Lallis and Higgins Blog

Halloween Food Safety Tips

- Monday, October 26, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Halloween Tips

Even though it’s not an official holiday, Halloween is much beloved by children and adults alike. What could be more fun than trick-or-treating, apple bobbing, or costume parties?

To make sure treats are safe for children, follow these simple steps:

Snacking: Children shouldn’t snack on treats from their goody bags while they’re out trick-or-treating. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their loot before they eat any of it.

Safe treats: Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

Food Allergies: If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow the child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received.

Choking hazards: If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Bobbing for apples is an all-time favorite Halloween game. Here are a couple of ways to say “boo” to bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.

Try this new spin on apple bobbing from FightBAC.org: Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. On each apple, write activities for kids, such as “do 5 jumping jacks.” Place a paperclip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string. Let the children take turns “bobbing” with their magnet and doing the activity written on their apple. Give children a fresh apple for participating.

If your idea of Halloween fun is a party at home, don’t forget these tips:

Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.

No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contain uncooked eggs.

“Scare" bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.

Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).

fda.gov


Fall Bucket List 2020

- Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Fall Bucket List 2020

Here are 8 fun, safe and socially distanced ideas for your family to drive, hike, and experience across New England this fall

1). BELKIN FAMILY LOOKOUT FARM- Natick, MA.

The closest Apple picking location to Boston. Besides just picking apples, Lookout Farm offers Train rides, farm animals, Cider Donuts, and Crafted beer for the adults. Outdoor dining is available by reservation only on the Resy App.

2.) ZOO NEW ENGLAND: BOSTON LIGHTS

Panning the 72 acres of Franklin Park Zoo, Boston Lights will impress visitors of all ages with more than 50 large scale displays comprised of hundreds of colorful lanterns. This spectacular event is sold out until November. Be on the lookout for available tickets.

https://www.zoonewengland.org/engage/boston-lights-member-tickets/

3.) FENWAY PARK

Though you can’t enjoy sitting down for a game, Fenway park still offers plenty to enjoy and look at. Take a walk down Landsdowne Street and enjoy the outdoor memorabilia and outdoor dining.

4.) MOHAWK TRAIL

One of the most scenic hikes in Massachusetts- Mohawk trail is an Instagram- worthy fall must have experience. It covers 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods. It is home to a variety of plant and animal life. Pack a lunch, eat outside and enjoy the foliage - It’s worth the trip (and the photos)

5) PLYMOUTH ROCK

With more than 30 acres to stroll, outdoor living history exhibits, and gardens to enjoy, a visit to Plymouth is a fall essential! The staff have adjusted their protocols to meet physical distancing requirements while still providing engaging programs, and presentations.

6) C.N SMITH FARMS

This place is by far the best for picking your own pumpkins. They are currently booking by reservation only- So be sure to go to their site to schedule in before you take the drive.
https://cnsmithfarminc.com/

7) BARRETTS: SCREENS AND SCREAMS

Due to health and safety requirements, Barrett’s will be presenting an all new drive in experience starting this weekend. Bringing a double feature of horror on screen from old school classics to modern day favorites. Food is provided and delivered to your car by Abington Ale house. Go to their sites for available tickets.

http://www.bhmansion.com/buy-tickets/


October is Crime Prevention Month

- Monday, October 12, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Crime Prevention Month

In 1984, October was designated as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has been working with local law enforcement, government agencies, civic groups, schools, businesses, and other organizations to help them spread the word about crime prevention and personal safety. With shrinking law enforcement budgets across the country, the role that each of us can play in preventing crime is more important than ever.

Each week in October has a distinct crime prevention theme.

Week 3: Working Together to Reduce Violent Crime

NCPC is partnering with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Officer Safety Initiatives (NOSI) Program to help keep communities safe from the damaging impacts of violent crime.

NCPC is devoting Week 3 of Crime Prevention Month to reminding communities and individuals that driving down violent crime is a responsibility shared by all. You can support violence prevention efforts by helping NCPC educate people young and old about the steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our neighborhoods – because everyone’s safety depends on it.

