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Safety & Maintenance Tips

BBQ Month

May is National BBQ Month

By Everyday Living, Safety & Maintenance Tips

National BBQ Month is here! It’s time to clean off the grill, grab your favorite apron, and get your grill on. This is the month where the kitchen gets a break, the house can cool off and everyone can enjoy the nice weather outdoors while smelling some delicious food on the grill.

Before firing up your gas or charcoal grill, keep in mind a few grilling safety tips from the NFPA:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Having a cookout is a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer with friends and family. May your National BBQ Month start with some delicious BBQ on the grill.  In addition, always remember safety first!

Dog Bite Prevention

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

Fluffy, scruffy, bouncy, and full of joy, dogs are and always will be man’s best friend. They do not, however, come with warning labels or instruction manuals. Every breed of dog comes with teeth and paws and they all naturally know how to use them. They do not always intend to be harmful. Take puppies for example who just want to play; they sometimes accidentally injure those they are trying to jump with and climb on.

Owners can take precautions with their pups to prevent bites from happening and avoid any potential injuries. provides tips to consider:

  1.      Leave dogs alone that are sleeping, resting, injured, very old, or with puppies. Also, give them lots of space so they feel comfortable.
  2.      A safe dog is one that has a soft, relaxed, happy face and a wiggly body. Look at the dog’s body, face, and tail.
  3.      Always walk away from dogs who cannot follow you. Never approach a dog that is on a bed or furniture. Do not bother dogs in cars or behind fences. Leave chained dogs alone. They may be protective of their space or their family and worried that you are an intruder.
  4.      Keep dogs and kids separated during meal times.

Safety Tip GraphicIt’s also important to teach your young ones the safest ways to interact with your pets. Here are some tips for the kids from

  1.      Teach kids how to safely deliver treats to their pets.
  2.      Kids can drop the food on the ground,
  3.      Toss treats; or
  4.      Give the food from an open hand.
  5.      Teach your child to “be a tree” when confronted with an unknown, overly friendly or hostile dog.
  6.      Teach your child to “be a rock” if a dog jumps on them and knocks them down.
  7.      Teach children to play safe games such as fetch instead of running and jumping games.
  8.      Teach kids to pet a dog correctly.
  9.      Show them how to notice when the dog wants to walk away.

With proper training all around, we can continue to coexist safely and happily with our furry friends. Safety is always going to be priority number one, but caring for our companions is a close second. Owning a pet is a pretty great experience that you should want to share with friends and family. The last thing you should have to worry about it whether or not Fido is going to nip at Nana. Take the proper steps to avoid any issues ahead of time and you’ll be raising a courteous canine in no time.

Flood Preparation Tips Graphic

Flood Preparation Tips

By Insurance, Safety & Maintenance Tips

Rain waters the crops, brings the flowers, and floods the rivers. Those things sound so pleasant but we’re missing one image – flooding. Rain is a necessity for life, but it can also cause disaster. Flooding is often thought to be a slow rising process similar to watching lava creeping along. However, flooding can occur almost instantly and thus the term flash flooding was coined. Even if it’s not raining in your area, rain in another area or previous rain can trigger flooding. Since it is impossible to stop the flood, the best option is to be prepared.

As with any major emergency, your household should have a flood plan. You should look to your local community for information on the flood risk to your area. You may even discover that your town has a local flood plan as well. Local authorities may be able to provide information about relocation routes and centers in flood prone areas.

You should also contact your insurance agent and sign up for flood insurance so that if/when disaster strikes, you’re not stuck paying 100% out of pocket trying to piece your home back together.  Here is a link to more information about flood insurance:

A great way to prepare for any emergency is to have an emergency kit. You can find a list of items for an emergency kit on this website:

If a flood is likely and you’ve been given advance notice to evacuate do so before the flood comes. It is very dangerous to drive through water across roadways. If you’d like to try and reduce damages to your property, you can move items to the highest point possible in your home, turn off gas, electricity, and water, and secure loose objects.

If you have animals, plan ahead for possible flood scenarios. Take care of yourself, your pets, and check on your neighbors. Floods can be devastating in a flash and many are underprepared when they occur.

