Extreme weather events, such as hail, wildfires, high winds, and flooding can cause severe damage to your vehicle. Understanding whether or not car insurance will cover storm-related damage and how to file a claim can if needed can make the process a lot easier. Read on for further guidance.
Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means you’re probably looking forward to a home-cooked meal, featuring a turkey, of course. The turkey is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving meal. Maybe you’re planning on deep-frying a bird for your dinner. The thing is that that Thanksgiving is already a huge day for house fires. And deep-frying a turkey substantially increases your risk for house fires. So, maybe there’s a better idea…but if you’re absolutely set on having a deep-fried turkey, here are a few tips.
If you’re gearing up for the holidays, you’re probably already scheming how you want to decorate your Atlanta home. You’re thinking lights. You’re thinking lawn decorations. You’re thinking festive holiday cheer. It’s all starting to take form. But the thing is that holiday decorations can go horribly awry. We’ve got 11 holiday decorating safety tips to help you avoid a catastrophe – and a potential home insurance claim. Don’t let an unexpected fire ruin your holiday cheer.
Tips for holiday decorating safety
1. Check all your lights before using them.
Whether you’ve bought new lights or you’re pulling your tried and true set out of the attic, make sure to check all the strings of lights. Look for cracking in the cord, broken cords, fraying, exposed wires, and loose connections. Get rid of any lights that could be unsafe. (This can help you prevent electrical fires.) You definitely don’t want an electrical fire to get in the way of the holidays.
2. Follow all instructions for electrical decorations.
Yes, instructions aren’t super fun to read. But it’s important to follow all the proper directions for using and installing your decorations. Just do what the manufacturer tells you to – improvisation is not a great strategy when electricity is involved.
3. Don’t connect too many lights to a single extension cord.
Don’t put more than three sets of lights on a single extension cord. You could overload it. These things are only designed to take so much strain.
4. Check for the UL testing label on all decorations.
Make sure the decorations have a label certifying that they’ve been tested by the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) – this is a consumer product testing laboratory that makes sure various products are safe for use.
5. Be careful with your outdoor lighting.
If you’re plugging in lights outside, make sure that you’re only using GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupting) outlets. These are designed to protect the outlet from exposure to water. (Remember – water and electricity do NOT mix.)
Also, don’t use staples or nails on your outdoor lighting cords. While you want the lights to be secured to something stable so that they won’t sustain wind damage, it’s probably not a great idea to stab them with metal things.
6. Watch your indoor extension cords.
If you’ve got extension cords inside the house, avoid putting them under furniture, rugs, and so on. These things can cause the cords to get really hot, and that can lead to problems of the fiery variety.
(On a bit of a side note, getting Atlanta home insurance means that you can protect yourself financially in the event of a fire or another loss. Need some help getting quotes? Just give us a call or fill out our online quote form and we’ll be happy to help you find the coverage that’s right for you.)
7. Set your tree up carefully.
First of all, use a sturdy tree stand to keep your tree standing. Anchor it to the wall or ceiling with guy wires if you have to. (Curious pets do love to climb on trees…potentially causing them to crash to the ground.)
And think about where you’re putting the tree. It needs to be at least three feet away (preferably farther) from anything that could produce heat. Think about it – trees are wood and needles. And wood burns. Yup. Make sure your tree isn’t going to go up in flames.
If you’re going the artificial tree route, make sure that it’s made out of a fire-resistant material.
8. Be careful with your ornaments and decorations.
It’s a good idea to make sure all ornaments or decorations are made of flame-resistant material. If you have kids or pets, you probably don’t want ornaments that could break into sharp pieces that could slice someone. You also probably don’t want to have ornaments that are small or are made of small parts, as these present a choking hazard. Be mindful of what you’re putting up around the house and what tiny fingers or paws could reach and eat and/or destroy.
