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Coexisting with Bicyclists

coexisting-with-bicyclists

Cycling has grown significantly in popularity over the past decade. Towns across the country are adding bike lanes to their roads to become more bike friendly, and more and more people are ditching their car and using a bike as their primary form of transportation. According to USA Today, larger cities like Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis have more than doubled their rate of bike commuters since 2014 – and as a cyclist, I can’t help but get excited.

Now, with bike riding growing in popularity across the U.S. – it may be a good idea to brush up on some traffic guidelines to avoid any accidents.

When you purchase a bike, you’re likely not required to take a safety class before you ride it. And, for drivers, the instructors touched on bike safety as part of Drivers Ed, but who remembers details from a course they took in their teens?

My point is, adults aren’t given much guidance when it comes to cyclists and cars coexisting on the roads. And as a bicyclist and a driver, I did some research because honestly, I needed a refresher myself.

Safety tips for DRIVERS:

  • Try to be 3 feet or more away from a bike.
  • Try to pass on the left when possible.
  • Blind spots are always lurking, make sure to watch for bikes.
  • Only pass a bicyclist when your passing lane is free and clear.
  • Look in your mirror for cyclists when you’re parking.
  • Always think of cyclists as equals – remember, they have rights on the road too!

Safety tips for BICYCLISTS:

  • Make sure to ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Traffic signs and signals aren’t just for cars. Stop on red to be safe.
  • Use marked bike paths or lanes if they’re available.
  • Use your arm to make turn signals and take advantage of turn lanes so cars are aware of what you’re doing.
  • Consider using a mirror to monitor the cars behind you.
  • If you’re riding at night or in a storm, make sure to use some sort of flashers.
  • Watch for parked cars.
  • And most importantly – stay alert at all times.

If you’re unsure about your city’s or state’s traffic laws, it doesn’t hurt to look them up beforehand. No matter what you drive, be sure to enjoy the roads out there safely!

At Parmenter Insurance Agency, we have 7 of us working every day for you to make sure that you get the best benefit for your insurance dollars. Please see our Website at plwinsurance.com and also visit our exciting Facebook page! This is another blog that came from Foremost. They are one of the many fine insurance companies that we represent.

It’s A Scary Time of Year.

Scary Out there Blog

Actually it is a busy time of year and we want to make sure you are well prepared for your many activities.

Don’t you enjoy the autumn weather and activities with the family and kids?  Some of the activities you may find to do around here include:

 

 

  • Apple-picking and visiting pumpkin patches

 

  • Hiking trails

 

  • Historical Tours

 

  • Visiting Craft Shows

 

  • Attending County Fairs

 

  • Enjoying music and farmer’s market festivals in town

 

  • School Carnivals and fund raisers

 

  • HALLOWEEN

 

Having a SAFE HALLOWEEN is important for your children and you.  Several tips to make sure you do all you can for safety.

 

COSTUME SAFETY

 

Because you will be walking on dark sidewalks or roadsides, having your costumes reflect light is vitally important.  Dress the kids are in brightly colored costumes and even put reflective tape on their candy bags and buckets.  Make sure you and the kids can see well out of any facemasks.  Looking both ways is so necessary to protect you.

 

TRICK or TREATERS (or any visitor for that matter)

 

If you are receiving guests at your home, are your pathways, steps and porches well lit?  Secure your pets so they cannot escape an open door or through the fence.  Lights, lights, lights for safety.

 

TRAVEL IN GROUPS

 

It’s more fun anyway when you get to Trick or Treat with your friends.  It is safer to walk in neighborhoods and approach doors with a group. (not too big, please).  Parents please stay within ear and eyes of your children as they go to doors.  Do you know whose home you are visiting?  If not, it is extra important to be in sight of the home’s resident.

 

PUMPKINS

 

Carving pumpkins is a fun activity for kids and there are many templates to make really cool pumpkin faces. However, please be aware that young kids do not need to use knives and most kids need supervision anyway!

