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Swimming Pool Safety

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Swimming Pool Safety & Liability Precautions

Did You Know?

Fun in the sun is even better when you have a swimming pool in your backyard to stay cool on hot, summer days. Despite all the entertainment that a swimming pool offers, there are also homeowner liabilities. To help you minimize your risk, we’ve gathered some safety tips to keep you in the know as you swim.

To Minimize Drowning Risks:

  • Install safety fences around the pool with a locked latch and place a cover over the pool when you are not using it.
     
  • Always supervise welcome swimmers at all times.
     
  • Keep lifesaving equipment near the pool and learn how to properly use it.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers to horseplay in the pool.

To Minimize Disease Risks:

  • Keep the pool water properly filtered and chemically treated.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers to drink pool water.
     
  • Keep pets out of the pool.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers with open wounds or illnesses to go in the water.
     
  • Do not allow babies to swim unless they are wearing swim diapers.

To Minimize Chemical Risks:

  • Avoid over-shocking the pool; keep chemicals at the proper levels.
     
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully when adding chemicals to the pool or filtration system.
     
  • Store chemicals in a cool, dry place where they are away from fire hazards and lawn care products.

Safety First

As the homeowner, you are liable for the safety of all swimmers. To ensure that you can adequately protect people on your property, consider taking lifeguarding, CPR and first aid courses so you know what to do in an emergency.

Lock Up Your Car Safely

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

The Importance of Locking Up

Locking your car is easy, right? Well, it’s more complicated than you might think, especially if you are the target of thieves. Read on to learn more.

Picture the following scenario:

You pull in to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of milk and some hamburger buns for tonight’s family meal. You are only in the store for five minutes and come out to your car to find your valuables have been stolen from your vehicle. You locked your doors, yet there is no sign of a break-in.

What happened?

When leaving your car and locking it with the key fob on your key chain, thieves sitting in the parking lot can actually use a device that clones your vehicle’s security code emitted by the fob. Then, they can use that device to easily unlock your vehicle and sail away with your belongings without leaving a mark behind.

To combat this theft danger, ALWAYS LOCK YOUR CAR FROM THE INSIDE WITH THE LOCK ON YOUR CAR DOOR. When pushing the lock button on your door, you are not emitting your vehicle’s security code. In addition to being fully aware of your surroundings, this safety precaution may prevent a break-in.

Safety First

Consider purchasing a vehicle theft protection alarm for your car. If someone tries to break in, the alarm will sound and may deter the thief. If nothing else, it will alert others around your vehicle that there is a problem and to call the police.

CDC Recommends Shingles Vaccine

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Despite CDC Recommendation, Many Adults Still Refusing Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is an extremely common—and painful—viral infection, affecting 1 out of every 3 Americans at some point in their life. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, so anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body. While scientists are unsure what causes the virus to awaken at a later date, they do know that the only way to reduce the risk of getting shingles is to get vaccinated. 

Recommended Shingles Vaccine

The CDC recommends that adults use a new vaccine called Shingrix instead of Zostavax, which had been the recommended vaccine from 2006-2017. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common shingles complication. In studies, two doses of Shingrix were found to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. People who have had shingles in the past, have received the Zostavax vaccine or are unsure if they have had chickenpox should also receive the Shingrix vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.

To find doctor’s offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

May 2018 Festivals and Events

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

While most schools in the United States remain in session throughout the month of May, there are still plenty of events and festivals happening in the Capital Region this time of year.

Whether you’re visiting Washington, D.C. or the surrounding communities in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, there are plenty of things to do including annual celebrations, community engagement projects, and a variety of cultural performances and even parades.

From the National Cathedral’s annual flower market to Memorial Day weekend events and activities, add a little something extra to your vacation to the Capital Region this May by checking out one (or more) of these fantastic festivals.

Schedule of Activities for May 2018

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

From April 27 through May 6, 2018, the 91st Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will return to Winchester, Virginia to celebrate the blooming apple trees in the Shenandoah Valley. This annual homage to spring features more than 45 events including the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah, the Grand Feature Parade, band competitions, dances, a carnival, a 10K run, and a series of demonstrations by local firefighters. The event is free to attend and a great way to discover this beautiful mountain town near the nation’s capital.

