Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30 in the Atlantic Ocean. Some of Massachusetts biggest hurricanes were from the end of August into October. Storms during this time frame include Hurricane Gloria (September 1985), Hurricane Bob (August 1991), Hurricane Irene (August 2011), and Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Predictions for this season are above average with 18 named storms, 8 of which will be hurricanes, 4 of which will be a category 3 (wind speed of 111-129 mph) or higher. We have already seen 3 hurricanes so far in 2022! The number of storms has no correlation to the severity of the storms. Most hurricanes affect the Gulf of Mexico and the southern states along the Atlantic Ocean. Coastal areas often endure the most damage, many of which are located in the Hurricane Evacuation Zones.
Massachusetts coastal regions are labeled as Evacuation Zone A, B, or C. It is important to know your zone at home and at work. Many people still commute to Boston which is part of all 3 Evacuation Zones. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has created a map to help residents determine if they are in a hurricane Evacuation Zone. Evacuation Zone A is at the greatest risk for coastal flooding and storm surge.
The most damaging element of a hurricane is the storm surge. A storm surge is when the winds from a hurricane force huge amounts of water from the ocean on to the land. If a hurricane hits at high tide the storm surge is most destructing. It is important to have an evacuation route and destination planned out in case your home or work is evacuated. Massachusetts Public Safety Administration has outlined the steps residents should take before and after a hurricane to ensure safety during a storm.
We hope the area does not have an active and destructive Hurricane Season! It is always best to be prepared for the worst.
AAA has given the name “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers to the period of time starting Memorial Day Weekend and ending Labor Day Weekend. For parents of teen drivers this is very concerning. It is reported that teens get into 16% more deadly car crashes, that is 10 deaths a day, during these 100 days of summer. There are many factors that contribute to this statistic. In the summer teens are driving a lot more because they are not just driving to school anymore, they are venturing to the beach, to parks, to places they have never driven. And they are doing it with their friends in the car. The Foundations for Traffic Safety stated that 60% of teen crashes resulted from distracted driving. The 2 major distractions for teens are:
passengers in the car
If a teen is driving with friends they are 44% more likely to get into a fatal car crash. Many are surprised that texting while driving is not the number one cause of deadly crashes. But passengers are a constant distractions, while texting distracts for a few seconds. Parents should stress to their teens about the dangers of both driving with friends and texting. Distractions in any form take the driver’s eyes away from their sole task of safely driving a car. AAA recommends to teen drivers a complete ban on cell phones while driving, we absolutely agree! Let’s all try to make these 100 Days of Summer a fun and safe time. Drive safely!
As you can see out the window there is a blizzard! As veterans of winter storms, we New Englanders know the drill: snow, whipping winds, freezing temperatures. With this wonderful trio of Mother’s Natures forces we can often lose power and heat.
Preparation is the best way to be ready for a blizzard. Have a few flashlights with extra batteries and fully charge cell phones, iPads and laptops. Keep all of your personal documents in a fire proof box in a readily accessible area. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food items, such as canned food, bread, peanut butter, crackers and lots of water. The American Red Cross suggests having 1 gallon of water per person per day. A first aid kit is essential. Find out exactly what to put in a first aid kit.
If you lose power and heat, keep warm by having plenty of wood readily available for a wood burning fire place. You can use a gas fireplace by bypassing the electrical igniter, read the manufacturers instructions on how to do this if you are not sure. Stay in the room with the alternative heat source and keep lots of extra blankets around. If you do not have heat for an extended period of time, go to a relative or friend’s house that does. Make sure all carbon monoxide detectors are in working order!
During a storm make sure to unplug sensitive electrical items such as computers and TV and microwaves (if these are possible to do easily). By disconnecting them you will prevent a power surge when the power comes back on, if you have lost power during the storm and do not have surge protectors. Turn your refrigerator and freezer up to the coldest setting (remember to turn back after you have power returned) to keep food from spoiling if the power goes out. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. If you lose power your food will stay colder for a longer period of time, if they are not opened.
Every 4 years we have a day added to our calendar, February 29th. It is called Leap Day which occurs during Leap Year. Why do we have Leap Year? Simply because it does not take exactly 365 days for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. The exact amount of time it takes the Earth to makes its journey is 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds. So every 4 years we need to make an adjustment to the Gregorian Calendar, the modern day calendar, and add a 366th day!
