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Preventing Frozen Pipes

November 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst, frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several ways to protect your home:

  • Keep the heat in your house at a minimum of 50° F.
     
  • Allow faucets to drip slightly, which can alleviate pressure in the piping system.
     
  • Keep interior doors open. This allows heat from the rest of your house to spread, keeping your pipes warm.
     
  • Seal any cracks and holes found near your pipes. This can help keep cold air out of your home.
     

  • Add extra insulation to your pipes. Experts recommend fitting your pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves.

Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. If you fail to take the proper precautions, your pipes can easily fail during a cold winter, which can be incredibly costly to repair.

Time Management Tips

November 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

One way to reduce workplace stress is through time management. Proper time management allows you to complete pressing tasks efficiently and allocate enough resources to complete future projects as well.

Workplace stress is a common aspect of employment, particularly if you often find yourself with a heavy workload. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate stress, it’s critical to manage it effectively. One way to reduce workplace stress is through time management. Proper time management methods allow you to complete pressing tasks efficiently and allocate enough resources to finish future projects as well.

The following time management tips can help you reduce workplace stress caused by heavy workloads:

  • Complete the most important tasks first.
  • Learn how to say no to projects that aren’t time sensitive or fall outside of your responsibilities.
  • Get plenty of rest so you are productive during the workday.
  • Eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.
  • Get an early start on upcoming projects whenever possible.
  • Stay organized.
  • Budget time between tasks to address any issues and to prepare for upcoming projects.

If workplace stress persists, it may be a good idea to speak with your supervisor. They will be able to provide ways to help limit your workload and able to provide ways to help limit your workload and improve your situation.

10 Health and Safety Tips for Laptop Usage
The use of laptop computers simplifies work, improving workplace mobility, quality and productivity overall. However, overuse of laptops can increase your chance of injury. Read on to learn more.

Hot Weather Safety Tips For Your Pet

July 10th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:

  • Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
     
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
     
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
     
  • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
     
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
     
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
     
  • Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
     
  • Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
     
  • When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
     
  • Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
     
  • Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
     
  • Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home. Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape by downloading the ASPCA Mobile App. You’ll receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.

For other ways to help, download and share our hot weather safety infographic to alert others of the dangers your pets may face during the summer.

It's hot out! Don't leave your pet in the car!

 

Most Commonly Stolen Passwords

April 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2017, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.

To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses.  Attempt to create a password that is eight or more characters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.

1 123456
2 password
3 12345678
4 qwerty
5 12345
6 123456789
7 letmein
8 1234567
9 football
10 iloveyou
11 admin
12 welcome
13 monkey
14 login
15 abc123
16 starwars
17 123123
18 dragon
19 passw0rd
20 master
21 hello
22 freedom
23 whatever
24 qazwsx
25 trustno1

Snapchat “SNAP MAP” Safety

February 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

January 4th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning, causing costly damage to your home, vehicles and personal belongings. When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

In order to get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

  • Call your insurer as soon as an incident occurs. The quicker you get the process moving, the better. After you’ve contacted your insurer, you can ask an adjuster to come and inspect the damage.
     
  • Document your losses before the adjuster comes. Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster. Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.
     
  • Take photographs of the accident scene, and don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurer.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurers and what the conversations entailed. This will help you track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allow you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

Read our inSIGHTS Newsletter – January 2018 Issue here.

Home Inventory Checklist

November 9th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Why create a home inventory checklist?

Though your homeowners insurance policy provides the protection that you need in the event of a loss such as a fire or burglary, your policy can only pay for items that you can document. In order to assure that all your prize possessions will be replaced, you should conduct a home inventory so you have a finite record of everything that you own. This inventory will assist you in determining which items were destroyed or stolen.

How should you conduct a home inventory?

To complete a full home inventory, walk through every room in your home and identify all of the contents. It is also wise to take photographs or make a video of all of your possessions, and keep this media documentation with your list. Then, place all of this information into a fireproof safe or safety deposit box at your bank.

Periodically, update this list as you purchase more items for your home.

How does a home inventory list relate to my insurance policy?

Not only can a household inventory checklist assist you in the event of a loss, it can also help you determine whether you have enough insurance coverage. Your coverage should equal the cost of your possessions at today’s prices. Items such as jewelry, furs and fine art should be appraised on a regular basis to ensure that you have enough insurance to cover their high-priced value.

Once you have completed your home inventory walk-thru, contact Hodge, Hart & Schleifer for more assistance with your insurance needs.

Download the Home Inventory Checklist here.

Disaster Donation Scams

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

“Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu

October 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. 

CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu): 

Step One

Take time to get a flu vaccine.

 

Take time to get a flu vaccine like this young boy from an older female nurse.

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.  Learn more about vaccine timing.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

Step Two

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

 

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs like this mother teaching her young child to wash hands.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • See Everyday Preventive Actions[257 KB, 2 Pages] and Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu).

Step 3

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

 

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them like this older woman listening to her doctor.

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complicationsFor people with high risk factors[702 KB, 2 Pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
  • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
  • Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu.

Source: cdc.gov