9. Unplug lights before bed or leaving the house.
Yes, your lights look beautiful at night when it gets dark. But turn them off before you head to bed or before you leave the house. You don’t want any fires to start while you’re either sleeping or not at home. It’s best that you’re at home and alert when your lights are lit because you’ll be able to notice any problems with the lights or outlets sooner rather than later.
10. Don’t put the wrapping paper near the fire or other heat sources.
Presents are exciting. But make sure that you don’t let the wrapping paper get too close to the fireplace or any heat sources. Paper is made of trees, and as we’ve established, trees are flammable.
Also, don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace or in a bonfire. That’s just not a great idea. It’ll probably get a bit more out-of-hand than you were hoping it would.
11. Only keep your tree for two weeks.
While you might want to keep your tree up forever – it’s so pretty! – it’s best to only have it for about two weeks. If you keep it longer than that, it’s going to dry out a lot. And a dry tree is way more flammable than a fresh tree. Unfortunately, trees just don’t last that long when you keep them inside.
The holidays are a great time of year, but it’s important to decorate safely. Get into the holiday spirit safely to avoid having the joy and cheer interrupted by a fire or accident. (And, as a general rule, it’s also a good idea to avoid a home insurance claim.) Anyways, stay safe this holiday season!
If you’re looking for home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents can help you get multiple quotes so you can compare rates and save on your Atlanta home insurance. You can get started with your quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.
No one wants to think of what would happen if they had a house fire. It’s a very scary thought. But it’s so important that your entire family knows exactly what to do and where to go if the smoke alarm goes off or the air smells like smoke. Having a home fire escape plan can help everyone get out of the home as quickly and safely as possible. We’ve put together a list of tips for creating a home fire escape plan.
How to create a home fire escape plan.
1. Find two escape routes from each room in the house.
If there’s a fire, the most obvious way out of a room could be unsafe because of smoke, flames, or heat. That’s why you need a Plan B to get out of any room and out of the house. You can get your family to help you out and come up with your escape routes together.
2. Go over fire safety with your family.
Set aside some time to go over some basic fire safety with your family. Make sure to go over the following:
- Stop, drop, and roll if clothing is on fire.
- How to call 911.
- How to use the back of the hand to feel a doorknob, the top of the door, and the space at the frame of the door – and then use the second exit if the door is hot.
- If the door is cool, open it slowly as you brace yourself against it.
- How to crawl on the ground while covering your mouth if you have to pass under smoke.
- How to properly store flammable objects or chemicals.
- Space heater safety.
- Why it’s important not to waste time gathering belongings.
- Teach children never to touch matches or lighters. (And don’t forget to childproof your home.)
- How to prevent electrical fires by taking care with electrical cords, outlets, and circuits.
3. Have a meeting spot for your family.
As you’re creating a home fire escape plan, plan a good spot for your family to meet after getting out of the house. Everyone needs to know where to go, and it needs to be a safe spot that’s far enough away from the house. Also, decide which neighbor’s house you’re going to go to so you can call 911.
4. Teach children what to do if the smoke alarm goes off.
Kids might get really scared if they hear the smoke detector or smell smoke, and their instinct could be to hide. Be sure to explain to your children that they need to get out of the house if there is a fire instead of hiding. Of course, you don’t want to scare them, but they need to understand how important it is to follow the fire escape plan.
5. Do a “fire drill.”
Put your fire escape plan to the test after you’ve created your plan and gone over it with your entire family. Do a “fire drill” and give your family two minutes to “escape” from the home and get to the meeting place.
You also might want to consider having everyone practice getting out of the house with their eyes closed (but please – be very careful!) It’s probable that getting out of a burning house will involve darkness and smoke. Also, take some time to practice crawling on the ground to avoid heavy smoke overhead.
6. Keep the escape routes clear.
It’s important that the way out of the house doesn’t involve doing an obstacle course. By tidying the house and keeping the floor clear, you make it easier to make a quick escape. You should also check your windows to make sure they open quickly. If there are any stubborn windows, have them fixed.
Another thought – if you have child safety gates, latches, or window bars, be sure that there are quick release features.
