First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
Whether your East Texas home is a three-story Tudor, a skyline-grazing apartment or an RV on wheels, you need at least one fire extinguisher for it. But if you don’t have the right one, or you haven’t checked it recently, you may have a false sense of security rather than a fire-fighting device.
There are a few important things to know about fire extinguishers, but they aren’t complicated. Here are three things to help you get up to speed:
1. There are extinguishers for each type of fire. Class A: ordinary combustibles, such as wood; Class B: flammable liquids or gasses, such as gasoline or propane; Class C: energized electrical equipment like appliances; Class D: combustible metals; and Class K: cooking oils and greases. An extinguisher that isn’t rated for the fire you’re trying to fight likely won’t help.
2. Multipurpose extinguishers are widely available. Typically rated for Class A, B and C fires, they are good for most living areas and also work on small grease fires. You need at least one for each level of your home, and one in the garage is a good idea, too. Store them in an accessible area and inspect them regularly for rust and other damage. Also follow any maintenance instructions included with the device. Some need to be shaken regularly, for example.
3. Remember “P.A.S.S.” when you use your extinguisher.
And always keep your back to an exit when fighting a fire. You need to be able to escape quickly if necessary.
Even more important than knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is knowing when not to use it. If you’d be putting yourself at risk trying to fight a fire, leave the area immediately. You should already have a family fire escape plan in place, so don’t hesitate to use it if there’s any question about your safety.
After all, your life is irreplaceable. Your insurance, however, can help you rebuild your home and replace your belongings. If you’d like to check up on your coverage, give us a call today. Contact Us - First Community Financial Group Inc (firstcfg.com)
When it comes to power tool safety, there’s a simple way to think about it: Use your head, keep your fingers.
All joking aside, it’s extremely important to your entire well-being to use power tools with the utmost of care.
1. Read all about it. You love the feeling of firing up and wielding a tool that’s abuzz with power. Just don’t do so until you’ve read the instructions. The instructions will help you get the most out of your tool, both in terms of safety and performance.
2. Take notes. When you get a new tool, jot down the details and add the notes to your home inventory. Include a description, serial number and a copy of the receipt if you have it, because it will all come in handy if your tools are ever stolen, or damaged in a fire or other disaster. Not big on writing? Photos or videos are great, too.
3. Get to work. Finally, it’s time to work, so long as you’ve got the right safety gear. This may include: eye and ear protection; a mask or respirator if the project will kick up a lot of dust or other fine debris; and protective clothing that isn’t loose.
4. Don’t rush. Working too quickly can lead to injuries. Always stay in control by making sure your work area is stable and clean. Use both hands to operate your power tools, and avoid distractions while you work. Don’t ever use powerful tools if you’re tired, sick or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only will you jeopardize your safety, you probably won’t be happy with your work.
5. Take good care of your tools. Keep your tools clean and stored in a safe, secure area. Replace parts, such as blades, as soon as they become bent or warped, and don’t ever use tools that have been damaged. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, along with using a little common sense, should help ensure your tools remain in good working order for years to come. Let’s hope that deck you’re building will, too.
It’s hard to imagine a time before power tools existed – think of all the calluses! Just be sure to wield the power responsibly each and every time you tackle a new project on your East Texas home.
Leaving your lights on — is it really a good way to keep burglars away from your Livingston, Texas home, or can it actually attract them? Or, is it just a “good” way to increase your electricity bill?
As with so many questions in life, there isn’t one “right” answer. Using lights to enhance your home security can be effective, especially as part of a larger overall strategy. With that in mind, here are five things to consider:
1. Remember that variety is key. If your exterior lights are always on, even during the day, that can be a signal to burglars that nobody is home. Otherwise, you’d probably turn off the lights after sunrise, right? Don’t leave your lights on constantly while you’re on vacation or at work. Use timers or lights that can be turned on and off remotely to create different looks.
2. Try motion-detecting lights. These allow you to leave your lights off while you’re away or asleep, but, if someone is lurking around your house, the lights will come on. This often will scare off a burglar.
3. Consider your home’s surroundings. If you have overgrown bushes or trees on your property, burglars might be able to take cover even in the light. And, if you live in a rural area, with nobody around to notice uninvited guests on your property, lights may not do much to thwart them.
4. Connect with the neighbors. Even if you do have neighbors nearby, would they know when something – or someone – was out of place? Build a relationship with them, so they’ll know when you’re at work or on vacation, and so they can tell when something doesn’t look right.
5. Switch up your interior lights. A house that’s dark inside for a few days looks unoccupied, no matter how many outside lights are on. So, remember to set timers or turn lights on in different rooms of your house occasionally as well. This can help create the illusion that someone is home.
Of course, there’s no one perfect way to keep your Livingston, Texas home safe. The best strategies oftentimes involve a number of different deterrents. So, mix it up, with your lights and other things, to keep burglars guessing whether or not anyone’s home.
Did you know that over 200 people will go to the emergency room each day in the months surrounding the Fourth of July because of firework-related injuries? Follow these safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety to enjoy the fun at your next show.
Never light more than one. One sparkler is enough responsibility for one person.
