Home Safety Tips

Fire Pit Safety and You!

"Unfanning" the Flames - Preventing Fire Pit Injuries

By Greg Barnhart

 

Outdoor living spaces have become a trend in homes. Whether one lives on the coast, has a glimpse of the ocean or enjoys the lake and mountain views, bringing the interior to the exterior is a common theme among homeowners. The result is a change in backyard landscaping that includes the wildly popular fire pit.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, the fire pit ranks No. 1 among a trio of top outdoor design features. A survey of members found fire pits at 75 percent, followed by lighting (67 percent) and wireless connectivity (66 percent). Fire pits have popped up at resort hotels, trendy restaurants and other public places, but it is their increased addition to private properties that has the National Fire Protection Association concerned.

“Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year,” the association’s Web site states. "The warm balmy nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime". Although, in addition to exercising social distancing and wearing face masks during this pandemic to stay safe, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. Fortunately, following some simple fire safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe.”

“Many people are burned the next day, when abandoned coals are still hot,” NBC News states in an article titled “Injuries from backyard fire pits on the rise, experts warn.” “Even if a parent is nearby, it can take just a few seconds for a serious accident to happen.”

Here are some safety tips:

  • Supervise children at all times and make sure they know to stay at least 10 feet from the fire pit.

  • Alert children when the fire pit is lit, when it is re-lit and when extinguished. Go over the rules with them every time to prevent them from getting burned.

  • Extinguish the fire pit properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

“Fire pits can remain extremely hot into the next day,” the NBC News article states. “Be sure children are aware of this and supervised until all embers are burned and the temperature returns to normal. If someone suffers a moderate burn, use cool, not cold, water on the burn for 3-5 minutes, then cover with a clean dry cloth. For serious burns, go to the hospital right away.”

It is important to consider the location of a fire pit in proximity to the home, its surrounding vegetation and the neighbors. A good 25 feet from the home, is preferable, if possible, and 10 feet away from bushes and trees and the house next door is a sufficient. A fire pit never should be positioned on a covered patio or under branches, nor should it rest on grass or wood; it should be placed on concrete blocks or tile. In an abundance of caution, fill a bucket sand or water, or fill two with each, or – better yet – have a hose and gloves nearby in case of an emergency.

Fire pits are a fantastic addition to any homestead or rural backyard. They are attractive, inexpensive to use and help to extend the use of your yard through the fall and winter. But when you use a fire pit you are literally playing with fire! Careless misuse could not only set your own house ablaze, but also could spark a grass fire and endanger others nearby.

How to Get Cleaner Air at Home

While we're all spending most of our time indoors, air quality is becoming a pressing issue. Here are a few tips from experts recently highlighted at Curbed.com.

Indoor Plants. Clean the air with plants. In an age when a “healthy home” is what so many of us crave, this is an inexpensive alternative to improving the air quality in our homes.

 

Use the vent when cooking. “One of the big things we’re starting to understand a little more is the problems with cooking,” Adriano L. Martinez, an environmental lawyer who tweets about air quality issues as @LASmogGuy, told Curbed.com. “A hood and fan that siphons toxic fumes out of your kitchen can make a big difference, even if you’re just boiling water. Try to run the fan every time you’re cooking.”

Clean surfaces. Cleaning has never been more important than in the age of a pandemic, but it can also help improve the indoor air quality of your home. Wipe down surfaces and vacuum frequently to remove build ups of dust, pollen, and mold, which all impact air quality, Curbed.com reports.

Avoid the VOCs. Pay attention to the labels when cleaning to avoid products containing volatile organic chemicals. The fumes have been linked to irritating lungs.

Use a high-quality filter on the HVAC. A good filter can help trap airborne pollutants inside a home. Martinez suggests looking for a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, of 8 or higher on the HVAC filter. Also, change it frequently. Plug-in air purifiers can also help, experts say.

Source: “Breathe Cleaner Air Everywhere,” Curbed.com (April 7, 2020)

Hackers Are Trying to Spread Another Type of Virus

Don't let Hackers get the best of you.  Following is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners on their devious ways.

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has found a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that is targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Cybercriminals are infecting home computers that may not have the same safeguards that employees use at their offices.

“The hackers are out in force, and they know that everybody’s home, so I think working from home without appropriate security is a risk,” Beth McCarty, owner of TeamLogic IT/Central Pinellas in Clearwater, Fla., told realtor.com®.

