of the time and energy that could be saved as we learn to rely on the slow cooker or crock pot.

I have used my crock pot through the years to prepare roasts or chickens. However, I removed the meat when done and prepared the rest of the ingredients on the stove top or oven. Since this meant extra steps to get a meal ready, the crock pot would end up in the back of the cabinet and I would go back to my old cooking habits. It seemed to me that vegetables were tastier if cooked my old-fashioned methods.

In recent years, I have worked to find simpler and less time-consuming ways to prepare meals. Hopefully these tips will help you get more comfortable using a slow cooker for everyday menu choices.

If you do not have a cookbook specifically for crock pot recipes, I would suggest you purchase one. Watch for used ones at garage sales or flea markets as well as the library.

1. Peruse the recipes for slow cookers looking for what foods are prepared in them. Particularly consider whether ingredients are added all at one time and how they are placed in the cooker. Vegetables, for instance, take longer to cook and should be added first on the bottom or sides of the pot.

2. Familiarize yourself with food preparation. You will notice foods are to be cut into small pieces; meat which is added to a recipe is usually cut into 1″ chunks. Vegetables are cut in very small pieces.

3. Find some recipes in the cookbook that are similar to your family favorites. With a few changes in preparation of foods, you will be amazed at how many of your own recipes will become crock pot favorites.

4. Slow cookers do their best work when they are one half to three quarters full. This may mean you need to double some of your recipes. Now, you will really be saving time and energy as you will have some extra foods that can be frozen and ready for another day. That is a real bonus!

5. In adjusting recipes, or using one of your own, keep in mind a slow cooker will capture moisture. Cut back on the liquids you add until you see if it’s needed.

Another important thing to remember is to have all your ingredients prepared ahead of time and resist the temptation to open the lid to see how things are cooking. Your slow cooker can take up to twenty minutes to regain the heat lost by one little peek inside. Fix the recipe, shut the lid, and let that marvelous aroma fill your home.

Slow cooked foods will retain more nutrients and be much healthier for you.

Enjoy your extra time.

Starting Your Own Janitorial Company

If you decide that you want to start your janitorial company you should not just start buying supplies and equipment and look for people to work for your company. You need to take the time to do research on whom your perspective customers will be and drawing up a business plan. The business plan is the blueprint for starting and running your own company. First you will need to determine what equipment and supplies your will need. Typically, it is best that you start small so you do not go too far into debt and as your business grows, you can add more supplies and equipment.

The larger, more established janitorial companies will have the contracts of bigger commercial business like shopping centers, office complexes, hospitals, and schools so you need to look at smaller businesses for your customers. Start with a few of the smaller or new business and a few employees. Many times a new janitorial company will start with the owner and one other employee. To prove that your company can do the job you will have to work physically very hard. Being the owner, you will also have to do all the required paperwork. In the beginning, you will be putting in many hours on the job and in the office. This is why you should not have more than two or three businesses to do janitorial services in the beginning. You want to make sure that you do a good job for all your customers.

Before you get to the point where you are taking jobs you need to have a good business plan. In this business plan for your janitorial company, you need to include expenses for bonding, equipment and supplies, insurance, and capital to start your business. To help you develop good business plans do your research on prospective customers. Figure what they might want and need from a janitorial company. The business plan is what you present to the bank where you are trying to get a loan to start your business. The plan should also include the goals you will reach in one year and then in five years. You should also have some capital to invest in your company.

The services that your janitorial company offers should be in demand and ones that you can perform well. You will also need to know the rates that you will charge for your services because each customer will have different needs. You also need a schedule of how often you will clean for each customer.

It would help if you took some classes in accounting and business management before starting your own janitorial company so you know how to do the paperwork that you will be required to do.

Classification of Values

Education is a social process; Education is growth;

Education is not preparation for life; Education is life itself. — John Dewey

The prosperity of a country depends not on the abundance of its revenues, not on the strength of its fortifications, not on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its men of education, enlightenment and character. —martin Luther.

If wealth is lost nothing is lost.

If health is lost something is lost.

If character is lost everything is lost. —M.K. Gandhi (Father of Indian Nation)

Value is a conception, explicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group of the desirable which influences the selection from available, means and ends of action.

Values are the desirable ends, goals or modes of action which makes human behaviour selective. Value not only orients but also determines human behaviour.

Classification of Values:

It is necessary to know types of values. It is necessary to improve values in the children.

