Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Pin image for 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your HomeRecently, I was honored to interview a Paramedic Fire Captain Live on my Facebook page. BTW, this fire captain is pretty special to me. He’s my hubby, Dave Nguyen! He became a paramedic in 1998 and he joined the department as a firefighter in 2002. He’s worked in busy areas, has seen many different types of calls and he has loads of experience to bring all of us. 

We covered a lot of great info on preparing your home and your family for a potential fire. You can catch the entire 36 minute video right here. I definitely suggest taking the time to watch the entire video. There are so many great preparedness tips shared throughout. 

Additionally, I thought it would be helpful to organize the preparedness tips and suggestions by topic and get them up here on the blog so you can more easily search and find the info you’re looking for at quick glance. 

In this post, we’ll be covering the top preventative items you should have in your home. These are things that you can have in your home to help prevent a fire related emergency. Some of these might seem obvious to you but there are others that you may or may not have ever even thought about before. 

Here are the top 5 preventative items you should have in your home in case of a fire emergency:

Fire extinguishers. 

One of the most important preventative items you want to make sure you have in your home are fire extinguishers. If you have a multi-level house, you’ll want a fire extinguisher on each level. Definitely have one in your kitchen and then another on each other level of your home. 

There are even fire extinguishers made specifically for kitchens. They are usually white and you can find those at any hardware store. The red extinguishers are general purpose and can also be purchased at a hardware store. 

Make sure that your fire extinguishers are up to date by checking the little window is green.

You can also keep a fire blanket handy in your kitchen for small fires. We just bought a bunch from Prepared Hero, but any wool blanket will do! These are something that even kids can easily use to put out small fires like stove top fires. All they need to do is throw it over the flames. Plus, they’re very easy and convenient to store.

Smoke Detectors

A woman tests a preventative item - smoke detector

Smoke detectors are a very important preventative item to have in your home. You’ll need one smoke detector for each level of your home as well as one for each bedroom. Here in California, it is law that new builds have a smoke detector in every room of the house.

Be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years.

Carbon-Monoxide Detectors

You also want carbon-monoxide detectors on each level of the house. Carbon-monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. It is a colorless and odorless gas. Since it is colorless and odorless, this gas is especially dangerous. It is more common than you might think for a family to go to bed and not wake up due to carbon-monoxide poisoning. 

As with smoke detectors, be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years

Exit Plan 

a man draws an exit plan, a preventative item 

Your family should have a clear plan for how you will get out of the house in case of an emergency. You don’t just want to have a plan in place, but you also want to practice that plan with your family. 

How do you develop an exit plan? Well, you go into every room of the house and think, “If I am trapped in this room, how do I get out?” You can then draw a map and review it with your child so they are sure of how they can get out of their room. 

You can even make it fun by blindfolding your kids to simulate not being able to see in a room full of smoke, and have them practice escaping the house. See who can get out of the house fastest. Just make sure each child has a guide to prevent any accidents while competing. 

Escape Ladder

If you have a multi-level home, you may want to purchase escape ladders, especially for the bedrooms. These are easy to store in a closet and can be thrown out of a window in case of a fire for easy escape from a second floor room.

Additional tip: 

You can now get smoke detector/carbon-monoxide detector combos and some will even integrate with a company that will monitor both and notify you if there is an issue. We use SimpliSafe, but most of the major security system suppliers, like ADT and Frontpoint, will provide this service.


You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the preventative items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!

4 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Locating a Missing Child

4 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Locating a Missing Child

pin image 4 tips to help locate a missing childIt’s hard to let yourself imagine the gut wrenching feeling you’d experience if you turned around in a crowded store, then turned back and saw your child was gone. Your face would get hot, you’d begin breathing rapidly, and panic would quickly set in. This is a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Our children are so precious, the thought of one of them being lost, missing, or having wandered off is unbearable. 

Kids can go missing from almost anywhere and it can happen in a matter of seconds. Crowded public places, a playground or park, or even your own front yard are all common places from which children are reported missing. According to the US Bureau of National Crime Information Center, a child becomes missing or abducted every 40 seconds. Let that sink in. Every 40 seconds. 

I can’t imagine having come up with a plan for this type of situation or any amount of preparation would ease the panic you’d feel if your child were missing. There are some steps you can take that will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your child. 

