Buses, Bikes and Cars: Keeping Children Safe

It’s no secret that children view the world differently from adults. They don’t have the skills necessary to analyze dangerous situations or the consequences of their actions. It’s our responsibility as adults and parents to teach them the right way to do things through constant discussion and reminders. By creating good habits from the start, we may be able to prevent accidents from happening. The following tips should be helpful and discussed often with your children: 

Automobile safety: Be aware of children 

Did you know that one out of four pedestrian-vehicle collisions involves a child under 15 years of age. Most fatalities occur among those between ages 5 and 9.  They may be told, but still don’t understand the threat of vehicles to their safety.  

AAA recommends that you keep the following safety tips in mind:  

  • Follow all traffic signs and symbols.
  • Drive slowly near schools, playgrounds and residential areas.
  • Watch for signs that children are in the area, such as buses, bikes, safety patrols and crossing guards.
  • Stop and leave adequate space between your vehicle and a stopped school bus regardless of the direction in which you are traveling.
  • Watch for students rushing to catch their bus.
  • Use extra care when the weather is inclement or when the sun impairs your vision.  

Bus safety for motorists

 

  • Know your state’s school bus laws and obey them. Generally, flashing yellow lights mean caution, the bus is about to stop. Flashing red lights mean stop, children are getting on or off.
  • When red lights are flashing, all traffic (in both directions) must stop.
  • Failure to obey school bus laws carries hefty fines that vary from state to state. In Connecticut, for example, fines of up to $500 are assessed for the first offense. Second offenses carry fines of up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail. Also, convicted drivers face cancellation of their current auto insurance policies and find it extremely difficult to get future coverage.  

Bus safety for students 

The Connecticut School Bus Drivers Alliance recommends these simple bus safety rules:

  • Arrive at your bus stop on time.
  • Wait for the bus in a safe place, away from the curb.
  • Enter the bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
  • Listen to and follow all of your bus driver’s instructions.
  • Remain seated while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep the aisle clear at all times.
  • Do not throw objects inside the bus or outside the window.
  • Be sure to tie your shoes and pack all papers inside your bag before getting off the bus.
  • Do not stand or walk behind the bus since the driver can not see you.
  • Meet your parents on the same side of the street that the bus lets you off.
  • If you must cross the street when boarding or leaving the bus, be sure to walk where you can see the driver (and therefore the driver can see you!). Wait for the driver’s signal for you to cross, making sure that you look both ways for cars.  

Safe biking 

Every day at least one child dies in a bike-related accident, and another 1,000 are seriously injured. Contrary to popular belief, most of these injuries are caused by simple falls due to road conditions and not from car collisions. Many of these injuries can be avoided if cyclists just use proper equipment for protection, follow the rules of the road and remember to treat their bicycles with respect.

Here are some simple rules you should review with your children:

  • Bikes are vehicles, not toys. Treat them as such.
  • Always wear your helmet. A properly fitted bicycle helmet can reduce your child’s risk of serious head injury by 85%. In many states, wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the law!
  • Wear reflectors on your clothing after dusk.
  • Walk you bike across busy intersections.
  • Keep your bike in good shape, especially the brakes.
  • Follow the rules of the road just like all other vehicles.
  • Don’t drive against traffic…drive on the same side of the road as cars.
  • Obey all stop signs and traffic lights.
  • Don’t ride more than one person to a bike.
  • Don’t ride at night when drivers can’t see you.
  • Don’t ride in the street unless you know the rules.
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Top 10 Flood Questions

Here are the 10 most frequently asked questions about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

10. Can’t I just wait until it starts raining to buy Flood Insurance coverage?

Not if you want to be covered. Under most circumstances you’ve got to wait 30 days from the time the premium and application are received to be covered. So you can buy the coverage when it starts raining, but it won’t protect you until 30 days later. The only way to circumvent the 30-day waiting period is if your community has revised its flood map within the last year or this is your first purchase and it is required by a lending institution to close a loan.

 

9. Aren’t the NFIP limits too low to matter?

Not anymore. The 1994 improvements to the National Flood Insurance Program bumped up the limits on single family residences to $250,000 for the structure and $100,000 for the structure’s contents. Even commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for contents. Replacement cost coverage is available for structures on a limited basis for single-family dwellings that are primary residences.

