Top 10 Dogs Likely to Increase Insurance Cost

Posted on Sun, Jun 12, 2016

Fotolia_84646474_XS.jpgHere’s a different twist on the dog you choose to bring into your home.  The breed of dog you choose can make it more difficult to get Homeowners Insurance.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites (and other dog-related injuries) accounted for more than one-third of all Homeowners' insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015, costing in excess of $570 million.

Insurers are hesitant in offering coverage to homeowners who own breeds and mixes that insurers believe are more likely to bite and cause injuries. According to DogBites.org, more than 700 cities in the U.S. have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid-1980s, following the rise in popularity of pit bulls in the general population.

Einhorn Insurance, a San Diego, CA, agency has compiled a list of the 10 breeds most often deemed dangerous by insurance companies. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers

Pit bull attacks make the news more than any other dog. The term “pit bull” comprises both the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier; the breeds were originally developed as fighting dogs, by breeding bull dogs and terriers together. Advocates from The Humane Society of the United States and other groups say the breeds, which have a reputation for being unpredictable and dangerous, are unfairly demonized.

  1. Doberman Pinschers

As the breed’s popularity grew in the 1970s.  The American Kennel Club (AKC), says Dobermans can be affectionate, obedient and loyal, however.

  1. Rottweilers

According to the AKC, Rottweilers make good police dogs, herders, service or therapy dogs and are very protective of their territory.

  1. Chow Chows

The breed is known for its scowling expression, black tongue and thick coat, and likes to hunt, herd, protect and pull. According to Animal Planet, the Chow Chow can be aggressive toward strange dogs out of a need to protect its human family and the other pets in its household.

  1. Great Danes

Great Danes are usually associated with the lovable Marmaduke from the comic pages and the 2010 movie.  Vetstreet recommends that the breed, which can weigh more than 100 pounds, receives early training against jumping or acting aggressively.

  1. Perro de Presa Canario

Also called the Presa Canario, the Perro de Presa Canario usually makes the list of banned breeds, in places where this is done.  A Presa Canario needs a leader who can develop and manage those characteristics by guiding the dog with firmness and consistency and without using force or cruelty.  This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, and headstrong.

  1. Akitas 

Akitas are popular show dogs, but have strong guarding instincts and temperaments ranging from calm to aggressive. The AKC advises constant supervision of this breed when they are around small children and other animals.  

  1. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes have become popular as family pets, but they were originally bred as sled dogs for work in the Arctic. Known for their strength, endurance, intelligence and ability to learn quickly, the breed also can be strong-willed.

  1. German Shepherds

The AKC says the German Shepherd is the world’s leading police, guard and military dog. According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, German Shepherds frequently appear in lists of dogs implicated in biting incidents.

  1. Siberian Huskies

The American Kennel Club describes the characteristic temperament of the Siberian Husky as friendly and gentle, but also alert and outgoing. He does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs.

Dean & Draper

We hope the dog information in our blog is interesting and helpful.  We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about making your insurance choices.  Please feel free to call with your questions. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Home Safety, Home Insurance, Dog Bites

Vacation Security for You Home

Posted on Sun, Jul 12, 2015

Multi-Generation Family Unpacking Car On Camping Trip © flairimagesJuly is the most popular month for vacations, with 44 percent of Americans taking at least one summer vacation saying they would vacation that month according to Morpace Omnibus. 

The FBI reports that crime rates increase approximately 10% in June, July, and August.  87% of burglaries are considered preventable and that approximately 30% of all burglaries are committed without force courtesy of an unlocked door or window.  The simple reason for the crime rise could be because people let their guards down. In the rush to get ready for vacation, home security is often forgotten.

The moral of this story is to take a few extra minutes to secure your home before you take off on that well deserved vacation. Here are some tips to help you relax on vacation knowing your home is safe and secure.

Burglars won't find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they can't break in without making a lot of noise.  Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Below are some tips from our friends at the Insurance Information Institute.  

