What You Need To Know For Summer Cook Out Safety

Cook Out

Cook OutIt’s getting warmer and you know what that means? It’s time to get out the grills and cook out! As soon as the weather get nice, most families take the cooking duties outdoors. From dinner to family cookouts, fun in the sun includes the gas or charcoal grill. In spite of how great grilled foods taste, gas and charcoal grills account for an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $40 million in property loss each year! (According to the United States Fire Administration). 

We want you to have a great time with your outdoor cook out, but also be safe. Keep reading for some important safety tips. 

Food Safety

  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw and cooked foods separate by not using the same platters or utensils. 
  • Cook your food thoroughly. Cooking on a grill often results in quicker browning of the meat on the outside, but the inside typically remains raw. Use a food thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked properly. 
    • All raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F. 
    • All ground beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 F. 
    • Poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. 

Avoid Grilling Mishaps

  • Don’t let children and pets play near the grilling area when cooking until the grill is completely cool. 
  • Place your grill at least three feet away from other objects including your home, trees and outdoor seating. 
  • Use starter fluid for barbecue grills that use charcoal only. Do not use starter fluid for gas grills. 
  • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to make sure it is not leaking and is working properly before using a gas grill. 
  • If you suspect that your gas grill is leaking, turn off the gas and get the unit fixed before lighting. Never use a match to check for leaks.
  • Do not bring your grill into an unventilated or enclosed space such as the garage or inside of your home. This is not only a major fire hazard; it is also a carbon monoxide hazard. 

Cook Out Carefully To Prevent Fires

  • Wear tight-fitting clothing that cannot drape over flames or into pans.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back.
  • Do not place oven mitts, hand towels or hot pads on or near the range.
  • When you are done cooking a meal, double-check to make sure that all appliances are turned off.
  • Unplug portable appliances when they are not in use.
  • When cooking on your range, turn on the vent hood fan to minimize any smoking. 
  • If your gas range does not light on its own, be extremely careful when lighting it.

           If The Event Of A Fire:

  • Turn off the gas or electrical appliance that is fueling the flames, if possible.
  • If the fire is in a pan on your range, cover the pan with its lid or a baking sheet. If this does not work, use a fire extinguisher or sprinkle baking soda on the pan.
  • In the event you are cooking with oil and it catches fire, DO NOT pour water on the flaming pan. This will make the fire worse.

We hope that you take the time to use these simple safety tips to have a great summer cook out season with your friends and family! 

How To Promote Safe Teen Driving

With graduation season kicking off, now is the perfect time to remind your children and loved ones about safe teen driving. They have a 3 ton (or heavier) hunk of steel going 55 mph down the road. Make sure they think of their safety, and the safety of those around, them every time they get in the car. Below are a few talking points to go over with them.

Safe Teen Driving Tips

  • Safe teen drivingAlways use your seat belt, even if you’re just going for a short drive down the block – it’s the law!
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remember that prescription medications can impact your driving too.
  • Avoid driving at night if you don’t have much experience behind the wheel.
  • Watch the forecast to avoid any inclement weather.
  • Always try to stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This can help give you more reaction time in the event of an emergency. Never use your cellphone in your car.
  • Never talk or text while driving, it can wait.
  • If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the road, pull over somewhere safe.
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Never reach for something in the car while driving, a lot can happen in the few seconds your eyes are away from the road.

One more thing, many auto insurance companies also offer discount for good grades. It’s as simple as providing your insurance agent with a copy of your kid’s grade card. Stop by our office and review your auto insurance policy with your agent today to make sure you are receiving all available discounts. (Click here for more information about auto insurance)

The best way to ensure child is practicing safe driving is to practice safe driving yourself and to talk to them.

Remember Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks!

The History Of Memorial Day And Why We Observe It

Memorial Day

Memorial DayMonday May 27, 2019 is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is an American holiday honoring those who died while serving in the US Military. It was originally known as Decoration day, and started after the Civil War. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971 and has sparked many traditions. 

Everyone has a different tradition for Memorial Day. Parades, visiting cemeteries and family gatherings are a few of the top choices. Memorial Day has become the unofficial kick off to summer. Many families will have BBQs, go on a trip, or even spend some time on the water. Regardless of your choice of observation, make sure to take a moment and remember the meaning of the day. 

Our office will be closed in observation. From our family to yours, have a great and safe Memorial Day. 

7 Ways Conservation Can Save Your Business Money

conservation

conservationEmbracing conservation can be advantageous for your business. Not only does it benefit the environment, it also can save your company money, increase employee productivity, enhance a company’s reputation and make it more attractive to environmentally conscious employees and applicants.

