Create a Fire Escape Plan With These Easy Steps


This year marks the 95th anniversary of the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week. It's no secret that we care about safety here at Aqua, so it should come as no surprise we're also fans of fire prevention.

The safety of you and your family should always be a top priority, so in honor of the occasion, we want to help you create a fire escape plan (that you’ll hopefully never have to use). Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re prepared in the case of a fire—it’ll be more than worth your time in the long run.

Step 1: Draw a Map and Find Your Exits

 Whether at work or at home, it is essential to have a fire escape plan in mind. To better envision your plan, use a grid to draw out the rooms in your building or home and identify two exits in each room. You can click here to access a printable checklist and grid to help you draw out your fire escape plan. Click here for the grid and checklist in Spanish. 

Step 2: Make Sure Your Exits are Accessible

Not every room has two exit doors, which means that sometimes, your second exit will be a window. In the event of an actual fire, you don’t want to be held up clearing off your windowsill or struggling to open your window. Make sure you can easily execute your escape plan by opening paths to all exits and keeping window sills decluttered. If you live on the second floor or higher, you should consider keeping a fire escape ladder near your windows to ensure you can easily escape. 


Always locate two exits from every room in your home. (Image via NFPA)

Step 3: Choose an Outside Meeting Space Near Your Home

In the case of a fire, once you are outside of your home, you and your family will want a safe place to meet. Make sure everyone agrees on a meeting place with a clear identifier such as a tree, bush, stop sign or parking lot. The important thing is that the meeting place is a safe distance from your home and can be easily found. 

Step 4: Plan to Call 911

In the event of a real emergency, once you safely make it to the meeting place, call 911 to report the fire. (Do not call 911 if you are just practicing your escape plan—only call if there is a real emergency.) If you do not have a phone with you, ask to use a neighbor’s phone or locate a local business and ask to use theirs.

Step 5: Practice Your Plan 

Image via NFPA

Now that you have a preventative fire escape plan, it’s important to remember that the plan won’t do you much good if you can’t remember it in case of a real fire. That’s why it is important to practice your fire escape plan with your family twice a year.

We hope that this simple step-by-step tutorial will help you and your family create a fire escape plan. Since safety is always a priority at Aqua, we’d also like to thank the local fire departments who work tirelessly to keep our communities and neighbors safe across all eight of the states in which we operate.


Pictured above are some of the members of the Justin, Texas volunteer fire department. The department is made up of 25 volunteers who are dedicated to keeping the community safe. Aqua Texas was happy to donate and support them and their mission this past September. Thank you for your service, Justin Texas firefighters! 


Pictured here are Delaware County Councilman Dave White, District Attorney Jack Whelan, Delaware County Emergency Services Director Tim Boyce and Aqua Pennsylvania officials. We all gathered to celebrate our local fire departments on a nice day with the community. Thank you for your hard work, Pennsylvania firefighters!

If you are interested in learning more about Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website

 

Share This Post:

Aqua employees demonstrate extraordinary dedication during Hurricane Harvey

 

By Aqua Texas President and Houston resident Bob Laughman

As Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc throughout southeast Texas with catastrophic flooding, Aqua employees worked long hours in challenging conditions to maintain and restore service to our customers. 

Aqua serves about 76,000 people through 146 water systems throughout southeast Texas. Although we had standby generators ready to deploy after the hurricane hit, many systems remained powered and in full operation during Harvey. However, devastating flood conditions impeded employees from safely traveling to some communities to determine if water quality had been compromised by the storm. We issued a precautionary boil advisory to 121 systems and lifted these advisories as our operators confirmed the safety of each system’s water.

 

Area Manager Chris Garcia and his team delivered extraordinary service as they personally dealt with the horrendous flooding you saw on TV. They truly exemplify Aqua’s mission and core values, and I thank them for their commitment to the communities we serve.

Aqua employees Gary Douglas and Scott Verret distributing water in Beaumont.

As my employees worked tirelessly to restore service for our own customers in southeast Texas, they also reached out to help other communities who needed it. The City of Beaumont lost its water supply for nearly 120,000 people as a result of the storm. On September 1 — after driving more than 500 miles from our Fort Worth and Palestine offices through Louisiana and along coastal roads to avoid flooded areas — Aqua employees Gary Douglas, Scott Verret, J.Don Dewveall, Tim Goforth, Ben Clark and Nathan Sweeney arrived in Beaumont with two drinking water tankers. The crew provided bulk clean water to a mobile hospital unit, three churches, local residents and a ship — the Liberty Peace — that could not leave the harbor without clean drinking water. Our tankers also provided an invaluable clean water supply to the Jefferson County emergency operations center, the main center that coordinated regional disaster rescue and response.

 

Aqua delivered water to various locations including a court house and mobile hospital unit.

Mike Kirkpatrick, Jefferson County emergency management coordinator, conveyed his and the community’s deep appreciation for everything that Aqua Texas did on their behalf. Kirkpatrick said Aqua Texas was the reason the emergency operations center was able to stay open during the worst of the crisis. 

I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to my co-workers throughout Texas and our Aqua America family nationwide for their inspiring teamwork and extraordinary efforts to serve our customers throughout the hurricane and its aftermath.

Nathan Sweeney and Ben Clark were among the Aqua employees who arrived in Beaumont with two drinking water tankers. 

Share This Post:

Aqua President and CEO Chris Franklin talks water infrastructure with national media, congress

 

By Aqua President and CEO Chris Franklin

Over the past few weeks, I had the pleasure of talking with some national news outlets as well as congressional subcommittee members about the state of water infrastructure in America and Aqua’s commitment to investing in our aging water systems.