7. Check the smoke detectors.
Check and see how many smoke detectors you have and where they are. It’s crucial that there are enough smoke detectors and that there’s one located outside each bedroom. Test the smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. (Daylight Saving Time is a great time to do this because it’ll be easy to remember the last time you changed the batteries.)
If you have a house fire, there is not a lot of time to act and escape from the home. And that’s why creating a fire escape plan is so essential – having a plan makes it much easier to act quickly and without hesitation. Practice your plan and be sure to coach your kids on what to do. Make fire safety a thing in your household.
Are you looking for Atlanta home insurance quotes? We can help. Our team of insruance experts can get you multiple quotes for your insurance and help you save money on your home insurance. We also like to make home insurance easy. Get started with your Atlanta home insruance quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.
If you’re a business owner, one of your worst nightmares might be a fire striking and burning down your premises. Many small businesses never reopen after a disaster like a fire because the expenses are so high. You have to pay to have the premises rebuilt, plus there’s the lost income you face from the time that you were closed. To avoid a fire-related property insurance claim, check out these fire prevention and preparation tips – they’ll also help you keep your employees safe.
With December officially here, it’s about to get a lot chillier in the ATL. In an attempt to save money on your heating bill, you may have decided to get some electric space heaters for your home. While they can keep your home toasty and cozy during the winter months, they also present an electric shock hazard and a fire hazard. According to the NFPA, supplemental heating is the leading cause of fires from December through February. To help you use your space heaters safely, we’ve got some quick tips.
1. Give the heater a personal space bubble.
Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the space heater. Give the heater its own spot and don’t crowd it. If anything flammable, like fabric, furniture, or curtains, get too close to the heater, it could cause a fire. Clear a special place for the space heater.
2. Plug the space heater into the wall.
Don’t use an extension cord or power strip. Instead, plug the heater directly into the wall and don’t plug anything else into the outlet. An extension cord could overheat and cause a fire. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s the right one for the heater.
3. Turn the heater off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
Don’t leave a space heater on when you leave the room or go to bed. It’s not safe to leave a space heater on all night, so you shouldn’t sleep with a space heater on. Bundle up with a few extra blankets on your bed instead.
4. Choose the space heater’s location wisely.
Put the space heater in a low-traffic area of the home – the cord can quickly turn into a trip trap, so keep it out of the way so that no one gets hurt. Also, place the heater on a level surface. Don’t place it on carpet or on a table – these things can get too hot and cause a fire.
5. Keep the space heater in good repair.
If you notice any frayed cords, broken wires, or anything like that, have the unit repaired ASAP and don’t use it until you have. Frayed cords can cause electrical fires, so prevent an electrical fire at your home by keeping all appliances in good repair.
6. Supervise pets and kids around space heaters.
You don’t want any burned fingers or paws, so keep kids and pets away from the heater so no one gets hurt. Don’t forget about childproofing your home – don’t leave your kids or your pets alone with a space heater.
7. Choose an approved space heater.
Select a space heater that’s been approved by a consumer testing laboratory, such as the Underwriters Laboratories. Products that have been approved have gone through extensive safety testing.
8. Get a space heater with auto shut-off and a tip guard.
If possible, choose a space heater with auto shut-off so that you don’t accidentally leave it on. You can also get space heaters with tip guards, which will cause the heater to turn off if it falls over. Both of these features make the space heater safer to have around the house.
9. Use the space heater only for its intended purpose.
The space heater is for warming up a room in your home, not warming bedding, drying clothes, or thawing out pipes. Don’t use the heater for anything other than providing warmth for your home.
10. Put the space heater away when not in use.
When you’re not using the space heater, unplug it and stow it safely away. There’s no reason to leave it plugged in and out in the open when you’re not using it.
The winter months can get chilly, even in Atlanta. If you’re going to use some space heaters to chase away the winter chill, be sure to use them safely. Remember, whenever you’re playing around with heat, you have to be careful and take steps to protect your home from fire. Stay safe this winter, Atlanta!
