Holiday Decorating Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe This Winter

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Front porch of a house decorated for Christmas

The holidays are not a good time to worry about your health. But you need to be aware of the threats to yourself. Roughly 17,500 Americans had to go to the hospital due to decorating-related injuries.

Decorating safety is essential. Yet many people don’t know good decorating safety tips.

What should you do before the start of the season? What are some ways you can start staying safe while decorating? What are some fire risks you need to consider?

Answer these questions and you can avoid a devastating injury this holiday season. Here is your quick guide.

Prepare for the Holiday Season

Think about what you plan to do during the holidays. You may want to hang up some holiday decorations just for yourself. But you may want to bring others over for a party or dinner.

Schedule your events well in advance. Look at your calendar and find the best dates to bring people over.

Then take steps to make your home safer. Replace your smoke and fire detectors so they can pick up on small flames. Smooth over your walkways so you can place exterior decorations and move around your house.

A good way to assess your needs for the holiday season is to put up decorations for Halloween. This gives you a trial run for the winter and lets you see what risks you need to address. Write down a list of decorating safety tips for yourself.

Find Good Places for Decorations

You don’t have to put decorations everywhere. You should find places where you and your loved ones can look at them without endangering yourself.

The sides of your front porch are ideal. You can look at your directions while having plenty of room to go into your house. The corners of your living room and bedroom are also good spots.

Putting decorations in your kitchen will give you steady access to them. Yet you risk knocking something over or tripping over something. If you must put something in your kitchen, keep it off the floor and toward the walls.

Do not put decorations on staircases. You can hang items from banisters, but placing things on the steps may pose a fall risk.

It is okay to have decorations that require electrical access. But you should not overextend an electrical cord or crowd several electronic decorations next to each other. Spread them out across your house and keep them away from flammable materials.

Know How to Use a Ladder

More than half a million Americans are injured from ladder falls every year. Ladders seem easy to use, but you can suffer a serious fall from even a short height.

Find a ladder that is tested for maximum safety. Before you buy any ladder, test it out yourself. If it seems wobbly or if you struggle to use it, do not buy it.

Wear a good pair of shoes with firm soles whenever you use a ladder. Place your ladder on flat ground and keep it as close to a wall as possible. Shake it a little bit to make sure that it is steady.

Take one step at a time up the ladder, gripping the sides with your hands. You can sling your decorations over your shoulder or attach them to a work belt.

Stop at least one step below the top. If you need to go up higher, you need to use a different tool. The most serious falls occur from the top step.

Hang up your decorations, then grab the sides and go down. Keep your eyes focused on the steps and on any objects on the ground. Close the ladder once you have reached the ground and make sure you do not pinch your fingers.

Mitigate Fire Risks

It is okay to use candles as decorations, especially in religious ceremonies like lighting the menorah. But you need to be very careful when you use any candles.

Keep the candle away from all flammable materials, including wood and paper. Put it in a glass or metal base that can catch dripping wax. If you are using multiple candles, spread them out over a surface.

Put your candles a moderate distance away from your smoke detectors. They should be close enough that the detectors can pick them up if they start a fire. But they should be far enough away that a little smoke from the candle will not set the detectors off.

Electrical fires often occur from crowded electronics. But it is possible for a frayed wire to spark a fire, particularly in a heating unit. Look for the warning signs of an electrical fire, such as blown fuses.

Decorations are not the only things that can cause fires during the holidays. Cooking fires are very common, especially grease and oven fires. Be aware of your different risks and take all steps possible to avoid them.

Even if you are mindful of fire risks, you may still experience a fire. Prepare for one well in advance by having personal insurance. Read the terms of your plan and understand what you need to do to receive compensation after a blaze.

The Essentials of Decorating Safety

Decorating safety is simple yet essential. Make preparations well in advance like removing holes from your concrete. Hang up some decorations for Halloween so you can evaluate what exactly you need to do.

