THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020
Set a place for La Niña Who Will Be Visiting the US this Winter!
Forecasters are predicting an 85% chance that La Niña could last through the winter and a 60% chance it could last through spring of 2021. This weather phenomenon is something that could contribute to increased chances of flooding.
What is La Niña?
La Niña occurs when the tropical ocean waters near the equator of South America are colder as a result of stronger than normal trade winds pushing the warm water west towards Asia. The cold waters from the deeper parts of the ocean flow upward and the jet stream moves further north than its normal path. When this happens, often the northern areas of the country could see colder temperatures with increased precipitation and snow.
La Niña FAQs
- La Niña typically peaks during the winter months in North America.
- La Niña episodes typically last nine to 12 months, but some prolonged events may last for years.
- While their frequency can be quite irregular, El Niño and La Niña events occur on average every two to seven years.
- Typically, El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.
- During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.
What does this mean for flooding?
The Midwest may also be at an increased risk of flooding during a La Niña year since it's anticipated to bring about more rain and snowfall in certain parts of the Midwest. Spring river flooding that is all too well-known in this part of the country could become more intense with La Niña.
|sources: Climate.gov, NOAA.gov
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2020
|More than three times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day as on a typical day of the year
That’s according to the latest U.S. Home Cooking Fires report recently released by the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA), which shows that there were 1,600 reported home cooking fires on Thanksgiving in 2017, reflecting a 238 percent increase over the daily average. Unattended cooking was the leading cause of these fires.
“With people preparing multiple dishes, often with lots of guests and other distractions in and around the kitchen, it’s easy to see why the number of home cooking fires increases so dramatically,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Fortunately, the vast majority of cooking fires are highly preventable with a little added awareness, and by taking simple steps to minimize those risks.”
According to the NFPA report, cooking is the leading cause of home fires year-round, accounting for almost half of all US home fires (49 percent) and reported home fire injuries (45 percent). Cooking is the second-leading cause of home fire deaths, accounting for 22 percent of all fire deaths. The report also shows that less progress has been made in reducing deaths from home cooking fires than deaths from most other fire causes. There were more cooking fire deaths in 2013--2017 than in 1980–1984, despite total home fire deaths falling by 46 percent over the period.
Following are tips and recommendations from NFPA for cooking safely this Thanksgiving:
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
- When cooking a turkey, stay in your home and check on it regularly.
- Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
- Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
- Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a heat source.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.
In addition, NFPA strongly discourages the use of turkey fryers, as these can lead to severe burns, injuries, and property damage. For a safe alternative, NFPA recommends grocery stores, food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkey.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2020
|What a windy day! Trident Insurance Agency hopes all of you are safe!
Some of you are asking ”How is this fallen tree covered? Who is responsible? Me? My neighbor?”
Here is some valuable information from Consumer Reports. If you have additional questions, give us or your agent a call.
When an oak topples in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, who cares? But when your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof, you’ll care—and want to know whose homeowners insurance will pay.
The short answer: Tap your own coverage. Make a claim through your insurer for tree damages to your property, even if the tree was rooted in your neighbor’s yard.
Why? “If the neighbor’s tree falls on your house, it’s your problem,” says Gary Blackwell, an independent insurance agent based in Corinth, Maine. Your insurer may reimburse you for repairs to damaged structures, such as your home and a detached garage, and for removing debris—minus the deductible. (Your neighbor isn’t legally responsible for reimbursing your deductible; you could sue to recover that amount, but it’s not a sure bet.)
Insurers generally limit what they’ll pay to remove the tree to $500 or $1,000, says the Insurance Information Institute (III); an industry organization. But if the downed tree caused no damage to any structure on your property, you’ll have to pay for removal and debris cleanup yourself.
Technically, there would be no damage to file a claim. Your insurer might make an exception if, say, the tree is blocking a driveway or access to a ramp for a disabled person.
It’s possible that your carrier might try to get reimbursed by the neighbor’s homeowners policy, a process called subrogation. If your insurer is successful, you may get your deductible back.
What If Your Tree Does Damage Next Door?
In the opposite case—a tree from your yard causes damage to the property next door—it’s up to your neighbor to put in a claim with his or her insurer.