Phishing emails continue to prey on individuals, security experts warn. Hackers are sending out emails impersonating charities. They’re making requests for money or other personal information. For example, one reported scam purports to be an app by Johns Hopkins University that tracks the coronavirus and urges people to download a file or to click on the link, which contains malicious malware. Some cybercriminals are also hijacking video conferences, displaying pornography.

Check Point Software Technologies’ research shows that more than 4,000 coronavirus-related domains had been registered globally. Three percent were found to be malicious and 5% were labeled “suspicious.”

While companies offer in-house internet networks, many people who are working at home don’t have that same type of security in their home networks. Also, many households are now sharing devices among family members, and aren’t just using them for work. Children may be using devices to access classroom portals or for entertainment.

What can you do?

“Make sure you change that default password on your router,” McCarty told realtor.com®. “Many people have not.”

She also recommends enabling encryption on the router, using two-factor authentication to access programs, not storing any company information on your personal device, and using only approved company storage.

Also, she urges the use of a virtual private network, if available from your company. View more tips at realtor.com®.

Source: 

The Rush to Work From Home Creates Opportunity—for Cybercriminals,” realtor.com® (March 24, 2020)

Scammers Are Trying to Dupe Homeowners Who Need Help

Don't fall prey to these scammers.  Below is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners of their tactics and how not to be a victim to their schemes!

Scam artists are reportedly using multiple methods, including spoofing tactics, to try to trick struggling homeowners with offers of financial aid. Freddie Mac warned this week that it learned of a scam where borrowers were receiving fraudulent calls impersonating the mortgage financing giant in offering low interest rates and other false promises.

Freddie Mac says it will never reach out to consumers over the phone with a refinancing opportunity or a new loan.

As some homeowners struggle from the economic toll of the COVID-19 outbreak, scammers are looking to take advantage of those looking for help. They may call owners offering immediate relief from foreclosure or relief from making mortgage payments.

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and many lenders are offering programs to help homeowners at this time, but those calls need to be initiated by the owner.

“Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID in an effort to disguise their identity while pretending to be someone else,” Freddie Mac warns in a statement about the growing scam.

“During times of distress, it is important to be on your guard against fraud schemes,” Freddie Mac says in a post.

Here are some tips from Freddie Mac to help homeowners avoid being scammed:

  • If a call comes from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

  • If you answer and receive a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Hang up.

  • Never give out any personal, financial, or other sensitive information unless you’ve verified the caller is a legitimate source.

  • Be cautious of numbers on your caller ID since scammers can make any name or number appear.

Source: 

Avoiding Fraud: Call Spoofing,” Freddie Mac (March 25, 2020) and “Avoid Getting Caught Up in Coronavirus Scams Involving Your Mortgage,” Forbes.com (March 26, 2020)

Real Estate transactions are now included in New Hampshire's list of "essential businesses"!

 

 

Yes, we are open for business!

Following an appeal by NH Realtors, real estate transactions are now included in the state’s list of essential businesses allowed to function as a result of Gov. Christopher Sununu’s stay-at-home order. 

In our effort to abide by the guidelines in the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, we request the following:

 

  • Call us at 603-569-4488 if you wish to speak with an Agent.  

  • Meetings: Meetings between brokers/agents and clients (or prospective clients) cannot take place at a real estate brokerages’ physical offices, but may take place with social distancing or remotely by phone, video or other electronic means.

  • Virtual Tours: If you wish to schedule a showing of a property, you can do so by calling us and we can set up a viewing via virtual tour or Facetime.

  • Closings: Real estate closings can continue either through remote means or with social distancing for any in-person transactions.

  • Inspections: Property inspections and appraisals may continue with appropriate social distancing.

  • Delivery Personnel: You may enter our lobby area but we request you keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between yourself and our Agents and Administrator. 

 

Please follow these preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Stay home and avoid public places as much as possible

  • Avoid close contact through social distancing, at least 6 feet from anyone.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve then immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands as soon as possible.

 

Stay Healthy & Safe Everyone!  We're all in this together!

