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Safety

Drought conditions and the wildfire risk

Too much rain is a dangerous thing, and so is too little rain. Everyone knows the weather is changeable, and it changes so much that threats from natural disasters come and go like the wind. There are parts of Florida that are abnormally dry for this time of year. Drought conditions put Central, South and Southwest Florida on alert. Check out this interactive drought monitor to get a better sense of what’s happening now.

Last week, 11 homes were destroyed by wildfires in Polk County. The typical homeowners insurance policy does cover wildfire risk. And, it’s a smart idea to be aware of your wildfire risk. The Florida Forest Service has wildfire risk assessment tools. Check them out and be FireWise.

Make it a safely scary Halloween

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The trick-or-treaters are coming! You’ve stocked up on candy; have you taken stock of the safety of your property?

It’s great when homeowners spookify their home for the season. But you don’t want to put the scare into Halloween revelers with hazards that may cause someone to go bump in the night on your property– and sue you for the damages.

Florida tops for lightning damage

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Stormiest state in the U.S.? You’re living in it! Of the top 12 stormiest cities, Florida owns 7 spots. (Lakeland tops the chart.) Thunderstorms are just part of the summertime experience, and where there is thunder, there is lightning – and lightning damage. No surprise, then, that Florida ranks #1 for the most lightning claims.

In 2015, Florida had nearly 12,000 lightning claims. A look at the number of claims and average claim cost shows that Florida also leads in

Need a no-risk gift? Hot idea is fire extinguisher!

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The quest for the Perfect Holiday Gift can be daunting, especially if you waited this long to start the hunt. Other than giving a loved one cash (which always seems a perfect fit….), giving the gift of safety is an equally safe bet.

This is Home-Cooked Meal Season, Candle-Lighting Season and Keeping the Home Fires Burning Season. So, it is also House Fire Season. Add a live Christmas tree and evergreen-scented candles to the mix, and it’s ever more volatile. Live Christmas trees are easily ignited, serving as kindling for fires that may start elsewhere. December is peak time for home candle fires as well, with many holiday decorations being highly flammable.

Go ahead. Let them label you the Practical Gift Giver. Buy a fire extinguisher. The cook won’t be insulted if you explain your honorable intention was to ensure the house is intact for the next sumptuous meal. While you’re at it, as an extra gift, replace the batteries in your host’s smoke alarm. Or better yet, buy a couple of new ones. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing smoke detectors every 10 years.

Homes are being built with more fire-resistant materials, but what’s inside counts. Fire losses are one thing you can control, any time of year.

Dare to Prepare: September is National Preparedness Month

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Are you prepared to deal with a flood? How about a power outage? What’s your plan if there’s a hurricane coming? (Planning a hurricane party is not the correct answer.) If you have never planned for disaster, this is your time. September is National Preparedness Month, and the theme is designed to motivate. “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Independence Day Safety: Focus on “fire” in fireworks

Buying fireworks this week to scare off a flock of egrets grazing in your yard? (Wink, wink) Sure you are — because to buy exploding or flying fireworks just to shoot off in the street on Independence Day is illegal, according to Florida’s fireworks law. Yet, there’s a loophole in Florida law as big as one of those roadside tents run by fireworks vendors; sellers of pyrotechnics get customers to sign a form saying they are using the fireworks to scare off wildlife. Illegal or not, chances are thousands of dollars in fireworks will be going up in smoke in your neighborhood this weekend. Think about the fire and injury risk beforehand, plus your liability, by reviewing fireworks safety tips before you light a match.