STAYING SAFE DURING AND AFTER HURRICANE IRENE: AVOID DANGEROUS DEBRIS AND OFFERS TIPS FOR SAFE GENERATOR USE!
After the storm passes, residents should be extremely careful as they assess damage and sort through wreckage.
As Hurricane Irene passes through your area and then moves on, many dangerous situations can be avoided, advises the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). One of the biggest threats as a hurricane passes through urban areas – aside from storm surge/flooding – will be broken glass, trees, and other types of dangerous debris, such as downed power lines, pieces of buildings, and signs.
“All we have to do is look at what happened in Houston following 2008’s Hurricane lke to see what kind of damage can be done by high winds with significant gusts in a downtown area. Because downtown Houston was west of Ike's eye, it was spared from the highest winds. In the downtown area, Ike’s gusts topped out at about 90 mph (based on 33 ft height in open terrain) and still blew out many, many windows in tall buildings,” said Dr. Tim Reinhold, senior vice president of research and chief engineer of IBHS.
“The wind speeds at higher elevations will be faster, and high-rise buildings can bring those intense winds down toward street level. Everyone in urban areas where there are tall buildings should stay indoors and away from windows during the storm. The streets will likely be very dangerous with flying glass and other heavy or jagged debris,” he explained.
After the storm passes, residents should be extremely careful as they assess damage and sort through wreckage because there may be a lot of glass from broken windows, downed power lines, and other dangerous debris.
Power outages mean many residents and businesses will be using generators, which pose certain risks of their own. These risks, which include fire, damage to electrical equipment, and even injury or death must be addressed for safe operation. The following guidelines are essential to the safe use of a generator:
- Proper ventilation is critical to reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a gasoline-powered generator’s engine exhaust. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a common, serious danger that can cause death if generators are used improperly; this is particularly true when the fuel is not burned completely.
- Never use generators indoors or outside near windows, vents, or air intakes that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Maintain plenty of air flow space around the generator. - Get fresh air immediately if you begin to feel flu like symptoms, sick, dizzy or light-headed.
- Because CO is invisible and odorless, if possible, business and/or building owners should get and use a CO detector to warn of rising CO levels.
- Carefully follow all instructions on properly “grounding” the generator.
- Keep the generator dry. If needed, place the generator under an open canopy type structure. Short circuits may occur in wet conditions; this can cause a generator fire.
- When it comes to generator fuel,
- store fuel in an approved container or holding tank designed for such use;
- only use fuel that is specifically recommended in the owner’s manual;
- never store fuel indoors;
- do not keep fuel near the generator while the generator is in use – this could start a fire;
- never refuel the generator while it is running; and,
- always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
- To avoid electric shock or electrocution, do not try to fix or otherwise work on a generator without following standard lock out, tag out procedures prescribed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure that the generator power supply is off and may not be accidentally turned on.
- Keep cords out of the way to avoid injury, but also keep cords in plain view to keep track of cord damage (such as fraying or cuts) that could cause a fire.
- Do not “back feed” power into your electrical system by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.
- Back feeding will put you and others, including utility line workers, at serious risk because the utility transformer can increase low voltage from the generator to thousands of volts.
- Some states have laws making the generator owner responsible for taking steps to make sure that the generator’s electricity cannot feed back into power lines; also, owners of commercial, industrial, or residential generator must notify the local utility of their locations.
- The exterior portions of a generator, even if operated for only a short period of time, can become hot. Avoid touching the generator without protective gear and keep debris clear to avoid a fire.
For more information on how to secure your property from further loss, visit DisasterSafety.org
Common sense tips for ensuring your and your vehicles safety during severe weather conditions from Plymouth Rock!
- In a hurricane or heavy tropical winds/rains situation, stay off the roads; use public transportation whenever possible if you must be out and about. If you don’t have a garage or carport, consider covering your vehicle with a tarp to avoid the scratches or other damage that blown debris can cause.
- If you are fortunate enough to own a coastal vacation home and park your car outdoors. Consider moving it under cover, or to your primary home until the storm has passed.
- If you must be on the road during this time, remember that the speed limit is intended to be the maximum speed you should travel during perfect conditions, and adjust your speed downward for inclement conditions.
- Watch for hydroplaning conditions that can occur when water pools in low-lying road areas. Keep multiple car lengths distance during inclement conditions - under perfect conditions you should maintain at least one car length between you and the vehicle in front of you for each 10 miles of speed you are traveling (10 miles per hour = 1 car length; 50 miles per hour = 5 car lengths). In inclement (rainy/windy conditions), consider maintaining two car lengths of distance for every 10 miles an hour of vehicle speed).
