Category Archives: Safety

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.

An ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water could then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How do you tell if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm before it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

Tips for removing an Ice Dam:

  • Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.

Having A Safe and Happy Super Bowl Party

snack food

If you’re planning to host a Super Bowl party, the entertainment is already taken care of. From the big game itself, to the famous commercials and happening half time show, there’s always something to enjoy. Of course, there’s good food and drinks to think about as well. It’s always good to stock up on chips, dip, drinks and other snack time favorites.

That’s not all there is to being a good host. As you check everything off your Super Bowl itinerary list, allow us to share some helpful party safety tips to ensure your guests enjoy themselves and everything goes smoothly.

Personal Liability: Do you have enough liability? Please keep in mind that personal liability laws vary state by state. Familiarize yourself with the laws beforehand so that you know what to pay close attention to as the party progresses.

Closest thing to a “warm” welcome: The forecast calls for “a full day of sunshine” when the Falcons and Patriots take the field in Houston, Texas. Given that the winter months in New York can sometimes lead to rain, snow, ice, and other conditions of the like, it may pay to take precautionary measures. You can make sure your walkway is shoveled and cleared of ice. As guests arrive, clean and dry an otherwise slippery floor. This will help you set the mood for a good time by avoiding any injuries.

Keeping Everyone Safe: There are many things you can do to ensure guests have a good time at your party. We understand it’s easy to get distracted while having fun. Please be mindful not to serve uncooked food. With buffalo wings a popular snack for this occasion, keep stray bones away from any pets scurrying around. The big game can lead to heated debates amongst passionate fans (and being on the losing side can be even more disappointing), so do what you can to discourage arguments and fights. There are always calm ways to diffuse these types of situations.

Go Home Happy: Even if your guests’ favorite team loses the game, you can still play a role in helping them go home without a worry. If alcohol is served, perhaps you can offer a prize to whoever volunteers to be a designated driver. Some hosts opt to stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening and switch to soft drinks and coffee. Should guests be drinking too much, take their keys and arrange beforehand to have a cab service ready to provide rides back home.

Do you understand the Personal Liability Laws that apply to your state? Contact us today to review or increase your coverage. Enjoy the game!

Super Bowl LI Traditions and Treats From Petschauer Insurance

Chips & football

The Super Bowl is one of America’s favorite past times. Even if you aren’t the biggest football fan, the big game serves as a great opportunity for family and friends to come together. In addition to the game highlights, there are commercials and good food to enjoy, with fun activities to partake in. With Tom Brady and the Patriots set to face off against Matt Ryan and the Falcons this Sunday, our team at Petschauer Insurance would like to share some of our favorite traditions, recipes, and venues with you.


Game Day Traditions: 

We have Bourbon Tasting during half time.   Everyone brings a bottle of bourbon (we look for something special or new) to the host’s house.   During half time, we all try the different bourbon and then judge and vote for the best bourbon of the year. The host gets to keep all the bottles everyone brought.   It’s very collaborative and fun!   — Rosmarie Wyszinski, Office Manager

We play “quarters.” Each participant puts 25 cents in a bowl at the start of the big game.  The party host is the first person to hold the bowl.  Each time a play is made and no points are scored, everyone adds 25 cents to the bowl and the bowl is passed along to the next person.  When one teams scores, the person holding the bowl is the winner of the contents.  We then start the process over again, with one exception; the person to the left of the winner starts off with the bowl. – LuAnn Schook, Commercial Lines Manager


Recipes:

Office Assistant Tina Rustyak’s Spinach Dip:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • 1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled and squeezed dry
  • 1 container (16 oz.) sour cream*
  • 1 cup Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 package Vegetable recipe mix(dry soup mix)

Serve: cold on large hollowed out bread. Enjoy!

Commercial Lines Account Executive Renee Ohms’ Chili Cheese Dip:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • 2 bars cream cheese
  • 2 cans chili with beans
  • 1 extra  large  jar of medium or hot salsa (whichever you prefer)
  • 1-2 bags ( 3-6 cups ) shredded “ taco” cheese (usually Monterey Jack/Cheddar)
  • Spread cream cheese on bottom of glass or corningware baking dish
  • Spread chili on top of cream cheese
  • Strain the salsa in a colander until the excess liquid is gone and add the salsa on top of the chili layer
  • Spread the shredded cheese on top of salsa
  • Bake on 350 degrees until the cheese is melted

Serve: With taco chips. Optional: Add cut black olives &/or sour cream on top to serve.

Personal Lines Account Executive Lori Halloran’s Cherry Bombs:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • Drain Maraschino cherries (keep stems)
  • Soak in vodka (or your favorite alcohol) for 24 hours
  • Drain & dry cherries
  • Dip cherries in melted chocolate
  • Then dip into colored sprinkles (optional)
  • Save cherry flavored alcohol for use later in your favorite cocktail!!