Put decorations in places where you won’t trip on them. Don’t overextend or stress your electric cables.

Buy a firm ladder and do not rush while you are on it. Be careful around open flames and do not plug all of your electronics into one outlet.

Keep your family safe at all times. Allied Insurance Managers, Inc. serves Southeast Michigan families. Get your quote today.

The Ultimate End of Year Checklist for Small Business Owners

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Pencil checking off checklist items

We can all agree that keeping a business afloat in a competitive market is quite tricky. It’s even sad that more than 20 percent of new businesses don’t get to celebrate their first anniversary. You have to reevaluate your business goals every year for continued success.

Make an end-of-year checklist that you can use to measure and analyze the strides your business made. Reviewing this checklist will allow you to finish the year strong and set your company up for success. Check your income statements and cash flow statements to review your profits.

So, where should you start when preparing an end-of-year checklist? Here are seven aspects of your business that this checklist should cover.

Review and Update Your Business Goals

If you like starting the year by setting revenue goals, include them in your year-end checklist. Check whether your revenue streams have been constant and investigate the factors that slowed them down.

Use your employees’ input, customer feedback, and your financial statements to assess your business goals. Focus on both strengths and weaknesses you had when trying to achieve these goals. You should also create a top-level plan for your new goals to achieve them.

Think about tax planning at the end of your financial year to save tax-related expenses and fines. You may write off bad unpaid debts and prepay for services your business needs as part of tax planning.

Review your commercial insurance to ensure that the coverage meets your company’s needs. The coverage should change with the growth or expansion of your business.

Take an Inventory Count as Part of Your End of Year Checklist

An inventory count allows you to identify products that sell well and those that don’t. You can use this data in assessing whether you’ll exchange the low-selling inventory with something else.

Take time to investigate any significant discrepancies in your inventory to avoid huge losses. Remember to document your inventory procedures to prevent errors and omissions. You may switch to an automated inventory management system for accurate and reliable inventory counts.

If your small business sells merchandise, makes purchases, or produces, you should maintain an inventory. This ensures that your business has enough products to cater to customers’ demands.

Review Your Vendor Information

Ensure that you have accurate and updated information on your suppliers or vendors. You should also list any new partnerships you established with them in your business end-of-year checklist. The sets of information may include a contact name, email address, and phone number.

If you still have time, negotiate better deals with other vendors to save operational costs. You should also file and send 1099 forms to your company’s subcontractors and vendors before the IRS deadline. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) will use 1099 forms to evaluate non-wage transactions and payments between your business and subcontractors.

Assess Your Staffing Needs

As you take inventory of your employees, determine whether you need to hire more people in the coming year. You should also have a budget to support the extra workforce that you want to bring on board. Create new roles to maximize your workers’ unique talent for productivity.

Consider reviewing your benefits and compensation plans to ensure that they’re active and competitive. You may also update your employee and payroll information for former or new employees.

You can determine your staffing needs by evaluating the business flow and engaging with your human resource managers. Pay close attention to the customer experience to assess whether the customer support team is highly equipped for this role.

Reflect on Your Business Successes

Tracking your company’s accomplishments allows you to focus resources on profitable ventures. Your employees will also feel motivated every time you celebrate achievements made by them.

Document your achievements and share them with your workers, clients, and suppliers. You should also recognize outstanding performers at your workplace with gifts or promotions to boost productivity.

You may run your end-of-year financial reports to determine the profits and losses made. Insights given by these reports can allow you to rethink your business goals for continued success. Involve a competent accountant when preparing and reviewing these documents to get great value from them.

Audit Your Business Website

Run your site’s URL through an online site audit tool to assess its clickability rates. You also need to identify and fix any SEO problems lingering on your site. SEO-related issues like keyword stuffing and improper formatting may make your site fail to be visible to your target audience.

