Summer Safety From Pool to Grill

Summer is a season for long warm days and nights making memories with friends and families. However, with sky-high temperatures, water sports and more, make sure the memories you make are pleasant ones by keeping safety front and center. To help, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers the following insights:

Water safety. Drowning remains the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause among children ages 5-14. Drownings can be prevented by following some simple safety steps:

– Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa, and keep them away from drains.
– Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim.
– Drain covers. Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. Children can get entrapped by the suction in older, non-compliant drain covers.
– Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults

Turn up the grill safety measures. The National Fire Protection Association states that an average of 10,200 home fires per year involve grills, hibachis, or barbecues. Following a few safety measures can help reduce fire dangers while grilling:

– Safety check. Before lighting the grill, do a safety check. Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks.
– Clean the grease trap. Ensure that the grease trap is clean to reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
– Use grills outside only, in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors, or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn.
– Never leave a grill unattended, and keep children away from the grill area.
– Grill brushes. Prevent stray wire grill brush strands from ending up in your food. Clean your grill with a ball of aluminum foil or nylon brushes, instead of wire grill brushes.

Gear up and ride safely. Each year, thousands of ATV, bicycle, e-scooter, and skateboard riders – young and old – die or experience life-altering injuries. CPSC recommends that all riders follow these safety guidelines every time they ride:

– Gear-up before riding. This means putting on a helmet meant for your activity. When bicycling, properly wear a helmet that complies with CPSC’s federal safety standard for bicycle helmets. In addition to a helmet, wear elbow and knee pads while riding scooters and skateboards.
– See and be seen. Ride bicycles in the direction of traffic, obey traffic signs and signals, and stay alert.
– Wear additional safety gear when riding ATVs and ROVs, including a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
– Do not drive ATVs or ROVs on paved surfaces. Ride on designated trails and at a safe speed.
– Use age-appropriate vehicles. Riders younger than 16 should only drive age-appropriate, youth-model ATVs, never adult models or ROVs.

Also, beware of other dangers during summer activity.
– Hot playground equipment. Check for hot playground equipment surfaces before letting your children play.
– Mowing the lawn. When mowing the lawn, dress properly with substantial shoes, long pants and fitted clothes. Keep children away from the mowing area, and always be on the lookout for children who may have ventured into the mowing area.
– Beach umbrellas. Spike your beach umbrella pole into the sand, and firmly rock it back and forth until it’s buried about 2 feet into the sand and is tilted into the wind to keep it from blowing away and injuring someone.
– Recalled products. Check SaferProducts.gov to see if any of the products you own have been recalled.

4 Ways to Prep Your Home for Hurricanes

4 Ways to Prep Your Home for Hurricanes

Hurricane season runs from June through November, a large portion of the year to be on the lookout for destructive weather. High winds and flooding caused by rain can cause major damage to your home space, so preparation is key.

“We advise homeowners to prepare their homes ahead of inclement weather,” says Ted Puzio, owner of Southern Trust Home Services.

Puzio suggests residents take the following steps to make sure they’re prepared in case of a flood:

Check sump pumps and install a backup battery. Sump pumps should be regularly maintained and tested. Dump a bucket of water into the pump reservoir and observe how it is working. If it isn’t functioning properly and directing water out of the home, it may be time to call a professional. Make sure to check the discharge line to ensure it’s free of debris. Also, consider installing a backup battery onto the sump pump to ensure it performs at all times.

Inspect your foundation. Take the time to tour the perimeter of your home, inspecting your foundation for cracks and crevices that could allow rising water into your basement. Seal what you can with concrete patching and waterproofing, but call a professional if you’re concerned with the structural integrity.

Regularly clean the gutters. Leaves may not build up in the summer as they do in fall, but birds’ nests, small limbs and more can still obstruct gutters and lead to an overflow of water. Basement flooding can occur when the water isn’t directed far enough away from the foundation, so make sure your gutters are empty and directing water effectively to the downspouts. When heavy rains are anticipated, consider extending your downspouts further away from the home with inexpensive, corrugated plastic pipes.

Review home insurance policies. Each year, homeowners should be reviewing their homeowner’s insurance policies to eliminate any confusion and the potential for nasty surprises after dealing with damaging storm systems. Do not put off any questions you may have. Contact your provider immediately anytime you have a concern about whether or not your policy is the best for you.

8 Ways to Update Your Kitchen, Affordably

If your kitchen is outdated or your style has changed over the years, you may be dreaming up a new kitchen. However, your bank account may not agree with your renovation aspirations. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is more than $20,000. To help, Erie Insurance has eight affordable ways to give your old kitchen a fresh new look.

Paint your cabinets. You don’t have to completely replace all of the cabinets in your kitchen to make them feel new again. A fresh coat of paint can do the trick. If your kitchen is on the small side, use white paint for a clean, fresh look that’s sure to brighten up your space. Dark colors can make a bold statement but are best for larger kitchens.

Add new hardware. New knobs and drawer pulls will help give your kitchen a new look for a small investment. Your local hardware store should have plenty of style and color options. And if you’re really on a tight budget, you can update your old hardware using a can of bronze or silver spray paint.

Install a new kitchen sink. A new sink can make just as much of an impact as new flooring or cabinets at a fraction of the cost. Just measure your existing sink and buy a stainless, composite or granite replacement that will drop right in. Complete the look with a new pulldown faucet.

Add lighting under your cabinets. A dark kitchen can make your space seem smaller and less inviting. Under cabinet lighting is an easy way to brighten up the entire room. And with battery, plug-in and hard-wired options available, there’s a simple solution for every skill level.

Install a new countertop. Custom granite countertops cost thousands of dollars. But today’s laminate countertops have sharper graphics and better embossing than the laminate of years past. Laminate can be a durable and stylish alternative that can give you an upgraded look for far less. Other materials like soapstone or butcher block can be a bigger investment than laminate, but still make a statement for less than the price of granite.

Add more counter space. Pushing two kitchen carts together is an easy and creative way to give you more counter space. A butcher block island can also give you extra storage space without installing new cabinets.

Revitalize your backsplash. A stylish backsplash can be the focal point of any kitchen. With some DIY skill, a tile backsplash can be relatively inexpensive. If you’re uncomfortable with grout and mortar, consider using peel-and-stick tiles or a solid surface like beadboard.

Reface outdated appliances. That almond-colored refrigerator was stylish when it was new. But today, stainless is the way to go. Bring your old appliances into the 21st century by applying stainless steel contact paper or covering them with appliance paint.