The Biggest Threats to a Healthy Home

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

By: Laura Fisher Kaiser

Originally Appeared Here:  HGTV

A healthy home comes under attack from several dangerous sources. Learn more about these threats to a healthy home and get healthy living tips.

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Water Intrusion

Be on the lookout for signs of a water leak or condensation: water stains that get bigger over time, musty odors, continually damp carpet, or beads of water or puddles on hard surfaces. When you do have water damage, thoroughly clean and dry carpets and building materials within 24 hours if possible, and consider replacing waterlogged items to eliminate the risk of mold.

If you suspect a problem (or better yet, as preventive maintenance), hire professionals to inspect for damaged shingles and siding, poorly connected plumbing and leaky pipes, and other moisture problems, such as inadequate vapor barriers. Mitigate the issues as soon as possible.

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Biological Contaminants

The EPA considers bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches and pollen all biological contaminants. Excessive moisture creates breeding grounds for these contaminants, so ventilate adequately and keep relative humidity between 30 percent and 50 percent to prevent condensation on building materials.

Regular household cleaning and maintenance go a long way toward limiting exposure. Change filters and have heating and cooling equipment cleaned and checked regularly by a professional; these systems can become not only breeding grounds for mold and other biological contaminants but also superhighways for dispersing them throughout the home.

If these methods don’t suffice, an indoor air-cleaning device may help an affected area. However, avoid ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners. The EPA warns: “Whether in its pure form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health.”

Basements can be a particular trouble zone. The EPA recommends you clean and disinfect basement drains regularly and that you not finish a basement unless all moisture issues are abated.

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Mold

No one knows exactly how many homes have mold behind the walls, but the best current estimate is about 70 percent, according to Ronald E. Gots, M.D., Ph.D., of the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine. The EPA and World Health Organization state that some molds have the potential to cause health problems, particularly allergic reactions and asthma, in people who are susceptible.

To get rid of mold, scrub surfaces with detergent, preferably a water-based, VOC-free product like Microbloc dsinfx as opposed to bleach. Replace porous materials such as ceiling tile and carpet with non-porous or mold-resistant ones. If the mold damage covers more than 10 square feet, the EPA recommends hiring a professional.

Most important: Fix the underlying issue. “Mold is not the problem. It’s an indicator of a moisture problem,” says Kurt Salomon, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “You can get rid of the mold but if you don’t address the leaky pipes, high humidity and water intrusion, the mold will come back.”

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Dust and Respirable Particles

To cut down on household dust, declutter, reduce paper, eliminate smoking and regularly change or clean the furnace and air conditioner filters. Also, park your shoes at the door — two-thirds of all dust contaminants are tracked into the home from the outside.

To minimize the amount of dust kicked up during cleaning — especially if you are concerned about lead dust — wipe down floors with a damp mop, dust with a damp cloth and clean surfaces with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

You probably don’t need to have your air ducts cleaned unless there is mold growing inside, they are infested with vermin or they are excessively clogged with debris. Duct cleaning costs between $400 and $1,000. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association cautions consumers against air duct cleaning companies that make sweeping claims about health benefits of their services and/or are not upfront about fees.

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Toxic Chemical Compounds

Even when present in very low, hard-to-measure concentrations, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) pose serious health risks — organ and nervous system damage and cancer included.

SVOCs are hard to avoid, as they are ubiquitous in our homes. Phthalate esters are colorless, odorless and used to make plastics soft and flexible, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely used as flame retardants in furniture cushions, textiles, plastics, paints and electronic appliances. Naphthalene is the key ingredient in mothballs. Other man-made chemicals such as the dry-cleaning solvent known as PERC (perchloroethylene) and the blue, sweet-smelling liquid called TCE (trichloroethylene) that is found in spot removers and carpet-cleaning fluids are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and they are likely carcinogens.

