Hidden Risks In Your Backyard



The kids are out of school and temperatures are rising, which can only mean one thing — summer is finally here! With the arrival of longer days and star-filled nights comes endless opportunities for backyard summer fun. However, accidents and mishaps don’t take summers off.

Here at Anderson, Bagley & Mayo, we want our neighbors in Leominster, Gardner, Westminster and surrounding towns to enjoy their summer without any disruptions — which is why we’ve put together a few tips to help you minimize the risks in your own backyard.

Grilling

We all know the summer would not be complete without a backyard barbecue with your closest friends and family. Having a grill not only means a lot of tasty meals, but it also means there is an increased risk of home fires. According to the NFPA, in 2011 to 2015, fire departments went to an annual average of 9,600 home fires involving grills or barbecues. So before you fire up the grill here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep your grill on a level surface away from your home, garage or other flammable objects.
  2. Stay by your grill when it’s in use and keep children and pets a safe distance away.
  3. Always keep safety in mind while cooking — use long utensils, protect your hands with oven mitts and avoid wearing loose clothing which could get caught in your grill.
  4. When using charcoal, be sure to properly extinguish the flames and dispose of the cooled coals in a metal container.

Playsets

Climbing on the monkey bars or swinging from the swings is a great way to get some exercise and spend time outside. But these backyard structures can quickly become dangerous when safety is not a priority. More than 200,000 children injure themselves on public and private playground equipment every year, but these precautions can help avoid that.

  1. Properly anchor swing sets on level ground.
  2. Actively supervise children when playing on swing sets.
  3. Regularly inspect structures for any sharp bolts, screws, nails or wood rot, and make necessary repairs.

Pool

Are you ready to jump into summer fun? The pool is a great way to cool off during the hot summer months — just stay safe with these pool safety tips.

  1. Actively supervise children. It is especially important to designate a ‘water watcher’ if there are multiple adults present so no one assumes someone else was watching.
  2. Clear the pool deck of toys and other items so no one trips and falls.
  3. Create pool rules like ‘no running’, ‘ask an adult for permission before going swimming’, and ‘never swim alone.’
  4. Put pool toys away when the pool is not in use so children aren’t tempted to go into the water unaccompanied.
  5. Keep a phone and first-aid kit by the pool in case of emergency.

Firepits

Whether you like your marshmallow lightly toasted or totally burnt — we can all agree that smores by an open fire are a great way to end the day. But toasting these delicious treats can become dangerous if the following precautions are not considered.

  1. Similar to a grill, a fire pit should always be on a level surface at least 10 feet away from any structure including your home, garage or shed.
  2. Never use a fire pit on a wooden deck or directly on the grass. Always place your firepit on a non-flammable surface such as concrete or patio blocks.
  3. Do not use flammable fluid to light or relight fires, instead use starter sticks with kindling.
  4. When done, be sure to extinguish flames with water or sand.

Additional Coverage Options to Reduce Your Exposure

Unfortunately, if you have some of these items in your backyard they don’t just bring summer fun, they can also increase your risk of an accident. An ABM insurance agent can help assess your risks and determine if the added protection of an umbrella insurance policy is right for you and your family. Umbrella insurance is more affordable than you think – for about $250 a year you can secure an extra $1 million in coverage – and offers excess liability coverage that kicks in when the limits of your homeowners insurance have been exceeded.

Think of it like this —  if someone were to get hurt in your backyard or on your property, things like medical and legal bills can quickly add up and exceed your homeowners insurance coverage limits, especially if you end up getting sued over the accident. If this were to happen, would you have the money to pay for these bills on your own? An umbrella insurance policy is not only an affordable option, but a wise one too. For the price of a cup of coffee per week, you can get an added coverage and the peace of mind knowing you and your family are protected. Contact ABM today to find out more about the benefits of an umbrella insurance policy.

There are so many ways to enjoy the summer sun and get outdoors, but safety should always be a priority! Your own backyard is not immune to accidents so take precautions this summer to ensure your time outside is one to remember for all the right reasons. For questions about a new or existing homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy, contact Anderson, Bagley & Mayo — we’re always happy to help!