National Cathedral Flower Mart

Unlike in years past, the Flower Mart at the National Cathedral will take place on one day only, May 4, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guest can enjoy the grounds of this famed cathedral, browse through dozens of floral displays, take part in family-friendly activities, and enjoy musical entertainment all for free.

Local food vendors—including farmers selling herbs, flowers, and produce—will also be on-site, so you won’t need to bring a lunch to this event.

Passport DC and Around the World Embassy Tour

Taking place all month long each year in May, Passport DC is an event sponsored by Cultural Tourism DC that features a wide range of performances, talks, exhibits, and tours of foreign embassies in the nation’s capital.

In 2018, Cultural Tourism DC will partner with the Around the World Embassy Tourto showcase embassies from Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and the Americas, with artists and artisans, performers, lecturers, teachers, and politicians.

DC Funk Parade

Since 2013, the U Street Corridor of Washington, D.C. has hosted an annual parade and street festival to honor the diverse culture of performance and art in one of the city’s liveliest entertainment districts. On May 12, 2018, the Fifth Annual Funk Paradewill return to the U Street District with a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade, and music festival. The event also features a costume lounge and “funky costume corps,” the Academy of Funk workshops, and the Intergalactic Inter-Generation Station where guests can explore this history of this off-beat music genre.

Virginia Gold Cup

The annual steeplechase in Virginia horse country features horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, tailgate competitions, and a fancy hat contest at the Great Meadow Polo Club in The Plains, Virginia. The event takes place on May 5, 2018, and starts with a tailgating party before the race. Attendees can reserve tailgating spots on the Member’s Hill, North Rail, and South Rail of the Great Meadow, but must register in advance (for free) to enter the Tailgating Contest.

Charity Walks

There are plenty of opportunities to improve your own health while raising money for worthwhile DC-area charities at the same time. On May 6, 2018, you can participate in the Public Service 5K Walk/Run, which supports civilian federal and postal workers through the Federal Employee Education & Assitance Fund (FEEA), or the 2018 Race for Hope, which supports funding research for brain tumors. On May 12, you can take part in the Semper Fi 5K to raise money for victims of the 9/11 attacks, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families.

Outdoor Movies

Nothing quite says summer in the Capital Region like watching a recent (or classic) film on a large outdoor screen in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. From D.C. Outdoor Films in Chinatown Park to Movies on the Potomac at the National Harbor in Maryland, there are plenty of chances to catch outdoor films all month long.

Movie nights in May typically take place on Fridays and Saturdays, but in June through August, there are many more movie events including on weeknights.

Spring Theater Performances

Although not as famous for theatre as New York City’s Broadway, touring and local productions abound in Washington, D.C. this spring. Coming to the Capital Region in 2018, you can see “The Wiz” at Ford’s Theatre until May 12, Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia” until May 13, and “Waitress” at the National Theatre starting May 15, among many others.

Washington Nationals Baseball

The Major League Baseball’s National League East plays 81 home games each season at Nationals Park Stadium in Washington, D.C. You can enjoy a fun-filled day cheering on the capital’s baseball team all month long but be sure to check the official MLB schedule for special events and ticketing before you go. Special events in May 2018 include U.S. Navy Day May 1, Federal Workforce Day May 2, Star Wars Day May 5, and Seniors Stroll the Bases on May 23.

Fiesta Asia: Silver Spring and Street Fair

The flagship event for Fiesta Asia takes place in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 6, 2018. Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month with an Asian street fair featuring live entertainment and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Fiesta Asia Street Fair will also take place on Capitol Hill as part of the Passport DC program on May 19, 2018. This larger street fair includes outdoor food and craft vendors, martial arts and cooking demonstrations, a talent show, and many music and dance performances.

Georgetown Garden Tour

Each year since 1928, the Georgetown Garden Club has sponsored guided tours of the area’s most exquisite gardens. The 90th Annual Georgetown Garden Tour will take place on May 12, 2018, starting at 31st and O Streets. Included in your ticket, you’ll also be treated to an afternoon snack of baked goods and cold beverages at the Keith Hall of Christ Church as well as a self-guided tour of a wide variety of gardens in the neighborhood.

