Grilling Safety Tips You Need To Remember This Summer

Grilling Safety

Summer is the perfect time to be outside enjoying the sun. Swimming in the pool, boating on the lake, even playing in the backyard are favorite ways to pass the time. Regardless of which activity you choose, a summer BBQ is a great addition to your day. Grilling safety is something to keep in mind to ensure your friends and family are safe while having a good time. 

A Few Grilling Safety Tips To RememberGrilling Safety

  • Do not let children and pets play near the grilling area when cooking until the grill is completely cool.
  • Place your grill at least 3 feet away from other objects. This includes your house, 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. 

Hot grills not only cause fires but can cause burns. Be cautious around the grill and make sure to keep an eye on children and pets. A few minutes of caution can ensure a summer full of fun with friends and family. 

6 Tips For Driving In The Rain and Thunderstorms

Driving In The Rain

Driving In The RainDriving in the rain or during a thunderstorm can be pretty nerve-wracking for most people. Worrying about having an accident or being stuck on the side of the road can be very overwhelming. It can also be very dangerous. However, a few tips and adjustments can take away some of the anxiety and help you stay calm during your commute.

Driving in the rain and thunderstorms

If you happen to get caught driving in the rain or thunderstorm, don’t panic . There a extra precautions you can take to make your trip a safe one.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Turn on your headlights, wipers and defroster to increase visibility.
  2. Drive in the tracks of vehicles ahead of you and reduce your speed.
  3. Allow for increased space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  4. If you hydroplane, hold the steering wheel straight and remove your foot from the gas.
  5. Do not use cruse control during inclimate weather.
  6. Pull off the road in an open area away from trees to avoid a lightning strike.

Helping you to avoid claims is just one of the many value-added services we provide. In the unfortunate event you do have an accident, we will help you through the process. Give us a call during business hours or click here to view our after hours claim contacts. 

Do You Have Allergies? 6 Helpful Tips For Allergy

Allergies

Allergies

Between the rain, new growth and house cleaning, chances are if you have allergies, you are miserable right about now. Whether you have seasonal allergies or suffer year round, there are steps you can take to help decrease your symptoms without having to stock up on medication.

Who is affected by allergies?

Though allergies can affect anyone, individuals with the following characteristics are afflicted more often:

  • Under 40 years old
  • Have at least one parent with allergies
  • Suffer from allergic conditions such as asthma

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy or watery eyes
  • Dry throat
  • Stuffy nose

Tips to alleviate allergy symptoms:

To alleviate allergy symptoms, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Stay indoors when the pollen count outside is high.
  2. Keep your home clean and as dust-free as possible.
  3. Place pillows, mattresses and duvets in allergen-proof encasements.
  4. Use a vacuum cleaner with double bags, allergen-trapping bags or a HEPA filter.
  5. Avoid having pets or going near others’ pets if you have animal allergies.
  6. In your home, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting.

Did you know?

According to the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, about half of the U. S. population suffers from allergies. These negative reactions occur as a result of coming in contact with normally harmless substances. Some allergies change or disappear over time, while seasonal attacks will return at the same time each year for only a few weeks or months.

Healthy Hints

Treatment for most allergy symptoms is available over-the-counter or as a prescription from your physician. If your symptoms are severe or you don’t know what is causing you to have a reaction, an allergist can perform a test to pinpoint what you are allergic to. And don’t forget, allergy testing and treatment is usually covered by your health insurance.

Do you need help finding what your copay or out of pocket cost will be?

Call us today – 419-522-9892 – we can help.

How To Avoid Burnout While Working From Home Due To COVID-19

working from home

working from home

For many workers, their new “normal” routine consists of getting out of bed and logging on to work. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has shifted the workplace from the office to kitchen tables and living rooms for thousands of employees. Our new “normal” is working from home.

This shift to telecommuting has made it possible for employees to work while staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19, but it has also created a few challenges, including increased levels of stress and burnout.