Reduce Energy Usage

Here are some tips to make your organization more environmentally friendly:

  • Employees should turn off lights if they plan to leave a room for more than 15 minutes.
  • Purchase Energy Star-rated light fixtures and bulbs, which use two-thirds less energy than normal lighting. Visit www.energystar.gov for more information.
  • Install timers or motion sensors that shut off lights when no one is present.
  • Purchase LED desk lamps that use minimal energy.
  • Arrange your workspace so more employees have access to natural light. This is proven to increase productivity and job satisfaction as well as use less electricity.

Use Computers Efficiently

Computers waste an enormous amount of electricity each year, particularly in the business sector.

  • Employees should turn off their computers and power strips they are plugged into (if applicable) before leaving work each day.
  • Employees should set their computers to “go to sleep” when they are away for a short period of time since sleep mode uses 70 percent less energy than a normal screen. This is not the same as using screensavers and standby settings, which still draw power even when the machine is not in use.
  • Invest in energy-saving computers, monitors and printers when purchasing new materials for the company.
  • Recycle electronic equipment properly when the company has no more need for it. Visit www.epa.gov for more information on recycling electronic waste safely. Or, donate electronics that are less than five years old to a charity such as www.techsoup.org. Tax deductions generally apply to these donations.

Print with Care

On average, an office worker uses 10,000 sheets of printer and copy paper per year.

  • Instruct employees to print on both sides of the page or use the back of old faxes, scrap paper or drafts to make new copies.
  • Print in draft mode versus regular mode and avoid using colored ink whenever possible.
  • Purchase remanufactured toner and ink cartridges, and recycle the old ones.
  • Request 100 percent recycled paper when using a print company to make copies or print materials for your company.
  • Ask that employees reduce font sizes, use narrower fonts, decrease line spacing and decrease margins when feasible, to use less paper when printing.
  • Purchase chlorine-free paper made from a high percentage of recycled materials. Be wary that not all paper labeled “recycled” is truly made from recycled materials. In fact, some paper simply contains the trim waste from the production process which reduces costs for the manufacturer but does not necessary help the environment. Instead, purchase post-consumer recycled (PCR) or post-consumer waste (PCW) paper. This is still high quality and can be used in inkjet and laser printers. Also consider paper made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton or kenaf as an alternative.

Reduce the Paper Trail

The following strategies can be used to help cut back on paper usage:

  • Request that employees stop receiving unnecessary industry newsletters, magazines and junk mailings. Instead, sign up for emails on industry-related topics and information, or check if various publications have an e-newsletter as an alternative to receiving a print version.
  • Post employee manuals and policies online versus printing out paper copies of these documents. This makes updating policies and procedures easier and more efficient too.
  • Store documents electronically instead of using a filing cabinet, write emails versus sending paper letters and review documents as a PDF versus printing.
  • Make use of a company intranet to cut down on printed materials. Post or distribute an e-newsletter (instead of mailing out a printed company newsletter), host an online bulletin board, and provide materials and communications online rather than in printed form.

Recycle

Considering the following recycling tactics to assist with conservation efforts:

  • Post employee manuals and policies online versus printing out paper
    Recycle paper from faxes, envelopes and junk mail company-wide.
  • Visit www.epa.gov to learn more about recycling employee electronics such as cellular phones and PDAs.
  • Make recycling bins easily accessible to employees by placing them in high traffic areas and post information (electronically) about what can and should be recycled on a daily basis.
  • Reuse shipping boxes and use shredded paper as packing material.
  • Purchase office furniture and supplies made from recycled materials. Visit www.conservatree.org or www.thegreenoffice.com for more information on how to purchase these products.

Look for office products that do not contain harmful materials. These items are certified by The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and The Rainforest Alliance and are made from wood from sustainable harvested forests.

Eat with the Environment in Mind

Being mindful of the environment when purchasing and eating food can go a long way in helping reduce waste:

  • Ask that employees bring their own reusable dishes, utensils and glassware to work for eating meals, rather than items made of plastic or foam. Also suggest that employees bring food in a reusable lunch sack or container.
  • Purchase organic coffee or tea for employees, and organic and local foods for company parties and events.
  • Provide filtered drinking water devices to deter employees from drinking bottled water.
  • Suggest that when employees place food orders, they do so with others to eliminate added waste from individual orders.
  • Recommend that employees bike or walk when going out to eat for lunch.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

To promote a healthier workplace, consider the strategies outlined below:

  • Use nontoxic cleaning materials, biodegradable soaps, and recycled paper or cloth towels.
  • Buy cleaning materials in bulk and recycle their containers.
  • Suggest that employees bring a plant into work for their desks to absorb indoor pollution.
  • Purchase furniture, carpeting and paints that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Mother’s Day Is The Day To Celebrate Mom

Mother's Day

We may not always remember to thank mom’s for everything they do for us. From packing lunches, arranging play dates, taking care of us when we’re sick, and being a shoulder to cry on when we are sad. Mom is always there and we often forget to tell her how much we appreciate her. Sunday is the day to change that. Sunday May 12, 2019 is Mother’s Day, and is the perfect day to celebrate mom and show her how much she is loved! 

