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cooking-safety

Download Our Cooking Safety Guide

The kitchen is considered by many as the heart of the home, the place where family and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company and delicious food.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we want all of your gatherings to be safe and joyful.

With an average of 455 fires daily, according to the National Association of Fire Prevention, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire-related injuries.

Below are seven safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe so you can enjoy what matters most…the food, friends, and family!

1. Be Attentive:  33%* of all kitchen fires happen when food is left unattended causing 49%* of all kitchen fire-related deaths. Whether you are roasting, grilling, simmering, or frying, always remain in the vicinity. Be sure to check on your food frequently and always turn off the oven or range if you are not in the home.

2. Be Alert: While wine is delicious when used in your favorite recipes, it is not a good idea to consume alcohol while cooking. Your judgment may become impaired, and you will be more likely to leave the food unattended, or you may forget to turn off the range or the oven. If you feel sleepy, it is best not to cook anything which involves heat. Wait until you are well rested to don your chef hat and start simmering.

3. Clear the Area: Have you ever carelessly tossed a dish towel on the counter? Dish towels and other items that are too close to the stove or cooking area pose a fire hazard.   10%* of all kitchen fires and 23%* of associated deaths are caused by flammable items being too close to the cooking area. Organizing the area surrounding your range before you begin cooking will minimize the risk of a cooking fire.

4. Know What to Do:  In the event of a kitchen fire, there are a few things you need to know. It is advisable to get out of the house and call 911 immediately. Cooking fires cause 55%* of all kitchen related fire injuries where civilians attempt to fight the fire by themselves.

5. Service and Maintain Your Stove: Most cooking fires involve the use of the stove and to minimize the risk of fire it is essential that the oven is cleaned on a regular basis. Most stoves offer a self-cleaning setting, use this to keep the inside free of grease and other hazardous materials. After cooking, be sure to clean the range and the oven thoroughly. When necessary, have your stove serviced to be sure that all components are in working order.

6. Kid-Free Zone: Just in case your little ones get a little too curious, it is good practice to establish a kid-free zone around all preparation and cooking areas.

7. Download Our Cooking Safety Guide: click this link to download the guide, share with all family members and keep a copy in your kitchen.

Follow these simple safety tips so that you can enjoy each meal with your family and friends in safety. At OceanPoint Insurance, we wish you and your inner chef a safe and delicious cooking experience.

*Source: National Fire Prevention Association

It’s the Holiday Season – a magical time – Christmas trees are all aglow as families enjoy this festive time of year.  However, at OceanPoint Insurance, we have the safety of you and your family in mind during this special season.  Often, many people forget that holiday candles, lights, and trees can cause dangerous household fires.

Here are 5 tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this season:

1) Electrical Safety:

Electrical problems cause one out of every four Christmas tree fires. When you take your holiday lights out of storage, always inspect your lights for frayed wires or any other types of physical damage. When plugging in the lights check each outlet for any cracks or burns, if you do see damage on your outlets consult with a certified electrician.

It is advisable to replace your holiday lights every few years because the old lights may become damaged with use and storage.

When storing your tree lights, be sure they are not in a placed in an area where they may rust or corrode.

When you leave your home, always turn off the holiday lights, this will reduce the risk of a fire.

2) Tree Placement

The most important consideration when placing your tree should be fire safety. Keep the tree away from all heat sources: be sure that the tree is not near a wood stove, electrical heater, portable heat source, open flame, etc.

3) Decorations and Tree Care

Consider using non-flammable decorations to reduce the risk of fire.

Fill the tree stand with water and check it daily. Be sure to fill up as needed; this will prevent the tree from drying out. A dry tree is significantly more likely to catch on fire, see video below:

4) Candle Safety

There is nothing quite like the aroma of ‘Balsam Fir’ circulating the house during the holidays. However, candles do have an open flame, and seasonally scented candles are accountable for 1 in 4 house fires. Be sure to keep the candles in a place where the flame can not reach any flammable objects. Also, make sure there is nothing that can fall into or near a lit candle.