What is burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, doctors can diagnose you with burnout if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Exhaustion or energy depletion
  • Decreased engagement at work, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job
  • Reduced productivity or efficacy

The negative effects of burnout can extend beyond the workplace and into your home and social life. It can also increase your risk of getting sick and developing chronic conditions.

What are the signs of burnout?

Since burnout is the result of prolonged and chronic workplace stress, it’s important to know how to recognize the signs of workplace stress. Common job stressors include:

  • Heavy workload
  • Long work hours
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Concerns over job security

While dealing with stress is a normal part of everyday life, and these uncertain times may be elevating your overall stress levels, it’s important to watch out for prolonged stress. Here are some early warning signs of burnout:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Low morale
  • Short temper
  • Headache
  • Stomach or back problems
  • Fatigue

If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to talk to your supervisor or manager to address your chronic stress.

How to Prevent Burnout While Working From Home

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress, and your risk of burnout, while you work from home. Here are some simple tips to try:

  • Create a schedule—When you’re at home, it can be difficult to step away from work when your day is done, which often results in you working longer hours than normal. Set a schedule and only work the hours your normally would if you were in the office.
  • Plan and prioritize—When you’re feeling stressed out, don’t panic. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete, and set realistic deadlines.
  • Set up a separate workspace—One way to make it easier to maintain a work-life balance while you’re working from home is to set up a space where you’ll work. This will help you decompress from work when your day is done.
  • Focus on what you can control—You know what your job tasks are. Break the larger tasks into smaller, more doable steps.
  • Take breaks throughout the day—Getting a change of scenery and a brief break during the workday can help you clear your mind and reduce your stress.
  • Slow down—When you have a lot of tasks looming over you, it can be tempting to hurry through them just to get them off your plate. Rushing through tasks, though, can cause you to feel more stressed and increase the odds of mistakes being made. Take a deep breath when you start to get overwhelmed, and slow down.
  • Maintain a good attitude—Try to think positively about tasks at work—avoid negative thinkers and always acknowledge your accomplishments, even if it’s just by mentally congratulating yourself.
  • Ask for help—Sometimes the best way to overcome your workplace stress is to ask peers or your superiors for help.
  • Communication is key—While you’re working from home, it’s important that you regularly communicate with your team and co-workers. Doing so will help ensure that expectations can be properly set and managed during the time you’re working from home.

What should I do if I think I’m experiencing burnout?

If you feel like you’re burned out, you should talk to your supervisor or manager, as they may be able to help you reduce your workplace stress or direct you to valuable workplace resources, like an employee assistance program.

Talking to other co-workers, friends or family may also be helpful, as they may have insight into how you can reduce your stress and improve your burnout syndrome. Implementing healthy stress coping mechanisms, such as exercising, hanging out with friends or taking time off from work, can also help alleviate your stress.

For more information on burnout, click here.

3 Tips For An Injury Free Workout

workout

workout

Exercise is a great way to combat stress, lose weight and boost your energy. To get the most from your workout, it is important that you add warming up, cooling down and stretching to your exercise routine. These three simple steps are proven to prevent painful and costly injuries later.

Warming Up

Warming up allows your body time to adjust from rest to activity. It increases blood flow to the muscles so they stretch easily, reducing the risk of muscle tears. It also lubricates joints and carries oxygen to the heart.
To effectively warm up:
• Use movements that are similar to those you will use in your workout, such as light calisthenics, walking, jogging, etc.
• Gradually increase the intensity of your warm-up.
• Don’t overdo it! Your warm-up should be about 15 minutes and intense enough to cause a light sweat.

Cooling Down

As with warming up, cooling down should include movements similar to those in your workout, but at a gradually decreasing level of intensity.

Stretching

After cooling down, stretching helps to build flexibility and range of motion. When stretching:
• Use gentle and fluid movements and breathe normally.
• Work specific parts of your body, maintaining each stretch for 20 to 60 seconds.
• Never force a joint beyond its normal range of motion; you should not feel any pain.

