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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Brush Burning in Massachusetts

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Mon, Apr 23, 2012 @ 05:15 PM

    The smell of wood smoke in the air in spring is a time honored tradition in most suburbs and rural areas throughout Massachusetts. Getting rid of yard brush on a sunny day or on a rainy day, with leather gloves, a garden hose and a metal rake is relaxing and productive. If your fire draws a neighbor to chew the fat while poking the fire, even better. This year’s surfeit of brush and broken trees from last spring’s storms, Hurricane Irene, and the Halloween snow storm left plenty of fuel. This winter’s dry and relatively warm climate means fire danger is high.

    This spring, fires that got out of control in Brimfield, Pembroke, and other towns around eastern Massachusetts remind us of the awful destructive power of fire. There are some simple common sense hints on keeping your fire under control.

    Preparing for your brush fire:

    1. Check with your local Fire Department on permits, burning hours, and so forth. The Fire Department will make a judgment call whether there is too much wind and not enough moisture on any given day. 
    2. Have a good hose the reaches well past your fire, turned on, before you light your fire.
    3. Douse the area with water around the fire area before lighting. It’s a good idea to rake loose leaves and other tinder into the brush pile before ignition too.
    4. Only after all your fire precautions have been set up do you want to unleash the beast.
    5. Stay at the fire; when you’re ready to leave, douse and stir until all steam and smoke has stopped.

    On a wet day or in a winter thaw, just getting the fire started can be challenging. I use crumpled newspaper down as low and as deep into the pile as I can get, and stack a little dry kindling over the newspaper. This year (2016), with little snow and not much rain, the ignition required only a match to the leaves near the bottom. The ease of starting our fire demonstrated quickly that this would be hot and fast burning.

      Protect yourself while still burning to keep your yard clean with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA  

    The picture below shows how having done all the right things makes a difference. This particular fire has a long length of hose, and was available when embers landed on the grass near the pile. That spread quickly, but was quickly checked, because the tender was tending, and we were able to extinguish the spreading fire quickly. Two important lessons: if the garden hose had not been on (#3) and ready to go, the grass could have run quickly up to the house. Or, if the tender hadn’t been tending, the fire could have spread to “out of control”into the woods or neighborhood before he could react.

    Avoid fire accidents with these safety tips and personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    Fires spread in unpredictable directions (though pay particular attention to what’s down-wind), and can spread very quickly. Out of control is no way deal with fire.

    When the fire is truly out, and thoroughly doused, stirred, and even a couple days old, go ahead and add next year’s brush.

    Stay safe while brush burning this spring with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    Learn more about personal insurance here


    Geoff Gordon

    Tags: home, lawn care, brush, burning, yard work, bonfire, clean up, insurance, massachusetts, spring

    Winter Preparation for the Exterior of Your Home

    Posted by Val Feeney

    Tue, Sep 20, 2011 @ 06:19 PM

    Protect both the interior and exterior of your home this winter with homeowners from Gordon InsurancePreparing the inside of your home for the impending cold weather is an important annual task in the northeast.  An often overlooked chore, however, is ensuring that the exterior of your home is prepared as well.


    Cleaning your gutters after the leaves have all fallen off the trees can prevent damage to your roof, the fascia, and even your basement and crawlspace. If rain water and snow cannot travel down the spouts, it's going up and over...potentially damaging your garden beds located under those gutters, too. Before the first snow at a minimum, all gutters should be checked for debris and any downspout clogs. Ideally you'll have those gutters cleaned out when they're dry. If you have anywhere near the number of leaves we do, you'll be doing this cleaning more than once.


    Take the time to visually inspect your trees for weak limbs.  Snow and ice that builds up can cause limbs to crack and fall, damaging anything underneath, including your roof, shed or fence. There is great satisfaction in cutting down these limbs and hauling them away. HOWEVER, any trees that are near ANY power lines are best left to experts. Terrible accidents can happen if a homeowner's pruning tools come into contact with an energized wire.  


    All water connections on the outside of the house should be drained and closed tightly. If not done correctly, the water pipe leading into the house may freeze and crack, rendering it useless and expensive to fix next spring. Hoses and sprinklers should also be drained, coiled, and put away.


    Winterizing your lawn is an important step so you do not have to spend additional money next spring putting it back together.  All leaves, acorns, and twigs should be raked; if left in place, this debris will smother the grass and not allow air to get to the soil. Grass can be cut until the first frost. Applying proper fertilizer to the lawn before this event, preferably after a fresh cut, is important as it will keep the grass healthy and strong. Any shrubs that are overgrown should be cut back, allowing them to withstand heavy snow. 


    All of your outdoor patio furniture and decor should be cleaned and put away to prevent damage from the elements that can split wood, peel paint, and rust or rot joints. High winds alone can send lawn chairs into your neighbor's yard or the middle of the street. Pools should be properly drained and covered. 


    Preventative measures will be well worth your weekend time when you endure another winter without an insurance claim. When your home and your yard are intact next spring your weekends can be spent on the golf course!  Should we be faced with a significant weather event, FEMA is a great information resource. Of course the Gordon Atlantic Insurance professionals always welcome your calls. Our toll free number is 1-800-649-3252. Prefer to type versus talk? Use the form to the left of this blog.



    Tags: home, winter, risk, safety, lawn care, homeowners claim, preparation, reducing risk, exterior, roof, lawn, gutter cleaning, winter storm

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