Platform Trucks for Businesses and How to Use Them

What Businesses Use Platform Trucks and How Should They Be Used?


What Businesses Use Platform Trucks and How Should They Be Used?

In today’s business world the movement of product is the ultimate goal as it correlates directly to sales and profit. Another way to look at the movement of product is the actual physical movement of the product from place to place – from manufacture facility to warehouse, from warehouse to transport vehicle, from transport vehicle to retail location, or directly to the customer. 

Platform trucks are used by a variety of businesses that have the need to manually move medium sized loads of product or materials from place to place. These include manufacturing facilities, factories, warehouses, and any setting where the operations require the transport of goods and materials are needed to be performed efficiently, safely, and in a way that significantly reduces the risk damage to the product.

Efficiency, productivity, and safety are vitally important aspects of any business operation. The right equipment in the hands of a knowledgeable and competent operator provides the necessary combination required to meet these essential operational goals.


What functional features must a facility have in order to truly benefit from the purchase and use of platform trucks?

Most platform trucks are designed to be operated by one or two individuals for the moving of hundreds of pounds of materials across a flat surface. To accommodate this the following considerations should be evaluated to ensure that the purchase and use of platform trucks can effectively meet the purpose for which the investment is made.

·       A flat transport surface. Because the use of a platform truck is to haul heavy loads, the surface on which the movement occurs must be flat and without noticeable cracks or significant interruptions in the smoothness of the surface where the wheels could become wedged. This could not only hinder the efficiency of the process but could also increase the likelihood of injury to workers as well as damage to goods and materials.

·       A functionally designed facility. A clear transport path from place to place is essential in the use of platform trucks. Moving the heavy-laden platform truck requires the initial overcoming of inertia to get the truck rolling, but then the pathway from point “A” to point “B” must be clear of obstacles of any kind. These include any placement of product, tools, equipment, waste materials, and any other type of traffic that might take place in the facility. This requires a well-planned and laid out course that is not interrupted with the complexities of the myriad of functions that take place in a facility as part of the day to day operations.

As product and materials are moved from place to place, there may be the potential challenges of narrow hallways, sharp corners, entryways, elevators, gates, etc. With all of these, the determination must be made as to whether a platform truck can safely and effectively maneuver around or through these structural features within your facility.

How does the design of platform trucks help achieve these goals, and which is best for my business?

A platform truck is basically a non-motorized and very durable low-level flat surface that sits atop four wheels. Other features in the design that should be carefully considered when determining which platform truck best meets the purposes of your business are:

·       What type of platform truck is best for your product transport needs? There are several types of platform trucks available that vary in height of the platform base, the type and length of the handle, the load capacity, the width and depth of the platform, the types of wheels and casters the platform has and how maneuverable the truck is, etc. Careful consideration should be taken to match the platform truck to the physical design features (or limitations) of the facility.

·       How heavy are the loads you will need to transport on a single platform truck? Platform trucks come in a variety of carrying capacities ranging from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. Careful consideration should be taken to ensure that the trucks used and the personnel using the trucks are matched for effective and safe use.

·       What materials is the platform truck made of? Platform trucks may come with a platform made of strong and durable polyurethane or wood or steel, a stainless-steel frame, thermoplastic rubber casters of different sizes and thicknesses, permanently fixed or removable handle, etc.


What can management do to enhance the effectiveness of the use of platform trucks in product and material transport?

As previously stated, the efficiency, productivity, and safety of any business operation begins with good decisions being made by management and implemented through the ranks. Specific to the function of platform trucks, the management team can play an important role in achieving these goals by:

·       Ensure that workers are thoroughly and properly trained. Training in the proper and safe use of the platform trucks is basic to a quality assurance program. Proper pulling and pushing techniques will decrease the risk of injury, including low back injuries that are high risk with any pushing and pulling activity. How to properly steer the platform in maneuvering around corners or obstacles, entering and exiting passageways, etc. Knowing the various parts of a platform truck and what is proper functioning can help identify deviations from the norm that may require maintenance work.

·       Establishing a safe and functional load limit. The load capacity of a given platform truck may or may not be what your workers should be transporting. Ensuring that workers thoroughly understand that a load limit may be in the number of boxes allowed to transport versus just a weight limit. Here again, effectively matching the worker’s capabilities with the load capacity of the truck is important.

·       Require organization. For smooth and efficient operations, consider labeling or numbering the platform trucks for availability, sequential use when applicable, and to ensure that they stay in the proper place and circumstances intended for each truck.

Take good care of this resource. Platform trucks are subjected to significant stressors of weight, repetitive use, and variable handling. Performing periodic and proper maintenance will ensure their continued use, worker safety, and prevent costly episodes from occurring.

Permanent vs Temporary Fire Escape Ladders for Your Home

Permanent vs Temporary Fire Escape Ladders for Your Home

The other day I was doing some research on fire escape ladders for a rental unit I was looking to purchase that had an upper level. Specifically, I wanted to know which type of fire escape ladder would be best for the rental unit I was considering. This is what I learned.

Home fire escape ladders come in two primary models, permeant and temporary. Permanent fire escape ladders are housed in a box that is secured in the wall between the studs and below the window frame. When needed, you simply open the window, remove the cover, pull out the bound up ladder, and toss it out the window where it rolls downward. Temporary fire escape ladders come bound up and can be stored anywhere. When needed, you grab the ladder, secure the hooks under the window frame, toss it out the window where it rolls downward.

Permanent or temporary fire escape ladders are an important safety feature for homes or rental units with an upper level. However, there are a number of things to consider when buying a fire escape ladder.