1. Gail M. Inlaw Classification

* Traditional and cultural values

* Economic values

* Political values

* Values in science and technology

* Philosophical values

* Values of the new left

* Values of the back community

2. Spranger’s Classification:

* Theoretical values

* Economic values

* Aesthetic values

* Social values

* Political values

* Religious values

3. Ploto’s Classification:

* Truth

* Beauty

* Goodness

4. Parker’s Classification of Values:

* Biological values

* Economic values

* Affective values

* Social values

* Intellectual values

* Aesthetic values

* Moral values

* Religious value

5. Gandhi’s Classification:

* Truth

* Non-violence

* Freedom

* Democracy

* Equality

* Self-realization

* Purity of ends and means

* Self-discipline

6. B.R. Goel Classification: ( Documents on Social, Moral and Spiritual Values)

1. Abstinence

2. Anti-touch ability

3. Consideration for others

4. Co-operation

5. Compassion

6. Common good

7. Courtesy

8. Democratic decision making

9. Dignity of the individual

10. Duty

11. Endurance

12. Friendship

13. Fellow-feeling

14. Forward look

15. Gentlemanliness

16. Honesty

17. Appreciation

18. Citizenship

19. Concern for others

20. Cleanliness

21. Common cause

22. Courage

23. Curiosity

24. Devotion

25. Dignity of manual work

26. Discipline

27. Quality

28. Faithfulness

29. Freedom

30. Good manner

31. Gratitude

32. Helpfulness

33. Humanism

34. Initiative

35. Justice

36. Kindness to animals

37. Leadership

38. National consciousness

39. National integration

40. Peace

41. Punctuality

42. Purity

43. Resourcefulness

44. Respect for others

45. Sincerity

46. Social justice

47. Self-help

48. Self-confidence

49. Self-study

50. Self-control

51. Social service

52. Sense of discrimination between good and bad

53. Socialism

54. Secularism and respect for all religions

55. Team work

56. Truthfulness

57. Universal truth

58. Value for national and civic property

59. Hygienic living

60. Integrity

61. Kindness

62. Loyalty to duty

63. National unity

64. Non- violence

65. Obedience

66. Proper utilization of time

67. Patriotism

68. Quest for knowledge

69. Regularity

70. Reverence for old age

71. Simple living

72. Self-discipline

73. Self- respect

74. Self-support

75. Self- reliance

76. Self-restraint

77. Solidarity of mankind

78. Sense of social responsibility

79. Sympathy

80. Spirit of enquiry

81. Team spirit

82. Tolerance

83. Universal love

7. In generally, values may be classified as personal, social moral, spiritual and behavioural values.

Fuses in Electrical Appliances

One aspect of electrical appliances that tends to cause a lot of confusion is the question “What fuse should this appliance have?” In this article, we look at fuses in detail and give guidelines on how to work out the correct fuse for the appliance.

What are fuses?

A fuse is an electrical component that is designed to prevent the flow of current that is higher than the value of the fuse. Eg a 3A fuse will “blow” if the current through it exceeds 3A.

Fuses are used in circuits to prevent excessive currents flowing under fault conditions and causing a fire. All mains plugs used in the UK are fitted with 3A, 5A or 13A fuses. The primary purpose of the fuse is to protect the mains cable and prevent it melting and/or catching fire under fault conditions.

The value of fuse used is based on the power of the appliance. A higher powered appliance, such as an electric heater will take more current and will typically require a 13A fuse along with a cable that can carry this level of current.

Fuses are colour coded for easy identification as shown below.

3A – Red

5A – Black

13A – Brown

Fuses in moulded mains plugs

As these plugs are moulded to the cable the fuse in these can be fixed by the manufacturer. They know what the maximum current that the cable can carry and the fuse is selected to protect the cable and “blow” if the current exceeds the capacity of the cable.

The value of the fuse that is fitted inside the moulded plug is marked on the outside. This makes the job of checking the fuse in a moulded plug very easy. Just lever out the fuse and check that the value is the same as that marked on the plug.

Fuses in rewireable mains plugs

These are plugs which the user can wire. These plugs can handle a maximum of 13A of current and are marked as such. Many people assume that this means a 13A fuse should be used in this appliance which is a mistake.

The fuse used in rewireable mains plug is sometimes marked on a paper label fixed to the plug or is referred to in the user manual. But in many cases, the person inspecting the appliance has to work out the value of the correct fuse.

First of all one needs to find out what the power consumption of the appliance is. This is usually indicated in Watts on the rating plate.

Example 1

An iron is fitted with a 13A fuse and the power consumption of the appliance is 1900W. As this is greater than 700W, this is the correct fuse for the appliance.

If the cable on this iron is being changed, then it is important to replace it with an identical type, capable of carrying 13A.

Example 2

The advice on the rating plate of this lamp says that the maximum lamp that can be fitted is a 40W one. The plug is fitted with a 13A fuse.

As the power rating is so low, we can quickly see that the fuse is too high and has to be changed to a 3A one.

Example 3

This sandwich toaster has a plug fitted with a 13A fuse and according to its rating plate has a power consumption of 700W. As this is right on the decision threshold, what should we do?

In general, heating appliances are fitted with a 13A fuse. If in doubt, check the cable used for this sandwich toaster. If it is capable of taking 13A, then a 13A fuse is the correct choice.

What is the relationship between Watts and the fuse rating?

