With summer in full swing, we're beginning the process of getting back to a new normal. While no one knows for sure what that will look like, there are still plenty of fun activities for the whole family while summer camps, organized sports, community pools, music festivals and other large gatherings are mostly on hold. Here are a few summer safety tips to get your summer off to a smart start.
We are for you and your insured 24/7/365
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the East Coast by Friday morning. While you prepare to evacuate or shelter in place, here are some helpful safety tips from your temporary housing source.
· Follow all directions and orders from local officials and leave immediately when instructed to do so.
· Bring emergency supplies, including: a first aid kit, medicine, food, water, formula and diapers, toiletries, cell phones, radios, and batteries.
· Take extra cash and copies of important papers such as insurance policies.
· Pack blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games.
· Unplug appliances, turn off utilities such as electricity and the main water valve.
· Lock the windows and doors of your home.· Don't forget about your pets! Pack their food, beds, a toy and any meds.
· STAY AT HOME! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate. If you absolutely must leave your home, NEVER drive through floodwaters. Turn around, don't drown.
· Clean your bathtub with bleach and fill it with water for washing and flushing (not drinking).
· Set your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.
· Turn off your utilities if told to do so by local officials.
· Go to an interior room and stay away from windows and doors, even though they're covered.
· During very strong winds, lie under something sturdy.
· Do not go outside, including during passage of the eye of the hurricane.
CRS is tracking and preparing for Hurricane Florence. Our Catastrophe team is ready to assist both insurance adjusters and policyholders with immediate emergency hotel and housing assistance.
Are you a new homeowner, or maybe new to a temporary home? In either case, you’ll want to have a basic toolkit for minor home repairs. Imagine having to shell out big bucks to a handyman every time you want to hang a picture or adjust squeaky door? So not cool.
The best gift I received when I moved into my first apartment was a stocked toolbox from my dad. Not the housewarming gift I was hoping for, but in the following months and after it’s weekly use, I was in total appreciation of his foresight.
Get yourself to the hardware store, grab a cart and let’s get shopping. Building a good toolkit usually happens over time because it can be costly, but you should start out with some essentials. For about $60, you can build a starter kit. Here are the must-haves:
• Claw Hammer • Screwdriver Set • Adjustable Crescent Wrench • Channellock Pliers • Tape Measure • Level • Carpenter Pencils and Sharpener
Make sure to keep your core set of tools in a toolbox or bag at all times.
Within six months to a year, you may be ready to expand your toolkit. With a few added tools, you’ll have the means to put up shelves, paint a room, change door locks and more. The estimated cost for adding the below tools will be around $200.
• Utility Knife and Blades • Ratchet Set • Cordless Drill and Drill Bits • Manual Saw Set: Hacksaw and Wood Saw • Stud Finder • Basic Painting Set • Flash Light
Most hardware stores, especially large national chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, both host classes and workshops designed to help new homeowners get comfortable with doing their own work around the house, making their own improvements, and fixing their own problems without spending a ton of money on contractors or specialists. For example, Home Depot’s weekly workshops will show you how to do things like install decorative molding, install tile flooring, properly paint interior walls, and more—all things you may never have had to do as a renter.
Lowe’s also has a how-to project center with walkthroughs for common household projects: Take me there
Do we love to spring ahead or hate it? In a year filled with 8,760 hours, why do we think it’s such a big deal? It’s just 0.01141552511415525% of a year.
Aside from what you may have heard over your lifetime, farmers are not to blame and it was not created by Benjamin Franklin. Daylight saving time was actually first instituted by Germany on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I.
Do we still need it today? U.S. states are starting to decide on an individual basis. The Florida Senate just approved a bill that once they spring ahead on March 11, 2018, they could remain there. The approval means the bill will go to the governor’s desk, but it doesn’t mean the “spring forward” clock change Sunday at 2 a.m. will put the state on permanent daylight saving time.
Currently, states can opt out of daylight saving time to stay on standard time, but cannot make daylight saving time permanent. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.
Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Whether you love it or hate, know that it’s a good time to do a few inexpensive, routine updates in and around your home.
These alarms save lives! For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you can economically and quickly replace the batteries and know your family is safer.
This can be a lifesaver in a power outage or if you get stranded in your car in bad weather. Make sure you have a long-lasting LED flashlight, a reflective vest for walking at night, non-perishable snacks, water and a warm blanket. Go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more detailed kit information.
Spring often brings rain so make sure your sump pump is draining properly. Do not wait until a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that the pump’s motor is shot and you have 4” of water in your basement. It’s also a good idea to invest in a backup battery in the event of a power outage.
Did you just get through a harsh winter? Take a walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.
If you have any clocks in your home that run on batteries, make sure to set them ahead one hour before you head to bed. If you have an older model car like me, make sure to change the clock on your dash as well. Then when you wake it you’ll be on the right track.
As for keeping your body on track, you know that it’s coming, so maybe hop into bed an hour early on Saturday night.
So, you’re preparing to move from your temporary digs back into your permanent home. Congratulations! It’s a much-anticipated event that you’ve been thinking about for a while. If you plan on decorating or painting, why not try something new?
