Webfinder: Disasters

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Are you ready? If not, check out these resources!

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Disaster Supplies Kit [Link opens a PDF] – A handy printable checklist of essential items you should have in your home in case of any emergency, plus key websites to help you stay informed about current or potential emergencies. (State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management)

Disasters: Prepare Your Home & Family – General advice on how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies, including tips for taking care of children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets. Disaster Preparedness focuses on specific types of emergencies, including chemical spills, fires, floods, flu, heat waves, poisoning, power outages, terrorism, winter storms, and more. After a Disaster offers guidance on what to do after floods, hurricanes, winter storms blackouts, and other disasters, including checking your home’s structure, utilities & major systems, and recovering financially (American Red Cross). See also Emergency Preparedness & Response (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) and Protect Yourself from Dangerous Weather (USA.gov).

Emotional Recovery from Disaster – Briefly outlines common reactions and responses to disaster, and offers advice on coping. (2013, American Psychological Association). See also Helping Children Cope With a Disaster and Parents Helping Youth Cope with Disaster [Link opens a PDF] (2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support, by phone or text, to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. There is also a special service for hard of hearing & deaf people, and an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Family Communication Plan  [Link opens a PDF] – A printable form you can fill out so your family will know how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Fill in this information and keep a copy in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. (FEMA)

Financial Preparedness: Lessons from Sandy – Recommends steps to take before disaster hits to be sure your financial accounts, medical & prescription drug information, original copies of important documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.) and other necessities are secured and accessible to you in the event of an emergency (2012, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). Smart About Money: Natural Disasters [Link opens a PDF] includes information on filing insurance claims, applying for private or government assistance, tax relief, and related topics (2015, National Endowment for Financial Education, American Red Cross and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; non-profit organizations). See also Weather Emergencies: Getting your Financial House in Order (2015, Federal Trade Commission) and Emergency Financial First Aid Kit [NEW!] [Link opens a PDF] (2015, FEMA).

Flooding – How to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from floods, including dealing with emergency disinfection of drinking water, mold, private wells & septic systems, and related subjects (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Family Preparedness: Floods and Flash Floods (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management) and Floods: What You Should Know (U.S. Centers for Disease Control). FloodSmart explains the National Flood Insurance Program and your flood insurance coverage options (FEMA). The short video Flooded Cars offers tips on how to identify a flood-damaged vehicle when you shop for a car (Insurance Information Institute, Inc.).

Food Safety in an Emergency – Answers to frequently asked questions about food safety after a flood or other disaster, including a helpful  “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” chart (USDA). See also FoodSafety.gov.

Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities – People with disabilities often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. This page provides some quick, practical advice, with links to more in-depth information and guidance, including Register Ready, a free and confidential program which allows residents with special needs to register with emergency response agencies, so emergency responders can better serve them in an emergency (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). The Red Cross offers a free booklet you can download and print, Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs (American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA).

Preparedness for Seniors – Tips for over-50 adults and their families / caregivers (The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc). See also Disaster Planning For Seniors, By Seniors [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross), and Safety Tips for Seniors and related links.

Planning for Pets – Pets can’t prepare, so you need to do it for them! This guide explains what you can do ahead of time to ensure your pets’ safety in times of emergency (Humane Society of the United States). See also Preparing your Pets for Emergencies [Link opens a PDF] (FEMA et al.), Saving the Whole Family® [Link opens a PDF] (American Veterinary Medical Association) and Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross).

Power Outages – Tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including food & water safety, and dealing with extreme heat and cold. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

Protect Your Home in a FLASH – DIY Videos showing steps you can take to strengthen your home and safeguard your family from natural and manmade disasters; videos are hosted on YouTube. See Flash FAQ for additional resources.

Safe & Well List If you have been affected by a disaster, this site provides a way for you to register yourself as ‘safe and well.’ If you are concerned about loved ones in a disaster area, you can search the list of those who have registered themselves as ‘safe and well.’ For help contacting family members during or after an international crisis (war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency), see Find Family Internationally After Crisis (American Red Cross), Restoring Family Links (International Committee of the Red Cross), and Google Person Finder [NEW!].