There is a simple calculation to determine this. Just divide the Power (in Watts) by 230V (mains voltage in the UK) to work out the current (in Amps) taken by an appliance.

In Example 1 above, this would be 1900W/230V which gives us a current of 8.3A. One can see that a 3A or a 5A fuse would blow constantly if used in the plug for this iron leading us to choose a 13A fuse.

This is how we get to our 700W decision threshold. An appliance with 700W power consumption takes a current of 700W/230V which is 3A. Below this we can use a 3A fuse and above this we use a 13A one.

Example 4

A travel kettle for use around the world on either 110V or 230V has a 13A fuse fitted and is rated at 600W. The cable used is capable of taking 13A and the kettle has a switch to select 110V or 230V operation. Should we change the fuse to 3A as this is below our 700W threshold?

If we use the calculation above, we can see that the current taken by the kettle is only 2.6A (600W/230V). So a 3A fuse should be acceptable.

However, when the kettle is used, say in the US, the switch would be set to the 110V position. When the kettle is in use, it will take 5.5A (600W/110V). So a 3A fuse would keep blowing.

On this travel kettle, as it is designed for 230V/110V use and has a 13A cable fitted, the use of a 13A fuse is the correct choice.

Example 5

This drill has a power rating of 570W but is fitted with a 5A fuse. Using our calculation it only takes a current of 2.5A (570W/230V). Why is it not fitted with a 3A fuse?

Some appliances, like drills take a surge of current when switched on, which can exceed it’s normal operating current of 2.5A. If a 3A fuse is fitted, one would find that this would frequently blow in operation.

In this case, the 5A fuse that is fitted is the correct choice. Remember: If the fuse fitted is 3A or 5A do not change it.

Fuse Labels

Once a plug has been checked for the correct value of fuse, it is good practice to “seal” the plug. If on future inspection this seal is intact, then this is a good indication that no one has tampered with the wiring or changed the fuse.

How can you tell if a cable can take 13A?

The size of a cable is indicative of its current carrying capacity. So the easiest way to check a cable’s current rating is to check its diameter. If the outer diameter of a cable is around 7.5mm or more then it is very likely to be rated for at least 13A. Each conductor also has 40 wires in it.

Remember: If the fuse fitted is 3A or 5A do not change it just because the cable rating is 13A. Only check the cable rating is correct if the fuse is 13A.

Benefits of Hybrid Automobiles

High fuel prices and concerns over the environment have inspired more people than ever to go in search of alternative energy sources. The internal combustion engine is considered to be the largest polluter on the planet. Hybrid automobiles have been gaining attention and popularity as a result of these concerns. Most manufacturers either offer these vehicles or are in the process of developing them.

There are two types of hybrids: series hybrids and parallel hybrids. The parallel kind has a fuel tank for the gas engine and batteries for the electric motor. Both the engine and the electric motor can turn the transmission and power the vehicle. The small gas engine runs the car and the electric motor comes on when needed to boost power. This is typically needed for increasing speed, increasing and passing other vehicles. Honda currently uses this technology.

Series hybrids have a gas engine that powers the generator. The generator then charges the batteries and powers the electric motor. The gasoline engine does not power the vehicle on its own. The electric motor runs all the time and the gas engine comes on only when needed. This vehicle gets better mileage around town, where the electric motor is doing most of the work. Ford and Toyota currently use this technology.

Hybrid cars get significantly better gas mileage than the traditional internal combustion engine. Most get between 20 and 30 miles per gallon more than standard automobiles. All hybrids shut off the gas engine automatically when the car is stopped. This saves fuel and is better for the environment. When you press the gas pedal, the engine turns back on automatically. The gas engine will also come on to start charging the batteries when they become low on power.

Because less gasoline is burned in these vehicles, there is less pollution resulting emissions released into the atmosphere. In addition, there is a lower level of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Many scientists and environmentalists link carbon dioxide to global warming.

Parts of a Hybrid Vehicle:

O Gas engine: the engine is smaller and more energy efficient than engines in traditional vehicles.

O Fuel tank: the fuel tank is also smaller and holds less gasoline. Since these cars burn less, a smaller tank is plenty to power the vehicle.

O Electric Motor: the electric motor acts as both a motor and a generator. The motor takes energy from the batteries to power the car for acceleration. When you slow down, the energy is returned to the batteries, which are then automatically recharged.

O Batteries: a series of batteries store energy needed to power the electric motor.

O Transmission: in most hybrids, the transmission works to propel the car forward in a similar way as in traditional gasoline powered vehicles.

Hybrids recover energy from the electric motor to the battery. When you step on the brake, the energy from the motor is transmitted back to the battery. This process is known as regenerative braking. This helps to recharge the batteries and keep them in good working order.

The aerodynamic designs of the hybrids help in their energy efficiency. Look at pictures of the various hybrids on the market. The shape of the vehicle is intentional. It reduces the frontal area of ​​the car, which reduces the drag on the car when it moves through the air.

