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Baldwin / Welsh & Parker

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 23:48

Safe Driving: Look Ahead, Scan The Roads

Safe Driving Advice from Massachusetts Traffic Safety Coalition

Scanning the road ahead prepares you for hazards in advance. Try to avoid only staring at the pavement directly in front of your vehicle when traveling. Instead, spend more time focused 10-15 seconds down the road and let your peripheral vision pick up any issues immediately in front of you. By focusing further ahead you give yourself an opportunity to react to future emergencies like disabled cars, sudden braking ahead or even a pedestrian about to approach a crosswalk.

It may feel natural to want to focus on what is immediately in front of you, but it’s far safer to keep your eyes on what lies ahead. At 50 MPH you should try to scan ½ mile to a full mile down the road. This will alert you of upcoming issues and help your navigate safely before it’s too late for you to react. With practice, it will be easier and will keep you and your passengers much safer in the process. #MARoadSafety

Source: Massachusetts Road Safety

 

Friday, 26 January 2018 19:01

5 Signs That Your Slow Cooker Is Too Old

Thanks to an alarming episode of "This Is Us" on January 25th, 2018, slow cookers are panicking and wondering if theirs could cause a home fire. 

First, it's important to note that the fictional show takes place in the 1990s -- slow cooker technology has changed a lot since then. Second, the slow cooker was a used appliance that came with a warning about a tricky switch. Therefore, not all slow cookers are fire hazards.

That said, there are plenty of old or unsafe slow cookers out there. When should you replace your slow cooker? Here are four things to look for:

Friday, 26 January 2018 17:57

Do Slow Cookers Really Start Home Fires?

Can your crockpot/slow cooker really cause a fire like one did on Tuesday night’s episode of “This Is Us?”

During Tuesday's episode, Jack Pearson turned off the power switch on his old slow cooker, but did not unplug it before retiring for the night. The cooker malfunctioned, the power light flickered, and then sparks and flames engulfed the kitchen, spreading throughout the Pearson home. If you watched the episode and have been rethinking using a slow cooker, you are not alone. But let's look at some facts about what happened on the show as well as the threat of slow cooker fires.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 18:02

January Is National Radon Action Month

What Is Radon And What Are The Risks

Radon is a natuarlly occuring radioactive gas, a byproduct of uranium decay, that becomes dangerous when it builds up in your home. It escapes from soil into homes and buildings through cracks in solid floors, construction joints, wall cracks and cavities, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, and even through the water supply. Because nearly all soils contain uranium, radon is everywhere (see interactive radon map of U.S.).

You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Dangerously elevated levels can exist indoors, where it’s undetectable to human senses. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can be dangerous to your health.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon.

What is National Radon Action Month?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated January as Radon Action Month in 1999 to raise awareness of radon. In addition to raising radon awareness, this month of action is meant to encourage people to get their homes and work spaces tested for radon.

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 01:28

How To Create A Home Inventory For Insurance

Would you be able to remember all your possessions if you have a water or fire loss, or in the event of natural disaster? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. Here's how to create one.

If you're just setting up a household, starting a home inventory is relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can seem daunting—but it doesn’t have to be. Get started here.

 

Cold temperatures will affect Massachusetts for at least the next week, and we want to offer some helpful tips to protect your property from the potential of frozen pipes and other hazards this winter.

When standing water gets trapped in pipes and the temperature plummets below freezing, the frozen water expands and bursts a hole right through the pipe or breaks the pipe at its seam. As the water in pipes freezes it expands, creating as much as 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, enough to cause almost any pipe filled with water to rupture. The bad news is that a burst pipe can releases hundreds of gallons of water per hour, causing thousands of dollars in damage to repair.

So what are some signs that you might have a problem with your pipes? Here are five things to look for:

Thursday, 14 December 2017 16:46

Don’t Get Stuck in the Snow

Forty-one percent of all weather-related car crashes on U.S. roads are due to conditions involving snow, sleet, ice, and slush. Accidents caused by winter weather result in 150,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths each year, on average, according to a study by the Federal Highway Administration.

First Things First: What To Do Before It Snows

  • Before the next storm arrives, check your tire air pressure as well as tire tread. If the tread is worn, it's time to buy new tires.
  • If you drive long distances and frequently, you may want to consider snow tires for New England winter driving. Snow tires offer the best traction -- according to The Heart of New England, traction is improved by 25% in deep snow with snow tires vs. over all-season tires. (Find out how to choose snow tires.) Note that four-wheel drive vehicles, require replacement all four tires to maintain safe handling, not just the rear tires. 
  • If you drive on well plowed and maintained roads, you may get by with all-season tires that are in good condition.
  • If you drive on roads that aren't as well maintained during snow storms, an all-wheel-drive vehicle with winter tires will serve you well
  • A Consumer Reports survey indicates that most AWD drivers don’t think of adding winter tires: Of 54,295 subscribers who drove AWD or 4WD vehicles in the snow for more than six days during the winter of 2014, less than 15 percent equipped their vehicles with winter tires. The rest kept rolling on their all-season tires and took their chances. Consumer Reports strongly recommends  buying four winter tires for whatever vehicle you drive.

Is All-Wheel Drive Enough For New England Winter Driving?

All-wheel drive is perceived as a must-have for many car buyers. But can all-wheel drive really save you when there's snow and ice on the roads? It provides some benefit, but it may be insufficient to get you through a touch New England storm. All-wheel drive gets your car moving from a dead stop, but there are limitations.

According to tests done by Consumer Reports, "Through weeks of driving in snowy, unplowed conditions at Consumer Reports’ 327-acre test center in Connecticut, we found that all-wheel drive didn’t aid in braking or in certain cornering situations. Our evaluations conclusively showed that using winter tires matters more than having all-wheel drive in many situations, and that the difference on snow and ice can be significant."

 

 

Keep a snow shovel in your vehicle.

It's better to be prepared with a shovel in your vehicle. Not only will this come in handy for you, you may be a hero to those who are caught unprepared. (Speaking of preparedness, here’s a winter safety kit checklist of other items to keep in your car so you’re ready for pretty much any winter road condition.)

 

  1. Store a snow shovel in your vehicle. This is particularly handy when you're vehicle is plowed in.
  2. Keep a 20 lb. bag of clay kitty litter in the trunk of your car during the winter months. The added weight in the trunk can help stabilize you (whether or not you have rear-wheel drive), keeping you in control of your vehicle on slick roads. And if you get stuck, simply sprinkle some of the litter around each tire to provide traction in ice or snow.
  3. Turn off the car’s traction control system (usually with a button somewhere on the dashboard or console). Both drive wheels need to have traction for you to get you unstuck. These are the front tires on a front-wheel-drive and the rear tires on rear-wheel drive, AWD and 4WD vehicles. 
  4. Stay with your vehicle; it provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
  5. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window as a distress signal.
  6. If you become stranded after dark, keep the dome light on. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  7. Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. If the engine is running, a blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide fumes to leak into the passenger compartment.
  8. Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  9. If possible, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill while trying to conserve gasoline.

 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 04:07

Prevent Text Neck

Text Neck Is A Real Thing!

Spine Journal, surgeons are noticing an increase in patients with text neck—upper back and neck pain related to poor posture when using mobile devices. In fact, young patients who shouldn’t yet have back and neck issues are reporting disk hernias and alignment problems. As mobile device usage is relatively recent, such injuries are unprecedented, and doctors are worried about the effects of prolonged usage on people’s posture as they age.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 04:01

Why You Should Water Your Christmas Tree

Why You Should Water Your Christmas Tree

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