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!


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Poison Prevention Week – The Third Week of March

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More than two million potential poison exposures are reported every year to American poison control centers. More than 90% of these poisoning occur in the home, and a majority of these occur with children 5 years of age and younger.

Though calls regarding children still make up more than half of all calls to poison control centers, they only account for a small percent of the deaths due to poisoning. Poisoning of adults is on the rise in our nation and only stands behind motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths.

Over 1000 Americans die from poisoning every year.

You can help prevent poisoning. Here’s a few ways:

  • Keep medicines and household products in their original containers in a different place than food.
  • Always read product labels and follow any directions.
  • Keep household products and medicines locked up. Put them where kids can’t see them or reach them.
  • Buy products with child-resistant packaging. But remember, nothing is child-proof.
  • Never call medicine “candy.” Poisons may look like food or drink. Teach children to ask an adult before tasting anything.
  • Learn about products and drugs that young people use to get “high.” Talk to your teen or pre-teen about these dangers.
  • Have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

If you think someone has been poisoned, you should call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. Serious poisonings don’t always have early signs.


Be safe out there!


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The Difference Between Life and Death

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Metal whistle isolated on white

If you’re hiking or camping with children, put a whistle around their necks. Make them wear it all the time. Train them to use it if they get lost or separated from you. It’s louder than yelling and they can keep whistling as long as they’re breathing.

This could mean the difference between life and death.

Be safe out there!


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It’s Never Too Soon To Get Prepared

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Notepad with disaster plan on a wooden table.

Whether it’s hurricanes, earthquakes, are other widespread disasters, it’s never too soon to get prepared, but it will…. sooner or later… be too late.

“It’s critically important that individuals and individual families understand what they have to do, from their point of view,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “Preparedness should be something we all do naturally. It’s very similar to when we get into a car. We put on a seatbelt automatically and we know we’re prepared in terms of not going thorugh the windshield if there’s a collision. We have health insurance and life insurance and homeowner’s insurance, all which are there just in case we need those things.”

Full Story Here: http://www.nola.com/living/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2015/03/prepper_baton_rouge_emergency.html

Be safe out there!


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Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week – January 25-29

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The Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged that it has paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulently filed income tax returns? January 25-29 is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your SSN. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying it has identified a suspicious return using your SSN.

See this document from the IRS for more information: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5027.pdf

Be safe out there!


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Cold Weather Suggestions

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  1. Swimming Pools – Drain water from the swimming pool using the manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.
  2. Outdoor Hoses – Disconnect outside hoses from the hose bib and if one is available, close inside valve.
  3. Exposed water lines – check around the house, in crawl spaces, etc to find any pipes that may be exposed to the elements and insulate accordingly.
  4. Heat Tape – Consider installing heat tapes or similar UL-Approved products to exposed water pipes or any water pipes that are adjacent to exterior walls. A low tech, low cost solution if you have no other available option is to wrap pipes in newspaper. This is obviously not the preferred method, but if you do not have the cash available for heat tape, this may work.
  5. Close Garage Doors if there are exposed water lines in the garage.
  6. Open kitchen/bathroom cabinets when the weather outside gets really frigid. Make sure to move any harmful chemicals that may be under the sink if there are children or pets in the home.
  7. Consider relocating pipes that are adjacent to exterior walls and therefore subject to freezing.
  8. Add insulation to appropriate places in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and walls.


Be safe out there!


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or to find an agent near you, visit

It’s Electronic Pickpocket Season

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It takes just a moment to be electronically (RFID) pickpocketed.

With just a wave of the thief’s hand holding the device, he or she will electronically steal all of your personal and credit card information. You will be totally unaware of the theft, and your next billing statement could have THOUSANDS of dollars of THEIR charges on it. Sure, you will (most likely) not be held accountable for the charges, but why not avoid the hassle with a simple, easy-to-use precaution?

That solution?

RFID** wallets or sleeves available at most department stores, office supply stores, and various online vendors including Amazon. For just a few dollars, you could avoid a lot of misery dealing with a problem that shouldn’t have been yours to deal with in the first place.


These sleeves or wallets that hold your cards will block the thief’s device and they’ll have to move along to the next, unprepared, victim.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends.

Be safe out there!


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**RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data from your credit/debit cards at the store’s terminal for your convenience and protection, but the thieves are already ahead of them.

Weathering the Storm: BLIZZARD/SNOW

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Weathering the Storm: BLIZZARDS/SNOW

snow covered car

The threat of intense or massive snowfall always sends a wave of panic throughout our community. With just a little planning, you will reduce your worries and reduce your need to hit the crowded stores every time threatening weather is forecasted.

Obviously being entirely prepared all at once can be costly, but you can start small with the most important items and add as you go.


