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Staying Safe During California’s Wildfire Season

staying-safe-during-californias-wildfire-season

Each year, California has wildfires that attract national and sometimes even international media attention. The various media channels like to talk about what might have caused the wildfire, how big it’s gotten, and how teams are desperately working to fight it, as someone who lives in California, you’re first priority is doing everything possible to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this year’s wildfire season.

Prepare Early

Don’t wait until you can hear the roar of the wildfire bearing down on you to start preparing. Wildfires spread quickly and they can also start quickly. Don’t wait until you’re in a high-risk area to start preparing for a wildfire. As soon as you move to California, you need to create start preparing for the possibility of a fire.

Early California fire preparations include:

• Turning your property into a defensible space
• Having an evacuation plan in place
• Keeping your vehicle prepped in case you have to evacuate
• Having a bag packed with life essentials in case you need to evacuate
• Making sure your personal property is covered by property insurance

Creating a Defensible Space

You want to surround your property with defensible space. This space serves as a buffer between an approaching fire and your home. The space shouldn’t have any items or vegetation that’s likely to burn.

The defensible space should extend at 30 feet past your house.

Packing Evacuation Supplies

You don’t have enough room in your car for all of your personal belongings. Limit what you need to one bag per person. Most of the time you can keep his bag in your closet, but if it looks like there is a chance that you’ll have to evacuate, stow the emergency fire bag in your car. Fire moves quickly so each second you save is important.

Items you should have in your emergency fire evacuation bag include:

• A change of clothing
• Cash/credit cards
• An extra charger for your cell phone
• The contact information for your insurance company
• A first aid kit
• Any medication you take
• Water
• Food
• A flashlight

Keep Tabs on your Neighbors

Fire doesn’t care who it hurts. It’s up to you to keep in touch with your neighbors and make sure that they’re able to protect themselves from a wildfire. Whenever possible, offer to help them evacuate. Taking a few seconds to contact your neighbor’s emergency contact, or helping load up their car helps save lives.

Prepare your Pets

You can’t afford to forget about your pets during an emergency fire evacuation. They can’t fend for themselves. You should also be prepared for even the most docile pet to become stressed as you evacuate. They might not understand exactly what is going on, but they do know that a fire is approaching and that you’re stressed.

Lock your pets in a different part of the house while you prepare to evacuate. This prevents them from bolting out the door and getting lost while you’re packing up your vehicle. When you’re ready to load your pets in the car keep them leashed or in a carrier. Don’t assume they will just follow you. Each time you stop the car for gas, make sure your pets are restrained before you get out of your car.

It’s a good idea to get your pet microchipped and to write its name and your phone number on their collar before you evacuate. Before you drive away from your home, take a couple of seconds to double-check that all people and pets are loaded in your car. Even though it’s hard to stay calm when you’re evacuating, you really need to. The calmer you can keep yourself in this situation, the smoother the evacuation will go.

Winter Pet Tips

Winter Pet Tips

Winter Pet Tips

As the end of the year draws near, the weather gets colder and colder. Some parts of California have already reached temperatures that make most people choose to stay indoors. As the temperatures drop, it is important for everyone to stay warm for their own health and safety.

While everyone hurries to bundle up for the cold weather, they also need to consider their pets as well. While most pets have fur coats to help keep them warm, they aren’t impervious to the cold. Just like the cold will eventually worm its way through a jacket, it will do the same to fur. Plus, there is the fact that not all animals are built to tolerate all kinds of weather. Due to this, it is important for pet owners to consider their furry companions this winter.

Keeping Pets Warm This Winter

There are all sorts of things that pet owners need to consider when winter rolls around each year. Here are some things to think about when the temperatures start to drop:

  • Adjust meals to account for changes in activity. If a dog spends more time indoors and is less active in winter, then they don’t need as much food. However, if they go out a lot and are more active, then they need more food. Plus, staying warm in the cold consumes energy, so that alone means needing more food.
  • Bring pets inside. While they may have fur, a lot of pets are just as susceptible of getting frostbite and hypothermia as people are. Think of their fur as permanent jackets. Animal can resist the cold for a little bit like people can, but eventually they need to come inside too.
  • Check under the hood of your car before starting it. Outdoor cats are always looking for warm places to hide, and a warm engine can be a nice place to curl up for a nap. Unfortunately, if someone comes by and starts the car up again while the cat is still there, disaster can occur.
  • Increase time between baths. Just like people, pets can suffer from dry skin, which can be dried out from baths. Since putting moisturizer on with all of that fur is a bit difficult, it is best to simply reduce the number of baths pets get in winter to help prevent the skin from drying out in the first place.
  • Keep dogs on leashes near bodies of water. Letting a dog off their leash near water is how the dog can end up running across the ice and falling in.
  • Keep walks shorter. Reducing the lengths of walks can reduce the exposure to the cold and help prevent any cold related health risks.
  • Provide jackets for pets. Some animals simply don’t have the fur to deal with cold or snow. Think of Chihuahuas and their short fur.
  • Provide proper shelter. The best place for pets to be in winter is indoors with their owner. However, if that is not possible, make sure outdoor pets have adequate shelter from the cold. The floor of the shelter should be raised above the ground, the door should face away from the wind, and a heavy burlap or plastic sheet should cover the door. The inside should be large enough for the animal to lay down comfortably, but small enough to conserve heat, and have a layer of sawdust or straw to lay on.
  • Take care of your dog’s paws. Wipe their paws after walks near roads that have been salted. The salt can get on the pup’s paws and make him/her sick after licking it off. Try putting booties on dogs’ paws to both keep them warm and clean.