Some pretty interesting facts about Leap Year:
the year must be evenly divisible by 4
the year can not be divisible by 100, unless…
it is also divisible by 400
Ahh we learn something new everyday! Hope we shed a little light on why we have Leap Year. Enjoy your extra day and do something awesome!
The most popular and fun time to buy toys is in December. What better joy is there to see a child so excited to play with a new toy? Thankfully as a whole the toy industry has vastly improved in their toy safety guidelines since 2008 when there were 172 recalls with 19 of them due to lead. Thankfully toys are now required to pass 3rd party laboratory testing. With fewer recalls on toys, it is still important to look at the general safety of the toys you are buying.
Some of the toys to avoid buying this year are found in the New York Post: Dangerous Toy List
When purchasing toys there are general guidelines to keep in mind:
Age requirements are on toys for a reason, follow the recommended age
Keep toys with small objects or small removable parts away from children under 3 yrs old
Make sure any toys with small batteries have a screw driver required to open the battery compartment
All strong magnetic toys should be closely monitored and never given to young children
Toys with long strings or cords should never be given to infants or young children
Make sure any fabric, like pajamas, are labeled flame retardant
Shopping for toys this holiday season should be a less scary process than in years past. Have fun buying and playing with all the new gifts this year. And yes, adults are required to play with toys also, it’s half the fun in buying them! Happy Holidays!
November 1-8 is Drowsy Driver Prevention Week. It is important to give attention to this hazard on the road, as many people every day get on the road that are too tired to drive. Half of drivers surveyed in the Sleep in America poll have admitted to driving while drowsy. As it is easy for police to detect when alcohol is a factor in a crash, it is much more difficult to conclude that drowsiness was a leading or contributing factor in a crash. The estimates from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conclude that driving while drowsy has caused 100,000 car accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. Statistics also show that more men than women drive while too sleepy to drive, 56% vs 45%.
How can we prevent drowsy driving accidents?
Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
If you have been up for 24 hrs, do not drive
Take a break every 2 hrs of driving or every 100 miles
Open the windows and get fresh air…the colder the better!
Drink a caffeinated beverage
Have a passenger with you while driving. Have them talk to you and keep you alert.
Avoid alcohol as it can make you even more drowsy (and it is against the law to drink and drive!)
Avoid medications that cause drowsiness
If none of these tips work, just pull off the road and take a quick nap or stay somewhere for the night and continue the drive on a good nights rest.
If you are prone to getting sleepy while driving have someone else drive on longer trips and at night when falling asleep is more likely.
Protect yourself and the ones you love by not driving while drowsy, share with friends and family and on social media with #Awake2Drive.
There will be a new Massachusetts state law that you must put on your headlights if you are using your windshield wipers. This law will be in effect starting April 7, 2015. This is a smart law that will help avoid accidents on darkly lit streets while it is raining.
If you are pulled over for this infraction, you will receive a ticket. The ticket price is not the big issue. The larger picture is that the citation for violating the statute is one of the surchargeable traffic law violations. So it will affect your premium for your car insurance.
This past weekend there was a tornado in Worcester. The previous tornado was over 60 years ago in 1953 and was a category F4. Even though Sunday night’s tornado was only a category F0, there was still damage and power outages. Brushing up on what to do before, during and after a storm to keep safe is always a good idea.
Preparation is the best way to be ready for a dangerous storm. Have a few flashlights with extra batteries, your cell phone with the charger, a battery powered radio. Keep all of your personal documents in a fire proof box in a readily accessible area. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food items, such as canned food, bread, peanut butter, crackers and lots of water. The American Red Cross suggests having 1 gallon of water per person per day. A first aid kit is essential. Find out exactly what to put in a first aid kit.
During a storm make sure to unplug sensitive electrical items such as computers and TV and microwaves (if these are possible to do easily). By disconnecting them you will prevent a power surge when the power comes back on, if you have lost power during the storm and do not have surge protectors. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. If you lose power your food will stay colder for a longer period of time, if they are not opened. If the winds are very strong stay away from windows as debris can come flying through. The basement is the best area of the house to stay in during particularly dangerous storms, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
When surveying outside damage after a storm, always treat downed power lines a live and never touch them! Call your electrical company immediately. Contact your town/city for help with trees that are down in community areas, such as the street and on power lines. If your home has flooding, contact your electrician on what to do about before turning things on in the basement/flooded area. If your electricity is off for an extended amount of time bring your family to another family or friend’s house. Make sure everyone is safe.
Information on storm safety is from the National Grid website.
Picture is from tornado on Sunday near Worcester Academy