Permanent fire escape ladders are easier in the sense that in the case of a fire emergency they are already set up just below the escape window ready for use. You do not have to worry about finding and retrieving it from storage location and securing it to the window frame when time is of the essence. However, they cannot be moved to a different location in the house for a safer exit during a fire as they are secured to the box installed in the wall. Permanent fire escape ladders, while available for homes, are more commonly found on commercial buildings or apartments with multiple stories.

Installing a permanent fire escape ladder is fairly easily accomplished and can be performed by anyone with knowledge of wall studs and sheet rock cutting.

Temporary fire escape ladders can be stored directly in the room of its intended use, or stored in a specific location that is easily accessible and known to everyone in the family. It is recommended that the ladder be stored close to the window and easily seen from anywhere in the room. Some home owners choose to place a temporary escape ladder in each bedroom. Because they require some assembly or securement to the window frame, all family members should be educated to the process of setting it up to ensure efficient and effective use.

Practice should also be given to rolling the ladder out the window and climbing down to the ground. This can help calm the fears of children (and I guess adults) should the need for use be required at some time.

When picking the best ladder for your house, make sure that it is the right height for your home that it will extend to the ground or only a few feet short. It should also be stable enough to support the weight of the heaviest person who would be using it. In fact, many ladders are qualified to handle weights up to 1,000 pounds. Look for anti-slip features on the rungs for added safety, especially for younger kids or the elderly.

One of the frustrations with temporary fire escape ladders is that they can become tangled if not properly stored, or if when used rolled out in an erratic manner. It is good practice to periodically and regularly set up the ladder to ensure memory of the process so that there are no surprises during an emergency. Always take the time to fold it carefully when returning it to storage to avoid tangles. Test the ladder on different windows for efficient use in any room. If a single ladder is to be used for the entire upstairs, select the room that makes the most sense. One where there are not potential obstacles to set up and climbing down. You should be aware of power lines, trees or bushes, or any obstacle that could make climbing all the way to the ground difficult.

Before purchasing Check List:

  • Check height of the ladder
  • Check depth and length of the window hook to make sure it fits your windows
  • Check the weight that it can hold ( of 1,000 lbs. recommended)
  • DO NOT RELY ON COST: When it comes to fire escape ladders, research has shown that a more expensive ladder does not necessarily mean better quality. It can be important to read reviews on the product you are considering purchasing and always thoroughly check the specifications to make sure they fit your specific needs. Make sure you try your ladder after purchase. It should prove to be effective and comfortable for your use. If not, you should return it.

Installing, or securing a temporary fire escape ladder is done during the actual emergency. Again, this is why practice in doing so is important.

Related Questions:

How much do escape ladders cost?
Temporary escape ladders usually range in price from $30-$100 dollars. 

Are there fire escape ladders for commercial buildings?
Yes, most commercial buildings have permanent ladders. However, depending on the size of the structure, they can come in models that are permanently secured to the outside of the building. These models are metal and typically one solid structure.

Are there fire escape ladders for three story houses?
Yes! Check the length description on the box before you purchase and make sure that it will work for your home.


Standard (BC) Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers Use, Classification and Model Designs

Standard Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Standard Dry Chemical fire extinguishers use a sodium bicarbonate-based extinguishing agent to combat Class B and Class C fires. This was the first of the dry chemical agents that was developed. This type of fire extinguishing agent is not recommended for use on sensitive electric equipment. It is used to put out fires caused by flammable liquids (Class B) and energized electrical equipment (Class C) fires. The chemical agent is stored under pressure using dry nitrogen gas.

Typical uses include flammable liquid fires in commercial kitchens, parking garages, manufacturing facilities, research facilities, military service centers, auto dealerships, boats, vehicles, etc. See the information below for descriptions of Class B and Class C fires of which Standard BC dry chemical fire extinguishers are effective in providing protection against.

Breakdown of Class B and Class C Fires

Class B Fires

Class B fires consist of the burning of flammable liquids or gasses. Class B fires are common in the kitchens of homes where grease and cooking oils may catch fire, and in a variety of settings where flammable liquids are used or stored. DO NOT THROW WATER ONTO CLASS B FIRES as it cannot extinguisher them and can splatter the inflamed liquid and spread the fire.

Other flammable liquids and gasses that are considered fuel of Class B Fires include petroleum greases, oil-based paints, tars, alcohol, and some solvents.

Class C Fires

Class C Fires consist of “energized electrical equipment”. Examples of Class C fires are those that occur in electrical outlets and cords, home appliances, electrical panel boxes, computers, servers, motors, power tools, and any other source that may be energized or electrical.

Note: By removing the power or energized electrical source, the fire is then no longer considered a Class C fire, but rather a Class A or B fire depending on the fuel source that is burning.

Standard BC Dry Chemical Portable Fire Extinguishers

Potable fire extinguishers are designed mostly for homes, offices, vehicles, boats, and community places. If you would like to read more about portable fire extinguishers, check out our other articles titled: Understanding Portable Fire Extinguishers – Use and Limitations”, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher”, or “Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Uses”. proudly carries a variety of Dry Chemical BC Class portable fire extinguishers that are designed for the home, businesses and public settings. Click HERE To learn more.

Standard BC Dry Chemical Wheeled Fire Extinguishers
Wheeled fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish larger fires. Often found in industrial settings such as warehouses, office buildings and event centers.

If you would like to learn more about wheeled fire extinguishers, please read our other articles titled, “Specifications for Wheeled Fire Extinguishers”, “Wheeled Fire Extinguishers – Why and Where to Place Them” or “Wheeled Fire Extinguisher Parts and Components also carries Standard BC Dry Chemical wheeled fire extinguishers.

