Is your house ready for Trick or Treat?

Many people worry about so many things when it comes to trick or treat, are you kids costumes safe, is the candy safe, do they have a clear safe path to neighbors houses?  Do we take time to worry about our house, and how we can keep trick or treaters safe?  Taking some time to look at safety issues at your house can help ensure a happy Halloween for everyone.  Before any trick or treaters arrive remember to sweep your driveway and walkways.  The fall season brings falling leaves and branches, branches can be trip hazards for young trick or treaters while down leaves can cause a slip and fall.  Double check your placement of decorations.  Making sure the pumpkins and other decorations are off to the side and not in a trick or treaters path can be good for everyone.   Also, don’t forget to double check railings to make sure they are secure.  You can also place friction tape on steps for a better grip. Take a lap around your house and look to see if any maintenance issues could cause an injury.  It can be a good idea while you are walking around the house to take pictures of your house, this can be helpful if you are put in a bad situation of someone saying they were injured on your property.  If you typically use candles to light your pumpkins consider LED lit lights, candles can lead to an accidental yard or even house fires.  LED lit candles can be a much safer bet.  Pull your car in your garage, this can protect you from any possible damages due to the mischief of the night and also protect you from not have someone run into it and suing you.  A lit porch light typically means that you are giving away candy for trick or treat, but do not forget to turn on all outside lights to make the path easier to see and safer.  Consider using a higher watt bulb if your fixtures can handle it.  Check the fixtures to see what is their max rating for watts.  Prior to trick or treating put your pets in a closed room at the back of the house, this will help protect them and your trick or treaters.  Enjoy the holiday and make sure that your guests do to. 

Will you be carving pumpkins this weekend?

Do your weekend plans include carving a pumpkin?  According to American Academy of Orthopedic  Surgeons, “the most common Halloween injuries are severe hand injuries from pumpkin carving and leg and extremity injuries due to falls from long costumes and/or costumes that impair vision.”  Of those severe hand injuries, 41% were caused by pumpkins. (Consumer Product Safety Commission 2017 stats)  Dr Sanj Kakar of the Mayo Clinic, says that “almost one-third of those Halloween hand injuries are among kids 10 to 14, with most happening when people carve pumpkins”.  Before you start to carve your pumpkin prep the area, make sure your cutting area is in a clean, dry and well-lit area.  Always have adult supervision.  Dr Kakar suggests not using a kitchen knife but using specific carving knifes for pumpkins.  Pumpkin carving knifes are designed to not stick to the pumpkin skin which can be safer. If you are planning on lighting your pumpkin, one thing that may be safer is cutting the bottom of the pumpkin to remove the insides.  Cutting the bottom makes lighting placement easier and you will not be tempted to stick your hand inside when cutting the surface. Make sure that you cut away from yourself and use short controlled strokes and use a hand directly opposite of where the cutting is occurring to brace the pumpkin. (safety first consulting)  You can also use non cutting techniques to decorate your pumpkin.  Painting or markers can be a safe way to decorate your pumpkins.  If you do suffer a cut apply pressure to the wound with a clean damp cloth.  UPI health suggests that if the bleeding doesn’t stop in 10 to 15 minutes to seek medical attention.   In 2017 there were 3200 pumpkin carving accidents (CPSC), don’t be a 2019 statistic and stay safe while carving pumpkins.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2018/10/28/harrowing-halloween-injuries-and-how-to-avoid-them-this-spooky-season/#34016b744683

 

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2018/10/22/More-than-3000-people-hurt-carving-pumpkins-in-2017/1971540209491/