You can minimize exposure in the home by using green cleaning methods. To protect woolens from pests, wash items and let them dry in the sun (which also helps get rid of mothball odor) before storing them with cedar chip sachets. Read labels before purchasing and avoid buying items that contain phthalates and PBDEs.

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VOCs

Thousands of household products — paints, paint-strippers, adhesives, MDF, carpet, glues, cleaners, fuels, degreasers and more — off-gas volatile organic compounds. These chemicals cause a number of health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation; headache; nausea; liver, kidney and central nervous system damage; and cancer.

According to the EPA, studies have found that VOC levels are two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint-stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.

There are many steps to reduce exposure. For example, replace vinyl wallcoverings with Cradle-to-Cradle-certified ones made with new polymers and water-based inks and coatings. If dry-cleaned goods have a strong chemical odor, which indicates a high concentration of the solvent PERC (perchloroethylene), do not accept them until they have been properly dried. Use non- or low-VOC paints, glues, epoxies, adhesives and building products. Even when using low-VOC products, ventilate the space with plenty of fresh air. Dispose of even small amounts you won’t use right away in an environmentally responsible way.

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Formaldehyde

Exposure to low concentrations of formaldehyde may cause eye, nose or throat irritation, rashes, breathing problems, nausea, asthma attacks and allergic reactions. And formaldehyde causes cancer in animals and humans.

The American Lung Association recommends you use furniture and pressed-wood board made with laminated surfaces because they release less formaldehyde. Allow plywood and other formaldehyde-containing materials to air out before you use them indoors. If possible, use non-toxic alternatives to formaldehyde-containing products like glue and adhesives. Ventilation is key, so open windows and use exhaust fans to bring in a fresh supply of air. Also, wash permanent-press clothing before wearing. Formaldehyde is used in the production of special fabrics.

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Carbon Monoxide and Other Combustion By-Products

You can’t see, taste or smell carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuel-burning devices, and people often dismiss the symptoms of CO poisoning (headache, nausea, dizziness and confusion), which can be fatal. This “silent killer” accounts for an estimated 15,000 emergency room visits and 500 deaths a year.

“Carbon monoxide is an underappreciated risk, particularly during heating season when people don’t open windows as much to let in fresh air,” says Meri-K Appy of Safe Kids USA. “But there’s no other way to know you’ve got a problem unless you have a CO detector to let you know levels have reached a dangerous level.” If the detector sounds, evacuate your home immediately and call 911. And be sure to replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the chimneys and connector pipes that serve oil and gas furnaces are subject to weathering, animal invasions, deterioration/rust-out and the accumulation of nest materials and debris. As a safeguard, have fuel-burning furnaces, stoves and fireplaces — as well as their connections and exhaust vents — inspected and serviced before each heating season. And never idle your car in the garage.

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Lead

Lead poisoning is the leading environmentally induced illness in children, according to OSHA. If you live in a home built before 1978, chances are it contains lead paint.

To protect you and your family, make sure there is no peeling or chipped paint. You can encapsulate lead paint by painting over it. If you must scrape or sand lead paint, wear a HEPA respirator, enclose the workspace with plastic, keep debris contained and “work wet” to minimize dust. Clean up with a HEPA filter vacuum and damp mop, and be careful not to track lead dust through the house.

Because it can be “tough for DIYers to follow all best practices,” Rebecca Morley, president of the National Center for Healthy Housing, recommends hiring a contractor certified in lead abatement. A new EPA regulation requires anyone working in homes built before 1978 to take an eight-hour lead safety certification course or risk a $32,000 fine. More than 500,000 contractors have been certified since April 2010, but it’s up to the homeowner to ask for proof of certification.

To find a lead sampling technician to do a dust test, including the soil around your house (a common source of lead), call the EPA’s lead hot line at 800-424-LEAD.

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Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which cannot be seen, smelled or tasted but is found in the dirt and rocks beneath houses, in well water and in some building materials. When you breathe radon, the sensitive cells in your airway get irritated, increasing the risk of lung cancer. Radon causes an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year, but it can take up to 20 years of exposure before one falls ill.

