Between Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the 4th of July, there is a lot to celebrate in the summer months. Many of these occasions call for certain traditions, such as grilling outside with family and friends and even setting off fireworks. While fireworks are illegal in Connecticut for personal use (except for sparklers and fountains), they are still legal in other states for small-party celebrations. We would never encourage the illegal use of these explosive displays in our state, but in the event that you find yourself visiting an area where it’s permitted, we’d like to provide a number of firework safety tips to prevent disaster throughout the summer festivities.
Firework Safety Isn’t Only a Precautionary Measure, it’s a Responsibility!
They are exploding devices, period:
And as such, they are very dangerous and can cause serious injury. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to find a public display. Many towns host their own state-approved shows, spending thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line fireworks that you can’t buy at the fireworks stands. So gather the family and enjoy the sizzling, awe-inspiring displays together.
Fireworks damage property and onlookers:
Every year, fire marshalls around the United States report house and grass fires caused by fireworks. You could be liable and even charged with a felony if a fire, property damage or personal injury results from a firework (legal or illegal).
Pets aren’t too keen on fireworks displays:
It’s recommended not to bring your pet to a fireworks display or to shoot fireworks near your pets. Dogs especially have ultra-sensitive hearing and loud bursts can cause heightened anxiety for them. At home, before it gets dark, put your pet in an interior room with no windows so they can’t see (and hopefully hear less) of the fireworks. Many pets become afraid of the explosions and escape from their yards on holidays that involve fireworks, so check to make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag. In addition, it is common courtesy to warn any neighbors with pets that you will be setting off fireworks in the area. This will allow them to take the proper precautions for their pets ahead of time.
Local television weather stations usually start reporting fire bans a few days before the holiday, and you can always call your local fire station. Always abide by posted warnings and bans in your local area.
Read all warning labels:
If you insist on creating your own fireworks displays, read the labels and the caution warnings to know how the fireworks will perform prior to lighting them. A responsible adult should ALWAYS supervise any fireworks. Everyone nearby should wear safety glasses. Needless to say, fireworks and alcohol don’t mix. So do your fireworks show first, then have a celebratory beer afterward.
Never give fireworks to children:
Don’t get crazy:
Remember the rule of thumb – lighting only one firework at a time, and never try to relight a “dud” firework that didn’t ignite the first time. Have a large bucket of water to douse any fires just in case. Once you have lit a single firework, back away from it quickly but carefully, as not to trip and fall in the process. And yes, we have to say it… fireworks should only be used OUTdoors and at least 50 yards away from any cars and homes.
Don’t get creative, either:
NEVER make your own fireworks. Those without the proper expertise in explosive chemicals and devices can put themselves in extreme danger. Many fingers have gotten blown off and serious injuries have occurred as a result of do-it-yourself fireworks. And don’t shoot fireworks into containers or at each other. Firework safety is about abiding by the posted instructions and not tempting fate.
We hope you take all of the above firework safety information into strong consideration to ensure happiness and safety for all of your loved ones during the summer holidays. To all Americans, we want your Independence Day to be without incident and filled with joy!
In addition to providing quality and cost-effective insurance rates for Norwich and surrounding residents, we also want our customers to stay informed on the latest news, safety, and helpful everyday tips. One of the ways we do this is through social media, so be sure to check out the Waitte’s Insurance Agency Facebook Page!
A firearm of any kind is a very serious piece of equipment. For gun owners, firearm safety should be a common sense ideology. However, the majority of gun accidents in the household occur from lack of education or not taking the proper precautions. Whether you’re already a gun owner or looking to become one, you always want to avoid a potentially deadly scenario in your home by using extreme caution and abiding by basic firearm safety protocol. This could mean the difference between protecting your family from home invaders and accidentally harming someone that you love or an innocent bystander.
Firearm Safety Tip Checklist
It doesn’t matter whether you purchase from a gun show, pawn shop, or online, you MUST register your firearm and obtain the necessary licensing. This is a legal requirement not only in case your gun goes missing, but to ensure accountability in the event your gun is used in a criminal act. Connecticut locals are strongly encouraged to research the state’s required licenses before purchasing their first gun.
Inquire at your local gun ranges, as most of them provide the customary training and safety courses for appropriately operating a firearm. As important as it is to earn the proper certifications, it’s even more crucial to pay attention and truly learn what is needed to keep you and your family safe with a gun in your home.
