Keep Safe on July 4th

July 4th is a time for celebrations – backyard cookouts, fireworks or a day at the beach. Following some basic tips will help you, your family and friends to keep safe on July 4th.

The American Red Cross recommends these safety tips:

Barbequing

Countless people are injured every year while grilling with charcoal or propane. Also, fires have been started by grills being too close to a house or deck. Here are some tips for safe grilling.

  • Never leave the grill unsupervised
  • Do not grill indoors – including campers, garages or tents
  • Keep everyone including pets away from the grill
  • Never add lighter fluid to hot coals
  • Keep grill away from the house, deck, tree branches and anything flammable
  • Use long-handled grilling tools
  • Follow the grill manufacturer’s instructions

Fireworks

The best and safest way to enjoy fireworks is going to a professional, public display. The Red Cross suggests staying at least 500 feet away from fireworks shows. Many states ban most types of fireworks for personal use. If you or someone is planning to set off fireworks, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Never allow small children to handle fireworks
  • Keep water nearby
  • Wear eye protection when setting off fireworks
  • Light one at a time
  • Never try to relight a “dud”
  • Do not throw fireworks toward people, pets, structures, vehicles or anything flammable
  • Leave any area where amateurs are setting off fireworks

The Beach

Enjoy the sun and fun at the beach, but keep safe. It’s best to swim at a beach with lifeguards, especially inexperienced swimmers. Here are some beach safety suggestions:

  • Be vigilant for rip currents -They often exist near jetties and piers. If you’re caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until free of the current. Float or tread water if you can’t swim
  • Always swim in designated areas
  • Keep an eye to sky and be alert for approaching thunderstorms or changing weather
  • Never swim alone or while drinking alcohol
  • Keep a constant eye on children
  • Watch out for aquatic life including plants
  • Never dive headfirst
  • Use sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Keeps pets safe

Noise from fireworks can startle pets so it’s best to keep them away from any noisy celebrations, recommends the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you’re going to a fireworks show, leave your pets at home. For backyard celebrations, here are some pet safety tips:

  • Keep sparklers, fireworks, glow sticks, skewers away from pets
  • Do not feed them scraps from cookouts
  • Fried and fatty foods, onions, grapes and chocolate are among the no-noes to feed pets as they can be toxic to them
  • Do not leave pets in a hot vehicle or unattended
  • Make sure they have water available

Avoid Overheating

Hot, humid weather can cause heat exhaustion. Here are some suggestions to stay cool.

  • Wear light-colored clothing
  • Stay in shady areas as much as possible
  • Wear a hat
  • Take it slow
  • Drink plenty of water

Keep safe on July 4th!

 

How to Work Less and Get More Done

Doesn’t it seem there aren’t enough hours in the day to get your work done? Do you find yourself working harder and accomplishing less? Well, you’re not alone.

A survey by Salary.com found that the average employee wastes two hours of each workday, not counting scheduled breaks or lunch. There are so many distractions today, namely our cellphones. We’re often checking email, texts and the internet. What may seem like an occasional glance quickly adds up to wasted time during the workday.

There’s a saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” There are ways to get the job done without having to work longer or harder. Here are some tips to help you work smarter:

Turn off social media – If you’re not using Twitter or Facebook for work, wait until you get home to engage it, suggests Forbes. You’ll be surprised how much time you save by not scrolling through dozens of posts and tweets. If you are using email or social media for work, check it a few times during the day instead of very few minutes.

Make a List – Having a to-do list will eliminate that wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the night panic that you forgot to do an important task during the day. Make a list that can be realistically accomplished.

Delegate – Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to co-workers. Just make sure you delegate the right task to the right person.

Do Less – Carefully choose your projects and tasks. Don’t take on more than you can handle – you know your limits. Focus on one goal at a time.

Clear Your Mind – Forbes recommends taking a short break away from your desk several times a day. Go for a short walk or just step away from the computer for a few minutes. A fresh, clear mind does wonders to keep you focused and improve productivity.

Streamline – Try to reduce tasks such as the number or the length of meetings and how many times you check your business email. A few minutes saved here and there adds up.