 

8. I can’t qualify for coverage because I’m not in the flood plain. Right?

Wrong. Almost everyone in a participating community qualifies for coverage and almost every community participates in the program. Remember to set the policy limits to the full value of your structure and buy contents coverage too.

 

7. Isn’t it too tough to sign up and not worth my time since I’m in a low to moderate risk area?

Today it is even easier for people in zones coded B, C, and X to secure coverage. And more than 30% of all NFIP flood claims come from these low to moderate risk areas.

 

6. Can I finance my purchase?

Sure, Companies accept all major credit cards.

 

5. Do I have to wait until a completed elevation certificate is issued to me?

No. With provisional rating,companies can make coverage available even before an elevation certificate is complete (required on homes built after December 21, 1974 in map zones coded A or V). So you won’t need to delay closing on a loan or settlement of a property.

 

4. Is my basement covered?

NFIP policies have some coverage for basement elements: cleanup expense and items such as furnaces, water heaters, washers and dryers, air conditioners, freezers, utility connections, and pumps are included. Contents in a finished basement are excluded, as are a basement’s finished walls, floors, and ceilings.

 

3. Can’t I just hold out for federal disaster assistance.

Hardly. Federal disaster assistance is declared in less than half of all flooding incidents. Besides, the annual premium for a NFIP policy is less expensive than the interest on most federal disaster loans. The only real option is to get insured before the loss. Even if a federal grant or loan is awarded to you after a major flood, you’ll probably be required to use part of the proceeds to purchase a NFIP policy.

 

2. Can I buy NFIP coverage through The Ormond Agency?

You bet. We work with carriers that write through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the administrator of the NFIP so that we can make flood coverages available to our customers.

 

1. Doesn’t my homeowners policy cover floods?

NO. Most major insurance companies  do not offer flood protection as part of their homeowners coverage. Catastrophic risks created by floods are just too costly and would raise homeowners premiums too high. The NFIP is the only way for homeowners to address the risk of flood. 

 

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Helpful Tips When Filing a Claim

When filing a claim, your insurance agent or Company Claims Representative will be able to answer specific questions you have about the claims process. In the meantime, below are some helpful tips for customers filing claims.
DO NOT MAKE PERMANENT REPAIRS:

Cover roof and valuables to prevent more damage.

Make only temporary repairs, those designed to protect your home from further damage, before a claims representative’s inspection.
KEEP RECEIPTS:

Keep receipts for temporary repairs made to protect your home from further damage. If you are unable to live in your home as a result of the damage, keep receipts for any costs incurred for additional living expenses (lodging, meals, etc.).
INVENTORY ITEMS:

 Inventory your damaged items. Include photographs and any information you have about them, such as manufacturer, model and year purchased.
KEEP DAMAGED ITEMS:

Until the claims representative’s inspection, do not discard damaged items. If the items must be disposed of due to safety hazards, be sure to take photos or video footage showing the damage.
USE ONLY LICENSED CONTRACTORS:

Inventory items in home prior to a loss.

When requesting bids for repair work, use only reputable, licensed contractors. Provide photocopies of all estimates and bids received to your claims representative, as available.
REPORT THEFT OR BURGLARY TO THE POLICE:
Before contacting your insurance agent or claims office, report theft or burglary to the police.
WATER LEAKS:

Contact a plumber to determine the source of the water leak. Your insurance agent or claims representative can recommend a water extraction company to assist with clean up and help prevent further damage.

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Tips on Choosing and Using Safe Fireworks

It is extremely important to know the difference between a legal consumer firework and a dangerous explosive device. Items such as M-80s, M-100s and blockbusters are not fireworks, they are federally banned explosives. They can cause serious injury or even death. Stay away from anything that isn’t clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer’s name and instructions for proper use. Here are some more tips to help ensure a safe Fourth of July:

Have and Fun and Safe Fourth of July!

Fireworks are not toys. Fireworks complying with strict regulations enacted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1976 function primarily by burning to produce motion and visible or audible effects. They are burning at approximately the same temperature as a household match and can cause burn injuries and ignite clothing if used improperly.

NEVER give fireworks to young children. Close, adult supervision of all fireworks activities is mandatory. Even sparklers can be unsafe if used improperly.

Select and use only legal devices. If you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, check with your local police department to determine what fireworks can be legally discharged in your area.