Preferably in a locked vessel such as a safe, hide your firearm securely and out of reach of children or those who it is not registered to. Always keep your gun unloaded with the safety trigger on. Additionally, ammunition should be hidden separately away from the gun. These practices will help avoid an accidental discharge and will make it more difficult for intruders to get their hands on a loaded weapon.
Handling the Firearm:
Safely handling a firearm will be discussed in-depth in your training courses, but we still want to stress the topic. Guns should always be in “safety” mode whenever they are in your possession. Furthermore, your shooting index finger should never hover around the trigger until the moment you intend to shoot it. Always keep the barrel of the gun pointed down towards the ground until you’re ready to fire. *Rule of thumb – NEVER point your weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy just in case of an accidental discharge.
Cleaning the Firearm:
This is significant for a few reasons. A poorly maintained and dirty firearm will not always fire correctly. Because of this, many misfires and backfires can occur, causing damage to the weapon and possible injury to anyone around. Any firearm should be thoroughly cleaned inside and out before each use. And just like how it is suggested to be stored, your gun should always be unloaded with the safety on whenever you are cleaning it. Even if you remove the magazine, a single bullet may be loaded into the chamber of the gun; so double, triple and quadruple check to ensure it is completely unloaded.
When to Take It Out:
Most people purchase a gun to protect their families and homes from criminals in or around their property. The hope is that the weapon will never need to be used for this reason, but an immediate threat is one of only a few instances in which it should be taken out. The other reasons would be to clean it or to go shooting at a gun range. Whenever transporting a firearm to a gun range, it should be secured in a locked vessel and stored in the trunk of your car.
Who Should Have Access to it?
Only those with the required licenses and training should ever access your personal firearm. Never lend it out to anyone unless it is within the confines of a range. No weapon should ever be put into the hands of a child. Children are more likely to be killed or injured by a firearm accidentally than from a criminal act. It may be tempting to some to show off their newly-purchased handgun, but it should only be handled by its owner.
Firearm safety is the number one responsibility any gun owner to avoid harm to themselves, their families and their property. Yes, gun incidents can also lead to damage to your home, which in turn, leads to unnecessary insurance claims. Accidents in the home can arise out of nowhere, so you don’t want to just protect yourself physically but also financially with sufficient homeowner’s insurance. In the market for new coverage? We’re always happy to help!
So you say you’ve never had to file any homeowner’s insurance claims. (knock on wood!) If you fall into this category, then you’re one of the fortunate ones. However, as long as you’re aware that disasters can occur at any moment, you’re more prone to take precautions to lessen the blow whenever the need to file a claim may pop up. Even the most common damages or injuries that occur inside or around the home can be minimalized with a few simple preventative measures. Check out some of the ways you can decrease the likelihood of having to file a claim on your home.
Prevent Damage, Injury, and Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Against…
With a lack of caution, unpredictable weather such as wind, rain, hail, snow and other storms can force the need to file homeowner’s insurance claims.
– Purchase and install storm doors and windows. Always keep them securely locked during any type of storm.
– Prepare proper storage for outdoor furniture, lawn ornaments, potted plants, or any light-weight yard items. Things such as deck tables or potted plants can not only get damaged themselves but can become dangerous when thrown around by extremely high winds.
– Lightning can also pose a threat. Install lightning rods to avoid as many lightning strikes as possible. Use surge protectors and unplug unnecessary electronics during a storm.
– During the winter, accumulated snow can wreak havoc on homes, especially those with flat roofs. Clear off your roof any time there is snowfall. Just a foot of snow can weaken a flat roof to the point of collapse.
– Hire a licensed professional to trim any tree branches that hang over your home. Branches can become weakened and snap from intense winds or added weight from snowfall.
Water damage is not typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance; therefore, you often need a separate policy.
– Rain gutters should be relatively new and installed securely. Aim gutter reservoirs as far away from your home’s foundation as possible. Clear all gutters of leaves, mud and other debris at least twice a year to allow water to flow easily.
– Regularly inspect outdoor water hoses, spouts and other things that discharge water. Pay attention to details while looking for wet spots or leaks.
– Have your roof inspected annually, as the smallest leak can quickly escalate into a much larger problem.
– Seek professional assistance at the first sight of leaks coming from your sinks, toilets, showers, or other indoor piping. Especially in regards to plumbing, repairs will only increase in cost and aggravation the longer you put them off.
