Protecting Your Home From Storms

Heavy rainfall, high winds, hail and lightning from storms can cause severe damage to your home and endanger you and your family. In fact, flooding alone can cost Canadians an average of $42,000.

Make sure to protect your home from storm damage by taking the following steps:

  • Be aware of the types of storms that are likely to affect your area, and always listen to the weather forecast so you can stay informed of potentially dangerous weather patterns.
  • Update your home inventory at least once a year in case a storm causes damage to your home or possessions.
  • Inspect the outside of your home for any damage that could cause a leak. Even a small leak in your home’s roof, siding or foundation can cause severe damage and weaken the structural integrity of your home.
  • Prepare a home disaster kit that includes a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio and clean water. You should also create emergency shelter and evacuation plans with your family in the event that any of you are separated during a severe storm.
  • Check your home’s windows, doors and gutters to ensure they can withstand heavy rainfall and high wind speeds.
  • Contact Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions to make sure that your home insurance policy offers enough protection to cover storm damage, or to learn more about home storm protection.
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7 Tips for Outdoor Running Safety

Fall weather in Ottawa is the perfect for running outdoors! Running outside is a great way to burn calories, boost your confidence, and boost your overall health. However, if you aren’t prepared for a run, you could face risks such as leg injuries, fall hazards, adverse weather, and dangerous traffic patterns.

Here are seven safety tips to keep in mind before you run outdoors:

  1. Wear running shoes that offer adequate support to help avoid severe injuries.
  2. Determine your baseline fitness level before you run so you don’t overexert yourself. You can do this by timing how long it take you to run one kilometre on a flat path, then create a running program based on this time and your future fitness goals.
  3. Plan out a route before you run to make sure it’s in a safe, well-lit area. You can do this by driving or biking along the route, preferably with a friend or family member.
  4. Always look at the weather forecast before you run to make sure you won’t encounter an unexpected storm or low visibility.
  5. Stretch before you run, and slow down to take a break or drink water whenever necessary.
  6. Always stay aware of your surroundings. It may be tempting to listen to music using earbuds or headphones, but this can make it harder to hear what’s around you, including dangerous vehicle traffic.
  7. Consider running in a group. Not only is it safer, but it can help motivate you to run more regularly.

Items to Consider Following a Car Accident

A motor vehicle collision can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. To respond appropriately, there are a number of critical post-crash steps you need to keep in mind – steps that can help get your insurance in order or even save a life. Remember to do the following:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and stay on the scene. Only move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if it is safe to do so. If your vehicle cannot be driver, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate.
  2. Call the authorities if anyone is injured or there is significant damage to vehicles or public property.
  3. Take photos of the accident.
  4. Record as much information as possible, including your information, the other driver’s information, and a description of the collision.
  5. Inform your insurer of what happened and ask for next steps.

Having appropriate car insurance is vital to limiting stress in the time of a car accident. For example, not everyone considers collision coverage necessary due to the age of the vehicle or don’t include “Loss of Use” coverage which will provide a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

If you’re unsure of your coverage, it’s best to call or email your insurance representative.

Chemical Safety Tips for the Home and Cottage

Though you may think that your family is protected against household chemical dangers, accidents can still occur. In fact, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, an average of three children (ages 14 and younger) die each year due to unintentional poisoning and another 900 are hospitalized with serious injuries.

To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take extra precautions when storing and handling poisonous chemicals in your home or cottage. Use the following tips to protect your family:

  • Place the local poison centre contact information next to your phone in case of an emergency. For added protection, program the number into your mobile device as well. The Ontario Poison Control Centre phone number is 1-800-268-9017.
  • Store harmful products out of the kitchen and away from food and drinks.
  • Read product labels when purchasing new items. If they contain the words caution, warning or danger, be extra cautious when storing and using them.
  • Keep chemicals and products in their original packaging so usage and handling instructions remain available.
  • Refrain from storing products that may release harmful fumes or catch fir inside your home. These items include paints, solvents, gasoline, fuels, and varnishes.
  • Check the City of Ottawa’ guidelines for instructions on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste. Never pour chemicals down the drain unless instructed.

Keeping in mind the above tips, you’ll ensure that you and your loved ones are safe from potentially deadly household chemicals.

Preparing a Household for a Disaster

Homeowners throughout Canada face a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and wildfires.

If you are unprepared for one of these disasters, you and your family could be left without food, electricity or even shelter.

To prepare your household for a disaster, consider the following tips:

  1. Know the risks. Depending on where you live, your home could be impacted by any number of unique hazards like landslides or hazardous material spills. Familiarize yourself with the risks that are most likely to occur near your home to guide your preparation.
  2. Create a phone list. Create a master list of family and emergency contacts. Ensure that every member of your family has a copy of this list and stores it in a safe and easy-to-access area.
  3. Pick a meeting place. If you get separated from your loved ones during a disaster, it’s important to have a meeting place set up. This could be a neighbour’s house, library or community centre.
  4. Stay informed. Once impacted by a disaster, you will want to know how to receive updates on the situation. You and your family should know how to get this information ahead of time. Contact your local government to learn the best ways to receive alerts.
  5. Know how to turn off utilities. If you suspect a leak, knowing how to turn off your home’s gas and electricity can protect your family from fires or explosions. Locate and label your electrical panel as well as your water and gas valves.
  6. Store emergency supplies. Above all, in the event of a disaster, you will need access to clean water. You will need at least 4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person, per day. In addition, emergency supplies like first-aid kits, whistles, flashlights and cellphones will be critical to have on hand. Keep all of these items in a safe area or create an easy grab-and-go bag for quick access.

How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes any of your attention away from driving is a distractions. There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Sending or reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving blindfolded for 5 seconds.

Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by notifications. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
  • Set destinations in GPS devices before you depart.
  • Make a playlist on your phone before you leave to avoid the temptation of selecting songs or changing radio stations.
  • Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
  • Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities.

Using and Maintaining Headlights

Your vehicle’s headlights are an essential part of staying aware of your surroundings on the road. Bright, well-maintained headlights can be the difference between seeing a pedestrian and a fatal crash. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t use or maintain their headlights properly.

You should always turn your vehicle’s headlights on as soon as you get into the driver’s seat. Even if it’s bright outside, your headlights can help pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers see you more easily. Some experts also recommend that drivers always use their headlights’ high beams at night to increase visibility, and to turn them off only when there’s an oncoming vehicle.

It’s always best to check your headlights regularly to ensure they’re clean and aren’t in danger of burning out. Because headlights dim over time, it’s always best to replace them both at the same time in order to create an even field of vision when driving.

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