Tag Archives: safety

The Summertime Backyard Safety Checklist

Backyard Safety - Chase Clarke Stewart and Fontana
After the first hot day of the year, hopefully, many of you were enjoying the warm sun.  Now that the nice weather is here (cross your fingers because New England weather is always unpredictable) it’s a great time to survey your backyard to make sure it’s safe to host pool parties, Wiffle ball games, and the frequent backyard BBQs.

Grilling in the Backyard

I’m sure you’ve been salivating all winter at the thought of hosting your friends, firing up the grill, throwing on some burgers and hotdogs, and watching a few baseball games. Before you do, here’s a few things to remind yourself of before you lite up the grille.

  • If you’re a charcoal grille master, make sure to never store your grill in your garage after grilling because charcoal emits harmful carbon monoxide until it’s completely extinguished.
  • To help extinguish charcoal completely, break up the burning charcoal with a strong stick or grilling tool after you’re done cooking. Then cover the grill with the lid for roughly 30 minutes to deprive the embers of oxygen. If you’re in a rush to put out the fire, spray some water on the embers.
  • Make sure to grill away from any flammable objects especially if it’s a windy day.
  • Make it a habit to check for hose leaks, holes, and any type of blockage.

Backyard Safety - Chase Clarke Stewart and Fontana

Be smart about pesticides

Everyone wants that green lawn. We want to be known as the home of the street with the best-looking grass. Sometimes that means that we opt for those strong chemicals that deter bugs and help our lawns grow. There are non-chemical options to keeping your lawn healthy, but if you must use pesticides, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your pets and children away from the lawn when you’re applying these chemicals. Don’t let them touch the grass until the pesticides have completely dried.
  • Even though it may be hot out, while applying pesticides, wear long sleeves, eye protection (if it’s windy out) and always remember to wash your hands afterward and wash the bottoms of your shoes off before walking inside.
  • Make sure you’re abiding by the manufacture’s recommendation for how much to apply.

Swimming in your backyard

It’s frightening to hear, but according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of pool-related injuries and drowning incidents occur every year. Many of these accidents include children. If you have a pool or know of someone who has a pool, always remember these safety tips:

  • Never allow your children to swim without an adult around. Have a policy of “no parents, no swimming.”
  • The USCPSC recommends at least a four-foot-high fence around your pool.
  • Always have safety equipment and safety items nearby. That means having a floatation device handy, a pool hook close by, and someone who is trained in CPR. If you’re a parent and you own a pool, it would be wise to get CPR trained, just in case.
  • Most importantly, check your pool’s drain and suction covers. If they’re broken or missing, please repair them immediately and don’t allow anyone to swim until they’re fixed because faulty drains can cause accidental drowning.

Backyard Safety - Chase Clarke Stewart and Fontana

These are just a few tips to keep your backyard safe this summer!

The Spring Checklist for Your Spring Cleaning

Congratulations…we did it, guys! We made it to Spring.

After all those cold, dark, and short winter days, we can finally, and even desperately, open our windows and let in the fresh air of the Spring. However, before we do, it’s important to make sure your home is ready to take on the Spring and Summer months. With proper preparation, you can set up your home and yourself for an enjoyable and worry-free Spring and Summer. Thus, here are some home maintenance tips to add to your Spring cleaning to-do list to make sure you’re ready.

Spring Cleaning - Chase Clarke Stewart and Fontana

The Spring Clean

The ritual, ‘Spring cleaning’ is a ceremonial weekend that many partake in to remove winter cobwebs, pack away warm clothes, and prep the house for warmer weather. You probably already have your own set of chores to do, but we’re digging into the knowledge banks to add a few more money saving tips to maximize the return on your Spring cleaning weekend.

Test and clean those ceiling fans

It’s quite amazing the difference that a ceiling fan makes. I’ve had one in my room since childhood and after a few uses, I can confidently say that I prefer to use one over an air conditioner. However, with that said, they’re much more efficient when they’re working properly. Most likely these fans have acted like bears throughout the winter – docile and dormant, waiting for the warmer weather to arrive. During this time, the motors could have rusted, the blades most likely collected dust, and they may possibly need a tune up before they get turned on. Generating a cross breeze is one of the best ways to cool down your house, and your ceiling fans are top culprits.


Here’s a question for you: if you could save money on your energy bill, would you?

Of course, you would!