The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon; even if the house next door to you tests low, your particular house could be at risk. Short-term tests take two days (often for real estate transactions), while long-term tests take about 90 days but give more accurate results.

If your house tests above EPA standards, a remediation professional can retrofit an exhaust vent from a suction pit underneath the foundation slab to the outside of the house. Costs range from $800 to $2,500. For more information, contact the EPA’s radon hot line at 800-55RADON (557-2366).

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Asbestos

Before 1985, asbestos was used in more than 3,000 construction products, from flooring and insulation to soundproofing for strength and flame-resistance. The government outlawed asbestos after it was discovered that the mineral fiber causes lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you live in a home that contains mid-century vinyl floor tile, ceiling tiles or insulation, have a professional asbestos inspector test your home before you do any remodeling. Unless there is a need to remove or disturb the material, which would release asbestos fibers into the air, leave it alone.

In many cases, says the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, new flooring can be successfully installed over the existing. For material containing 1 percent asbestos that is friable — so damaged that it crumbles in your hand — it’s best to hire government-certified asbestos contractors to remove or encapsulate it.

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Fire

The National Fire Protection Association reports that of the 2,565 civilian deaths from home fires in 2009, almost two-thirds (63 percent) involved homes with non-working or non-existent smoke alarms. New code requires smoke alarms in every room, bedrooms being of most importance.

“If you have a fire, you need to know about it,” says Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA, who recommends having hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms, “so that if fire breaks out in the basement and you’re two floors up sleeping, at the first moment the basement alarm goes off, all will go off.” Such alarms buy you precious time; it can take fewer than three minutes from the time a fire starts to the time of “flashover” – complete ignition of all gasses and combustible elements in a room.

She also notes that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. That’s a good time to upgrade to either a hard-wired or wireless interconnected system. New technologies include ionization systems that react to fast-burning fires, photo-electric alarms that react quickly to smoldering fires, integrated carbon monoxide detectors and fire sprinklers, remote controls and smart-phone apps.

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Fire

The National Fire Protection Association reports that of the 2,565 civilian deaths from home fires in 2009, almost two-thirds (63 percent) involved homes with non-working or non-existent smoke alarms. New code requires smoke alarms in every room, bedrooms being of most importance.

“If you have a fire, you need to know about it,” says Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA, who recommends having hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms, “so that if fire breaks out in the basement and you’re two floors up sleeping, at the first moment the basement alarm goes off, all will go off.” Such alarms buy you precious time; it can take fewer than three minutes from the time a fire starts to the time of “flashover” – complete ignition of all gasses and combustible elements in a room.

She also notes that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. That’s a good time to upgrade to either a hard-wired or wireless interconnected system. New technologies include ionization systems that react to fast-burning fires, photo-electric alarms that react quickly to smoldering fires, integrated carbon monoxide detectors and fire sprinklers, remote controls and smart-phone apps.

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Shorts and Shocks

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, GFCIs have contributed “significantly” to the reduction of electrocution and severe electric shock incidents since their introduction in the early 1970s. The National Electrical Code requires GFCIs, an inexpensive device, for receptacles with proximity to water: outdoors, bathrooms, garages, kitchens, crawlspaces and unfinished basements, laundry/utility rooms, and pools and spas.

You should also take commonsense precautions when it comes to electricity. All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by faceplates. Use the right light bulbs in all lamps and lights. Check the wattage requirements by looking inside the fixture.

Only use household appliances in good working condition. All electrical appliances, cords and tools should be listed by a nationally recognized, independent testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL. Periodically check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of product recalls to see if any of your appliances have been recalled for fire hazard or other issues.

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Slip-and-Trip Zones

Even a little clutter underfoot can be hazardous to your health, especially on stairs and in dark hallways. To prevent trips and falls, keep those areas clear and get rid of slippery scatter rugs.

“Lighting is also a big factor in falls,” says Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA, who recommends having lights at the top and the bottom of stairs. Also, don’t delay repairing loose treads and rails.