Stay away from illegal explosives. Illegal explosive devices continue to cause serious injuries around the Fourth of July holiday. These devices are commonly known as M-80s, M-100s, blockbusters or quarterpounders. Federally banned since 1966, these items will not contain the manufacturer’s name and are usually totally unlabeled. Don’t purchase or use unlabeled fireworks. If you are aware of anyone selling such devices, contact your local police department.

Homemade fireworks are deadly. Never attempt to make your own devices and do not purchase or use any kits that are advertised for making fireworks. Mixing and loading chemical powders is very dangerous and can kill or seriously injure you. Leave the making of fireworks to the experts.

To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offer the following safety tips:

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Have an adult present.
  • Buy from reliable sellers.
  • Use outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Stay away from illegal explosives.
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Prevent Home Fires and Carbon Monoxide Detection

 Steps You Can Take Now

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

 Cooking Safely

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

    Small kitchen fire can spread quickly to the home.

  • Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing— away from the stove.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
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Prevent and Detect Water Damage in Your Home

 1. Turn off the water and see what happens.

Here’s a simple way to determine whether you have a leak in your water system. Turn off the main water valve and then check the water meter outside your home. Is it still moving? If so, water is flowing somewhere and it’s time to investigate.

Old pipes are prone to leaks. Early detection is a must

2. Check your bill.

Has your water bill had a significant increase that you can’t account for? Even if you don’t see evidence of water damage, a large fluctuation in your water bill without a reason could be a tip off to one or more water leaks. Don’t be fooled into thinking a minor leak is a minor problem. Even the smallest leaks can turn into costly water bills and result in major damage.

3. Use detection devices.

There are devices that detect water leaks or failures of appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and sump pumps.

  • Most water sensors are inexpensive, battery-powered styles that can be installed easily by the home owner. The detection unit sounds an alarm when water is detected.
  • Other more sophisticated devices automatically shut off the water supply to the appliance or even the entire house.
  • For some of these devices, plumbers must install the special valves and electricians must wire the sensors.

4. Check your appliances.

This is where most leaks begin. A ten-minute check once a year can prevent damage that could run into the thousands of dollars.

  • At least annually, conduct a complete inspection of all water-related appliances in your home and replace any worn or damaged hoses.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain appliances and water sources in your home. It’s your best defense against damage from water-related losses.

5. Check all around the house.

Just because there is no plumbing in a room doesn’t mean there is no chance for water to find its way in. Water gets in from damaged roofs, seeps in through wet foundations, and can appear where you least expect it.

6. Understand where water damage begins.

Leaks and burst hoses and pipes are the leading cause of water damage in the home. The most common reasons for leaks and bursts are:

  • Wear and tear over time, and
  • Water pressure that is set too high, putting stress on household plumbing.
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Hurricane Hazards

The main hazards associated with tropical cyclones and especially hurricanes are storm surge, high winds, heavy rain, and flooding, as well as tornadoes. The intensity of a hurricane is an indicator of damage potential. However, impacts are a function of where and when the storm strikes. Hurricane Diane (1955) hit the northeastern U.S. and caused 184 deaths. It was only a Category 1 hurricane but the thirteenth deadliest since 1900. Hurricane Agnes (1972), also a Category 1 hurricane, ranks fifth with damages estimated at 6.9 billion when adjusted for inflation. A storm surge is a large dome of water, 50 to 100 miles wide, that sweeps across the coastline near where a hurricane makes landfall. It can be more than 15 feet deep at its peak. The surge of high water topped by waves is devastating. Along the coast, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property. Hurricane winds not only damage structures, but the barrage of debris they carry is quite dangerous to anyone unfortunate enough (or unwise enough!) to be caught out in them. Damaging winds begin well before the hurricane eye makes landfall. Tropical cyclones frequently produce huge amounts of rain, and flooding can be a significant problem, particularly for inland communities. A typical hurricane brings at least 6 to 12 inches of rainfall to the area it crosses. The resulting floods cause considerable damage and loss of life, especially in mountainous areas where heavy rains mean flash floods and can also result in devastating mudslides. Tornadoes spawned by landfalling hurricanes can cause enormous destruction. As a hurricane moves shoreward, tornadoes often develop on the fringes of the storm. These hazards can bring other consequences not directly related to the storm. For example, hurricane-related deaths and injuries are often the result of fires started by candles used when the electricity fails. Heart attacks and accidents frequently occur during the clean-up phase. And depending on the industrial facilities in your area, hurricane damage might cause chemical spills that could make the disaster even worse.