California’s Privacy Laws

California’s Privacy Laws

California’s Privacy Laws

Everybody has a right to privacy, especially here in California. No one wants to deal with someone spying on them in private situations. That is why the state of California has a few different laws revolving around people’s right to privacy.

According to state law, there are certain areas where a person should be able to expect and receive privacy. Anyone who breaks that privacy can face legal consequences. California residents should be aware of these laws so that they don’t end up accidentally breaking them.

Laws about Recording People in California

California Penal Code (PC) 647 is the state’s disorderly conduct law. It covers all sorts of things from prostitution, aggressive begging, and invasion of privacy. Specifically, sections i and j of this law relate to privacy.

PC 647i refers to the act of peeping. Under this law, it is a crime for a person to linger, loiter, or prowl on someone’s private property and peek into the doors and windows of any inhabited structure. An example of this would be trespassing onto someone else’s property and then peeking into their home’s window to see if their home, or peeking into a bedroom to watch someone changing clothes.

PC 647j makes it a crime for any person to look into an area where a person would normally expect privacy. It doesn’t matter if a person uses their eyes, binoculars, a cellphone, or any other sort of device to look into the area. Areas where privacy is naturally expected include:

  • Bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms.
  • Changing rooms.
  • Tanning booths.
  • Any other room where one would reasonably expect privacy.

Is Begging Legal in California?

Is Begging Legal in California?

Is Begging Legal in California?

As the holiday season rolls around, people have a tendency to become nicer and more compassionate. The holidays have a way of bringing people together and making them more willing to help each other out.

As the weather gets colder and people become more willing to give, more people begin asking for money. Sometimes, the money goes to certain charitable organizations, just think of all the Santa’s that appear outside stores. Other times, it is just a homeless person looking for a few bucks.

Asking for money from strangers is not a new practice. It has likely been around since the concept of money was invented. Still, if a person isn’t careful, begging for money can actually get them into trouble with the law. The state of California actually has a law that regulates how people can beg for money.

Don’t Beg Aggressively

Here in the state of California, Penal Code (PC) 647 prohibits a person from using aggressive tactics of solicitation. Primarily, this law makes it illegal for someone to accost another individual in a public place while asking for a handout.

As far as this law is concerned, simply walking up to a person and asking for money is not illegal. What is illegal is using intimidation, threats, or even harassing a person. If someone begging for money ever does that, then they have broken this law.

Some cities have local ordinances that further restrict panhandling, but those vary from city to city. These kinds of laws will often limit where or when people can beg for money. Often times the act cannot be banned altogether. This is due to a very important law here in the United States.

Panhandling outright cannot be banned because many people view it as a First Amendment right. In a way, asking someone for money is a form of freedom of speech. Anyone is allowed to ask someone else for money at any time. However, people are not allowed to get aggressive towards other individuals, which is why PC 647 exists.

Penalties for PC 647

Breaking PC 647 earns a person misdemeanor charges, which means middle ground of consequences. Even then, this law falls on the lighter side of misdemeanor consequences. A person who breaks this law will face:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Keep an Eye out for Motorcycles

Motorcycle laws

Keep an Eye out for Motorcycles

For the most part, cars dominate the roadways here in California and most of the United States as well. However, they are not the only vehicles out there that drivers need to keep an eye on. Semi-trucks take up large portions of the road, but luckily they are easy to see. The real problem is motorcycles.

Motorcycles aren’t super common, but they can still be seen pretty often. When they do show up, a driver needs to be extra careful and vigilant. It’s bad enough when full sized cars disappear in a driver’s blind spot, but since motorcycles are smaller, they disappear easier and more often.

Motorcycle Facts

According to the California DMV, a motorcycle is defined as any 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle that has a 150cc or bigger engine. Due to the device’s smaller, and more dangerous, nature, riders need to have a special license to drive one of these vehicles.

One study in 2016 reported motorcycle deaths were 28 times higher than car related deaths for the same year. Another study found that motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to get injured than people riding in a car. This is due to the fact there is nothing to protect a motorcycle rider in the event of an accident, except for what they are wearing.

There is no denying that motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than other vehicles. Even if a motorcycle driver is the best in the world, they still have to worry about other drivers who may not realize that the motorcycle is even there.

California Motorcycle Laws

The state of California has several laws that pertain to motorcycles. Some of these laws include:

  • Vehicle Code (VC) 27803 – this law requires that motorcycle riders wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet whenever they ride.
  • VC 26709 – This law requires all motorcycles to be equipped with left and right mirrors.
  • VC 27801 – This law states that the handlebars of the bike cannot be in a position that puts the rider’s hands more than 6 inches above his/her shoulders.

These are just a few of the laws that the state has enacted in order to keep motorcycle riders safe. Some other things that motorcycle riders need to be aware of include having functioning turn signals on the front and back of their bike, lane splitting, driving between two cars is legal, and lane sharing, two motorcycles driving next to one another in the same lane, is also permitted.

Drive Safely

Drivers have to be vigilant if they want to avoid getting into an accident. They have to be extra cautious around motorcycles to ensure that they don’t swerve or even bump into them. What would be a minor bump or inconvenience for the car driver can be deadly for a motorcyclist.

Meanwhile, motorcyclists need to be aware of the fact that their chosen method of transit is more risky than driving in a car. They, more than other drivers, need to more closely follow the rules of the road and avoid risky behavior such as speeding.

So long as every driver and rider takes the proper precautions, they can avoid getting into an accident with a motorcycle. That is something everyone wants, especially since motorcycle accidents have such a high chance of being fatal. Next time you’re driving around, be sure to keep an eye out for motorcycles near you.