Are you looking for home insurance? We can help you shop around for your insurance so that you can get the best coverage at the best possible rate. All you have to do to get home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today. Your Atlanta Insurance agent is ready to help you with your home insurance mission.
Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means a flurry of shopping, cleaning, food prep, and, of course, cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Administration, Thanksgiving Day had the most cooking fires of any day of the year in 2013. It’s not hard to imagine why. There are a lot of dishes to prepare and a lot of multitasking to do. We’ve got some tips to help you prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving – or any day of the year, really! And avoiding fires means avoiding home insurance claims.
1. Dress for the occasion.
When you’re cooking, it’s best to wear close-fitting clothes that won’t drag or dangle into the heat. If you’ve got long hair, tie it back so that it doesn’t accidentally get singed.
2. Keep your cooking area clear of flammable things.
Move oven mitts, pot holders, towels, papers, plastic wrappers, wooden utensils, and anything else that could catch fire away from your stove. Yes, you might be a bit crowded for space, especially on Thanksgiving, but keep an eye on the area around your stove.
3. Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
Never walk away from something that you’re frying, broiling, or grilling. These things need to be watched closely. If you see smoke or the grease starts to bubble, turn the burner off.
If you’re steaming or boiling something, use timers so that you don’t forget that you’ve got something cooking. Unattended food is the number one cause of kitchen fires, so be sure to check your food frequently. With all the rushing around that comes with Thanksgiving and cooking a huge meal, it’s easy to forget things. It’s completely normal. Just plan ahead for forgetfulness and set timers galore.
4. Clean your cooking surface frequently.
Keep your cooking surfaces clean to prevent grease buildup. It’s hygienic and it will help you avoid starting a kitchen fire.
5. Establish a kid-free zone around the stove.
Your kid-free zone should be three feet around any area that hot food is being prepared or areas that you walk through while carrying hot dishes or pots. It’s generally a good idea to keep kids and pets out of the kitchen while you’re cooking for their safety. Kitchen safety is one of the fundamentals of childproofing your home.
6. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove.
This lowers the chance of a pot getting knocked off the stove and someone getting hurt or burned, or of kids pulling the handle and upending a pot full of hot food or water onto themselves.
7. Don’t put metal in the microwave.
Anything metal should not go in the microwave. Microwaving metal can cause sparks, which means that a fire can soon follow. Yes, this includes tin foil. So, if you have a dish covered with foil that you need to warm up, take the foil off first.
8. Make sure all portable appliances are plugged directly into the wall.
If you plug a portable appliance like a toaster into an extension cord, you could cause the circuit to short. Make sure that all the appliances you’ll need to prepare the meal are plugged into the wall, and unplug them when you’re not using them. This will prevent any accidental mishaps and will also help prevent electrical fires.
9. Consider getting a fire extinguisher.
You might want to consider getting a fire extinguisher for additional fire safety. You can consult with your local fire department to find out which type is best for your home and to get proper training for how to use it.
10. Make sure your smoke detectors are functional.
Do your smoke detectors have fresh batteries? Have you tested them lately? You should have smoke detectors near the kitchen. The sooner you and your family are alerted to a fire, the better.
If you have a kitchen fire…
- If the fire is in a pan or pot, cover the pan with a lid or baking sheet to smother it. If that doesn’t work, use a fire extinguisher or baking soda.
- If it’s a grease or oil fire, DO NOT pour water on it. This will only make the fire worse.
- If the fire is in the microwave, turn the microwave off, unplug it if possible, and wait for the fire to go out. Don’t open the door.
- If the fire is in an oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Wait for the fire to die out.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and delicious food. Don’t let a kitchen fire spoil your holiday! By following some simple tips to help prevent a kitchen fire, you’ll be able to ensure that everyone has a happy – and safe – Thanksgiving.
