3 Important Things to Know About Fire Extinguishers
Whether your home is a standalone single family, condo, apartment or even a mobile home, you need at least one fire extinguisher for it. But if you don’t have the right one, or you haven’t checked it recently, you may have a false sense of security rather than a fire-fighting device. There are a few important things to know about fire extinguishers, but they aren’t complicated. Here are three things to help you get up to speed:
There are extinguishers for each type of fire. Class A: ordinary combustibles, such as wood; Class B: flammable liquids or gasses, such as gasoline or propane; Class C: energized electrical equipment like appliances; Class D: combustible metals; and Class K: cooking oils and greases. An extinguisher that isn’t rated for the fire you’re trying to fight likely won’t help.
Multipurpose extinguishers are widely available. Typically rated for Class A, B and C fires, they are good for most living areas and also work on small grease fires. You need at least one for each level of your home, and one in the garage is a good idea, too. Store them in an accessible area and inspect them regularly for rust and other damage. Also follow any maintenance instructions included with the device. Some need to be shaken regularly, for example.
Remember “P.A.S.S.” when you use your extinguisher. Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the lever. Sweep the nozzle back and forth. And always keep your back to an exit when fighting a fire. You need to be able to escape quickly if necessary.
Even more important than knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is knowing when not to use it. If you’d be putting yourself at risk trying to fight a fire, leave the area immediately. You should already have a family fire escape plan in place, so don’t hesitate to use it if there’s any question about your safety.
After all, your life is irreplaceable. Your insurance, however, can help you rebuild your home and replace your belongings. If you’d like to check up on your coverage, give us a call today!
Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th!
One of the most dramatic, damaging, and potentially deadly events is a hurricane. During a hurricane, your home may be damaged or destroyed by many different storm hazards. For example:
- Debris can break windows and doors, allowing high winds and rain inside the home.
- Large storms (i.e. Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Katrina and Superstorm Sandy) can cause tremendous devastation as trees and power lines topple.
- Weak elements of your home can fail, such as windows, doors, and roofing material.
- Roads and bridges can be washed away.
- Coastal storm surges can flood basements and lower levels of your home, threatening life in many circumstances.
- Destructive tornadoes also can be present, occurring well away from the storm’s center.
- Wind damage is not limited to the coastline – it can extend hundreds of miles inland under certain conditions.
Your home is a valuable asset. The costs associated with property damage from hurricanes and the disruption to your life in the aftermath can be significant. Be Prepared! Know what to listen for, Stay Informed, Have a Family Emergency Plan and Know how to Protect your Property!
See the attached (pdf download) for valuable tips and information courtesy of Narragansett Bay Insurance Company.
Don’t let rising gas prices keep you idle this summer. Sticking to your maintenance schedule and following these simple tips will help you get the most fuel efficiency out of your vehicle.
Use the right oil. Come to us for service and you’ll know your vehicle will always get the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. The wrong oil could reduce your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent!
Stay properly pumped. Keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. You can find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle on a decal on the driver’s side door jamb. Stop by any time and we will be glad to check the tire pressure in your tires. Any car – any time!
Lose weight for summer. Remove anything from your trunk that you don’t need. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by as much as 2 percent.
Go cruising. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed, which can help you save gas in most cases.
Keep cool. Speeding, punching the gas and sudden braking are all definite fuel wasters. On the highway they can lower your gas mileage by as much as 33 percent. So slow down and save. You’ll help make the road safer too.
Stay informed. Visit us often for money saving tips on fuel savings, gas savings and saving you that car care head ache. We are here to help you through the rough spots.
It’s called “sleep insurance” for a reason.
Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance helps community association board members sleep well at night without worrying that their personal assets are at risk because of a decision or action — or inaction — they make on behalf of the association.
When board members join a community association board, they are volunteering their time and effort and taking on the responsibility of making decisions for the association. Board members are required to interpret and enforce the association’s governing documents. They have a fiduciary duty to make decisions as a reasonably prudent person and to make decisions they believe to be in the best interest of the association.
Even with their best efforts, these actions can lead to potential lawsuits alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, employment or housing discrimination, slander or libel or a host of other potential claims. Lawsuits can seek monetary or nonmonetary relief. A good D&O policy will cover both.
Most states require associations to indemnify board members for decisions they make on behalf of associations. Indemnification is an agreement to provide financial reimbursement to an individual board member or association in case of a specific type of loss.
This means that, if they are sued, the insurance company will pay legal fees or assume the defense. Should they lose the court case, it will pay any judgment or settlement. Not only state laws, but most association governing documents also require board members to be indemnified.
The “insured” in a D&O policy is typically the community association as an entity and any subsidiary of the association. “Insured persons” are commonly defined as those who act in the capacity of past, present, duly elected or appointed officers, directors, trustees, employees, volunteers or committee members. Spouses of insured persons also are covered, which is not always known. Often the community manager is covered under the policy as well.
If a board member is accused of intentionally dishonest or fraudulent acts, a majority of D&O stand-alone policies will provide a defense for the insured persons. Coverage is terminated if it is proven that the allegation is true. A good stand-alone policy will continue coverage until a court or other body makes final judgment. Any theft loss is generally covered by a fidelity or “employee dishonesty” policy, which is separate from a D&O policy.
Community associations face a variety of claims these days. However, there are several types of claims commonly seen. Here are some examples that illustrate why this insurance is so important.
Foreclosure and bankruptcy. One of the fastest growing areas for claims is the wrongful foreclosure of individual units. This has caused a financial burden for many associations who are now being sued for breach of fiduciary duty for failure to maintain the property and mismanagement of funds. A current claim involves a bankruptcy alleging the board conspired with the property manager to defraud the association out of thousands of dollars.
Breach of fiduciary duty. When associations hold elections problems can arise. We have seen claims where losing candidates sue over the election process. In one claim, the candidate demanded a new election, alleging the election was conducted improperly.
Insured v. insured. Another claim seen quite often is “insured vs. insured.” A good example of this is when a unit owner sends a letter to the president of the board of directors demanding that the board use “all means available” to stop improper actions of a board member. The letter alleges they are using association funds to pay personal debts and other expenses not authorized by the association. The unit owner demands that the association recover the allegedly misappropriated funds as well as fees and costs. He files a lawsuit in the name of the association and for the benefit of its members. Sometimes even board members sue other board members.
Many D&O policies specifically exclude coverage of “insured v. insured” claims. Yet it is a potentially costly liability facing associations. A board member’s legal expenses won’t be covered if such claims are excluded.
Breach of contract. When boards terminate contracts with vendors they can be sued for breach of contract. If things go wrong and board members need to break a contract, they are left vulnerable to a lawsuit.
Employment discrimination. When associations decide to terminate employees, problems can arise. Even if you have just one employee, there is a potential for litigation. Wrongful termination, sexual harassment and discrimination are seen all of the time in the community association world.
One way for clients to avoid some of these pitfalls is to hire professionals who specialize in community associations. A professional manager can help ensure board members are making day-to-day decisions in a prudent manner.
About Kevin Davis
Davis is president of Kevin Davis Insurance Services in Los Angeles. .