BWG Consumer Alert: October 2011

Enjoying a Safe Halloween
Halloween is a much-anticipated night for children, who are excited about dressing up as ghosts and goblins. Parents and other adults can help keep this experience safe and fun with these tips from our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys:

  • Never let young children go trick-or-treating without adult supervision.
  • Take children for a test run of the trick-or-treat walking route during daytime hours.
  • Remind children to look both ways before crossing the street and to utilize crosswalks when possible.
  • Parents and children should always walk on sidewalks.
  • Children should carry flashlights or glow sticks and wear reflective tape.
  • Watch out for trick-or-treaters! Drive below the speed limit in residential areas and do not pass stopped vehicles in the roadway.
  • Inspect treats before consumption. Discard all homemade goods and candy that poses a choking hazard.
  • At your home, leave candles, pumpkins and lanterns in a place where no one can trip on them.
  • Make sure costumes are flame-resistant and will not cause children to fall or trip.

Click here for information on safe costumes from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


Think Fire Prevention As You Prepare For Winter
Many of us are fully enjoying fall as the leaves change to vibrant shades of reds and oranges. But winter will soon be upon us and it is time to unpack those winter jackets, check home heating oil tanks and winterize your home.

Think fire prevention as you prepare for the changing seasons. One house fire is reported every 87 seconds in the United States. Many of these blazes occur during the late fall and winter months. Here are some steps you can take to protect your family and home:

  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor.
  • Check your appliances for broken parts and worn or cracked cords. Pay extra attention to seasonal products, such as portable heaters and electric blankets.
  • Walk around the interior and exterior of your home and identify the locations of vents. Throughout the winter, make sure to keep these clear of snow to avoid blockages that cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected now for leakage and blockages from debris.
  • Obtain a fire-resistant container to store fireplace ashes in during the winter. Select a container with a lid.
  • Create a fire escape plan with your family and practice it twice a year.

State Law on Smoke Alarms, Carbon Monoxide Detectors As Daylight Saving Time Ends
On Nov. 6, we turn clocks back an hour as Daylight Saving Time ends. The change from Daylight Saving Time is an important reminder to protect our family and homes by checking our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Smoke Alarms: Massachusetts requires a smoke alarm be installed on every habitable level of a residence as well as the basement floor. There are two types of smoke alarms, photoelectric and ionization. Effective April 5, 2010, only photoelectric smoke detectors are to be installed within 20 feet of kitchens and bathrooms with showers. These alarms are less sensitive and the goal is to reduce nuisance alarms that cause people to disable devices. Both photoelectric and ionization alarms are required in all other areas.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Since March 31, 2006, residences have been required to have working carbon monoxide alarms on every habitable level of the home or dwelling unit. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that results from incomplete burning of fuels. The first symptoms are similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue and dizziness.

The requirements for meeting the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector laws can be met with separate units or with smoke alarms that have carbon monoxide detectors.

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