August 4, 2017

August is Family Fun Month and keeping everyone safe while enjoying the outdoors can be challenging.  Here are some safety tips to ensure you have a wonderful experience from the NYSPCC. Practice water, sun, bike, barbecue, and fire safety.  To read the entire article, click here.

Follow these tips and enjoy your family fun.

July 28, 2017

But, I want a fidget spinner please?  Have you heard this from your child?  Fidget spinners are now all the craze and flying off toy shelves and mall kiosks. They can be found in just about any color, in character, camo or other trends, can glow in the dark or have blinking LED lights.  This latest fad has hidden dangers you should be aware of.

In case you are wondering what a fidget spinner is, they are small, palm-sized gadgets that have prongs and circular bearings that will spin between a person's finders.  The bearings in the center allow them to spin, and the bearing can be brass, steel, ceramic, titanium or other materials. The spinners themselves are made of various materials. Many look similar to a three-blade mini propeller or the triple heads on an electric shaver, but some have only two blades while others have four, five or more blades, or are completely circular. 

They have been used to help children with ADHD, autism and anxiety to improve focus by relieving the need to fidget.

What are the dangers to your child?

Because they can be taken apart, pieces can be choking hazards when swallowed.  Many spinners have weights about the size of a penny at the end of the blades which can get caught on the end of a child's finger. When spinning, some of them are designed with edges that are sharp enough to even cut through flesh. 

The Good Housekeeping Institute tested various spinners and determined that they are not suitable for children under three years old.  Fidget spinners are not approved by the FDA, so they are not regulated in their safety, product design or composition. Some brands do contain age restrictions and choking hazard warnings, but there are certainly no warnings of the dangers of their misuse.

We recommend that if you do purchase a fidget spinner for your child, that you supervise its use.  Follow all the instructions for recharging and examine the spinner after each use to insure that no parts are lose or sharp to the touch.

July 21, 2017

What can a pet-parent do to prevent heat stroke danger? Be smart and proactive!

When the temperature is high, don’t let your dog linger on hot surfaces like asphalt and cement. Being so close to the ground can heat their body quickly and is also an invitation to burns on sensitive paw pads. Keep walks to a minimum. Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut can help prevent overheating, but never shave to the skin, the dog needs one-inch of protection to avoid getting sunburned. Provide access to fresh water at all times. Make certain an outside dog has access to shade and plenty of cool water. Restrict exercise when temperatures soar, and do not muzzle the dog because it inhibits their ability to pant. Many dogs enjoy a swim, splashing in a wading pool, or a run through a sprinkler in warmer weather can help bring body temperatures down. Never leave your pet in a parked car, not even if you park in the shade or plan to be gone for only a few minutes. The temperature inside of a car can reach oven-like temperatures in just minutes, often in excess of 140 degrees. That quick errand can turn into a disaster and could be fatal for your pet.

Follow these tips for a safe, healthy pet in the summer heat.

Source: DogTime

July 14, 2017

Recreational boating continues to grow in both popularity and in risk.  Boats are on the lakes, in the ocean, and on the rivers, all during the summer. 

Deter thieves from stealing your pride and joy.

Largest category of stolen vessels range between 20 and 29 feet, typically on twin-or triple-axle trailers, and usually fitted with outboard motors. Some boats are stolen for the engines, equipment, and electronics. Many are stolen for the purpose of resale, criminal activity, or container export.

Locks, locks, and more locks. Lock the engine to the vessel, lock a chain around the tires and wheels, lock the cabin, and under no circumstances store the keys in the boat!             

Obtain a seriously beefy tongue lock, or better yet, have your trailer fitted with a removable tongue or hitch assembly. Then take the tongue off the trailer. Take it home; don't store it in the boat. Once fitted, the simple precaution of taking the removable tongue hitch off the trailer is by far the easiest way to disable the trailer for moving. If thieves can't hook it up, they can't take it.

Removing the tires is even more effective, but a lot more work. If you can easily remove the trailer lights, you make it even harder on the bad guys (some owners have quick-mount lights that hang on the back of the boat and can be stored in the tow vehicle). Thieves like to work under cover of night and don't like attracting attention to themselves by dragging a trailer down the road without the required lights.