Take Time to “Case” Your Home

Where is the easiest entry?  How can you make it more burglar-resistant?

  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard.  High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy and also be an asset to a burglar. 
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy – light.  Exterior lights and motion detectors mounted out of easy reach can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices – nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, gates, bars and bolts – can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm.  The most effective ones also notify an outside monitoring service.
  • Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals. 

Vacation Tips

  • Stay off social media. Don’t post travel plans, “check-in”, or post photos while you are away.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded, or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of you telephone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up “throw away” newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to torn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times.  Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what’s happening in your area.
  • Put all tools and ladders away after you’ve used them. Ladders can be used to climb in second story windows and tools like hammers or screwdrivers can be used to gain entry.

At Dean & Draper we wish you a relaxing and safe vacation.  We also welcome your calls and questions about your home owner insurance coverage. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: homeowners insurance, Home Safety, Vacation Tips Protect Home, Prevent Home Burglaries

Holiday Home Safety Tips

Posted on Sun, Nov 30, 2014

Fotolia 58507584 XS

We’re all about to shake off all the indulgent Thanksgiving food and football daze and pull out the holiday decorations.  Before you start string those lights up, lighting the candles, and hanging the tinsel we have a few tips for keeping your family safe during the this season.  Taking a few minutes now could mean a safe, happy holiday celebration.

According to a study published by the National Fire Protection Association, 4 of every 5 Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January. Of the 10 days with the largest shares of Christmas tree fires, none were before Christmas.

  • Electrical problems were factors in one-third (32%) of home Christmas tree structure fires.
  • 12% of home Christmas tree fires involved decorative lights.
  • Candles started 7% of home Christmas tree structure fires.
  • 2 of every 5 (39%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.

Basics

First, there are a few basics that need to handled before those decorations come out of the attic.

  • Make sure your fire alarm is working properly.  Test the alarm and check the batteries.
  • Have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is handy.

Trees

If you love having a fresh tree, make sure it’s really fresh.  Before buying a live Christmas tree, conduct a three-part stress test, recommends Stacey Palosky, a spokesperson with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  A fresh tree has needles that resist being pulled off and do not snap when bent, a trunk bottom that's sticky with resin, and strong limbs that will drop just a few needles if shaken.

  • Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.
  • Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet.
  • Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.

That real looking artificial tree is your choice?  Be sure that the box says fire retardant before you buy.

Lights

What would the holiday be without loads and loads of lights?  While you’re untangling those lights here are a few things to check.

  • Use only lights that have been tested by nationally-recognized laboratories such as UL. decorative indoor and outdoor lights must meet strict requirements.  UL's red holographic label signifies that the light decorations meet safety requirements for indoor and outdoor usage.  UL's green holographic label signifies the lights are safe for indoor use only.
  • Check outdoor lights for labels showing that the lights have been certified for outdoor use, and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.
  • Look at each set of lights for damage.  Discard decorative light sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.

Candles

The soft glow if candles is almost required during the holidays.  Before you set out enough candles to blaze a path for Santa's sleigh, here are some things to consider.

  • Keep buring candles in sight.  Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room, or leave the house.
  • Put burning candles on a heat resistant, stable surface.  Chose a place where Kids and pets cannot reach or knock over burning candles.  Lit candles should also be placed away from flammable items - trees, decorations, surtains, and furniture.   

Fireplaces 

A cozy, mesmerizing fire is just the ticket for the holiday.  Let’s be safe with the fire, too.

Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area.

  • Check to see that flue is open.
  • Keep a screen before the fireplace all the time a fire is burning.
  • Use care with “fire salts” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals which can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation or vomiting if eaten. Keep away from children.

Children & Pets

During the holidays, just about everything is intriguing to children and pets.  Doing some child and pet proofing will save everyone some grief during this season.

  • Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage if chewed or swallowed.
  • Seasonal plants can also cause intestinal upset for both children and pets.  Avoid decorating with holly berries, mistletoe, and varieties of lilies.  Accoring to Michael Wahl, M.D. and Medical Director of the Illinois Poison Center, Poinsettias are not poisonous. 

“That's not to say they're harmless. If a child eats enough poinsettia leaves (say five), he may become nauseated or throw up. But he's not going to die. And he's probably not going to eat more than one or two bites in the first place because the leaves are ‘reported to have an unpleasant taste,’ Wahl says.”

We wish you and yours holidays filled with the warmth and wonder of the season.  As always, if you have questions about your insurance coverage, adding policies, or would like to have your policies reviewed we are here for you.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us

Topics: personal insurance, homeowners insurance, Carbon Monoxide, Home Safety, Personal Safety, Holiday Home Safety Tips

Home Cooked Thanksgiving Meal Could be Risky Business

Posted on Sun, Nov 02, 2014

© Brent Hofacker - Fotolia

According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires.  A study by State Farm indicates that grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November.  Texas also has the dubious distinction of leading the country in Thanksgiving Day claims in State Farm’s survey.  While we’re all looking forward to our favorite dishes, we thought we’d collect some tips to keep your Thanksgiving on track. 

Based on 2007 – 2011 annual averages, the NFPA lists these six items as the top reasons for cooking fires.

  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.

  • Two-thirds (67%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.

  • Ranges accounted for the largest share (57%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.

  • More than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.

The growing popularity of deep frying turkeys has contributed to the Thanksgiving Day disasters.  Though a deep fried turkey is very good, the actual frying can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), nearly 4,300 fires occur on Thanksgiving causing 15 deaths and almost $27 million in property damage, many of them due to deep frying accidents.

If you intend to deep fry your bird, let’s start with figuring out how to make sure the hot oil doesn’t overflow into the fire.

Most deep fried turkey recipes call for peanut, corn or canola oil—but just how much oil is necessary? Many turkey frying accidents happen when too much cooking oil is used and spills over the pot, catching fire when the turkey is dropped in.

Here is a simple way to figure out how much oil to use:

  • Place the turkey - still in the plastic wrap - in pot
  • Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water
  • Remove and dry turkey (a wet turkey can cause oil to splatter latter)
  • Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that most turkey frying accidents occur while the oil is being heated, prior to even adding the turkey. This means we must be extra vigilant when heating the oil, and turn off the fryer immediately if any smoke appears.

The CPSP also thoughtfully provided these additional tips.

  • NEVER leave a fryer unattended.
  • Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other structures.
  • Never use your fryer IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
  • Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • COVER bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
  • If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire with water.

We would also like to add that having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen are is always a great idea.  For information on which type of extinguisher and how large, here’s the link to the NFPA fire extinguisher page.  Click here. 

For great information about thawing, preparing, and cooking your turkey our friends at Butterball have it all laid out for you.  Click here. 

We wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us

Topics: personal insurance, homeowners insurance, property insurance, Home Safety, casualty insurance

Who Knew? Curious Uses for WD-40

Posted on Sun, Oct 19, 2014

Scoiattolo© Nikokvfrmoto

Welcome to a new addition to the Dean & Draper blog topics – Who Knew?  We always want to provide you with ideas you can use and really enjoy the sending you on occasion some unusual and slightly strange information. 

Right after the required duct tape, just about every household has a can of WD-40 stashed on a shelf.  Reader’s Digest recently published over 50 ways to use WD-40.  We selected our top 10 favorites to send to you. 

1.    Use WD-40 to protect a bird feeder.  To keep squirrels from taking over a bird feeder, spray a generous amount of WD-40 on top of the feeder. The pesky squirrels will slide right off.

2.    Remove chewing gum from hair.  It’s one of an adult’s worst nightmares: chewing gum tangled in a child’s hair. You don’t have to panic or run for the scissors. Simply spray the gummed-up hair with WD-40, and the gum will comb out with ease. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when you spray and take care to avoid contact with the child’s eyes.