S-150-RG-36 Standard (Buckeye)

S-150-RG-36R Standard (Buckeye)

S-150-PT Standard (Buckeye)

S-350-RG (Buckeye)

S-350-RG-R (Buckeye)

S-350-PT (Buckeye)

S-350-PT-R (Buckeye)

Is there a difference between dry chemical and dry powder fire extinguishers?

Dry powder fire extinguishers are designed to fight Class D fires where the fuel source is combustible metals. The mechanism of extinguishing fires is by separating the fuel from the oxygen or by removing the heat from the fire triangle.

In contrast, sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) dry chemical releases a cloud of carbon dioxide that smothers the fire, in essence, drives or separates oxygen from the fire stopping the chemical reaction.

Which is the best type of fire extinguisher for home kitchens, ABC vs BC fire extinguishers?

While ABC and BC fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires in the kitchen, it is generally recommended that a home-based kitchen be equipped with a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, such as ABC Class fire extinguishers. The reason for this is because fires in the kitchen can grow and burn cabinets, walls and carpet in and beyond the kitchen resulting in it becoming a Class A fire.

Can Vacuuming Cause Back Injury?

Can Vacuuming Cause Back Injury?

Vacuuming is considered a repetitive action of pushing and pulling. These actions move the vacuum over a surface for the purpose of removing unwanted debris. You and I simply call it sucking up dirt from our carpets. From the perspective of a physical therapist it is a maneuver that extends a lever arm (the vacuum) outward in front of you and magnifies the forces applied to the lower back area. If the repetitive forces that are produced are greater than the low back musculature are capable of bearing overtime, then the tissues in the area can be strained and become injured and inflamed.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that the repetitive pushing and pulling action of vacuuming increases the risk of low back injuries. It further reports that back injuries account for just under 50% of all musculoskeletal injuries suffered by janitors in the cleaning industry. 

In addition, data reveals that the repetitive motion of vacuuming places janitorial workers at increased risk of work-related upper-limb musculoskeletal injury. This increased risk exists regardless of whether the cleaner uses a back-pack or canister type machine.


What are the unique movement patterns of vacuuming that produce the increased risk for injury, and what modifications to the movement can be made to reduce the risk?

Problematic Movement Pattern Modified Movement Pattern
Keeping feet planted in one spot and pushing and pulling the vacuum forward and backward. This causes the person to have to bend forward to extend his/her reach.


This increases the stresses placed on the tissues of the lower back, not only from the forward bending, but the twisting that occurs in trunk associated with pushing the vacuum forward form one side (with one arm) and pulling it backward from the extended position.

Walk with your vacuum instead of pushing it ahead of you. Place the vacuum on your dominant side and yet slightly in front of you. This will also reduce the tendency to twist at the trunk.


To keep your trunk from bending forward very far, assume a slight bend in your knees and hips as you move the vacuum extension component back and forth over the carpet with your steps. The forward and backward movement of the arms are minimized as most of the movement is taking place from simply walking the vacuum forward and backward.

Lifting the vacuum up to move it from one room to another, where the center of weight of the vacuum is extended out in front of you.


With the vacuum off the floor, all its weight is pulling downward and applying force to your low back and to the shoulder joint of the upper extremity.

Whenever lifting the vacuum to transport it from one place to another, bend down close to the vacuum with your hips and knees (not back), use both arms to grasp easy gripped parts of the vacuum, and then stand upward keeping the vacuum close to your body.


This ensures that your legs, and not your back, are doing the lifting. It also keeps the weight of the vacuum close to your body verses out in front or to the side with a longer distance from your body’s support to the center of the weight of the vacuum.

Can speed of movement in vacuuming be a contributing factor to injury?

Whenever speed of a movement is increased the muscle forces of the body that are required to slow down the moving vacuum are increased. This does not mean that the process of vacuuming needs to be slow. We all like to complete this task as soon as possible and be able to move on to something else.

Rather than moving in rapid back and forth movements, slow the process down a bit and create a rhythmic or smooth movement pattern. Any and all jerking movements are eliminated, and the associated stresses placed on the various soft tissues of the body (especially low back and shoulders) are significantly reduced.

Can these same principles be applied to the cleaning job of mopping a floor?

When you consider the repetitive motion of mopping – the repeated pushing and pulling of the mop over the floor – it is easy to see how these motions are similar to vacuuming and therefore would also carry with them the increased risk for both low back and shoulder injuries.

A unique element of mopping, as compared to vacuuming, is that the weight of the mop can change over time depending on the amount of water that is carried in the soaked mop strands. A standard mop typically weighs 1-2 pounds. However, as you add water and chemicals, that weight can increase 2 to 3-fold.

Further compounding the risk is that many if not most mops come in one standard size, yet cleaners come in a variety of heights. This then requires additional adjustments to compensate for a handle that is too short.

Another area in which the work of mopping can increase the risk of back and shoulder injuries is that the movements of wringing out the mop head and lifting and refilling the water bucket, place the same type of strains on the back and shoulder. These are also “repetitive motion” actions and carry with them the same risks.

In Conclusion

While learning and applying proper mechanics when performing repetitive motion actions like vacuuming and mopping is extremely important in reducing musculoskeletal injuries, cleaning professionals must condition their bodies to withstand the repetitive forces that are continually placed upon them. Just as the athlete requires a conditioning program to safely and effectively compete in his or her sport, any person whose job requires vigorous physical activity should also engage in a regular training program to harden and prepare their bodies to effectively handle the stresses and strains inherent in the functional aspects of the job. The wonderful side benefit of this is that the worker’s body enjoys the benefits of exercise and the enhanced ability to go and do.


Is Buying a Metal Detector Worth It?