Save Your Treasures [UPDATED LINK!] – Basic guidelines for saving family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes that have been damaged by water (Heritage Preservation and FEMA).

Winter Weather – Advice on protecting your health and safety in winter, including what to do if you get stranded on the road (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). See also Winter Weather Safety (National Weather Service). Winter Driving offers vehicle maintenance & driving tips and outlines laws that help keep you safe on the road in winter (State of New Jersey). See also Car Talk: Winter Driving (NPR; site includes advertisements) and AAA Winter Driving Tips. To test your knowledge about driving safely in a variety of extreme weather conditions, see the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather Driving Quiz!

Workplace Disasters – Resources to help you prepare your business or organization for disasters, or recover from one.

If you are struck by a natural disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov is the official U.S. government website that provides information and services to access and apply for disaster assistance. For additional information, see Benefit.gov’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Benefits.

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Links updated 5/30/17.

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Webfinder : Green Lawn & Garden

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Bug Review offers descriptions of some common home & garden insect pests, with photographs, habits, potential damage, and non-chemical control recommendations (University of Illinois). Pest Management in Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, and Turf includes guidelines for monitoring pests, and non-pesticide alternatives for managing pests – including birds, mammals, reptiles, deer, gophers, raccoons, etc. (University of California; some information is specific to California).

Composting for Kids [Link opens a PDF] has good basic instruction in the whys and hows of composting, for kids or adult beginners (Texas Agricultural Extension Service). See also Composting for the Homeowner (University of Illinois Extension) and Grasscycling and Composting Yard Waste (California Integrated Waste Management Board). The Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management sells compost bins to Middlesex County residents at a reduced price.

Garden for Wildlife shows how you can landscape your yard to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife (National Wildlife Federation). The Coevolution Institute offers free eco-regional Pollinator Planting Guides to help you make your yard more friendly to birds, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles and other pollinators (non-profit organization). The Butterfly Site has helpful tips and links specifically for attracting butterflies to your garden (site includes advertisements).

Gardening How-Tos is a large collection of helpful articles on gardening techniques and garden design, including Sustainable Gardening, Native Flora, Growing Food, Pollinators & Birds, and Composting (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens).

Greenscaping [Link opens a PDF] explains how you can save time & money and protect the environment by changing your landscape to a GreenScape (2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Less Lawn also provides information and inspiration to help you create a more beautiful, low-maintenance, organic, and wildlife-friendly landscape (by author Evelyn J. Hadden). Landscape For Life “shows you how to work with nature in your garden, no matter where you live, whether you garden on a city or suburban lot, a 20–acre farm, or the common area of your condominium” (United States Botanic Garden Conservatory). See also Lawn Pesticide Fact Sheets & Safer Lawn Care (Beyond Pesticides coalition), Rain Gardens (Rutgers), and NJ Fertilizer Law: Answers for Homeowners (Rutgers)

Invasive Plants offers photos, videos, and information to help you identify invasive species in your lawn or garden, with links to additional resources. Also offers similar information on invasive animal and insect pests (USDA).

Tree Planting [Link opens a PDF] – Explains the basics of choosing, planting, and maintaining trees on your property (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). The SelecTree database will search for specific tree species to match the type of site and desired tree characteristics you specify (Cal Poly State University). And don’t forget to Call Before You Dig!

Water Conservation for Lawn & Landscape [NEW!] – Extensive information on water-conserving landscape design, suitable plant materials, mulch, irrigation, and related topics. (eXtension.org, a partnership of 74 universities in the U.S.)

Links updated April 2017.

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder: Needlework

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Stitch Guide (Annie’s Crafts) – Online lessons in knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, beading, and more, plus A-Z stitch guides.

Craft Yarn Council Learning Center – Lessons in the basics of crochet and knitting.