Use color!! Don’t opt out and live in a bland beige and boring world. Humans are more comfortable in spaces with color than in those without. A beige world is underwhelming and understimulating—and that’s stressful.
If you’re a little apprehensive and not sure just where to apply your color splash, pick a smaller room and start there. A powder room, foyer or accent wall are the perfect canvas for your first foray into the wonderful world of color.
If you decide to jump in and paint yourself, great! You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your masterpiece sooner since the smaller area will be completed more quickly.
Once you’ve chosen where to paint, now it’s time to choose the color. Do you have a favorite hue you’d like to see on the walls of your home? Head to the paint store or home warehouse and grab a few swatches. (They are FREE, so grab as many as you’d like). Tape the swatches on the wall that you’re going to paint. Make sure to look at the swatches at various times of day as they will change as the lighting does.
Having trouble making a decision because the paint swatch is so small? Purchase a pint of your chosen color for less than $5 each. Using a brush, paint part of the wall in a larger area to help you decide if you like the color.
Extensive research on “color psychology” has revealed the special “powers” of particular colors. When making your selection, consider the mood of the room and what feelings you want to evoke.
GREEN > Seeing the color green has been linked to more creative thinking—so greens are good options for home offices, art studios, etc.
RED > Having a red surface in view provides a burst of strength, so reds are good choices for home gym areas, etc. Seeing red has been linked to impaired analytical reasoning, though, making it a bad option for offices.
VIOLET > People link a grayish violet with sophistication, so it can be a good selection for places where you’re trying to make the “right” impression.
YELLOW > Using yellow in a home can be problematic. Many people dislike the color, so if you have a lot of yellow rooms in your home or a yellow front door, you may be advised to repaint to get the best price for your home should you sell. An exception: Many people use yellow in kitchens—with no negative sales repercussions. Yellow may be accepted in kitchens because warm colors stimulate our appetite.
BLUE > People are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade. That makes it a safe choice. Seeing blue also brings thoughts of trustworthiness to mind; always a good thing.
Be bold and brave and don’t shy away from color. At the end of the day, if you hate the hue you’ve chosen, it’s a simple fix to just paint over it.
Sources:www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/10-tips-for-picking-paint-colors www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201504/the-surprising-effect-color-your-mind-and-mood https://freshome.com/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood
Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!
But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.
Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.
Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.
Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.
As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.
Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.
Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.
Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.
As the leaves begin to fall and the heat of summer fades, we naturally begin to think about how we need to prepare for the changing season. Do we start to replace summer clothes for sweaters, pants, and boots? Is it time to think about putting down the storm windows? When do we move the shovel and salt closer to the garage door?
These are all great questions and items on many people’s lists. But how else can we better prepare ourselves for what else might be coming next?
As we prepare for fall, we also come to the end of National Preparedness Month (September 2017). We hope that you have thoughtfully taken steps to prepare yourself, your family and your home for potential natural disasters and national emergencies. With the devastation we’ve recently seen with Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico, we know that disaster can strike at any time and any where.
Here’s a checklist to help guide you in making a plan for you and your family:
Homeowners insurance not only protects your home, which may very well be your largest investment, but gives you a sense of security. The general assumption is that whatever happens to your home is covered. In actuality, typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are generally not covered are flood damage, earthquake, mold, acts of war and parts of the property in disrepair (including worn-out plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating units and roofing). A few of these can be added as separate policies.
Educate yourself on what your policy does and, more importantly, does not cover.
It’s also important to consider your home and how to prepare it for the upcoming colder seasons. Here’s a helpful Home Fall Checklist from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens:
A house or apartment left empty while you’re traveling is a tempting target for criminals. It’s imperative that before you go, take a few key steps to keep your home safe and sound while vacationing. These basic preventative measures, which take just minutes of preparation, can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.
— Unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay plugged in, including televisions and computers, to protect them against power surges. This will help you save money as well; many appliances draw energy even when they’re turned off.
— Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by the house randomly (to avoid a pattern or anticipated time) to remove boxes from the doorstep, check the mail, pick up any delivered newspapers and take notices and fliers from the door. Ask them to park in your driveway if they live close by, and make sure they have all your correct contact information.
You can also place a hold on your mail online at USPS.
— Don’t tip off criminals on the web by announcing on social media that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks. If the temptation to post is unavoidable, ensure that all possible security measures are in place on all social sites.
— Consider shutting off the water to your washing machine, dishwasher, and toilets if you’re going to be away from the house for longer than a week. This can help prevent nasty, and potentially expensive, shocks when you return.
Another option is to install wireless leak sensors in flood-prone areas like your basement, laundry room, or bathroom, to notify you of leaks before significant damage is done.
— Keep expensive and irreplaceable items such as old family photos, artwork, electronics, and stamp collections off the ground in case of water damage. Store them up on shelves and/or in waterproof containers.
— If you have outdoor furniture, bring glass tables, chairs, and umbrellas inside to avoid wind/storm damage to yard items or the exterior of your home.
— Schedule random light timers throughout your home. This will give the appearance that someone is there and will help to deter burglars and vandals.
— Remove your spare key, that plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key.