Pet Holiday Safety

As you hang your stockings on the mantle, mistletoe under the threshold and prepare for the festivities of the season, we want to take a moment to remind our clients about the potential dangers of the holiday. To echo a holiday favorite in light of the season, we have compiled The 12 Holiday Tips – feel free to hum the famous tune with the partridge in a pear tree in your head as you read; but we can’t promise the same melodious effect!

  1. Hang tinsel high on the tree, out of your pet’s reach.
  2. Hide or cover exposed wires from electrical outlets to avoid electrocution.
  3. Keep lite candles away from curious noses and wagging tails.
  4. Consider decorating with fake poinsettias, holly and mistletoe instead of the real things, which are poisonous to cats and dogs. Should your pet come in contact with any of those toxins, please contact ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435 or visit them online.
  5. Forgo edible tree ornaments or decorations like popcorn or candy canes as they are just asking for your pet to jump on the tree to sneak a taste.
  6. Don’t leave wrapping supplies, such as scissors, unattended.
  7. Hang fragile ornaments on the top of the tree where they are not only prominently displayed, but are also less likely to be broken or ingested by pets.
  8. Confine your dog if hosting a party to avoid them escaping through the ever-revolving door or jumping on guests, soiling their festive attire.
  9. Try to keep edible or appealing-scented packages out of reach to avoid seeing the contents strewn across the floor before opening the packages!
  10. Maintain a consistent feeding route to keep sensitive tummies in stride through the hectic holiday season.
  11. Fasten the tree securely to avoid an accidental fall and vacuum excess pine needles often to avoid punctures or consumption.
  12. Give your pets appropriate gifts that make them feel loved on this holiday but don’t upset their stomachs!

Pay attention to these great holiday tips for your pets, courtesy of Valley Oak Veterinary Center! And, as always, everyone here at Sweeney & Sweeney is wishing you a happy and safe holiday season, as well.

Fire Safety

A fire could be the best thing to have on those cold days, or during camping trips in summer. Then there are those mishaps that could lead to catching a building on fire. Maybe someone threw an oven mitt on a hot stove top, or perhaps toasting marshmallows using the fireplace was not the best idea. Fire has been a tool since the dawn of man. With that in mind, things that shouldn’t have caught fire seem to be the first things to combust.

In the earlier days of insurance there were accidents like there are today. The difference was that back then insured buildings would have what was called a “Fire Brand”, which was a wooden or metal plaque that showed the building was insured. Another difference was in fire safety. Before there were publicly funded fire brigades, there were multiple brigades competing for business. When an insured building would catch fire, the first brigade to douse it got paid. Resulting in arguments between these fire brigades on who got to put out the fire. Sometimes the building was not insured; in which case a brigade might leave it there for the next brigade to take care of.

That was back in the early 1900’s. We have funded fire brigades, but fire related accidents still happen. In summer there can be wild fires that spread to enormous lengths. Something that California knows all too well. We, as a California insurance service, would like to remind you of the simple truth that fire-related accidents happen. Maybe now is the time to get some homeowners insurance or small business insurance. Contact us at Sweeney & Sweeney Insurance Services to find the perfect insurance for your house or business.

Top Holiday-Related Accidents

The holidays are right around the corner! Along with all that merriness, cheer, and celebration can also come accidents. Around the holidays is one of the most accident-prone times as people are distracted and stressed. As I say over and over, knowledge is power, so here is a list of the most common accidents that occur around the holidays, so that you and your loved ones can be aware and prepare.

Did you know that poisonous plants are actually all around right now? Mistletoe, holly berries, poinsettias, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis are all dangerous when swallowed. Make sure to keep these away from where pets and children can get ahold of them. If they do get consumed, call poison control immediately.

Electrical fires are also common around this time of year as people try to over-use extension cords. You should use a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) to prevent electrical shocks and don’t plug in more than 3 strands of lights into a single extension cord, as a good rule of thumb. Also, keep cords out from underneath rugs, as this is also a common cause of fires.

Open fireplaces can cause trouble if not properly taken care of. Always make sure to have your chimney inspected at the beginning of the season before use; make sure you have a grate or screen in front to keep stray embers inside the fireplace, where they belong; and remember that only one artificial log should be used at a time. And if things do get out of hand, always use a fire extinguisher or sand. NEVER water.

Home cooking fires are also prevalent as there tend to be many things going on at once during the holidays. Take extra care to make sure all things flammable are away from the stove.

Christmas tree fires are most commonly due to a tree being too close to a heat source (i.e. a space heater or fireplace). Also make sure that if you get your tree from a lot, they cut off at least a ¼ inch disk from the bottom of the tree so that your tree will absorb the water.

Home heating fires are one of the most common accidents, especially caused by space heaters. Make sure that they are kept far away from flammable material and always turn it off when you leave the house.

Over 5000 Americans went to the hospital in 2007 for holiday decorating related falls. Make sure you’re using a stable ladder on a level surface and that you have someone there to help spot you should anything go awry.

Here’s hoping you have now been well-armed with information and that your holiday season goes along safely and cheerfully. Happy pre-holidays from everyone here at Sweeney & Sweeney!

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents to Kids

Some of us have kids that are just hitting the age where they want to go out trick-or-treating by themselves. From the parental side of things, this can be a little scary. To help take some of the stress off your mind, try out these little tips.

Make up a set of ground rules. Have a set time when your kids have to be back make sure they know the areas that they’re allowed to go, and where not to go; don’t stray away from your group of friends; etc.

Remind them to stay on the sidewalks,  cross streets only at corners and crosswalks, and double check no cars are coming before crossing.

If your kids don’t already have their own, loan them your cell phone in case of emergency and so they can check in.

If they’re going out after dark, make sure they have glow sticks/necklaces/bracelets or flashlights so that they’re easily visible.

Make sure your kids know what the candy-consumption rules are before heading out, to avoid arguing and upset when they get home with their loot.

Halloween has a tendency to also bring out the crazies, so a refresher lesson in Stranger Danger may be in order.

If your kids have any allergies, remember to send them out with their medicine, just in case they dip into their stash early, and eat the wrong thing.

Even though you’ll still be worrying about your kids the whole time they’re out, try to have fun handing out Halloween candy at home or having a little Halloween get together of your own. We hope these tips help to alleviate some of your fears, and allow everyone to have a happy and safe Halloween, this season!