Improving productivity goes beyond the office. Try to keep your workweek to 40 hours and enjoy the weekend. A study by Stanford University found that productivity declines sharply if the workweek exceeds 50 hours. Those who work a 70-hour week have the same productivity as those who worked 55 hours, according to the study.

Entrepreneur suggests these tips for a better weekend to help you relax and recharge:
Disconnect – Remove yourself from your job between Friday night and Monday morning. Forget about checking work emails or taking work-related calls.

Exercise – Just 10-minutes of exercise helps release the neurotransmitter, GABA, that reduces stress. Walk, run, work in the garden are al; great stress relievers. Get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.

Enjoy your family – Spend times with the kids and your spouse. Go on a family trip or out to dinner.

Don’t sleep late – It may be tempting to sleep-in weekend mornings but studies show that waking up at the same time each day keeps your circadian rhythm – your internal body clock – in check.

Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Thanksgiving turkey is a tradition in the United States, but the conventional way of roasting the turkey in an oven is turning to deep frying the bird. A deep-fried turkey, according to aficionados, is juicier and has more flavor than one that has been oven roasted.

Turkey Fryer Fires

Deep frying turkeys, however, comes with its risk. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) says that more than 1,000 fires occur each year caused by deep fryers. The agency reports that the majority of these fires happened in November and December during the holiday season causing about $15 million in damages and serious injuries.

Hot, spattering oil from deep fryers has caused burns, some life threatening. Because of the inherent dangers, the Underwriters Laboratories and the NFPA are advising people not to use them. If you decide to deep fry your turkey, there are several safety tips to take that will help protect both you and your property.

1. Use a fryer that has a solid base and at least four legs. This provides better stability and helps prevent the cooker from toppling over. Read and follow the fryer’s directions to the letter. Never leave the fryer unattended while it’s cooking. It is best to use a fryer that has temperature controls.

2. The fryer should never be used inside the home or on an outside deck. The fryer should be placed on solid, level ground at least 10 feet from any structure and not under an overhang or awning. The propane tank should be at least two feet away from the burner.

3. The turkey should be completely thawed and dry before placing into the fryer. Water or ice in or on the turkey will quickly turn into steam and cause a flare-up or an explosion when it contacts the hot oil. Also, do not use the cooker while it is raining or snowing since either could also create a flare-up or explosion upon hitting the heated oil.

4. Do not overfill the cooker with oil. Allow for displacement when the turkey is placed into the fryer. Overflowing oil can ignite when it comes in contact with the burner. It is best to use a smaller size turkey for frying, one that is no more than 12 pounds. Do not stuff the turkey or use water-based marinades.

5. Before cooking, put the turkey in the empty fryer. Pour water to determine how much oil will be needed to just cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and water and then dry out the fryer before using. Add the the oil to about one or two inches below the water line. Remember, oil will expand when it heats.

6. Turn the burner off before placing the turkey in the fryer. Once the turkey is in place, turn the burner back on. You should wear goggles or safety glasses and oven mitts for protection. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

7. Monitor the oil temperature. Oil can ignite when it is heated over its smoke point. If the oil starts smoking, turn off the burner to avoid a flare-up that could cause serious burns or start a fire.

8. Use a non-oil fryer. These cookers use infrared heat instead of oil. They cook just as fast and are much safer. With these oil-less fryers, you can add rubs or marinades on the turkey.

If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

Information about Ice Dams and Insurance

ice dam diagramic

 

We are having a very active winter this year!  Long periods of extremely cold weather and a lot of snow are the perfect formula for ice dams and that can cause roofs to leak.   Ice dams are formed at the edge of roofs and gutters when we have thawing and refreezing of snow on roofs. The dams continue to grow larger and will back up higher in the roof line as continued melting occurs.  Melted snow gets trapped by the ice dam and that keeps water from draining off the roof, and this is where the damage begins.  This water can get forced under the shingles and cause dripping through the roof, into the attic, the insulation and into the rest of the inside of the home.

 

Make sure you contact your insurance carrier right away to report all damage and get your claim started.  This will help manage the loss quickly and safely.  Your carrier may even pay something towards having the snow removed from the roof if damage is sustained.  Be careful and if you do not have the right equipment it is better to have a professional remove the snow.

This winter has been colder for longer stretches of time and these conditions can cause damages.  Take all precautions that you can and soon it will be spring!