Is Buying a Metal Detector Worth It?

With the approaching spring and then summer months the hobby of metal detecting to find hidden treasures tends to ramp up. The spectrum of those who engage in the hunt for treasures ranges from the “hobbyist” who participates for the pleasure of it, to the outright “detectorist”, as they have been called, dedicated to finding ancient artifacts worth thousands of dollars or more.

The answer to the question “is buying a metal detector worth it”, is a resounding “yes” if you are in it for the enjoyment, the thrill of the hunt, and for an afternoon of exploring in the hopes of finding something that makes the time you spend worth it. The answer is a resounding “no” if you are in it seeking to provide for a family or secure your retirement.

It’s true that there are some amazing stories out there of major finds, ranging from those in the millions of dollars for a trove of gold and silver artifacts discovered, and the finding of ancient Roman statues and artifacts, to Civil War artifacts and other lesser valuable, but none the less, treasures of all sorts. Those few lucky enough to find very valuable treasures are no doubt glad they invested the time to learn where there is a greater chance to find the type of treasures they are looking for, and the money to purchase a metal detector suited to the desired task. And frankly, good for them.

However, the odds are way too low to risk your family’s future or your own future on the hopes of a significant find that will sustain a quality way of life. On the other hand, the odds of having a truly enjoyable experience of spending a few hours for entertainment are very high if approached with the mindset that there are no expectations for finding a significant treasure, but rather any find of the unexpected is a fun and worthwhile experience.

The latter is my approach and the fun I have had with my children has been more than worth it. The various locations we have ventured to in hopes of finding the “unexpected” include:

  • City parks
  • Along nature trails
  • Beside rivers and streams
  • Around old dilapidated barns, sheds, and other structures
  • At rest stops
  • Campgrounds
  • Picnic areas
  • Other areas we just “felt” we might find something

Our financial investment is minimal, our training is self-taught, our hopes are that of other hobbyists seeking for a little fun and enjoyment. However, along with the somewhat “checked” expectations is the thought that maybe, just maybe, we stumble on something of real worth that would justify our time and effort. This is the element of the thrill of the hunt, the “possibility” of a good find, and the hope that seems to provide a little motivation to continue doing it despite the recurring realities.

On our adventures we have indeed found treasures. They include:

  • Rusty nails and cans
  • Pennies, nickels, dimes, and even a few quarters
  • A hearing aid battery – I think that is that it was for
  • Fishing gear
  • Tent stakes
  • Something I don’t really know what they are, but they caused the detector to “beep” and us to dig
  • Time spent with son and daughter exploring and engaged in the thrill of the hunt – priceless

When I talk to people and somehow the topic of hobbies comes up, they seem genuinely interested in knowing more about my/our adventures in metal detecting. I am more than happy to share my/our experiences and the “treasures” we have found, or maybe better described as those we made – memories of time together doing something that we both could do. And again, I would add we did it with a little bit of the “thrill of the hunt” spurring us on in our quest.

So, is buying a metal detector worth it?

I guess the answer to that lies with the individual and the purpose for his or her engaging in the experience. It is obvious that what is considered “enjoyable” for one is not for another. And, I feel obligated to add that as the children grew older, they tended to lose interest in spending the time in pursuit of something that usually did not reward instantly. I understand that, but I also feel that sometimes simply enjoying the ride should count for much. And of course, I recognize it could be a time and a season sort of thing.

If you want to talk the financial aspect of our trips and if that was worth it, of course it was money well spent. The cost was low, we spent under $100 at the time for a metal detector, and the gas for miles driven was also minimal.

So, in full disclosure, I answer the question of “is it worth it” this way. During the time when my children were young and the prospects of finding a treasure (almost anything counted at that age) was motivation enough to get us outdoors and on the hunt, YES, buying a metal detector was more than worth it and I would do it again. I can look back on those times with fond memory of time well spent and memories made.

Is it a worthwhile investment for you? Only you can answer that question. I wish you success in your decision making and more importantly in creating memories with your family.

How Do I Turn off Natural Gas during an Emergency?

How Do I Turn off Natural Gas during an Emergency?

When we switched from all electric power in our house to using mostly natural gas, my first concern was keeping our home safe for our growing family. I did a lot of research to make sure that we knew everything necessary about switching to natural gas.

How do you turn off the gas? First of all, it is most important to remember that you never turn off the gas by yourself unless there is an emergency such as a natural disaster. If it is an emergency, turn the valve perpendicular to the pipe to turn it off. When the valve is parallel with the pipe than it is turned on.

Shutting of the Gas to your home

However, simply turning the valve off isn’t always the answer. Natural gas can cause a lot of danger when there is a leak and there can be a lot involved with finding a solution. It is very important to know what to do when you detect a leak and what precautions to take to ensure a fire doesn’t erupt. Furthermore, detecting the actual shut-off valve can be the first challenge to tackle before it can be turned off.

Where is the Shut-Off Valve?

On older gas meters the shut-off valve is on the pipe coming into the meter from the ground. However, on newer gas meters it is located on the pipe rubbing from the meter to the house. You will need some kind of crescent wrench to be able to turn the valve. It does not have to be turned all the way. It just needs to be turned a quarter turn in either direction. Once the valve is perpendicular to the pipe line than the gas line is shut off.

What do I do if I Smell Gas? How else could I detect a leak?

A gas leak can be extremely dangerous so being able to detect a leak is very important. The two most common ways to detect a leak is to either smell the gas or hear a hissing noise close to a gas line.  The gas leak will smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. Natural gas is odorless by nature but the smell is added for customers to be able to detect a leak and stay safe. Do NOT try to shut off the gas in case of a leak. Call the local gas company to inspect the situation immediately. They may ask you to stay nearby or give enough specific instructions over the phone for their technician to be able to find the leak as quickly as possible. Even if the gas company asks you to stay around, make sure you do not stay close enough to the leak to smell it the whole time. Get yourself (and anyone else in the vicinity) far enough away so that they are not inhaling the gas.

