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The Cost of Resiliency During Power Outages: 5 tips to stay prepared ahead of storms

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(Family Features) Safeguarding your family, home and finances from disaster starts long before an extreme weather event occurs. When destructive storms challenge the electric grid’s reliability and cause loss of power for an extended period, many facets of everyday life are disrupted.

Unexpected power outages can impact vital communications, transportation and access to important businesses. It can also cause food spoilage or water contamination and prevent the use of medical devices. Protecting your loved ones and property starts with a plan.

“My family was without power for three days after a tornado touched down two blocks from our home,” said Matt Blashaw, licensed home building contractor, real estate agent and host of various HGTV shows. “I partner with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) because I realized the importance of not only having an emergency plan but the need for a reliable energy source, like propane, to power a standby generator to keep my family and home resilient. In addition to providing peace of mind, a propane standby generator could lower a homeowner’s insurance rate and simultaneously raise the home’s property value. It’s a win-win-win in my mind.”

According to PERC, the average homeowner will experience 3.5 power interruptions in a two-year period. Even short outages lasting less than four hours can cost homeowners an average of $1,250 in spoiled food, hotels, damaged electronics and more.

To avoid a financial burden caused by power outages, consider a reliable propane standby generator as a key part of resilient design. It allows a house to:

  • Resist hazards brought on by electric grid failures, such as spoiled food, loss of heat or air conditioning, hotel costs and more
  • Continue providing the primary function of a home – protection
  • Reduce the magnitude or duration of a disruptive event to a property and its impact on the homeowners

While no amount of preparation can stop the forces of nature, planning ahead to manage blackouts can have a significant impact on you and your family. Consider these tips from Blashaw and the experts at PERC.

Make a Plan
Creating a plan that assesses the risks of the region where you live and addresses potential disasters is a key step toward safety in an emergency. Gather your family and discuss how you’ll receive emergency alerts, where you’ll shelter, how you’ll evacuate and how everyone should plan to communicate, if the need arises. Think through needs specific to your household such as ages of residents, critical medications, dietary needs, child care, pet care and more. Putting a plan in place means you and your loved ones can react quickly when time is of the essence.

Prepare Your Propane System
Regardless of what weather may be on the horizon, it’s important to ensure your propane tank is ready. Take a few minutes to know where the gas shutoff valve is located on your propane system in case the propane needs to be turned off in the event of an emergency. Call a propane professional to inspect the system before restoring it.  

On average, a 500-gallon tank can hold enough propane to meet the annual energy needs of a single-family home. A local propane supplier will come to the home and fill the tank, providing energy for key appliances that use propane even if the fragile electric grid is down.

As the season transitions to winter, mark the tank with brightly colored stakes or flags that are higher than anticipated snow depth; this ensures propane personnel can always locate it during scheduled refills, even during the toughest conditions.

Secure Doors and Windows
When storms and high winds are expected, one easy way to protect your home and family members is to secure all exterior doors and windows. Start by checking seals to keep out wind and water, which can cause damage. Secure outdoor furniture and trim vegetation like bushes and trees to avoid flying debris shattering windows during high winds.

Have a Backup Power Source
When the electric grid is interrupted, the loss of power can impact systems like smoke and fire detection, refrigeration, air conditioning and heating, and other health and safety equipment. When a homeowner purchases a backup standby generator, a licensed technician installs the unit outside the home and wires it to the home’s circuit breaker. When a power outage occurs, the generator automatically senses the disruption of service and starts the generator’s engine, which then delivers power to select appliances in the home in as little as 10 seconds after an outage.

Available in a variety of capacities to fit the needs of any size of home, propane backup generators are versatile and can power several major appliances throughout a home including lights, refrigeration, heating and cooling equipment and critical medical equipment. For homes that already operate on propane, consider running important systems and appliances like the furnace, water heater, stove and fireplace on propane. The more appliances powered by propane, the smaller and less expensive your standby generator can be.

Plus, propane is environmentally friendly and won’t degrade over time like other fuel sources, ensuring the backup generator reliably powers your home to give you added peace of mind. As a low-carbon emissions energy source, propane is part of a wide path to achieving a low-carbon future. Its abundance, along with the growth of renewable propane, means propane can be used now and for generations to come.