Mother’s Day Events and Activities

If you’re visiting the Washington, D.C. area for Mother’s Day on May 13, 2018, there are several special events and activities worth checking out to give your mom a special treat. Start the day off right with Mother’s Day brunch specials at some of the city’s best restaurants, and don’t forget to stop for afternoon tea at Tudor Place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. for a special mother-centric service. You can also take a cruise along the Potomac River, a free Mother’s Day tour of the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, or go for a hike or picnic in Maryland or Virginia.

National Police Week

Starting with the Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National Police Week 5K on Saturday, May 12, 2018, National Police Week events will take place all week long in Washington, D.C. to honor law officers and their families. Events continue through May 19, 2018, and include a candlelight vigil, a memorial service, and the National Police Survivor’s Conference.

Maryland Craft Beer Festival

Featuring over 175 different brews from more than 40 Maryland breweries, the Maryland Craft Beer Festival returns to Carrol Creek Park in Frederick on May 12, 2018. The one-day festival features beer tastings and proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Brewers Association of Maryland, which helps these 40 independent breweries get started and stay afloat. Tickets range from $15 for the designated driver (free for kids under 15) to $55 for a VIP pass that grants early entry and access to limited edition and small-batch brews.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

You can browse the works of over 140 contemporary artists and enjoy live entertainment, children’s activities, and downtown restaurants at the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival on May 12 and 13, 2018. Located in what’s known as the Woodmont Triangle in Bethesda, Maryland, this free event features ceramics, clothing, furniture, glass, jewelry, mixed media, paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, wood carving, and film all in one place—just 30 minutes from Downton D.C.

Washington Jewish Film Festival

The Edlavich Jewish Community Center of Washington, D.C. (DCJCC) will present its annual Washington Jewish Film Festival from May 2 to 13, 2018. Each year, the Edlavich DCJCC organizes a series of film screenings, panel discussions with filmmakers, bar crawls and awards presentations. In 2018, the event kicks off with a screening of the documentary “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me” and closes with a screening of ” The Invisibles.”

Blue Angels Air Shows

The U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, an elite team of 18 pilots known as the Blue Angels, tour the United States to put on aerial demonstrations of their skills. In 2018, you’ll have three chances to catch the Blue Angels perform. From May 18 through 25, the U.S. Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week in Annapolis features a USNA campus air show on May 23 and 24 and a graduation flyover of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on May 25.

Taste of Arlington

On May 20, 2018, you can enjoy all the best culinary confections that the city of Arlington, Virginia has to offer at the annual Taste of Arlington festival on Wilson Boulevard. This lively street festival also features local entertainment, children’s activities, a wine, beer, and spirits area, a “Girls on the Run” 5K run, and Bark Park for your pets. Proceeds from this event go to benefit local charities.

DC Dragon Boat Festival

The D.C. Dragon Boat Festival returns to Thompson’s Boathouse Center with dragon boat races, cultural performances, and hands-on activities along the Potomac River on May 19 and 20, 2018. Now in its 17th year, the dragon boat festival is sponsored by the Taiwan-U.S. Cultural Association (TUSCA) and serves to promote Taiwanese culture in the Capital Region.

Memorial Day Weekend Events

In 2018, Memorial Day weekend starts on Friday, May 25 and ends Monday, May 28, and the Capitol Region offers dozens of special events to celebrate this federal holiday. Rockville’s Hometown Holidays in Maryland is a three-day street festival in celebration of the holiday weekend with music, children’s entertainment, and a parade. Alternatively, you could head out to the Delaplane Strawberry Festival at Sky Meadows State Park for the annual festival featuring pony and hay rides, a petting zoo, 5K run, live entertainment, and strawberries.

America’s Best Spring Drives

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Views out the car window look brightest in spring, when the landscape bursts with wildflowers. See for yourself on America’s best spring drives.