Are you looking for home insurance or renters insurance? We would be happy to help you save money on your rates by shopping around for your insurance. All you have to do to get started with some home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.
The winter months are almost upon us, and that means cold weather and shorter days, even in Atlanta. And cold weather and darkness mean that we’ll begin to rely on out lights and heat even more – in short, we’ll be using more electricity. Since we’re cruising right along through November, it’s not a bad time to discuss a danger that comes from electricity – electrical fires. The winter months actually have some of the highest occurrences of electrical fires, which is why it’s important to make sure you have enough home insurance. But, insurance aside, we’ve got some tips to help you prevent a home electrical fire this winter.
1. Check your appliances and cords.
Old, worn, or fraying cords can cause fires. You should replace and dispose of worn or ragged cords ASAP. You should also make sure that no cords are trapped by rugs or hidden by furniture. This can cause heat to build up, and heat can cause a fire – you don’t actually need a spark or flame, just a lot of trapped heat.
2. Be smart about outlets.
Don’t force a three-pronged cord into a two-prong outlet or extension cord. That’s not how that cord was designed to be used.
3. Plug major appliances directly into the wall.
Air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, and other appliances should be plugged directly into the wall, not into an extension cord. Keep your appliances in good repair, and keep an eye on your clothes dryer – believe it or not, clothes dryers are fire hazards. Remember, all appliances should be approved by the Underwriters Laboratory.
4. Don’t overload circuits, extension cords, or outlets.
You don’t want to put a strain on circuits or extension cords. Don’t try to make these things handle a load that it wasn’t designed to.
5. Remember that water and electricity don’t mix.
Keep appliances away from places that tend to get wet, like kitchen and bathroom counters. Don’t take any chances. Make sure not to let your appliances get doused.
6. Keep an eye on switches or lights that act suspect.
If any of your light switches are warm to the touch, any lights flicker, or any outlets look strange or discolored, you should call a professional to check out the situation. You should also call a qualified electrician if any appliances have a burning or rubbery odor or you feel a tingle when you touch them. Outlets that spark or are warm – or are otherwise dangerous-looking – should also be investigated by an electrician ASAP.
7. Use arc-fault circuit interrupters and ground fault circuit insulators.
AFCIs will turn off the electricity if something isn’t as it should be. GFCIs will reduce the risk of shock by turning off the circuit if there is a shock hazard. Bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements should be equipped with GFCI outlets.
8. Keep flammable items away from your portable heaters.
Anything that could catch fire should be placed at least three feet away from the space heater. That includes clothes, linens, and furniture.
9. Child-proof electrical outlets.
If you have young children, make sure that you’ve safely child-proofed your outlets. Use a child-proofing method that is safe and won’t present a choking hazard. It’s important to know how to child-proof your home.
10. Replace any suspicious power tools.
If any power tools act weird, like sparking or otherwise being dangerous, get rid of them and replace them.
11. Only use light bulbs with the appropriate wattage.
Don’t use a light bulb with a higher wattage or strength than a lamp or other light calls for. It’s important to use the right light bulb for the right appliance. Stick with what the lamp is designed to do.
12. Make sure that you have enough smoke detectors and that they do what they’re supposed to.
It’s so important that you have the proper smoke detectors installed in your home. There should be one outside every bedroom, and you should test them regularly to make sure that they’re working like they’re supposed to. It’s also important to remember to change the batteries every six months – an easy way to make sure that you don’t forget is to do it every Daylight Saving, whenever you change the clocks forward or back. Don’t neglect your smoke detectors. (And, while you’re at it, you may as well add some carbon monoxide detectors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.)
Before winter really sets in and you turn on all your heaters and appliances, take some time to check over your electrical cords and appliances. Don’t forget your fire prevention basics and spend some time talking to your kids about fire safety. Make sure that your home or apartment is fire-safe and ready to weather the winter months.
Do you need home insurance or renters insurance? Great! We would love to get you some quotes for that. We’ll help you get the insurance plan that’s right for your family, and we’ll help you get a great rate for it. To get in touch with one of our insurance experts, all you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.