Lightweight materials are used on hybrid cars. This is also intentional. The more a car weighs, the more energy is needed to propel the vehicle forward. This is one reason SUVs use so much more gas than other cars. Lighter materials are used to reduce the overall weight of the car and in turn, decrease the energy that is needed to run it.

The tires on these vehicles are specially designed to increase efficiency. Stiffer materials are used in the construction and the tires are inflated to a higher pressure. This ensures optimum efficiency and conserves energy. These tires have about half as much drag as regular tires.

Automobile manufacturers are always looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency. Technology is being continuously developed to increase the efficiency and performance of these vehicles. Some of the coming improvements include: increased fuel economy, more safety features, better performance and comfort.

Your new hybrid auto is an investment that you will want to protect. Keep the exterior looking great with regular washing and waxing to protect the finish of the car. Do not overlook the headlights when performing exterior maintenance. New Lite Headlight Cleaner and Restorer will return cloudy headlights to like new condition. Learn more about this product at http://www.mdwholesale.com .

Malaysia Itinerary Ideas

You will find that most Malaysian itineraries begin in the capital of Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is commonly known as. This lively city is home to a hotchpot of different cultures and traditions, each providing their own stamp and influence on the city and its development. With a variety of different regions and attractions to see and visit during a stay here; I would recommend a visit to the world famous Petronas Towers or the KL Tower for a great view across the city. Alternately for a quieter experience of KL, take a trip to the KLCC Bird Park and Lake Gardens for a relaxing stroll away from all the noise of the busy city. Want to try some of the local delicacies during your Malaysia trip, then I would suggest you grab a cheap but tasty bite to eat in the bustling area of ​​China Town

Next, your Malaysia travel plan could take you from the capital up to Taman Negara, (Malaysia's best known National Park,) spend some time staying among the rainforest canopy in a wooden jungle chalet. Whilst in the park, there are a host of different activities that you can sign up for, jungle trekking, fishing, the canopy walk or even a night safari.

The cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands are a welcomed relief from the humid rainforest of Taman Negara and are normally next on people's Malaysian itineraries. Excursions can be arranged to the Boh Tea Estate where visitors will discover what exactly is involved in the process of cultivating and producing tea. I would suggest that during your part of your Malaysia trip you treat yourself to a cup of the local tea with a scone with lashings of cream and jam!

Traveling away from the plants to the coast a stay on the island of Penang should not have missed during a trip to Malaysia. The island's capital Georgetown is brimming with colonial history and local Malaysian culture, from spiritual temples to beautifully fronted shop facades. For a personal sight-seeing trip around the island jump on board a trishaw for a ride around the city. I believe that this is the best way to travel on this island and also the most enjoyable.

From Pulau Penang, it is a short boat ride over to the island of Langkawi. This island is ideal place to end a trip to Malaysia, with so much to do the island it could warrant a whole two weeks stay itself. This island is one of the most developed of Malaysia's islands and offers a wide range of accommodation, bars and restaurants and sight-seeing attractions to keep children (and adults) of all ages entertained. During your time you could take a visit to the Aquarium, Crocodile Farm or Bird Paradise, or take part on one of the many water sports that are on offer on the island. Fancy something a bit slower paced then head to the local spas or golf courses. However, if relaxing on the beach in the shade of your own palm tree with a good book is more what you had in mind, then Langkawi has it all.

These are purely the essential Malaysia travel experiences, and if you have time there is so much more that you can pack into your Malaysia travel plan . Happy traveling!

Top 7 Benefits of Recycling

Recycling is a process – a series of activities, if you will, that includes: the collection and sorting of waste materials, the processing of these materials to produce brand new products, and the purchase and use of these new products by consumers.

Recycling is more optimized and efficient if we practice the three R’s of waste management: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Reducing waste that otherwise get’s carted off to the recycling centers or landfills is achieved through an intentional decrease in our purchases and consumption,composting of organic waste, and flat refusal to use disposable items like polystyrene and plastic bags. Reusing materials serve to lengthen a particular item’s usage. Examples of this are: repurposing glass bottles into artistic lamp shades, giving your old cell phones to family or friends for reuse, and upcycling street trash bins into community swimming tubs.

But, why recycle? Why go through all the trouble of recycling your garbage? How does recycling benefit us and the environment?

Let’s review the benefits of recycling:

Recycling Helps Protect The Environment

Recycling sharply reduces the amount of waste that gets deposited in our landfills or burned in incinerator plants. Engineered landfills in most cities are designed to contain toxic chemicals leaking from decaying solid waste from reaching our water systems. But, for how long? Already, we’re getting reports of dangerous chemicals contaminating water supplies in some cities. Burning solid waste for electricity may be efficient, but we pay the price in terms of increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling Helps Conserve Limited Resources

To put this benefit in proper perspective, let’s consider this statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: “By recycling over 1 million tons of steel in 2004, Pennsylvanians saved 1.3 million tons of iron ore, 718,000 tons of coal, and 62,000 tons of limestone. Through recycling newsprint, office paper and mixed paper, we saved nearly over 8.2 million trees.”

