Summer is one of the best seasons of the year. There's a little something special in it for everyone at any age. Here's just a quick reminder of why we love summer so much:
- Ice cream trucks and local ice cream shops
- Beach trips on weekdays and the smell of the ocean
- Sand castles large and small with moats and decorated with shells and stones
- Swimming in the ocean or in the outdoors pool because that first splash isn't too cold
- Warm weather all day every day
- Long runs in the morning before the heat, or at night when it's cooling off
- No school, no homework, no stress for those hard-working students who deserve a break every now and again
- 4th of July celebrations and feeling patriotic
- Barbeques with the works- hot dogs, cheeseburgers, steak, chicken, kabobs
- Tank tops, shorts, flip flops, sundresses, and that wonderful feeling were you feel comfortable in your clothes
- Fireworks at night for holidays, and sometimes fireworks for no reason
- Outdoor concerts and people making music for the love of it, not for the money
- Water balloon fights with your best friends
- Smell of sunscreen and not getting sunburns
- Movie marathons for those bad weather days
- Thunder storms where you can hear the thunder and falling asleep to the sound of rain
- Sleeping in because you want to and you're tired
- Staying up late because you want to and you're wide awake
- Air conditioning to control those muggy days
- Reading outside in a hammock, at the beach, wherever summer takes you
- Spending more time with family and friends
- Roller blading and biking in your neighborhood or in a park
- Fishing on a pond or a lake with your old man
- Summer carnivals, balloon animals, buying tickets, winning prizes
- Amusement parks and being brave enough to go on that scary roller coaster
- Gathering around fire pits with your friends and throwing in tiny leaves to watch them burn up
- Making s'mores and setting marshmallows aflame
- Lazing around and doing nothing
- Cold lemonade with ice
- Driving with the windows down blasting your favorite song
- Parades through town celebrating everything
- Relaxation and enjoying life
These are only a few of the reasons that summer is great. Remember, with summer comes more freedom for teen drivers, so make sure they're safe!
Vacationing is an exciting time and summer vacations are right around the corner. Part of vacation planning should be used to secure your home while you are away. Some burglaries are random while other are planned out (someone has been watching you and your home to learn your daily routine). Here are some tips that I have personally practiced. Some tips more obvious than others.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are securely locked.
- Not everyone has burglar alarms. But if you do, notify your alarm company that you will be on vacation. Notifying your local police department is also advisable.
- Outdoor lights – while your porch lights & exterior lighting do provide great security, they can also be a dead giveaway that you are on vacation if they’re left on 24/7. The use of timers or automatic light sensors gives a more realistic look that you are home. On at dusk, off at dawn.
- Interior lights – Use light timers in a few rooms. Stagger their on/off times. A radio or television on a timer is also a great deterrent.
- Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or have someone take them in for you.
- Mow your lawn or have it mowed before you go away. In the winter months, arrange to have your driveway shoveled.
- Have a trusted person check the inside of your home daily. Reciprocate when it’s their vacation!
- Empty driveways are a tell tale sign that you are away. Your car that’s parked in the same stationery position for a week is also a dead giveaway. When on vacation, regardless if I leave my car at home or not, I ask a neighbor to park their car in my driveway. I reciprocate when they’re on vacation.
- Large objects that can be used as a platform to gain entrance through your windows should not be left out in the open. I once returned from vacation to find that my wheelbarrow had been propped up against my rear window in an attempt for someone to gain access to my home.
- Voice mail – your message should never imply that you are not at home or away. It’s better to say that you can’t come to the phone right now. This tip should be practiced 365 days per year!
- Facebook, Twitter & other social media - Never, ever post your vacation plans or post your vacation while you are on vacation! As excited as you are to share your vacation, wait to post until you arrive home.
Vacations are few and far between. Relax more during them, knowing that you have taken security measures to return to a safeguarded home.
If you have any other questions or want advice on home safety and secuity, contact us by clicking the button below.
No major holiday would be complete without a safety blog from us here at Gordon Insurance. Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is tomorrow and that means traffic, grilling, fireworks, and drinking.
