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Summer Safety Tips

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer! Time to get outdoors – whether you are swimming, grilling, or just spending time with family and friends. It's all fun and games, though, until someone gets injured. Children are often the most vulnerable. Over 3,000 children are injured as a result of outdoor BBQ grills and pool drownings continue to be a major problem. With some simple summer safety practices, you can sit back and enjoy the summer, worry-free.

Over 10,000 House Fires are Caused by BBQ Grills

​May is the second most popular month for grilling and over 70% of us will fire up the BBQ this holiday weekend. Not only can grills be a danger to your home, it sends an average of 16,600 people to the ER each year with one third of contact burns to children under 5 who have touched or bumped into the grill, according to the NFPA.

 Grilling Safety Tips:

  1. Always Use Grills Outside- Never use your grill in your home, garage, or even a tent. All grilling should take place at least 10 feet away from a building and always on a stable surface.
  2. Keep Your Grill Clean- Always remove grease or oil buildup from your grill as they can cause flareups. If you are using a charcoal grill allow your coals to cool completely (at least 48 hours) to dispose of ash. Better yet, soak them with water to ensure they are sufficiently cooled.
  3. Create a Safety Zone- Never let kids or pets near your grill. Create a perimeter of at least 3 feet around your grill where no children or pets can enter and never leave a grill unattended.
  4. Be Prepared to Put Out a Fire- Keep a fire extinguisher, baking soda, or a bucket of sand nearby to put out any fires that get out of hand. Never use water on a grease fire. vipHomeLink can help you choose the right fire extinguisher for your home. 

A Well-maintained Deck is a Safe Deck

One of the best places to entertain is your deck or patio, but remember they are subject to weather extremes throughout the year.According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 33,000 people are injured due to structural failure of their deck. Look for signs of potential danger and make sure to keep your deck in good condition:

Rotting Wood: If you see even a small patch of rotting wood, it signals that there is an issue.Replace boards with signs of rotting wood and stain your wooden deck every 1-3 years.
Rusted Connectors: Look under your deck at the nails, screws, and fasteners that are holding your deck together. If anything looks loose, rusty, or damaged replace them and it is a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your deck's structural integrity.
Mold and Mildew Growth: Besides being able to cause structural damage, mold and mildew can create slick spots which can be especially dangerous on the stairs.
Loose Railings: If your deck railings sway or wobble when they are leaned on you should call in a professional for repairs.

Tips for a Safer Pool

Drowning is the number one cause of preventable death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. If you own a home with a pool it is imperative that you take steps to keep your family and friends safe.

  1. Build a Fence: Even though there is not a national fence law for pools, many states have specific guidelines for pool enclosures. If your state does not have a mandated fence law, consider building one anyway. Experts recommend your fence should be at least 5 feet tall with a gate. The gate should open away from the pool, be self- latching, and lockable.
  2. Invest in an Alarm: You can purchase an alarm that will sound when a gate is open or one that you put in the pool that can detect motion if  someone jumps or falls into the pool. If you have children, you might want to think about getting a wearable alarm.
  3. Be on the Lookout for Slip Hazards: Check the pool area daily to make sure that all pool toys, cleaning equipment, or other potential slip hazards are put away.
  4. Keep a First Aid Kit Handy and Learn CPR: Accidents are bound to happen, but you and your guests will feel better knowing that if something does happen you are prepared to handle it.
  5. Take the Pledge: Take the Pool Safely Pledge here

Cutting your Grass Shouldn't Lead to the Emergency Room

For better or worse summer means taking care of the yard. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are an average of 250,000 injuries from lawnmowers annually. While most of these injuries are treatable, some lawnmower accidents actually result in death.Follow these tips to keep everyone safe while mowing the lawn.

  1. Do Your Reading: Read the instruction manual before operating your lawnmower.
  2. Remove Debris: Rocks, toys, and other large debris can become projectiles  be sure to remove them before mowing.
  3. Dress Properly: Be sure you are wearing the proper attire for the job which should include long pants, close-toed shoes, and hearing protection.
  4. Never Insert Hands to Remove Grass: Even if you turn your mower off the blades could still be spinning, use a broom handle to remove grass and other debris
  5.  Children Should Not Use Mowers: Never allow a child under 12 years old to use a push mower of a kid under 16 to use a riding mower. 

Add Home Security to Your Holiday Checklist

You may not be the only one who loves summer, with so many families going on vacation, the rate of burglaries increases by 11%.The amount of personal property stolen from outside a home also increases by 8% during summer. As you head into summer, this is the perfect time to install or update your home's security system. When choosing your home security system, you need to think about two major questions:  

  • Do You Want to Install the System Yourself? DIY is definitely the cheaper option, but it may limit your security system selection. You also want to be confident in your installation skills to ensure that the monitor is working.
  • Do You Want a Monitored System or an Unmonitored System? A monitored system means that a company is monitoring your home and will alert authorities if an alarm sounds. If you go with an unmonitored alarm system, you or your neighbors need to alert the authorities. 


Summer Weather Can Wreak Havoc for Homeowners

Summer isn't all sunshine, it also brings hurricane season with wind, rain and tornados that can be dangerous to you and your home.One way to be prepared is with a digital home inventory.Log the contents of your home, so if disaster hits and your property is damaged, you can easily process a home insurance claim.A home inventory is not only useful after property damage, but also in the event of a fire, burglary or even a burst pipe.One way to quickly and easily start building your home inventory is to use an App like vipHomeLink.The App lets you build an online profile for your home and your belongings.You can use the photo journal to document details, serial numbers while capturing images of your valuables and upload receipts.  

 We hope these tips help you be prepared and stay safe this summer.Time to reach for the sunscreen, a glass of lemonade and kick back and relax!

Happy summer, everyone!

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