For more information on protecting your home and belongings, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: www.ncpc.org/


What You Need to Know About the New Hands-Free Law

- Monday, October 05, 2020
What You Need to Know About the New Hands-Free Law in Weymouth, MA

The Massachusetts Hands-Free Driving Law takes effect on February 23, 2020. Until March 31, violators of this law will receive verbal warnings. After March 31st, citations will be issued. It is still illegal to compose or read texts, emails, or social media; or watch videos or use the camera function on your phone. Drivers under 18 are banned from all phone use.

Fines and Penalties:

  • First offense - $100
  • Second offense - $250 and the driver is required to take a distracted driving education course
  • Third offense - $500 which is surchargeable to your insurance

What you Need to Do:

  • If you find that you need to use your phone while driving, it must be affixed to the dashboard, center console, or windshield. You cannot hold the phone in your hand.
  • Only one touch or one swipe is allowed to activate GPS or to make or receive a call.
  • You can no longer manually dial a phone number or enter a GPS location while driving.

What We Recommend:

  • Program your GPS before you drive.
  • Call or text anyone before you depart to let them know you'll be driving and won't be using your phone.
  • If you have an iPhone, go into settings and enable Do Not Disturb While Driving. If you have an Android, download the DriveMode app. These features will silence incoming calls and texts and will send an automatic response to let people know you are driving.

5 Tips on Taking Care of Your Heart

- Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Your heart is the powerhouse to your whole body—that’s why it’s important to provide it with the attention and care it needs.

When you care for your heart, your entire body benefits. When your heart is healthy, all aspects of your physical health will be too. A healthy heart means a better quality of life and allows us to function at our best.

Today is World Heart Day! Check out these five effective ways to improve and maintain heart health:

1. Eat the right things

Consuming the vitamins and minerals your heart needs provides the foundation for a healthy heart. Foods that support heart health by reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation include:

  • Oats and barley
  • Fatty fish
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beets
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Legumes
  • Low-fat dairy

Sodium is a silent but harmful ingredient in most processed foods—the average American gets about 80% of their daily salt intake from these alone. By limiting the amount of processed foods you consume, you may be able to eliminate excess sodium from your diet.

Looking for an alternative to salt to flavor your foods? Try adding a bit lemon, vinegar, or different herbs. This adds flavor without the negative effects of sodium.

2. Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking, and exercise habits. Sleeping too little changes the way our body functions and can affect blood pressure. This also goes the other way—too much sleep can also negatively impact heart health. Make sure to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and you’ll be on track for supporting better heart health.

3. Exercise daily

Three types of exercise are vital to heart health: aerobic, resistance, and flexibility (think running, strength training, and yoga, for example). By varying the type of exercises that are performed every day, you can strengthen and train the heart in different ways. Get the minimum of 30 minutes a day of movement to get your heart pumping.

4. Stop smoking

Smoking—with all of its negative side effects—is detrimental to heart health and is the cause of many diseases. In the U.S. alone, smoking kills the equivalent of three crashed jumbo jets every day. By simply quitting smoking or avoiding it altogether, you’re saving your heart from almost inevitable complications.

5. Manage stress

We all have busy lives and stress is inevitable. While we can’t avoid it entirely, we can make attempts to manage stress in a healthy way. Take a yoga class, set aside 30 minutes of “me” time, or practice deep breathing. A little goes a long way in time and stress management. Small steps like these each day can lead to big strides toward better heart health.

Source: selecthealth.org


Preventing Slips and Falls at Home

- Tuesday, September 22, 2020

While installing support rails, fixing broken steps and securing lifted corners of the carpet are all excellent ways to prevent falls, there also are some VERY simple things you can do in your own home in an instant to make you less susceptible to injury. Surprisingly, falling is the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Adults over 65 and young children are the most vulnerable to injury from a fall, but prevention is a good idea for any age.