Fire damage to your home can be devastating, but it is also one of the most preventable disasters.
– Unplug electronics when they are not in use.
– Damaged electrical cords should be replaced immediately.
– Keep furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and other heat sources properly maintained and far away from flammable objects and furniture. Never leave heating sources or flames, such as candles, unattended.
– For smokers, try to smoke outside whenever possible. In case you do smoke indoors, thoroughly extinguish your cigarette/cigar
and its ashes with water. Never smoke when you are sleepy.
– Set a timer with an alarm whenever using an oven, stovetop or grill to remind you that it is on. Never wear loose-fit clothing when cooking.
– Keep all lighters and flame sources stored away and out of reach of children.
– Connecticut state law requires smoke detectors to be installed on each floor of your home. As an extra precaution, install these detectors in each bedroom as well. Test them every month to make sure they are working properly.
– Store fire extinguishers at each end of the house. Check their gauges monthly and replace them right away if they are inoperable. (see image on right)
If someone is injured on your property, you may be liable depending on the circumstances.
– Clear all ice/snow from walkways and doorsteps during the winter.
– Rearrange electrical chords, furniture or other objects that can be a tripping hazard.
– Replace any loose or broken floorboards, stairs, handrails or driveway divots that can cause injury.
– Swimming pools should be completely fenced in with a locking gate.
– Properly secure any hanging decorations or furniture that can potentially fall and injure someone.
– Dog owners can be liable if their pet bites someone on your property. The best solution for this is to properly train your dog to not be aggressive, but if that is not in the cards, keep your dog fenced in your yard and display a “Beware of Dog” sign on the fence.
Prevention is key! It doesn’t require a lot of effort to safeguard your home and side-step the most common homeowner’s insurance claims. In some instances, your home may require additional coverage in the form of a Personal Umbrella. If you believe this might be the case for you, please contact us today for a quote!
Beautiful spring weather has finally arrived in Connecticut! With the temperatures beginning to climb, more and more people are hitting the not-so-open road. Although it is always the right time to practice road safety, with the increased number of motorists on roadways, it is even more important to be careful and vigilant. One of the easiest and most important ways you can stay safe on the road is by following Connecticut seat belt laws. For those who are unclear as to the laws in place within the state, we’d like to provide a thorough reminder.
Front Seat Use:
Anyone driving a car in Connecticut MUST wear a seat belt by law. Similarly, anyone who is a front seat passenger must also be secured in the car with a seat belt. This law must be followed by anyone who is in the front seat of a car, regardless of age or level of driving experience.
Drivers between the ages of 16-17 must always wear a seatbelt. Every passenger in their car must also wear a seatbelt when the teen is driving. Any driver or passenger found guilty of not following this law is subject to a fine of $75.
If your car has a two-part seat belt system, both the shoulder strap and lap belt must be engaged when you are operating the car. If the shoulder strap fastens automatically, you need to still be sure to manually fasten the lap belt. Wearing just one part of the seat belt is unsafe and therefore prohibited by Connecticut law.
Air bags are a safety feature that have become standard equipment in most new cars. However, if your car is equipped with an air bag, it does not make you exempt from wearing a seat belt. Seat belts and airbags work in tandem to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of an accident. Although airbags will protect you from injury if you hit the steering wheel, seat belts are designed to protect you during side impacts or if the car rolls over.
Connecticut Seat Belt Laws For Children:
Children under the age of 16 need to abide by the following restraint and safety system guidelines.
Misconceptions Regarding Seat Belts:
Seat belts have been around for a long time, but there are still many misconceptions that perpetuate regarding them, often fueled by those opposed to them. Your best ammunition against this misinformation is to have the facts. Here are some common seat belt misconceptions along with rationale to disprove them.
1. Misconception: I can get trapped inside a car if I’m wearing a seat belt
Fact: Seat belts can be released in mere moments. In fact, it takes less than a second. In the rare event that you are in an accident that forces your car underwater, wearing a seat belt may prevent you from hitting your head and being knocked unconscious. So, your chances of escaping improve with the belt.
2. Misconception: Seat belts are only good for long trips but not for everyday driving around town.
Fact: Statistically, most accidents that happen occur within 25 miles of one’s own home. Furthermore, the majority of accidents occur on roads where the posted speed limit is no more than 45 mph. Wearing a seat belt is every bit as important when you are driving throughout your neighborhood than it is when you are out on the open highway.
