Fire Safety

A fire could be the best thing to have on those cold days, or during camping trips in summer. Then there are those mishaps that could lead to catching a building on fire. Maybe someone threw an oven mitt on a hot stove top, or perhaps toasting marshmallows using the fireplace was not the best idea. Fire has been a tool since the dawn of man. With that in mind, things that shouldn’t have caught fire seem to be the first things to combust.

In the earlier days of insurance there were accidents like there are today. The difference was that back then insured buildings would have what was called a “Fire Brand”, which was a wooden or metal plaque that showed the building was insured. Another difference was in fire safety. Before there were publicly funded fire brigades, there were multiple brigades competing for business. When an insured building would catch fire, the first brigade to douse it got paid. Resulting in arguments between these fire brigades on who got to put out the fire. Sometimes the building was not insured; in which case a brigade might leave it there for the next brigade to take care of.

That was back in the early 1900’s. We have funded fire brigades, but fire related accidents still happen. In summer there can be wild fires that spread to enormous lengths. Something that California knows all too well. We, as a California insurance service, would like to remind you of the simple truth that fire-related accidents happen. Maybe now is the time to get some homeowners insurance or small business insurance. Contact us at Sweeney & Sweeney Insurance Services to find the perfect insurance for your house or business.

Top Holiday-Related Accidents

The holidays are right around the corner! Along with all that merriness, cheer, and celebration can also come accidents. Around the holidays is one of the most accident-prone times as people are distracted and stressed. As I say over and over, knowledge is power, so here is a list of the most common accidents that occur around the holidays, so that you and your loved ones can be aware and prepare.

Did you know that poisonous plants are actually all around right now? Mistletoe, holly berries, poinsettias, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis are all dangerous when swallowed. Make sure to keep these away from where pets and children can get ahold of them. If they do get consumed, call poison control immediately.

Electrical fires are also common around this time of year as people try to over-use extension cords. You should use a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) to prevent electrical shocks and don’t plug in more than 3 strands of lights into a single extension cord, as a good rule of thumb. Also, keep cords out from underneath rugs, as this is also a common cause of fires.

Open fireplaces can cause trouble if not properly taken care of. Always make sure to have your chimney inspected at the beginning of the season before use; make sure you have a grate or screen in front to keep stray embers inside the fireplace, where they belong; and remember that only one artificial log should be used at a time. And if things do get out of hand, always use a fire extinguisher or sand. NEVER water.

Home cooking fires are also prevalent as there tend to be many things going on at once during the holidays. Take extra care to make sure all things flammable are away from the stove.

Christmas tree fires are most commonly due to a tree being too close to a heat source (i.e. a space heater or fireplace). Also make sure that if you get your tree from a lot, they cut off at least a ¼ inch disk from the bottom of the tree so that your tree will absorb the water.

Home heating fires are one of the most common accidents, especially caused by space heaters. Make sure that they are kept far away from flammable material and always turn it off when you leave the house.

Over 5000 Americans went to the hospital in 2007 for holiday decorating related falls. Make sure you’re using a stable ladder on a level surface and that you have someone there to help spot you should anything go awry.

Here’s hoping you have now been well-armed with information and that your holiday season goes along safely and cheerfully. Happy pre-holidays from everyone here at Sweeney & Sweeney!