    3.    Keep wasps from building nests.  Don’t let yellow jackets and other wasps ruin your spring and summer fun. Their favorite place to build nests is under eaves. So next spring mist some WD-40 under all the eaves of your house. It will block the wasps from building their nests there.

      4.    Remove doggie-doo.  Uh-oh, now you’ve stepped in it! Few things in life are more unpleasant than cleaning doggie-doo from the bottom of a sneaker, but the task will be a lot easier if you have a can of WD-40 handy. Spray some on the affected sole and use an old toothbrush to clean the crevices. Rinse with cold water and the sneakers will be ready to hit the pavement again.

        5.    Remove strong glue.  You didn’t wear protective gloves when using that super-strong glue and now some of it is super-stuck to your fingers! Don’t panic. Just reach for the WD-40, spray some directly on the sticky fingers, and rub your hands together until your fingers are no longer sticky. Use WD-40 to remove the glue from other unwanted surfaces as well.

          6.    Loosen zippers.  Stubborn zippers on jackets, pants, backpacks, and sleeping bags will become compliant again after you spray them with WD-40. Just spray it on and pull the zipper up and down a few times to distribute the lubricant evenly over all the teeth. If you want to avoid getting the WD-40 on the fabric, spray it on a plastic lid; then pick it up and apply it with an artist’s brush.

            7.    Remove decals.  You don’t need a chisel or even a razor blade to remove old decals, bumper stickers, or cellophane tape. Just spray them with WD-40, wait about 30 seconds, and wipe them away.

              8.    Remove marker and crayon marks.  Did the kids use your wall as if it was a big coloring book? Not to worry! Simply spray some WD-40 onto the marks and wipe with a clean rag. WD-40 will not damage the paint or most wallpaper (test fabric or other fancy wall coverings first). It will also remove marker and crayon marks from furniture and appliances.

                9.    Untangle fishing lines.  To loosen a tangled fishing line, spray it with WD-40 and use a pin to undo any small knots. Also use WD-40 to extend the life of curled (but not too old) fishing lines. Just take out the first 10 to 20 feet of line and spray it with WD-40 the night before each trip.

                  10. Keep dead bugs off car grille.  It’s bad enough that your car grille and hood have to get splattered with bugs every time you drive down the interstate, but do they have to be so darn tough to scrape off? The answer is no. Just spray some WD-40 on the grille and hood before going for a drive and most of the critters will slide right off. The few bugs that are left will be easy to wipe off later without damaging your car’s finish.

                  You’ve just seen our top 10 favorites for using WD-40.  If you would like to see the Reader’s Digest complete list of ideas, click here.  We hope that you’ve found some new ideas for your trusty can of WD-40.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

                  Topics: Product Information, Dean and Draper, Home Safety, Who Knew?

                  Doing the Next Right Thing – Health & Safety

                  Posted on Mon, Jul 28, 2014

                  © Elena Stepanova - Fotolia.com

                  We’re all challenged with getting our “To Do” list completed in a day.  Actually, most of us think a day that sees 75 – 80% completion a really good day.  So when a shortcut presents itself, how tempting is it to head down that path?  Do we always take the time to consider the ramifications of that shortcut?  How taking that course will impact those around us or the outcome of the project? 

                  Aaron J. Morrow in an EHS Outloud Blog article titled Unselfishly Safe describes how his dad made a good choice and provided a great lession for us all.  

                  Unselfishly Safe

                  If it weren’t for diaper rash, I might not be here today.

                  Not too many people can make that claim, or at least would have the guts to admit it – especially in a national magazine. But it’s true. Diaper rash saved my butt – literally and figuratively.

                  When I was just a few months old, my dad (who was 22 at the time), happened to be watching me when a friend asked him if he wanted to go to the bookstore. My dad was – and still is – addicted to reading and collecting books, so this was like asking a kid if he wanted to go to Disneyland on a school day.