- Be extra careful when approaching intersections. Sometimes winds knock out the power to traffic lights, and what looks like an intersection with no controls for you may in fact be an intersection with no controls for anyone! Similarly, winds can knock down stop signs. In bad weather, more accidents occur at intersections than anywhere else.
It May Not Be Irene, but Another Hurricane is Inevitable!
It's been six years since a hurricane struck the southeastern United States and longer than that for New England - so with the possibility that Hurricane Irene could head to New England, it makes sense to make sure that you have taken steps to ensure your safety and secure your property. For more information on creating a Family Emergency Plan and an Emergency Supply Kit check out Plymouth Rock’s Hurricane Preparedness page!
In the meantime we have developed a quick “to do” list on the chance that Irene could head north.
Things You Can Do in Preparation for a Hurricane
- Trim trees to reduce potential damage from falling limbs.
- Clean rain gutters and keep them free of debris.
- Pick up things around your yard that you are no longer using, such as empty plant pots, etc.
- Make sure windows and doors are secure – if applicable and feasible cover glass and skylights with plywood
What to Do Before the Storm Hits
- Rearrange Belongings so that your valuables are in interior rooms away from windows
- Move furniture and electronic devices off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels; this can be done by placing furniture on blocks, and electronics on shelves or on top of furniture.
- Bring lighter-weight outdoor items indoors, such as trash cans, patio furniture, plants and toys. Secure other objects that could be picked up by the wind.
- If possible put your vehicle in a garage or on higher ground. Avoid parking it under a tree or on a low-lying street where it could be damaged by water.
- Make sure that heavy items such as a boat or motorcycle are stored properly; follow same general guidelines as with your car. If your boat will stay in the water, tie it down securely and remove the motor and any small objects.
- Evacuate if you feel it is necessary to protect yourself and your family. Always comply with mandatory evacuations by civil authority.
What to Do After the Storm
- If you evacuated, listen to the radio or TV news stations and wait until the area is declared safe before returning.
- When you return home, don't turn on the power right away if the area or your home is flooded. Have an electrician inspect your home first. You should have your gas lines inspected — avoid open flames or candles until you do. Also, have the plumbing checked.
- Record or photograph any damage to your home and belongings — before repairs are made or claims are filed. Protect your property from further damage and keep all receipts for these costs.
For additional in-depth information visit the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety!
This week’s playlist features songs from the 1980s, the decade that brought us iconic vehicles such as Dodge Caravan and Jeep Cherokee. And you were totally styling if your car had the latest in audio technology: a cassette deck—a far cry from today’s CD players, satellite radios, and iPods.
Even though Otto isn’t sure where this weekend’s drive will lead him, he knows he’ll check out Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder to find the lowest gas prices near him before heading out on the road. Otto still needs to run a few errands, one of which is to get his car inspected, which he might of forgotten if it hadn’t been for eReminders from Plymouth Rock. Massachusetts drivers can register to have an email sent to notify them when their driver’s license, registration, and inspection sticker are about to expire.
To start out, Otto will be listening to:
Celebration - Kool and the Gang
Rock with You - Michael Jackson
With or Without You - U2
And as Otto wraps up his errands he’ll be listening to
Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer to get revved up: “Oh, we’re half way there!”
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me - Billy Joel
Candy Girl - New Edition
Hangin’ Tough - New Kids on the Block
Solid as a Rock - Ashford and Simpson
Don’t Stop Believing - Journey
So if you’re about to head out on the road to run errands or to go someplace exciting – listen to some of these classics – they’ll be sure to keep you fingers tapping along on the steering wheel, and who knows, you may even belt out a lyric or two!
Have a nice weekend and if you’re traveling have a safe trip!
Yet another fun weekend drive - I hope you had a nice weekend and were able to enjoy some fun-filled activities or at least got a chance to relax! Otto loved the new playlist so much that it was on repeat for the whole car ride!
Since last week’s playlist was for the decades of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, Otto felt like watching movies from these decades and Rocky (1976) was on the list. And after checking out the best ice cream places featured on last week’s blog Otto made sure he got some Rocky Road ice cream!
All of this talk about Rocky and Rocky Road ice cream reminds Otto of the rock and roll and dance classics from the 1980s, so this week we’ll create a playlist with songs from a single decade: the 1980s, when Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Boston-based groups such as New Edition and New Kids on the Block ruled MTV (born in the 1980s!) and radio. So let Otto know on Plymouth Rock’s Facebook Fan Page what your favorite song or songs from the 1980s are and rock on! Otto can’t wait to hear your suggestions.