Keep water nearby. Even after a sparkler fizzles out, the sticks stay hot. Toss used sparklers in a bucket of water to help ensure your feet don't get burned by used sparklers. Soak them for a few hours before discarding.
Wear closed-toe shoes. Flip-flops aren't a good fit for Fourth of July festivities that involve handling sparklers.
Closely supervise kids. Keep a close eye on sparkler-wielding little ones. Make sure they hold their sparkler at arm's length, stay at least six feet from one another, and don't run with, throw or hand their sparkler to a pal.
Consider using glow sticks instead. For a fun and flame-free way to light up the night, consider picking up a few glow sticks for kids to play with.
Watch a professional show. Consumer fireworks aren't necessary to enjoy the holiday. The safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show, according to the Council.
Watch this safety video from Foremost Insurance:
Fireworks Safety For The Fourth
I wish I were kidding. As an on-the-go-mom, I have sympathy for parents trying to multi-task, but there are certain things that we MUST pay attention to. Leaving the kids in the car while grabbing a snack in the gas station may be a time-saver, but with the extreme heat that can take place across the country, saving time is something you don't want to test.
As a mom, I'm going to give you a blunt reminder during this hot weather:
DON'T LEAVE YOUR KIDS or PETS IN THE CAR ALONE—EVER!
Yesterday the temperature gage in my car read 93 degrees. This is the exact temperature that proves your car can become an oven in high temperatures. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, when it's 93 degrees outside:
Let's not forget our furry friends, too! If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them.
Texas leads the country in hot car deaths since 1990. Here's your reminder to not leave your kid in the car | kvue.com
During the summer, the warm weather makes it easy for you to heat your grill and cook your favorite food outside. Not only is it tasty, but it can also save you the discomfort of heating your home (and paying a higher HVAC bill triggered by the extra cooling costs).
Ribs, chicken, burgers and vegetables all taste especially flavorful when grilled on a beautiful sunny day, and grilling is a great time to gather family and friends and spend some time together. This is a great way to socialize while still abiding by social distancing precautions that continue to affect multiple parts of the country.
Still, grilling is as risky as any other type of cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments responded to nearly 9,000 residential fires caused by gas or charcoal barbecues between 2007 and 2011. But, if you are aware of the risks, you can go a long way towards keeping your family safe.
Always keep these safety tips in mind while grilling up your favorites.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many are choosing to take road trips because of the lower health and safety risks, and more affordable prices when weighed next to flying.
Long hours in the car still pose their fair share of risks, however. Therefore, if you are planning a summer road trip, you should always take the time to prepare for the worst. Simply put, the costs of getting ready for a trip will prove much lower than anything resulting from a mishap on the road.
Get Your Car Ready for Travel
When on a road trip, you will want to get where you’re going (and back) in one piece. A properly functioning vehicle can help you avoid both breakdowns and accidents, and you should make certain that your vehicle is in prime working order before you leave on your trip.
No matter what you do beforehand, your actions behind the wheel during a road trip will be the factors that ensure that your family remains safe. If you do not drive safely, then your risk of an accident will increase. All in all, when you set out on your trip, remember that you have precious cargo in hand.
What Is Farm Insurance?
Farm insurance (often sold as farm and ranch owners insurance) is a combination commercial and personal insurance product for farmers and ranchers that covers both their business and their home, as most farmers live on the property they use for their farming/ranching business. Farm and ranch owners insurance can provide coverage for a range of agricultural entities from small hobby farms to large corporate farms.
It depends on the policy, but farm and ranch Insurance can cover everything from structures and equipment to ranches and equine operations — in addition to personal homes, vehicles, and household property. Insureds can often tailor policies to fit their needs, no matter what type of agricultural operation they are running.
What Does Farm Insurance Cover?
Specific coverages offered vary by insurer, and policies can be custom-tailored to fit each farm or ranch’s needs. Generally, however, standard farm insurance includes a blend of commercial and personal insurance coverage for the following:
● Dwellings and personal contents against risks usually covered by a homeowners insurance policy
● Other private structures on the same property as the main insured structure
● Outbuildings or other farm structures (such as barns, machine sheds, detached garages, and more)
● Personal passenger and commercial vehicles against risks usually covered by a personal or commercial auto policy
● Machinery and farm equipment (such as tractors)
● Personal, commercial, and professional liability and legal fees for injury and damage to others on your farm
● Additional living expenses if you have to move out of your home due to a covered loss
Farm insurance covers livestock ranches, crop farmers, vineyards and wineries, and everything in between. Your Trusted Choice agent will review your unique ranch or farm operation with you to determine your specific needs — and then comparison shop among numerous insurers for you to find the most appropriate coverages at competitive prices.
What Doesn’t Farm Insurance Cover?
Farm Insurance usually does not cover the following, although coverage can typically be added onto a policy for an additional cost:
● “Agri-tainment,” or opening a farm to the public for activities on your property such as apple picking and hayrides
● Animal waste pollution
● Chemical drift (such as pesticide droplets drifting to areas other than the intended treated area)
● Crop damage due to various covered perils
● Disruption of farming operations due to a covered loss
● Damage to electric gates and fencing due to covered loss
● Employee benefits
● Fire (if your dwellings or structures aren’t located near an adequate water source for extinguishing fires)
● Replacement of irrigation systems
● Livestock and equine operations
● Transportation of property
● Workers’ compensation
Does Farm Insurance Cover Employees?