In the bathroom, grab bars in the bath or shower are a good idea for any age. Make sure throw rugs have rubberized mats or bottoms — in the bathroom and throughout the house.

The same rules apply outside. In the yard, shore up loose pavers and crumbling pavement, and make sure pathways and entrances are well lit.

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Photo By: Eric Isselee

Pests and Pesticides

As if vermin were not repellent enough, here’s a fun fact: When urine from rats and mice dries, proteins can become airborne and become potent allergens.

The Surgeon General and EPA advocate Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which uses commonsense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests and, when necessary, the judicious careful use of pesticides.

The US Green Building Council recommends a number of nontoxic strategies for keeping pests out of your home without endangering your health or the environment. These include planting landscaping at least 24 inches from the home, treating lumber and cellulose material with borates and sealing all cracks, joints and other entry points with fiber cement board or galvanized insect screen.

Avoid using mothballs, which contain carcinogens naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. If you do use pesticides, mix or dilute the ingredients outdoors, and ventilate affected indoor areas well.

To discuss these risks and your home insurance policy, please call us at (317) 886-0081 or visit us on line at: Scott Lynch Agency
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Happy 100th Birthday to The American Legion!!!! 03/15/2019

100 years of serving veterans, military members and their families.

The American Legion’s centennial birthday is about the nearly 2 million members who carry out the duties of the nation’s largest veterans service organization.

Why does the Legion celebrate its birthday on March 15?

On that date in 1919, the first American Legion caucus, held by members of the American Expeditionary Force, convened in Paris. Much as the birthday of the United States is celebrated on July 4 – for the date in 1776 when patriots declared the independence of the British colonies and birthed the spirit of America – March 15 is the date when The American Legion came to life.

Throughout the organization’s history, local posts across the country have celebrated with festivities that have included the entire community. For the 20th birthday in 1939, Battle Mountain Post 71 in Hot Springs, S.D., brought out a 40-pound birthday cake – two pounds for every year of The American Legion’s history. For the 38th birthday in 1957, Post 214 in Upper Darby, Pa., hosted an entire week’s worth of events as part of American Legion Birthday Week, so proclaimed by the township’s Board of Commissioners. Parties, dances and a two-act play were held at Post 214’s clubhouse.

Some aspects of Legion celebrations have remained mostly the same over the years: for the 91st birthday in 2010, Post 252 in Greenwood, Ind., held its annual dinner, with speakers and entertainment by the Greater Greenwood Community Band. The post-sponsored Boy Scout Troop 621 presents the colors every year, but had a bigger role in 2010. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Scouting, Post 252 made that year’s party a joint affair with the troop. The national organization can get involved in commemorations, too: for this year’s 93rd birthday, the new American Legion Amateur Radio Club is operating as a special event station, and a committee has already been formed to celebrate the Legion’s 100th birthday in 2019.

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Here are some things that you may not know about The American Legion.