How To Celebrate

Every family celebrate Mother’s Day a little differently. For most the celebration will include a cookout or dinner, some flowers, and maybe a gift. For most mom’s, they want to just spend time with their family. It’s not about the gifts, it’s the memories and love they receive that makes their day special. 

Want to learn more about Mother’s Day history? Click here 

The Difference Between An Emergency Room And Urgent Care

DIfference Between Emergency Room and Urgent Care

DIfference Between an Emergency Room and Urgent Care

In the case of a sudden emergency, obtaining quick medical attention is crucial. Choosing the appropriate place of care ensures prompt medical attention and lower costs. Making the wrong choice can result in delayed medical attention, and may cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you or someone you know suddenly falls ill or becomes injured, how can you determine which facility is most appropriate? Do you know the difference between an emergency room and urgent care? What services does each facility provide? If you don’t know the answers, don’t worry, we can help explain the difference.

Emergency Room

The emergency room is equipped to handle life-threatening injuries and illnesses and other serious medical conditions. An emergency is a condition that may cause loss of life or permanent or severe disability if not treated immediately Patients are seen according to  the seriousness of their conditions in relation to the other patients. Go directly to the nearest emergency room if you experience any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe abdominal pain following an injury
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness, especially after a head injury
  • Poising or suspected poisoning 
  • Serious burns, cuts or infections
  • Inability to swallow
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Broken Bones

Urgent Care

Urgent care facilities are not equipped to handle life-threatening injuries, illnesses or medical conditions. These centers are designed to address conditions where delayed treatment could cause serious problems or discomfort. Some examples of conditions that require urgent care are these:

  • Ear infections
  • Sprains or strains
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
  • High fever or the flu
  • Controlled bleeding or cuts that require stitches
  • Diagnostic services (X-ray, lab tests

Choosing the wrong facility

If you go to the Emergency Room with a relatively minor injury or illness, you will most likely have to wait to be seen. Depending on the severity of the other patients’ conditions, you may have to wait more than an hour to be seen. Most often you could have been seen more quickly at an urgent care facility. And you will also end up with a higher bill by visiting an Emergency Room. Most insurance plans offer a discounted co-pay if you go to an urgent care vs going to the emergency room. For example a plan may have a $250 Emergency Room co-pay vs a $75 Urgent Care co-pay. If your plan does not have a co-pay and your visit is subject to your deductible and co-insurance you will still most likely have a lower charge from an Urgent Care facility vs an Emergency Room.

Know the difference between an Emergency Room and Urgent Care

Knowing the difference between an Emergency Room and Urgent Care will help you determine the best facility for you or a loved ones medical emergency, as well as saving you time and money if it is determined that care can be received at an Urgent Care. Understanding your health insurance plan is also important. Co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance are all very important parts of your plan. 

Click here to learn more about health insurance benefits.

Please share if you found this information helpful. 

Distracted Driving And The Risks You Need To Know

distracted driving

distracted drivingDid you know a recent study from the University of Minnesota found that talking on a cell phone while driving impairs one’s ability even more than driving while intoxicated? Talking on a cell phone and other driver distractions pose a major hazard to everyone on the road.  

Preventing Distracted Driving

When driving, make sure to use the following precautions:

  • Do not talk on your cell phone or use the text messaging feature. 
  • If you absolutely must conduct a conversation, use a hands-free device and speed dial. 
  • Never touch up your makeup or hair in the rear view mirror. 
  • Limit your conversations with passengers and ask them to keep their voices down so you can concentrate. 
  • Do not smoke while you are driving, as you will probably pay more attention to not burning yourself or putting out the cigarette than driving safely. 
  • Only adjust the radio or CD Player when you are completely stopped. 
  • Never allow animals to sit on your lap while driving. 
  • Do not eat or drink while driving. 
  • Avoid reading maps or directions. Instead, pull into a parking lot to get our bearings and determine where you need to go next to reach your final destination. 
  • Do not take notes or search for phone numbers. 
  • Never use a cell phone (even with a hands-free device) in bad weather, work zones or heavy traffic. 

