The best way to enjoy consistently low rates on your home insurance in Calgary is to remain claim-free. That means brushing up on your safety and accident prevention tips. The chances of a mishap rise in the winter, with 25% of Canadians reporting their most serious injuries occurring during the colder months, according to StatsCan. To reduce your chances of liability, an injury or having to file a claim due to damage caused, be cognizant of these common winter accidents.
Preventing Slips and Falls
Slip and fall occurrences are at their peak in the winter, obviously due to the accumulation of snow and ice. Remember: if someone hurts themselves on your property, you’re liable for the incident and you may need to file an insurance claim if the victim requires emergency medical attention or rehabilitation.
According to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, injuries resulting from slips and falls cost Canadians about $2.8 billion a year. They can range from bumps and bruises to broken bones, to back strain, to serious head trauma, and can be devastating. Here are some important measures you can take to reduce the chances of someone slipping and falling:
- Keep all walkways clean and free of debris or clutter
- Remove accumulated snow, ice and slush promptly
- Remember that City of Calgary bylaws dictate that property owners are responsible for removing accumulated ice and snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of ceasing falling.
- Spread salt or sand on slippery areas covered by ice or snow, particularly those on which visitors or household members might walk (driveways, pathways, porches, etc.)
Also, don’t forget about accident prevention inside your home:
- Secure floor coverings (mats, rugs, etc.) that do not naturally lie flat
- Ensure all staircases are structurally sound and well-lit
- Keep floors dry and free of debris, especially during high-traffic times of day
- Use rubber mats or tub grips inside bathtubs and showers
- Keep all entryways and exits clear of clutter and easily accessible
More Everyday Winter Accidents at Home
Aside from slips and falls, the majority of other common winter accidents at home happen when folks are trying to do DIY projects. Winter is just not the best time to try to make major repairs to your home on your own. If you must embark on a project, make sure to never work without someone else around, and to always be rested, alert, and aware.
- Falls off ladders. Whether you’ve dragged it out for hanging holiday lights, putting up decorations or even changing a lightbulb, falls off ladders are very common. The American Ladder Institute suggests always maintaining three points of contact with the ladder when climbing, to always keep your belt buckle between the two side bars (don’t overreach), and to never attempt to do work on a ladder in bad weather.
- Electricity and Wiring. As most of us rely a bit more on our electrical appliances in the winter, fires due to faulty wiring can happen more often. Most occur because of defective or damaged outlet and old appliances. A faulty outlet causes sparks, which can ignite materials in your walls. A frayed cord can transfer heat onto other surfaces, which may be combustible. And outdated breaker boxes can overload, overheat and start an electrical fire. An electrical safety inspection by a journeyman electrician (certified in Alberta) can help provide peace of mind.
- Shovelling. Although we all have to be diligent about shovelling to avoid the build up of ice and snow, it is actually a rather dangerous chore. During the winter there are numerous reports of people being hospitalized for injuries or even suffering a heart attack while shovelling. Experts recommend taking a moment to warm up before starting, using a shovel with a bent handle (which are easier to lift and help distribute weight more evenly), and taking a few short breaks. Those who have heart conditions should be especially cautious. For older people and business owners, hiring a professional snow removal company is highly recommended.
Fireplace Tips for Safety and Energy Savings
Your fireplace helps keep you warm and toasty during the winter, and it also adds an ambient touch. However, it’s essential that you follow a few important safety tips with regards to its use:
- Ensure your damper is open before you light a fire, and keep it open until all embers and ashes are fully extinguished
- Never leave children near an active fire unattended, and ensure it is fully extinguished before you go to bed for the night
- Guard the front of the fireplace with a screen or windows
- Do not add accelerants, such as gasoline or other flammable liquids, to an indoor fire (or an outdoor fire, for that matter)
- Store all flammable items and materials well away from your fireplace
- Have a trained professional clean your chimney and fireplace at least once a year
On the topic of fireplaces, now is also a great time to check to make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are working properly. These devices can save your life, so be sure to perform regular inspections to ensure they are fully operational.
Home Insurance Calgary: Trust Lane’s for Excellent Coverage at Competitive Rates
As much as risk rises in homes during the winter, the chances of an accident on the road rise exponentially to that. Snow, slush, ice and cold weather can cause havoc on the roads, so you need to be prepared to avoid being in a collision. These safe winter driving tips will help keep you, your family and your vehicle safe while travelling.
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, offering reliable advice and privileged access to the most competitive home insurance and auto insurance rates in the Calgary market. Remember: you can save big by bundling your auto and home insurance with Lane’s.