  • The American Legion was founded in March 1919 in Paris, France, by U.S. World War I military personnel
    stationed there who were dedicated to four pillars of service and advocacy: veterans, military personnel, youth
    and patriotic values.
  • The American Legion today consists of 55 “departments” in each of the 50 states as well as the District of
    Columbia, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. There are approximately 13,000 local posts
    worldwide.
  • Current national membership is about 2 million. Combined with the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of
    The American Legion, membership in what is known as the American Legion Family exceeds 3 million.
  • American Legion membership is open to military personnel and veterans who have served their nation on
    active duty during wartime. Eligibility has been open to all who have served on active duty since Aug. 2, 1990,
    the beginning of continuous U.S. armed conflict in the Middle East and other locations around the planet.
  • The Legion has been instrumental in the creation of a number of major institutions of American society,
    including formation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, creation of U.S. Flag Code, passage of the
    GI Bill and more.
  • American Legion posts annually:
    » Donate more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service in their communities
    » Provide assistance on more than 181,000 VA benefits claims and cases
    » Donate more than 80,000 pints of blood to collection centers nationwide, which makes the Legion the
    nation’s single largest blood donor
    » Awards more than 8,000 medals to Junior ROTC students
    » Sponsors more than 2,500 Scouting units serving more than 64,000 young people
    » Awards more than $4 million in college scholarships
  • Among the prominent Americans serving on the national 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee are:
    » Chairman Theodore Roosevelt IV, grandson of American Legion co-founder Theodore Roosevelt Jr
    » Tom Brokaw, former American Legion Baseball player and American Legion Boys State participant
    » Mitch Daniels, Purdue University President, former American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation
    participant and former two-term governor of Indiana
    » Jamie Corkish, former American Legion Junior Shooting Sports champion and 2012 U.S. Olympic gold
    medal winner
    » Diane Carlson-Evans, Vietnam War combat nurse
    » Gen. Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient
    » Val Nicholas, NBC News Vice President
    » Susan Eisenhower, international policy adviser and granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower.

Want to know more about The American Legion or would like to join? Visit: The American Legion

Did you know as the child of a Veteran, you may be eligible for The Sons of The American Legion or The American Legion Auxiliary? Learn more here: Sons of The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary

Are these the best-looking classic sedans?

February 26, 2019 / by John Moroney

When it comes to classic cars, the sporty two-door version of anything is always in higher demand than the four-door family truckster. Nonetheless, collectibles come in all shapes and sizes—even sedans. Here are six beauties for your consideration.

1979–93 Jaguar XJ

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The handsome Series III XJ underwent a subtle redesign by Pininfarina in 1979, with the roof lifted an inch in the rear and fender kick added for some sporty flair. Reliability also began to improve even as the British automotive industry reached a production nadir of 880,000 units in 1982. The 4.2-liter six-cylinder proved robust and is favored by collectors today for its simplicity and relative ease of maintenance. The somewhat finicky V12, though, will always win the heart of the Jaguar enthusiast.

1961–67 Lincoln Continental convertible

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The fourth generation Continental is arguably the most iconic Lincoln ever made. Its simple, clean design was a welcome departure from the excessive chrome and fins that defined the late 1950s. The famous suicide doors were an ergonomic solution implemented by engineers who had problems exiting the rear seat mockup without hitting their feet on the door. In convertible form, the Continental required 300 pounds of extra bracing underneath to keep the chassis from flexing.

1972 Mercedes 280SEL

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The 280 debuted in 1968 with a 2.8-liter inline-six engine and four-wheel disc brakes. In period Mercedes-ese, “S” is for sedan, “E” denotes fuel injection (“einspritzung” in German), and “L” is an long-wheelbase version (“lang” in German). The 280 SEL was second only to the 300 SEL with its 6.3-liter V8.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

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The all-new 1955 Chevrolet showcased the brand’s modern styling. What put the model on the map, however, was the optional new Turbo Fire V8. The small block displaced 265 cubic inches and could be had with the Power Pack option, a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. Oil filtration was not standard, but could be ordered.

The Bel Air was top of the model range and featured additional chrome, full wheel covers, and plush interior trim.

1985–86 Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth

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The go-fast exterior of the Mercedes-Cosworth 190E is exciting, with road-hugging lower aero, a discreet rear spoiler, and giant “manhole cover” wheels. What’s more exciting is the Cosworth-tuned 2.3-liter four under the hood, with four valves per cylinder.

The model will forever be linked to Ayrton Senna, with his help in development and subsequent Nurburgring GP celebrity race win.

1965 Chevrolet Corvair

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The original 1961-64 Corvair was an innovative and economical small car, with loads of interior room and low maintenance costs. The rear swing axle handling that Ralph Nader took such exception to was eliminated in the 1965 redesign. The new, fully independent suspension and light weight made the car fun to drive, matching the promise of its sporty clean lines, shark-nose prow, and subtle fender arches over the wheels.