2017 is all about efficiency and an easy way to do so is by weatherstripping your windows. Weatherstripping is a material that you place on the edge of your windows and door frames to improve the seal. During the winter months, weatherstripping keeps the warm air inside, and cold air outside…during the summer months, it keeps the warm air out and cold air in. It’s really a no-brainer for anyone looking to make their homes more energy efficient.

Another benefit of weatherstripping is that it prevents the cold air from your air conditioner from escaping. This way, your AC won’t have to work as hard and you’ll stay much cooler during the hot summer months.

The Air Conditioner

Speaking of air conditioners, let’s talk about proper AC maintenance. To explain this, I have a story for you. Last year, my AC was running in my bedroom. I live on the top floor of a 5-story apartment building. Needless to say, my apartment gets scorching hot if I don’t leave my windows open, run the AC, or do something to offset the blazing hot air that floats up to my room. So as you can imagine, my AC is pretty much constantly running from July to September. All throughout July, it was doing a great job. My room was cool and comfortable, and even sometimes, cold. Then towards the later weeks in August, my AC started to warm up. My room got hotter and my nights restless. My AC wasn’t as cold as before. I realized that I never replaced my filter, so I went out and purchased a new one and my AC was back to normal.

So, the lesson here is that it’s a good rule of thumb to change your AC filter ever Spring.

Clean your Dryer Vent

Many times this simple chore gets lost in the other endless chores that are on your spring cleaning list. However, please make sure this one is top of your list. Some experts suggest that every year around 15,000 fires start because of a clogged dryer vent. This should be a chore that you partake in twice a year. Thus, if you’re already in the cleaning mode, we urge you to add it to your spring cleaning list.

If you’re looking to add some more chores, here are a few unique and timely checklist items to add.

• Change the batteries in your smoke detectors (which should be done every six months)
• Change batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors
• Schedule a chimney sweep
• Remove anything from the kitchen that doesn’t belong
• Clean and organize your freezer
• Disinfect the garbage disposal
• Sanitize cutting boards
• Disinfect doorknobs
• Finally, give your car some love and give it a nice detail

12 Must-Have Items for Your Winter Storm Emergency Kit

While the cold weather has suggested that winter has been here for a while, the season officially began Wednesday.

Ready or not, the first day of winter is here. While many people are hustling and bustling to get those last minute gifts, here is a friendly safety reminder of the practical items you should have in your winter storm emergency kit.

What to Include in Your Winter Storm Emergency Kit - Chase Clarke Stewart & Fontana

Winter Storm Emergency Kit

  • First aid kit, including over-the-counter painkillers, rubbing alcohol, eye wash kit, and vomit-inducing medicine
  • Rock salt or ice melt, sand, and snow shovels
  • Water and nonperishable food (for three days)
  • Emergency lighting and flashlights with extra batteries
  • Whistles to signal and direct attention during and after the storm
  • Battery or crank-powered radio
  • Walkie-talkies and/or cellular phones (with spare chargers and  portable batteries)
  • Batteries
  • Blankets and extra clothing
  • Hand and power tools
  • Portable pumps and hoses
  • Plastic covers and tarpaulins

With these items stored away, you should have an extensive and well-put-together emergency kit to combat any winter storm that decides to swing by.

On behalf of everyone here at Chase Clarke Stewart & Fontana, we would like to wish you a festive holiday season and a happy, healthy new year!

Are you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, on a boat?

You may be thinking, how is it possible to suffer from Carbon Monoxide poisoning  while on a boat? It happens more often than you might think.  Any time you have gasoline and improper ventilation, you can be in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

How can you protect passengers and yourself from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning?

When docked near other boats.carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Be aware, boats that are running and docked less than 20 feet away can send CO into your boat.  Keep vents clear to reduce CO build up.

When cruising.

  • Avoid swimming near the engine exhaust.
  • Keep the cabin clean and avoid storing items near exhaust outlets.

It is recommended to equip your vessel with a CO detector.


The CDC has a lot to say on this topic.

More boat safety tips

Recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning.


Fall Hazards in the Workplace

fall hazardsDo you own a business? Are your employees at risk?

Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common accidents.  What can be done to protect your employees and customers?  OSHA has a lot of helpful tips about protecting your employees and clients from fall hazards, here are a few.