Pack an Emergency Kit
Regardless of the emergency you’re facing, being prepared means stocking up on food, water and other supplies that can last your family multiple days. Although an emergency kit is largely a collection of basic household items, it’s important to have the kit packed, stored and secured ahead of potential disasters to save time and energy. Some basics to pack include gallon jugs of water, non-perishable food, flashlights and extra batteries, smartphone chargers, sanitation supplies like trash bags and moist towelettes, a first-aid kit and basic tools. Also consider items based on individual needs like prescription medications, eyeglasses, essentials for infants and pet food.

Find more resilient storm preparedness solutions at Propane.com.


SOURCE:
Propane Education & Research Council

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Unity and Support: Baltimore’s Response to the Key Bridge Collapse

“Baltimore’s Orioles and Ravens unite, donating $10M to Key Bridge Fund after tragic collapse. Community stands strong in the face of adversity.”

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"Orioles and Ravens logos side by side - Unity in support after Baltimore Key Bridge tragedy."
Dali 10 hours after the collapse with remnants of the bridge’s superstructure on its bow. Note the section of roadway. Wikipedia

In a display of unity and generosity, Baltimore’s major league franchises, the Orioles and the Ravens, have joined forces to donate $10 million towards the recovery efforts following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26. The donation will be channeled through the Baltimore Community Foundation’s “Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong Key Bridge Fund,” aiming to provide financial assistance to the families of victims, port workers, first responders, and others impacted by this devastating event.

New Orioles owner, David M. Rubenstein, emphasized the city’s resilience in the face of adversity, noting that the donation reflects a commitment to supporting those who play pivotal roles in maintaining the city’s operations. Ravens owner, Steve Bisciotti, expressed heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, acknowledging the bravery and dedication of the first responders involved in the rescue efforts.

The collapse, triggered by a container ship losing control and striking a pier, resulted in the tragic loss of six construction workers with two individuals fortunate to be rescued from the river. This catastrophe has undoubtedly shaken the community, but the response from the Orioles, Ravens, and the wider Baltimore community speaks volumes about their solidarity and determination to stand together during times of crisis.

As the city mourns the lives lost and works towards recovery, the support from these sports franchises serves as a beacon of hope and solidarity. The resilience and strength displayed by Baltimore and Maryland in the wake of this tragedy are a testament to the unwavering spirit of its people. Through collaboration and compassion, the community is coming together to heal and rebuild, showcasing the true essence of unity in the face of adversity.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/baltimore-ravens-orioles-donate-10-million-key-bridge/story?id=108945428#:~:text=The%20Baltimore%20Ravens%20and%20Baltimore,Baltimore%20Strong%20Key%20Bridge%20Fund.

About the Key Bridge Collapse

Key Bridge collapsed on March 26, 2024, at 01:27 EDT (05:27 UTC) due to a collision with a Singapore-registered container ship named MV Dali. The ship lost power and hit the southwest supporting pier of the main truss section. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that the bridge was built before the use of redundant support structures, which are now commonly used in modern bridges. The NTSB stated that these structures would have prevented the collapse.

During sonar exploration, it was discovered that several vehicles were submerged underwater, and two individuals were rescued alive from the river. Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency, acknowledging that the situation could have been much worse. However, the actions of the ship’s crew, who sent a distress signal, and the workers on the bridge, who prevented other vehicles from crossing the bridge moments before the collapse, helped to save many lives. Following the incident, insurers are expected to face multi-billion dollar losses due to damages, business disruptions, and liability claims.

An eight-worker repair crew was working on a bridge when a collision occurred. It is believed that the crew members are the only victims of the disaster. During the search and rescue operation, two of the victims were found inside a red pickup truck, submerged under 25 feet of Patapsco River water, near the mid-span of the collapsed bridge. Due to the unfavorable water conditions, further search operations have been suspended. (Wikipedia)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Scott_Key_Bridge_(Baltimore)

https://stmdailynews.com/

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National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: Celebrating Small Business Excellence in 2024

“March 29 is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day! Let’s celebrate the small businesses that make our communities thrive. #SupportLocal”

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March 29th is a day dedicated to appreciating the hardworking small business owners who contribute to the growth and vitality of our economy, “Mom and Pop Business Owners.” On this special day, we acknowledge the more than 27 million small businesses in the country and shine a spotlight on their remarkable efforts.

