Christmas Tree Fires are More Deadly than Typical Fires – Follow our Tips

The Christmas season has begun and it’s one of our favorite times of year.  Our Facebook news feed contains many posts of our friends’ beautifully decorated Christmas trees as well as pictures of them cutting their live tree at the Christmas tree farm.  We thought this would be an excellent opportunity to remind you of how to care for your live tree so it does not catch on fire.

christmasTrees are not a fire hazard if you take care of them, keep them watered, and decorate them carefully.  However, should the tree catch on fire, it is one of the most deadly fires.  In fact, one of every 66 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  The tree provides an unusually large amount of fuel leaving little time to get out of the house.  They are especially deadly if they occur at night when people are sleeping.

  • Keep the tree well-watered.  Check the water supply at least once a day.  Trees can drink a lot of water.
  • Use new or high-quality lighting.  Never use lights with frayed cords or worn connections.  Consider switching to LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights. In addition to the energy and cost savings, LED lights are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fires.
  • Keep the tree away from candles and other heat sources such as a fire place.  (A heat source too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (18%) of Christmas tree fires from 2006-2010 according to the NFPA).
  • Turn off the lights before leaving home and before going to bed.
  • Dispose of the tree as soon as it feels dry.  Many cities, including Indianapolis and Fishers, will provide safe disposable sites for your tree beginning December 26th.  Big box stores such as Home Depot will also provide drop off sites.  (Do not burn the tree outside your home)!

In addition to our Christmas tree fire prevention tips, we also encourage you to review the following fire safety tips that pertain to this time of year (compliments of amfam.com):

  • Candles should be kept away from your tree and any flammable decorations and should be extinguished before leaving a room.  Candles are also a major cause of household fires during the holidays.
  • When starting a fire in your wood stove or fireplace, use hardwood logs cut the season before. Do not toss wrapping paper or branches from your Christmas tree into the flames because flash fires can result. Chimneys and wood stoves should be inspected annually for creosote and cleaned regularly. Stockings should not be hung from your fireplace mantle in the path of sparks and flames.  Home heating equipment, such as wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces, cause nearly one-third of all home fires according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Inspect your lights before they go up to make sure they’re in good condition. Don’t plug too many into the same electrical circuit or overload extension cords. You should use no more than three light sets per extension cord. Unplug all lights when you leave the house and before going to bed.
  • Make sure everyone knows all of your home’s exits and you have a designated outdoor meeting place to regroup. If a fire does start in your home, stay as low as possible while heading for an exit to reduce your chance of smoke inhalation. If you do catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.

We wish a wonderful and safe Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas!

– S.O.
POB Agency

Why you Should Never Let A Candle Burn to the Very Bottom of a Glass Pillar

It’s amazing how the Midwest weather can change in just 10 days.  Two weekends ago we were sitting in shorts and tank tops watching our son’s baseball game under the sun on an 80 degree day.  Today – the temperature maybe topped at 45 degrees.

We turned our heat and fireplace on and the candles came out.  Don’t ask my why, but I typically only burn candles in cooler weather.  It makes me feel more “cozy”.

CandleWhen I dug out our glass jar candles, I noticed I held on to a couple that were almost burned to the glass bottom.  I’m not sure how much life they have in them but surely they’d be okay for just tonight.  Right?

WRONG!  You should never let the candle burn to the very bottom.  No matter how tempted you are to get the very last scent from the remaining wax, you should toss the candle once the wax drops below half an inch.

Candles cause nearly 10,000 house fires a year (35% from candles in the bedroom) and those candles I just mentioned, are a fire hazard.  Without enough wax in my pillar as a buffer, the flame can ignite debris (like a match particle that’s been left in the candle) and cause a blaze to flare up.  Even if a fire doesn’t ignite, the low-level of wax in the jar increases the likelihood of the flame brushing against the sides and the bottom.  If the glass gets hot enough, it could shatter.  In any case, if you let the wax burn lower than half an inch, you are putting your home at risk.

Although most of the time, the candle I’m burning is close to us like on a shelf or an end table, why risk it?  They’re going in the trash.  And, while I’m at it, I’m going to purge all other kinds of candles that are shorter than two inches.  It just gives me more reason to buy some pretty fall scented new ones!

Where should my first stop be on my candle shopping spree?

– S.O.
POB Agency

There are 4 Types of Customers. Which One are You?

In a customer facing role we encounter a variety of personalities and communication styles.  People think, react and behave in various ways depending on their personality. We found that although there are many layers to ones personality, we can be grouped into four main types of customer behavior. 

Driver (or Director):  Drivers don’t have time to wait and are easily annoyed by small talk and banter. They don’t want to tell you about their day and are usually identified by their impatient looks, tapping feet, and constant checking of their watch. They want what they want when they want it – and they want it now! In extreme cases they can be intimidating know-it-all’s.  Their goals are very clear. They want the best possible product at the lowest possible price delivered when they want it – which is usually immediately.  Get down to business with these people. Take their order and let them get on with their lives.

Socializers: These customers love people, are quick to smile, and don’t mind spending a few minutes in conversation with you about the weather, sports or life.  They have a strong need to feel part of a group and take an ownership position in anything they do.  They love to be asked their opinion because they like to feel part of the decision-making process.  They like to build relationships and are an excellent referral source.  These people are usually three calls away from getting anything they want. They always know someone who knows someone who knows someone – the classic example of “three degrees of separation.”   It could be the best product at the best price but the Socializer won’t do business with you  if they don’t like you.  Use compliments liberally. Do whatever you have to do to remember the names of these people. 

Ambiables: These customers are not assertive but they are responsive and emotionally expressive.  They are dependent on others, respectful, willing and agreeable.  They are low risk takers and like security.  They like personal assurance, specific guarantees, low risk, and don’t want to hear a lot of options.  They can be over sensitive so when they speak, listen or risk alienating them.  Don’t take advantage of their good nature.  Work jointly with them to seek a common ground.

Analytical: Similar to the Action personality, these people don’t like chit-chat, but unlike all others, these customers are very specific about what they want. These types usually have professions that require accuracy and analysis.  They will explain their problem in a very detailed manner. Sometimes it may seem they’re trying to tell you how to do your job, but they’re not, they just know what they want and don’t want any misunderstandings.  Analyticals read manuals, directions and the fine print. Like the Director type they are unaffected by small talk or the niceties that can accompany a “sales” or business meeting.  They conduct research and analyze all the possibilities before making a decision and they want data.  Give them facts and data and do not make a statement unless you can back it up with pertinent information.

In which customer category do you see yourself?  Do you see yourself in more than one category.  Let us know in the comments. 

If you are an existing customer, contact us if you have not reviewed your policies in the last year.  And, if you are not a customer, we’d love the opportunity to earn your business.  Here are our business hours.

Continue to stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest.

– S.O.
POB Agency