Workout Healthy Hints

Many muscle and bone injuries are the result of skipping a warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise. Remember, preventing an injury is easier, cheaper and less painful than trying to recover from one.

How To Safely Grocery Shop During the Coronavirus Outbreak

safely grocery shop

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted everyday life in many ways. Many states have ordered residents to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary contact with others. That being said, you still have to eat. It is important that you take precautions in all parts of your life, even when you’re just taking a trip to the grocery store. We have a few tips to help you safely grocery shop. 

GROCERY SHOPPING PRECAUTIONS

When you have to go to the grocery store, remember the following tips in order to keep yourself as safe as possible:
Limit your visits—The more often you go to the store, the more likely you are to come into contact with someone, or something, that may be carrying COVID-19. Make a list of what you need before going shopping so that you do not need to return unnecessarily.
Time your trips—Be smart about choosing when to take your trip to the store. If possible, go during times that are less busy. The fewer people who are in the store, the less likely you are to come into contact with the disease. If you are a senior citizen, check if nearby stores are offering specific shopping hours for you.
Prepare properly—Wash your hands before you go shopping in order to reduce the risk of spreading germs to others. Some stores are offering free hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for guests to use. When you arrive, be sure to sanitize the handle of your grocery cart or basket.
Distance yourself—While at the store, stay at least 6 feet away from others. If you need to get to the other side of a crowded aisle, take the long way around in order to avoid squeezing through a herd of shoppers.
Watch what you touch—Avoid picking up any product unless you are certain that you intend to purchase it. It is possible that you may come into contact with a product that another shopper previously examined. Avoid touching your face while shopping.
Don’t use cash—You can lessen your risk of picking up germs by using a debit or credit card to pay for your groceries. Avoiding the exchange of cash and coins reduces your chance of spreading germs to others, or vice versa.
Disinfect—The battle does not end once you leave the store. When you arrive back home, it is possible that you have just brought germs back with you. Research has shown that COVID-19 can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and as long as three days on plastic and stainless steel. As such, you should wash your hands and disinfect all nonporous containers and any surfaces that your grocery bags may have touched. If you use reusable bags to shop, you should also wash them between each use.
COVID-19 can spread easily and, although many nonessential businesses have been ordered to close, necessary operations like grocery stores still bear a great deal of risk for anyone who visits them. It is up to you to take on the responsibility of protecting yourself and others by committing to safe habits while shopping. Take extra precautions when you have to go out to safely grocery shop and keep yourself and your family healthy.  

Identity Theft and What You Need To Know

Identity Theft








Identity Theft

Matt and Lisa have the perfect date night planned. Dinner, theater, then desert. However, that perfect date night quickly turns into a disaster when Matt goes to pay for the dinner. Both his debit card and credit card are declined. With the mood for the night now ruined, they return home and start making phone calls to find out what is going on. They quickly determine that the checking account has been drained and the credit card is maxed out and all the purchases were made several states away. Matt has been an unfortunate victim of identity theft.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers are obtained without permission. Once thieves have this information, they can use existing credit cards or open new ones, make purchases in the victims name, write bad checks, even take out loans. If the theft is not recognized immediately, a victims credit score could be tarnished without them realizing it. The FTC estimates that 17.6 million Americans have their identities stolen annually.

How can thieves steal your identity?

There are a number of ways that thieves can still your identity but the most common means are:

  • Dumpster Diving – thieves rummage through your trash looking of bills or other papers with personal information.
  • Skimming – Thieves steal credit and/or debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing – Thieves pretend to be financial institutions and send spam e-mails and pop-up messages to your computer to get you to reveal personal information.
  • Changing your address – Thieves divert your billing statements to another location
  • Stealing (the old-fashioned way) – Thieves take your purse or wallet, bank or credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information from your mailbox.
  • Pretexting – Thieves use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, and use that information to make changes.