Is it Dangerous to Breathe in Natural Gas?

When the leak occurs outside, there is normally not much cause to be concerned. However, if the leak is indoors or in an enclosed location it can cause a lack of oxygen from the byproduct carbon monoxide which is very dangerous. It can cause headache, vision problems and fatigue. Some people have shortness of breath and lose consciousness. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed everywhere that uses natural gas. It is installed like a fire extinguisher and can help alert you to a leak and keep you and your family safe.

What other tips do I need to remember about Natural Gas?

Possibly the most common tip about natural gas is to call the gas company before you dig to prevent accidently puncturing a whole in a gas line. The depth requirements for the gas line to be buried depends on your local gas company. It is much better to be safe in this case than sorry. If you are digging further than a foot for a project- all the gas company to have them locate the gas lines.

The other important tip to remember is to keep your gas appliances properly cared for and maintained. Read the instruction manual and call a gas technician to fix and maintain any concerns. Be alert for any problems such as an unfamiliar odor or burning smell, any sign that a heater isn’t warming your house or is constantly running. Moisture inside of windows or soot can also be a sign of problems.

Related Questions:

How do you treat gas poisoning?

Call Poison Control immediately if you are concerned about gas poisoning. They will ask you questions and give you the proper instructions for helping the person with gas poisoning in the given situation. (1-800-222-1222)

How much does it cost to install a gas line?

How much it will cost to bring the main line to your house depends on how long the line has to be and the size of the pipe but in general it can cost between $400-$600 to install.



Are Tanning Beds Safe?

Are Tanning Beds Safe?

In high school, I had some friends who would go to the tanning salon every week. Occasionally, they would invite me to join them. However, I opted out every time as I was worried about skin cancer because of things I had heard from others, albeit non-medical people. So, are tanning beds safe?

Tanning beds work to darken the skin using ultraviolet radiation (UV). Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the tanning lamps damages the cells in your skin. The use of tanning bed radiation can lead to premature skin aging and even skin cancer.

When you’re in high school looking your best is everything. Both guys and girls wanted to look a little darker for the upcoming dance or a winter season Friday night party. This singular focus of wanting to look your best can unfortunately, overshadow any associated risks that are 20-30 years in the future.

According to the CDC, individuals who use tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their chances of developing skin cancer by 75%. Worse yet, skin cancer is not the only thing to worry about when using tanning beds.

Damage Done by Tanning Beds

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, whether it is from the tanning beds, sunlamps, or the sun, damages and breaks down the cells in the skin. When human skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, which damages the inner layer of skin, the body responds by producing melanin. Melanin is the pigment that makes the skin appear darker. The melanin then moves toward the outer layers of the skin and becomes visible as a darker color of skin, or a tan.

The prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation damages skin cells to the point that skin loses its elastic features, loses flexibility, and breaks down causing permanent wrinkles. Additionally, the skin may produce dark spots, rashes or dry patches. These are just some of the mild symptoms that may occur from the use of tanning beds. The real danger from tanning beds is the risk of developing skin cancer.

As the ultraviolet radiation from the tanning bed brakes down the cells in the skin, your body may develop a Precancer or a Cancer.


Actinic Keratosis: A rough crusty, scaly growth that is almost invisible to the eye. In the early stages, the Actinic Keratosis is light colored and hard to see. If it is not treated, it will continue to grow, affecting neighboring cells and may lead to Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Atypical Moles: The features of a atypical mole are similar to that of melanoma. Physicians use the “ABCDE” method for identifying atypical moles that may become melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The ABCDE’s are:
A. Asymmetry: The shape of the mole is often asymmetrical. If a line were to be drawn down the middle of the mole, the two sides would not be matching halves.
B. Boarder: No clear boarder, the mole may be irregular and fade into the surrounding skin.
C. Color: Different colors may present within the mole.
D. Diameter: Moles that are larger than ¼ inch (6 mm) in size.
E. Evolution: Moles that change in appearance or enlarge over time.

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Abnormal, growths or lesions that arise in the deepest layer of the epidermis skin’s (basal cells).



Melanoma: Known as the deadliest form of skin cancer. If not caught and treated early, the cancer will spread to other tissues and parts of the body. Note: Most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun and the tanning beds. Physicians use the “ABCDE” method for identifying cancerous melanoma moles.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Most common in individuals whose immune systems are suppressed and have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Skin cancer that forms in the squamous skin layers of the epidermis and is known as the second most common form of skin cancer. Occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells from the squamous cells in the epidermis layer. Looks like open sores, warts and may crack and bleed.

Can I use tanning beds sparingly and be okay?

As the saying goes, once won’t hurt… WRONG! Each time you have significant exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, tanning beds or otherwise, your skin is damaged, and the damage is cumulative overtime. In fact, the skin’s response of turning red and then a darker tone is the body’s response to injury.

Bottomline, it is better to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation exposure (especially if you are fair skinned) by properly applying sunscreen when going out for any extended period of time in the sun and avoiding the tanning beds and lamps altogether. It’s more than okay to look your natural color than to risk developing cancer decades down the road. Also, premature wrinkly skin, regardless of how tan it might be, is not cosmetically pleasing in the mid years of life.  So, you might not have the best tan at the dance, and you may not be considered the coolest guy or girl for that reason – who cares, you will be grateful for healthy skin the rest of your life. You know, when everyone has graduated and moved on with life and any thoughts of who was tan or not has long since withered away in the recesses of everyone’s mind.