Resources like oil and precious metals (gold, silver, bauxite, copper, etc.) are all finite resources that will be exhausted, sooner or later. Cell phone and computer manufacturers, like Dell and Apple, recognize the need for a steady supply of raw materials – most are active in buy-back programs to recycle materials from used products.

Recycling Promotes Energy Efficiency

Recycling is far more efficient, in terms of energy consumption, than producing something out of fresh raw material. Done on a nationwide scale, this could lead to significant reduction in our energy costs. The energy required to extract , process, and transport metal from a mine to a refinery is obviously much greater than what’s required to recycle metal from used products – it costs more energy to manufacture a brand new aluminum can from fresh material than to make 20 cans out of recycled materials!

Recycling Helps Build A Strong Economy

Every cost-reduction, energy efficiency, materials conservation, and job generation benefit of recycling adds up to help build a strong economy for our country. Recycling, done on a country-wide scale, has a huge positive impact on the economy. There was dip in the price of recyclables last year when the financial crisis started, but it is testimony to the resiliency of this industry that prices are now back to pre-crisis levels – a recovery that’s well ahead than most other industries. Jobs are being generated and city and town governments are enjoying huge savings in electricity, garbage collection, and landfilling costs.

Recycling Creates Jobs

Recycling generates more jobs than landfilling or incinerating waste. That’s a benefit we can’t lose sight of, in this time of recession and high unemployment rate. Let’s consider the disposal of 10,000 tons of solid waste: burning it for electricity will create 1 job; collecting and dumping this on a landfill will create 6 jobs; processing the waste for recyling will generate 36 jobs!

Recycling Builds Community

People band together and build communities around common causes, issues, and advocacies. Recycling is no different. In many neighborhoods and cities across the country, we see concerned citizens working together in recycling initiatives, environment lobby groups, and free recycling groups. If you’re new to recycling or environmental advocacy, go find a local group to work with. Staying the course is more fun and rewarding when you have other enthusiasts cheering you on.

Recycling Can Be Financially Rewarding

If you just want to make money to get by in these hard times or start a home business, recycling is a profitable option. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to start a home-based recycling business. You just need to plan on what material (cell phone, paper, or metals, etc.) you intend to collect, plan storage, contact the recycling plant for pricing, and you’re set to start collecting recyclables and reselling these to the recycling facility at a decent profit. The large recycling giants in the US all started as home businesses years ago – you can do it, too – those guys just recognized the huge potential of this business well ahead of the crowd.

The benefits of recycling to each of us, to society, and to the environment are our compelling reasons why we recycle. For many of us, recycling has become second nature – a way of life. It’s a small but extremely vital component of environmental protection – without recycling, all our efforts to protect the planet will be less effective, even futile. Let’s all continue recycling.

Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City – Smoky Eye Look

The exciting news this week has been the Premier of Sex in the City 2. I was lucky enough to see a sneak peak just before its launch. London and the UK have all been a buzz over this fashion fest movie. Now I know that it has had mixed reviews but the opinions of women all over the UK has been “never mind the story we love the clothes and the make-up”. Now there are not too many films you can say that about. Since the Premier I have been inundated with requests on how to get the look… mainly Carrie Bradshaw. But if there is anyone else that you’d like to see a ‘get the look’ on please let me know.

Get Carrie’s Look:

Carrie’s look is a modern twist on the classic smoky eye look. As a matter of face it is not too dis-similar to Tom Ford’s Spring 2010 look.

Face:

Perfect your complexion choose a foundation to suit your skin tone. Apply it like a professional make-up using a foundation brush. Check out MAC, Ariane Poole or Body Shop. Using a foundation brush will give you that air brushed film star finish to your skin. Next a little concealer were necessary…like under the eyes and on any blemishes. Save the powder until the end you want to keep your skin’s luminosity.

Eyes:

Carrie’s brows are shaped to perfection. If yours have been over plucked then fear not. Get a great brow shape with some brow powder or a brow pencil. Take a look at Shavata, Ariane Poole and Chanel.

As I said, Carrie has a new twist of a smoky eye look. After applying an eye base, like Elizabeth Arden Eyefix, pop a mid to deep brown shadow, deepened on your skin tone, on the lids extending it beyond the socket line. I like Bobbi Brown or MAC for their wide selection of shades. Extending the shadow is the key to an open sexy smoky eye look. Define the shape and create more depth with dark brown gel liner, like my Chocolate Mousse or Maybelline’s NEW Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Brown applied along the base of the top and bottom lashes. I love gel liners because not only can you create definition and drama to the eyes but you can blur the line giving the eyes that smudginess. Next take a black eye pencil, like Benefit’s BadGal Pencil and line the inner rim of your eyes. Add a touch of ivory shadow to highlight under the arch of the brows. Finish with lots of volume building mascara, such as L’Oreal Paris NEW Volume Million Lashes and a few individual false lashes.