Recommended Super Bowl Venues:

Gottscheer Hall,  657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood, New York

No cover! Great prices on game day snack favorites.

Click here for the regular menu.

Plattduetsche Park1132 Hempstead Tpke. Franklin Square, New York

Hosting an open bar, all you can eat wings, and a halftime buffet. All included for $50 dollars ($60 at the door).

Click here for more Super Bowl specials.

Paulaner NYC, 265 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

No cover! Great prices on food platters and freshly brewed German beer right in the restaurant. With two projection screens and two more flat screens, you have a great view of the game from any seat in the house!

Click here for more Super Bowl specials. 


Study Up Before The Game!

Those who aren’t huge football fans may still enjoy watching the big game. If that includes you, take a look at the video clip below for a crash course on the matchup between the Patriots and Falcons.

Preparing For A Nor’easter

Fallen tree

In anticipation of the forthcoming Nor’easter, allow us to share some of these helpful tips as you prepare. Here are suggestions of what to keep an eye on before, during, and after the storm hits.

  • Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
  • Check leaders and gutters to make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Check to be sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned, so that dead branches or tree overhangs do not fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Reach out to your neighbors to see that everyone remains safe and in good spirits through the storm. This is an opportunity to embrace the importance of community and lend a helping hand to those in need around you.
  • Check to be sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order, so that you do not run the risk of being without heat.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and the batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks because a small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.
  • With power outages to be anticipated and the roads expected to be dangerous, shop for non-perishable foods before the storm hits. Refrigerated food will only stay safe for up to four hours after a power outage. Click here to see a guide of all specifics.

Maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements. We urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home. We hope that you all stay safe through this storm and the rest of the winter season.

Petschauer Insurance’s Guide To A Safe and Happy Halloween

family-pumpkins

Having spooky adventures is all part of the fun during Halloween. That said, the real scare would be not being careful on this frightful holiday. Allow us to walk you through some key safety tips to ensure a fun-filled holiday.

Halloween Parties: Gatherings can be exciting, and hosts will be worry free if they’ve reviewed their homeowners coverage before the fun begins. Taking up well known traditions can be done in a careful manner. When carving pumpkins, it’s important to keep carving tools away from young children. They can decorate with markers instead. You can supplement candles with energy efficient LED lights. The FDA recommends rinsing fruits and vegetables under cool running water before bobbing for apples. If you’re hosting a party and charge money for entry, Travelers notes that it could be considered a business opportunity and the proper insurance would come in handy.

halloween-costumes

Trick or treating: AllState recommends that children travel in groups, do so in brightly lit areas, and have a mutual place to gather should they end up getting separated. On the flip side, as a driver you’d be smart to keep an eye out for children running in the street, especially if it’s a darker area. As a parent, you can keep kids’ food allergies in mind and prepare them with a raised level of awareness around the risks of encountering strangers. On a day centered around snacks and sweets, Utica offers some healthier alternatives.

Decorations: The quickest and safest way to avoid injury for any visitors is to keep your front and back yards clean and to clear a path for trick-or-treaters. According to The Washington Post, Halloween is unfortunately a day with a higher risk/percentage of home burglaries and car vandalisms. Luckily, Nationwide offers a complete outline to keeping your home and car safe.

Costume Safety: Putting together costumes for your kids can be done in a safe manner as well. Face paint can be less restricting on a child’s eyesight than a fully covering mask. Costumes that don’t run very long will give trick-or-treaters the flexibility to walk freely without risk of tripping. The toy weapons from your child’s favorite superhero should not be able to cause legitimate harm. AllState points out that flame-resistant fabric is always best, especially if there’s still an easily accessible spot for children to keep their cell phones, in case of an emergency.

To get into the spirit of the holiday, you can also check out one of our favorite Ask Sherri videos. Happy Halloween!

Winter Is Coming… Call Your Insurance Agent

brace-yourselfWinter is coming… and we have all been a witness to what snow, ice, and freezing can do to your properties. 

Harsh winters, and the number of traffic accidents, slips and falls, frozen pipes and other winter related losses are contributing to an escalating numbers of insurance claims.

In personal insurace, many claims involved auto accidents, roof damage, and homes inundated with water due to pipes bursting. High winds have caused broken windows and loss of shingles while the weight of ice and snow has caused extensive roof damage.

In the commercial arena, claims have come from frozen sprinkler pipes bursting, fires emanating from the use of space heaters, and business interruption claims resulting from covered losses making business offices uninhabitable.