Who is at Risk of Skin Cancer?

Everyone can be at risk of developing skin cancer, however, there are some individuals who are more likely to get skin cancer than others. These are the risk factors:

  • Excessive skin exposure to UV radiation – natural or from a tanning bed.
  • Age: The older you are the more likely you are at developing skin cancer. Not only has more time passed meaning more exposure, but after age 55 a person’s skin begins to thin making it less resistant to ultraviolet rays.
  • Immune: If your immune system is compromised (e.g., HIV, Organ Transplant, other select medical conditions) it is inhibited in the amount of protection it can provide in detecting abnormal growth cells and destroy them.
  • Gender: According to the CDC, men are more likely to develop skin cancer than women. Some theorize that the typical male dominated careers such as construction and other outdoor jobs predispose them to more ultraviolet radiation and increase the risk. It should also be pointed out however, that the incidence of female skin cancer is on the rise and that it is most likely attributed to the increase use of tanning beds by females over males.
  • Skin tone: Individuals with naturally lighter skin tone are more likely to develop skin cancer than darker skin tone individuals. Additionally, individuals who have blond or red colored hair, blue or green eyes and skin that burns easily are more susceptible to skin cancer as well.
NOTE: Some falsely believe, or have been told, that engaging in moderate tanning bed exposure will actually make your skin darker, and therefore reduce their risk for developing cancer. This is not true.
  • Moles: While most moles are harmless, the more moles you have the more likely one of them will could become cancerous.
  • Poor lifestyle: Individuals who smoke are more likely to develop skin cancer than those who don’t smoke.

Are Skin Cancers Treatable?

Yes, if caught early and treated before the cancer spreads to other tissues of the body. The medical community is well equipped to treat all forms of skin cancer including melanoma. As with so many health conditions, early detection is vitally important in increasing the odds of a successful treatment.

Ten Safety Tips to Surviving an Earthquake (That Actually Work!)

Ten Safety Tips to Surviving an Earthquake (That Actually Work!)

I’ve only experienced two earthquakes in my life, both of which were extremely small and were not considered dangerous enough to worry about. This is not always the case. Over the years, thousands have been killed or badly injured as a result of an earthquake. So what do you do in the event of an earthquake? I did a little bit of research and compiled a list of 10 safety tips to surviving an earthquake.

If you find yourself in an earthquake, follow these safety guidelines below – they just could just save your life!

  • Get Certified: CERT
  • Reinforce Your Home
  • Public Buildings: Drop, Cover and Crawl
  • Outside: Stay Out in the Open
  • In a Car: Pull your Car to the Side of the Road
  • Beach: Get to high ground level and Stay
  • Wheelchair: Lock, Cover and Hold On
  • Elevator: Get out or Lie Down
  • Sleeping: Stay in Bed and Cover
  • Trapped Under Rubble: Don’t Move, Whistle or Call for Help

Get Certified: CERT

One of the Best preventive measures to surviving an earthquake or any other disaster is to be prepared and know what to do and how to respond. One of the best programs that is dedicated to helping community members be prepared for a natural disaster is the Community Emergency Response Team program (CERT)

The CERT program educates volunteers in communities from around the country and trains them in disaster preparedness. To better understand the program, take a look at our other article titled, “Overview of the Community Emergency Response Team Program- CERT” or “The Community Emergency Response Teams”. You can also find many other CERT related articles on our website by searching for the term “CERT” in the search bar.

Being Prepared and Reinforce Your Home

If you live in an earthquake prone area, reinforcing your home for a possible earthquakes will protect you, your family members and your home itself. You never know when an earthquake will strike. Consider the following tips to help you be prepared.

1-  Move beds away from the windows. During an earthquake, glass can break and shatter, sending razor sharp bits of glass flying in the air. IF an earthquake occurs during the night, you want to be away from the window.

2- Place heavy objects at the bottom of a shelf. Objects on shelves, counters and desk will fall off due to the vibration of the earthquake. Only place smaller objects on the upper shelves and the larger and heavier objects on the lower shelves.

3- Cover glass with shatter proof film. If you have glass cabinet doors or shower doors, consider covering them with a clear shatter-proof film to prevent them from breaking and sending glass everywhere.

4-  Install automatic shutoff valves. To prevent water and gas from leaking into your home, install automatic shutoff valves. This will prevent further damage to your home as well as the dangers of leaking gas.

If gas is leaking into or around your home, a simple spark or small flame can cause the gas to ignite. This will cause an explosion that will badly injure or possibly kill those in the home.

5- Emergency Kit and Food. It is extremely important to have an emergency kit in your home that you can quickly grab and go if needed. You should also have enough food for 3 days per person living in the home in case you are trapped and unable to get out.

Some other emergency supplies that you should have are fire extinguishers, batteries, flashlights, battery operated radio, medicine and a first aid kit. Read our other article titled “Getting Prepared for Emergencies” to learn how you can be better prepared for an emergency.

6- Insurance. Make sure your home has earthquake insurance. This will help you after the earthquake is done and the damage has been assessed. Don’t let a natural disaster be a financial burden.

Public Buildings: Drop, Cover and Crawl

If you’re in a public building such as a bank, shopping center or grocery store, immediately drop to the floor on your knees, bend over using one hand to protect your head and neck while slowly crawling to the nearest shelter such as a desk or doorway.

If there are no desks, tables or doorways to hide under, stay in the middle of the room, away from windows or other glass objects.

Do not move until the earthquake has completely stopped. Once the earthquake has stopped, and not until then, leave the building. NOTE: be careful of any potential dangers such as live wires, falling debris or fires.