Cheeks:

Keep the cheeks soft and fresh with a flush of apricot/peach blush applied to the apples of the cheeks. If you haven’t got Carrie’s chiselled cheeks then sweep a little bronzer under your cheek bones and watch them pop out.

Top Five Live Music Venues in London

I. THE PIANO WORKS

Located in the heart of Farringdon, it is a non-stop live music venue. One of the best things about it is that the repertoire is decided by the audience and played by two greatly talented pianists and accompanying musicians.

Every Tuesday there is an open mic night that aims to discover talent and celebrate diversity. Additionally, selected drinks are only £4 and a full rack of ribs and sides just £10. Wednesdays, any bottle of wine is just £19. Great opportunity to try a vast variety of worldwide wines at an affordable price while enjoying your favourite song live. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Happy Hour offers are available from 5PM to 7PM with £5 cocktails and £10 house wines bottles. Best place to enjoy amazing food, drinks and live music.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sun: 7PM-1 AM

Address: Entrance on Ray St. 113-117 Farringdon Road, Farringdon, London, EC1R 3BX

II. THE SPICE OF LIFE

Every Monday night there is an Open Mic Night, while Wednesdays on lunchtime there are sessions featuring a wide range of jazz styles with the best of traditional, swing and mainstream bands and musicians. Coming nightfall, Wednesday and Thursday nights feature some of the finest national and international jazz acts. They aim to provide the new talent with a platform to develop. Thus, they are showcasing bands of many genres. On every first Sunday of the month, the atmosphere changes with the best unsigned country soul artists in London.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sat: 11 AM – 11 PM

Sunday: 12 PM – 10.30PM

Address: 6 Moor St, Soho, London W1D 5NA

III. APPLE AND PEARS BAR

Apple and Pears is one of the best live music venues in east London, with a lounge bar and a late-night basement bar. It is a neighbourhood cocktail bar, perfect for enjoying time with your friends, meeting new people and tasting some carefully crafted drinks. Additionally, you can sneak into the cutest garden area without worrying about catching a cold as it is heated. They offer a programme of live music events and acoustic sessions during the week and DJ nights at the weekends.

Opening hours:

Tue / Wed / Thu: 5 PM – 12 AM

Friday: 5 PM – 1 AM

Saturday: 6 PM – 1 AM

Address: 26 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD

IV. THE HALF MOON

The Half Moon is one of London’s longest running live music venues, with live events seven days a week, both during lunchtime and evening. It is a traditional lively pub with great bands and performances, freshly prepared food and an impressive range of beer featuring locally brewed favourites, English ales and continental classics. Many artists have performed and recorded here, such as Rolling Stones, U2 and many others. It’s definitely worth checking it out.

Opening hours:

Mon / Tue / Wed / Thu: 11 AM – 11 PM

Fri / Sat: 11 AM – 1 AM

Sunday: 12 PM – 11 PM

Address: 93 Lower Richmond Rd, Putney, London SW15 1EU

V. The Vortex Jazz Club

The Vortex Jazz Club is a pleasantly small and unpretentious venue, with a diverse range of jazz from traditional to contemporary and commercial. The food is delicious, the drinks reasonably priced and the staff very pleasant.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sun: 8 PM – 12 AM

The Vortex Downstairs, is the Vortex’s second performance space. However it is open only from Wednesday to Sunday. On Sundays, sessions are featuring the best jazz musicians, on Saturdays there is soulful jazz, reggae and rocksteady, while on Fridays are late night gigs.

Opening hours:

Wed / Thu: 6 PM – 11 PM

Fri / Sat: 6 PM – 2 AM

Sunday: 6 PM – 11 PM

Address: 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ

Please let me know if this helped with your dilemma and don’t shy away from sharing your experience!

With love,

Raluca

The Versatility of Boys Hoodies

In the year 2009, hoodies are as popular with young adults now as they have ever been. It seems that the majority of boys and girls have a selection of different styles and colors of hooded tops in their wardrobes which they wear whatever the season. Hoodies are an extremely versatile item of clothing, they can be worn in the winter months, layered up, or they can be worn in the summer with a light top underneath and a pair of shorts or a skirt.

These days hoodies do not just come in thick, sweater form, they also come in light cotton and bright colours. It is this that makes them so wearable for all different walks of life, but in particular, young boys and teenage boys follow the hoodie fashion. Far from what the media would have you believe, hooded tops are simply not only for trouble making yobs and thugs, they are also worn by law abiding citizens who do not wear them to hide their identity, but because they are comfortable, casual and stylish.