With the help of a web designer, analyze your site’s design and user experience. Ensure that the menu is easy to use and load speeds are ideal for visitors to stay longer on the site. You should also check whether the website content covers your customers’ needs.

When looking at the site’s design, ensure that the texts and images align with the ideal formatting requirements. The audit should also focus on how your website drives traffic from your social media pages. You should include links to your social media pages on your website and vice versa.

Back-Up Your Business Files

Create backups of your company’s files, including creative briefs and valuable emails, to prevent data loss. You should also back up your client information and accounting documents in secure cloud storage. Encourage your employees to save essential documents on the cloud and external hard drives as you prepare for a new business year.

Have at least three copies of the backed-up data if you lose the files to fire or hacking. You should also store the files in several formats (cloud, tape, or disk) for easier access.

Need a Review of Your Commercial Insurance?

It’s pretty tricky to balance work-related tasks and family responsibilities as the year comes to an end. Making an end-of-year checklist for business can help you keep track of these tasks. The checklist can also set you up for success and productivity in the coming year.

Reviewing your commercial insurance should be part of your business end-of-year checklist. You can count on use for property-casualty coverage suited for businesses like yours. We can help you find the ideal coverage for your company.

5 Important Thanksgiving Safety Tips

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Thanksgiving table setting with turkey

Did you know that most home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving? Believe it or not, Thanksgiving safety is a big issue because injuries tend to spike among most national holidays.

Safety is no joke, and while the holidays are a time to celebrate, it’s important to take necessary precautions to keep you, your family, and your friends safe.

Whether you’re a seasoned holiday host a first-time party thrower, you can never be too careful. We’d like to share 5 important safety tips that can help ensure you and yours enjoy a safe, happy Thanksgiving holiday.

1. Never Leave the Stove Unattended

Fire safety begins in the kitchen. Dishes can easily burn when left unattended, spoiling not only your meal but potentially the entire holiday. Fires can quickly and easily spread throughout your entire kitchen.

If you have to leave the stove for any reason, make sure someone is nearby to keep an eye on things.

Also, if you have small children in the home, keep them away from the stove. It only takes a few moments of inattention for a child to burn or cut themselves.

2. Watch for Spills

With several people milling about your home, it’s easy for someone to slip and fall on a spilled drink, grease from food, or tripping over something. Make sure to remove obstacles from high-traffic areas, and pay attention to the floors.

If you notice any spills, clean them up right away. If someone gets hurt, you may be liable.

3. Keep a Working Fire Extinguisher Nearby

If there’s a fire in your cooking area, throwing water on it might not be the best idea. Water won’t help grease fires and can cause even more damage if you throw water on electric appliances.

You want to be as prepared as you can in the event of a fire. Extinguishing the fire quickly, efficiently, and safely will go a long way to keeping the damage contained and your friends and loved ones safe.

4. Thaw Turkey Properly

Kitchen safety isn’t limited to fire protection. Salmonella is one of the most common illness-causing bacteria in food, with poultry being particularly notorious.

Thawing your turkey safely will depend on how big it is. Below is a guideline for safely thawing your turkey in the fridge:

  • 4 to 12lbs for 1 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16lbs for 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20lbs for 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24lbs for 5 to 6 days

5. Beware of Pets

No list of Thanksgiving safety tips is complete without mentioning pets. Depending on the size of your gathering, it might be best to keep pets in another room.

If you choose not to (or can’t), make sure not to feed them chicken or turkey bones. They tend to splinter and can cause serious injury to animals. Additionally, keep onions, leeks, grapes, garlic, chocolate, and raisins away from your dog. They can be hazardous to their health.

Have a Good Holiday With Thanksgiving Safety

While injuries tend to spike around the holidays, ensuring your family’s Thanksgiving safety isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little extra awareness on the part of you, your friends, and your family.

Our team at Allied Insurance Managers, Inc. is dedicated to your safety and comfort. For more information on how you can keep your family safe, contact us today.