Modern appliances are wonderful. They’re convenient. They’re fast. And they spare us from a lot of hard work. One of the appliances that we’ve grown accustomed to in daily life is clothes dryers. We throw laundry into the dryer without even thinking about it, but did you know that your dryer, your innocent, wonderful, convenient little dryer, is a major fire hazard?
According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, there were 15,970 fires started due to washers and dryers each year between 2010 and 2014, and 92% (about 14,700) of those were started by dryers.
That’s nothing to sneeze at. Yes, you have home insurance to help you if you do ever have a fire, but why not do everything you can to prevent one in the first place? To help you keep your dryer as non-combustible as possible, we’ve got 11 safety tips. With these tips, you can help your appliance decide not to catch on fire.
1. Clean the lint filter.
Cleaning the lint filter before and after each load of laundry can help avoid lint buildup that could cause a fire. In the aforementioned NFPA report, it was noted that the most common cause of dryer fires is the failure to properly clean the machine. Fires are usually started when something being dried or a byproduct of drying (such as lint or dust) ignites.
You should also clean the area behind the appliance, too. Lots of dust, lint, and other nasty stuff can build up back there.
2. Don’t overload the dryer.
Take it easy on your dryer. Don’t cram clothes in there, as this could cause the machine to break and just give up.
3. Clean up the laundry room.
Don’t keep flammable items near the dryer. It can get pretty hot, and you don’t want that heat to cause something in your laundry room to go up in flames.
4. Be outlet-smart.
Check and make sure that the right kind of plug and outlet are being used for your dryer. It’s important to always use outlets and electricity the way that they were intended to be used (this doesn’t just go for dryers.)
Speaking of electricity, make sure that your dryer is properly grounded. It’s always important to choose a reputable electrician to help you.
5. Enlist the help of professionals.
When you’re having your dryer installed, make sure that you have a qualified professional come out to do the job. That also goes for having your dryer serviced or cleaned. You should have a technician clean the interior and ventilation system to remove lint buildup from time to time. Once a year is a good idea, but you might need to have it cleaned more frequently if you notice it’s taking forever for your clothes to dry.
You can ask the person who comes to clean your dryer to make sure that the air exhaust pipe isn’t blocked at all, and you should also ask them to make sure that the outdoor vent flap is opening properly when the machine is in use.
6. Don’t use your dryer without a lint filter.
There’s a reason that thing’s there. Don’t use the dryer without it. Bad plan.
7. Keep your dryer in good working order.
If you have a gas appliance, make sure to have it checked over by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are good to go and there are no gas leaks anywhere.
8. Ditch plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses.
Replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with metal venting.
9. Be careful what you dry.
If any of your clothes have come in contact with anything flammable, like alcohol, cooking oil, gasoline, dry cleaning solvents, or the like, don’t toss them in the dryer. Instead, lay them outside and wait until they are completely dry before washing them and drying them as usual.
10. Dry while you’re at home and awake.
Turn the machine off if you’re going to be out. As tempting as it might be, don’t throw in a load of laundry and take off. Only run the dryer while you’re home, and don’t run it if you’re going to go to bed.
11. If a fire starts inside the dryer…
If a fire starts, don’t open the door to try to extinguish it. This might be your first reaction and gut instinct, but you’ll only let in more oxygen, possibly making the fire worse.
Yes, you love your dryer. It makes laundry so much easier. The rumbling growl means fresh, warm clothes that smell amazing. But you also have to take care of it so that it doesn’t catch fire. Maintain your dryer so that your faithful friend doesn’t turn into a fiery one and protect your family by making sure that you have enough home insurance.
Need a quote for your home insurance or renters insurance? Great! We’d love to help you out with that. We’ll get you free quotes for your insurance, and we’ll also help you design an insurance plan that’s just for you. We know that insurance can be bewildering, so we encourage any questions you might have! All you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We’re happy to help.