Make Sure Your Holidays Stay Happy … and Safe

You’ll no doubt hear the phrase “Happy Holidays!” about a thousand times over the next month. Here at Greenway Insurance, we’d like to change that a little bit: “Happy – and Safe – Holidays!”

While the holidays certainly bring cheer here in Houston, they also present some danger unless you take care when putting up your tree, lighting candles and keeping that fire going on a cold winter night.

During November and December, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 people are treated in emergency rooms nationwide due to holiday-related decorating accidents. Add to that the number of fires involving Christmas trees, candles and fireplaces, and you can see the importance of making safety a part of your holiday preparations.

Read on for some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your season jolly for kids and adults alike. And make sure to give us a call at 713-800-4206 if you have any questions about your coverage – or if you just need to know when you can drop off your gift to your favorite agency! (We kid, we kid.)

Trees

  • When purchasing a live tree, make sure to check it for freshness, as dried-out trees present a greater fire risk. It should be green and needles should be hard to pull off and not break when bent between your fingers.
  • Make sure an artificial tree is labeled “fire resistant”.
  • Any tree set up inside your home should be placed away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Don’t block a doorway with your tree.
  • After cutting a few inches off the tree trunk to allow for better water absorption, keep your stand filled with water. Heated rooms can dry live trees out quickly.

Lights and decorations

  • Even if you’ve just purchased them, check all lights before hanging them on your tree. The bulbs should all work and there should be no frayed wires or loose connections.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. You or others could be at risk of electrocution.
  • Outdoor lights should be certified for outdoor use. Don’t use nails or tacks to hold them in place; instead, use hooks or insulated staples.
  • Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house to reduce the risk of shorted-out lights causing a fire.
  • Outdoor electric decorations and lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree.

Fireplaces and candles

  • Remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from the fireplace area before starting a fire. Make sure the flue is open.
  • Do not burn gift wrap in the fireplace. Wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burns intensely, which could result in a flash fire.
  • Keep all burning candles in sight. Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
  • Make sure candles are on a stable surface where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over.
  • Of course, keep candles away from other flammable items.

Remember, you can’t have happy holidays without holiday safety. Here’s to you and yours, and a wonderful season for all.

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For further questions and assistance, please contact us today!

Tips for Preparing for Your Holiday Driving Trip

Millions of Americans will do some traveling this holiday season – the majority of it by car. Of course, winter weather creates a unique set of challenges on the roadways, whether you’re simply driving around in Houston or headed across the country.

At Greenway Insurance, we’d like to help you not only enjoy your holiday season, but help ensure you’ll get there safely too! So please take these winter-travel safety tips to heart.

Prepare your car for winter

Before leaving on your trip, give your car a thorough check-up. Do wipers need to be replaced? Are your fluid levels where they should be? Your tires need to be in good shape for driving on wet or snowy roads, and be sure your radiator and cooling systems are up to snuff. And – we know you’ve heard this before, but bear with us – your car should have an emergency kit. Pack it with jumper cables, blankets, a first-aid kit, flares, food and water, a flashlight and other safety gear. A shovel and cat litter or sand (to provide traction should you get stuck in snow or ice) are good ideas as well.

Before you leave

Know exactly where you’re going, with maps, and check weather conditions along your planned route. Let someone know your itinerary, so if you don’t arrive on time, officials know where to look for you. If your car has snow or ice on it, make sure it is completely cleared off before you depart. Don’t forget to clear your headlights and other lights, along with the roof – ice and snow blowing from your car could create a hazard for other drivers.

When you’re on the road

Are roads snowy or icy? Take it slow. Take it slow. Take it slow. Sorry for repeating ourselves, but it’s absolutely vital to, yes, take it slow. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination, and make sure you leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road. Watch for ice patches on bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Remember, having four-wheel or all-wheel drive does not mean your car will stop or steer better on ice.

If you’re caught in a storm that seems like it’s too much for you to handle, seek refuge as soon as you can. Of course, sometimes it’s best not to drive in snow and ice at all – stay home if you can.

If your vehicle becomes disabled

Nobody wants to think about being stranded on the side of the road in a storm, but it happens to thousands of people every year. If your vehicle is disabled, be sure to stay with it. Run your engine and heater for short intervals, and open one of your windows slightly to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Light two flares (remember that vehicle emergency kit? Now’s the time to use it) and place one a safe distance from both the front and rear of your vehicle. Note your location with mileposts, exit numbers or cross-streets and call the authorities or a tow truck.

We hope you enjoy your holidays with friends and family, and we look forward to serving you in the new year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact us today!