Boy’s hoodies are extremely practical, offering protection and warmth in all different kinds of weather. The hood offers protection from the rain and as it can usually be adjusted through a drawstring toggle, it also protects the face from strong winds and cold weather. Boy’s hoodies can also be worn when taking part in sports and they are particularly popular with boys who are interested in skateboarding or “skaters” as they are often referred to. Hoodies are loose and thin enough to be comfortable, and to allow the wearer to move freely but at the same time, thick enough to be warm and to be worn as an over-garment.

For the summer months, boys often wear hoodies which are more like hooded t-shirts, although they tend to have long sleeves. These hoodies do not have the trademark large frontal pocket, and are made from a thin cotton material (often layered with a long sleeved shirt under a short sleeved shirt). Worn with jeans or shorts, they are a practical, casual garment and they give great protection from strong sun or heat while remaining breathable and fashionable.

Another type of boy’s hoodie is the zip-up, or the zipped-hoodie. These tend to be made out of thicker, sweater-like material and are worn as a jacket over a thinner layer. These are great for wearing in the spring or autumn when boy’s require a little more than just a plain t-shirt but also like the option of unzipping their top to cool off. As with other styles of jackets, zip-up hoodies have pockets for storage, although these are situated at the front of the jacket on either side of the zip. They are also usually a feature of the top rather than simply being a hidden hole as is often the case in other styles of jacket.

Boys hoodies [http://www.joebloggsclothing.co.uk/store/c195/2-195/Home//BOYS-HOODIES/details.aspx] are an extremely comfortable, versatile item of clothing which can be worn with anything, over anything, and at anytime!

Walt Disney World Holiday Vacations

One of the most spectacular holiday gifts you could give your family is a vacation at Walt Disney World. This magical place, adored by kids of all ages, brings families together in a way that creates lifelong memories. What better time to bring out that special sparkle in your children’s eyes than during the holidays?

Now that the 2008 holiday season is officially underway, each of the Walt Disney World theme parks has begun a stunning celebration that will delight each and every member of your family in true Disney fashion. You won’t want to miss a thing, so get out your calendar and create a plan of action before you travel!

The Magic Kingdom, the original and most beloved of the Disney parks, is hosting Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Throughout the year, the majesty of Cinderella’s Castle is an awesome sight at night, but during this celebration the 200,000 lights that transform this Disney World icon into a glistening ice castle will dazzle you. The customary fireworks over the castle are enhanced with holiday music, bringing tidings of great joy to all.

Of course, holiday parades, shows, and characters are a part of the Magic Kingdom party. There are even snowflakes, complimentary cookies, and hot cocoa for guests!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is going on from 7:00PM until midnight, on select nights only during November and December. The 2008 dates include November 10, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21, and 30, and December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 19.

From November 28, 2008 through January 4, 2009 Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World presents The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This is a nightly extravaganza like nothing you’ve ever seen. Disney’s Main Street America comes alive, as its buildings, strung with millions of holiday lights, seem to dance to holiday classics. The sheer beauty of the lights is impossible to describe and the music synchronization is fascinating! The show begins at dusk, and is repeated every 10 minutes.

Your vacation won’t be complete without experiencing the Holidays Around the World event at Epcot. This is a nightly event that is being featured from November 28, 2008 through December 30, 2008. Prepare to be awed by the Candlelight Processional, an exhilarating reading of the Christmas Story set against an amazing orchestra and angelic choir. You can catch this inspiring storytelling every evening at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15.

While at Epcot you’ll want to relish the season with an international flair. Holiday storytellers will be featured throughout the season, offering heartwarming stories from around the world.

Make sure you stick around for Epcot’s Illuminations Reflections on earth. This incredible fireworks spectacular, complete with lights, lasers, and water fountains, is set to a holiday theme. The ultimate holiday message is delivered through the grand finale which features the song Let There Be Peace On Earth, followed by a touching holiday message from Walter Cronkite.

From November 28, 2008 through January 4, 2009, Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World becomes a holiday playground. Festive music, holiday decorations, and Disney characters decked out in seasonal costumes will fascinate and delight all who visit. Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade is a must see!

In order to make the most of your time and money, be sure to research the various Walt Disney World ticket options available.

If you’ll be visiting the parks for 4 or more days you’ll most likely benefit from purchasing Magic Your Way tickets. These are base tickets that can be customized to add options such as water park entry, no expiration date, and park hopper.

My advice is to carefully consider the cost of these options and to realistically weigh their value.

While the water parks offer an incredible experience, this option can add significantly to your total cost. You’ll want to keep a few things in mind, such as the possibility that it may not be hot enough during this season to spend a day at a water park, and that each of the 4 theme parks can easily fill more than 1 entire day.

If you plan your vacation well, you should be able to determine the total number of days that you’ll want to spend in the parks. This will alleviate the need and extra cost of the no expiration option.