Here are 4 simple tips to follow to increase your chances of locating a missing child: 

Speak openly with your children about dangers.

Communicate regularly, and in an age appropriate manner, with your children about the dangers of wandering off, getting lost, or being abducted. 

Be sure they know what you would and wouldn’t ask them to do. For instance, run through hypothetical situations with them. Go over what you want them to do if someone offered them a ride, asked them for directions or help around their car, or made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. 

Make sure they know who safe people are and where to find them. In stores, this might be security guards or store employees. Outside it could be police, firefighters, or park rangers. 

Encouraging them to memorize their address and your cell phone number at an early age. You can begin to prepare your child for a worse case scenario in a non-intimidating way by making it like a game. 

Always keep a current image of your child on you.

Image of a child being photographed

If your child goes missing, it is incredibly important to have an up-to-date image of them.  You can share this image with security and/or authorities right away. This simple tip has become so much easier now that we all keep a phone with a camera on us basically 24/7. If you’re like me, you’ve got new photos of your kids on your phone just about every day.

Whenever there is a significant change to your child’s appearance, like a hair cut, be sure to snap a photo of them with a clear view of their face. Also make sure your images are being backed up somewhere so that you can access the images even if you don’t have your phone on you at the time. 

Know what your child is wearing. 

As best as you can, each day, make a mental note of what your child is wearing. Particularly take note of any distinguishing features like a character, colors, or design on the clothing. Try to remember brand names and sizes, if possible. 

Also be aware of the things your child carries on them at all times. If they are younger, this might be a favorite toy. As they get older, this might be a piece of jewelry, a wallet, or cell phone. 

Have a comprehensive record containing your child’s DNA and fingerprints.

Child Identification KitCollect all of your child’s important information and samples and keep them together in a safe place. You’ll want to include things like their full name, medical and dental records, identifying marks like scars and birthmarks, and finally their school information. Have a list of your child’s closest friends and numbers where you can contact them. 

Additionally it’s important to have DNA samples and fingerprints for each of your children. If you want to gather all of this information and have it in one safe space, consider putting together a child identification record for each of your children. 

A child can go missing in the blink of an eye. If that happens, I know you want to be as calm and as prepared as possible. That way you can locate and reunite with your missing child.


Let us help you do that by sending you a FREE Child Safety Identification Kit. You can get your FREE kit by clicking here.  

Why You Need a Budget Now!

Why You Need a Budget Now!

why a budget is important Pinterest ImageBack in 2008, my husband and I were young, naive, and nearly 100K in debt. Two years into our marriage, we found ourselves living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. We had no emergency fund to fall back on and we had no clue how bad our spending habits had gotten.⁠⁠⠀

We got ourselves into a huge mess and we didn’t know how to get out of it.⁠⠀⁠⠀

Many families are going through unprecedented and unexpected financial difficulties right now. With most states issuing shelter in place orders and businesses closing aside for essential personnel, we’re seeing a spike in unemployment like never before. ⁠Many people who never imagined and never planned for losing their jobs are now finding themselves unemployed and unsure of where to go from here. ⠀

Is There a Lesson to Learn from Being in Debt?

⁠Believe it or not, waking up to only $10 in the bank was a blessing in disguise for us. It taught us a lot more than we ever expected.⁠⠀⁠⠀

We had to really dig deep and ask ourselves if the kind of life we were leading was the kind of life we wanted our kids to grow up in. Only then were we able to make some changes that have lead to us living the debt free life we now enjoy.⁠

What Happens When you aren’t Financially Prepared for a Crisis?

why a budget is important

A crisis can take many different forms. It might be an unexpected medical expense, a totaled car that you still owe on, a house fire, or an unexpected layoff. It could also be a global pandemic that cripples the entire nation leading to a complete financial crisis. If I’d said that last one a few months ago, I bet you’d have looked at me like I had three heads – but here we are. 

Needless to say, our current situation was not anything anyone was expecting. And, it’s hard to prepare for something that you can’t even dream up in your worst nightmare. But, when we aren’t prepared for a crisis, that is when we are most vulnerable .

If you have been caught off guard in this crisis without an emergency fund, you can use this time to really evaluate and reprioritize your family goals. It may not feel like it right now but maybe it is also your family’s blessing in disguise.⁠⠀

How Can I Get a Budget in Place Quickly?