Come up with a way such as setting the alarm on your watch or smart device to remind yourself to blow the candles out at night or when you leave home.

5) Fire Alarms

Now is a great time to think about the functionality of your home’s fire alarms. Have they been tested recently to ensure that they are in working order?

This test is simple and typically involves pushing the ‘test’ button on your alarms.  It is an easy task that can save lives.

Our OceanPoint Insurance team would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season. We are looking forward to welcoming in a new year!

Did you know that a standard homeowners insurance policy may not cover problems arising from a poorly maintained home? A home maintenance program will safeguard your home against these risks. Here is a selection of tips from our OceanPoint team to keep your home well maintained and in compliance with a typical homeowners insurance policy

  • Check your roof regularly for missing or damaged shingles. A regular roof inspection can help avoid costly water damage from roof leaks.
  • home insurance sump pumpMake sure that the sump pump in your basement is working correctly, check regularly and consider installing a battery back up in case of prolonged power outage.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your home’s gutters and downspouts. Water seepage can cause damage to walls and cracks in the foundation.
  • Termites can cause significant structural damage to your home and are not covered by homeowners insurance. Have your home professionally inspected on a regular basis, and treated immediately at the first sign of any termites.
  • Old or poorly maintained pipes and plumbing can cause water damage to your home. Carefully check for any cracks are damage to your pipes regularly. It is essential that you familiarize yourself where the central water shut off is in your home. In case of a burst pipe or damaged hose, it is imperative that you shut the water off immediately.
  • If you have a deck on your home, make sure you regularly inspect its structure. Older decks can buckle and collapse if not properly maintained. Poorly maintained decks can be hazardous, especially if there are a lot of people on the structure.
  • Home maintenanceThe application of caulk is a great way to prevent water damage from leaky windows and doors and will also insulate your house. It is inexpensive and convenient. Caulking window and door frames can help keep your home watertight, warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • Clean out your dryer’s lint trap and the exhaust duct regularly. When lint builds up in these areas, there is the potential for fire; this is an easily preventable catastrophe.
  • Inadequately maintained chimneys are one of the most common causes of structure fires. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year to prevent the possibility of a deadly and costly fire in your home.

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from disasters that impact your home but you are expected to properly maintain your home.  Neglectful home maintenance may lead to wear and tear that can potentially lead to bigger problems that may not be covered by your policy.

Your home is a significant investment. Continuously maintain and protect this investment with these easy and cost-effective tips.

Our team at OceanPoint is always available to provide cost savings advice as well as ways to reduce your risk for damage or loss.

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RI Hurricane SeasonNew Englanders are no strangers to the dangers, expenses and inconveniences that hurricanes can bring to our shores. These massive storms grow rapidly as they travel over warm ocean waters and can wreak havoc more than 100 miles inland. Heavy winds, micro-bursts and occasionally tornadoes can tear off roofs and uproot trees; and excessive rain can cause significant flooding. Entire power grids can be down for days. These storms are no joke, and our OceanPoint Insurance team wants you and your family to stay safe!

Hurricane season peaks in September, which is just around the corner. Here’s what you and your family need to know to stay safe and secure during this hurricane season:

  • Consider how you and your family can receive weather notifications this hurricane season. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are one way that state and local public safety officials can keep you informed. WEAs resemble text messages but will have a unique sound and vibration. There is no charge for these messages, and you do not have to subscribe to receive them. If you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program, you will receive these alerts. (More than 100 wireless service providers, including all of the largest carriers, do.)

To learn more about WEAs, please visit the FCC’s website or view the short video below.

  • Make a shelter plan with your family. These plans should include where to take shelter if you are at home or if you are at work during a hurricane. Consider making a plan for during the storm and also an extended “after the storm” plan. Make sure your home is secure and storm ready if you decide to hunker down during the hurricane and ensure that you have enough food and bottled water for an extended period. Many people in Rhode Island were without electricity for up to seven days during the most recent storms, and those in rural areas were also without a water supply throughout the duration. Also, familiarize yourself with the locations of public hurricane and storm shelters in your area. If the storm damages your home, either move to a storm shelter or make arrangements to stay with other family members or friends.