Could the situation get thornier, so to speak, if the tree was visibly unhealthy or diseased before falling? Could you be responsible for paying for damages because of your neglect in maintaining it?
John Bailly, a personal injury attorney at the firm of Baily & McMillan, based in White Plains, N.Y., says no. You’re still covered.
“The homeowner’s carrier cannot disclaim for neglect,” Bailly says. That is, it must pay your neighbor regardless of your neglect.
That said, situations involving trees usually don’t get to the point where a homeowner attempts to get damages paid by a neighbor’s insurer, says Derek Chaiken, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in Los Angeles, an insurance litigation firm.
That’s because it’s costly and time-consuming, he says. Your neighbor could make a claim against your own insurance company, which would investigate the claim. If your insurance denies your neighbor’s claim, your neighbor might then file a lawsuit against you. If you have liability insurance, your own insurance company can defend you in that lawsuit.
“If you insurer determines that you’re liable, they’ll make a settlement offer to your neighbors and have them sign a release so they can’t sue you anymore,” Chaiken says. Your insurer would cover you up to the limits of your homeowners liability insurance.
Your neighbor’s insurer also would pay if, say, you were cutting down your tree and it accidentally fell on your neighbor’s shed. But if it could be proved that you cut the tree down intending to harm your neighbor’s property, you could be liable. “They do not have to indemnify for intentional acts,” Bailly says.
Is Damaged Landscaping Covered?
What if your trees, shrubs, or other landscaping plants are damaged by your neighbor’s tree but no structures were harmed?
While you’ll have to pay to remove the debris, your homeowners insurance policy could pay up to a specified dollar limit to replace each damaged plant—but only if the damage was caused by certain “named perils.” Those could include natural disasters—such as windstorms, lightning, or wildfires—as well as damage created by people outside your household, including vandalism or a car crash.
Typically, the total payment to restore landscape damage maxes out at 5 percent of the amount for which the home is insured, the III says.
How Can You Proactively Prevent Problems?
To keep tree issues from developing, have an arborist fell or trim potential hazards above and below ground. “Once it hits your property line, you can top it off.
How Costly Is a Tree Claim?
Claims related to fallen trees were examined in a recent homeowners insurance survey of Consumer Reports members. The median amount paid by insurance companies for settled tree claims was $4,110. Seven percent of all settled claims were caused by a fallen tree.
Compare that with the most costly type of claims, those for fire, which have a median settlement of $18,438. Other costly claims, by median amount: hail ($12,629), roof damage ($6,688), and water damage not related to weather, such as a pipe bursting inside a house ($6,537).
Source: Consumer Reports 2019
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2020
|We did it! $10,000! Thank you Safeco/Liberty Mutual, Fox & Roach Charities and, most of all, Cradles to Crayons.
Cradles to Crayons, an organization of volunteers, has been awarded $10,000 from Trident Insurance Agency through the Safeco Insurance/Liberty Mutual Make More Happen Award!
The award acknowledges Trident Insurance’s commitment to improving their community through volunteer work with Cradles to Crayons, whose mission is to help ensure that our most vulnerable children have the everyday essentials they need to thrive and survive.
Nearly one in four residents of Philadelphia—including almost 135,000 children—live in poverty. That’s the highest rate among the nation’s 10 largest cities, and the economic effects of the pandemic are making the issue even more pronounced, according to Michal Smith, executive director of Cradles to Crayons.
Demand this year has skyrocketed by more than 150% at the organization, which provides children in need with the essential items necessary to thrive at home, at school, and at play. “The need for basic supplies, along with diapers, wipes, and activity kits has been overwhelming,” Smith said.
At the 2019 Backpack-A-Thon, the Trident team, a part of BHHS Fox & Roach and The Trident Group, helped pack 30,000 backpacks for kids, packed with age appropriate school supplies that helps make sure kids have the tools and confidence to help be successful in school!
This year BHHS Fox & Roach and The Trident Group sales associates, employees, executives, families, friends, clients, and sponsors came together to break the goal for this year’s backpack drive. The goal was to raise $100,000 and they came up big by donating $114,213, providing 5,711 filled backpacks for children in need throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania!
A decade of partnership
That’s why key supporters such as Trident Insurance Agency, part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach/Trident, are so important. TIA, which serves the Delaware Valley, has been working with Cradles to Crayons since 2010—when the nonprofit helped turbo-charge BHHS FR/T’s annual Backpack Challenge.
