First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
When I think of fall, the first images that pop into my head are colorful foliage, apple cider, Halloween, cold weather and shorter days. While the season is an exciting time for many people across the U.S., it can be a dangerous time for your pets! Between the sudden drop in temperatures, holidays and first few months of school, there are plenty of environmental factors to keep in mind when it comes to protecting your furry friends. Here are some seasonally-relevant precautions to remember when your pet is playing outside, or simply wandering inside of your house!
Remember to contact your local veterinarian right away if you believe your pet has ingested something toxic, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. If you have any other helpful tips, feel free to share them in the comments below!
Summer is ending and fall is beginning to come on quickly. Wouldn't it be nice to escape what's up next? You wouldn't be the only person who decides to do just that. In fact, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association estimates that there are over 2 million people spending the winter in RVs, which doesn't even include those who rent or own a second home.
The people who escape the harsh winters of their primary location to live in a warmer climate are known as snowbirds. Snowbirds are typically retirees or business owners, and the snowbird season runs from October through April, but may vary from year to year.
Are you a snowbird, or better yet, are you going to become one? Before you take flight towards a warmer climate and leisure lifestyle, check out the following 6 tips for your home and finances so you can fully enjoy your home away from home.
Prepare your home for winter
It is important for everyone to prepare their homes for the winter season to avoid expensive damage or homeowner's claims caused by cold weather and snowstorms. It is even more important to prepare your home for winter if it will be vacant during the coldest months of the year since you won't be there to notice any problems that may arise. Prior to closing up your home, inspect your roof for any damage that could result in leaking and clean gutters and downspouts. Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls and open cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to get into concealed spaces, which can make pipes less likely to freeze. Also, drain and shut off outdoor water faucets.
Winter's high winds and snowstorms can cause a lot of damage from fallen tree limbs; therefore, make it a priority to remove dead trees or large overhanging tree limbs before you leave town.
Ask someone to shovel snow
Arrange to have a neighbor shovel snow from your driveway. This will help prevent snow that melts from leaking into the home and causing damage. It can also prevent your home from looking vacant and becoming a target of thieves.
Secure your home
Home security is a big issue if you're away from your house for months. Stop your newspaper delivery and forward your mail to your winter address or have it picked up on a regular basis. Also have someone check the house at least weekly to make sure any flyers or packages that are delivered while you're gone don't build up and make the house look unoccupied. Secure doors and windows with deadbolt locks, and install slide locks or other security locks on sliding glass doors or French doors. You can also install variable light timers, which turn lights on and off at different times to make it look like someone is home.
Notify your bank
Before you leave, provide the bank with your contact information as well as your temporary address. This will give the banks a heads up, so there are no issues regarding out-of-state debit and credit card charges. If your financial institution is not aware that you will be away for a long period of time, your account could be frozen temporarily as they may see out-of-state charges as suspicious activity or fraud.
Sign up for online banking
Online banking allows you to receive bills and make payments online. It gives you the peace of mind that your bills are being paid on time, without having to wait for statements to be mailed to your current location.
Maintaining two homes can be a lot of work, so it's important to be prepared with a good and reliable insurance policy as seasons change and before you take flight towards a warmer climate.
by The Foremost Creative Team
Foremost® Insurance has policies for Homes, Mobile Homes, Travel Trailers, RV's, ATVs, Golf Carts, Snowmobiles, UTVs, and other off-road vehicles. If you're looking for A Better Insurance Experience®, you can get a quote with us today!
What is the point of Labor Day?
I simultaneously posed this question to both Google and anyone within earshot at the office yesterday and got back numerous responses; ranging from "the last day of summer," to "a celebration of the American worker" and "a day to spend time with family before school starts again."
While the internet delivered an in-depth history of American labor unions, the office conversation drifted into family traditions of barbeques, sporting events, camping, beach days and more. And while no one could agree on the best way to spend the unofficial end of summer, everyone brought up the same final point—"isn't it the last day you're supposed to wear white pants?"
And that's true. Traditionally, Labor Day is the last day it is considered fashionable to wear white pants and seersucker suits. While seersucker is a more forgiving material, white, regardless of the fabric, is not. So with that in mind, I present to you a list of ways to safely celebrate this Labor Day weekend and preserve your cherished white trousers so they may rise again next Memorial Day.
When most people hear the words "white pants" the first thing that comes to mind is stains, and on Labor Day that means barbeque sauce. Many people may think that putting on an apron and keeping a reasonable distance while their brother-in-law enthusiastically bastes his chicken wings is enough, but here are a few other points to keep in mind:
Road Trip Safety
Keeping your britches fresh on the road can be tricky, but with these few tips your weekend should be clean and clear.