Signs of identity theft.

Stay alert for any of the following signs of identity theft:

  • Accounts you did not open and debits on your account that you cannot explain.
  • Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report.
  • Failing to receive bills in the mail.
  • Receiving credit cards in the mail that you did not apply for.
  • Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, such as a higher interest rate, for no apparent reason.
  • Receiving calls and letters from debt collectors about merchandise/services that you did not purchase.

Do I need Identity theft insurance coverage?

While identity theft insurance does not protect against actual monetary theft, it does cover the cost victims will incur while they are recovering their identity. The coverage may include:

  • Phone call and photocopying charges
  • Postage fees for mailing documents
  • Salary loss due to uncompensated time away from work while repairing one’s identity
  • Legal fees
  • Access to a fraud specialist who can assist in restoring good credit and protecting one’s identity again
  • Help with preparing documents, filing police reports and creating a fraud victim affidavit.

Since victims may spend a considerable amount of time recovering from identity theft, these services can make the situation a little less stressful. Both on the mind and your wallet.

In addition to identity theft insurance you should also make sure to protect your social security number, take caution when throwing documents in the trash, exercise caution on the internet, select intricate passwords , verify sources before giving out any personal information and check your credit report on an annual basis. Life is stressful enough, the last thing you want is the additional stress of identity theft. By taking extra precautions and purchasing identity theft insurance you can have some extra peace of mind that your identity is safe.

Interested in purchasing identity theft coverage? Information can be found by clicking here.








Maintaining Mental Well-Being During A Quarantine

Mental Well-Being

Mental Well-Being

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have recommended that individuals who may have been exposed to the disease self-quarantine at home for 14 days. In addition, public health officials are recommending that healthy individuals practice social distancing, staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Following the advice of public health officials can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but if you don’t take proper precautions, your mental well-being could suffer while you’re quarantining.

If you’re self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, keep the following tips in mind to maintain your mental well-being.

Maintain a Routine

One of the best things that you can do to preserve your mental well-being is to stick to a routine. For example, if you’re used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start your workday from home. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can help keep your mood as lifted as possible, and prevent boredom and distress from taking over.

If you have children that will be at home now, it’s also important to create a routine for them. Whether they re practicing virtual learning with their schools or if they will just be home, you should implement a structured schedule for them so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit as much screen time as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. While you’re at home, it can be easy to go to bed or sleep in later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your overall mental well-being, so you should try to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible.

Spend Time Outside

Unless health officials give you explicit instructions to stay in your home no matter what, try to get outside periodically throughout the day. This could involve going out in your backyard or taking a walk around the block, but shouldn’t include going to a park or other areas where large groups of people may be.

Being outside also helps to promote higher vitamin D levels, a vitamin the body makes when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.

Leverage the Power of Technology

When in quarantine or self-isolation, it can be easy to feel lonely. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easy to connect with others without having to physically be in contact with them. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends reaching out to loved ones with technology to reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and to supplement your social life while you’re quarantining or social distancing. If you’re feeling down, use video calling technology or social media to get in touch with friends and family.

Don’t Obsess Over the News

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by watching the news and reviewing the updates of the COVID-19 situation. While it’s important to be informed of the situation, you should not obsess over the news. For example, instead of monitoring the news all day from home, consider checking for updates once in the morning and once at night.

Practice Positivity and Gratitude

Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive. While you’re quarantining or social distancing, it’s important to build time into your routine to practice positivity or express gratitude to change your mindset on your situation and boost your mood.

Summary

Your mental well-being plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being, and it should be prioritized. These six suggestions may help you maintain your mental well-being during a quarantine, but shouldn’t be considered as medical advice.

If you have concerns about your mental well-being while you’re in quarantine, please contact your mental health professional or use SAMHSA’s National Helpline by calling 800-662-HELP (4357).