If you’ve found yourself in a tough spot financially for the first (or maybe, second, or third) time in your adult life, it’s not too late to take action. Don’t throw in the towel. With a little hard work, some tough decisions, and some smart budgeting, you can get yourself out of this mess. 

But, the first thing you’ll have to do is let go of blame. You can’t begin to make the necessary changes in your habits if you are holding onto blame – of yourself or others. Then you’ll need to establish a reliable budget and to stick to it. 

Here are some simple budgeting tips:

  • You need to know exactly how much money comes in each month and how much goes out. 
  • Develop a system or process to pay down your debt.
  • Begin to spend within your means.
  • Add to your savings each month.

Following these simple steps will help you prepare for the next crisis. 

How Can We Prepare Financially for a Future Crisis?

why a budget is important

Please believe me, having your finances in order and being prepared for a financial crisis does not make you a DoomsDay Prepper. 

The number one thing to do to prepare for a future crisis is to begin saving money in an emergency fund. Open a savings account and begin to add to it each month. Look into accounts with the best perks, like higher interest rates and lower fees. 

Start small if you need to. Make sure that you are working to build it up each month and only taking from it in the case of an actual true crisis.

I Can Help You Out

Having been where you are now, I know the range of emotions you’re going through. I know I never want to be back in the place and I don’t want you to be either. That’s why I’ve made it my goal to help others take control of their financial situation through budgeting. 

If you’d like budgeting support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching! I’ll help you set up a systems that will work for your unique family.⁠ Info here! Get your info here!

How to Teach Kids About Germ Spreading

How to Teach Kids About Germ Spreading

wash your hands to avoid germ spreadingI think it’s safe to say that kids, in general, know they need to wash their hands when they’re dirty.⁠ When my kids were young, they learned a few techniques for washing their hands. They would sing Happy Birthday twice or the ABC Song. It’s pretty simple to explain to our kids why they need to wash their hands if they’re dirty. Just like we wash our dirty laundry and dirty dishes – we also need to wash our hands when they’re dirty. 

But what about when their hands aren’t visibly dirty? Like, after coughing into their hands or touching a surface that may have germs.⁠ How do we explain the need to still wash our hands regularly to avoid germ spreading to young children? 

If they can’t visibly see that their hands are dirty, it can be hard for them to understand the need for thorough hand washing.

Here are two simple tricks to teach your kids how germs are transmitted:

Do an experiment or show your kids a video that demonstrates how easily germs can travel. ⁠

Here are some great resources to help with this:

How Far a Sneeze Can Travel Video by Science Insider

Germ Experiment – How Do Germs Spread by Home Science Tools

Why Washing Your Hands Stops the Spread of Germs Video by Kelly Rose Sarno

Help your kids to identify high risk germ sources in their daily environment.

Here are some great resources to help with this:

The Germiest Places at School by NSF International

9 Places Germs Hide in Your Home by Readers Digest

While knowing how and why germ spreading happens, hand washing is – hands down – the most valuable action we can take to prevent the spread of germs. 

wash your hands to avoid germ spreading

Here are some fun activities to do with your kids that will teach them just how important washing their hands is in preventing germ spreading. ⁠⠀

The Spray Trick:

Grab a water spray bottle and fill it with water. Get some paper and line it on a table or counter top. Pretend to sneeze or cough and at the same time, spray some water to mimic what actually comes out of your mouth/nose if you don’t cover your mouth.⁠⠀⁠⠀

Now, do the same thing but this time, cough and spray the water directly into your hand or elbow crease as if you had covered your mouth/nose while coughing/sneezing.⁠ 

Compare how much of the water was caught in the hand or elbow fold and how much landed on the paper. Have your children note how many less germs were spread by covering when coughing/sneezing. 