Underwriting Still Matters
In this age of the internet and quote to bind rating applications, a recent article recent article in the Boston Herald Boston Herald highlighted the continuing need for risk management practices by the insured and front line underwriting by the insurance carrier.
This news article describes an accident that occurred when a van full of special needs adults apparently rear ended a truck. This incident resulted in injuries to several of the passengers. The driver of the van apparently had a very questionable driving record.
We don’t know all of the facts about the incident but the details suggest that in retrospect this driver may not have been the best choice to be operating the vehicle. In this particular circumstance the insured is subject to driver qualification procedures as part of their contract with the State. But any procedure or process is only as effective when implemented.
As a risk manager you need to ask and answer these questions
- Do you have a process to routinely review driving records?
- Do you have a process that supports that review so that the appropriate action is taken when you have a driver that has a driving history that causes concerns?
Even if you don’t have losses, the presence of driving incidents is going to be viewed as a predictor of future costs and will impact the cost of insurance.
- Can your process handle a driver with an out of state license?
- How do you interpret incidents that are over three years old? Five years old? Should they matter?
Some of these questions are complicated and may not have a black and white answer. But the questions need to be asked, regardless of the size of the risk. As your partner for your commercial auto insurance Plymouth Rock underwriters are here to help with these questions. Give us a call.
Thanks again for your suggestions, Otto is excited for another road trip this weekend and has downloaded all the songs into his iTunes Library. These decades remind Otto of going to the local ice cream shops, drive-in movie theaters, and a time when he listened to music on vinyl!
Perhaps Otto’s weekend drive will lead him to a place on Boston.com’s list of New England ice cream stores. Or he’ll head to the local drive-in to catch the weekend’s new release on the big screen. Or maybe he’ll head to Memphis, TN to Elvis’ house (okay that may be more than a weekend drive) and try out for a part in Memphis Beat. But what Otto will definitely do is check the Gas Price Finder on Plymouth Rock’s website before going to the gas station so that he can find the lowest gas prices.
Whether you are traveling or staying at home, if you are looking for a dessert to have on this nice summer weekend, then check out Paula Deen’s (from Food Network) recipe for a Chocolate Malted Milkshake.
Now for the moment, you’ve been waiting for – Otto’s playlist of songs from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s:
I Want You Back Jackson 5
The Locomotion Little Eva
Get Together Youngbloods
Sittin on the Dock of the Bay Otis Redding
Leader of the Pack The Shangri-Las
Momma Said The Shirelles
Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe Barry White
Crocodile Rock Elton John
Heaven Knows Donna Summer
Dream Lover, Bobby Darin
Dancing in the Moonlight King Harvest
Mr. Sandman The Chordettes
Staying Alive Bee Gees
Save the Last Dance for Me The Drifters
Hope you enjoy, and have a safe trip if you are travelling this weekend.
Check the blog next week for the theme of the next playlist!
Hope you enjoyed the first “Plymouth Rock’s Playlists from Otto” featuring beach/summer songs as much as Otto did! It was a great weekend, and he’s ready for the next one!
While Otto was on the road, he was already thinking of what music he wants on his next playlist. He’d like to listen to some tunes from the past, preferably from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Four Seasons, and more come to mind. So what’s your favorite song from these decades? Let Otto know!
Send Otto your favorites by Thursday, August 11th, so he can download the songs before he hits the road again for another weekend drive. You can post your songs to Plymouth Rock’s Facebook Fan Page. We’ll post the playlist on our blog later this week.
Stay tuned to Plymouth Rock’s Facebook Fan Page for updates on the songs of these great decades, plus trivia and facts about the artists. For example, when were the GRAMMY Awards first presented?
Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense…the year was 1958.
So take a trip down memory lane for songs from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s; Otto can’t wait to hear your suggestions!
Gas Savings Reminder: Before your next road trip, or even for your commute to work, remember to use Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder to find the lowest gas prices near you.
Yo – thanks for all the suggestions for Otto’s beach/summer theme playlist! His iPod is charged, the songs have been downloaded (using savings from Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder) and he packed for his road trip around New England. This week’s playlist features everything from to Sean Kingston to U2 to Brad Paisley. So here it is, the playlist that will kick off this weekend’s drive:
- Summertime Kenny Chesney
- Harbor Lights by Boz Scaggs
- Letting Go (Dutty Love) Sean Kingston
- Knee Deep Zac Brown Band
- Always Be My Baby Mariah Carey
- Where the Streets Have No Name U2
- Dirt Road Jason Aldean
- Summertime Will Smith
- Barefoot Blue Jean Night Jake Owen
- Summer Girls LFO
- Settle Me Down Zac Brown Band
- Surfin’ USA Beach Boys
- American Saturday Night Brad Paisley
- Alloway Grove Paolo Nutini
- Cruel Summer Bananarama
There is a wide variety of songs, which will be good if you are traveling with your posse because there will be tunes for everyone. So whether you are using this playlist for your road trip, on the beach, sitting by a pool, or relaxing in your yard, have fun and stay tuned for next week’s theme! Otto is looking forward to the suggestions!
