Common Winter Home Hazards and How to Prevent Them

These days, you and your family are probably spending much of your time at home, so making it a safe environment for everyone should be a top priority. In the winter months, a number of hazards can creep up without warning, leading to financial burdens and may even pose a danger to your health and wellbeing. 

Fortunately, there are some quick fixes you can do and a few maintenance check-ins to help reduce your risk of experiencing a problem in the coming months. Here are some common winter hazards and how to avoid them.

Falls

Inside and outside your home, falls can lead to a hospital visit and/or expensive legal fees if you’re hit with a lawsuit. Wet surfaces, uneven staircases, and items left on the floor can all lead to a broken bone or head injury. To help reduce your risk, make sure to do the following:

  • Secure staircases — This includes installing solid handrails, fixing loose boards, having adequate lighting at night, and keeping salt or sand on hand in the event of snowstorms. If you have small children, you should also have safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. 
  • Keep hallways and walkways clean — Always clean up toys and items left on the floor in the way of foot traffic. In the winter, be especially careful to shovel walkways and salt any icy patches. 
  • Cover surfaces prone to pooling water  — If you frequently track water inside from your shoes, make sure to have a mat in front of the door to avoid slipping. 

Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 379,600 residential fires in the United States per year. Many of these fires could have been prevented through safe practices and preparedness. Take these steps to help reduce your risk of loss or injury from a fire:

  • Install fire alarms on all levels of your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and any room with a fireplace. 
  • Blow out all candles before you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Unplug appliances you’re not using. 
  • Turn off holiday lights before leaving the house or going to sleep. 
  • Have your fireplace cleaned before using it for the winter and only run it if you’re in the room.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable objects and never leave them running unattended. 

Along the same lines as fire prevention, you should also be mindful of carbon monoxide risks in the winter. Even low exposure can result in headaches and dizziness. It’s virtually undetectable by sight or smell so having a working carbon monoxide detector is your best solution to keeping your family safe. 

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems homeowners face in the winter and can also be one of the most costly. Before the frigid temps hit, be sure to:

  • Drain and remove outdoor hoses.
  • Insulate areas in direct contact with attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Identify areas of your home that have exposed water pipes. 
  • Make sure your thermostat doesn’t dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Have someone look in on your house if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. 

You can learn more about how to prevent and treat frozen pipes here.

Ice Dams

Not only is ice a hazard on your walkways, it also puts you at risk for ice dams. These will damage the interior of your home and cause major water damage in your attic and on your ceilings. A few things you can do to help reduce your risk is to make sure your gutters are cleaned before the first snowfall and install roof heating cables if your home is prone to ice dams. 

We hope these tips help keep your family and your home safe all winter long. To review your current insurance policy or speak to an agent about your options for extended coverage, please visit our website. https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm 

Bright Insurance Agent Spotlight

This month, we’re pleased to introduce you to our newest #AgentSpotlight, Bright Insurance Agency, who have been providing industry expertise and peace of mind to you and your neighbors for over 85 years.

The Milford-based agency was founded in 1931 by Karl Bright and today, is a team of over twenty-five trained insurance professionals who pride themselves on offering personalized coverage options while being mindful of your budget and your specific needs. In 2013 under Agency President Steve Ellis, Bright Insurance acquired Jensen Sheehan Insurance Agency in Holliston. Because both agencies have a long history and reputations of being active in their communities they have each maintained their original names and consider themselves to be sister agencies. 

What sets Bright Insurance apart from other agencies is their focus on the individual clients. Their agents take a personal approach to customer service and many have been there for 10+ years, building long-standing relationships with their insureds. Each customer is assigned to a particular customer service representative so that they receive personal service with someone who, over time, will become familiar with your account and your individual needs.

In addition to the personal care they receive and the knowledgeable staff, customers stay with Bright Insurance because of the convenience of registry services for their clients, an in-house claims representative, and their Saturday winter hours. On this commitment to personal touch, President Steve Ellis says, “we understand that being a local agent isn’t about writing insurance policies. It’s about knowing your neighbor and being there. Obviously, there are a lot of choices out there today but we pride ourselves on our customer service and that’s how we stand out. We build relationships with our customers.”

Bright Insurance is very active in the community and prides themselves on not only living in but supporting the communities in which their insureds reside. President Steve Ellis previously served on the Board of Trustees for the Milford Regional Hospital and is still active in many hospital fundraisers. Alongside Vice President Krishna Swanson, Steve is also a member of the Milford Rotary. Joe Soares is President of the non-profit Celebrate Milford which runs a large annual event. Also, Greg Ross is the President of the local BNI Granite Network and Sandra Biagetti is the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Chamber of Commerce and is on the Hopedale Zoning board of appeals. 

Sister agency, Jensen Sheehan is active in the Holliston community as well, participating in the annual Celebrate Holliston events and supporting the local Holliston Newcomers group on many of their events throughout the years. Both agencies make it a priority to be a familiar face around the community and in short, are “your hometown agency.” We’re proud to partner with agencies like Bright Insurance who are committed to supporting the communities in which they serve. You can learn more about their history and their coverage options on their website.