Pedestrian injuries are the most common injury to children on Halloween. Whether you have toddlers or teens, some planning and safety precautions can help prevent accidents and keep your trick or treaters safe.
Always opt for sidewalks, if available, rather than walking in the street. Some costumes and clothing are difficult to see in the dark and you may not be visible to drivers when walking in the roadway. Cross the street at corners or intersections and never cross between parked cars or from driveways. Even if crosswalks are present, try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 80% of pedestrian fatalities in Texas occur after dark. Trick or treat in familiar, well-lit areas and walk in groups. There is safety in numbers.
Kids and cars can be frighteningly unpredictable. Avoid distractions while trick or treating by keeping your cell phone safely tucked away. Keep your head up and focus on pedestrian safety.
When planning costumes, avoid masks that can obstruct a child's vision. To brighten up dark costumes, have your child wear or carry glow sticks or attach reflective tape to their costume or trick or treat bag.
Happy trick or treating. Stay safe.
According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Whether you’re driving to a Halloween party or just home from work, extra caution can go a long way on Halloween.
The speed limit in most residential neighborhoods is 30 miles per hour. According to research by ProPublica, when struck by a vehicle at 30 miles per hour, a person has an 80% chance of survival. That chance goes up to 93% if the vehicle is driving 20 miles per hour. Plan to leave home or work early to allow any extra time it may take to drive well below the posted speed limit.
Pay close attention to vehicles parked on the street and in driveways. They could be dropping off children who are excited about trick or treating and may unexpectedly dart into the roadway.
Turn signals benefit pedestrians just as much as other vehicles. Make sure to use your blinkers even when no other vehicles are around. There may be pedestrians watching to see which way you are going. If you are stopping to pick up or drop off children, use your hazard lights to get the attention of other drivers.
With all the extra pedestrian traffic on Halloween, take extra care to focus on driving safety and avoid distractions. Silence your phone before driving and turn off the radio. Wait to talk, text, and surf the internet once you have safely reached your destination.
Safe driving habits help prevent accidents. Happy Halloween driving. Stay safe.
We’re still a ways from colder weather here in the Houston area, but it’s not too early to get your fireplace winter ready. Since most fireplaces in our area don’t get heavy use, the annual maintenance is pretty simple. We also have a few tips for best operation of your fireplace.
Gas fireplaces are generally lower maintenance than their wood burning counterparts, but they do require some attention each year prior to use. Before getting started, make sure the fireplace and glass are completely cool and that the gas valve is in the off position. If your gas fireplace has a decorative barrier, go ahead and remove it.
Wood burning fireplaces come in two varieties, those with a gas log lighter and those without. All steps will be the same with the exception of #7 which only applies if you have a gas log lighter. Make sure the fireplace is completely cool before beginning.
If you are ever uncomfortable performing the annual fireplace maintenance yourself, or if you find anything out of the ordinary during your inspection, contact a local professional to help you out.
There’s nothing quite like a warm, cozy fire on a cold winter night. For the best fire and easiest ongoing maintenance of your fireplace, check out these tips.
We hope you are as excited as we are for the colder weather to get here and that you enjoy your winter and your fireplace.
This picture was taken at a home I inspected last week. When fully opened, the bedroom window circled in red is 16” high x 32” wide. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires all sleeping areas have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening (AKA egress opening). Very few bedrooms are built with exterior doors, so in most cases this is accomplished by way of a window. To ensure the window is big enough for you to escape during an emergency and for a firefighter wearing full protective gear to fit in, there are a few guidelines that must be met.
It’s important to note that if the opening portion of the window measures the minimum 24” high x 20” wide it is only 3.3 square feet. In order to meet the minimum square footage requirement, the window will have to be higher and/or wider than the minimum height and width requirement. Also, if there are multiple windows in a bedroom, only one is required to be approved for emergency escape and rescue.
In older homes, egress windows may not be present or may be smaller than current requirements due to building code changes over time. You aren’t required to remodel when codes change, but if you remodel you are required to meet current building codes (with few exceptions such as registered historic properties). When replacing windows, it is imperative to use reputable and knowledgeable contractors that are current on building codes. More important than the legal requirement is the safety of you and your family. The pictured home was built in 1987 and the windows have since been replaced. The measurement of this window would not have been acceptable according to building code in 1987 or any year since. Have you replaced your windows? You can check to see if they are within modern code by plugging in the measurements on The Calculator Site.
Preventive maintenance will help to ensure the windows work when you need them. Check your windows annually to make sure they open and close easily and that sash locks are easy to operate and secure the window properly. To prevent heat and cooling losses, ensure weather stripping has an airtight seal, that glass is not cracked or fogged, and that exterior caulk joints and in good condition.