We can help with all of your auto insurance needs, however, it’s up to you to drive safe. Distracted driving can lead to dangerous, and even fatal, consequences. Be a responsible motorist and make paying attention to the road your number one priority when you’re behind the wheel. 

Click here to learn more about auto insurance. 

 

What You Need To Know About Tornado Safety

tornado safety

tornado safety

If you live around here you have seen the recent aftermath of the tornado that hit Shelby Sunday night. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected! Hopefully we will not experience another storm like this anytime soon, however it never hurts to be prepared. Do you know the steps to take in the event of a tornado? Does your family have a plan? Do you know the signs? Keep reading, we can help. 

Tornado Safety Precautions

When it comes to tornado’s it is crucial to plan ahead. Peak season is between March and May and deadly storms can pop in at any time. It is important for you and your family to know what to do before and during a tornado. 

Before A Tornado Strikes

  • Create a family plan. Include where you will seek shelter and where you will meet after the disaster in the event you get separated. Practice your tornado safety plan at least once per year. 
  • Gather items that can protect you such as mattresses, sleeping bags and thick blankets and place them near your shelter area. 
  • When the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch, go to your shelter area and check to see that everything you need for protection is there. 
  • Gather bottled water, non-perishable food items, flashlights and a batter-operated radio. 
  • Keep an ear to the radio or television and listen for storm status updates, and stay alert for warnings. 

Signs Of A Tornado

In addition to listening to weather reports, the following signs may indicate a tornado is near:

  • Strong, persistent rotations at a cloud’s base
  • Whirling dust or debris
  • Hail or heavy rain, followed by a dead calm or intense wind shift
  • Loud rumbles of noise that do not fade away in seconds like thunder

During A Tornado

  • Go to the basement or lowest level of your home. Get under a sturdy structure, such as a table, and then cover yourself with protective materials. If your home does not have a basement, go to a small, central space such as a bathroom, closet, under a stairwell or a hallway with no windows. Then, crouch down to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.
  • If you live in a mobile home, leave your house and seek other shelter. If there is nowhere else to go, lie flat on the ground and cover your head with your hands. 

We hope you will never need these tips, but having a tornado safety plan can ensure your family’s safety. 

A Nite At The Races To Support The Domestic Violence Shelter

Nite at the Races

Nite at the RacesIt’s Nite at the Races time!!! This annual event kicks off next Saturday, April 13th at 6pm. Choose your winning horses, bid on silent auction items, win raffle prizes, enjoy an night of fun– all while supporting the services and programs of The Domestic Violence Shelter. 

New this year, the Domestic Violence Shelter partnered with The Phoneix Brewing Company to brew a special beer just for this event! Stand Tall – Shelter From The Storm, will make it’s debut at the Nite at the Races. Brewers included a group of female board members from the Shelter as well as some local business supporters that joined together for the brewing of this beer. We were honored to have one of our own, Laci Vanderpool participate in the Stand Tall brewing.

Tickets are still available and food and drink is included with your ticket. If you are interested in a ticket, contact John Hower at our office or purchase online by clicking here. Join us in our support of The Domestic Violence Shelter for a memorable evening.  

 

If You Own A Child Care Business, You Need To Be Aware Of These Risks

child care

Owning and operating a child care business, such as a day care center or preschool program, can be a fulfilling experience. And, studies suggest an increasing number of parents are working full time. This means there are more opportunities for industry growth.However, with a higher number of families utilizing these services, it’s more important than ever that child care providers understand the risks and challenges associated with their business.

Child Safety

When operating a child care facility, safety is of the utmost concern. Inadequate policies or a single lapse in oversight can lead to serious injuries or even lawsuits.To ensure you are doing the most to protect the children in your care, it’s important to understand some common safety concerns and how to address them:

Lack of Supervision

Children in your care need to be watched closely at all times. Just one momentary distraction can result in an accident. To help prevent incidents and to ensure children are appropriately supervised, keep a low child-to-adult ratio. Experts suggest caregiver-to-child ratios should be at least 1:3 for infants and young toddlers, 1:6 for older toddlers and 1:9 for preschool-aged kids. Be sure to follow any state or local laws related to caregiver-to-child ratios.