Farmers with employees can add additional coverages to their farm insurance policy to cover both employer and employees for risks that are specified as covered in the policy. Employer liability can protect farmers from costs associated with employee bodily injuries due to workplace accidents. Workers’ compensation can also be added to help with medical expenses for employees injured on the job and to ensure operations can continue after an employee injury.
Does Farm Insurance Cover Work Horses?
The equine operation is a unique aspect of farm and ranch businesses. Unlike livestock, horses typically are not owned to produce commodities (such as milk, wool, or meat) and instead are raised for various other uses including breeding, show, or work.
Additional coverage for equine operations is available to include in most farm insurance policies. Equine operations coverage typically will compensate for the death of horses due to sickness, disease, disaster, and theft. The amount of equine coverage needed will depend on the use of horses on the farm. For example, a horse bred for show or one used to herd cattle may need more coverage than a horse that is ridden only for pleasure — because the show or work horse is used to earn profit, while the pleasure horse is not.
Why Do I Need Farm Insurance?
Farms and ranches face many of the same perils and risks as homes and commercial businesses, such as fire, storms and theft. They also have a whole host of unique risks —including death of livestock or destruction of crops by hail, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Farm Insurance allows you to package a variety of policies into one contract for the optimal coverage for your specific business.
Your farm or ranch is a home that generates income. Getting the right coverage is crucial to protect both.
Do I Need Farm Insurance if I Lease or Rent My Property to a Farmer?
The owner of a property that is used for farming or ranching has liability exposure whether or not they themselves do the farming, or if they rent or lease their land out to someone who does. For example, property owners can be liable if the renting farmer or rancher is injured on the property. So, farm insurance is a wise investment for farmland owners even if they rent or lease the property.
How Do I Get Farm Insurance?
A variety of insurance companies offer farm Insurance — and what’s covered under their policies can be just as varied. What one insurer considers a standard coverage can be considered an add-on by another.
A Trusted Choice agent in your area like First Community Financial Group can help you find the best coverage options for your needs. Your agent is a trained professional who will know your business and the carriers, or insurance companies, that provide the coverages you need. That agent will comparison shop for you to find appropriate coverage at competitive prices. Your Trusted Choice agent can give you peace of mind that you can keep your farming business and lifestyle going strong, no matter what risks come your way.
How Much Does Farm Insurance Cost?
Because coverage needs vary according to the unique characteristics of each farm or ranch operation, the cost of coverage will vary as well. With pieces of machinery and buildings valuing hundreds of thousands of dollars alone, insurance is a small price to pay now to prevent the downfall of your business due to an unforeseen calamity.
Working with your Trusted Choice agent at First Community Financial Group is the easiest way to ensure you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to farm insurance.
Summertime in Texas means spending long days in hot, sunny weather with your furry loved ones by your side. It's the perfect time for you and your pet to be more active. However, having a fur coat can pose some risks for your pets if they are in the sun for too long. Since they don't sweat like humans, they can overheat a lot faster than we can. But don't worry! There are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure they'll be safe and content in the summer heat. Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind while playing outside with your pet:
Content provided by https://www.foremost.com
Solar panels can be economically and environmentally sound, and they’re more accessible than ever. According to one research firm, U.S. homes and businesses installed a new system every four minutes in 2018.
But, is solar power right for you here in East Texas? It is sunny here a lot of the time, but to help you address the question here are five things to think about before making the switch:
1. The different options for installing a solar system. Oftentimes you don’t have to foot the full cost of going solar yourself. Instead, you may be able to lease a system from a company that installs and maintains it, or enter into an agreement where a third party actually owns the system and bills you (likely at a reduced rate) for electricity. Just keep in mind that installing and owning your own system may provide the best long-term return, and tax credits or rebates may help to lower upfront costs.
2. Your current energy costs — and your future needs. Depending on your situation, you could have relatively low energy bills now and not be as motivated to pursue solar as someone with higher costs. But what does the future look like? If your family is growing, your energy costs are probably about to grow, too, and investing in solar might be worth your while.
3. The power a system would generate. Have a reputable solar company measure the amount of sun your home gets, taking into account things such as shade, trees, etc., so you can make an informed decision about expected savings.
4. What your homeowners policy says. With any improvement that increases the value of your home, you need to make sure your insurance policy reflects the change. Give us a call to see if your policy already covers solar panels. If it doesn’t, we can help you amend it.
5. Your goals. Are you mainly looking to save money? Help the environment? Both? Knowing your goals will help you determine whether solar is the right choice for you, as well as which option makes the most sense. No matter what you choose, even considering solar means you’re thinking about energy a little differently. And that’s a good thing.
Renewable power – it can help protect your from rising energy costs and even power outages, not to mention the good it does for the environment. Just be sure to consider your options and all the costs involved before making the leap.
Content provided by Safeco Ins.
First Community Financial Group Incorporated (safeco.com)