“Our partnership with Cradles to Crayons has enabled us to help so many more children,” said TIA president Christopher L. Rosati. “It’s been beyond successful, year after year.” All 75 agency employees are involved in activities such as the yearly Backpack-A-Thon.
‘Every child deserves the basic necessities to feel safe and ready to achieve.’
Christopher L. Rosati, Trident Insurance Agency president
“The people at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach/Trident have been incredible, both before and during this pandemic,” Smith said. “They have challenged themselves to support our Ready for Learning program, and we have been able to provide learning supplies to over 25,000 children so they are ready to learn—in whatever form that takes.”
Safeco/Liberty Mutual’s Make More Happen Awards, part of the company’s Agent Giving Program, recognizes independent agencies whose staff supports nonprofits that do meaningful work in the areas of community health, safety, education and civil service.
Throughout 2020, Safeco will select a total of 23 independent agents for Make More Happen Awards and will donate up to $230,000 to nonprofits they support.
Thank you Safeco and Liberty Mutual!
To find out more about Fox & Roach/Trident Charities click here.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2020
What to know about trick or treating, costume parties, Halloween parades, and other spooky season activities this year.
The coronavirus is still posing a serious threat, so what does that mean for Halloween? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate the holiday. Good news for fans of the spooky season––you don’t have to cancel Halloween or trick or treating altogether. You might just have to replace some of the higher risk activities with less risky choices.
To make it easier, the CDC has split traditional Halloween activities into three categories: lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk. Unsurprisingly, the higher risk activities are those that involve close contact with other people, such as trick or treating door to door, hosting “trunk or treat,” where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots, attending crowded indoor costume parties, and going to an indoor haunted house with lots of screaming people.
Going on a hayride or tractor ride with people who aren’t in your household is also considered higher risk, as is traveling to a fall festival outside your community if you live in an area with community COVID-19 spread. The CDC also warns against using alcohol or drugs during Halloween activities, as this can cloud your judgement and lead to an increase in risky behaviors.
“Safety modifications to celebrations are nothing new, but this year, the greatest health risk for our families is person-to-person contact and large gatherings that promote the spread of infection,” Carol A. Winner, MPH, who founded the Give Space personal distancing movement, tells Health. “Pairing down creatively, with your masks on, can help to protect you and your little goblins.”
As for moderate-risk activities, these include hosting a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than six feet apart. Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than six feet apart also made the list.
“Swapping out some higher risk activities like large costume parties or door-to-door trick or treating for apple-picking, a visit to the pumpkin farm, or a scavenger hunt in the front yard is best,” Winner says. Other lower risk activities listed by the CDC include decorating your house, organizing a virtual Halloween costume contest, hosting a Halloween movie night with people you live with, and carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household (or outside at a safe distance) with neighbors or friends.
With some adjustments, higher risk activities can also be made safer. The CDC says trick or treating may only pose a moderate risk if it is done one specific way—with individually wrapped goodie bags lined up at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard for families to grab and go while staying at least six feet apart. If you’re preparing goodie bags, it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.
And that costume party can still go ahead if guests remain more than six feet apart, but protective masks should be used. “A word of caution––a costume mask may not provide the proper protection from the coronavirus, so while your child’s Black Panther costume is cool, they’ll need to wear a protective mask with it,” Winner says. The CDC also says a costume mask shouldn’t be used in place of a cloth face mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric, covers the mouth and nose, and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
Without a doubt, the theme of Halloween 2020 is creativity. If you think outside the box, you can still make the most of the holiday, says Winner. For instance, children who are doing school online can still dress up and enjoy at-home treats.
It goes without saying that if there’s a possibility you have COVID-19, or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you shouldn’t take part in in-person Halloween festivities or give out candy to trick or treaters. “In public health, you are first taught that you cannot protect the health of others if you are not healthy, and this certainly applies to participation in Halloween activities,” Winner says. “Kids come with adults, so parents need to assess their risk as well and choose carefully if sharing events with another family or two.”
Lots of us love getting spooked out on Halloween. But the prospect of getting COVID-19 is probably taking the fear factor a little too far.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.