Meramec Valley News

Earthquakes – Are you Prepared?

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While it’s impossible to know when a disaster might strike, it’s easy to make sure you’re prepared. In the event of an earthquake, the best place to start is to search your home for any potential hazards and to make sure you have a survival kit on hand.

Start a Hazard Hunt


You can start your hazard hunt by imagining that your entire house shaking. Go from room to room in your house to look for any objects that could be ask risk of falling over during an earthquake. Examples would include:

  • bookshelves
  • appliances
  • water heaters and furnaces
  • large screen TV’s
  • other heavy items

Secure your water heater to wall studs with metal straps and bookshelved can be secured using brackets to attach them to wall. Consider installing latches on upper kitchen cabinets to prevent contents spilling out, causing injury. Also, be mindful of these objects that are near your bed in the event the earthquake happens while you are asleep

Build a Kit


 Stock up on emergency supplies. This list is by no means complete but can serve as a starting point.

  • Non-perishable food – enough for each of your family members for up to seven days stored in five gallon buckets or tote boxes
  • Enough water for each of your family members for seven days. Many suggest 2 gallons of water per day / per person.
  • Flashlights with plenty of fresh batteries
  • Radios – Battery Powered, Hand Crank, and/or Solar Radio
  • Camping Supplies for emergency cooking and shelter
  • Cell Phone Charger – Consider getting a Solar charger.
  • Medical Supplies or a well-stocked First Aid Kit and the knowledge to use it
  • Sanitation Supplies – Hand sanitizer, towlettes, toilet paper, paper towels, plastic bags
  • Cash – A severe earthquake could make your cash at the bank unavailable for a period of time.
  • Battery Backup – A good marine battery with a solar charger to supply
  • Power generator with fresh fuel (About 3-5 months depending on where it’s kept. If you add a fuel stabilizer it’ll last 6-8 months)
  • Fire extinguishers – Fire extinguishers can last anywhere from 3 to 12 years
  • Dust Masks for filtering contaminated air
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Extra Seasonal Clothing
  • Blankets and sleeping supplies
  • Any necessary or vital prescriptions – A 30-day supply


Be safe out there!


For more information about Meramec Valley,
or to find an agent near you, visit

Earthquakes – Are You Asking The Right Questions?

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4bb2684df51d6f866b8459643806c19fAre you prepared for a natural disaster? You never know when a disaster might strike and if you aren’t fully prepared the affects could be lasting. With a little preparation, you can help ensure that you and your family aren’t left picking up the pieces of a natural disaster. If you aren’t sure where to start to get prepared, here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

  • FOOD
    • Do you have enough non-perishable food for at least seven days for everyone in your care?
    • Do you have means to cook the food?
    • Do you have enough water (2 gallons per person/per day) for seven days?
    • Do you have a way to safely filter water in the event the need goes beyond seven days?
    • In the event your home is destroyed, do you have a plan about where you would go? Remember that if YOU are displaced from your home, thousands of others will likely be displaced as well. So, for the most part, hotels and motels are NOT an option.
    • Do you have an alternate means by which to heat your home if utilities were to become unavailable for many days?
    • Are these items readily available and secure?
    • Do you have a list of contact information for insurers, financial institutions, families and friends, co-workers, and others?
    • Do you have any special prescription needs? If so, do you have a 30-day supply on hand?
    • Do you have a First Aid Kit?
    • Do you have the knowledge to help yourself and others with basic First Aid?
    • How will you communicate with others in your family and others in the outside world? If cell towers are damaged and unavailable, how would you communicate with family and friends?

joplin_1_0.jpg.560x0_q80_crop-smartIf you answered no to any of the above questions take some time NOW to make plans and prepare so that you can not only survive a disaster, but thrive and help others as well.

Check back with us next week as we go over how to “hazard hunt” your home and give you the basics of what you need in a survival kit.


If you want to start preparing now, and easy way to get the conversation started about your safety is to fill out these FEMA Family Communication Cards, so you can make sure your whole family knows who to contact in case of an emergency.


Be safe out there!


For more information about Meramec Valley,
or to find an agent near you, visit

Earthquakes – Preparing for Disaster

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The 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes were an intense intraplate earthquake series felt over roughly 130,000 square miles. They began with an initial earthquake of moment magnitude 7.5–7.9 on December 16, 1811 which was followed by a moment magnitude 7.4  aftershock on the same day. They remain the most powerful earthquakes to hit the contiguous United States east of the Rocky Mountains in recorded history.


Less severe earthquakes in this region have happened periodically ever since. Even though the U.S. Geological Survey’s annual earthquake forecast in 2017 pinpoints Oklahoma and central California’s coast as highest risks for damaging shaking, it makes perfect sense to be prepared for an earthquake or any other natural or man-made disaster.

FEMA Earthquake Map

Recent Quakes
2016 New Madrid Earthquakes

5/1/16 –  3.514km NNW of La Center, Kentucky  Magnitude 5

4/2/16 –  52km N of Blytheville, Arkansas  Magnitude 2.5

3/20/16 –  69km SW of Caruthersville, Missouri  Magnitude 2.6

3/1/16 –  519km ENE of Hardy, Arkansas  Magnitude 2.5

1/29/16 –  510km E of Malden, Missouri  Magnitude 2.5

1/15/16 –  53km SSW of Caruthersville, Missouri  Magnitude 2.5


It’s important to have a plan for when disaster strikes. Here at Meramec Valley insurance, we want to help you ensure that your family and your home are safe even through the worst. Check back with us next week as we go over key questions you should be asking about your preparedness for a disaster.