A Brief History
Independence Day is the celebration of when the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence back on July 4th (or around there) in 1776. A year later, 13 gunshots were fired and celebrations were held. 1870 marks when Congress declared July 4th and unpaid federal holiday, however, it was made a paid holiday in 1938. Today, national songs are sung, fireworks are shown, military bases have a one gun salute, parades, barbecues, fairs, picnics, concerts, reunions are held. And final fun fact is that the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in RI is the oldest celebration in the US (Since 1785!)
During one of the busiest driving times of the year, exercise caution on the roads. Many people could get aggressive due to the large volume of cars on the road, you should just relax and drive defensively; do not get into any confrontations. Remember, everyone is trying to get somewhere, and all will arrive…eventually.
We already have an extensive blog about grilling safety, but here are a few main points from it.
- Wear protective gear
- Keep the gas away from main structures/flammable objects
- Turn of the gas when not in use
- Charcoal: use the right lighter fluid
- Check for leaks
- Grills remain hot long after the gas is off
The most iconic Independence Day activity has to be setting off fireworks. Many will travel with blankets, sweatshirts, and snacks in tow to local shows or the Boston Pops event; however, some will go the “do it yourself” way. Despite the fact fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, people still bring them into the State. If you do, follow these tips (from the National Council on Fireworks Safety)
- Outdoors only
- Obey local laws
- Keep water nearby
- Don’t relight duds, wait 20 minutes then put in water
- Stay away from the shooter (who should wear safety glasses)
- Alcohol and fireworks: nope. Have a designated shooter
- Sparklers are a 12 and up activity
- NO HOMEMADE FIREWORKS
Speaking of drinking, spend the 4th however you want to celebrate, but drink responsibly and have a designated driver. The traffic situation is bad enough this time of year. For more information about drinking and driving at holiday time, see my Christmas time Drinking and Driving Prevention blog.
What are your plans for the 4th? Leave a comment below.
And after the celebrations are over, check us out at www.agordon.com for insurance information and more.
There are different types of wiring present and used in residential homes and buildings today.
Knob & Tube Wiring
This type of wiring was used in buildings in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. It consists of single-insulated copper wires run within walls or ceilings, passing through joists and stud drill-holes through protective procelain insulating tubes, and supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators. Due to the age of this wiring, if there are an live wires in your home or building, the should be replaced immediately. This type of wiring is also known to cause problems with squirrels and other rodents damaging the wires.
BX wiring are bundles of insulated wires sheathed in a flexible and protective metallic sheath.
BX or Type AC is one of the earliest types of electrical cable made for both residential and commercial uses in the early part of the 20th century. "BX" is the older term for this type of cable. It’s assumed that the name originated from the Bronx, NY since the first BX cable was made there.
BX cable is still used today in both residential and building applications. It is especially used when the wiring is exposed and not protected by interior walls i.e. workshops, commercial buildings, etc.
If the protective insulation is nicked or cut, the wiring should be replaced. Also, if the wires within show degrading of their rubber insulation, these wires should also be replaced.
ROMEX WIRINGThe word Romex® refers to any type of non-metallic sheathed electrical cable. It is electrical wiring sheathed in a plastic coating.
The name comes from the Rome Cable Corp. of Rome, NY, which originally produced the wire. Now the Romex® brand is owned by Southwire and is an actual trademarked brand just like Jell-O or Kleenex. This type of wiring is the most commonly used in homes and buildings today.
As always, you should have any electrical repairs, alterations or inspections performed by a qualified, licensed electrician.
The weather is getting nicer which means there are more people out on the road driving, walking, running, riding…We have many equestrians in our area and most drivers seem to be courteous when approaching them on the road. Unfortunately, there are fewer trails around than there were 20 years ago which translates to equestrians having to use the roads more to reach a trail. Please use caution when passing a horse since they can spook easily. Here is a section from the Massachusetts Drivers Manual for guidance.
http://www.mass.gov/rmv/dmanual/chapter4.pdf (page 101)
Animals and Horse-Drawn Vehicles
Always give the right-of-way to an animal that someone is leading, riding, or driving. Animals are easily scared by motor vehicles. When you get near an animal or horse-drawn vehicle, be careful and do the following.
• Slow down.
• Stop if the animal or vehicle is coming toward you or is crossing your path. Allow the animal to pass.
• If the animal or vehicle is traveling in the same direction as you, allow plenty of room
for passing safely. Drive at a reasonable speed.
