Celebrate with Caution Using These Eight Fireworks Safety Tips

No Fourth of July feels complete without the captivating spectacle of fireworks. However, putting on a show-stopping display should not overshadow the importance of practicing fireworks safety. The improper handling and use of fireworks can lead to disastrous consequences, causing injuries, property damage, and even loss of life. Here are some essential guidelines and precautions to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable July fourth celebration.

  1. Purchase fireworks from authorized sources: Purchasing from licensed and authorized vendors is crucial to ensure the quality and safety of fireworks. These reputable sources adhere to safety regulations and sell only fireworks that have been tested for reliability. Buying fireworks from a reliable vendor significantly reduces the risk of malfunction and ensures a safer experience.
  2. Read and follow instructions: Each firework product comes with specific instructions and safety guidelines. It is imperative to read and understand these instructions thoroughly before using fireworks. Pay attention to recommended lighting procedures, safety distances, and any special precautions. Ignoring or neglecting these instructions can lead to accidents and injuries.
  3. Choose an appropriate location: Selecting the right location for fireworks is crucial to ensure the safety of yourself, others, and your property. Opt for open areas away from buildings, dry grass, trees, and other flammable materials. Keep a safe distance from houses, vehicles, and power lines. It is essential to consider the wind direction to avoid debris and sparks blowing toward people or structures.
  4. Keep a water source nearby: A water source nearby, such as a bucket of water or a hose, is essential in emergencies. Fireworks can sometimes malfunction or cause unintended fires. Being prepared with water can help quickly extinguish small fires or cool down fireworks that may have ignited improperly.
  5. Don’t drink and light: It is strongly advised not to consume alcohol or any intoxicating substances while handling or operating fireworks. Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents. A clear and focused mind is crucial when dealing with potentially dangerous objects like fireworks.
  6. Use protective gear: Wearing appropriate protective gear can significantly reduce the risk of injuries. Safety glasses, gloves, and closed-toe shoes are highly recommended when handling fireworks. Loose clothing should be avoided to minimize the chance of catching fire. It is vital to dress appropriately and encourage others to do so as well.
  7. Keep spectators at a safe distance: Maintaining a safe distance between the fireworks display and the spectators is essential. Taking extra precaution with children, establish a clearly marked perimeter or safety zone and ensure everyone stays outside. This precaution helps prevent injuries caused by fireworks that may malfunction or project debris unexpectedly.
  8. Dispose of fireworks properly: Once the fireworks display is over, it is important to dispose of them properly. Dispose of used fireworks by soaking them in water before discarding them in a metal container. Do not leave used or unused fireworks lying around, as they can be a fire hazard.

While fireworks can be mesmerizing and enjoyable, please prioritize safety when handling and operating them. Following the recommended guidelines and precautions significantly reduces the risk of accidents, injuries, and property damage. By purchasing fireworks from authorized sources, reading and adhering to instructions, choosing appropriate locations, and taking necessary safety measures, we can ensure a memorable and safe fireworks experience for everyone involved. Remember, fireworks safety is everyone’s responsibility, and by celebrating with caution, we can enjoy the beauty of fireworks while keeping ourselves and others out of harm’s way.

Legal and Illegal Fireworks: Oregon law permits the sale and use of certain types of fireworks. These include “consumer fireworks” or “Class C fireworks,” which are typically sold at licensed retailers. Examples of legal fireworks include sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, and certain types of ground-based fireworks that do not explode or fly into the air.

Here is more information about legal/illegal fireworks in Oregon 


Protecting Your Skin: The Importance of Proper Sunscreen Use

Few will complain about this beautiful Northwest sunshine we have experienced so far this summer. The sun’s rays provide us with warmth and light, boosting our mood and energy levels, but they also contain harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage our skin. With the increasing awareness of the importance of sun protection, proper sunscreen use has become a crucial component of maintaining healthy skin. 

