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DURING WINTER RAINS, PAY ATTENTION TO THESE SAFETY TIPS

Southern California has had a higher than average rainfall this winter and with the rain comes trouble:

While heavy rain and flash flooding is uncommon for our local region, when those storms do come – as we have seen during February’s rains – the consequences can range from heavy traffic with accidents to property damage from flooding. With the fires many areas experienced in 2016, hillsides are now unstable and this promotes the possibility of landslides, mud flows and boulders in the road.

While state and local officials from the weather service and other agencies continue to warn people of dangers from moving water, there is a curiousity factor that brings certain people during major storms – while still others just continue to ignore the warnings.

Why it is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters
Most people underestimate the force and power of moving water. According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of all flood-related drownings occur from a vehicle being driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths comes from people walking into or near flood waters.
Did you know that a mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult?
Twelve inches of rushing water can carry away a small car while 24 inches of rushing water will carry away almost any type of vehicle.

Many of the deaths from drowning occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

When a major storm with rainfall has occurred, motorists and hikers should be extra vigilant. Here are some safety tips from the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management that will help keep you safe through the winter’s rains:

• Listen to the local radio stations or watch television for warnings about storm and/or heavy rainfall in your area regarding emergency public information and instructions.

• Be aware of any sudden increase or decrease in water level on a stream or creek that might indicate debris mudflow upstream. A trickle of flowing mud may precede a larger flow.

• Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences or walls, and for new holes or bare spots on hillsides.

• Listen for rumbling sounds that might indicate an approaching landslide or mudflow.

• Be alert when driving. Roads may become blocked or closed due to collapsed pavement or debris.

• If a landslide and/or debris flow occurs, danger is imminent, quickly move away from the path of the slide. Getting out of the path of the slide and/or debris mudflow is your best protection. Move to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path. If rocks and debris are approaching, run to the nearest shelter and take cover.

• If your property is damaged or compromised, consult a professional geotechnical expert for advice on the landslide and or corrective actions you and your loved ones can take.

By using caution and staying off the roads during heavy rains, you can avoid the increased risk of being involved in an accident this winter.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” writes marketing, public relations and communications materials, helping businesses gain more visibility. Pat is a business consultant, ghostwriter, and a contributing writer to the Crescenta Valley Weekly. For more info, go to: www.writerpatkramer.com.

Why We Celebrate Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is a state and federal holiday celebrated this year on Monday, February 20th to honor the birthday of our nation’s founder, George Washington. The holiday goes all the way back to 1885 and is still referred to as “Washington’s Birthday.” Although his birthday was actually February 22nd, it is always celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1971 to allow for 3-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

While many people think of Presidents’ Day as a commercial holiday, deluged with commercial advertising to create more commerce, it’s important that we remember from where we came. George Washington was one of the most important figures in the founding of this country and President’s Day is a way to pay homage to his life and where we are today, because of the role he played.

Born in 1732, George Washington served as the Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, which lasted from 1775 to 1783. In that role, he was victorious in establishing the colonial forces as the victors over the well-trained British Army. Prior to that role, he served in the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763). In 1787, he was elected president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution and two years later, became the first president of the United States, serving two terms: (1789 – 1797). He died at the age of 67 at his Virginia plantation, Mt. Vernon three years after ending his second term. His legacy included his attributes of strength, integrity and national purpose.

Some interesting facts about George Washington:

  • His only trip outside the borders of America was in 1751 when he accompanied his half-brother, Lawrence, to Barbados. Although his brother’s tuberculosis improved from the warm climate, George contracted small pox which permanently scarred his face. This is apparent in portraits of Washington that we see today.
  • One of Washington’s first roles in the military was taking on the role of Commander of the Virginia militia in 1752, even though he had no previous military experience. He rapidly gained experience by leading troops in the French and Indian War and eventually was put in charge of all of Virginia’s militia forces. In 1759, he was elected to Virginia’s House of Burgesses, serving until 1774.
  • Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, who was a widow at the time with two children. The couple never had any children of their own.
  • The war against the British lasted for 8 years but there were few military wins for the Americans during that time.
  • Washington’s troops were poorly trained and had scant supplies – often lacking food, ammunition and it is said, shoes, during the winter.
  • Washington’s ability to motivate them led to the ultimate victory in the Revolutionary War when, with the aid of the French, the Continental Forces captured the British troops fighting under British General Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia, ending the war for independence and making General Washington a national hero.
  • George Washington was inaugurated as President at the age of 57 on April 30, 1789 in New York City and lived in both New York and Philadelphia during his presidency, as the White House was not yet built in Washington, D.C.
  • In his farewell address, Washington urged the new nation to maintain the highest standards, domestically, and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum. That address is still read each February in the U.S. Senate to commemorate Washington’s birthday.
  • Today, his face is seen on the dollar bill and the quarter, more than 200 years after his death.
  • At the time of his death in 1799, George Washington owned 300 slaves. However, during his years in office, he became opposed to slavery and – long before President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, willed that his slaves been freed at the time of his wife’s passing.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is a business writer, ghostwriter and contributing writer to Crescenta Valley Weekly. Read more at: www.writerpatkramer.com.