Knitty.com – Free knitting patterns and instructions for sweaters, hats, scarves, accessories, and more. The TECHknitter blog offers lots of helpful knitting tips & tricks.

Lionbrand.com [UPDATED LINK!] – Online classes, free patterns, video library, FAQ’s for crochet & knitting, and more!

Allcrafts.net – Links to free patterns for sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, holiday crafts and more.

AllPeopleQuilt.com – Inspiration, education, and motivation to passionate quilting enthusiasts of all skill levels. Includes free quilt patterns and how-to videos.

Fons and Porter – Quilting magazine website, free patterns, education, blog and more. [NOTE: Registration required for full access.]

Quilters Cache – Great site for anyone who is interested in quilting and patterns; includes patterns, lessons, photo gallery. Scroll down to the drop-down menu to navigate.

Sewing.org (The Home Sewing Association) – Free sewing projects, patterns, learn-to-sew articles, SEW-lutions Guidelines, sewing & craft tips, bridal sewing, crafts for kids and more. The 4-H Sewing Library offers sewing projects (and related links) suitable for young people (grades 3 – 12) or other beginners.

Ravelry.com – Patterns, yarn, forums for help, shops, library, tips. [NOTE: Registration required for access.]

Updated 2017.

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Webfinder: Auto Repair

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PLEASE NOTE: Chilton Automotive Service Library has been discontinued due to insufficient use.

Aging Drivers – Links to helpful advice for older drivers and their families or caregivers.

AAA Car Care Tips – A collection of free printable car care brochures, with links to related resources. (American Automobile Association)

Auto Repair & Maintenance For Dummies – A library of free, well-illustrated how-to articles & videos, from the publishers of the popular For Dummies how-to book series. (Site includes advertisements)

Battery Maintenance – Explains how to perform routine maintenance on your car battery, with clear illustrations. See also Troubleshooting a Car That Won’t Start (from the publishers of the For Dummies how-to books; site includes advertisements). Got a dead battery? Car Talk provides a printable illustrated guide to Jump-Starting Your Car (site includes advertisements).

Car Care  – Advice on keeping your vehicle in top condition, along with DIY tips, and more. (Car Care Council / Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association)

Car safety ratings [NEW!]  – Results of crash tests on new cars, plus info on   Shopping for a safer car [NEW!] and related topics (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). See also SaferCar.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Car Talk  – Website for America’s funniest auto mechanics from the popular public radio talk show – ‘the Marx Brothers meet Mr. Goodwrench.’ Model previews, discussions, columns, surveys, and lots of humor. You can subscribe to the ‘Best of Car Talk’ podcast or listen to the show online, too (free). (NPR; site includes advertisements)

Gas Mileage Tips  – Advice on how to your car in shape to save gas – and money (U.S. EPA / Department of Energy). See also Consumer Reports Fuel Economy Guide [UPDATED LINK!] (some articles only available to subscribers), Saving Money on Gas [UPDATED LINK!] (FTC), and Drive Green, Save Green [NEW!] (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Lemon Law (N.J.) – Stuck with a lemon? Find out what your rights are in NJ, and what remedies are available to you (N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs). BBB Auto Line Dispute Resolution Program offers a free online vehicle complaint form covering more than 2 dozen auto manufacturers, and includes links to lemon laws in all states (Better Business Bureau).

NIASE – The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website provides Car Care Tips, Glove Box Tips, and a directory of certified repair shops.

Tires [UPDATED LINK!] – Advice on maintaining your tires for maximum safety, plus information on tire ratings and labeling (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). See also How To Handle Tire Blow Outs (National Safety Commission).

Winter Driving Tips (Car Talk) – ‘Tips to get ready for the snow and sleet-covered roads and dipstick-freezing temperatures.’ (NPR; site includes advertisements). See also AAA Winter Car Care Checklist. See also Winter Driving (State of New Jersey).

Links updated March 2017.