Prevent Trip or Fall Hazards by:

  • Implementing Daily cleaning and inspection procedures.
  • Cleaning up spills immediately.
  • Keeping designated walkways clear of cords and or boxes.
  • Making sure there is appropriate exterior and interior lighting.

Click here for more small business safety tips

A safe workplace is the best workplace.


Having the right insurance is also key for protecting your business from harm.

Child Passenger Safety

Did you have a nice summer? For many the month of September means back to our busy schedules.  It is also the time for National Child Passenger Safety week.  Now is the time for parents to review car safety tips for your children.  What kind of car seat does your child use? Is it the right one? The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has organized a campaign to keep your children safe!

For Children

With so many car seats, how do you know which one is best for your child.  Click here to view tips for choosing the right car seat.

Once you’ve chosen the right seat how do you know it is installed properly? Learn more here.

For Teens

Even when your child is not a child anymore there are things you can do to help them be safe.  Safe Teen driving like many things, starts at home.  Parents can have a profound effect on their teen drivers. Think of your driving habits. Practice with your teen.

Many states have what is called a “graduated driver’s license” program.   Restrictions are placed on new drivers so as to “ease” them into the driving world. Driving is serious and teens need to learn how to be safe.

Read More Teen Driving Tips

For the whole Family

Seat Belts do not have an age limit, they are for all of us.  Some people have made them into fashion statement belts, but lets remember what their primary job is… to keep us safe incase of an accident. Before turning on the radio and starting the engine let’s make sure we buckle up. 🙂

Household Safety Checklist

The new school year is fast approaching, and for some of us is already here.  We have a couple of weeks left of this summer.  Now is a great time to review some household safety practices, as a family. Here are a few questions to ask:

Household Safety Checklist

fire household safety

  • In case of fire, does your family have an escape plan in place?
  • Are all of your smoke alarms working properly?
  • Do you have CO detectors?
  • Do you have a working fire extinguisher?
  • How safe are your space heaters?
  • How safe are your stairs and railings?


We wish you a great new school year!!

Bear Safety Tips

If you live in Hadley, Longmeadow or anywhere in between you may have heard of recent bear sightings in your neighborhood! What should you do if you encounter a bear?  The National Park Service has a few tips for us to keep in mind..

Bear Safety Tips

bear safety


  • Do not approach the bear and especially if it is a bear cub, as the mother bear can get defensive.
  • Remain calm, speak in a low voice, as high pitched noise and quick movements can startle a bear.
  • If encountered…Speak to the bear so that it knows you are human.
  • Read more bear tips.


Other Bear Safety Reminders

  • Do not leave open containers of food outside.
  • Bird feeders can attract bears.
  • Bears will remember where they found the food and return.
  • If bears are known to visit your neighborhood do not leave pets or children unattended.

Nature is a beautiful thing, lets enjoy it safely.



*Image used is from www.public-domain-image.com.  

Snow Shoveling and CO Poisoning

What could snow shoveling possibly have to do with Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

When you think of snow related injuries, what comes to mind?  Maybe you think of tripping on icy snow filled walkways, or being hit with a snowball?  You probably don’t think of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, but it is something to take precautions against.

How could a lack of snow shoveling or removal lead to carbon monoxide poisoning?  If snow piles up around vents in your home, blocking the vent, gas from your appliances can “back up” into your house.  So while you are outside shoveling your driveway be sure to also clear the snow away from dryer vents and other vents on your property.

It is important to have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially around your heating appliances.

Remember, Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless and it is very bad for you and your family.  The CDC has a wealth of information on how you can protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide. Click the above link to see more information about Carbon Monoxide.

Winter Fire Safety Tips

winter fire safetyBrrrr…Looks like winter arrived early this year.  Heating your home is a big part of New England Life.  Ready.Gov has great winter fire safety tips for staying safe this winter.  Click the link below to learn what to do; before, during , and after a fire.

Winter Fire safety tips:


  • Clean and check your woodstove or fireplace for damage, before use.
  • Use screens on your fireplace to stop sparks or logs from rolling into your home.
  • Do not operate generators in the home, as they are made for outdoors and could prove toxic.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, contact local fire department for tips.
  • Read More


You know the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat.”  Well educate your children about fire so that their curiosity will not get them into trouble.  Kids are smart, take time to explain the proper use of fire.  That being said don’t leave them unattended around stoves fireplaces or even candles.

Have a safe warm winter 🙂