3. Misconception: Some people who are in accidents and not wearing seat belts are thrown out of the car and walk away uninjured.
Fact: If you are in an accident, you have a better chance of survival if you stay in the vehicle. Wearing a seat belt can keep you in the car rather than being thrown out of it and potentially into the path of another vehicle or something equally as dangerous.
4. Misconception: If my vehicle gets hit on the side, I am better off being thrown from the vehicle and away from the point of impact.
Fact: When a vehicle is hit on the side, anything in the vehicle that is not secured (including the passenger) will move toward the side of the crash, not away from it. It is better to be fastened in by a seat belt to reduce the chance of being thrown anywhere.
5. Misconception: I can brace myself at slow speeds.
Fact: A head-on crash at speeds as slow as 25 mph has an impact similar to that of a bicycle slamming into a brick wall. It is simply impossible to brace yourself for an impact of that nature.
Connecticut seat belt laws were created to keep drivers protected. By not following them every time you depart in your car, you not only risk legal ramifications but also the safety of yourself and any passengers with you. So enjoy the wonder of spring in the air and start planning that road trip… responsibly!
Not abiding by Connecticut seat belt laws is just one way you could end up in financial hot water. You also need to have adequate insurance coverage. If you’re in the market for a new insurance policy, we are happy to help you get started!
With boat season rapidly approaching, buying a boat and hitting the open water is more tempting than ever. As wonderful as the idea of going nautical sounds, (especially in Connecticut) purchasing a boat comes with a laundry list of factors to strongly consider. Much like investing in an automobile or a home, first-time boat buyers will want to do their homework before making any hefty investments. For those with little-to-no experience in this process, we have compiled a checklist of items that can help take the angst and guess-work out of choosing the right watercraft for your needs.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Boat For the First Time:
Where You Live
Let’s be honest, if you live miles and miles away from the nearest lake or port, chances are you won’t get the most bang for your buck. If you’re nowhere near water, you will need to consider transporting the boat. Calculate the costs of traveling far distances while towing a boat. Plan out exactly where, when and how often you will be boating to make sure you get the proper permits for that area ahead of time.
Just like a car, your boat can turn into an expensive toy quickly. Using the 30-70 rule will help you create a budget. 30 percent of your money will go to the boat itself, while 70 percent will go towards things like:
- – Gas
- – Transportation
- – Boat Accessories
- – Storage
- – Training Courses
- – License Requirements
- – Repairs
- – Insurance
New or Used
While a new boat can feel like the best purchase, you should consider where you live, and how you’re going to use the boat. If you’re a first-time buyer with no experience with boats, getting a used boat is probably the wiser choice. Your budget should factor into whether you buy new or used also. Aside from being a lottery winner and splurging on the latest boat model, start small and work your way up until you have a few years of experience under your belt.
Use of Boat
What will be the main purpose of your boat? For fishing enthusiasts, you’ll want to be realistic as to how often you will be going out and the type of fishing you will be doing. Those who tend to only fish a handful of times a year may be advised to invest is something much smaller such as a rowboat. But if the plan is to indulge in other activities like water skiing or tubing, then investing in something larger will probably be getting your money’s worth.
Licenses and Training
A lot of Connecticut boating courses can be completed in a single day’s time and are usually on the weekends. The cost of classes can vary, so check for classes in your area to register for your preferred date and time. Local fishing licenses are also mandatory wherever and whenever you cast your line. Not complying with the proper state licensing can land you in a world of financial and possibly legal distress, so make the necessary efforts before making any boat purchase.
Attend Boat Shows
Attend a boat show is one of the best ways that first-time buyers can get an idea of the type of boat they want. Not only can you browse through countless makes and models, but there are a ton of knowledgeable people with years of experience that can help you with any questions you have. Be sure to pick their brain and learn as much as you can. Browse through boat shows in Connecticut this year to find the one nearest you to make the process of buying a boat a lot less stressful.
Find the Right Insurance
Once you have selected that perfect watercraft for your particular needs, contact our office to choose the best possible insurance policy. It’s not only a state requirement to be insured on the water, but also a means of protecting yourself and your assets.
If you’re tired of being a land lubber and are thinking of buying a boat for the first time this season, Waitte’s Insurance Agency wants to help determine the most practical insurance premium to fit your budget. You can even receive a FREE Rate Quote by filling out a simple form.