Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Preparing for Winter

Wintertime and winter weather can be tremendous fun, but cold and snow can also pose danger. Slippery roads, downed power lines and limbs, and freezing cold temperatures all bring an added measure of suspense to our daily activities. There are simple steps you can take that will take the chill off your wintertime experience.

In your car. It is not enough to throw a safety kit, including emergency equipment such as blankets, candles, a shovel and traction aids into the trunk of your car and think that you are ready for operating your vehicle in inclement weather. The single most important thing we can do while driving in severe winter conditions is to slow down. A safe speed for conditions might be well under the posted speed limit. Triple the normal driving distance between you and the car in front of you. If your vehicle begins to slip, immediately take your foot off the accelerator and steer gently in the direction you want the car to go.

If your car gets stuck, clear the snow in front of and behind your tires and spread sand, kitty litter or traction mats in the front and back of your tires. Gently accelerate until you feel the tires begin to spin. Put the car in reverse and back up slowly until stopped by the snow. Rock forward again using a low, steady speed.

At home. Have your heating system inspected to make sure it is working properly. If you have an alternative heating source, it should be UL approved and inspected before using.

Good insulation will also help if power is lost. Check for possible air leaks around doors and windows. Seal electrical outlets and switches on outside walls. Stock up on easy to prepare food, first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights and a battery-operated radio.

If you do get snowed in at home and the situation isn’t dire, just relax and preserve heat by hanging blankets over windows and doors. If you use a supplemental heating device, make sure it is UL approved, in good operating condition and maintaining safe distance from flammable items.

Outside. Make sure to remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Hopefully, you remembered to clean your gutters of leaves and debris. Better yet, install gutter guards. These can help keep snow and ice from building up, which can form ice damns and damage your house. Outside heating appliances like heat pumps must be clear of snow and debris to work efficiently.

If you have to go outside, wear tight and layered clothing and sturdy watertight shoes. Make sure to cover exposed parts of the body by wearing hats, gloves and scarves. Failure to protect skin and prolonged exposure to the cold can result in frostbite. The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers and toes (your extremities) are most commonly affected.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Buckle Up Your Best Friend

Dogs are a man’s best friend. So it only makes sense that dogs often travel in vehicles. Sometimes those are trips that are necessary for the dog such as doggy daycare or the vet. However, a lot of the time they are just to keep the driver company as they drive around town or go on a short road trip.

Dogs can be great companions as you drive around in your vehicle but they can also be great distractions. There are times you will see dogs sitting on the laps of the drivers or sitting dead center of the back seat which blocks the driver’s view out of the rear of the car.

In an accident dogs can also be a major hazard. When auto accidents happen they often stop a vehicle cold in its tracks. However, anything not buckled into the vehicle continues to travel at the speed the vehicle was traveling. Often, dogs are not strapped in and therefore become a large moving object in your vehicle. This can cause major damage to your pet as well as possibly to you or anyone else in the vehicle. It is best to have a dog strapped into your car, not only for your dog’s safety but also for your safety and for the safety of those in your vehicle. Visit a pet store near you and pick up an attachment that enables you to comfortably seatbelt in your dog.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Extra Expense Coverage

If your business suffers a major disaster that interrupts normal business operations, what effect will it have on your operations over the long term? Will you be able to retain customers? Will you lose valuable employees? Alternatively, does your business allow you the flexibility to operate from a different location with equipment that is easily acquired? The answers to these questions allow a business owner to determine whether business income coverage, extra expense insurance or a combination of both, is needed.

Businesses, especially those offering a service that can easily be replaced by another business, may face permanent loss of customers if business is interrupted for an extended period of time. Businesses whose operations depend more on employees than on location may not have a serious threat of income loss, since they can continue operating from a temporary location preserving income flow. However, operating from a temporary location and expediting delivery of replacement supplies and equipment can add up to considerable extra expense. Additional advertising may also be necessary to let people know you aren’t out of business. In many cases, a business may need both business income coverage and extra expense coverage.

The promise of extra expense coverage is to pay the actual and necessary extra expenses needed to continue operations, which would not have been incurred if there had not been a direct physical loss to the business. The period of restoration begins on the date of loss and ends when the property should be repaired, if reasonable speed is applied while returning the property to its pre-loss condition. Interference by building ordinance, zoning law or environmental protection law does not extend the period of time when extra expenses are payable. The period of restoration is based on the period