                  He regretfully declined. I can imagine him looking at me and lamenting, “My book collection will never make library status because of you.” I’m just kidding about that last part.

                  According to the story, I was a little cranky (a rash will do that to a baby), but more importantly, my dad feared the wrath of my mom if he’d chosen to take their firstborn to the bookstore instead of taking care of her poor baby at home (a wife will do that to a husband).

                  A short while later, my dad received a phone call reporting that this good friend had been in a very serious car accident and was lucky to be alive. This friend was a bigger guy, and as a result of his size and the steering wheel, was blocked from going completely through the front windshield. This was 1978 and there were no air bags.

                  My dad’s friend suffered injuries to his head and face and bruises to his upper body. My dad would have been holding me in the passenger seat (the California laws weren’t as strict as they are now), and buckling your seatbelt wasn’t required by law. So you probably can imagine what might have happened to us if we’d been in that car.

                  This story got me thinking about the choices that we face while performing our daily tasks, and the ramifications that those choices have.

                  When it comes to being safe at work, we often forget that it’s not just about what we want or what’s best for us or even our company. We forget that there are a lot of people in this world – family, friends, colleagues, roommates – who depend on us, and at the end of the day, these people need us to continue to be part of their lives.

                  We’ve become an incredibly entitled society. We’re bombarded with marketing messages telling us that anything standing between our desires and us is bad. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge fan of working hard, striving to be successful and taking care of No. 1. However, when I see this attitude toward safety in the workplace, it’s very worrisome.

                  Selfish Acts, Unsafe Acts

                  W.H. Heinrich, who is considered to be a pioneer of industrial safety in America, developed a theory we’ve come to know as “Heinrich’s Law,” which estimates that 88 percent of accidents and incidents are caused by unsafe acts. Most safety professionals are familiar with this theory. Whether you agree or disagree with Heinrich, I challenge you to look at the accidents in your experience and think about whether this theory has some truth to it.

                  During accident/incident/near-miss investigations, if you look at the contributing factors (human factors more specifically), you’ll notice that these events typically fall into one of these categories:

                  • Unsafe acts – These can be divided into two categories: errors (individuals’ mental and/or physical actions that fail to achieve their intended outcome) and violations (willful disregard for rules and regulations).

                  • Preconditions for unsafe acts – Individuals fail to prepare physically and/or mentally for duty (lack of rest, alcohol consumption, self-medicating, poor dietary practices, off-the-job overexertion, bad habits).

                  • Unsafe supervision – Failure to administer proper training and/or lack of professional guidance (risk without benefit, no risk assessment, improper work tempo, poor crew pairing).

                  • Organizational influences – Failure of resource management, organizational climate and operational processes (structure, policies, culture).

                  When I look at an accident and consider each of these categories, I can point to all of them and name selfish choices or decisions that were made by someone that resulted in failure to some degree.

                  The obvious ones are taking shortcuts (UA), choosing to work impaired (PUA), not preparing crews correctly and pushing production (US), and failing to own safety at the highest level (OI). If you’ve ever sat with family members in the emergency room nervously waiting to see if their dad will ever be able to walk again, you know exactly how “me” choices affect more than the injured individual.

                  So the million-dollar question is: What do we do?

                  Maybe it’s as simple as putting aside selfish desires and looking at the bigger picture. Maybe as safety professionals, we take a look at our own work habits and get more involved with our co-workers on a “human” level, instead of focusing on all the reports, meetings and audits that we have to complete.

                  I wish I had the right answer. But I do think this unselfish approach to safety needs to spark some conversations.

                  When the opportunity or invitation presents itself to gain a little bit more, go a little bit faster, reach a little bit further or take that quick shortcut, we probably should stop for a minute and consider the effects that this decision might have on our loved ones and the others around us.

                  I’m glad my dad did.

                  Aaron Morrow

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. Contact Us.  