Understanding Sunscreen’s Role:

Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful UV radiation. It consists of active ingredients that either absorb or reflect UV rays, preventing them from penetrating the skin. Broad-spectrum sunscreens, capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays, offer the most comprehensive protection. Wearing sunscreen protects your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and the risk of developing skin cancer.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen:

When selecting a sunscreen, it is important to consider factors such as SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and formulation. SPF determines the level of protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn. Experts recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for adequate protection. Also, choosing a water-resistant sunscreen is essential, particularly during outdoor activities or swimming. Different formulations, such as lotions, creams, gels, and sprays, offer various textures and application methods, allowing you to find the most comfortable and effective option for your skin type.

Proper Application Techniques:

Applying sunscreen correctly is crucial to ensure maximum protection. Follow these steps for proper application:

  1. Apply sunscreen generously: Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas of your skin thoroughly. A general guideline is to use at least one ounce (approximately a shot glass full) to cover your entire body.
  2. Apply it early: Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to allow sufficient time for it to absorb into the skin and provide optimal protection.
  3. Reapply regularly: Sunscreen effectiveness diminishes over time, especially after swimming, sweating, or towel-drying. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if needed, and always after any activity that may remove or dilute the sunscreen.
  4. Pay attention to often overlooked areas: Ensure you apply sunscreen to commonly missed areas such as the ears, back of the neck, lips, and the tops of your feet.
  5. Don’t forget your face: Use a facial sunscreen specially formulated for the delicate skin on your face. Consider products with additional benefits, such as moisturizing or anti-aging properties.

Long-Term Benefits:

Proper sunscreen use offers numerous long-term benefits for your skin:

  1. Protection against skin cancer: Consistently wearing sunscreen reduces the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  2. Prevention of premature aging: UV radiation contributes to premature aging, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Regular sunscreen use helps maintain youthful-looking skin and reduces the appearance of aging signs.
  3. Maintenance of an even skin tone: Sunscreen shields your skin from harmful UV rays, minimizing the risk of developing hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.
  4. Preservation of skin health: By protecting your skin from sunburn and other forms of UV damage, sunscreen helps maintain the skin’s overall health, reducing the risk of skin problems such as dryness, irritation, and inflammation.

Proper sunscreen use is essential for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. By choosing the right sunscreen, applying it correctly, and incorporating it into your daily routine, you can safeguard your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and the risk of skin cancer. Make sunscreen a non-negotiable part of your skincare regimen.


Prepare Now For Wildfire Season

Wildfire season is here, and taking steps now can prepare you and your family to react to a wildfire that could threaten your home or community. 

DEVELOP A PLAN: Make a plan with your loved ones on what to do during an emergency.  Write it down and do a practice run-through. 

  • Agree on a meeting place.
  • Update emergency contacts. 
  • Identity local and out-of-area contacts.
  • Consider the needs of young children and elderly.
  • Plan for your animals and livestock. 

PROTECT YOUR HOME: Give your home a better chance of surviving a wildfire by slowing its spread.  The Clackamas Fire District: recommends the following:

Within 0-30 feet around your home or to the property line:

  • Remove all dead plants and leaves.
  • Trim trees-keep branches a minimum of ten feet from other trees.
  • Remove vegetation and other Items that can catch fire around decks.

Within 30-100 feet around your home or to the property line:

  • Cut or mow grass to a maximum of four inches.
  • Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees.
  • Create Vertical Spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees. 


Level 3 Evacuation: If you receive the level 3 order, leave your home as soon as possible.

  • When it is safe, let your insurance company know that you have been ordered to evacuate. Confirm your policy coverage, deductible, and specific coverage limits.
  • Save all receipts. Many insurance companies will help cover expenses such as lodging, food, and pet boarding.
  • Work on a home inventory list.
    • Look through photos and videos to help recall personal items.  There are several Apps that can be downloaded for inventory assistance. 
    • To the best of your ability, write down the age, original cost, and replacement cost of each item.