Always lock your hoist or boat-lift control box, or kill the power at the breaker box. Remember, any deterrent is better than none

When storing your vessel at home or in a driveway or backyard, install automatic motion-activated spotlights that will act as a light sentry. Make sure the lights are hard to access from the ground. If disabling them is as easy as unscrewing a bulb, they're not going to be very effective.

If you keep your boat at home, park your trailer with the tongue facing the house or a tree to make it harder to hook up. Parking the tow vehicle in front of the boat makes it much harder to steal the boat.

There are many antitheft devices now available, ranging from electronic cell-phone alerts and electronic kill switches to active cellphone and satellite tracking systems.

A technology called microdots can be painted on outboard motors, outdrives, and inboard engines as well as on the boat. While microdots may not prevent theft, they can help law enforcement identify your boat or equipment if recovered. Posting the warning sticker that comes with most kits may even be enough to deter theft. 

Have a great summer and enjoy boating.

July 7, 2017

July is National Grilling Month - so break out the barbie  and let's get cooking.  Before you touch your grill keep these safety tips in mind.  Why?  Because according to the National Fire Protection Association, each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. To ensure you grill safe this month, here are some safety tips as you’re firing up the charcoal or propane grills:

Most grills should only be used outdoors. This goes for all charcoal and propane grills. The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grill area to avoid accidents. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Never leave your grill unattended. If you’re using a propane grill and you smell gas, turn the burners and propane off. If you continue to smell gas, call 911 immediately and clear the area.
June 30, 2017

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 4th of July ranks as the deadliest day for drivers for the past decade.

Here are a few travel safety tips provided by Travelers Insurance:

Make sure your car is serviced before embarking on your trip.  Be sure to inspect your spare time to insure it is in good shape.

Bring an emergency roadside kit - stock your car with water and non-perishable food, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, reflective triangles, sunscreen, blankets, towels, and road flares.

Familiarize yourself with your route.  Don't rely solely on your GPS.

Avoid distractions - Concentrate on the road and avoid distractions such as eating, reading maps, operating a GPS or using a cellphone.

Take breaks - When traveling long distances, it’s important to rest to help maintain focus and avoid fatigue.

Never drink and drive - if you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver.

The attached infographic from Travelers provides you with some additional information.

Enjoy your 4th of July Weekend and stay safe.

June 23, 2017

Recently, Europe was hit with an extensive WannaCry - Ransomware virus.  Companies and hospitals across the continent were paying ransom to get their data back.  Here in the US, our companies are faced with the same threat. 

How do you protect your company, your data, and your clients? UPGRADE your systems.  If you are working with Windows XP, or Windows 7, you are a prime target for hacking.  Microsoft doesn't even support these platforms anymore.  If you are working with a vendor on these platforms, they too should be warned to upgrade.

Another method of prevention is to retrain and reinforce your privacy policy and email procedures to show your staff the types of emails that might be suspicious and what not to open.

Upgrade today - it is money well spent and another prevention tool in your continued war against cyber crimes

June 16, 2017

"When my father didn't have my hand, he had my back. " Linda Poindexter

To all the fathers, we wish you a wonderful Father's Day!

June 9, 2017

You and your parents survived.  You graduated.  Now, as you make a major transition from college to the work force, you are faced with big decisions.

One of them is insurance. 

Here are insurance decisions you will need to make:

Are you going to stay on your parent's health insurance program? What about your parent's auto insurance policy?  Or are you branching out on your own? If moving out from your parent's home, think about the renter's insurance you will need to cover your personal belongs and liability?

Need help with these insurance decisions, give us a call and we will be glad to go over your options.  Congratulations as you embark on the next step of your life's journey.

June 2, 2017

Before starting a project that requires a ladder, here are a few things to remember:

Carefully inspect the ladder for defects, such as cracks, corrosion and that bolts and rivets are secure. Make sure the ladder's feet work properly and have slip-resistant pads. Use a fiberglass ladder if you are going to be working with electricity. Look for a safe location with a firm, level footing and rigid support for the top of the ladder.    Refer to your manufacturer's guidance. Never carry any load that could cause you to lose your balance. Never stand on the top of the ladder. Plan your project before beginning to insure your safety.

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