                  Topics: personal insurance, Business Insurance, property insurance, Business Safety, health insurance, auto insurance, Employee Safety, Home Safety

                  Gross Things to Throw Away – Tips for Spring Cleaning Your House

                  Posted on Tue, Apr 08, 2014

                  © Mitarart - Fotolia.com

                  April is a great month for Spring cleaning.  Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22, and is a perfect time to think about recycling.  National Take-Back Initiative Day is on Saturday, April 26, when you can safely bring in expired or unused drugs. Here are some ideas for cleaning and disposing of your unwanted items.

                  Hazardous Waste

                  Surprisingly, our homes actually contain hazardous waste - aerosol cans, batteries, motor oil, antifreeze, paint, and pesticides are just a few.  To avoid contaminating the environment or harming children or pets, all of these items need to be disposed of properly.  Earth911.com, is a huge clearinghouse for recycling info, great tips, and interesting DIY projects.  In Houston, check out the solid waste website for disposal locations.  http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/hhw.htm 

                  Piled-Up Plastic Containers

                  You probably have a cabinet in your kitchen full of plastic containers.  April is a great time to play the matching game and see just how many containers you have with a lid that fits. 

                  Check for recycle codes 3 or 7.  Those containers may contain BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical that leaches into food as containers age or get heated in the microwave or dishwasher. Tupperware made before 2010 can also have BPA.  Replace with new plastic or glass containers, which do not contain the chemical. For more information on recycling in your area, click on http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/recycling.htm

                  Expired or Unused Drugs

                  Got some old medications taking up space?  Get rid of your old drugs in a safe, legal, eco-friendly way. Empty the pills into a ziptop plastic bag and take them to official collection sites on National Take-Back Initiative Day, Saturday, April 26, from 10:00 – 2:00. Call 1-800-882-9539 for locations in your neighborhood.  The pill bottles can be recycled, too.  Be sure to remove the personal information on the labels first.

                  Old Spices

                  Those old, dried up spices that are stuck to the jars won’t actually make you sick.  They’re also not going to be very tasty in your food or impart any nutrients either. The experts at McCormick say seasoning blends last 1 to 2 years; herbs and ground spices, 1 to 3 years; and whole spices, up to 4 years.

                  Moldy Makeup

                  Makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria – especially in eye makeup.  Mascara has the shortest shelf life (2 to 3 months), followed by lip gloss (6 months). Replace foundation after 6 months to 1 year, at most.

                  Crusty Contact Lenses

                  Yuck!  Poor cleaning and hygiene means that up to 92% of contact lens cases are contaminated according to studies. Eye experts and the government say cases should be replaced every month to 3 months.  Be sure to clean and air-dry (facedown) daily. Ditch the soaking solution every day and start fresh — no topping off or reusing.

                  Pitiful Pillows

                  Grossed out by those commercials about old mattresses?  What about your pillow?  Allergies, asthma, and sinusitis can be aggravated the fungi, dead skin, and dust mites in pillows over 18 months old.  When you fold your pillow in half and squeeze out the air, if it doesn’t spring back it’s time to get a new one.   

                  Expired Canned Foods

                  Just because it’s in a can doesn’t mean going to last forever.  Canned meat and veggies are good for up to 5 years, canned tomatoes and veggies for about 18 months. 

                  Germy Kitchen Sponge

                  According to microbiologist Philip Tierno, Ph.D., of New York University, the kitchen sponge is harbors bacteria in damp crevices and is the yuckiest thing in most households.  To combat those germs, start fresh with a new kitchen sponge. To cut contamination, microwave your sponge daily in an inch of water for 60 seconds on high heat.  Set the sponge out to air dry.

                  At Dean & Draper we want to help you keep your home and family safe.  We hope you find these tips helpful. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

                  Topics: personal insurance, Dean & Draper, property insurance, Spring Cleaning, Recycling, Home Safety, casualty insurance

                  Springing Forward Calls for a Battery Change

                  Posted on Sun, Mar 09, 2014

                  Cheryl Casey - Fotolia.com

                  While you probably remembered to “spring forward” by setting your clocks an hour ahead, we want to remind you to change the batteries in both your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Got the smoke detector?  Great!  Don’t have the carbon monoxide detector yet?  We’re sure that the information below will send you to the store right away.

