By Victor Hart, Director of Safety

School is back in session, the weather is changing, and the holidays are on the way. It is a wonderful time of the year.

Every day of the year, our goals are to return you home safely, to a safe home environment you can enjoy during the upcoming season. Here are a few tips and reminders to help during the fall season:

Safety Tips for Driving

  1. Beware of changing weather conditions. Falling leaves along with increased rain and fog are often challenging this time of year. Unfortunately, snow and ice start becoming issues in some areas as well. Shorter days along with the daylight saving time change put more motorists on the road at dark. Please adjust your driving habits to accommodate these conditions.
  2. Watch for children. Children often like to play in piles of leaves. They don’t understand the danger of playing in leaves left on the roadside.
  3. Be prepared for bright sunlight. With the time change, there is more sunlight during the early morning hours. We need to be aware of the change, but just as importantly, we need to understand the challenges of lesser trained drivers who share the road. As the autumn and winter proceed, the sun travels more to the south. Roads that were not an issue in the past become a real problem when the sun is rising in the middle of the road. Less experienced drivers may not think about how this changes visibility on roads they travel frequently.
  4. Be prepared for ice. As temperatures drop further at night, frosted windshields in the morning become a reality. Allow for extra time to clear the ice. In addition, black ice may develop in shaded areas, and frost may create slick roadways early in the morning.

Home Safety

  1. Trimming trees. Look up before pruning trees. Beware of other loose limbs and power lines.
  2. Ladder safety. Use caution while using ladders. Wear appropriate footwear; shoes or boots may be wet, causing you to slip. Position ladders on a flat surface and ensure they are properly anchored.
  3. Fallen leaves. Leaves on driveways and walkways can be a slipping hazard. If snow mixes with the leaves, it adds to the risk. Clean up the leaves as they fall.
  4. Furnace safety. Service your furnace before the colder weather arrives. A professional should inspect the furnace, checking for leaks and other issues.
  5. Fireplace best practices. Always use a fireplace screen to keep the fire where it belongs. Check the fireplace for obstructions, such as bird nests, before the first lighting.
  6. Space heater concerns. When using a space heater, allow three to four feet of empty space surrounding the heater to reduce the probability of a fire.
  7. Home reminders. Change your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries. If you have a home fire extinguisher (recommended), check for its expiration date.