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Posted by on in Press Release


A service of your agent and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

Whether you haven’t yet taken down your Halloween decorations or you’re assembling your seventeenth gingerbread house of this season, it’s time once again to consider the safety issues surrounding many favorite winter holidays.

There are many things that can brighten the holidays. One light source that you may want to include only selectively is fire.

You may be cooking or baking more than usual. No matter how much you do, be sure to keep kids and flammable items like kitchen towels away from the stove and oven. Clean up any grease as you go.

Preparing to bring a live tree into your home? If so, choose one full of  green  needles  that  don’t  fall  of when you touch them and are diffi cult to pull from branches. Trees need to be watered daily! Don’t plug together more than three strands of lights; use a power strip instead. Throw away any strands that look worn, frayed, or broken, and always unplug all the electrical items connected to your tree before leaving home or going to bed.

Maybe you’re readying a candelabra to celebrate the holidays. You can use traditional candles instead of electrical ones, but be smart about it. Keep flammable items at least three feet from your candles, and put the candelabra on a non-flammable surface (we like to line a tray with aluminum foil in our house). Make sure each candle is standing firmly in its holder, and put your candelabra in a spot where it can’t easily be knocked down by children, pets, or careless adults. Never leave lit candles unattended.

If your holiday season coincides with the arrival of winter weather, and you just want to curl up in front of a cozy, warm fire with your family, be careful. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet from the fireplace, and use a fire screen to prevent embers from escaping into the room. Make sure the fire is completely out before you go to sleep.

Finally, some ideas that make sense year-round: make an emergency plan to use if there’s a fire in your home, and stick to the plan if you have an emergency. Avoid wearing loose, flowing clothing around open flames, whether they’re from a fireplace, stove, or candelabra. Of course, the safest way to avoid holiday fire hazards is to pass on using real fire in your celebrations.

Sources: American Red Cross; U.S. Fire Administration; U.S. Product Safety Commission.

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Posted by on in Press Release

Wisconsin Requires Homeowners to Install Both Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Help Save Lives

MADISON, Wis. (October 4, 2014) – Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, families will be performing home fire drills and testing smoke alarms to ensure they work properly. At the same time, they should also be testing their carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Many folks may not be aware that both smoke detectors and CO detectors are required by the State of Wisconsin.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by consumer products.

“Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — can produce CO. It’s vital to properly maintain and operate these pieces of equipment to prevent CO from building up in your home. If carbon monoxide lingers in your home, apartment or garage, it can trigger serious health issues,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).

Families in cold weather climates have an extra risk as they may be tempted to use stoves, ovens or even gas or charcoal grills to help heat the home. “Using these appliances for heat is extremely dangerous as it can lead to fires and/or CO poisoning,” noted Von Haden.

Following are some important safety tips:

  • When warming up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor in the garage, even if the door is open.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow as CO could build up inside the vehicle, even if it is outside a garage.
  • Keep fireplaces and gas stoves clean and well vented.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • NEVER use gas or charcoal grills inside the home.
  • Be sure generators are located in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

Initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness. High levels of CO can case mental confusion, vomiting and loss of muscle control and unconsciousness.

“If your detector sounds or you are concerned about CO levels, get everyone out of the house and call 911 from a safe location,” noted Von Haden.


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Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
6401 Odana Road | Madison, WI 53719
Phone: (608) 274-8188 | Toll Free (800) 261-7429
Fax: (608) 274-8195 | Toll Free (866) 203-7461