Remember when Dorothy dozes off among scarlet poppies in The Wizard of Oz? Well, those vivid flowers weren’t just a figment of Hollywood magic. Similar poppies set California’s Antelope Valley ablaze in spring, luring road-trippers from L.A. and beyond.

The arrival of spring inspires us to break out from winter’s hibernation and embrace the fresh outdoors. A road trip naturally satisfies that spontaneous travel urge, and we’ve mapped America’s best spring drives—routes that bring you up-close to nature’s finest floral displays, from a California poppy tour to Texas Hill Country’s bluebonnets.

Of course, flowers in bloom aren’t the only draw for these American road trips, many of which meander by woodlands, lakes, small quaint towns, even historic mansions and museums. Consider Colorado’s 232-mile San Juan Skyway, which takes visitors up melting snowcapped mountains, past natural hot springs, and through restored ghost towns. It’s an officially designated American Byway, one of nine we’ve featured, among them, Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway in South Carolina.

Road trips are an American pastime, and you don’t need to travel far to enjoy some of spring’s loveliest drives—these routes start at 25 miles—and free smartphone apps like GasBuddy can point you to the cheapest nearby fuel options. Some of T+L’s other favorite gas-saving tips include: pack light (less weight in your vehicle means better gas mileage); charge it (many credit cards give cash back on gas purchases); and drive steady (conserve fuel by going easy on the pedals).

No matter what route you travel and no matter how many detours you take, spring into action this season by road-tripping through America’s most awe-inspiring floral landscapes.

Kick Off Spring with Fun Ideas

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Kick Off Spring with 21 Crazy Fun Ideas for You and Your Kids

Spring has sprung. Somewhere birds are chirping. Is it still chilly in your neck of the woods? Try these activities and the temperature won’t matter.

1. Spruce up your footwear. Decorate plain white sneaks. Using paint pens, doodle your own designs or paint blue skies, wispy clouds, green trees, and lavender flowers.

2. Watch nature in action. Tour your town or an area park looking for budding leaves, early blooms, and robins.

3. Fashion a kids-only clubhouse with blankets tossed over a circle of lawn chairs. Serve lunch outside.

4. Tie-dye T-shirts in soft pastels or wild primary colors.

5. Collect rocks, paint them sky blue, leaf green, sun yellow, and cloud white. Display them indoors on the kitchen table, or outdoors around your mailbox or ringing a favorite tree.

6. Tap your inner forester. Collect leaves from local trees, identify them, and make rubbings.

7. Hang a bird feeder. Then keep it stocked with goodies for feathered guests.

8. Spring clean to music to finish faster. Reduce your clutter by 30 odds and ends.

9. Go fake camping. Grill veggie or turkey burgers outdoors, sing songs, and feast on s’mores. Sleep inside in a makeshift tent, or a sleeping bag, on the family room, living room, or basement floor.

10. Learn birdcalls online. Instead of words, use your personal chirps to say hi to other family members.

11. Play catch with water balloons (outside) . . . and keep a stack of beach towels handy for the inevitable explosions.

12. Host a tea party outside on a blanket. Serve Rice Krispies treats in pastel colors (dye the marshmallows with a few drops of food coloring).

13. Make a spring bouquet with tissue-paper flowers. Fold tissue paper back and forth in a fan effect; fold in half and secure with a chenille-stick ‘stem.’

14. Anticipate the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Hose down your swing set, hammock, or porch swing now.

15. Fly a kite, row a boat, or take up archery.

16. Support your local Little League teams. Attend their games, wear the team colors, and donate oranges and water as refreshments.

17. Decorate planters, using pinwheels instead of flowers, for an instant garden—no watering necessary!

18. Organize a neighborhood stroller-wagon-bicycle parade on a Saturday morning. All wheels welcome!

19. Satisfy a sweet tooth. Make springtime sundaes with vanilla ice cream, pastel sprinkles, and lots of whipped cream.

20. Do your community a favor. Pick up trash in the park or join forces with your neighbors on spring clean-up day.

21. Celebrate spring as they do in other cultures. The Russians eat pancakes; the Swedes light bonfires; the Japanese picnic when the cherry blossoms bloom. You can, too!