Recovery after a flood is possible. Check with authorities before returning home to make sure that you take an approved route, and that it’s clear to return. Stay flood prepared and have a safe spring!

Theft Graphic

Theft – What to do if your home is burglarized

By Insurance, Safety & Maintenance Tips

As we go through life we collect an array of things. Many items hold sentimental value, some hold monetary value, some are just necessary for daily living, but they’re ours. Like birds that have carefully constructed the perfect nest, we have made our home our own and it is comforting to come back to it each day or night. You feel safe in your home. A bad day at work is alleviated by the comforts of your couch or favorite chair. What happens, when that comfort is invaded? According to, there are roughly 2.5 million burglaries a year, 66% of those being home break ins. Even the safest neighborhoods can be affected by theft.

Imagine with me:

You’ve been out to the movies. It’s been a great night complete with dinner, good company, and a hilarious movie. You’re quoting your favorite parts of the movie still laughing until your abs hurt as your pull up at home and see your door open. You freeze.

This moment alone is gut wrenching but what happens when you go inside?

You want to approach the house but you’re not sure if someone is still inside. Your friend grabs your arm and suggests calling the police first. A couple of minutes go by and a police cruiser pulls up and officers search the property to see if anyone is still inside. Your house has been completely ransacked. There is evidence of forced entry and the police begin an investigation as you stare in awe at the disaster that was once your place.

While having your home broken into is traumatic, it does not have to be life-altering. No amount of comfort will erase what has been done, but rebuilding and replacing is a step to healing. With insurance, you have the coverage to help in this process. Anytime a theft occurs follow these steps:

  1.      Notify the police immediately and obtain your report number.
  2.      Secure your property if damage created a hazard. *So fix that door if it was kicked in or secure that window if it was broken.
  3.      Create an inventory of any missing items to document your loss.
  4.      Take photos of any damage.
  5.      Contact your agent so the claim process can begin.

Your adjuster will assist you throughout the entire process. There will be a time where you can feel safe and comfortable in your home again and even be more prepared for situations in the future. Hopefully, you’ll never experience a theft but if you do, it’s better to be prepared.

Spring is Approaching Graphic

Spring is Fast Approaching

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

Spring is fast approaching. We will finally dig ourselves out of the snow and have a chance to smell the tulips. However, as with every new season, there comes new perils. Spring is like a big sister in charge of babysitting her two younger and very destructive brothers, Wind and Hail. Sometimes, she goes places alone and it’s fantastic. Other times she has to drag her siblings with her and they kick up a lot of dust and throw things at windows.

What do we do when children are coming into our lives? We baby proof the house. So what should we do when Spring and her little brothers are headed our way? Prep the house! There are a few fairly inexpensive things you can do to save you from a possible nightmare so why not just knock them out early?

  1. Clean your roof. That’s right, clean it. notes if dark streaks and stains cover your shingles, then they likely have an algae problem. Moss can cause asphalt shingles to curl or lift and blow off in high winds. You can get rid of both the dirty look and the potential claim by using a garden sprayer and a 50/50 solution of water and bleach, which you rinse off after 10-15 minutes.
  1. Clean your gutters. I know more cleaning, but they don’t call it Spring Cleaning for nothing. When you don’t have clean gutters, your home is at risk. The website notes that water can seep through your roof or collect at your home’s foundation and seep into your basement. This can slowly destroy your foundation and create MOLD. Both of which are very expensive to fix. Cleaning the gutters however is not so pricey.
  1. Clean out the cellar, if you have one. Most people tend to use their cellar as a storage unit. However, in an emergency, your high school yearbooks and college keepsakes aren’t near as important as your life. Clear the boxes out to that you have a clutter free space to go in the event of a tornado.
  1. Clean out the garage. The garage is a catch all for our things that don’t belong outside, but don’t quite belong in the house either. However, when hail comes knocking, your car shouldn’t suffer. Before the hail reaches your town, maybe at least try to shuffle things around so that you can squeeze your car in the garage when you need to.

Yes this list is all about cleaning. But a little cleaning goes a long way, which can save you a lot of hardship in the event a spring storm strikes near you with those little brothers Wind and Hail.