Level One and Two Evacuations: 

  • Contact Your Insurance Company to check your policy. 
  • Ask about auto coverage. You need comprehensive coverage on your vehicle to cover damage caused by a wildfire.
  • Make a quick home inventory.
    • Take photos of each room in your home. Do not forget storage areas, such as the attic, shed, and garage.
  • Build a financial backpack.
    • Gather important financial documents, such as passports, Social Security cards, insurance policies, titles, deeds, and financial accounts.
    • Make copies or scan them to your phone or computer.
  • Place all of the information with your go-bag of emergency supplies so this information is with you when you need to evacuate.

Outside of evacuation zone: Time to prepare is now.

Follow the disaster preparedness tips provided by the division at dfr.oregon.gov/preparenow.

In general, homeowners insurance typically covers damage caused by wildfires. However, it’s important to note that insurance policies can vary, so it’s essential to review your specific policy to understand the extent of coverage for wildfire damage.

Standard homeowners insurance policies typically include coverage for the structure of your home and other structures on your property, such as garages or sheds. These policies provide coverage for fire-related damage, including damage caused by wildfires and includes the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home and other structures if they are damaged or destroyed by a wildfire.

Additionally, homeowners insurance policies usually include coverage for personal belongings, such as furniture, appliances, and clothing. If your personal property is damaged or destroyed in a wildfire, your insurance policy may cover the cost of replacing these items up to the limits specified in your policy.It’s important to keep in mind that some insurance policies may have specific exclusions or limitations for wildfire-related damage. For example, your insurance policy may have additional provisions or requirements if you live in an area prone to wildfires or high-risk zones.

It’s advisable to consult with your insurance agent and review your policy documents to understand the specifics of your coverage for wildfire damage


EPB&B Merges With KBI Insurance

After many months of planning, we are pleased to announce the merger of KBI Insurance with Elliott, Powell, Baden, and Baker, effective June 1, 2023.  We are excited to have the President of KBI, Dave Kilhefner join our team as a Producer in Commercial Lines and together we will strive to provide KBI customers with the exceptional customer experience that EPB&B customers have come to expect from our team. 

Here is more about Dave and how the merger will enhance the insurance experience for our customers. 

Dave: Briefly describe your insurance background and KBI Insurance?  I started working part-time at KBI Insurance when it was formed by my father and Founder, Clark Kilhefner in 1982. After college, I began working there full time and I have done every job, from answering the phone and doing the mail to eventually becoming the President in 2006. KBI offers both personal and commercial insurance with Refuse and Recycling and Trade Contractor’s insurance being areas of focus.  Until this merger, KBI was located in Tualatin and employed eight team members.  

Marc: Why the Interest in acquiring a new agency? In this case I was very interested as I’ve known Dave for decades, and his father and Founder of KBI, Clark Kilhefner, was a former partner at Elliott, Powell, Baden and Baker and someone that I had a hoot talking to when I would visit the office to see my father, Neil Baker back in the seventies. It all has come full circle. Life is a trip!

Dave: Why did you choose to merge with EPB&B? Its getting harder and harder to be a small agent and still do a good job for larger clients that require more insurance markets and expertise.  My father worked for EPB&B in the late seventies until 1982. I wanted to work with a locally owned company that also had expertise in the transportation and construction sectors. Thus, EPB&B was the perfect fit. 

 Marc: Why Do You Believe is KBI a good fit For EPB&B? Dave has done a great job in working with two niche markets that fit well with what we have established; contractors and the refuse-hauling industry. This addition to our team made sense with our expertise in the trucking sector and our well-established contracting book.

Dave: Anything outside of work to let people know a little bit about you? I have three grown children. Hobbies are focused on the outdoors; fishing, hiking, boating, rafting, photography, etc. I volunteer for several non-profits; Clackamas Fly Fishers, Northwest Outdoor Writers Association and I am the Treasurer of Water Watch of Oregon.

Marc: How will the merger benefit EPB&B customers? Adding another expert in the contracting field with Dave joining the team is exciting from a mentorship and service perspective, and the growth will provide a little more horsepower as we work with insurance providers on renewals and new business opportunities.

EPB&B President Marc Baker(L) and KBI President Dave Kilhefner join forces. Welcome to the EPB&B team, Dave.