• Do not honk your horn or make a loud noise.
• If the animal you are passing looks scared, you must pull your vehicle to the side and stop.
• Proceed only when it is safe.
• You must stop if a rider or driver signals you to do so.
The law applies to horses, cows, and any other draft animals.
In rural areas, take extra care when passing hay rides. These are usually animal drawn and full of passengers.
With the start of boating season upon us, it is important to remember all of the recreational boating safety rules. Several of them are mentioned here. Some are more than obvious BUT ALWAYS worth mentioning. This applies to all types of vessels you navigate, from dingy to yachts and everything in between.
- Always wear a life vest - the water may be calm but always expect the unexpected.
- Know the area you are navigating – rocks, shallow areas, changing currents, tide changes, etc can be challenging.
- Check your emergency equipment BEFORE you put your boat in gear or hoist the sail – check your supply of life vests, emergency lighting & flares, radio equipment, cell phone, life ring, gas supply & any navigational instruments and equipment.
- Obey the rules of the water – keep to the right, keep your distance from other boaters & swimmers, calm wake when close to other boats. Sailboats have the right of way.
- Drinking & driving don’t mix, neither does drinking & boating.
- Be proficient with boat maneuvers such as docking. Interesting fact: most boat-to-boat collisions happen at marina fuel docks.*
- Advise your passengers on emergency procedures
- Take boating courses appropriate for your size & type vessel
Have fun, be safe! For boating and other insurance needs, visit us at www.agordon.com.
*Safety Rules for Boating
By Will Carpenter, eHow Contributor
Liability issues and claims are proving to be more costly than actual physical damage for homeowner policies.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 4.7 million dog bites this past year and 50% occurred on the residence premises. These accounted for approximately 1/3 of all homeowner claims. Carriers often decline writing coverage if there are particular breeds within the household, such as Pitbulls, German Shepherds, Akitas, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Siberian Huskies, and others that may exhibit aggressive behavior or have previously had a biting history. Some companies may accept such a breed if they are provided evidence of the dog’s participation in an obedience training course.
Another major issue of concern for homeowner carriers are swimming pools since drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury to children between the ages of 1 and 4. Customers are required to comply with local regulations regarding the pool such as fencing and locked gates. It is worthwhile to note that customers can also be held liable for injuries to strangers using their pool without permission.
Trampolines account for over 100,000 emergency room visits per year according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Companies can refuse to provide coverage for homes that have trampolines on the premises or may place exclusion clauses or require safety measures, such as nets surrounding the apparatus.
The National Safety Council has reported that falls account for 26% of injuries and deaths in the home. Approximately 2.8 million children were treated in the emergency room last year for fall injuries. Treehouses have been the cause for many of these injuries due to the height of these structures. Carriers may exclude or decline providing coverage or apply a surcharge for these risks.
Homes with guns on the premises increase the risk of homicide by 40% according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Companies require that these remain properly secured with safety locks and kept out of the reach of children.
Heating fires account for approximately 36% of home fires. Since many insurance customers use wood stoves as a secondary source of heat, companies now require proof that these were properly installed, adhere to town building codes, and have been inspected.
Other causes of potential declination of coverage are the presence of zip-lines and exotic pets at the home.
Insurance customers should make it a point to discuss with their agents if any of the above situations apply to them. It is not worth jeopardizing coverage or having a liability claim denied if the carrier was never made aware of the presence of any of the above. Contact us at www.agordon.com for any questions.
I know very little about snowboarding; however, I enjoy skiing very much. More often than not, snowboarders and skiers share the slopes together. It is vital for both snowboarders and skiers to practice safe techniques while enjoying a vacation on the mountains. There are many safety considerations to consider before and during your time snowboarding.
Before you go:
1. Have the right equipment
A snowboard would be a good start.
2. Warm clothing
It gets cold on the top of a mountain.
Especially with tint (unless night snowboarding) the sun can be just as hazardous as the snow.
Need I say more? A fuzzy hat will not protect you from a head injury.
1. Know what you’re doing
If you don’t know how to snowboard then take a lesson.
2. Keep control
Always feel comfortable that you can stop, slow down, and turn at a moment’s notice.
3. Don’t be afraid to stop
If you make a wrong turn onto a double black diamond after you’re first snowboarding lesson, stop, remove your equipment, and walk down.