  1. HEAT – Have an alternate heat source ready.
    1. If your home has a fireplace or wood stove, make sure the chimney/flue is clean and ready to operate. Flues that haven’t been used in months or years can be potentially dangerous.
    2. Some opt for propane or kerosene heaters. If you do, remember that if not properly ventilated, the gases and/or fumes will kill you. Be careful.
    3. Some opt to use a generator and an electric space heater.
  2. LIGHT/ELECTRICITY – Have a generator.
    1. If you already have a generator, make sure you have fresh fuel. Do NOT store it indoors near any heat or ignition sources (flames).
    2. If you don’t have a generator, do your homework before you buy. There are many varieties and configurations out there. You get what you pay for.
    3. Keep plenty of smaller light sources on hand like battery operated flashlights or candles.
    4. Keep an alternate charging source charged at all times for cell phones and other electronic devices.


  1. FOOD – Always maintain a supply of food to feed your family.
    1. Short Term Foods – Items like canned soup, peanut butter/jelly/crackers, protein bars, canned fruit.
    2. Long Term Foods – Items like Rice, Beans, canned vegetables, canned meat
      Ultra Long Term Foods – Freeze dried foods and other commercially available ‘kits’ like MRE’s.
    3. Staples – Flour, salt, sugar, honey, baking soda, powdered milk, vinegar, yeast
    4. Do you have an alternate way to cook your food in the event utilities are interrupted? A gas grill or camp stove maybe?
  2. WATER – If your water supply should stop, you have to make sure to have an adequate store of water available. The absolute minimal amount of water a person needs on a daily basis is ONE gallon. That’s a half gallon for cooking and basic hydration and a half gallon for hygiene. So, if you have a family of four, and want to have enough water on hand for two weeks, that’s 56 gallons of water.


  1. HYGIENE – Do you have plenty of hygiene items like: shampoo, soap, toothpaste, razors, etc?
  2. FIRST AID – Obviously, the more supplies the better, but what about some basic first aid items such as: bandages, alcohol and hyrogen peroxide, pain relievers, wraps for sprains, etc.


  1. Disconnect all hoses and close any openings in crawl spaces to protect your plumbing from freezing.
  2. Check on the condition of your snow and ice removal tools.
  3. Do you have salt for your driveway? This is one of the FIRST items to disappear from the shelves at your store. Beat the rush and buy some now.
  4. Do you have plenty of flashlights and fresh batteries?


  1. How old is your battery?
  2. Do you have windshield deicer handy?
  3. Check your car’s tire treads.
  4. Some people keep kitty litter or other grit available in the event they get stuck or need some added traction for the tires.
  5. Use an oil viscosity that is appropriate for winter months.
  6. Make sure your car’s cooling system is well-prepared and rated for low temperatures.


Pretend you were stranded somewhere in your car for several days. What would you want or need in the way of Food, Water, First Aid, Blankets, Winter Clothing, a Means of Communication in the event your cell phone dies, etc?

Keep a kit of those items in your car at all times.

Prepare written on multiple road sign


This is not a comprehensive list by any means. These are just a short list of ideas to get you thinking and hopefully started. Each person or family is going to be a little different, but the basics are the same. You need food, water, and shelter. The internet is FULL of other ideas and we recommend you search there to build your own emergency solutions.

Be safe out there!


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


Have a S.A.F.E. Halloween!

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Cartoon Illustration of Laughing Jack Lantern Halloween Pumpkin

Have a Safe Halloween Out There!

S – Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

A – Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F – Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.



H – Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.

A – Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L – Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

L – Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O – Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W – Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

E – Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E – Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

N – Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/


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Secure Your World. Don’t Become A Statistic

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A burglary happens once in every 15 seconds in the USA. Most of them happen when you are away at work. Here are some quick tips to reduce your chance of a burglary.


1. Get an Alarm System. Do your homework. Find a reputable Alarm Company to provide 24/7 peace of mind. If you feel you can’t afford these services, you may consider simple solutions like the Canary or similar device can provide monitoring of your home through a cell phone app.

2. Lock all your doors and windows and draw down your curtain or blinds before you leave the house. Some of these little devices are very valuable.

3. Fortify your home. The battle for your house begins at your doors and windows. Potential burglars will go home disappointed if they find out how fortified your home is.


4. Don’t give thieves a place to hide. Look at your house objectively and eliminate any bushes, shrubs, or other obstructions that could give a bad guy somewhere to hide.

5. Keep a pet. 32% of burglars interviewed have reported they are afraid of ANY breed of dog in the house. If you don’t want the mess and hassle of a dog, get an Electronic Watch Dog from Amazon.

6. Adequate Exterior Lighting. Bad guys hate light. They prefer to move around in the darkness. Install plenty of light around your home.


7. Finally, be proactive. Don’t wait for bad things to happen. Do your homework BEFORE to avoid these life-altering events.

Even when you’re away from home, practice
Situational Awareness
to protect yourself.

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