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day was established by Rick and Margie Segel in honor of their parents and the success of their clothing shop that started from humble beginnings. It’s a time to recognize the long hours, dedication, and hard work it takes to run a small business.

Celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!

So, how can we celebrate this important day?

  1. Shop Local: Support the small businesses in your community by seeking them out and becoming a regular customer. Whether it’s a local bookstore, bakery, or boutique, make it a point to visit them frequently. If you hear about an interesting spot, go on an adventure to discover it and then share your recommendations with friends.
  2. Use Social Media: Most small businesses are grateful for any extra attention they can get. Show your support by following your favorite mom and pop shops on social media platforms, and whenever possible, promote and share their posts. A simple like or comment can go a long way in helping them reach a wider audience.
  3. Write a “Thank You” Note: Take a moment to express your gratitude to the mom and pop shop owners and employees who have made a difference in your life. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. A heartfelt note can mean the world to someone who puts their heart and soul into their business.

Now let’s delve into why we love mom and pop businesses:

  1. Personalized Shopping Experience: Mom and pop businesses take pride in providing personalized service to their customers. They take the time to get to know you, understand your needs, and make your shopping experience memorable. Unlike large retail chains, they genuinely care about their customers and strive to create a unique and enjoyable experience with superior customer service.
  2. Community Support: Small businesses play a crucial role in supporting the local community. They create job opportunities, hire locally, and recycle the money they earn back into the neighborhood. By choosing to spend your dollars at mom and pop establishments, you contribute to the growth and sustainability of your community.
  3. Unique Discoveries: In a world where big-box stores dominate, mom and pop shops bring a breath of fresh air and unique products to the marketplace. They often showcase goods that are different from what you’ll find in every chain store. Discovering something special and undiscovered is quite the delight, and supporting these businesses encourages innovation and diversity.

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is a reminder of the remarkable contributions made by small businesses. They are the backbone of our economy, providing jobs, personalized service, and unique experiences for customers. So, on March 29th, let’s show our appreciation for these hardworking individuals and make a conscious effort to support and celebrate the mom and pop shops in our communities.

https://nationaltoday.com/national-mom-pop-business-owners-day/

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Dual Language Programs in Arizona Schools

Judge Cooper dismissed Arizona’s school chief’s lawsuit challenging dual language programs for non-English speakers, affirming State Board of Education’s authority in approving language models. This reinforces adherence to approved educational standards.

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In a recent legal development that has garnered attention, a judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, challenging dual language programs used in certain school districts to educate non-English speaking students. The dispute stemmed from the argument that these programs, which split a student’s day between English and another language, violated a 2000 voter-approved law mandating English-only instruction.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper’s ruling on Tuesday was a significant turning point in this legal battle. She determined that Horne lacked the legal authority and standing to initiate the lawsuit and failed to present valid legal claims against Governor Katie Hobbs, Attorney General Kris Mayes, and the 10 school districts involved.

Judge Cooper’s decision highlighted the state Board of Education’s role in approving language immersion models, emphasizing that the school districts in question were following approved models. She clarified that the responsibility for developing and sanctioning immersion models lies with the State Board, not individual districts. As per her ruling, all public and charter schools must adhere to models endorsed by the State Board.

This ruling not only resolves the immediate legal dispute but also underscores the importance of adhering to established educational guidelines and processes. It reaffirms the regulatory role of the State Board of Education in approving language instruction models, providing clarity on the standards that schools must follow.

The outcome of this lawsuit marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse surrounding language education in Arizona. It serves as a reminder of the legal framework that governs educational practices and the significance of compliance with state-approved guidelines. Ultimately, this decision underscores the need for a clear, standardized approach to language education that aligns with the broader educational objectives of the state.

https://apnews.com/article/arizona-dual-language-program-lawsuit-schools-c850b20bddb673219ec316f0c646c316

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/

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