Call us at (317) 886-0081 to insure your Classic Car. Scott Lynch Agency

Original Article: MR Motoring Research

 

Art Deco Puzzle Cabinet – Craig Thibodeau Fine Furniture

This Art Deco cabinet was designed for a puzzle collector and incorporates several puzzles and hidden details in the construction, it is the second in a growing series of mechanical furniture pieces I have built.  There is a 25 piece sliding tile puzzle with a marquetry picture of two birds on some flowering branches in the top.  It is hidden by a sliding cover opened with a hidden magnetic key.  Next to the puzzle is a secret compartment with a hinged lid that opens by pressing a small button hidden under one of the sliding puzzle pieces.  The front doors have a series of 13 randomly placed sliding locks holding them closed.  Sliding the correct locks allows each door to be opened with the magnetic key.  Overall this was a fun piece to build and I’m looking forward to building more like this in the future.

Watch Video here: Art Deco Hidden Puzzle Cabinet

Size:
42″ wide by 18″ deep by 34″ high
Materials:
Etimoe, Amboyna Burl, Curly Sycamore, Maple Burl, Ebony, and various marquetry woods

The YouTube video of this piece was created by his website designer Chad Thompson of Monkey C Media, thanks Chad.

 

Indoors getting stale? Try these 10 Plants for cleaning indoor air.

Home closed up for winter and rooms smelling stale? Try these 10 plants to clean your home’s air and brighten your mood.

english ivy

  • English Ivy (Hedera Helix) – Excellent for removing harmful chemicals found in the home. It can grow in full shade to full sun.
  • Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii) – Prefers part sun or shade. Good for removing harmful elements such as benzene and formaldehyde.
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Modestum) – Thrives n low to medium light. Can be toxic to pets.
  • Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii) – Prefers warm temperatures. Removes harmful elements and has beautiful flowers.
  • Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata) – Great office plant. Can tolerate low light.
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) – Great for beginners. Prefers little to no water at all.
  • Pot Mum (Chrysanthemum Morifolium) – Colorful addition to the home.
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’) – Fights toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Can be mildly toxic to pets and humans, wash your hands after touching.
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Vittatum’) – Thrives in bright, indirect light.
  • Mass Cane/Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans ‘Massangeana’) – One of the most popular varieties of Dracaenas for its lovely foliage that ranges from green to yellow.

Scott Lynch Agency

(317) 886-0081

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Safe drivers save money
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What You Need to Know About Lightning Safety

by Erie Insurance on 

This week marks Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Though disasters like hurricanes tend to get more attention during the summer months, it’s important to know how to stay safe from lightning. That’s because lightning presents serious dangers to both people and property.

Lightning safety and people
Lightning can occur during any time of the year, but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning. Lightning strikes often occur in the afternoon. Two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, here are some more interesting facts:

  • Males are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning; around 85 percent of lightning fatalities are men.
  • People aged 15 to 34 account for almost half of all lightning strike victims (41 percent).
  • About one-third (32 percent) of lightning injuries occur indoors.


Lightning safety and property
From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19 percent of the lightning fires. Fires in nonresidential structures, including businesses and other non-residential properties, accounted for 7 percent. Vehicle fires accounted for 1 percent. The remaining 73 percent were in outdoor and unclassified properties.

How to avoid lightning
There are important things to know when it comes to how to avoid lightning. Once you hear that first clap of thunder, remember to:

  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Heed the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Get inside a home, building or automobiles with a hard top (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.

You are not safe anywhere outside. Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do not shelter under trees.

If it’s not possible to get indoors or in a vehicle, these actions may reduce your chances of being struck by lightning:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lightning.
  • Stay away from water, wet items (such as ropes) and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.
  • The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with NO cabin. It is crucial to listen to weather information when you are boating. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, do not go out. If you are out and cannot get back to land and safety, drop an anchor and get as low as possible. Large boats with cabins, especially those with lightning protection systems properly installed, or metal marine vessels, are relatively safe. Remember to stay inside the cabin and away from any metal surfaces. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency.