Drink water and eat well, don’t mix alcohol/drugs with going down a mountain at high speeds: it won’t end well
The national ski areas association says it best, here’s what they have on their website:
- Always stay in control.
- People ahead of you have the right of way.
- Stop in a safe place for you and others.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
- Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
- Know how to use the lifts safely.
But remember, many snowboarding and ski resorts have their own rules, learn and follow them.
Enjoy the slopes, despite our warm winter. Keep your safety tips in mind and have fun. After your snowboarding weekend, check us out at www.agordon.com. Take a look at my other blogs about winter sport safety for skiing, sledding, and ice skating.
Now it’s no secret, I am not the best ice skater, but I’m close to being an authority on falling; so skating safety is important to me. The national safety council also has a useful tip list.
1. Comfortable skates with regularly sharpened blades:
At the beginning of each season, take your skates to a professional sharpener.
2. Check the ice
Before you take off, make sure there are no major cracks, holes, etc
3. Know the skills
Before you skate with friends, learn how to skate. It’s not much fun falling the entire time
4. Dress for success
Shorts are for the summer, ice skating should be done with all the necessary winter gear.
Be sure the location has been specially prepared and tested for safety. The ice should be strong enough to support your weight
6. Buddy System
Never skate alone. If the Olympic athletes can skate in front of millions of strangers, you can ice skate with one or more friends.
I don’t know any adults or teenagers who wear a helmet ice skating. I don’t myself; however, it can’t hurt to have your young child where one until their proficient and confident.
When you’ve come inside from the frigid air and grabbed your hot chocolate, visit us online at www.agordon.com. If you're interested in winter sport safety, check out my blogs about skiing safety and sledding safety.
When that first layer of white powder hits the ground, children, teens, and adults dash away to the nearest hill. Golf courses, playgrounds, anywhere there’s a steep enough incline that’s long enough for fun but short enough for multiple treks up the top. Sledding may seem like the safest of winter sports, after all the hills are relatively short compared to skiing and you’re close to the ground, but dangers lurk around every hill.
Sledding Safety Steps
1. HELMET, HELMET, HELMET
Did I forget to mention, helmets? These are a crucial part of winter safety in general. No matter how you think they look, HELMETS SAVE LIVES. No one is immune from head injury, especially when all that’s between you and the building at the bottom of the hill might be your fuzzy warm hat.
2.One at a time
Although Jack and Jill may think going down at once will save the extra sled, they will probably go tumbling down together instead, which can lead to injury. Unless the child in question is under five, in which case an adult should hold the child in his/her lap.
3. Choose the right hill
You might think it would be fun to ride your sled right into a parking lot, forest, or iced over lake. But all of these places pose inherent safety risks. Find a hill that’s not super steep and ends nice and flat, so there’s enough time to stop.
4. Choose the right sled
Anything that can be steered and stopped is a good idea. Inner tubes, saucers, and plastic toboggans may go a little faster, but they also present a greater risk.
5. In the event of an emergency
If you can’t stop, roll off and get away.
6. Jumps are a good idea right?
No, not at all. Avoid naturally occurring jumps and plummets and certainly don’t build your own.
Look at the picture below. This family is doing a few things wrong, and one thing partially right. 1. None of them are wearing helmets. 2. Theres more than 1 child in the sled. 3. Theres no steering or breaking system. However, an adult is sitting with a child in her lap and they are facing forward.
Sledding Safety Really Works
I suppose no blog about sledding safety would be complete without an anecdotal example about the dangers. A few years back I went with my Boy Scout troop on our semi-annual “yurt” (Turkish tent) trip. We hiked up a nearby mountain with our sleds strapped to our backs. We, ingeniously, used our sleds to “ease” our way down the mountain.
Along one icy patch, my friend plowed head first into the trunk of a tree, giving new meaning to the phrase “tree hugger”. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet. Although his head was fine, the helmet walked away with quite the crack. Imagine if that was the boy’s head? He certainly wouldn’t be walking away.
For any questions about sledding safety, contact us or visit us at www.agordon.com. Also, check out this sledding safety page and use this sledding checklist. We also have a blog about ski safety. While you’re online, check out some of our insurance resources if your browsing or want to learn more about insurance.