Here's our top 10 list of very simple things to do to prevent injury from a slip and fall. When we say SIMPLE, we mean it. You can do any and all of these things immediately to have a big impact on safety in your home:

  • Secure and remove cords out of walkways and traffic areas.
  • Use non-skid mats on floor rugs or remove floor rugs altogether.
  • If the shower or tub is slippery, put a non-slip bath mat on the floor.
  • Use a nightlight.
  • Never stand on an unsecure chair, table or anything with wheels.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Keep traffic areas clear. Pick up things that are lying on the floor like books, towels, shoes, blankets. Secure and remove cords out of walkways.
  • Wear sensible shoes, even indoors. Yes, there's a higher chance you will slip and fall in those high heels! Be extra alert if you wear flip flops, loose slippers or shoes with slick soles.
  • Exercise helps. Improving strength and balance makes falling much less likely.
  • Check medication side effects for drowsiness or dizziness.

These solutions are easy and relatively inexpensive. There are several great resources online to make your home even more secure and you can even request professional help. For folks over 65, people with health issues or for those that are caring for someone who is susceptible to a slip and fall, it might be a good idea to go the extra length and make your home secure. Home improvement solutions may cost more, but independence might be the smartest investment you could consider.

foremost.com


Signs of Home Water Damage

- Monday, September 14, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Today's well-built, well-insulated homes can trap excess moisture and condensation inside, especially if you have inadequate ventilation. Obviously a dripping pipe can cause water damage inside your home. To find problems before they cause damage, here are some tips.

Recognize the signs

  • musty odors
  • rusty stains around light fixtures
  • damp, sticky floors
  • mildew along ceiling, wall and baseboard edges
  • dripping pipes
  • condensation on windows and cold surfaces
  • mold and mildew growth

Use preventive maintenance

  • Keep inside air circulating with vents and fans to avoid condensation. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering. Install an exhaust fan in your laundry area and use it when doing laundry. Make sure your dryer is vented to the outside.
  • Fix leaky faucets and dripping toilets. In cold climates, water flowing down the drain under the home may freeze, causing water to back up through the drain lines and into your home.
  • Invest in a good portable dehumidifier with a humidity control. Choose one that shuts off automatically when the collector pan is full.
  • Use storm windows to help conserve energy and keep condensation from forming on windows. An added benefit — they help reduce heat loss.
  • Be sure the skirting around the base of your manufactured home is well ventilated and allows air to circulate freely, to help eliminate unwanted moisture from being drawn into the sub-flooring.

Keep an eye on the inside

    Listen for any unusual hissing sounds. This can be a pinhole leak in a water line within the floor or wall. Periodically check hard-to-reach, seldom seen spaces around the water heater, under sinks and behind clothes washers. Check the ice maker lines and filters for your refrigerator, too.
foremost.com


Preparing for Severe Weather

- Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Hurricane Preparation

Severe weather can strike anywhere, and if a disaster hits in your area, you may not have access to food, water or electricity for days. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. do not have the resources or plans in place for an emergency – that's a big number! Always remember - there's no such thing as being "too prepared," and it's better to start preparing now than later when the store shelves are empty!

Below are some important items to include in an emergency preparedness kit:

  • Food and water. A three-day supply of non-perishable good, and have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. (Also have a manual can opener on hand!)
  • Prescription medicines. Have at least a three-day supply on hand.
  • Personal care items. Items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and contact lenses.
  • First aid kit. Your local store should have them in stock. They cost anywhere from $25 to $35.
  • Electronics. Be sure to have battery-powered or solar flashlight, a cell phone with a portable charger and have extra batteries on hand.
  • Important papers. Copies of drivers' licenses, special medical information, social security cards, etc. Keep them in a waterproof, air tight bag so water doesn't seep through.
  • Cash. With no power, stores may not be able to take credit cards and ATMs may be out of cash so keep a reasonable amount of cash available so you have it if needed.
  • Basic hand tools. A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet. Your furry friends also need a three-day supply of food and water.

Depending on the size of your family, you may need additional supplies not included in the list, such as baby formula or games for the kids.