We suggest that now is a great time to meet with your insurance agent to review your current policies and ask these questions:
• What coverages are afforded by your current policies?
• What coverages are excluded by your current policies and what is the cost to include these coverages by adding them?
• What steps can I take once a loss has occurred to keep my possessions from further damage?

Here are some ways that may help you minimize your exposure to a loss:
• Timely and proper car maintenance;
• Keeping up with Repairs and maintenance to your home or business;
• Routinely surveying what in your office or home needs to be replaced;
• Winterizing your second home
• Have a caretaker available to check your primary and/or vacation homes or offices while you are away
• Evaluate your business income exposure on an annual basis
• And should a loss occur, be sure to call your insurance agent immediately and ask for help to keep damage at a minimum and protect your property from further loss.

This year some of the claim scenarios are more serious than usual. So take advantage of your agent’s expertise and resources —-after all they are here to help you navigate through the good times as well as the more challenging ones.

 

Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks… we know you have them, and even if you didn’t buy them or are lighting them, you’re probably going to be around them during the Independence Day weekend. Every day in July there is an average of 240 people going to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries… please, don’t be another statistic and read these safety tips:

  • 5695559519_69d6853d18_bFirst and foremost, make sure that you are legally permitted to light those fireworks on your own
  • Make sure to keep all children away from fireworks
  • Always have an adult supervising the lighting of fireworks. Even sparklers can severely hurt children, so make sure to keep those out of reach
  • Never place any body parts over a firework when lighting a fuse.
  • Back up to a safe distance as soon as you light the firework
  • Never aim or throw a firework at another person (duh!)
  • Keep a hose in reach just in case of a fire
  • Light them one at a time
  • Do not shoot anything out of a glass or metal container

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend, and remember to be cautious around any fireworks, even if you are just there for the show!

Petschauer’s Guide to Camping 101: Tips and Tricks

Large_Car_Camping_TentTips and Tricks

Last week we gave you some tips on how to insure your RV or camper for your next camping trip. This week we wanted to share some awesome safety and space saving tips to make your time out in the wild as amazing as possible.

And here is an article with some awesome safety tricks that you may need if you ever find yourself in an emergency while out in the wild. Some of our favorites are:

  • Use Duct tape to close a wound
  • Use tin foil to turn AAA batteries into AA batteries
  • Use Crisco and a t-shirt to make a long lasting candle
  • Cuddle with your pets if you’re cold

Take a look at this article on how to make the most out of the space you have. Here are some highlights:

  • Use bedside caddies as a makeshift night stand
  • Hanging fold up shelves are good for storing clothes and pantry items
  • Shoe hangers are also good for storing miscellaneous items
  • Attach slide out drawers under tables or beds if possible

So there you have it, another edition of Petschauer’s 101 Guide to a safe and comfortable camping trip.

And one final tip, whether you are in an RV,  a camper or just tenting it out, make sure you bring the bug spray, sunscreen, marshmallows and toilet paper!

Please feel free to contact us at INFO@JPINS.com if you have any questions about RV/ Camper coverage.  We will be glad to share more detailed information with you.  Thank you!

 

Survival Kit for Blizzard of 2015: Winter Storm Juno

800px-DC_Snowstorm_Feb_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English_(6)With most of the Northeast already under a couple of inches of snow from Snowstorm Juno, and being warned to stay indoors until the weather clears up, we at Petschauer Insurance would like to take this opportunity to share some safety and insurance tips while you are waiting out the storm. We also ask that you keep your ears and eyes out for any news updates and weather advisory’s up until Wednesday.

Our educated staff is great at collaborating with each other and our insurance company partners to bring you these tips for critical times just like this. So, we put together a list of blogs we feel are appropriate for helping you make it through the Blizzard of 2015:

1) Keep Your Buildings From Freezing

2) Generator Safety Tips 

3) How To Prevent/ Remove Ice Dams

4) Preventing Black Ice

5) Safe Driving Tips For The Winter

Be Safe!

Risk Management: Preventing Black Ice

download (1)You don’t know it’s there until you or someone slips and falls. This is the scariest part about black ice…  The chances of you slipping on black ice areso much higher than on regular ice covered pavements. If someone were to fall on your property, you can be held legally responsible for their injuries. To avoid these types of potential law suits, here are some important safety tips from our partners at Chubb Insurance:

  • Shovel/ plow snow towards lower leveled plains, so there is no snow melt runoff.
  • Position your gutters so that it drains into planted areas, or into a water drainage system and not onto sidewalks or driveways
  • Don’t wait for the temperatures to drop to start putting down salt, sand or ice melt. Place the substances down before the freezing may occur.

We also suggest that you review your liability coverage with your independent insurance agent to be sure you have adequate protection as accidents do happen.