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Safety & Maintenance Tips

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Winter Checklist for your Vehicle

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

Snow to a child usually means fun days of no school, allowing you to bundle up, grab a sled, and spend the day having epic frozen adventures with your friends. As an adult on the road, snow can be a bit more ominous, so preparing our vehicles becomes important. Each winter consider this checklist before braving the open road:

  • Weight in the trunk or back of truck that has rear-wheel drive – Weight will keep your vehicle from fishtailing on the road. Regardless of the vehicle, the right conditions can cause any car, SUV, or truck to fishtail on an icy road. You can utilize any manner of heavy junk to help alleviate this issue from a cast iron grill, kitty litter (which can help in other ways), bricks, sand bags, etc.  
  • Kitty litter – In the event you get stuck and there is no one around to help unstick you, kitty litter around the tires is great for getting the traction you need to get back on the road quickly. You can also use sand, cardboard, an old blanket, etc.
  • Snacks – granola bars, jerky, protein or energy bars, something to sustain you if you have to wait a while for help to arrive. These snacks will come in handy especially if there are children in the car.
  • Change of clothes – In the event you do get stuck, you are most likely going to get wet getting yourself unstuck or at least attempting to.  You will want a change of clothes because sitting in wet clothes can slow your body from becoming warm and possibly lead to hypothermia. Along with a change of clothes, you may want to have winter accessories such as boots, hat, and gloves. Chances are you’ll get stuck when you’re not dressed for getting out into the mud and snow.
  • Tow strap – Even if you own a small car, a truck may come along to help and they may not have the strap to save you. Better to be prepared to assist in your own rescue.
  • Hand warmers – Hand warmers are quite inexpensive and can keep your hands (or toes) warm for several hours.

There are plenty of other good ideas to have in your car in the winter. Some honorable mentions would be a blanket, a physical map, a tire-pressure gauge (which should always be there no matter the season), spare fluids, and utility knife. Do you have any ideas for winter car necessities? Let us know!

January Home Maintenance Tips Header

Home Maintenance Tips for January

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

Hello January.  It may be cold outside, but there are still maintenance items you can take care of around your home in January.  Check out our list:

  • Clear gutters and downspouts.  You probably cleaned your gutters of leaves in the fall, but sometimes those trees hang onto their leaves and drop later – pin oaks are a good example.  Having your gutters and downspouts clear of debris can help prevent ice building up on your roof.
  • Create or update your home inventory.  Taking photos or even videos of each room of your house and also its exterior can help save you time should you have a claim.
  • Insulate any exposed outdoor pipes can help prevent the pipes from freezing.  
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  January is a month where you may be using wood heat fireplaces, so testing your detectors is a good idea this time of year.

We wish all of our clients a great January and hope their 2019 is off to a wonderful start!

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Holiday Decorating Tips

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.  Heat sources include fireplaces, space heaters, wood burning stoves, etc. The NFPA shares some helpful holiday decorating tips in this PDF that can help prevent a fire:

  • Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.  
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Check your lights.  Some lights are for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.  Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.  
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

We hope our clients have a safe holiday season!

Christmas Tree Safety Tips Graphic

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

By Safety & Maintenance Tips

Christmas trees are everywhere!  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.  If you are decking your halls with a Christmas tree this time of year, please take a moment to read these tips from the NFPA about Christmas tree safety:

  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Add water to the tree stand and be sure to add water daily.
  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and test them at least once a month.
  • Remove the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.

Read more tips from the NFPA here in a PDF.  Are you decorating a Christmas tree in your home?  We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!