Safety Tips for Your Holiday Party

It’s officially the holiday season, and in between the busyness of stuffing turkeys and stockings comes holiday parties. Whether you’re hosting or attending, it’s likely you’ve got a gathering or two on your calendar this season to share in good cheer with friends, family and neighbors. No matter the occasion for the party, it’s important to ensure everyone stays safe while enjoying the holiday spirit. Keep these safety precautions in mind heading into this season full of celebrations. 

Decorations

Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but operating around them can sometimes lead to accidents or injuries. When choosing your decorations, select only flame-retardant or noncombustible materials. You should only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors and also not overload electrical outlets. Keep breakable ornaments, decorations, and potentially poisonous plants, including mistletoe, holly berries, etc. out of reach of children. 

Candles, Fireplaces

Candles and a roaring fire can be great for party ambiance and to ease the chill on a winter night. However, you should try to avoid using candles during your party if possible. If you choose to use them, ensure they are far away from any decorations, out of the reach of children and away from any walkways, exits or windows. As for the fireplace, ensure decorations are not placed too close to the heat source. Use a protective screen and make sure the chimney was cleaned at least once in the last year. 

Cords

With decorations, lighting and sound equipment all requiring electricity to power them, cords will inevitably pose some safety issues. Reduce the risk for people to trip over them or spill something on them by tucking cords between the carpet and baseboards. If this isn’t possible, aim to cover the cords in bright, reflective tape or lay a rug or runner over them.  

Serving Alcohol

If you plan on serving alcohol, make sure your guests are over the legal drinking age. Keep people engaged with activities to help prevent anyone from consuming too much too quickly, and make sure to have food and other, non-alcoholic beverages available. Lastly, always ensure your guests have a designated driver, taxi or ride-share option to get them home safely should they consume alcohol. 

Be Vigilant 

You want your guests to have a great time and to make it home safe from the festivities. Help them do this by staying aware and vigilant during the party. Keep an eye out for any spills and clean them up quickly to help prevent slipping hazards and to remove the risk of injury from broken glass or other items.  

Happy holidays from OKFB Insurance! We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their time with loved ones this season. 

Safeguard Against Fire Risks

October is National Fire Prevention Month, and with 350,000 residential fires occurring each year nationwide, it’s important to know how to protect the structure that’s most important to you. Your home serves as a place of refuge for you and your family, and protecting it from a fire can be simple when you take the necessary preventative steps. Check out this list of tips to help keep your family and home safe from fire damage: 

Do’s and Don’ts of smoke alarms

A smoke alarm is your first line of defense, and we want to reward you for having one. With our fire alarm discount, you may be eligible for a policy discount based on the type of alarm you have installed. Contact an OKFB agent to learn more and see if you qualify.  

It’s important to not only have the proper amount of smoke alarms installed, but also to make sure you test them regularly. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors or ducts where drafts may have an effect on them operating properly. Never paint, decorate or put stickers on the alarms, as this could interfere with them working. 

Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by using the test button. Make sure you follow care instructions that come with the alarm, including cleaning best practices and how often you should replace the battery. The general recommendation is to replace the battery once a year and replace the smoke alarm every 10 years. 

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby 

Install a fire extinguisher on every level of the home and learn how to use it. If the time comes when you need to extinguish a fire around the house, you’ll be able to act quickly. 

Check appliances and cords

Take the time to regularly check your appliances’ cords to ensure they are not old, worn or damaged. Frayed or damaged cords around the house can spark, easily leading to a fire. Try to avoid running cords through high-traffic areas in your home where they may more quickly get worn out or damaged. Also, make sure you’re not overloading outlets or extension cords. Have an electrician install more outlets if you feel you don’t have enough. 

Make safety plans for the family 

One of the simplest ways to help prevent a house fire is by making sure everyone in the home understands the safety precautions. Talk to your children about fire safety and set rules for the household to keep best practices in place. Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children, teach them the importance of blowing out candles when leaving a room and how to identify the sound of smoke alarms. Lastly, create a fire escape plan so everyone is prepared and knows where to go if a fire occurs.