To learn more, download ‘How To Prepare For A Hurricane’

  • RI Hurricane SeasonConsider special circumstances that might affect your choice of shelter during and after a hurricane. Do you have pets? Does anyone in your household have medical needs that might require prescriptions or special equipment? Does anyone in your family have special dietary needs? Are your family’s important documents and papers in a safe and waterproof place that is easily accessible in case of emergency evacuation?
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan and make sure every member of your household has a copy of it. This plan should include household information, emergency meeting place information, out-of-town contacts and other important contact numbers and information that your family might need in case of an emergency.

Download FEMA’s Family Emergency Plan guidelines.

  • Practice your Emergency Plan with the members of your household. This is very important for two reasons. First, it can take out some of the anxiety of having to execute the plan during an actual emergency. Secondly, you may find kinks or things you may not have considered before implementing the Family Emergency Plan in a real hurricane situation that can be addressed and revamped to ensure a safe and effective Family Emergency Plan.

Check your town’s website (Rhode Island or Massachusetts to develop an understanding of your local emergency preparedness plans.

Hurricanes are just part of life when it comes to being a New Englander.  Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe during this hurricane season!  Also, take the time to make sure your home and belongings are adequately insured and pay particular attention to Flood Insurance.  Our team of agents can walk you through to ensure that your insurance policy will cover you in the aftermath of a hurricane.

List of Hurricane Resources

To learn more about WEAs, please visit the FCC’s website or view the short video below.

For Rhode Island

For Massachusetts

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lawnmower safetyThe summer season is upon us, and it is time to get outdoors! Backyard BBQ’s, kids running through the yard, gatherings with family and friends, are just some of the many reasons to get your yard looking pristine. Mowing the lawn is essential to achieve that maintained appearance. It also wards off ticks and other pesky summer bugs. Mowing the lawn can be a dangerous task if you are not careful. Approximately 75,000 people endure mowing related injuries, most of which could have been prevented.

Here are 3 tips to keep you safe when mowing the lawn!

1. Read the Owners Manual and Maintain Your Mower:
Reading the manual seems like the obvious thing to do, however, many will still begin mowing their lawn without learning about the machine first. Knowing your mower will not only keep you safe, but it will also allow you to recognize when maintenance is needed. A dull blade or frayed wires may pose a risk to you as you cut the lawn. Regular maintenance to your lawnmower will reduce the risk of injury significantly.

2. Prepare the Area:
The mower blade operates at a high rate of speed and can throw unseen objects that come in contact with the rotating blade quite far,  this may cause injury to yourself or to those nearby.  Take the time to walk the area and remove anything that the mower can toss about such as rocks, branches, debris etc.

3. Dress for Safety:
It may be a hot day, but dressing for the weather can also increase your risk of injury. Sandals and shorts do not provide the protection you will need from the mower blade and from anything that is thrown from under the mower. It is wise to dress in long pants and shirts as well as steel-toed boots. Although you may be hot in the sun, you will be well glad to know you are protected from unnecessary harm.

Follow these lawnmower safety tips and your lawn will be looking pristine, and you will be able to enjoy all the outdoor fun that summer weather provides!

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home insurance sump pumpAh, spring! We New Englanders have made it through another winter. As the temperature rises, snowstorms turn into rainstorms. In this transitional time, however, the ground has not yet thawed, and as those rainstorms persist, all that water needs to go somewhere.

Due to the laws of gravity, water will go from high ground to low ground. The result: basements become flooded with inches, sometimes feet, of water.

A flooded basement can cost homeowners hundreds to thousands of dollars, even with homeowners’ insurance. Appliances, carpeting, stored valuables can all become ruined. Furthermore, if flood clean up is not conducted correctly, mold can present a health issue,

According to NOAA, the cost of flood damage in the US last year was over $3 billion!

So how do homeowners avoid flooded basements in this rainy season? The best solution is the sump pump which is a small water pump that is placed in the lowest part of a house, typically, the basement or crawlspace. When a basement starts to fill with water, the sump pump will remove unwanted water from the building. These little gems can cost between $1,000-$1500 to install which is a small price to pay in comparison to the damage caused by a flooded basement, or home.