Storm Surge
Storm surge is the greatest potential threat to life and property associated with hurricanes.  A storm surge is a large dome of water, 50 to 100 miles wide, that sweeps across the coastline near where a hurricane makes landfall. It can be more than 15 feet deep at its peak. The level of surge in a particular area is primarily related to the intensity of the hurricane and slope of the continental shelf. The Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model is used by communities to evaluate storm surge threat from different categories of hurricanes striking from various directions. Because storm surge has the greatest potential to kill more people than any of the other hurricane hazards, it is wise to err on the conservative side by planning for a storm that is one category more intense than is forecast.
High Winds
Typically, the more intense the storm (in terms of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale), the more wind damage a community will sustain, particularly if it does not have an effective mitigation program and has not prepared in advance for the storm. Tropical storm-force winds (39-73 mph) can also be dangerous, and it is wise to have evacuations completed before they reach your area.
Heavy Rains
Hurricanes (and some tropical storms) typically produce widespread rainfall of 6 to 12 inches or more, often resulting in severe flooding. Inland flooding has been the primary cause of tropical cyclone-related fatalities over the past 30 years. Rains are generally heaviest with slower moving storms (less than 10 mph). The heaviest rain usually occurs to the right of the cyclone track in the period 6 hours before and 6 hours after landfall. However, storms can last for days, depending on what inland weather features they interact with. Large amounts of rain can occur more than 100 miles inland where flash floods and mudslides are typically the major threats.
Tornadoes
Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right-front quadrant of the hurricane. However, they are also often found elsewhere in the rainbands. Typically, the more intense a hurricane is, the greater the tornado threat. Tornado production can occur for days after landfall. Most tornadoes occur within 150 miles of the coast. The National Weather Service’s Doppler radar systems can provide indications of tornados from a few minutes to about 30 minutes in advance. Consequently, preparedness is critical.

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Know Your Hurricane and Be Prepared

Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.

  • A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.

Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Scale Number (Category) Sustained Winds (MPH) Damage Storm Surge
1 74-95 Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs. 4-5 feet
2 96-110 Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding. 6-8 feet
3 111-130 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off. 9-12 feet
4 131-155 Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed. Beach homes flooded. 13-18 feet
5 More than 155 Catastrophic: Most buildings destroyed. Vegetation destroyed. Major roads cut off. Homes flooded. Greater than 18 feet

Plan to Protect Property
Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.  To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself  contact your insurance professional.

In addition to insurance, you can also:

  • Cover all of your home’s windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
  • Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Install a generator for emergencies
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting www.FoodSafety.gov.
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Hurricane Preparedness Week- Develop A Family Plan

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
  • Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
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Are You Ready for Boat Season?

If you own a boat, you need boat insurance. Some people assume their homeowners policy is all they need to protect their boat. Not true. Typically, homeowners policies have limited coverage for boats and may not cover injuries or accidents while you’re on the water. To make sure you’re covered for boat injuries, theft and damage, buy a watercraft insurance policy.
Tune ups aren’t just for cars.
When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a fire extinguisher and keep it charged. Have your boat’s operating systems checked at least once a year by a certifi ed marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks. For information, go to www.vesselsafetycheck.org.
Eight out of 10 boating fatalities happen with untrained captains at the wheel.
Experts say most boating accidents could be prevented by an experienced driver. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You also can save up to 15 percent on your boat policy by completing a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
Carbon monoxide kills in minutes.
A typical boat engine puts out as much carbon monoxide as 188 automobiles – and passengers exposed to high levels can pass out within minutes. Turn off your engine when there are people in the water and don’t let passengers “ski” by holding on to the back of the boat. You also can install a carbon monoxide detector for your boat for less than $100.
Life preservers aren’t just for kids.
Hundreds of people drown in boating accidents every year – and nearly all of them were not wearing a life jacket. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board – you must wear them. In an accident, people rarely have time to reach
for a life jacket. This rule applies for adults, too; more people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. New lighter, more comfortable and attractive life jackets are available today, making it even easier to get
passengers to suit up.

Call us today for a Quote.

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