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Personal Lines Firework SafetyThis year’s Fourth of July holiday may look different from most, with many people celebrating from home due to social distancing restrictions still in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. All too often, however, Independence Day backyard celebrations can end up with a trip to the hospital for firework-related injuries.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that roughly 18,500 fires are started annually by fireworks. Even a simple backyard sparkler can heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you choose to use fireworks at home, follow these tips to keep your holiday safe and fun:

Keep them outside. Never light fireworks inside, and always keep them far away from dry grass, plants, and other flammable objects.

Never point fireworks at others. Make sure your fireworks are not aimed at any people, animals, or property.

Take fire precautions. Keep a full bucket of water or a garden hose nearby and ready to go in case you need to douse the fireworks or anything they may ignite. Make sure you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is located.

Take a look at your outfit. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing when using fireworks.

Move back. When you’re lighting the fireworks (always one at a time), make sure no part of your body is directly above the device.  As soon as it is lit, move a safe distance away.

Douse them when done. Once a firework is done burning, soak it with water from the bucket or the hose before throwing it away. If one of your fireworks doesn’t seem to be working properly, do not pick it up or try to light it again. Douse it with water and then throw it away.

Protect pets. Provide a safe place indoors for your pets to stay during the festivities. Consider turning on the television to help drown out the pops and bangs from fireworks nearby.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to make sure you have a fun and safe holiday weekend.

How to keep yourself, your home, and your belongings safe from lightning.

Personal Lines Lightning SafetyAccording to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), Florida has the highest number of lightning casualties of all 50 states. Lightning can cause damage to your home and belongings—and can cause bodily harm. It’s prudent to take steps to prevent the dangerous effects of lightning and to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some things you can do according to the I.I.I.:

  • Lightning and insurance. Most standard homeowners and auto insurance policies cover damages, such as fire, that results from a lightning strike. Some policies also provide coverage for the damage caused by power surges. With that being said, it’s far better to prevent lightning damage than to have to deal with the consequences. Contact your advisor today to review your policy.
  • Lightning protection system. A lightning protection system (LPS) provides a specified path on which lightning can travel. The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) explains how LPSs work in this infographic. A rooftop network of lightning rods or air terminals is connected to a series of down conductors, which carry the current down to a grounding network. In that way, the system safely directs the destructive power of the lightning strike into the ground, which leaves the structure of your home and its contents undamaged.
  • Surges. Electrical surges from lightning can enter a structure via power transmission lines and cause electrical fires as well as damage to your electrical system, your appliances and your home electronics. Regular power strips offer little surge protection. To assure the best safeguards, UL-listed surge protection devices (SPDs) should be installed to filter and dissipate damaging electrical discharges. To protect valuable electronics like computers, home entertainment centers, gaming systems and smart home technology, install UL-listed transient voltage surge suppressors–and consider unplugging expensive electronics when you know a storm is approaching.
  • Protect yourself and your family with precautions. 
    • When thunder roars, go indoors. During a storm, it’s best to take shelter in a house or other fully enclosed building. Inside, don’t stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay off the phone and avoid contact with small appliances, like toasters and hairdryers. As water conducts electricity, also stay away from plumbing, sinks, tubs and radiators.
    • If you know a storm is coming, avoid known hazards and dangerous locations. These include areas where you will be the highest object—a golf course, for example. Bodies of water also attract lightning, so avoid lakes, beaches or open water, and fishing from a boat or dock. Never ride golf carts, motorcycles or bicycles during a thunderstorm.
    • If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, take shelter in a hard topped-vehicle or a low area such a tunnel or even a cave if necessary. Stay clear of fences, isolated trees and other conductive objects such as telephone poles, power lines and pipelines. These present a danger from a potential side flash, which is voltage from a nearby, lightning-struck object.
    • If you’re caught in an open field with no nearby shelter, and your hair begins to stand on end, drop down into a crouch with your hands on your knees, and balance on the balls of your feet. The static electricity in your hair is an indication that lightning is about to strike, and the idea is to make as little contact with the ground as possible. Never lie down flat or place your hands on the ground.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to keep you informed and safe.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Capture 1Over the last few weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cyber incidents from companies around the world that have been affected by a fresh wave of coronavirus-themed cyberattacks. According to cybersecurity firm CYE, since the beginning of February cybercriminals have been increasingly exploiting the unfamiliar situation caused by the global pandemic.

By leveraging the public’s genuine fear and increased distraction associated with these events, there is an increased likelihood of employees clicking on malicious attachments or using unsecure networks to retrieve sensitive information when working from home or in remote locations. As quarantines become more prevalent and more and more individuals are authorized to work remotely, there must be a multi-departmental focus on maintaining proper controls.

Click here to download the white paper

We have aggregated all Coronavirus resources and updates to one area on our website, available here.

Jeff Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance who works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines How to Prepare for a Wildfire

Each year, thousands of acres of wildland and many homes are destroyed by fires that can erupt at any time of the year from a variety of causes, including arson, lightning, and debris burning. We’ve put together some proactive measures you can take to keep your family and home safe from a wildfire.

Inside your home:

  • Install fire-resistant window treatments. Make sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a fire extinguisher in your home.
  • Keep fire-fighting tools handy, such as a ladder, shovel, rake, axe, water bucket, and a hose that is long enough to reach your home and other structures.
  • Install a back-up generator in case electrical power is shut off.
  • Store valuable documents in a fire-resistant safe or bank safety deposit box.

 

Outside your home:

  • Make sure your house address is visible from the street.
  • Trim trees regularly to keep branches at least 15 feet off the ground or 1/3 of the total crown height, whichever is less. Remove branches that hang over the roof or chimney.
  • Create a separation between trees, shrubs, and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, and swing sets.
  • Maintain adequately watered ground at least 100 feet from the house if the ground is level and 200 feet from the house if the ground is sloped. Keep grass cut down to a maximum of 4 inches high.
  • Clear a 10-foot area around propane or oil tanks and around your barbeque area.
  • If a wildfire is approaching, clear driveways to accommodate large fire equipment. Make sure no flammable vegetation is within 10 feet on both sides of the driveway and there are no overhanging obstructions within 15 feet. If your property is gated, open the gate to allow fire personnel to access your property.

 

Make sure you have an established emergency evacuation plan for your family and pets in the event that a wildfire begins to endanger your home. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

Ron Lazarto, CPRIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Ron specializes in offering customized property and casualty insurance solutions for successful individuals and their families. Comments and questions are welcome at rlazarto@gulfshoreinsurance.com