 

DON’T RISK EATING THE CANDY UNTIL YOU GET HOME

 

While it is a sad state of affairs that we as parents have to check the candy our children receive, you must do it.  DON’T risk letting them eat some harmful substance while you are out and about.  (Of course if you know the owner who gave the candy, and you feel safe about it, no problem!)

 

What does all this have to do with insurance?  Only that you are why we do business and we want you to have a healthy, safe and fun time with no troubles.

 

CALL Parmenter Insurance Agency if you need us!  We help you choose the right insurance policy for your home, your cars, your business, or life.

 

Find us on Facebook, the website or call us at 877.445.0708.

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Organization Tips

Is your hard-working kitchen getting cluttered and unmanageable? If you need more storage, but every cupboard, shelf, nook and cranny is filled, it’s time to take a second look at your use of space. Chances are you can reorganize and reclaim more storage than you ever thought possible.

Well-planned cabinets, drawers and shelves maximize space, save steps and eliminate frustrating searches for necessary kitchen tools and gadgets. An organized kitchen doesn’t cost a lot of money, but does require a practical plan to keep items handy and easy to reach. Here are a few ideas to help make efficient use of your kitchen space and create some new storage areas as well.

Clear the Clutter

Your kitchen holds an awesome amount of stuff. The more stuff you collect and store in the kitchen, the more you have to manage. It makes sense to get rid of anything you don’t need or want anymore. Reducing clutter is a must. If you do nothing else to organize your kitchen, do this.

A well-designed, folding step stool is an indispensable tool for your reorganizing strategy. Choose one that helps you access storage space without requiring much of its own. Be sure it’s sturdy and can easily hold your weight while you’re stretching and reaching into upper cabinets, shelves and closets.

Pick a starting point and begin at the top. Work one shelf, cupboard or drawer at a time and remove everything you find. Most items you run across will require a decision, so group your “stuff” into categories. For each item, ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I used this?
  • Do I want to keep it?
  • Donate it to charity?
  • Save it for a yard sale?
  • Transfer it to another area of my home?
  • Throw it away?

Create separate stacks for each category and stick to the plan.

Remember these tips:

  • Put dishes, pots and utensils you use every day into one stack where they can stay until you are ready to reorganize the kitchen.
  • Place items to be banished from prime kitchen space, but are still too good to throw away, into another stack. For example, pans you don’t use, dishes you don’t like and specialty cooking tools that are more trouble to clean than to use can all be given to a friend or neighbor, donated for the church bazaar or put away for your next yard sale.
  • Round up the stray “stuff” that ends up in the kitchen when it really belongs in other areas of your home. Put them into another stack to be redistributed.
  • Throw away any broken or chipped dishes or glasses, lids without bottoms, canned or packaged goods that have expired or look past their prime. If you can’t remember when you bought a cake mix, or how long the spices have been on the shelf, throw them out. Discard any swollen or old cans, and donate canned goods you won’t use to a food bank.

Look For Extra Storage

To make the most of potential kitchen storage, think beyond the individual cabinets, shelves and closets to every available inch. A careful inventory of existing space can help you plan how to use it effectively. Start your planning process by searching for unused or underused spaces. Examine all surfaces, including the area above or below appliances, behind doors and unused floor space. Grab a notebook and pen and make a list of any potential storage spots or areas that can be better organized.

