Fireworks Safety Basics for New Year’s Eve

Fireworks Safety Basics for New Year's Eve

We often spend New Year’s Eve with family and friends, and we enjoy great food as we celebrate the incoming New Year. However, when it comes to fireworks, it can be a bit hazardous and stressful, which is why you want to be safe and careful this season. 

Every year, thousands of homes are damaged or destroyed by the improper use of fireworks, which can make the holiday a dangerous time of year. At Bob Johnson Insurance, your property is our concern, which is why we’re sharing our top safety tips for you and your family. 

How to Protect Yourself and Others

  • If you want to avoid any problems altogether, then don’t set off fireworks at home. Instead, Knoxville has lots of parties and events going on for New Year’s Eve, and some of them may include fireworks.  Do a quick internet search for “Knoxville TN fireworks New Year’s Eve”.
  • If you’re going to light some fireworks, be sure to read the instructions first, and don’t make or use homemade versions. 
  • Be cautious with children. Many little ones will want to join in on the fun, but don’t let them get too close. Usually, people think sparklers are safe, but they can still burn at more than 1,000 degrees F. Overall, let your children be observers, not participants. Over 40% of injuries happen to kids under the age of 15. 
  • Never let your kids light fireworks unattended. If you have teenagers, you want to keep an eye on them. One errant spark can create a hazardous situation, which is why you have to be vigilant. 

Protecting Your Property

Again, if you want to avoid fire hazards, you should probably leave the fireworks to the professionals. However, if you decide to light off fireworks, then follow these tips. 

  • Keep any and all flammable materials away from the festivities. Paper plates, napkins, and other combustibles can be more than enough to create a blaze. 
  • Monitor your surroundings. Trees, bushes, and dry grass can also catch fire, so keep an eye on natural hazards as well. 
  • Clean your gutters. If a firework ends up on the roof, it could ignite dried leaves and debris in your gutters.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Even if you’re careful, a neighbor may not be as vigilant. Always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. 

This New Year’s Eve, don’t take any chances. Don’t become one of the statistics and follow these safety tips. Whether staying at home or going abroad this season, have fun and be safe!

4 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders

4 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders

Christmas is done for this year, and, for some of us, it’s time to return the ugly sweaters, odd-looking socks and other gifts that don’t quite fit what we are looking for.  Often, we tend to take the parking lot for granted. While we may be cautious and careful on the road, we may drive a little bit more recklessly when we are trying to find the perfect spot. 

So, it’s not too surprising to know that many minor collisions and accidents happen when we’re not paying attention, which can be a lot of times when we’re in a parking lot. Thus, with that in mind, we want to share some ways that you can avoid getting into a fender bender. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

One of the primary reasons why the parking lot can be such a hazardous place is that objects can be all around us. People walking behind the car, shopping carts in our blind spots – there are many more things to pay attention to than when you’re on the road. 

The best way to stay aware of what’s happening in your vicinity is to use your eyes and your mirrors. Be sure to turn around and look in the direction you’re moving, especially when backing up. Even if you have a rearview camera, it may not provide the complete picture. 

Slow Down

While it may be obvious on the surface, too many people will try to zip through a parking lot, especially if it’s not too crowded. However, because there are so many hazards (see above), this can be a dangerous move. Yes, you may be in a rush, but that’s no reason to drive recklessly. 

Increase Space

One of the most common dangers in a parking lot is people walking. Because we’re not used to following pedestrians on the road, it can feel a lot slower than average. Still, now’s not the time to tailgate. You don’t know what they’re going to do, and they don’t have a blinker to inform you of their next move. Simply put, give them some space. 

Be Respectful

Finally, you want to make sure that you’re giving the same respect to other people in the parking lot as you would expect from them. Avoid the road rage, even if someone did steal your spot. Think about it like this – what’s the worst thing that could happen? You may have to walk a little further? That’s no reason to make the parking lot more hazardous than it should be. 

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want you and those around you to be safe. These tips (above) will help. However, sometimes parking lot fender benders happen. Having the right insurance coverage is important. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We are glad to help.

3 Ways to Reduce Car Crash Risk

3 Ways to Reduce Car Crash Risk

If you’ve been driving for a long time, then odds are that you’ve gotten into some sort of collision. Unfortunately, with so many people on the road and so many distractions, it’s inevitable that you may get involved in a fender bender (or worse). 

However, just because the odds are not on your side doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to getting into a crash. Today we want to go over some simple methods that can help you stay safe on the road. The safer we are, the fewer collisions there will be, and everyone wins. 