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Webfinder : Home Energy Conservation – Heating

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Burn Wise – Information to help you choose EPA-certified wood-burning appliances (wood stove, pellet stove, hydronic heaters, fireplaces, and related products), and use them efficiently and safely (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Consumer Guide to Home Heating – Advice on deciding whether to replace your existing system, finding a good contractor, selecting a new system, improving your system’s performance, and more. (ACEEE, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

Consumer Information: Saving Energy at Home [NEW!] – Practical tips from the FTC on saving energy and money in your home. (Federal Trade Commission)

Energy.gov: Home Heating – Tips on saving money & energy on home heating. See also Home Heating Systems and Heat & Cool Efficiently. (U.S. Department of Energy)

Energy Terminology – Wondering what the difference is between ‘U-Value’ and ‘R-Value’, or find out about different types of insulation? This site defines dozens of terms and abbreviations related to heating & cooling, insulation, window efficiency, water heating, and lighting technology (U.S. Department of Energy).

Heat Pumps – Heat pumps can be a cost-effective alternative for heating and cooling your home. This site explains how to choose a heat pump to meet your needs. [NOTE: Some details on financing and installation are specific to Tennesee.] (Tennessee Valley Authority). The U.S. Department of Energy offers additional information on Air Source Heat Pumps and Geothermal Heat Pumps.

NJ Rebates & Incentives, Energy Assistance and Related Programs [UPDATED LINK!] (NJCEP) and NJ Homeowner Incentives for Clean Energy (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) – Information about available financing, rebates, and other incentives for energy-efficient home improvements.

Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR – Instructions on installing weatherstripping on doors & caulking around windows, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, and other home energy conservation projects (U.S. DOE/EPA). See also Residential Insulation (Industry association : North American Insulation Manufacturers Association).

Additional resources from USA.gov on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives, and more.

Links updated November 2016.

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Freegal Features: Browsing Genres

By now, you probably know you can download free music through our Freegal music service. But you may not know there are non-music genres available through Freegal too, such as comedy, Spoken Word, audiobooks, ambient, and more.

Or, if you do know these other genres are available, you may not know the best way to browse them. For example, if you like comedy and you are searching for a specific comedian, you can just do a search on that artist’s name. But if you want to see all the artists available in the COMEDY genre and you try to browse them by clicking on the “GENRES” button in the menu bar, you will get a long alphabetical list of every artist in that genre – which can be a tedious way to browse:
freegalcomedy1 But if you go to the Advanced Search page (click on “Advanced Search” just above the search box near the top of the page) and enter COMEDY in the genre box:  freegalcomedy2The results you get from the Advanced Search will look like this: freegalcomedy3Now, if you click the “See More Artists” icon above and to the right of the list of ARTISTS (marked by the red arrow in the screenshot above), you will get a page like this:  freegalcomedy4

The more familiar names will tend to be nearer the top of the list, which will probably be an easier way to browse the genre for most people.

Be aware, however, that some titles are not in the GENRE where you would expect to find them. For instance, the classic Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner comedy series, “The 2000 Year Old Man”, is NOT listed in COMEDY – it’s in SPOKEN WORD.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Advanced Search engine is a bit quirky and a bit fussy. Sometimes it is case sensitive, and sometimes it may require quote marks around two-word genre names, such as “Spoken Word”.

For example, if you enter the term *spoken word* without capitalizing BOTH words, AND putting the term in quotes, you may get no results. Likewise, if you search a genre in ALL CAPS, you will also get no results.

Further, audiobooks are listed on the GENRES page as Audio Books, but if you search “Audio Books” (two words, capitalized, in quotes) you will get quite a different list from the one you will get if you search *audiobooks* (no caps, no quotes). And if you search “audio books” (two words, uncapitalized, in quotes) you will get no results at all!

But if a genre is listed on the GENRES page and does not say “No Results Found” in the artist column, you can safely assume there are titles in the genre. You may just have to experiment with capitalization and quotes to get the best results.

Happy listening!

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