For more information on why insuring your home is the safest call, click here: FEMA – Insure your property

Be safe out there!


For more information about Meramec Valley,
or to find an agent near you, visit

Power Strips Advice

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Power strips are not typically designed to have high amperage items like hair dryers and space heaters plugged into them.  This is what could happen and if you are asleep or away from home, you could lose your home, your life; you could lose everything. Don’t take chances!

Be safe out there!


For more information about Meramec Valley,
or to find an agent near you, visit


Back to School

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Back To School

It’s Back to School Time!

Watch for all the little ones walking and biking to school as well as all those new bus-riding kids getting on and off the buses.

Be Patient.

Be Safe.



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or to find an agent near you, visit


12 Things That Are Being Killed by the Internet

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  1. Polite Disagreements – Who hasn’t participated in (or at least read) a string of violent or vitriolic comments on a blog, Facebook, or YouTube? It appears having an opinion with a spirited debate has devolved into name calling and hateful, pointless anger.
  2. Punctuality – Why bother being on time, when you can just text ahead that you’re going to be late?
  3. Telephone Directories – Remember that big book that used to show up once a year?
  4. Music Stores – Since the introduction of iTunes in 2003, music sales have plummeted from $11.8 Billion to $7.1 Billion in 2012. Music sales peaked in 2000 when Americans bought 943 million CD albums and digital sales weren’t even a blip on the radar.
  5. Letter Writing – Pen Pals – Remember stamps and envelopes and what it was like finding a hand written letter in your mailbox?
  6. Memory – Any fact, no matter how obscure, can be dug up within seconds through Google and Wikipedia. There is less value attached to the “mere” storage and retrieval of knowledge. What becomes important is how you use it – the internet age rewards creativity.
  7. Dead Time or Down Time – When was the last time you spent an hour mulling the world looking out a window, or rereading a favorite book?
  8. Photo albums and slide shows – Facebook, Flickr and printing sites like Snapfish are how we share our photos instead of family albums with notes on the back of the photo.
  9. Watching television together – On-demand television has undermined what was one of the medium’s most attractive cultural appeals – the shared experience.
  10. Authoritative reference works – We want reliable information but just aren’t willing to pay for it. Who wants to buy the World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica when you can just browse Wikipedia?
  11. Privacy – We may attack governments for the spread of surveillance culture, but users of social media websites make more information about themselves available than Big Brother could ever hoped to obtain by covert means.
  12. The Insurance Industry – The insurance industry is unfortunately undergoing a quiet revolution in which more and more insurance is being marketed to the buying public with little or no consultation or professional guidance. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.   A Trusted Choice Insurance Agent is always ready to help you tailor a program to meet your specific insurance needs.


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or to find an agent near you, visit

Homeowners Insurance Explained

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Buying a house is a huge investment. Homeowners insurance will protect your home and your investment against sudden and accidental events that threaten the home.

You, the homeowner, are still responsible to the day to day maintenance and upkeep of the property; which is why not everything is covered. It’s much the same as why tires, batteries, and oil are not covered under your auto policy.

There are six types of home insurance coverage built into a policy:

1. Coverage AResidence: Protects against damage to your home due to natural disaster such as hurricane, hail, lightning, or fire.

2. Coverage BRelated Private Structures: Coverage for other structures on your property such as detached garages and other non-business and non-farm related structures.

3. Coverage CPersonal Property: Protects personal items and household contents from covered events or perils.

4. Coverage DLoss of Use: Provides living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to a covered claim.

5. Coverage L Personal Liability Protection: Protects you if there is a lawsuit for bodily injury or property damage.

6. Coverage M — Medical Payments: Covers medical expenses for injury to someone other than an insured person or resident on your property. Sometimes called ‘Good Will’ coverage.

Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover everything. There are a few things not typically covered by homeowners insurance such as:

  • Flood damage
  • Earthquakes or Earth Movement
  • Vermin
  • Basic wear and tear
  • Valuable personal property such as fine jewelry and art

Remember, an insurance policy is a legal contract between you and the insurance company and as such, it is your responsibility to read and understand it. If there is anything you do NOT understand, talk to your agent. They are paid a commission to understand, explain, and help you maintain your policy of coverage. 


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Save Money on Air Conditioning

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Here are seven easy things you can do to save money on air conditioning / electrical costs:

  1. Replace filters every three months. Clean filters reduce fan pressure, requiring less energy.
  2. Make sure the area around the unit is free of grass clippings, leaves, and other debris.
  3. Operate with  fan switch on “auto”, instead of the ‘on’ position so that the fan runs only when the compressor runs.
  4. A  programmable thermostat set slightly higher during off-hours can save up to 10% in cooling costs a year.
  5. Draw shades, hopefully insulated shades, especially on the southern facing windows to minimize the amount of hot sunlight entering the room.
  6. Use efficient lighting such as LED lights that do not give off excessive heat.
  7. Ceiling fans can reduce the need for AC, resulting in a potential 15 percent savings.

An annual inspection by a licensed technician can further reduce your risk of lost business, repair and energy costs. A technician will:

  1. Check electrical connections for looseness, and signs of moisture, damage or corrosion.
  2. Recommend a power protection device to protect the unit from brownouts, power surges or lightning.
  3. Check lubricating oil in the compressor’s crankcase heater.
  4. Check that the condenser is clean and surrounding area is free of vegetation, trash and stored materials. A dirty unit can increase power consumption by 10%.
  5. Keep surfaces of the cooling coils clean with filters.
  6. Check for proper refrigerant levels.


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or to find an agent near you, visit

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