Halloween is near

This month Halloween is the topic.  Halloween can be an exciting time for children and adults alike.  Trick or treating and Halloween parties can be fun for everyone.  Halloween can also be a dangerous time of the year.  According to theverge.com, about 43% more pedestrians die on Halloween as opposed to any other random autumn night.  In data compiled from 1975 to 2016, a total of 608 pedestrians died on Halloween, 55 of those deaths were children between 4 and 8.  During the month of October it starts getting darker out earlier that helps contribute to these numbers.  The night of Halloween can also see excited kids running into the street from behind cars and adults that may have had one too many drinks.  Reflectors or flashing lights on kids’ costumes can help drivers see children before it is too late.  Encouraging children to look both ways before crossing the street and visiting all houses on one side of the street first before crossing can help.  By visiting all houses on one side you can limit the amount of times a child has to cross the street.   According to Sperling’s Best Places, more accidents occurred in the middle of the block away from crosswalks and intersections.  Adults driving or supervising children are encourage to not use their cell phones so that they can maintain maximal focus, however have your cell phone with you in case of an emergency.   Adults supervising are encouraged to carry a flashlight with fresh batteries according to aap.org.  Also according to aap.org remind kids to never enter a car or someone’s home and to stay together in a group.  If you are driving on the night of your areas trick or treat, slow down and try to stay on main roads.  If you have been enjoying an adult beverage while out Uber can be a great idea for the trip home.  Enjoy Halloween and keep it safe. 

Fall is officially here.

Fall is officially here.  Fall brings changing of leaves, Halloween, and pumpkin spice everything.  Does fall bring to mind home maintenance?  Falling leaves can cause issues for homeowners.  Dead leaves left un-raked can inhibit spring growth.  Raking up those leaves can mean a fresh new spring lawn.  You can also use your mower to mulch up the leaves.  Don’t forget to fall/winterize your mower when you are done cutting grass for the season.  If you still have gas in your mower, use a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas form deteriorating and damaging your engine.  You can also remove the gas, but make sure you dispose of the gas correctly.  According to houselogic.com, you can also remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Pulling the starter cord will move the oil around and distribute it.  This will help keep the engine lubed.  Finally clean off any gas and gunk from the mower.   Falling leaves can also clog your gutters and downspouts.  If you don’t feel comfortable with heights, hire someone to come clean the gutters.  If you do it yourself a plastic spatula can be a great tool to clean gutters without scratching the surface.  Clean gutters and downspouts can prevent leaks.  Also visually inspect the gutters to make sure that they are not sagging.  Homelogic.com also suggests extending your downspouts at least five feet away from the house to prevent foundation problems.   You can also trim tree limbs away from the house to help with roof and gutter maintenance.  Falling leaves are a great part of fall, doing fall maintenance can keep it that way. 

September is Mold Awareness Month

September is Mold Awareness Month.  Moldpedia.com states that mold needs a couple of conditions to grow, mold spores, a food source (eg wood, drywall, and cotton), darkness, warmth, oxygen, moisture and time. According to moldpedia.com, the most common causes of mold growing on walls are high humidity, condensation, and water leaks.  Any moisture can be a key cause of mold growth.  Leaking pipes, humidity, condensation, poor ventilation and even wet clothes can cause mold.    Keep in mind that mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours under the right conditions. Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance and appears as irregularly shaped spots that can be blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black or white.  Often times the surfaces can begin to rot. (restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/difference-between-mold-and-mildew/) What can you do if you get mold?  Some mold can be DIY; however mold can be toxic and dangerous.  It might be a good idea to involve a mold remediation specialist.  If you do try and do it yourself make sure you have good ventilation, you are wearing googles, a mask and gloves.  Mold can cause damage to you and your family as well as your home.  If you think the mold is bad remember to contact a professional. 

How does your lawn look?

Fall is on the way.  Fall can be the time of year when people work on their lawns and landscaping for next spring.  Fall can be the time of year when you fill in bare and burned spots, apply fertilizer, and possibly aerate.  According to www.lawndoctor.com , aeration is the process of removing soil plugs from a yard in order to free up passageways for precious nutrients to reach grassroots, these nutrients can struggle to reach the roots due to soil compaction.  When using an aerator, www.greenindustrypros.com suggest inspecting your area first and removing any rocks, wires, or other objects that could present a hazard.  Set the aerator at a comfortable walk speed and avoid hard surfaces.  Always use safe lifting techniques when loading and unloading the aerator and never stick your hands or feet near the moving or rotating parts.  Also never leave the machine unattended on a slope.  It is also a good idea to use gloves and safety glasses when working on your yard. 

