State Agencies Offer Advice to Consumers in Aftermath of Snowstorm
HARTFORD, November 3 -- Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen are encouraging consumers to pay attention to the following home safety concerns as power is restored and Connecticut continues to recover in the coming days.
“The weather made a huge impact on many lives this week, so to prevent further effects to consumers’ health or wallets, we want to encourage consumers to protect themselves,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “By taking a few simple precautions, consumers can assure the safety of their food and drugs and ward off home improvement scammers.”
“As power is restored throughout the state and people take on the task of cleaning out their refrigerators, it’s important that they keep food and medication safety in mind,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “If the temperature in your refrigerator or freezer has gone above 40 degrees, throw away perishable foods like meats, eggs, dairy and cut fruits and vegetables.”
· When in doubt, throw it out.
· Never taste a food to determine its safety.
· A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety, which includes a color chart listing the safety of unrefrigerated foods, is available on the Department website.
· Don’t hire contractors who go door-to-door, call, or post notices on bulletin boards or online before checking them out thoroughly.
· Verify the registration, insurance, and if appropriate, the professional license of any worker before agreeing to let them work on your property.
· All home improvement contractors -- including persons who install and repair gutters, roofs, fences, siding, insulation, windows, masonry and underground fuel storage tanks -- must be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, plumbers, heating and ventilation workers, sheet metal workers, electricians and many other professionals require a current Connecticut professional license in order to practice their craft.
· Despite the sense of urgency brought on by the widespread storm damage, consumers should get a detailed contract and check all the terms and conditions, materials, start date, end date and costs, and if necessary, insist that any changes be written in. Both the consumer and contractor must sign and date the contract, and the consumer should get a completed copy for safekeeping.
Contractors are required by law to print their Connecticut license number on their contracts, business cards, on their vehicles, and in all advertising. A consumer can verify a contractor’s registration at www.ct.gov/dcp by selecting “verify a license.”
Contractors should carry their own liability insurance and must be able to produce an insurance certificate as proof. The certificate should carry the name of the insurance company and the homeowner is urged to call the insurance agency on the certificate to confirm that coverage. To verify if an insurance agent or agency is licensed in Connecticut, please visit the Connecticut Insurance Department web page at http://www.cidverifylicense.ct.gov/CLIC/VerifyLicense.aspx
Consumers who have home improvement questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the Department of Consumer Protection at email@example.com or at 1-800-842-2649.
MEDICATION AND HOME-DELIVERED MEDICAL SUPPLIES
· Loss of electricity could have affected certain medications.
· Items that require refrigeration should not be relied upon for full effectiveness and potency if they were not maintained at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. Due to potency loss, replace affected medicines when possible.
· Anyone having questions about the safety or storage of any medication should contact their pharmacist.
· Persons who depend on medical supply deliveries and are temporarily staying at another address – with a neighbor, family member or at a shelter – should notify their medical supply providers to have their supplies delivered to the temporary location with no lapse in their care.
CONTACT: Claudette Carveth, Department of Consumer Protection; firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-713-6022
William Gerrish, Department of Public Health; email@example.com; 860-509-7270