While sump pumps are a great solution, they are not so great when the electricity supply stops because they will stop pumping water.

home insurance sump pump

When a storm hits, the potential for power loss can be a significant issue for the home or business owner.

If your neighborhood is prone to losing power, you may want to make sure that your sump pump has a backup battery. This will buy you a few more hours of pumping time after the electricity goes out, which can make a significant difference between being flooded or not.

However, if you’re on a municipal water system,  you may want to consider a water-powered backup pump.  This may be a better option as a well pump won’t work if the power’s out. The price you’ll pay for water consumption during a power outage is a minimal compared with the cost of a flooded basement.   Additionally, a water-powered pump never needs new batteries.

When New England gets hit with a storm, we usually get hit pretty hard, it is not unusual to lose power for several days which would exceed the life of a backup battery rendering the sump pump useless, and that is when the damage, and costs, start piling up.

Some homeowners take it to the next level and install a whole house generator which turns on automatically in the event of power failure. These generators are wired to the sump pump, and other needed appliances, to ensure that the home does not flood during a storm.

By taking a few precautionary steps, you can protect your home from flood damage and yourself from the headaches of dealing with flooding. Take our advice, plan for the worst and prepare your sump pump for an extended power outage!

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Fluctuating temperatures in New England could be bad news for homeowners. Homeowners may not realize that frozen pipes have the potential for causing significant damage while they are thawing, but OceanPoint Insurance has some suggestions on immediate actions you can take that may save you thousands of dollars.

After surviving the recent cold spell, many people across Rhode Island may be under the false impression that a frozen pipe will simply defrost in the warmer days. If you wake up to any cold morning and find that your water isn’t running, consider taking the actions below to potentially prevent further damage to your home.

  • Shut off the main water valve to relieve pressure from your water supply lines.
  • Turn on the faucet that is connected to the line which you suspect is frozen.
  • Turn up the thermostat in your home, and open all the cabinets that have hidden pipes.
  • Look for the pipe that may be blocked. You can identify a frozen pipe if it looks bulgy, has frost or ice.
  • Once the frozen pipe is found, use a hair dryer, space heater or heating tape to warm the pipe before it has a chance to burst. You can leave the heating tape for future purposes, connecting it to an outlet only when necessary.
  • When thawing the frozen pipes, do not use an open flame or heat gun because it can potentially melt your pipes or accidently start a fire in your home.
  • If these suggestions don’t resolve your issue, call a professional plumber who can fix the issue and can give you solutions to prevent frozen pipes from reoccurring.

The formation of ice can place over 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on, and if left unattended can rupture your pipes and spill hundreds of gallons of water per hour. OceanPoint Insurance understands that unexpected things can happen, but you can take steps to reduce your chances of experiencing this unfortunate winter issue.

Committed to protecting you and your family from any loss, OceanPoint Insurance agents are available when you need us. Visit one of our locations to speak with an agent about your insurance needs, or to learn about other safety topics at https://www.oceanpointins.com/

 

 

 

 

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In addition to staying informed regarding the current forecast, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency offers a winter preparedness guide that can help protect you while you are at home or on the road. RIEMA also notes that winter weather is ‘deceptive.’ Many deaths that occur this time of year are indirectly related to the weather such as fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents; heart attacks from over exhaustion while removing snow; and from house fires where families are warming up their homes with unattended space heaters.

You can also help safeguard your family during the extreme cold by reading this guide on the essential items you should have before a storm arrives. OceanPoint would also like to remind you that extreme cold can also wreak havoc on your property as well. We urge you to review this guide, provided by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, on how to prevent frozen pipes.

Thanksgiving Dinner

As you arrange the dinner table and prepare to greet guests on Thanksgiving, consider keeping an eye on the stove because home-cooking fires peak on this national holiday. Every year, thousands of properties catch fire costing millions in damages.

