Plan a Safe Holiday Party

Planning a party can be a big task, especially when you consider your responsibilities as host extend beyond when your guests walk out the door. The perfect ending to any gathering is a safe trip home for all of your guests.

Remember, too, if your intoxicated guest is injured or injures someone else on the way home, you could be held legally responsible.

But you can take steps to ensure the safety of your guests and, ultimately, the success of your gathering.

PROVIDE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration encourages these precautions when hosting a party:

  • Avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events. Entertain guests with music, dancing, games, food and lively conversation.
  • Provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. Avoid salty foods, which encourage people to drink more.
  • Did you know that one in three adults prefers a nonalcoholic beverage? Make sure to offer plenty of nonalcoholic choices such as sparkling water, fancy juice drinks, soft drinks and bottled drinking water.
PLAY IT SAFE WHEN SERVING ALCOHOL

During your party:

  • If you hire or designate someone as bartender, ask them to measure the correct amount of liquor into drinks and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears to be impaired.
  • Check the ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 (no ID, no alcohol).
  • Stop serving drinks at least one hour before the end of the event. Instead, serve coffee, nonalcoholic beverages and desserts at that time.
  • Recruit people who will not be drinking to be available at the end of the party to help ensure that everyone has a safe ride home.

Finally, had one too many? Call a friend, taxi or rideshare service.

MORE INFORMATION

Play It Safe – Be a Responsible Party Host, Oregon Liquor Control Commission

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact our team for specific coverage advice and service.

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Water & Sewer Backup: What You Need to Know

Water & Sewer Backup: What You Need to Know

Backed up sewers can wreak havoc on a home, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems.  Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.

For homes that have been severely damaged and are uninhabitable, homeowners policies may provide Loss of Use coverage, which provides reimbursement for lodging, food and other living expenses you may incur as a result of having to live outside of your home. Loss of Use coverage also reimburses you for the lost rental income if you rent out part of the house.

 Causes of Sewer Backup

Aging Sewer Systems: The Civil Engineering Research Foundation reports that the number of backed up sewers is increasing at an alarming rate of about 3 percent annually. In addition, a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that the nation’s 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are on average over thirty years old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows.

Combined Pipelines: Problems also arise in systems that combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed to more volume than they can handle, and the result is a sewage backup situation that allows sewage to spew out into basements and other low lying drains.

Blockages Due to Tree Roots: Shrubs and trees seeking moisture will make their way into sewer line cracks. These roots can cause extensive damage. They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages. Tree roots can travel a long way, and roots from different types of trees act differently. If city trees are suspected, your plumber can contact the city, and samples of the roots will be used to help identify the trees and who is responsible for cleanup. Sometimes the blockage is a result of a combination of city and private trees. In this case costs are split between the city and the property owner.

Sanitary Main: A blockage can occur in a city sanitary main. If the blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up into homes and businesses through floor drains. Usually this happens slowly, giving the owner time to call a licensed plumber to assess the damage. If water is entering into your basement at a rapid rate, call the city public works office and report the problem immediately.

Water in Basement: Most basement flooding is not related to the sanitary sewer system. In many cases, soil settles adjacent to the building and, if not corrected, leads to rainwater flowing towards the building and down the outside of the foundation wall. This is particularly true in older buildings, where cracks may have developed in the foundation or floor slab that allow water to enter the basement. The cement floor and basement walls of these structures may have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer waterproof. In these cases, water can show up in a basement that has never had a water problem. This will usually happen after a number of rain storms, when the ground is saturated. Drainage can be improved by making sure that water drains away from the building. Owners may also be able to prevent flooding by water sealing the basement.

Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.

How to File a Claim

For insurance purposes, take before and after photos of the affected areas and itemize any property losses. Save all receipts related to repair, cleaning or damages and contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Backups In Your Lateral and in the City Main

Dispose of Grease Properly: Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly, after it cools off, not in the drain. Washing grease down the drain with hot water is unsatisfactory. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner’s line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.

Dispose of Paper Products Properly:
Paper towels, disposable (and cloth) diapers and feminine products can cause a great deal of trouble in the property owner’s lateral as well as in the city main. These products do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does, so do not put them down the drain or toilet.

Replace Your Line with New Plastic Pipe: One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral, you may have to have the roots cut periodically.

Correct Illegal Plumbing Connections: Do not connect French drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections. French drains are common drainage systems, primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations.

Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: A backwater valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line, and sometimes into a drain line, in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in. Property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of backwater valves. The cost to install one depends on the type of plumbing in the building and the difficulty of installation. Check with a qualified plumber.

What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold or further damage. If you experience a sewer backup situation, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:

  • Wet-vacuuming or removal of spillage
  • Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
  • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
  • Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
  • Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
  • Cleanup of ductwork

This post was created by and originally appeared at the Insurance Information Institute.