Also, have them look at the “germs” caught in their hand and encourage them to thoroughly wash their hands post cough/sneeze. ⠀

By having them see this in action, they are more likely to be aware of it the next time they cough or sneeze.⁠⠀⁠⠀

Touch and Tag:

Ask your children how many objects or places around the house they touch every single day. Remind them of how easy it is to leave germs on these surfaces each day as they touch them.⁠ 

Go around your house and tag or mark each of these areas with a label or sticky note to remind your child that they’ve just touched a high risk germ source. Encourage them to wash their hands after coming in contact with high germ sources in your house and at their school. ⠀

a baby touches a dirty light switch and helps with germ spreading

Role Play:

When we role play germ spreading, I pretend to be one of my kids and do exactly what I have witnessed them doing (or not doing).⁠ I have the kids role play as the adults and instruct me of what I should be doing to reduce the spread of germs.⠀⁠⠀


  • First, I role play what my kids do or don’t do after blowing their noses.
  • Next, I role play touching loads of surfaces around the house and then NOT washing my hands.
  • Then, I role play washing my hands too quickly, not thoroughly enough, or without soap.
  • Finally, I role play coughing and sneezing without covering my nose or mouth⠀

I then ask my kids what was wrong with my actions and how they, as adults, would correct my behaviors. My kids love getting to be the adult and telling me what I’ve done wrong!⠀⁠⠀

I hope this helps a bit as a way to teach your kids how important it is to prevent the spread of germs.⁠ I’d love to hear the creative ways you teach your kids about germs spreading. Leave me a comment with your best tips and tricks.


To learn more about germs spreading and other common kid emergencies like fevers, heat exhaustion, fractures, and constipation, download our free eBook, Mom’s Little Handbook to Common Kid Emergencies

The Dreaded Fever: Everything a Well Prepared Mom Needs to Know

The Dreaded Fever: Everything a Well Prepared Mom Needs to Know

It’s a chilly winter evening and you’re in the kitchen preparing dinner. You realize your little one has been a bit too quiet. You take a peek and he’s lying on the couch a tad more tired than usual. He’s definitely not acting himself so you put your wrist to his forehead. Your little one has spiked a fever and you start to panic. Do you bring him in? Do you wait it out at home? 

Child laying on the couch with a fever

I’ll bet this scenario sounds familiar to most moms. The thing is, if you take the steps to educate and prepare yourself for that inevitable fever, you’ll be far less likely to panic and overreact when it hits. 

Here’s our guide to all the facts a well prepared mom needs to know about fevers.

What exactly is a fever?

A fever is an elevated temperature over what is considered standard. A standard human body temperature is 98.6F. An elevated temperature is typically the result of a viral or bacterial infection. As the body attempts to fight off the attack, body temperature rises. 

Though fevers are scary, they are also a sign that our bodies are working properly to protect us. 

Why do children get fevers?

Since a fever is, essentially, a symptom of a larger issue, there is no simple answer as to why your child might have a fever. Fever is a sign that the body is fighting an infection. You may already be aware of the infection, what it is, and where it came from – but you might not. 

Kids can pick up infections almost anywhere. In the winter, during the school months, and during flu season, it becomes even more likely. Think – stomach bugs and respiratory virus galore.  Unfortunately, kids aren’t as conscious of covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough or even washing their hands.  So it’s very easy for a child to get the “bugs” by being coughed on or by touching a common surface area like door knobs without even realizing it.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), it’s also not uncommon for a child to spike a fever after receiving an immunization. This is simply a sign that the immune system is strong and functioning properly. 

Symptoms of a Fever

Since a fever is an elevated body temperature, the very first symptoms or complaints from your little one will likely be chills and body aches. The most common symptoms are changes in appetite, mood, or behavior and activity level. And of course, an elevated body temperature. 

What is the best way to measure if your child has a fever?

There are multiple different ways to measure your child’s temperature and some are more accurate than others. The biggest factor will be your child’s age. This will determine what the best type of thermometer to use will be.  Temperature can be measured rectally, by ear, temporally, orally or axillary (armpit). 

thermometer measuring a child's fever

The Mayo Clinic offers the following thermometer recommendations based on your child’s age.  

  • Birth to 3 months. Use a digital thermometer rectally or temporally.
  • 3 months to 4 years. Use a digital thermometer to take a rectal, axillary or temporal temperature reading. 
  • 4 years and older. Use a digital thermometer to get an oral, axillary, or temporal temperature reading. 

The key is – whatever method you choose, you must remain consistent. Switching thermometer types and comparing different methods each time you take your child’s temperature will only get confusing. To get acquainted with your child’s normal temperature range you’ll need to use the same type of thermometer every time.