Did You Know Volunteering Has Positive Effects For You?

Volunteering








Volunteering

Volunteering is something near and dear to our hearts here at Rinehart-Walters-Danner Insurance. Our owners, partners and staff participate in numerous volunteering events each year. We take great pride in supporting and helping out in our community. And we encourage you to join us. 

Volunteer Work

In addition to boosting your social well-being, volunteering can make you feel physically stronger, increase mental sharpness, aid in reducing stress and even help you live longer. Wow! Despite these proven positive effects, only 1 in 4 Americans regularly volunteer. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you’re curious about the specific benefits of volunteering or how to get started, read on.

Health Benefits of Volunteering

As previously mentioned, volunteering has proven health benefits. A few of those benefits include:

  • Increased mental and physical activity – Participating in volunteer activities gives you the opportunity to move and think in different ways than you’re used to doing. Both at home or at work. And, there’s a good chance that you’ll be on the move while volunteering. This will increases your overall physical activity level, too.
  • Reduced stress levels – Giving back to those in need is said to enhance one’s sense of belonging, meaning and appreciation. Those are all elements that can help reduce your stress levels.
  • Increased social well-being – By going out and volunteering in your community, you’re broadening your social circle and forging new relationships. As well as giving back to those who are in need. All of these activities can increase your social well-being, a component that plays a large role in your overall health.

Volunteers may work full time, part time or be retired. Some may volunteer with one organization a few hours a week. Others with multiple organizations several hours a week. No matter what amount of time that is contributed, studies show that volunteers have an overall healthier, happier outlook on life.

How to Get Started

There are many organizations that can benefit from your volunteer time. A good place to start looking is within your community. Pick one that complements your talents, interests, schedule and physical abilities. When you’re thinking about what you’d like to do as a volunteer, it may be helpful to think about what’s motivating you. Some volunteers are motivated by the following:

  • Helping others
  • Learning about the community
  • Meeting new and interesting people
  • Working in a team environment
  • Feeling like they made a difference
  • Gaining valuable life experiences
  • Acquiring new skills

Once you’ve determined what’s motivating you to volunteer, you’ll be able to narrow down your search for local volunteer programs. For example, if you enjoy helping others, it may be beneficial to try to volunteer at a hospital or clinic. If you want to learn more about your community, volunteer on a community council or committee.

How to Have a Successful Experience

Online listings or a newspaper are great options to identify volunteer programs. To ensure a successful outcome for both you and the volunteer program, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When can I begin?
  • What skills can I offer? 
  • What skills can I gain?
  • How much time can I commit?
  • What would I not want to do as a volunteer?
  • How often do I want to participate?
  • What community issue do I want to affect through my volunteer service?
  • What group or population do I want to serve?

Making the decision to volunteer is greatly appreciated by those in need. A small task for you can make the world of difference to someone else. From one community member to another, we Thank You! 








Do You Know How To Do The Tire Tread Penny Test?

Tire Tread Penny Test








Tire Tread Penny TestThere seems to be a tip or trick to everything these days. But have you ever heard of the tire tread penny test? You can use a penny to check if it is time to replace your tires. Yes, you read that right, a penny! Here’s how it works.

Tire Tread Penny Test

Conduct the test by placing the coin upside down with Lincoln facing you in the center of the tread.

  • If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, replace your tires immediately.
  • If Lincoln’s hair is partially visible, start comparing tire prices, as you will need new ones soon.

Use the following tops to help keep your tires in the best shape possible

  • Rotate your tires from the front to the rear in pairs.
  • If you drive a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, replace all four tires when it is recommenced in your service manual.
  • Since tires do not wear evenly, perform the tire tread penny test at several points from the outside to the inside of the tires.
  • Test and replace your tires at the same time.
  • Always keep your tires properly inflated.

Your cars performance is essential to both it’s safety and its efficiency. Make sure your tires are in good condition and replace then as soon as they show too much wear.