As far as the park hopper option goes, my advice is to pass on this as well, unless you only have a couple of days to spend and want to see all of the parks. The base ticket will enable you to visit any 1 of the 4 theme parks each day, and you will easily fill an entire day in any of them. In my opinion, park hopping is a time consuming and unnecessary option.

With all that Walt Disney World has to offer, your family will have the adventure of a lifetime. I wish you and yours a very merry holiday season and a healthy, happy new year!

The 10 Top Ways To Play It Safe This Holiday Season

Every year, the holiday season seems to approach us before we’re ready for it. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 67,800 home fires occur in a typical year, caused from faulty home wiring and electrical appliances. More home fires happen in December than any other month of the year.

The holidays are a busy time for all of us, and safety planning may take a back seat to the list of things to do such as shopping, party organization, family get-togethers, volunteer missions, gift wrapping, and decorating, to name a few. Let’s all work together to make sure our loved ones don’t show up as a statistic on the evening news.

Here are the 10 top ways to play it safe this holiday season:

Overall home wiring system integrity is crucial. Grounded circuits are safer than ungrounded circuits. Have your panel inspected regularly. This could uncover potential problems before they become unsafe.

  • Space Heaters can be very dangerous! When using them, do not overload the circuit they’re plugged in to. Only use space heaters that have an emergency shut-off if they tip over. Make sure the heater itself is not damaged or compromised in any way. Keep children away from space heaters. Keep space heaters away from all combustible materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture, toys, etc. Never leave then unattended, and particularly when your home is unoccupied. Never use them with extension cords. If you believe the heater is even slightly damaged or compromised, throw it away.
  • Your homes’ heating system should be checked yearly by your heating and cooling company. This could uncover potential problems before they become unsafe.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use. Many fires are started by extension cords because they are used improperly, tied in knots, overloaded, stowed under rugs and carpet, used for circuit wiring, frayed or cracked or otherwise compromised. The temporary use rule also holds true for devices used to plug multiple appliances into a receptacle. These are sometimes called ‘triple taps’. These devices encourage overloading. A safer alternative is the circuit breaker protected outlet strip, or a surge protector strip.
  • Smoke detectors are not negotiable! New codes call for one in every bedroom, and one at every elevation change. It isn’t uncommon to find 10-15 smoke detectors in new homes. Regardless of how many you have, make sure you test them regularly (minimum once a month) to confirm they work. They save lives. Ideally, they should be electric with battery back-up, and interconnected. This way when one is triggered, they all sound the alarm. If you’re unsure about your smoke alarm system, have your electrician evaluate.
  • Additional lighting and appliances can overload your home wiring circuits. Follow the rules above for extension cords and triple taps, and apply common sense to your electrical needs overall. If you have repeated fuses blowing or breakers tripping, there could be an overload issue. Be aware of unusual noises such as crackling or popping, and turn all electrical loads off before plugging in or unplugging. This will eliminate arcing.
  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection is designed to protect human beings from electrocution. Today’s code requires them near swimming pools and hot tubs, in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors, in garages, unfinished basements and crawl spaces, wet bars, boathouses, rooftop receptacles, fountains, and construction sites. If you don’t have them in these places, speak with your electrician about installing them. During the holiday season of Christmas lights and outdoor electric displays and decorations, to help prevent electric shock it is essential you use GFCI protection for all of your outdoor electrical needs. You can plug into a GFCI receptacle, a circuit with a GFCI breaker, or a GFCI whip (inline GFCI protection).
  • Receptacle safety plugs are a great idea (all year round) when kids are present in your home. They should fit snugly and require some effort to remove, because they could also become a choking hazard. These will prevent children from inserting anything into the receptacle; thereby reducing the chances of electrocution. I also recommend teaching your children from an early age about the rules of electrical safety.
  • Proper outdoor lighting improves security. Motion lighting and floodlighting can provide safer pathways, and aid in home security against prowlers or would-be burglars. It’s a good idea to leave on a light indoors when the home is unoccupied. Timers are useful for cycling lamps and other lighting throughout your home.
  • Ladders are often used to install Christmas lights on homes and trees. Never exceed the load capacity of your ladder. Extension ladders should be placed so that the distance at the bottom is about ¼ the length of the ladder. Keep all areas at the top and bottom of your ladder clear of debris, ice and snow, toys, etc. Keep your ladders free of all slip hazards and materials. Never overextend your reach. Always use fiberglass ladders when working around electrical lines. Never use a ladder for a purpose for which it is not intended.
  • Many folks are do-it-yourselfers. When working with home wiring, remember to ALWAYS turn power off before performing your project. Respect your skill set limitations, and don’t allow distractions. If you feel unsure of your ability in any area of home repair or improvement, hire a professional. Don’t risk your safety, your family or your life to save a few dollars.

There are many topics we can discuss that contribute to the safety of your family and home. Common sense and good judgment in the areas listed above will drastically increase your safety, and improve your odds for an enjoyable, accident-free holiday season.