Driving Drunk is Never in Style
Regardless of whether or not you follow the "no white after Labor Day" rule or even know what seersucker is, impaired driving is never an option. The National Safety Council estimates that approximately 400 people die in traffic accidents each year over Labor Day weekend, and in 2010, 22% of all automobile accidents were attributed to intoxicated drivers.
Finally, if you see someone about to drive drunk, take their keys and help them to get home safely. Because just as you want your lucky pair of white pants or fitted seersucker jacket to be there next spring, you're going to want your friends to be there even more.
Have a fun and safe weekend!
by Marrio Roberts Jr., Foremost Blog
Moles don't come above ground often. But when they do, they make their presence known. Unfortunately, the renovations they make aren't always the most desirable.
Moles dig up dirt to create tunnels and to find insects. This can damage your grass and any plants you may have nearby.
If you start to see mounds of dirt scattered around your lawn, there's a good chance you have a mole infestation. If you want to know how to get rid of moles in your yard, you may find some helpful tips in this article.
If you're looking for A Better Insurance Experience®, you can get a quote with Foremost® today! Or contact First Community Financial Group, a Foremost independent agent!
Do you know what to do when a storm threatens? Prepare for hurricane season by taking the time now to understand the actions needed when time is of the essence.
School Safety Home - National Safety Council (nsc.org) -- Back to School Safety Checklist
Back-to-School Safety for Drivers - National Safety Council (nsc.org) -- Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road
School Safety: Distracted Walking - National Safety Council (nsc.org) -- Head up, phone down!
The first rule for having a fun, carefree day at the beach? Always check the weather before you head out! Follow these beach safety tips to get your summer off to a good start.
Check the weather before you head out. If thunderstorms or rain is in the forecast, we suggest planning your excursion for a different day.
Watch for warning flags. And know what they mean!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! But not with booze, which will increase your risk of overheating. The CDC also reports that alcohol use is a factor in up to 50 percent of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation. So keep it dry.
Save your skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and even more often if you’ve been in the water during that time. SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Keep a careful eye out for children. They may need your help!
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It's hot out there. Are you staying cool?
All you have to do is turn on the news, or leave air conditioning, to know that it's hot outside all over our country. The blazing heat of the summer is tough on our bodies. If you don’t have the luxury of staying indoors where your AC is blasting on high, then you know how hard it can be to stay cool during the summer months. Most of us need to work, so there is no escaping the brutal summer heat. But don’t let the heat stop you. There are ways you can beat the heat and stay cool without sacrificing your sanity.
The CDC recommends… "Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink."
Water, Water, Water! Stay away from sugary drinks. Sugar can actually dehydrate you!
The CDC recommends… "Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps."
Repeat above. No alcohol. Water, Water, Water!
The CDC recommends… "Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing."
Think cotton, white, something breezy!
The CDC recommends… "If you must be out in the heat, limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours."
If the bugs are bad, use some bug spray. Try to stay out of the direct sun in the middle of the day.
The CDC recommends… "Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat,…sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher…"
This should be a no-brainer. Protect your noggin and your face -- and protect your exposed skin. Your dermatologist will praise you.
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Summer’s Here in Texas – What to Do With the Kids?
It’s the age-old question that parents in Texas face every year: How do we keep the kids occupied this summer?
Well, there are always the biggies, such as theme parks or camping. But, with work and other obligations getting in the way, not to mention your budget, you can’t always get away from home. So, we here at First Community Financial Group have compiled a list of some activities that are both educational and fun — and that your kids are sure to enjoy!
There are a number of ways you can encourage the young artist in your family, from programs and offerings at local museums to do-it-yourself art projects. Try these ideas from The Artful Parent, a website focused on encouraging art and creativity in children:
Have a budding scientist around the house? Try these basic projects from PBS:
Reading — It’s Not Just for School
Encouraging your kids to read over the summer can help them when school gets back in session, so don’t miss an opportunity. You can share the newspaper in the morning, or simply read the cereal box at breakfast. Even a few minutes a day can have a big impact.
You might also consider the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free online program for children from May 4 to September 4. Last year more than a million kids from 29 countries took part, and this year’s program features free book lists, a sweepstakes and the chance to set a world record.
Of course, there are thousands of things you can do with your kids in [city, state or region] over the course of the summer. If these ideas aren’t up your alley, consider summer camp, local music and sports programs or volunteering in the community.
Summer will be over before you know it, so make the most of it!
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.