Fall is beautiful..BUT presents driving hazards

October 20, 2010

The New England fall foliage is beautiful to see this time of year but when wet or in piles, leaves present driving hazards unique to the season.

Most motorists know that puddles or standing water can cause loss of control, and they adjust their driving accordingly. But fewer drivers, especially inexperienced ones or drivers new to an area with heavy foliage, are aware of the dangers of wet leaves.

A single layer of wet leaves can make braking, steering and stopping difficult. This effect is particularly dangerous at intersections and is intensified at downhill stop signs. Acceleration can be affected, too. Fishtailing can result on leaf-strewn interstate entrance ramps and other areas where hard accelerations may be necessary.

Some safety tips to remember:
* Reduce your speed, especially on roads that curve or have sharp turns. Even with anti-lock brakes, it’s harder to stop on slippery surfaces.
*Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you. This is always a safety measure but is especially important when road conditions are hazardous.
*Leaves can often mask road imperfections, such as potholes, or even curbs and street markings. Be careful of piles of leaves and be conscientious of road markings.

If you have any questions on Massachusetts Auto Insurance or any of your insurance needs, our agents at Kerrigan, O’Malley & Bailey Insurance would be happy to help! Call us at (978) 365-2302, visit our website Massachusetts Insurance Agency or stop by our office.

Enjoy the Fall!!

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FAST FACTS ABOUT SMOKE ALARMS & FIRES

October 14, 2010

This month is fire safety month. Smoke Alarms: “A Sound You Can Live With!” is National Fire Protection Association’s official theme for Fire Prevention Week, which ran from October 3-9. This year’s campaign was designed to educate people about the importance of smoke alarms and encourages everyone to take the steps necessary to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection. Aside from the obvious benefits from having smoke alarms, some companies provide a discount on your homeowners insurance policy for having them.

Here are a couple quick facts about smoke alarms and fire:

* Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.
* Most homes (96%) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)
* Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
* Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.
* In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with
no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
* No smoke alarms were present in 40% of the home fire deaths.
* In 23% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
* In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not
operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance
alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.
* More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in
homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.
* Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey
67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.
* In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
* In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of
the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.
* Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.
* In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires,
* interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire.
(This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.)
* Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and injuries.
* Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
* Heating is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths and fire injuries.
* Electrical failures or malfunctions are factors in roughly 50,000 reported fires each year.
* Roughly 30, 000 intentionally set home structure fires are reported each year.

Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week Web site, http://www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2010 NFPA.