Outside: Stay Out in the Open

Stay away from any buildings or large objects, powerlines or other objects that could fall over and injure you.  During the earthquake, drop to the ground, cover your head and hold onto something or brace yourself. Once the earthquake is done, you may need to help others who have been injured. This is where the CERT training would be extremely valuable!

To learn more about what CERT members do after an earthquake, read our other article titled, “Caring for Survivors of Natural Disasters or Terrorist Attacks – CERT”.

In a Car: Pull Over

Being in a car can be extremely dangerous. Drivers may not be able to fully control their cars and will panic, causing drivers to drive recklessly. If you feel an earthquake, pull the car to the side of the road or into a parking lot. Stay in your car until the earthquake has passed.

Do not park under light poles or powerlines as they may fall on your car. Live wires are dangerous and may electrocute you if you are not careful. To learn more about what to do in the event of a live wire on or near your car, read our other article titled, “What to do if a Live Powerline Falls on your Car”.

Beach: Get to High Ground & Stay

Earthquakes can cause a tsunami. If you are at or near the beach, quickly gather your belongings and move to higher ground. Don’t wait to be instructed on what to do.

Wheelchair: Lock, Cover and Hold On

An earthquake can be especially dangerous if you are confined to a wheelchair. The moment you feel an earthquake, look around for shelter and go there immediately. If there is no shelter to be found, move to an open area where you are free of falling debris.

Once you are in an secure spot, lock the wheels, bend over and cover your head and neck with your arms.

Elevator: Get out or Lie Down

Never use the elevators during or after an earthquake. Elevators are not the safest place to be during an earthquake and the cables may be compromised after an earthquake has occurred. However, if you do find yourself in an elevator during an earthquake, push the button for the next level or the “open door”  then quickly lie down on your stomach in the middle of the floor. Cover your neck and head with your arms.

Sleeping: Stay in Bed and Cover

If you are awoken by an earthquake, stay in bed and quickly cover your head with your pillow and arms. If there are bookshelves or other objects that could fall on you, get out of bed and under the bed, table or doorway.

If you have kids in the home, quickly run to their room and help them get under a desk or doorway. Cover them with your body to protect them from falling objects and broken glass.

Trapped Under Rubble: Don’t Move, Whistle or Call for Help

Should the building or your home collapse on top of you during an earthquake and you’re trapped, do the following:

1- Treat any life threating injuries on yourself and others. Note: You may be interested in our other article titled, “Treatment of Survivors of Natural Disasters with Non-Life-Threatening Injuries – Wounds”, “Caring for Survivors of Natural Disasters or Terrorist Attacks- CERT or “Treatment of Survivors of Natural Disasters with Non-Life-Threatening Injuries – Fractures”.

2- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask, or cloth. The particles in the air may be extremely toxic and can be harmful if you breath it in.

3-  Do not light a lighter or match as there may be leaking gas that will explode if ignited.

4- Use a whistle or bang on a pipe to get the attention of first responders. If no such option is available, shout while still covering your mouth to protect you from any foreign particles that may be in the air.

5- Use your phone as a flashlight and to call for help if you have a connection.


Earthquakes are dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Be prepared by knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake so that you can protect yourself and help others as needed. Consider taking the CERT training program so that you are better prepared for any possible disaster.

How to Safely and Effectively Put out a Kitchen Fire – Three Simple Methods!

How to Safely and Effectively Put out a Kitchen Fire

I’m not the best cook… Well, unless it is in the microwave. Whenever my wife is out of town and I try to cook, I end up burning the food. One of these days my luck is going to runout and I’ll start a fire in the kitchen.

Kitchen fires are extremely dangerous and are usually classified as a Class B fire which can grow into a class A fire once it has spread to other parts of the kitchen. To extinguish a kitchen fire, use one of the following: 1- Fire Extinguisher, 2- Pot or Pan Lid 3- Baking Soda.

1- Use the Proper Fire Extinguisher. The most effective way to extinguish a kitchen fire is to use a fire extinguisher. The best fire extinguisher to have in your home is a ABC Class Fire Extinguisher because of its ability to extinguish class A, B and C fires.

To learn how to properly extinguish a fire using a fire extinguisher, read our other article entitled, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher”.

2- Cover Pan or Pot with a Lid. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, the next best option is to cover the pan with its lid. This will restrict the oxygen to the fire. Once there is no more oxygen for the fire, it will burn out and be extinguished.

3- Cover the fire with baking soda. If you do not have a fire extinguisher or no lid that will fit the fire, you can use baking soda. Pour the baking soda, which is nonflammable, over the fire until it is smothered. This option will limit the oxygen the fire is able to use and will extinguish the fire.

NOTE: Never pour water on a grease/oil fire. The grease or oil doesn’t mix well with water and will cause the fire to spread to surrounding areas in the kitchen.

The Fire Triangle

The reason why the options above are able to extinguish the fire is because the chemical reaction for FIRE, known as “The Fire Triangle” needs three things, they are: Heat, Fuel, and Oxygen.

  • Heat: There must be enough heat in the immediate area to rise to the point of ignition
  • Fuel: Some sort of fuel or combustible material
  • Oxygen: There must be enough oxygen in the immediate area to support a combustion

Fire extinguishers, baking soda and a tight sealed lid work to extinguish fires by removing one or more of these elements. If you take any one of the three elements away the chemical reaction (Fire) will be extinguished.

Breakdown of Class A, Class B, and Class C Fires

As mentioned before, the best fire extinguisher to have in the home is a ABC Class Fire extinguisher. This means that the fire extinguisher is capable of extinguishing all three classes of fires. To better understand what they are, we have broken them down for you here.