 

After aerating your lawn you may want to add seed or fertilizer.  Remember to keep safety in mind not only for you and your family but your four legged family too.  The website www.pennington.com has many tips on how to safely fertilize your lawn.  First and foremost they suggest reading all label instructions.  When reading labels remember that organic or natural still might not be safe for kids and pets.  Your fertilizer could contain herbicides that kill and prevent weeds.  When applying fertilizer wear protection clothing and eyewear, remember you could be working with harmful chemicals.  Also take care to rake or wipe up any over spread so that you can minimize your environmental impact.  Typically each product has a period of time where it is safe to use the lawn again.  Pay attention to these time frames and keep kids and pets off the lawn during non-safe times.

 

Good luck on your fall lawn program and stay safe.

Have fun but stay safe

Labor Day weekend is typically the end of the summer season. This can mean parties and fun with friends and family. Driving locally or away for the weekend can be a dangerous situation. According the the National Safety Council, there are about 400 fatal auto accidents over Labor Day weekend each year. The NSC also estimates that there are an additional 49,000 others who experience non-fatal car accident injuries. Remember that according the the NSC seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front seat passengers, this means 157 lives could be saved by seat belts this Labor Day. If you are driving or riding with someone remember your seat belt and remember to avoid drunk driving. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

Do you have a child heading off to school?

Do you have child on their way to college for the first time or heading back to college?  Having your child away at school can be a scary notion for a parent as they have to give up some control over their loved ones.  Here are some items that could help keep your child a little safer away at school. 

1.        Pepper Spray:  Pepper spray is an aerosol spray containing oils typically from cayenne peppers and is issued for irritating the eyes and respiratory system.  There are a couple of different types of pepper spray, typically it’s the distance traveled that changes with each type.  Types of pepper spray can be foggers, streams, gel, and foams.  The stream has the longest distance at 15-20 typically. 

2.       Personal Emergency Protection Alarm:  A PEPA is a device that is portable and has a button that you hit, once the button is hit a loud alarm is given off to alert people nearby you are in destress.  These devices are typically battery operated and cost effective, typically running in a 16 to 30 dollar range.

3.       Mini Flashlight:  A mini flashlight has many uses.  This device can be used if you are coming home from the library late, lost on or off campus, or if your car breaks down. 

4.       High Visibility LED Safety light: This light you can wear while walking or jogging on campus.  The bright light will let traffic know you are there.

5.       First Aid Kit:  Self explanatory

6.       Keychain:  Make sure you know where all your keys are, not is worse than panicking over a set of missing keys

 

This list will help you get started getting ready to go back to school safer.

Back to School

August is here and very soon school will be back in session.  School can bring with it some driving challenges for everyone.  Here are some tips to stay safe in and near school zones.  Remember it is illegal to pass a school bus when the lights are flashing and the stop sign is extended.  The bus stop sign goes for both sides of the road, even if it is a four lane street.  Do not switch lanes or make U-turns while in a school zone.  While in a school zone mind the reduced speed limit, fines can be much greater for a school zone violation.  Pay attention to crosswalks.  You don’t want to block a crosswalk.  This can lead to kids possibly running behind your car and into someone not expecting them to be there.  Also remember to yield to flashing crosswalk signs.  Flashing crosswalk signs called Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons can be popular in heavily walked areas and school zones.  When the lights are flashing there is typically someone in the crosswalk trying to cross.  Another school zone safety measure is a crossing guard.  Pay attention to what the crossing guard is telling you.  Usually the crossing guard is the last person in the street.  Finally just like any type of driving keep distractions to a minimum.  The beginning of the school year can be an exciting time for kids, and kids could be anywhere.  Have a safe start to the  school year.