When it comes to how to avoid lightning, you should also take precautions once you’re indoors:

  • Avoid contact with corded phones.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Unplug electrical equipment

It’s important to prepare for natural and weather disasters. It’s also important to make sure you’re covered if something happens to your vehicle or home during a storm. Connect with the Scott Lynch Agency to make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you.

The safer you drive, the more you save.

You’ve always been a good driver; and now your good driving can be rewarded. Through our RightTrack® program, you can install a device in your car that recognizes your safe driving habits, which could earn you a discount of up to 30%. Call (317) 886-0081 to discuss.

Click Here for a free quote

6 homeowners insurance tips for Super Bowl party hosts

Here’s how Super Bowl party hosts can enjoy the game — and their guests — while avoiding a possible insurance claim.

JAN 29, 2018 | BY ELANA ASHANTI JEFFERSON

Despite the fact that not everyone loves American football — particularly in light of its recent politicization via the “Take a Knee” campaign — most everyone loves a party.

That makes the ad hoc holiday known as Super Sunday a time for football fans and foes to come together to eat, drink and play armchair TV critic.

This year, roughly 45% of Americans plan to host or attend a Super Bowl party, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“As a favorite American past-time, the Super Bowl is a great chance for viewers to reconnect with friends and family,” says NRF Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Even though the number of viewers is slightly down this year, plenty are still planning to enjoy the day by watching it at their favorite bar or friend’s place.”

Related: Super Bowl short-term home rentals & insurance coverage

Insurance experts advise homeowners who choose to host a Super Bowl party to anticipate potential liabilities — on the chance something unexpected occurs that results in an insurance claim.

Parties and holidays are times to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company,” says Heather Bolyard, vice president of Claims for American Modern. “Unfortunately, guests on your property are also a risk for which you may be held responsible.”

Related: How to plan ahead for a safe, claims-free Super Bowl

Should an accident happen, she advises taking the following steps:

          1. Address any injuries first.
          2. Ensure other guests are safe and secure.
          3. Take pictures.
          4. Quickly report the loss to the insurance company.
          5. Be sure to provide the names and contact information for witnesses.
          6. If possible, secure the scene for the insurance company to visit and complete an assessment.

“You put a lot of work into hosting a party,” Bolyard continues. “Do your best to be prepared… Then, enjoy the party knowing that you are insured in case an accident occurs.”

Related: Hosting a Super Bowl 50 party? Watch out for these 5 risks

Here are six tips from insurers regarding potential homeowner liabilities when hosting a Super Bowl party, as well as how to address them.

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Food and drink account for nearly 80% of the purchases made specifically for Super Bowl parties, according to the National Retail Federation. (Photo: iStock)

No. 6: Look out for inebriated guests.

Depending on the location, social host liability laws, or the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to guests, are applicable to events such as in-home Super Bowl parties, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

American Modern’s Heather Bolyard notes that hosts can be liable for guests who over-imbibe and then drive home while intoxicated:

“There have been some very sad claims where after leaving a party with family and friends the guest drove drunk causing an accident, injuries, and even death. A Super Bowl party with friends and family is going to be a great event. If you’re serving alcohol, do so early in the game and be sure to serve food as well; put the alcohol away before the end of the game and switch to coffee and dessert.

For those that over-imbibe ensure they don’t drive; consider asking another guest to give the person a ride or order a ride from a local taxi or ride-sharing service. There are so many services that are quick and convenient. Go ahead and have an app or phone number handy if you need one for a guest. You want to remember the great party, not the results of car accident.”

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In the United States, emergency rooms see nearly 8 million slip-and-fall accident cases each year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. (Photo: iStock)

No. 5: Clear icy or obstructed sidewalks.

Many parts of the country are heading into the coldest, snowiest part of winter. That means anyone hosting a Super Bowl party could be liable should a guest slip and fall on their steps, driveway or walkway.