At Home Care

Fevers and their accompanying symptoms can be very scary for moms, especially in very young children. Often times, parents choose to treat the fever too soon. If your child can handle the discomfort, give them some extra love and cuddles, but let their little body do what it was designed to do. 

If you would like to take steps to mitigate the fever at home, here’s what I suggest: 

  • You can give your child a common fever reducer like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Be sure to check the dosage instructions based on your child’s age and weight. 
  • Change them into light-weight clothing.
  • Wrap them in a thin blanket
  • Make sure they stay hydrated by providing plenty of fluids. 

When to Head to the Doctor

doctor checks a child's feverIt’s so important to know when to contact your child’s physician or seek medical assistance. 

These are general temperature guidelines for a high fever, by age:

  • Younger than 3 months: 100.4F (38C)
  • 3 month to 3 years: 102.2F (39C)
  • 3 years and older: 104F (40C)

To learn more about fevers and make sure you’re prepared for other common kid emergencies like heat exhaustion, fractures, and constipation – download our free eBook, Mom’s Little Handbook to Common Kid Emergencies

The information presented here is meant only for informational purposes. It is not meant to diagnose, treat or provide health advice. Anything you read here should not substitute assistance from a medical doctor. 
Top Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

Top Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

Let’s face it… we’re parents and we worry about everything, especially when it comes to our teens and social media safety.  There are so many reasons why social media can be extremely dangerous with all of the horror stories of kids being lured, abducted, sexually assaulted, and bullied.

I know your teenager doesn’t want to be told what to do and what not to do, but by offering these guidelines you can set safe parameters for them to explore the entire world of social media without being bullied, ripped off, scammed, or disrespected while they’re just trying to have a good time online.

It is possible for your teen to have a safe, positive experience within the social media world, if the proper boundaries are in place.

First Steps:

  • Make sure your teen’s social media pages are set to private, not public. 
  • Turn off geo-tagging, so they cannot be located from their social media posts.
  • Do not let your teen “friend” people they do not directly know. Teens should NEVER make plans to meet someone they met on social media.
  • Report inappropriate content (bullying, hate speech, obscenity) to the social media platform AND be sure to block the poster.

Social Media Safety tips to talk about with your kids:

  1. How often do they check their settings on all social media pages?

Encourage your child to regularly review the app or social networking privacy settings. Many social networks are set to public by default, meaning anyone can see your child’s posts, pics, and videos.  We would recommend using a ‘friends-only’ setting. Keep your teen accountable, and ask them to participate in their own safety settings on a weekly basis. They will feel like you are entrusting them with the responsibility to take care of themselves, while giving them a task that keeps them safe.

  1. How many social networks are you currently using?

Just like their bedrooms, it is important that children give their social media presence a spring clean every so often.  Remind your child to deactivate any old social media profiles/accounts they may have signed up to. This can help minimize the risk of getting hacked.

  1. Is it possible to copy a photo, video, or snap without the other person knowing?

Explain to your child that anything that appears on a screen can be copied and shared regardless of the privacy features of the services they are using.  Nearly all mobile phones can save what is displayed on screen by pressing a couple of buttons. It is just as easy to capture what is displayed by taking a photo of the screen using a camera or camera phone.  Make sure they understand that once their content is posted online, there is the risk of that photo or video being seen by others forever, so make sure they think twice.

  1. What type of information/photos are okay to share online?

It’s a good idea to give some guidelines about what to avoid discussing or sharing online.  Some children may not understand how quickly content can be shared online, it may be helpful to explain that even by deleting a post/photo it may still be too late, and the content may already have been shared.

  1. Are they accepting friend requests or follows from strangers?

Make sure they understand, that they should only accept friend requests or follows from people that they know.  Tell them that they should not be chatting or messaging with any people online that are not personal friends, because these conversations can lead to dangerous encounters that they will wish they had never started.  Explain that what might seem innocent at first, can have major repercussions later that can’t be undone.

Try to be as open as possible with your teens about these topics, and include them in monitoring their own safety so they will feel that you are entrusting them with newfound responsibility because they are getting older.  

This will make these conversations a lot easier, and ultimately bring you closer to your teen, empowering them to feel like they can talk to you about anything.

Here some links if you would like additional information on social media safety:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out our kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.