Back to school

Back to school season is here. For some kids it is going back to college, for others it is the first time out on their own. What does that have to do with insurance? Well possibly a couple of things. Is your child taking a car to school or are you dropping them off? If you are dropping your kid off at school without a car, you could qualify for a discount. Many companies will discount a child away at school without a car, some depend on how far away from home they are. Typically you get a reduce usage rate for your child. Is your child living in a dorm or renting an apartment? If you child is renting an apartment then you might need renters insurance. Some apartment complexes make their tenants furnish a renters policy to move in. Beyond being a requirement of some apartments, renters insurance could help you protect your child’s stuff and your personal wealth. Liability coverage’s on a renters policy could help protect you and your child in the event of a lawsuit. Back to school can be scary and exciting. Let us help you make next school year a good one.

The Heat Wave is here

Temperatures and feels like temperatures are up this weekend. Don’t forget to celebrate National Ice Cream day on July 21st. Remember to wear light clothes and drink plenty of fluids. Limit alcoholic drinks which can dehydrate you. Avoiding strenuous activities outside is also a good idea. Staying indoors is a good idea, if your house doesn’t have air condition take the time to visit the mall or movie theater where there is air conditioning. If you stay at home, lower blinds. Avoid getting sunburned as well, as burned skin can inhibit your bodies ability to cool down. Don’t forget about your pets either, make sure they have plenty of water and never leave them in closed up vehicles. If you do get a heat related illness get inside, drink water and possibly seek medical attention

Are you summer road tripping?

Summer vacation season is in full swing.  Are you taking a long drive to a destination the second half of summer?  According to Liberty Mutual Insurance’s New Beginnings Report, nearly half of Americans don’t check that proper emergency items are in their car.  We have a previous blog entry for you with ideas on what to keep in your emergency kit.  After you have your emergency kit make sure you are ready to drive with little or no distractions.  Make sure your GPS is loaded and your phone is down and put on driving mode.  As for the car, if your car has been inspected recently you should be good to go.  If your inspection was a few months ago, make sure you check your tires.  Check tire wear and pressure. The penny test is a good way to determine if you need new tires.  Also make sure you are set at your tires recommended pressure. Don’t forget to check your cars fluids as well.  Checking your oil, coolant, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid can help save you an emergency later.  If you have jumper cables make sure they are packed along with your phone car charger and a flashlight.  It is also a good idea to charge your cell phone prior to leaving.  Buckle up and have a good trip.  Don’t forget to avoid distracted driving and share the road.  Have a good trip and a great summer.

Keep it safe this Fourth of July

The fourth of July is a popular holiday for many reasons.  The Fourth of July can also be a nightmare for your insurance company.  This holiday brings with it the possibility of drunk driving from over enthusiastic celebrators to boating accidents cause by drinking as well as an increased number of boaters.  One holiday accident that is associated with the fourth is fireworks accidents.  According to the website quotewizard.com the following accidents can happen, 18,500 fires per year started by fireworks, 1,300 structure fires and 300 vehicle fires,  $43 million in property damage, and 12,900 people in 2017 treated for injuries related to fireworks, with 36% of those being children.  When it comes to children one of the major culprits is metal sparklers.  According to riskandinsurance.com the metal sparklers could be as hot as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can lead to burns or possibly a fire.  When it comes to fireworks it is best to leave those to the professionals.  If you are having your own fireworks display remember to keep it safe.  Riskandinsurance.com states you should have a bucket of water available, a hose available, and have a designated firework area which is away from combustible materials, homes, dry leaves and trees.  If you are serving food also make sure to observe food and grill safety rules.  Mayonnaise based side dishes should not be left out for more than two hours and preferably kept on ice.  All meats should be cooked to the proper temperature to avoid illnesses like Salmonella and E. Coli.  While grilling never leave your grill unattended.  Also make sure that you have cleaned your grill properly.  Dirty grills can lead to fires.  Enjoy the Fourth of July but keep an eye on your safety and the safety of your guest.  Follow us on social media, at Twitter and Facebook for other Fourth of July tips.