“With statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration suggesting that Thanksgiving fires are directly related to the cooking aspect of the holiday, there are several things hosts can do to eliminate fire hazards,” said Doug Mayhew, President and CEO of OceanPoint Insurance. “One mistake many individuals make is in trying to control the fire, which puts not only themselves at risk, but also the safety of their family.”

Thanksgiving will remain a popular holiday in the United States for many years to come, but OceanPoint Insurance encourages you to read these Thanksgiving fire safety precautions that could help make the holiday a little safer.

Stay close to the stove

With some turkeys taking over four hours to fully cook in the oven, many hosts leave the kitchen to entertain guests. This is one of the leading contributors of fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Although it may seem inconvenient, remember your guests are there to spend time with you and your family so it’s likely they’ll want to join you in the kitchen if you simply ask.

Keep flammable items away

While 72 percent of fires on Thanksgivings can be attributed to cooking, flammable cloths and other fire hazards can exacerbate a fire. Hosts and people near the stove should avoid wearing loose fitting clothes when dealing with flaming pots because clothes can easily catch on fire. Keep an eye out for flammable objects near the stovetop such as towels or wooden spoons as well.

Have a potluck

With hosts cooking multiple dishes at the same time, it’s no coincidence that fires emerge from overcooked food items. Hosts can reduce the chance of a home fire by asking guests to bring in a dish. This allows hosts to place their undivided attention on cooking the turkey. By asking guests to bring in food, they may also feel more involved on this festive holiday.

Make sure all fire alarms are working 

While many homes are equipped with fire alarms, nearly three out of five deaths from home fires occurred in homes where the alarm was not working properly.  If you have to step out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving, a working fire alarm could give you or your guests ample warning to evacuate the home. It’s a small detail worth covering before Thanksgiving that could save someone’s life.

Although most Thanksgiving fires are covered under homeowners insurance, there is no amount of money that can reimburse damaged relationships or loss of life. With Thanksgiving around the corner, OceanPoint Insurance hopes you heed these fire safety precautions to keep your family safe this November. For other ways to protect your family, speak with an OceanPoint Insurance agent at (401) 847-5200 or send us an email at info@oceanpointins.com.

Here are some facts about flood insurance

From Texas to Florida and then Puerto Rico, this year has seen a barrage of hurricanes that have crippled residents’ properties. The collective damage of these storms will likely exceed $250 billion, according to economists.

Adam Kamins, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, suggested to CNN Money that there are hidden costs in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. But the most surprising detail to come to light is that less than 1 percent of homeowners in Puerto Rico and roughly 15 percent of Corpus Christi residents had flood insurance — many will have to rely on federal loans to rebuild their homes.

It’s obvious that hurricanes can cause flooding, but flooding can occur in other ways like the 2010 New England rainstorm that left Rhode Islanders with waterlogged roads and damaged structures. Natural disasters like this will happen again, and it’s important to understand why flood insurance is worth every penny.

Here are some important facts about flood insurance you may not know:

—Floods are generally not covered in regular homeowners insurance. Longtime homeowners may know this, but new home buyers may not know that flood insurance needs to be added to your package separately.

—Floods happen everywhere, regardless of whether your home is in a low-risk area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency notes that 20 percent of claims occur in areas with low to moderate flood risks. This might explain why Rhode Islanders were so devastated by the 2010 rainstorm.  And it might also explain why thousands of Texans weren’t carrying adequate flood insurance.

—Flood insurance premiums vary by area, but premium averages for Rhode Island and many other New England regions are the highest in the nation due to several factors. An OceanPoint Insurance agent can sit down with you and help you find the best rates available.

—Don’t wait for the weather forecast before buying flood insurance because most insurers have a 14 to 30-day waiting period before it can be implemented.

OceanPoint Insurance is ready to assist you in developing a customized insurance package that meets your needs. By ensuring that you are completely covered in the event of a catastrophic loss like the ones we’ve recently witnessed, you can rest assured knowing that your family is protected.

To find out more about flood insurance, give us a call at 401-847-5200, or send us an email at info@oceanpointins.com.