If you do end up losing power, it's important to think about ways you can keep your food cold temporarily if you don't have a cooler on hand. One option is your washing machine — just fill it with ice and voila! You won't have to worry when the ice starts melting since it can drain water. Plus — it has a lid! A second option is to fill your bathtub with ice.

Keeping these items on hand is crucial and could potentially save a life. Place your emergency kit in a designated spot all family members are familiar with and have it ready in case you need to leave your home quickly. From everyone here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance– stay safe and stay prepared!

foremost.com


Install Smoke Detectors in Your Home

- Monday, August 31, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Smoke Detector

More than half of all fatal home fires occur while people sleep. That's why smoke detectors are so essential. They can warn you before you smell smoke and give you time to get to safety. We recommend at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including the basement and the attic.

Here are some important things to remember when installing smoke detectors:

  • To be extra safe, install one both outside and inside all sleeping areas. Having at least two smoke detectors in your home makes it far less likely that both will be inoperative at the same time.
  • If your smoke alarms are wired into the home's electrical system (hard-wired), you will need to have a qualified electrician do the initial installation or install replacements.
  • For battery powered smoke alarms, all you will need for installation is a screw driver. Some brands are self-adhesive and will easily stick to the wall or ceiling.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer's installation instructions because there are differences between the various brands. Remember: Battery-powered smoke alarms typically require batteries to be replaced at least once per year. The whole unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
  • If your home's smoke detectors are powered by electricity, add at least one battery-powered detector in case of power outages.
  • Choose a smoke detector that's been approved by an independent laboratory.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly. Never disconnect the batteries.
  • Test your alarms while your children sleep to make sure they will wake them up. Sometimes the sound of a smoke alarm doesn't wake small children.
  • Change batteries at least once a year, whether the batteries seem weak or not. Listen for the detector's signal or beep that indicates a weak battery and change it immediately.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean your smoke detectors. Excessive dust, grease or other materials may cause them to operate improperly. Vacuum the detector's grillwork.
  • For more information on smoke alarms, please visit the USFA Web site at www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

foremost.com


What To Do When a Hurricane Approaches

- Monday, August 24, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Hurricane Preparation

When a hurricane approaches, keep your TV or radio on the weather channel to listen for important updates. And be prepared to evacuate with the right supplies in your emergency kit!

Remain calm and follow these steps when a hurricane approaches:

Listen to your radio for weather updates

Try to stay near a radio so you can have access to the latest weather updates. You'll need accurate information to help keep you and your family safe.

Get your home ready

Walk around the yard and pick up all loose objects, like lawn ornaments and lawn furniture. Place protection over your windows, and lower the TV and radio antennas if you can. If a flood threatens and you can't remove your belongings, elevate them; for example, place your TVs on tables.

Know the community's evacuation plan

Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts need to evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes. Evacuation plans vary. They depend on the area and the type of disaster. Check your local emergency management or civil defense office for information on what to do in your community. Notify friends or family members.

If you and your family are evacuating

If you're evacuating, carry pictures of family members with you in case you become separated. Make sure kids know family member names, addresses and phone numbers. Make sure each child has identification information, such as parent's name, address, contact name and phone number, with them. Decide on a pre-determined person to contact should you become separated.

Watch TV or listen to the radio

If your community has to evacuate, tune in to the television or radio for emergency information. You may have a day or two to evacuate, but that won't always be the case. That's why it's so important to be prepared!

Check your survival kit and emergency supplies

Make sure your survival kit is packed and ready to go. Check your emergency supplies against the list provided in our emergency checklist.

Last-minute individual items

Have each person prepare their backpack or tote bag of individual items.

Fill the gas tank in your car

Fill your car's gas tank and check the oil, water and tires. You'll need a full tank of gas in your car, but NEVER store additional gas in your home or shed. Remember, you may not be able to buy gas during an emergency. If you don't have a car, make other transportation arrangements with relatives, friends, neighbors or your local emergency management office.

When leaving the house

When you're ready to leave your home, unplug all appliances like your TV, VCR, computer, stereo and microwave. If you've been instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity. Finally, lock windows and doors.

foremost.com



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