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Help keep your family safe from holiday crime

by: Kirsten Land on December 20th, 2016 about General

santa-thiefThe holiday season is an exciting time filled with family gatherings, traveling, shopping, gift-giving, and relaxing. It’s still important, however, to be careful during the holidays.

We can get caught up in the magic and let our guard down, making us vulnerable to holiday crimes. Here are a few simple tips to help you be safe during your holiday season.

Shopping

If you need to shop at night-a strong possibility with the earlier sunsets-try to bring a friend or family member, and park in a well-lighted area close to your destination.

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with darkened windows.

Locate your car keys before heading back to your vehicle. Do not approach your car if there are suspicious people in the vicinity.

Hold onto your packages, bags, and your purse securely-don’t set them down to open the door.

If traveling from store to store, don’t leave your packages on the seats of the car. Stash them out of sight.

ATM safety

Pick an ATM in a safe place. Good locations include a mall (if the ATM isn’t tucked in a secluded corner), a restaurant, or any other well-lighted, highly visible location.

Be careful when entering your PIN. Shield the keypad if others are standing nearby.

Keep your receipt. Don’t discard it until you can shred it at home.

Only withdraw the amount of cash you need.

Be aware of anyone who may have been watching you withdraw money and then follows you. If someone does that, stay in a public place. You can ask mall security or whatever place of business you’re in for an escort to your vehicle.

Home

Lock up your doors and windows, even if you’re only leaving the house for a few minutes.

Stash gifts and valuables so that they can’t be seen from the windows.

Be aware that criminals sometimes knock on the door and pretend to have a delivery for you.

Traveling? Arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail and pick up newspapers and packages. Ask them to keep an eye on your house. Leave lights on in a few rooms and on the porch. If possible, set them on an automatic timer. And don’t broadcast your trip on social media so people know that you’re gone.

Be aware and be safe so you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Have a safe, warm, and enjoyable holiday season with your family!

Parts of this list were adapted from the Holiday Safety Tips posted by the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Three winter home care tips

by: Kirsten Land on December 6th, 2016 about General

winter-cottageWith cold weather already here and more on the way, you can still help protect your home from the damaging effects of winter weather. Here are three simple, inexpensive tips you can use to give your home an advantage when it goes head-to-head with Old Man Winter.

Tip 1 – Gutter socks

I know, these sound weird. Let me explain. To protect your gutters from the snow and ice that can pack-and crack-the gutters, take a long tube sock. Fill it with ice melt (not just salt!). Tie the end. Attach the sock to a bracket at the higher end of the gutter.

To attach it, you can poke a hole in the sock, put a carabiner through, and easily clip the carabiner onto the bracket. This will prevent the sock from sliding down the drain and clogging the gutter.

Lay the sock flat into the gutter, and presto! A gutter sock! Create and install several, according to how many gutters you have, so that the ice and snow don’t cause them to crack, leak, and detach.

Tip 2 – Stock up on ice melt

Speaking of ice melt, it’s a good idea to buy it before you’ll need it. You’ll be prepared and probably save money, too. Ice melt never goes bad, so you can find a spot for it in your garage, cellar, or storage and forget about it until you need it. It’s great for gutter socks, but it’s also pretty handy for your driveways, walkways, porches, and outside steps.

If you have to buy it when a storm is coming or is already here, you’ll typically pay higher prices. It’s just supply and demand. But you can be ready ahead of time.

Tip 3 – Beware of turbine covers

Here’s the main thing to remember about turbine covers: don’t use them! They’re sold at home improvement stores right next to the turbines, but you don’t need them, and they might create unhealthy conditions in your home.

It may be tempting to cover the turbines on your roof in the winter. At first glance, it seems logical, right? It’s like an umbrella for the turbines, to keep snow and sleet from accumulating and seeping into the roof. But don’t do it.

Turbine covers can cut off air flow while trapping heat and moisture. That creates the ideal conditions for mold to breed and spread.

Why they sell these covers, I don’t know. If you read the manufacturer’s instructions for the actual turbines, they clearly warn not to cover them. Keep your turbines open and unobstructed so that your roof remains well-ventilated all winter long.

As always, if you’d like to have a professional come check things out on your roof before winter digs any deeper, call us at 405-359-3951. Let’s keep your roof in optimal condition, so it can protect your house, your belongings, and your loved ones.

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