 

Melanson Real Estate, Inc.

www.melansonrealestate.com

Mobile: 603-651-7228

 

 

Weekend Events 3/6/20 - 3/8/20

There's much to do this weekend! Whether it's a home show, sportsman show, chili fundraiser or celtic music, there's something for you! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

 

Friday, March 6 - 8

53rd Annual New Hampshire State Home Show

THE LONGEST RUNNING SHOW NORTH OF BOSTON

When:   Friday, 1 PM -  8 PM
             Saturday, 10 AM - 6 PM
             Sunday, 10 AM - 4 PM

Where: Doubletree Hotel, Downtown Manchester, 700 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire

WITH OVER 300 VENDORS and Exhibitors covering all aspects of the home building/remodeling industry plus items in the New England Made concourse.

Other highlights of the Show include the Junior Lego Build Competition, seminars and demonstrations.

Produced by the professionals at the New Hampshire Home Builders Association this is the one show of the year to attend and interact with builders, remodelers, decorators, landscapers, and all types of home solutions providers. The latest in home-related products and services will be showcased – everything from mortgages to landscaping, hot tubs to custom home builders, and custom closets to fabulous kitchens and baths.

$6.00 discount parking is available in the Doubletree by Hilton Downtown Manchester parking garage. Validation machine is located inside the Expo Center, or at the check-in booth located in the Armory Concourse. 

Admission Fees:

Weekend Pass: $15.00

Adults: $10.00

Seniors 62 and over: $7.00

Children 12 and under: FREE

MILITARY DISCOUNT
With Military I.D.: $6.00

DISCOUNT: $3.00 discount with
donation of non-perishable food
items or toiletries.

Click on the Home Show logo above for more information!

 

NH Outdoor Expo

Hosted by Lake Life Brand

When: Friday, 1 PM - 8 PM

           Saturday, 10 AM - 7 PM

           Sunday,   10 AM - 5 PM

Where: The Hampshire Dome, 34 Emerson Road, Milford, New Hampshire

Free parking!

Adults: $12

Children 12 & under: FREE!

Click on the Outdoor Expo logo above for more information!

 

Saturday, March 7

Chili & Beer Tasting Fundraiser

Hosted by Castle in the Clouds

Where: Castle in the Clouds, 455 Old Mountain Rd, Moultonborough, New Hampshire 

When: 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Castle in the Clouds hosts its third annual Chili and Beer Tasting fundraiser inside the Carriage House. Guests can enjoy sampling chili and beer from nine local Lakes Region restaurants and breweries, plus spirits from Tamworth Distilling! Enjoy two hours of tasting, mingling and music on the first floor of the Carriage House. Relax by the large hearth fireplace or on the lake-view terrace to let that delicious chili and beer settle. 

Admission for the Chili & Beer Tasting is $25 and includes a Castle in the Clouds tasting glass. The Fair Market Value of each ticket is $5, resulting in $20 of this cost being a tax-deductible donation which will be reflected on your ticket receipt.Tickets are limited and must be purchased by March 6, so be sure to reserve yours soon! All sales are final. Please be sure to have a valid photo ID on you during the event.

This event will be held rain or shine and will only be cancelled in the event of extreme weather. If cancelled, your ticket purchase(s) will be refunded.

Click on the image above for more information!

 

High Time-Celtic Trio

Presented by Wolfeboro Friends of Music

When: 7:30 PM — 9:30 PM

Where: Anderson Hall, Brewster Academy, 205 S. Main Street, Wolfeboro

St. Patrick’s Day begins a week early in Wolfeboro with this spectacular young Celtic trio from Connemara. High Time features combinations of harp, guitar, flute, whistle, bodhran and voice to create a rich and exciting sound. Each of the three lifelong friends performs multiple instruments: Ciarán Bolger on guitar and vocals, Connall Flaherty on flute, whistles and vocals, and Séamus Flaherty on Celtic harp, whistle, bódhran drum, and vocals, plus Irish dance. Their music exemplifies the best of today’s Celtic music scene, crafting energetic modern arrangements of traditional folk melodies.

Click on the image above for more information!

 

Sunday, March 8

Don't forget, daylight saving time begins!  

 

5 Summer Party Safety Tips for You, Your Friends & Family, and Your House

1. Know Where Your Fire Extinguisher Is and Be Prepared to Use It, If Necessary 


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/736690451526615734/

2. Designate an Adult to Be Responsible for Supervising Children While They Swim 


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/159877855501049496/

3. Keep Doors Shut so That Pets Don't Leave 


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/266838346654959951/

4. Make Sure Your Lawn Is Clear of Anything That Guests Could Potentially Trip Over


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/733734964271035858/

5. Be Aware of Your Deck Capacity


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/509680882825207956/