Summer Safety Tips

Summer is here (finally) and that means spending more time outside enjoying pool parties, outdoor barbecues, fireworks and all kinds of fun activities — it shouldn’t mean treating burns, bandaging cuts, icing bruises, or trips to the emergency room.

summer safety
Follow our summer safety tips below to help you and your family have a fun and safe summer:

1. Don’t let the heat spoil your fun in the sun.
Drink lots of water and don’t work or play too hard in the hot weather. Take some breaks in the shade or inside your home.

2. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are most powerful. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Wraparound frames work best because they protect your eyes and the sensitive area around them. Wear hats with wide brims and slather on the sunscreen — SPF 15 or higher.

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Five Tips to Protect your Pool and Keep Loved Ones Safe

It’s summertime, which means more and more families will be out enjoying the warm weather and playing in pools. And while the water can be a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous.

According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States about 10 people die in accidental drownings every day; two of those people, on average, are age 14 or younger.

So before you invite your friends and family over for a quick swim this summer, consider these simple tips to help protect your pool and keep loved ones safe.

Watch the video for our Five Summer Pool Safety Tips:

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Home Security Tips: Protect Your Home from Mother Nature’s Wrath

This winter it seems that Mother Nature is one unhappy mama, to paraphrase Sudbury, Mass. real estate agent Gabrielle Daniels.

With snowstorms on top of blizzards followed by days when the mercury hits spring-like temps, it’s no wonder she’s a bit cranky. Not to mention it’s only February.

house in snowBecause we understand just how frustrating – albeit beautiful – winter in New England can be, we’d like to share some tips from Daniels and others to help you keep your home and your family cozy and warm, not to mention safe, from Mother Nature’s mood swings. Read more

New England Winter Heating Dangers

Now that we’re right in the middle of the winter heating season, you have to be sure you’re heating your home or business with safety in mind.

Each year the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety has a Keep Warm, Keep Safe This Winter campaign to remind people about the dangers of winter heating.

fireIt’s no wonder the office considers this campaign a yearly necessity since heating has been the source of over 14,000 fires the last five years and it’s the number two reason for Massachusetts home fires, according to Read more

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Online Safety

After the Black Friday mayhem, comes Cyber Monday. And many shoppers will choose to shop online up until just a few days before Christmas.

A Harris Interactive/McAfee study tells us 70% of consumers will shop online during the holiday season, with one in four using a mobile device.

Whether you’re shopping online or just browsing the web this holiday season, you must remain aware of the many ways criminals can strike over the Internet. Increased web traffic presents more opportunities for criminals to strike unsuspecting victims. From stealing your credit card number to various scams, cybercriminals find ways to wreak all kinds of havoc. Read more

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Holiday Shopping Safety

It’s Friday night and you’ve hit the mall. You’re looking to find the perfect gifts for all the people on your holiday shopping list. The last thing on your mind is becoming a victim of crime. The reality is, you very well could be.

Police and safety organizations across the country are warning of the risks associated with the holiday shopping season.

The holidays are hectic. Shoppers are easily distracted. They become more unaware of their surroundings, giving criminals more opportunities. Read more

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety

The weekend after Thanksgiving marks the traditional start of the holiday season. It’s the time when people across the country begin decorating their homes for the holidays. That includes putting up Christmas trees and decking homes with festive holiday lights.

While Christmas trees and holiday lights are lovely to behold, they can also be dangerous. Read more

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Black Friday Shopping Safety

After the turkey and pies have been eaten, and the football games are over, many americans turn their thoughts to another contact sport known as “Black Friday Shopping”. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because retailers have traditionally seen it as the day their profitability moves from the red to the black.

CBS has also nicknamed the day “the Super Bowl of shopping,” while Time magazine calls it “a full-contact sport,” and the New York Times refers to it as “a carnival of capitalism.”

Black Friday has also earned the reputation as one of the craziest, most violent shopping days, with reports of people being trampled, attacked, or involved in other insane activities that top the day’s headlines each year.

While these stories make the headlines, undoubtedly most people will return from Black Friday unscathed. But it’s still wise to prepare for the event.