                  Carbon monoxide poisoning sends nearly 20,000 people to the emergency room each year according to the Centers for Disease Control.  You may remember the popular Long Island restaurant where a deadly carbon monoxide leak sickened patrons and claimed the life of the manager a couple of weeks ago. 

                  What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?  CO is found in combustion fumes.  CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it.  Some sources include:

                  • Cars and trucks

                  • Small gasoline engines

                  • Lanterns

                  • Burning charcoal and wood

                  • Gas ranges

                  • Heating systems

                  To keep you and your family safe, here are some tips and guidelines:

                  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms & other living areas. Replace batteries regularly – like every time you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
                  • We’ve been experiencing the hot, cold, hot, cold temperature cycle our area is famous for, so using your gas range or oven to heat your home may sound like a good idea.  It’s not. 
                  • During Ike, we all heard those generators running in our neighborhoods.  If you’re using a generator during a power outage, keep at least 25 feet or farther away from your house.

                  The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea, or loss of consciousness.

                  Taking action.  If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of CO poisoning:

                  • Get outside to fresh air immediately.

                  • After calling 911, do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for. DO NOT reenter the premises until the emergency services responders have given you permission. You could lose consciousness and die if you go in the home.

                  • Contact a doctor immediately to confirm the diagnosis. Tell your doctor that you suspect CO poisoning is causing your problems.

                  • Make sure a qualified service person checks the appliances for proper operation before reusing them if CO poisoning is confirmed. 

                  At Dean & Draper we are invested in your safety.  For more tips and information, watch this short video from the CDC on carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs. 

                  Topics: homeowners insurance, Dean & Draper, property insurance, Carbon Monoxide, Home Safety

                  Put Another Log on the Fire - Home Safety

                  Posted on Mon, Jan 06, 2014

                  Fotolia 8648559 XS resized 600

                  There's nothing that warms you up more on a cold day than starting a roaring fire in the hearth. At Dean & Draper, we want to make sure you enjoy your fireplace safely.  Scary but true, 36% of house fires are caused by home heating fires according to the US Fire Administration.

                  To stay warm, toasty, and safe here are some tips:

                  Wood Burning Fireplaces

                  1. Have the chimney cleaned and inspected annually to ensure there isn't buildup of creosote that could cause a fire.  Often birds and other critters will also make a home in an unused chimney - your professional can evict them.  Ask them to check for cracks in the chimney that could cause issues, too.

                  2. Use a metal mesh screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.

                  3. Keep any combustible materials at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.

                  4. Never use liquid accelerators such as gasoline or kerosene to start a fire.

                  5. Burn only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood produces more smoke and creosote.

                  6. Never burn trash or wrapping paper in a fireplace.

                  7. Keep matches away from children.

                  8. Never leave a fire unattended.

                  9. Let coals cool before removing them.

                  10. Make sure smoke detectors are installed and working in the house.

                  Gas Logs

                  So much easier and cleaner than wood logs, today’s gas logs look like the real wood and produce about the same amount of heat.  Before you get too complacent, check out what the Chimney Safety Institute of America has to say about taking care of your chimney. 

                   “Yellow flame, often referred to as "vented" gas logs generate soot and carbon which is deposited in the chimney. These deposits require chimney cleaning just like a real wood fireplace does. - See more at: http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/Gas_Logs.aspx#sthash.BlkWNX61.dpuf

                   A roaring fire in the fireplace can be relaxing and magical on a cold day.  To keep your home fires burning, follow our tips and think safety always.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 30 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. 

                  Contact Us.

                  Topics: homeowners insurance, fire insurance, Home Safety