Class A Fires

Class A fires are those whose fuel sources is typically wood, paper, cardboard, or regular household trash. Class A fires are extremely common and can occur in the home, workplace, and various public settings.

Class B Fires
Class B fires consist of the burning of flammable liquids or gasses. Class B fires are common in the kitchens of homes where grease and cooking oils may catch fire. If this is the case, DO NOT THROW WATER ONTO THE FIRE as it cannot extinguisher Class B Fires.

Other flammable liquids and gasses that are considered fuel for Class B Fires include petroleum greases, oil-based paints, tars, alcohol, and some solvents.

Class C Fires
Class C Fires consist of “energized electrical equipment.” Examples of Class C fires are those that occur in electrical outlets and cords, home appliances, electrical panel boxes, computers, servers, motors, power tools, and any other source that may be energized or electrical.

Other Fire safety related products

To ensure your safety and the safety of your family members, we highly recommend you equip your home with other fire safety devices. Below are some great products every home should have.

Smoke Alarm: Designed to alert you and others of a possible fire when it detects smoke.

Fire Blanket: Used to extinguish fires that catches onto a person’s clothing or some other object.

Escape ladder: Used in homes that have a 2 story level above the ground. It simply hooks onto  window’s edge and rolls out creating an escape route for anyone who may be trapped in the upper level.

How to Keep your Kids Safe online – Tips that Actually Work

How to Keep your Kids Safe online – Tips that Actually Work

One Saturday morning, a few months before Christmas, my little girl had written a letter to Santa asking for some Shopkins for Christmas. Unsure of what it was, we decided to look them up on Youtube. There we found hundreds of product review videos including unboxing, playing with them and so much more. I never would have thought there would have been so many videos on these toys.

After watching a few videos and seeing that they were clean and kid friendly, we told her she could watch a few more “reviews” while we made the kids breakfast. After a few minutes, my wife went back into the living room to get her for breakfast. She could hear the Shopkins video playing and my little girl wanted to show her a part of the video.

When my wife was watching the video, she could see that there were some “adult” videos that were in the suggested video column. From a kids toy review video, she was no more than a few clicks away from watching inappropriate matieral.

Alarmed, my wife and I had a conversation that night about how we could better keep our children safe while using technology in our own home. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us since that incident.

  • Always use passwords on your devices… and change them as needed. Somehow, even our four year old quickly catches on to simple number passwords. This does a few things for our family. First, if we are unlocking the device then we are aware when they are using it and for how long. We try to keep an extra cautious eye when they are on programs where ads could come up and have them use the device in a common area of the house where we can hear the content.
  • Whenever possible we try to watch new movies with them to screen for possible “scary parts” or inappropriate content. When it’s not possible to watch an entire movie with them, there are resources to help! There are several family friendly movie review websites out there. I like to dive into the reviews deeper than just the star ratings or age level that they determined simply because everyone is different and some children may be sensitive to different things and we all set different standards in our homes.
  • Parental Controls on the Internet: While my kids are still young enough that they are unable to type in a complete sentence on their own, they are able to tell “Siri” to look things up for them. I can tell you that “cougar” doesn’t always mean mountain lion.You can set the parental controls on both your internet browser, 3rd party apps, and work with your Internet Service Provider to set restrictions on what your kids can look up. You are also able to set internet restrictions on your kids’ phones as well, assuming they are old enough to have one.
  • Computers, ipad, Phones out in the open. They say that the three most important aspects to buying property, investment or otherwise, is: 1- Location, 2- Location and 3-Location. The same is true for where to put the family computer, ipad, phones and other devices in the home. Always have the computer set out in a common room in the home such as the kitchen, living room or some other open area. Never have the computer or other devices in a room where others, I mean, YOU as the adult, are not able to easily see and monitor the computers use.
  • Social Media. I didn’t even have a social media account, of any kind, until I was 21 years old. Just because the world is very different than the one we grew up in does not give us an excuse to be naïve about the effects of the kind of internet use we allow our children to have. To be honest, I’m not so sure kids younger than 16 or even 18 need access to social media. There is just as much peer pressure and bullying online as there is in school, maybe even more and social media allows those influences to follow them everywhere with a phone in their pocket.Cyber Bulling is increasing each year. The world is hard enough and our kids do not need to be exposed to more people telling them that they are not cool enough, or pretty enough.

    Additionally, studies have shown that Social Media is addictive, it may not be as physically damaging as drugs, but the damage is there and the addiction can be controlling and challenging. This is not something a teenager needs while they are still growing and developing.

  • Take a moment to teach about online safety, and do it while they are still young. Every night, when I put my kids to bed, we watch a short YouTube video on a topic that they want to learn about. For example, last night my daughter wanted to learn about caves and my little boy wanted to learn about the moon landings.When your kids are young and desire to learn more every day, teaching them the importance of safety, whether online or in the world around them is important. Teach them what they can do to protect themselves.
  • Make a list of safe movies, websites, learning games. By having a list or folder of movies or games that are “preapproved” for your kids to watch will eliminate half the battle. Kids will know that there is no question or room to budge. If the movie is not on the pre-approved list, they cannot watch it.You can “subscribe” to specific YouTube channel or channels that are kid friendly and appropriate for your kids’ age.
  • Be a trusted support and friend. All of these preventive measures listed above are great and will help you protect your kids from the dangers of the internet, social media and content that may influence their lives. However, the best and most important tool you have at your disposal is your ability to love them and be there for them. They need to know that they can talk with you about anything. This doesn’t always come easily, but by being their friend and letting them know that they can talk with you about anything is key to building trust, for both of you.