Forearmed is Forewarned
Hurricane season is here and Plymouth Rock Assurance wants to make sure that you are ready!! There are some basic things that you can do to make sure that you aren’t caught off guard.
- Create a “Family Emergency Plan” – you want to ensure that every family member knows how to reach or reconnect with each other
Assemble an “Emergency Supply Kit” – your kit should include basic food supplies and water to keep you and your family going for a minimum of 3 days. In addition, you should have a 30-day supply of medications that you or your family members may take. More information on what to include is listed below.
Make sure that you and family members are aware of evacuation routes and the location of potential emergency shelters in case you feel that it is prudent to leave your home.
Don’t forget about your car! Your car should be placed in a garage or away from potential flood waters. Well before the storm arrives, fill up the gas in your car in the event you need to evacuate.
- Post emergency numbers (fire, police, ambulance) by the phone. Teach children how to call 911 for help. Identify family meeting places in case you are separated. Choose a place in a building or a park outside your neighborhood. Everyone should be clear about this location.
- Develop an emergency communication plan. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the family's contact.
- Make sure everyone knows the telephone number of this contact.
Remember, forewarned is forearmed – so keep your ears open for potential weather coming your way. Generally, hurricanes that impact New England come from the south and you will have several days notice prior to landfall. Check weather.com or The Weather Channel on a regular basis to stay up-to-date regarding developing weather systems that may impact you.
In addition, it makes sense to make sure that you understand the coverage your homeowners policy provides if you are indeed impacted by a hurricane. Check out a recent blog posting by the folks at Farrell Backlund for more information on the subject.
An Emergency Supply Kit Should Include:
- At least a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day)
- At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food (and can opener for food if kit contains canned food)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio if possible)
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- At least a 14-day supply of prescription medication and contact lenses
- Toiletries, moist wipes, hygiene items, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Emergency tools: wrench or pliers to turn off utilities and multi-purpose tool
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers
- Credit card and cash
- Copies of personal documents such as insurance policies, identification, bank records, passports, and birth certificates in a waterproof, portable container
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members • Extra set of car and house keys
- At least, one change of clothing and shoes per person
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
Find additional safety and preparedness material online at:
For information about what you can do to strengthen your home to make it more resistant to hurricanes, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s website at www.DisasterSafety.org. We make this suggestion because emergency information is great, but it does nothing to help reduce insurance losses, which property mitigation would. p>
The sun is out, the windows are rolled down and your favorite song is cranking on the radio - what a great start to the road trip! And then the inevitable happens – you reach that point in your journey where the preselected stations on your radio start to fade and the static kicks in and you start the search for a new station. If you had a playlist on your iPod, a CD, or a tape you wouldn’t have to try to find a new station. To avoid being distracted while searching for a new radio station Otto is looking for a new playlist for his next car ride, and needs your suggestions of songs.
Each week, Otto will select a new genre of music, and Plymouth Rock’s Facebook “Fans” will have the opportunity to post their favorite songs from said genre to the Facebook Wall. At the end of each week, Otto will pick the top 15 songs for the playlist of the week and post it to Plymouth Rock’s blog! In addition to the songs, trivia, recipes and more related to each week’s genre of music will be featured.
Anyone who has a Facebook account and is a “Fan” of Plymouth Rock’s Fan Page can participate; so start thinking of your favorite songs, and encourage your family and friends to join in the fun. And if they haven’t already “Liked” on Plymouth Rock’s Facebook Fan Page encourage them to do so.
Since this is the first week of August, and the weather temperatures are high, it’s a perfect time for a beach/summer playlist. Otto is going to be traveling New England this weekend, perhaps taking suggestions from last week’s blog and wants some good tunes for the season. Whether it’s the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA” or Kenny Chesney’s “Summertime,” let Otto know what song will keep him in the summer spirit.
So next time you hear your favorite song make note of it and let Otto know! Likewise, if there is a song that you love, but never hear it on the radio let Otto know so that he can listen to it too! And Otto may have links to his favorite version of the song on YouTube. So keep the songs coming Otto can’t wait to hear your favorites!
And remember - before every road trip Otto uses Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder to find the lowest gas prices near him to save money – which he promptly spends downloading new songs from iTunes for his playlists! Make sure you check it out before your next trip.