Avoid Cell Phones

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 660,000 people are on their mobile devices while driving. That’s an astonishing number, and it can present a lot of dangerous situations out there. You don’t want to be a part of that statistic, nor do you want to be part of the 1.6 million crashes caused by cell phones each year. 

Drive Defensively

Over 10,000 people die each year from drunk driving. Even if you were not drinking, other drivers may have been. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing and be more vigilant late at night, especially during holidays.

Slow Down

For many people, speed limits seem like an easy way for cops to pull you over and give you a citation. However, there’s a reason that they’re in place. Like drunk driving, over 10,000 people die from crashes caused by speeding motorists, so you want to avoid becoming one of them. 

The dangers of speeding are exacerbated in times of low-visibility, so be sure to slow down when it’s raining or dark out. You can’t always rely on other people to be using their headlights, nor can you see pedestrians until it’s too late. 

Overall, be smart and cautious behind the wheel, and you can make each drive a lot safer. Remember, it only takes one time to change your life, so pay attention. 

Make Sure You Have Enough Coverage

While insurance coverage won’t reduce the risk of a car crash, having the right coverage and enough of it is important in case you find yourself in a fender bender or worse. Checking your coverage (as well as your potential discounts) only take a phone call or email. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us.

Tips for Safe Holiday

Tips for a Safe Holiday

The holidays are fun and exciting and busy. Holiday decorations add to the atmosphere and excitement, but they also pose potential safety issues. Follow these simple tips to stay safe this holiday season.

Inspect Strands of Lights

Lights are beautiful and really set the tone for the holidays, but always play it safe when dealing with electricity. Before stringing lights inspect the entire strand. Look for frayed or exposed wires, cracks in the housing where bulbs screw in or any other damage. If you find anything wrong or damaged do not use the strand. Replace damaged strands with new and safe strings of lights. Always unplug a strand when replacing a bulb and make sure to use replacement bulbs that are the correct voltage.

Turn Lights Off at Night

Turn holiday decorations off overnight. Lights become warm the longer they are on and this can pose an ignition risk, especially when hung on a tree. Consider using a timer to ensure the lights go on and off each night to save you from remembering and ensuring safety. Also shut the lights off when you head out to work or to run errands. The same goes for candles. Never leave a candle burning unattended.

Safely Burn the Yule Log

A fire creates a cozy ambience, but before lighting a fire make sure the structure and equipment is safe. For a gas fireplace that means the glass should be intact and in place. For a wood burning fireplace, be sure the chimney has been cleaned and keep the size of the fire under control. Store wood a reasonable distance from the fireplace and keep fire rated gloves and fireplace tools, such as a poker close by.

Test Your Alarms

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure everything is in proper working order. You should routinely check these devices to ensure safety, but with all of the extra decorations and activities during the holidays giving everything another check is a good idea.

Value of Safety Checks

Ensure the holidays are a festive time, but also a safe time by putting these tips to use. With all of the hussle and hubbub of the holidays taking the time to watch out for these safety issues can keep your family and loved ones safe and secure.

Insurance involves more than just a policy. We want all of our customers to be safe and celebrate an enjoyable holiday season. If you have questions, click here contact BJI. We are glad to help.

Avoid Holiday Shopping Scams and Rip-Offs

Avoid Holiday Scams and Rip-offs

As the holiday season begins, the sales start rolling in. But in an effort to buy great gifts at discounted prices, many shoppers fall victim to scams and rip-offs this time of year. Whether it’s hackers trying to steal your payment info or companies trying to pawn off low quality products, it pays to be diligent when placing orders during holiday sales.

To protect yourself this shopping season, follow these simple tips.

Exercise Caution

This time of year, you may run into some online scams disguising themselves as great deals. While it always pays to go with your gut.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Knowing what to look out for helps too.  Watch out for emails disguising themselves as legitimate companies so they can steal your information.  Keep reading for more information.

Be Conscience of Too Good Pricing

As holiday shopping ramps up, you may be excited to explore the sales and score big deals on items from your wishlist. But be careful – if you come across a price that’s too good to be true, it could be a warning sign that you’re not going to get your money’s worth. Even paying a fraction of the regular price could be a waste of money if it’s a crummy product. If possible, test the product as much as possible to ensure that it works and is in good condition before you purchase it.