OKFB understands the importance of your home and the role it plays for your family. Protect your dwelling with Home Insurance. Talk to an agent today!

Car Maintenance for Fall and Winter

As temperatures drop heading into fall and winter, a mechanical failure can be a pain and can also put you and your passengers in a risky situation. Luckily, you can help reduce your chances of running into vehicle failures by taking preventative steps now. Check out this list of maintenance tips to prepare your car for the upcoming seasons. 

Engine

Renew/replace items within your engine as recommended, this includes oil, oil filters, air filters, fuel filters and more. Oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the age and fuel efficiency of the vehicle. You also replace your oil filters at the same time. For specifics on when to replace other items, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. 

Windshield Wipers

If your current wipers leave your windshield streaky and limit your visibility, it is time to swap them out. Worn windshield wipers make driving riskier, especially during rain and snow. Always ensure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid as well. Consider getting fluid that has antifreeze properties made for winter months. Most importantly, don’t forget to have an ice scraper on hand! 

Tires

Check your tire pressure frequently, as the colder weather can have an impact on air pressure and may require more air to be added. Make sure you’re examining your tire tread – without proper tread, it can make driving through snow or ice more dangerous. You should rotate your tires every 7,500 to 10,000 miles – your vehicle owner’s manual will have the specific mileage recommendation for you.

Emergency Gear

In addition to routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to always carry emergency gear in your car. There are items you should have year-round and several items that should be added for the colder months. Gloves, boots, blankets, snacks, water, first-aid kit and a flashlight will come in handy if your car does experience mechanical failure or another issue this fall or winter.

Roadside Assistance

In case of car failure, you’ll want to know if your insurance covers roadside assistance. Roadside assistance can be added to your auto insurance policy, and it can help pay for some of the costs associated with towing your vehicle, providing gas for an empty tank, jumping a battery or changing a flat tire. Your agent can tell you if roadside assistance requires additional physical damage coverage. Contact your agent today to see about adding this coverage.

Back-to-School Safety

As summer winds down, it will soon be time for kids to head back to school. Whether your children walk, ride bicycles, ride the bus or drive to school, it’s important that they get to and from there safely. To help them do just that, we’re sharing some top safety tips to practice and keep in mind!

Walking to School

If your child is walking to school, make sure they know to always stay on the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing the road. If no sidewalk exists, they should stay near the edge of the road and walk facing oncoming traffic. A good way to help your child learn these rules is to practice walking with your child to school, so they can be aware of what safety measures to practice. 

Biking to School 

When riding a bicycle to school, it’s important for your child to understand the rules of biking on the road. This includes things like riding single-file on the right side of the road, coming to a complete stop before crossing a street and knowing how to signal with their hands before making any turns. They should also always wear a helmet for protection and bright colors so other cars can see them. 

Riding the Bus

For those who ride the bus to school, knowing how to safely enter and exit the bus is very important. Make sure your child waits at least six feet away from the curb as the bus approaches so they aren’t at risk of an accident. If the bus has seat belts, the child should always be buckled. When unloading from the bus, children should not stand up until the bus has come to a complete stop. To help engrain these safe habits into your child’s routine, you should go to the bus stop and teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus.

Driving to School 

If you are picking up your child from school or if you have a new driver who will be driving themselves, follow these safety tips to avoid pedestrian-related accidents. Don’t block crosswalks and always yield to pedestrians who are using them. Never pass a bus that is loading or unloading children and give yourself at least a 10-foot gap between your car and the bus, so that children may safely walk between. Finally, observe school zone speed limits and any drop-off or pick-up lines, loading times or other procedures. 

Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Safety Services Division offers free safety programs that include school bus safety, bike safety and a defensive driving course for new drivers. If you are interested in hosting one of these programs in your local school or community, visit the Safety Services Division page for more information.