The National Crime Prevention Council and IT World offer these tips:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings when you’re waiting outside a store and once you’re inside. You never know when something might happen. Staying aware could be the key to escaping a dangerous situation.
  2. If you notice a mob forming, or any type of mob behavior, leave. It’s not worth staying and risking the chance of something happening to you, your friends or family.
  3. Stick closely to your friends or family. If something does happen, you’ll have strength in numbers to defend yourself.
  4. When walking back to your car with your merchandise, scan the area around you to ensure no one is following you. Have your keys in hand so you can get inside your vehicle quickly. Then check the back seat and around the car to be sure no one is hiding in or around your vehicle.
  5. Do not purchase more than you’re able to carry. Bring a friend to help you carry your merchandise.
  6. Keep your purse close to your body or keep your wallet in an inside coat pocket to deter pickpockets.
  7. Do not leave merchandise in plain sight inside your vehicle when it’s parked. Instead, lock the goods in the trunk.
  8. Report any unattended bags to store security.
  9. Keep your cell phone on you at all times in case of an emergency.
  10. If you’re shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Choose a central location to meet up, and encourage your children to find store/mall security employees if they get lost or need help.
  11. Shop online! It’s safer and you can avoid the crowds and the driving.

Remember a mob mentality causes people to lose their compassion and concern for others’ safety.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Next Steps:

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Turkey Fryer Safety

It’s that time of year again. The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. As we’ve seen in the past few years, turkey fryers have gained in popularity as the way to cook a moist, delicious bird.

While there are a many turkey fryers on the market, most of them use gallons of oil. With the use of oil – particularly large amounts – combined with fire or heat, comes the chance you could start a fire or suffer serious burns.

In fact, turkey fryers are considered dangerous enough that Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the renowned independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization, refuses to certify any turkey fryers with its UL mark.

Even as manufacturers have designed turkey fryers with safety features including sturdier stands and non-heat conducting handles, UL maintains its position that fryers are a fire risk. “We’re worried by the increasing reports of fires related to turkey fryer use. Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks,” explains John Dregenberg, UL consumer affairs manager.

But regardless, every year 47 million turkeys are prepared for Thanksgiving day, and because of the attraction to the taste, and even the novelty, people will continue to use fryers.

Watch this demonstration from the Underwriters Laboratories to understand the risks associated with turkey fryers:

According to UL, some of the hazards include:

  • Units can easily tip offer, spilling hot oil.
  • If fryers are overfilled with oil, the oil may splash out when the turkey is placed in the pot. The oil can then hit the burner or flames and cause a fire.
  • Placing a partially frozen turkey in the fryer can cause the oil to spill over the pot.
  • Most turkey fryers do not have thermostat controls. Because the heat is unregulated it can overheat and combust.
  • Lids and handles on turkey fryers become dangerously hot and may result in burns.

But if you still intend to use a fryer, regardless of the risks, UL offers some tips:

  • Always place a turkey fryer on a flat surface, outdoors, and away from buildings. Never use them in a garage, on a deck or in any other covered area.
  • Do not overfill the fryer, and make sure turkeys are completely thawed. The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommendations say to thaw turkeys in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every five pounds.
  • Never leave a turkey fryer unattended.
  • When handling lids or touching the side of the pot, use insulated oven mitts. Safety googles are also recommended in case oil splatters.
  • Do not allow children or pets to come near the fryer, even hours after it has been in use as the oil remains hot for a long time.
  • Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy. If a fire does occur, don’t hesitate calling the fire department.
  • As an alternative, use one of the newer turkey cooking appliances that does not require oil.

Cook safely this Thanksgiving!

Next Steps:

Home Security After Sandy: Beware of Scams

The flood waters may have receded and the ferocious winds may have dissipated, but if you’re not extra cautious Hurricane Sandy could still cause you some big headaches.

Although natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy bring out the best in people, they can also bring out the worst – in the form of scammers trying their best to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

The Better Businss Bureau calls these scamers “storm chasers” because they prey on the victims who need help cleaning up after a severe storm like Sandy. Some common rip-offs involve auto, home and/or yard repairs.

The Boston Better Business Bureau (BBB) has some tips to help you make the best decisions when it comes to making repairs and cleaning up. Read more