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Make your Brewery a Safe Space for Tasting & Tours

Tips for making your Tasting Room safer and keeping guests safe on Tours.

Most breweries, wineries or distilleries offer tours and a tasting room where guests can enjoy a sample of the product or purchase drinks made on-site. These operations present a different set of exposures than a typical beverage manufacturing facility. If you own a beverage business, closely evaluate your operation to ensure guest safety.

The most common source of liability claims for these businesses are slip-and-fall hazards. To complicate this exposure, many establishments also offer tours that lead guests through the manufacturing side of the establishment, the vineyard or storage areas.

Tours are a terrific way to display your establishment, help guests understand how the product is made and further engage them in your craft. Use caution when creating your facility tour to ensure guest safety.

Here are some items to consider when planning your tour route, tasting room or taproom space:

  • Use nonskid flooring wherever possible, and make sure all spills are cleaned up immediately.
  • While it’s best to have a level flooring surface throughout, if there are changes in elevation, make sure all steps are marked appropriately and are well lit.
  • Ensure that handrails on stairways are secured, that stair treads are a solid surface or that carpeting is properly secured and free of tears.
  • Be sure walkways around the exterior of the establishment (including parking areas) and outdoor gathering areas are in good condition and well lit.
  • Use surveillance cameras where possible.
  • Assign guides for all tours, and train them in safety procedures. Limit the number of guests per tour. Keep guests at a safe distance from operational traffic, moving machinery and hot surfaces.
  • Don’t permit guests to carry food or beverages with them during the tour.
  • Post warnings and liability disclaimers at the tour site and on your website to assure visitors understand potential physical and operational hazards.
  • Provide any necessary safety gear, such as safety glasses or hearing protection.
  • Be sure to follow any state or local safety regulations or health restrictions, including occupancy restrictions for fire evacuation.

By ensuring a safe visit, you protect your business while building customer goodwill.


This post was created by Kevin Getz, Manager of the Craft Beverage Program with the Cincinnati Insurance Companies. Cincinnati is an industry-leading insurance carrier for the craft beverage industry.

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Stay Safe When You Drive at Night

A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night

Traffic on Coronation Drive at night driving along the edge of the Brisbane River towards the city in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Summer has ended, and while fall and winter have their own pleasures – longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).

Because we’re big advocates for safety at Enders Insurance, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease that danger.

What’s dangerous about night driving?

  1. Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
  2. Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
  3. Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.

So what do you do?

Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip — whether you’re just running to the store, or you’re headed all the way to {local getaway spot}

  1. Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
  2. Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
  3. Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.

 Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!

We’re open all day!

When you’re driving around during the day, stop in to our office at 5912 Linglestown Road for a review of your coverage. We won’t keep you after dark, we promise.

 


We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 717.652.4902 or send us a note at enders@endersinsurance.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected! Content provided by Safeco Insurance

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Deer Crash Season

It’s almost November, which marks the month where there are more deer related accidents in Pennsylvania. According to Car Connection, in 2010 Pennsylvania had the highest number of deer related car accidents. 

Here are some tips to avoid deer related crashes:

  • If one deer crosses, assume there are more.
  • Don’t rely on flashing headlights or honking the horn.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid the deer.
  • After a crash, pull off the road if possible. Call the police.

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today reminded drivers that their insurance company cannot add a surcharge to their auto premium for a crash involving a deer. The commissioner urged drivers to be alert for deer, as this is the time of year when auto crashes with deer are most likely to happen.

Deer Auto Car Accident Crash

Deer can cause auto accidents

“In another push for consumer protection in Pennsylvania, I want to remind drivers that under state law, a crash involving a deer is considered a not-at-fault accident, and insurers cannot add a surcharge to your premium for an accident with a deer,” Commissioner Miller said. “In addition, vehicle damage from deer-related crashes is handled under a driver’s comprehensive coverage, and surcharges are prohibited for accidents with animals or fowl.”

Figures compiled by State Farm Insurance show that Pennsylvania drivers are the second most likely of motorists in any state to have a collision with a deer, having a one in 70 chance of a deer-related accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports 15 fatalities in Pennsylvania because of collisions with animals in 2013, the latest year for which this information is available. The cost of a deer involved claim rose six percent to more than $4,100 in 2014.

November is the month when drivers are most likely to have a crash involving a deer, according to insurance industry information. October and December have the second and third highest number of deer related crashes.

“The fall is breeding season for deer, and they may be less aware of their surroundings.  Deer also often travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are often more nearby,” advised Commissioner Miller.

Dawn and dusk are the peak times of day for deer activity, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. With daylight savings time ending November 1, more drivers will be traveling to and from work at these times of day.

To report a dead deer for removal from state-maintained roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.


 

The above article was first posted by PR Newswire. It can be found by clicking here.

 

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