But that becomes much less likely when a homeowner has taken extra precautions to clear and salt snowy, icy outdoor paths.

Related: 10 ways to reduce slips, trips and falls in your business

Farmers Insurance data also indicates that skidding on ice or snow and hitting an object or pedestrian claims both increase by more than 5% on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the three Sundays prior.

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Five out of six (83%) grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel, according to the National Fire Protection Association. (Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 4: Responsibly ‘fire up the barbie.’

Grilling food is easy, fast and delicious, but it also can be dangerous.

Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and these fires accounted for annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage.

Related: Time for a cookout! Grilling safety & homeowners insurance basics

Super Bowl party hosts should make sure grills are clean and operational before the party, as well as positioned away from people and property.

Keep fire safety tools on hand, just in case.

partyfoodistock-531184054

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo: iStock)

No. 3: Ward off foodborne illness.

Popular party foods containing dairy, such as dips or potato salad, can quickly sour once they come to room temperature, and Super Bowl party hosts could be liable should a guest become sick from something served at the event.

These food storage tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go a long way toward avoiding the spread of foodborne illness:

— It is vital to keep foods out of the “Danger Zone,” which is the temperature range between 40°F and 140°F.

— When foods are left in the “Danger Zone,” bacteria can multiply rapidly, causing a single bacterium to multiply to 17 million in 12 hours.

— Avoid serving Super Bowl favorites, such as pizza and chicken wings, at room temperature for the entire game.

— If warm takeout foods are to be served immediately, keep them at 140°F or above by placing in chafing dishes, preheated warming trays or slow cookers.

— If take-out foods will not be served immediately, either keep them warm in a preheated oven, or divide the food into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate. At serving time, reheat to 165°F.

— Cold foods that are served should be kept at 40°F or below, which can be done by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice. Avoid storing food outside, where the sun can quickly warm foods in plastic storage containers and animals can get into them.

— Use a food thermometer to ensure foods being served to guests are not in the “Danger Zone.”

Related: Win big with these 7 food safety tips for your Super Bowl 50 party

most-dog-bites-occur-at-home-with-the-family-petis

More than four million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo: iStock)

No. 2: Minimize pet stress.

Dogs are especially sensitive to crowds and noise (like touchdown cheering), and an agitated animal is more likely to bite.

When pets join the party, owners should monitor them for signs of stress such as panting, pacing or hiding. It also may also be wise to keep older or anxious dogs away from Super Bowl party guests altogether.

Related: 8 tips for preventing dog bites

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Property damage, including theft, accounts for more than 97% of homeowners insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. (Photo: iStock)

No. 1: Consider supplemental coverage.

Farmers Insurance warns that homeowners’ policies generally cover a limited amount of liability for injuries that occur at the home. So homeowners may want to consider a personal liability umbrella policy as a supplement.

Farmers also advises Super Bowl party hosts that any intentional act resulting in damage to home or property may not be covered under a homeowners policy. And there are limits to certain types of homeowner losses, such as theft.

To that end, Super Bowl party hosts may want to consult with their insurance specialist before Super Sunday to determine whether supplemental insurance, knowns as a floater, may be prudent.

“Parties and holidays are times to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company,” says American Modern’s Heather Bolyard. “After doing your best to prepare for an entertaining event, insurance can help you have peace of mind and enjoy the time with your friends and family.”

See also:

Where do insurance company Super Bowl ads rank with viewers

Nationwide defends its position over controversial Super Bowl ad

For your home insurance review, call us at (317) 886-0081 or visit our website: Scott Lynch Agency

Original Article

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Are you looking to rent a new place in 2018? We not only have great rates on auto, home, business and life insurance – we have great rates on renter’s insurance too. You may think you don’t need the insurance, but you never know what your neighbor is doing that may cause damage to your stuff. It’ is very inexpensive to protect your stuff. Call us at (317) 886-0081 or get a quote on line at Scott Lynch Agency.