As you can see in my CNBC’s Squawk Box segment, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, giving U.S. water infrastructure a “D” grade and wastewater infrastructure a “D+.” The reality is that our country has more than 1 million miles of water pipe, much of which was laid in the early 20th century and in critical need of replacement.

While this is a major challenge facing our country, Aqua is working to be a part of the solution. We are committed to renewing and improving water and wastewater infrastructure through thoughtful and continuous capital investment. It’s why Aqua will invest more than $450 million in water and wastewater infrastructure in 2017 alone, after having invested $1.5 billion in capital improvements over the past five years. 

I also spoke with national infrastructure reporters about the importance of letting private capital go to work to assist municipalities struggling with aging water systems, instead of providing federal financing for infrastructure projects. Aqua has a proven record of purchasing both municipal and private water systems, injecting needed capital into the systems and developing the infrastructure required for clean drinking water and wastewater. You can read more about that in my interview with Hilary Russ of Reuters.

As then president-elect of the National Association of Water Companies, I also had the opportunity last month to provide testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment. I underscored with our elected officials that companies like Aqua and our fellow NAWC member organizations are well-positioned to help cities and towns address long-neglected water and wastewater infrastructure maintenance. It’s my firm belief that we will continue to be part of the solution.

I’m proud that Aqua is playing a leading role in providing solutions for struggling water and wastewater systems. In speaking out on these issues, I hope to continue to raise awareness on the importance of water and wastewater infrastructure in our country and of Aqua’s role as a leader in protecting and providing Earth’s most valuable resource.

 

 

Share This Post:

DIY Salt Water Taffy: The Perfect Halloween Candy

 

Halloween is right around the corner, and with all the costumes, decorations and sweet treats, it’s the perfect season for DIY projects. Instead of your usual store-bought candy, why not try making tasty Halloween treats right in your own home?

 

This easy recipe for DIY salt water taffy is a great example of one of the many ways in which water can be utilized for fun, and it’s the perfect way to kick off fall festivities.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • Medium-sized saucepan
  • Small baking dish
  • Candy thermometer
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Waxed paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (and extra to butter your pan and hands)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon glycerin
  • food coloring and flavoring
  • Sprinkles (optional)




What to Do:

  1. Butter your small baking dish and set it aside for later. Then stir together sugar and cornstarch in the medium sauce pan. As you're stirring, slowly add in the corn syrup, butter, water, salt and glycerin.
  2. Place the mixture over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture boils, stop stirring, insert the candy thermometer and wait until the mixture reaches 254 degrees F.
  3. Once the temperature is 254 degrees F, you may remove the mixture from heat and stir in your food coloring and flavoring. The color you use will not alter the flavor or texture of your taffy. Note: Color will fade when the pulling process begins.                                                                
  4. Now you can grab your buttered baking dish from step one and pour the mixture right into the dish. (Make sure you applied a generous amount of butter so the taffy doesn’t stick to the pan.)
  5. Allow the taffy to cool. Once the taffy is sufficiently cooled, generously apply butter to your hands and begin to pull the taffy. Do this by pulling up the taffy into both hands, then pulling it apart and back together until the taffy is firm enough to sustain its shape. For a visual demonstration of this process, head here.                               
  6. Now butter your scissors thoroughly (be careful not to cut your hands). Stretch the taffy into a long rope-like shape and use your buttered scissors to cut the taffy at 1 inch intervals.
  7. Wrap your taffy in small wax paper squares and store in an airtight container.happy-halloween-964786_1920.jpg

Now that you’ve made your taffy, it will last you approximately two months. You can keep it around the house as a tasty treat or share with family, friends or even coworkers.

Whether you’re indoors handing out candy or going door-to-door trick-or-treating, it’s important to stay safe on Halloween. Don’t forget to check back here to see what other fun and inventive activities you and your family can enjoy this season.

Share This Post:

Aqua customer operations VP says customer service is a company-wide effort

 

By Aqua Vice President of Customer Operations Georgetta Parisi

This week, Aqua joins organizations across the globe observing Customer Service Week (CSW), a celebration of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. The designation is so important that 25 years ago, U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week a nationally recognized event to be celebrated annually during the first full week in October. I’m so pleased to be joining Aqua just as we’re ready to honor the employees who serve millions of people across our eight states. 

As a public utility providing a life-sustaining service, customer service is an integral part of Aqua’s daily business operations. Customer service has been fundamental to the company’s 130-plus year history, and to its growth over the past several decades. We value our customers, realize the integral part water plays in their daily lives, and recognize the importance of excellent customer service every single day. In fact, it’s a part of our company’s vision.

Aqua is lucky to have a bench of talented, dedicated employees who are working on the front lines and interacting with customers. They are the real “face” of our company, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to recognize and celebrate their hard work throughout the year during this special week.

The celebration spans far beyond those in our customer service department—we know that customer service is a company-wide effort. Any Aqua employee who comes in contact with our customers, from our technicians to our meter readers, plays an integral role in shaping the customer experience. And a lot of our employees are in roles that support those representatives. To that end, each employee has a responsibility to carry out the company’s vision for excellent customer service.

  

In my new role with the company, I look forward to bringing Aqua’s customer service to an even higher level. I’m excited to be a part of this organization and look forward to helping to drive an excellent experience for all of our customers.  I extend my deepest thanks for the work our Aqua employees do to serve our customers. Thank you!

Share This Post: