Senior man putting up or taking down outdoor Christmas lights from the gutter of a suburban house

Tips for Taking Down Holiday Decorations

Senior man putting up or taking down outdoor Christmas lights from the gutter of a suburban houseTaking down holiday decorations is simply not as fun as putting them up and enjoying them all throughout the season. It is also more dangerous. Your home’s pathways may be covered in snow, ice, or rain water, making climbing a ladder hazardous. Your tree may have turned from lush and green to dry and brittle, creating a more serious fire hazard. You may wonder if it’s okay not to take your usual care in organizing and cleaning your decorations this year.

Upwards of 17,000 people are treated in hospital rooms each year for holiday decoration related injuries. This means that it is exceptionally important to take care when removing and/or disposing of your decorations. To ensure that you are kept safe throughout the process, observe the following safety measures. It may take some extra time, energy, and concentration, but it will be well worth it when you are enjoying a nice evening in your decoration-free living room rather than in an emergency room.

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Man is repairing radiator battery in the room. Maintenance repair works renovation in the flat. Heating restoration. Wrench in hands.

Home Heating Safety Tips

Man is repairing radiator battery in the room. Maintenance repair works renovation in the flat. Heating restoration. Wrench in hands.There are close to 400,000 home fires in the US every year. One of the leading causes of these fires – second only to cooking – is heating equipment. 

It is important to know how to heat your home safely to avoid a costly, dangerous residential fire, especially during the winter months when heating-related fires are more likely. Follow these home heating safety tips to keep yourself protected while staying warm and cozy this winter.

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Happy couple is wearing Santa Claus hat and sitting in car trunk while enjoying their beautiful moments of Christmas tree adventure. It is a cold and sunny day outside.

Holiday Season Safety Tips

Happy couple is wearing Santa Claus hat and sitting in car trunk while enjoying their beautiful moments of Christmas tree adventure. It is a cold and sunny day outside.This time of year brings with it much joy and festivity, but also a higher risk for injury. The ER sees thousands of patients over the course of the winter months for holiday-related injuries. The numbers spike during Christmas and New Year’s. Everything from cooking to hanging tree lights can be hazardous if not handled with care. 

With a little extra attention paid to certain objects and activities, you can avoid any and all holiday mishaps. Let’s take a look at several ways you can enjoy a merry and bright holiday season while staying safe and healthy.

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Turkey being placed into a deep fryer

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for a Happy Holiday

Turkey being placed into a deep fryerThanksgiving is a time for food, family…and fires. The holiday boasts more home cooking fires than any other day of the year. Turkey fryers alone account for more than 900 destroyed homes and over $15 million in property damages annually.

Fires aren’t the only cause for concern during Thanksgiving weekend. Break-ins are just as likely during this time as any other season. Keep your family protected by following a few simple safety procedures. These tips will ensure that your family can enjoy a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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Snow storm in United States with residential home and dark sky in background

How to Prepare Your Home for the Winter Months

Snow storm in United States with residential home and dark sky in backgroundBurglaries are a threat all year, but studies show a spike in home invasions during wintertime. Beyond break-ins, the holidays bring the added risk of stolen packages. Roughly one third of Americans are victims of parcel theft each year, and that number spikes significantly during the holidays.

Combine harsh winter weather with an increase in theft, and you have two good reasons to secure your home this year. Let’s take a look at some important actions you can take to keep you, your family, and your home safe this winter season.

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High school students at school, wearing N95 Face masks. Teenage girl wearing eyeglasses sitting at the school desk and listening to the teacher.

Returning to School: Security Tips for Parents

Depending on your state, county, city or town, your child may be returning soon to the classroom. With the threat of COVID-19 remaining here in New England, you’ll want to take the best approach to ensure your child’s safety in and outside the school or playground.High school students at school, wearing N95 Face masks. Teenage girl wearing eyeglasses sitting at the school desk and listening to the teacher.

The challenges for successful reopening and education are considerable, as a Mayo Clinic article on the subject notes. It states, “As schools reopen, they must balance the educational, social and emotional needs of their students along with the health and safety of students and staff in the midst of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Tips To Keep Your Basement From Flooding

Fight Back The Floods

As New Englanders, we should always be ready to protect our basements from flooding — particularly when caused by spring rains or severe storms.

This blog has covered the risks storms and floods pose to our businesses and homes, and to seasonal homes in particular. A flooding disaster can cost thousands of dollars in damage to property, and inflict huge stress on homeowners.

Our basements can be inundated at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways, as one North Woodstock, New Hampshire, couple learned last April. According to a CBSN Boston January article, the couple’s basement was flooded by 16 inches of water — which they alleged was part of the runoff from a commercial ice castle attraction.

The couple spent $30,000 on a system to drain the estimated 35,000 gallons of water from the basement and keep it dry. Read more

Remote Surveillance for Those Most at Risk

 

Using High Tech to Protect At-Risk Loved Ones

Given current COVID-19 related events, it’s more important than ever to have ways to watch and protect our elderly or at-risk relatives and loved ones. At the same time, these people want to live as independently as possible, and not feel as if they are a burden.

Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to safely move around and visit loved ones most at risk – both here in New England and across the country. One way to compensate for the lack of in-person visitation is to deploy a secure and reliable remote medical monitoring and alerting system.

A Growing Safety Field

There is great potential in the medical monitoring industry, particularly as smart technologies rapidly evolve. A major driver is the maturation of Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions. In fact, this tech was the subject of an expert panel held in Boston last December, as TechTarget notes.

The article describes how  companies are exploring ways to embed “IoT remote monitoring for connected medical devices with the intent to improve their products and differentiate themselves from the competition.” These systems are largely still in development, but such an event shows how medical monitoring is a promising field.

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Chimney Fires: A Serious Danger Year-Round

You may think of your chimney as an architectural adornment that provides warmth on cold winter days, but in reality, it’s a tunnel to remove dangerous flue gasses from your home. These fumes cause condensation inside the chimney, which in turn deposits creosote — a highly flammable chemical that frequently causes chimney fires.

As this blog has previously noted, the threat of chimney blazes in New England, and beyond, is real. Chimney fires can have many consequences, including tragic ones. In Massachusetts alone, in 2018, there were 556 fires involving chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves, according to mass.gov. These led to one death and $3 million in property losses.

Additionally, the very nature of chimney fires makes them extremely dangerous, according to an informative website. The fires aren’t dramatic: they survive on limited air and fuel, meaning they burn slowly — and are often undetected until an inspection. Without the owner realizing what’s happening, these fires can melt a chimney, or make it crack and collapse. Then the fire moves into the house — and potentially, into the wood frame.

Lack of Diligence Makes Chimneys Risky

Chimney fires can strike anywhere. In February, a chimney fire in Plympton, Massachusetts, ignited the roof of a house, according to the local press. It took firefighters 10 minutes to control the blaze, and luckily, there were no injuries. “This incident could have been a lot worse and is a good reminder to make sure your chimney is inspected and cleaned yearly,” the Plympton Fire Department proclaimed on Facebook.

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How Long Can You Last Without Electricity?

Power outages are an unfortunate reminder just how dependent we are on electricity for, well, almost everything.

Outages can deprive us of communications, heat and other necessities. During the winter in New England, power loss can be a serious threat to safety, not just an inconvenience. A power outage while no one is home can also disable security systems — leaving homes and other properties vulnerable to thieves or vandals.

Many things can cause an outage, according to a Massachusetts government instruction guide. New Englanders are familiar with weather-related causes, including snow, freezing rain, high winds, thunderstorms and hurricanes. These outages can happen in any season and can last for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the damage.

Year-Round Power Outages

Winter snow, ice and violent winds are major culprits for downed power lines in New England. Earlier this month, high storm winds left nearly 90,000 people without power in Eastern Massachusetts, as a local news station notes.

One Rhode Island news station reported that trees through the region “snapped like toothpicks” from the gusts, which exceeded 70 miles per hour. In the Ocean State, 25,000 people lost power. More than 11,000 Bay State residents remained without power the next day — along with 35,000 New Hampshire residents.

Such extreme weather events can hammer us throughout the year. Just last fall, a so-called nor’easter struck and left hundreds of thousands of New Englanders without power, as NPR notes. The article states the combo of “heavy rain, strong winds and floods” took out power across three states.  

Both those incidents are dwarfed in comparison to the August 2003 blackout that affected not just Massachusetts, but states through the Northeast, as well as Canada. The incident started with a high voltage power line in Ohio brushing against some overgrown trees, says an article in Scientific American. The line shut down, starting a cascade of incidents that led to 50 million people losing power for up to two days. Other results included 11 deaths and a loss of some $6 billion.

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