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Start your summer right with Memorial Day safety

As we happily head into this Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to be thankful for our troops, and honor the passing of the members of the military who died in active duty.    Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes outdoor fun in the sun. Whether you’re road-tripping or celebrating at home, be aware and take a few safety precautions to ensure a happy and safe holiday weekend. No matter which way you slice the numbers, according to AAA this long holiday weekend is poised to be one of the busiest on record.  


- Make sure your car is ready for the trip. Pack a first-aid kit, bottled water and some energy bars in case you get stranded. Bring a car adapter for charging your cellphone. - Schedule your road trip at times to help avoid the holiday travel congestion. Leaving before rush hour Friday or early Saturday and driving back Monday before 3 p.m. or after 10 p.m. should make for less traffic hassles. - Never leave people or pets inside a parked car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to dangerous levels quickly, even on a cloudy day. - If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.  

Being outside

With the temperatures rising, it’s important to know how to stay safe during times of excessive heat. - Eat small meals and eat more often. - Stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol. - Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. - Take frequent breaks if you are working outdoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity.  


Seven out of every 10 adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, and this weekend marks the symbolic start to summer and grilling season. - Never leave your grill unattended, and have a fire extinguisher available. - Propane and charcoal BBQ grills are for outdoor use only. - The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. - Keep children and pets away from the grill area. - Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Heavy food build-ups can cause nasty flare-ups.  

Water safety

BOATING - Have one life jacket that is US Coastal Guard approved for everyone on board. - If a child is under the age of 13, they must have a life jacket on whenever the boat is in motion. - The rules for driving a boat are similar to those of a vehicle - people cannot drink and drive a boat. SWIMMING - Everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Always remember the penguin credo, never swim alone!  #skipper    - Adults, actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. - Understand what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.  

Always remember

Have a first aid kit nearby and emergency contacts programmed into your phone. You never know when an accident can happen, and better to be prepared just in case.  

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How to keep your home safe while on vacation

The kids are out of school, you’ve got time of work and it’s time to pack for your summer family getaway. You’re all set to go, but is your house ready for you to be away on vacation?

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.

house key chain

— 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.

Most importantly, make sure you look all doors and windows before heading off to paradise. Once you've taken these few precautions, travel safe and enjoy your time away, knowing that you're home is fully prepared for you to be gone for a while.



Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 9 Essential Tips

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What to know before bringing your pet to a hotel

If you are staying in a hotel for temporary placement or are on vacation, you want your family with you, including your pet. While there are pet friendly hotels that seem like a good option, here are some things to ask yourself before sharing a room with your furry friend.

How many pets are you bringing

Most hotels will have a maximum number of pets allowed in one room and will charge additional fees. If you plan on bringing more than one pet, ask the hotel to see if they have a maximum number or if there are any charges for having more, if there are any pet deposits or nonrefundable fees and if they charge a daily pet fee. Depending on your budget or coverage, this could be a factor to consider.

Type, size and breed

Always ask/find out to see if the hotel has restrictions on cats, dogs, birds or any other critter you'll be bringing with you. Many hotels will not accept pets that exceed a certain weight or are on the restricted breed list. They can also ask you to kennel or cage your animal when you are not in the room.

Length of stay

Are you staying for a few days or a few weeks? Think about the space of a hotel room and if other people will be staying with you. Will your dog become anxious for a long period of time in a small space or will he/she be okay for a few days? You know your pet best and what will be a comfortable living situation for them and everyone involved.

Your pets needs

Cat and Dog together resting on bed of hotel room.

Never try to sneak unapproved pets into a hotel room. You could incur additional charges or even worse, be asked to leave the hotel.

Your furry friend is accustomed to a certain lifestyle and sometimes can have behavioral issues when their routine is disrupted. Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself before deciding a hotel is the best option. "How old is your pet?"  In most cases, puppies are more of a liability than an older dog or cat. A puppy needs constant attention, can be more destructive and ultimately cost you more in damages to the hotel room than you'd probably like to pay. "Are they well trained?" If you have a dog who chews or cat that scratches, you may be in for a lot of charges from the hotel. "Do they make tons of noise?" If you answered yes to the question, you're most likely going to be getting noise complaints. If a hotel finds your pet to be disruptive to other guests, they will ask you to leave. "How often will they be alone?" The best way to avoid damages is to be around your pet. They are in an unfamiliar place where, most likely, other animals have stayed before. They may become more anxious and scared, which can lead to behavioral problems. "Is your pet primarily outside or use a doggy door?" Think of the space they're used to, their energy level and where/how often they potty. Chances are, if they don't ask to go outside at home, they won't in a hotel room.  "How do they interact with strangers?" Remember, you will not have a lot of space between you, other guests and their pets in a hotel. If your pet is known for aggressive behavior or has territory issues, it's probably in both of your best interests to not take them to the hotel.

Alternative options

Pet boarding

The best peace of mind, knowing your fur baby is safe and well taken care of. Most boarding places will provide food, treats, walks and play time, veterinary assistance (if needed) depending on what you pay for and where you go. Look into different facilities and options that are best for your budget and pet. If you are in a hotel due to displacement from your home, ask your insurance carrier about coverage for pet boarding. You'll want to provide the facility with any information or requirements (type of food, walk schedule, behavior, etc) to ensure the best care. While boarding your pet may seem costly, think about how much you could be spending in fees and possible damages.

Pet sitters

This is a great option if you can leave your animal at home or know someone who is willing to care for it. In some cases, a sitter can even watch your pet at their home. National Association of Professional Pet Sitters is a great place to start to learn more about pet sitters and what to expect.

Vacation rentals or temporary housing

If you plan on staying for more than a few days, look into pet friendly vacation rentals. They usually will have lighter pet restrictions and can provide a larger and more comfortable space for your animal. If have been displaced due to a property claim, talk to your insurance provider about using a vacation rental or if the stay will be 30 days or more. If so, a temporary home can provide the amenities you and your pet(s) need to be together comfortably.
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