Use Trusted Retailers

When it comes to online shopping, this time of year you may receive an abundance of emails boasting major discounts and promoting great deals on hot ticket products. In some cases, they may duplicate their website to look like a trusted brand’s online store, in order to lure you into leaving your payment information. Always exercise caution when dealing with an online store that you’re not familiar with, and double check that you’re at the correct site when placing an order with a trusted online store.

Avoid Shipping Email Scams

A common holiday scam derives from spam emails that are masked to look like they came from a shipping company. Often, they will try to get your financial details by telling you there was an issue with your order that requires payment.

  • Do not open attachments to the emails.  They may contain a computer virus.
  • Do not click links that are in the email.  Instead, type in the web site address that you know is correct.
  • Always check the tracking information from your confirmation email before giving any information to a strange company.
  • If you’re unsure if the email is legit, you can always contact the seller to confirm their shipping company.

Do Your Homework

A little research goes a long way, especially when it comes to spending money. Take some time to make sure you know all the details you need to make an educated purchasing decision.

Be Aware of Retailer’s Return Policy

Sales are usually great for shoppers – unless you try to return an item you purchased at a discount. Even trusted retail brands can have some odd return policies when it comes to sales items. Before making a purchase, make sure that you understand the return policy completely to protect yourself if you need to return the gift.

Know Your Extended Warranties

Purchasing an extended warranty seems like a smart idea, especially for expensive electronics. Except, they may not do much if your product already comes with a warranty, or if one is built into your credit card policy. Before making a large purchase, be aware of the warranties that already are applied to the product before purchasing additional protection.

Read Seller and Product Reviews

If you’re buying a product online or using an online retailer for the first time, see what others are saying about the item or service. Ratings can let you know if it’s a sound purchase or if there are any red flags you should avoid.

Protect Your Funds

A lot of money changes hands during the holiday season, and your credit card probably gets a workout. Unfortunately, hackers use the unusual purchasing activities of the holidays in their favor, and tend to target victims for identity theft this time of year. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Check Your Bank Account Frequently

Detecting fraudulent activity early will increase chances of your bank reimbursing your account and prevent hackers from spending too much of your money. To stay on top of your activity, check your bank account at least every two to three days throughout the holiday season.

Keep Payment Information Secure

Never use wire transfers or cash when purchasing items online – otherwise, you may fall victim to a scam without any tracking or protection to be reimburse your funds. Instead, use trusted payment systems, like Paypal, to place your online orders.


While the holidays are filled with cheer, a credit card scam or identity theft can quickly rob you of the holiday spirit. These simple steps can help protect you during the holidays.  If you want extra protection against identity theft, be sure to contact us for more information.




Keep Your Trees and Shrubs Protected From Wind Damage

Keep Your Trees and Shrubs Protected From Wind Damage

When you consider environmental hazards in Tennessee, what do you think of the most? Chances are you may imagine things like rain and tornadoes. However, strong winds can also be a danger to your home if you’re not prepared. 

So, with that in mind, we at Bob Johnson Insurance want to help you get ready for the changing weather. Since your trees and shrubs are the most susceptible to wind damage, it’s imperative that you take steps to keep them in good shape throughout the fall and winter. 

Here’s how. 

Cover Them

Many home and garden stores sell landscape fabric, which you can purchase by the yard and use to cover your trees and shrubs. Also, be sure to get plant ties so that you can secure the fabric to them without any problems. 

Prune Them

If you’re serious about protecting your plants, then quality pruning will be essential this season. If they’re too overgrown, then wind can easily catch between leaves and branches, causing breaks and potential uprooting. 

Plant More

Individual trees can be a hazard during strong winds. However, multiple trees close together can act as a natural barrier. Also, their root systems will intertwine, making them less susceptible to coming out of the ground. Finally, a wind barrier for your home can help you save on utilities. 

Plan Accordingly When Planting

If you decide that your property needs more trees and shrubs, then you want to make sure that you have a strategy in place so that you don’t have to maintain them as much during the windy months. 

For example, you may want to place the plants on the non-windy side of your property. Your home will act as a barrier, helping new saplings stay in the ground until they’re strong enough. 

Also, consider what the roots can do over time. If you plant trees too close to your foundation, it can cause damage to your home, as well as any pipes in the area. Be sure to consult your local Tennessee zoning board to find out if there are other dangers present underneath your yard. 

As a rule, small trees need about 10 square feet of space around them. Larger trees need about 30 feet to be safe. 

Don’t let the wind pose a threat to your plants and trees this fall season. At Bob Johnson Insurance, we understand that having this foliage on your property can have a lot of benefits. That’s why we’re committed to helping you keep your greenery in shape all year long.