Improper Medication Use

It may seem unlikely, but children can be accidentally poisoned quite easily if prescribed medications are administered improperly. To help prevent this, instruct parents to give their children medications at home whenever possible. If this is not possible, medications should be provided to your staff members in their original containers along with specific instructions. Staff members will also need to be trained on proper medication handling and storage. You should also have written parental authorization when it comes to administering medicine.

Sudden Infant Death S7ndrome (SIDS)

SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. SIDS is generally the diagnosis given for the sudden death of children in this age group and has no known cause. However, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure the safety of infants in your care:

  • Put babies to sleep on their backs.
  • Never place bumper pads, fluffy blankets or toys in cribs.
  • Avoid soft bedding.
  • Learn more by clicking here

The Presence of Toxic Substances

Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of death among children. As a child care facility, it is likely you will have harsh chemical cleaners, medicines and other potentially hazardous substances on-site. To safeguard children, it’s important to store these substances in locked, childproof cabinets. In addition, to prevent accidental poisoning, you should never store food and cleaning supplies in the same area.

Unsafe Toys or Equipment

Just because a product is made for children does not mean that it is safe. In fact, even when manufacturers test their products, safety issues can be easily overlooked, compounding injury risks for child care providers. To keep children safe:

  • Discard damaged toys. Inspect toys on a regular basis to ensure they are safe for children in your care.
  • Understand the intended use of toys and equipment you make available to children. Prevent children from using toys and equipment in an unsafe manner.
  • Stay up to date on toy and product recalls.
  • Keep play areas for younger and older children separate. This is particularly important when you consider that many toys are only appropriate for older age groups.
  • Ensure play areas are free of tripping and choking hazards.
  • Keep playground surfaces and equipment in good condition.

Poor Food Safety

There are a variety of risks associated with food for child care providers. For one, children are prone to choking and will need to be monitored during designated snack times. Also, foodborne illnesses can affect multiple children at once, making food safety all the more important. Instruct your staff to keep cooking surfaces, equipment and utensils clean to avoid cross contamination. In addition, food should be properly cooked, cut appropriately and allowed to cool before serving. It’s also important to be aware of any food allergies. Consider documenting these allergies so staff members can easily identify what foods are safe for each child in your care.

Maintaining a Clean and Healthy Facility

Ensuring the health of children and staff members alike can be a challenge for child care businesses. This is especially true when you consider that small children are vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and often carry germs that are easily spread to others. All it takes is one illness to infect all the children in your care as well as your staff. When this happens, not only can you experience staff shortages, but your child care facility can suffer serious reputational damage as well. It’s important to be proactive when it comes to protecting against contagious illnesses. The following are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Clean play areas daily, making sure to thoroughly sanitize all surfaces and toys.
  • Create and communicate a strict sick child policy. This policy should specify when children should stay home and procedures you will follow should a child get sick in your care.
  • Ensure staff members and children wash their hands regularly.

Staff Challenges

Hiring qualified and trustworthy staff members is critical to ensuring children receive the appropriate care. Poor employment practices can lead to safety hazards and affect your business’s bottom line. Child care facilities should be appropriately staffed. For added safety, and to avoid potential employee-related claims, consider doing the following:

  • Screen all of your employees, performing a detailed background check.
  • Ensure staff members are at least 18 years old.
  • Train staff members on child safety. Consider enrolling them in child-development related courses to further their education and learn new child care skills. Staff members should also be trained on pediatric CPR and first aid.
  • Create a reporting procedure for your staff members to follow should they suspect abuse, whether that abuse occurs in or outside of your facility.
  • Have at least two adults per each group of children in your care.
  • Hire enough staff to ensure children get the most one-on-one care possible. This can also protect you in the event that multiple staff members can’t come to work.

Behavior Concerns

As a child care provider, you must ensure children behave in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the safety of others in your care. However, this is easier said than done, and you must navigate potential disciplinary issues carefully. Just one poorly handled incident can lead to negative publicity or even costly litigation.

Your facility should have a clear disciplinary policy, to ensure behavior issues are addressed appropriately, . This policy should set expectations, account for appropriate disciplinary actions in a variety of scenarios and be communicated to parents. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of behavior issues and inform parents of recurring issues.

Above all, staff members should never physically discipline children. Staff members need to act tactfully when disciplining children, making sure to avoid any actions that could be considered verbal or psychological abuse. Thorough staff training is a must to ensure care providers know what is and isn’t appropriate when addressing child behavior concerns.

Further Managing Your Risks

There are considerable risks to consider when owning a child care business. While proactive risk management can help reduce potential liability concerns, the proper insurance coverage is equally important. To gain a better understanding of the risks associated with your operations and secure adequate coverage, contact us today or click here to learn more about business insurance.