  • Make the reorganization of shelf space, cabinets and drawers your next consideration. Visit a home center or discount store to find new ways to increase your kitchen storage. For example, buy different sized stacking platforms and place them in taller shelf spaces to save room, or install pullout shelves or baskets that can utilize all the space in a cupboard. Transform a jumble of pan lids by mounting lid racks on cabinet doors.
  • Reclaim your wasted drawer space by inserting compartmentalized organizers. Put together drawer partitions of various shapes and sizes inside wide drawers or stack two in deep drawers. Turntables and other handy cabinet organizers not only store things in their correct places, but also make them much easier to reach. Use products such as racks for glasses and hooks for cups to maximize every bit of cabinet space.
  • Corner base cabinets are notorious for dark, difficult-to-reach corner space. The most common solution to maximize accessibility and storage in a corner cabinet is to install a lazy Susan. Choose from a full turnaround in which the entire interior of your cabinet revolves, half-moon pullouts that rotate on a pivot or half turns that are a fixed semicircle. You can set a lazy Susan on fixed shelves as an independent unit, or install it on a center pole that pivots.
  • Individual turntables are perfect for organizing and storing spices. Just a small twist of the wrist puts each spice at your fingertips when they are placed on either a single or double-tiered turntable. Turntables can be used inside cabinets or on your counter top. You could also add a narrow shelf along one wall at eye level for spice jars, sauce bottles, salt and peppershakers or other small items that require quick and easy access.

These quick and simple pointers will also help you gain extra kitchen storage in unexpected places:

  • Mount under-cabinet racks to display your prettiest stemware or teacups. Paper plate holders, electric can-openers, automatic coffee makers, or even a small TV can also be mounted beneath cabinets to provide extra room on your countertops.
  • Reduce paper clutter by hanging a bulletin board on unused wall space. Don’t overlook the insides of cabinet doors to display your most used phone numbers, recipes and emergency information.
  • Buy a butcher-block cart on wheels for moveable storage from a home center or discount store. This handy “island” is a good place to store small appliances or baking equipment.
  • Use a muffin tin filled with small kitchen odds-and-ends as a drawer divider.
  • Hang potholders and dishtowels on a section of wood trellis or weathered wooden stepladder that has been securely attached to an unused wall. Or, install a hat rack at the kitchen door for shopping bags.
  • Use your oven for hiding seldom-used pots and pans, but remember to remove them before turning on the oven.
  • Install a series of corner shelves to hold collectibles or cookbooks.
  • Hang a graduated trio of wire baskets from a kitchen ceiling corner and fill with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Get Reorganized

Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter and discovered a few new storage areas, it’s time to take your final step toward creating an efficient, well-organized kitchen. Think of your kitchen as a single room with three separate work centers: preparation, cooking and cleanup. Keep in mind where, what and how you use an item before you put it back into each cabinet or drawer.

Easy access and return is important. If you can get to something and return it to its designated space without a hassle, the chance of your kitchen staying organized is greater. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Place food supplies and cooking utensils as close as possible to the area where you’ll use them most.
  • Save easy-to-reach shelves and cupboards for items you need every day and store items used less frequently on top shelves and out- of-the-way places.
  • Put pots, pans and other cookware such as griddles, casseroles and other specialty cooking dishes near the range or oven for easy access.
  • Stack saucepans by size with lids in a rack alongside them. Place large pans and skillets in a nearby cabinet.
  • Store baking sheets, muffin tins and cake pans in a cabinet next to your oven or in a cabinet beneath a built-in oven. Arrange them by size and those used most often. A rack works well to store baking sheets on their side.
  • Stack mixing bowls by size and store in the cabinets or drawers where you do most of your food preparation.
  • Keep large knives, spoons, spatulas and other preparation tools in a top drawer near the dishwasher and counter where you prepare food.
  • Store staples such as flour, sugar and spices near your food preparation area.
  • Locate flatware, dishes and glasses near the dishwasher so you don’t have to haul them across the kitchen to put them away.
  • Put cleaning supplies, the wastebasket and kitchen linens closest to your clean-up areas like the sink and dishwasher.
  • Place microwave containers in the cabinet nearest the microwave oven along with leftover storage containers.

How to Arrange a Food Pantry

When your pantry or food storage cabinets become packed with food that isn’t sorted or organized, you will eventually have a huge mess on your hands. The pileup of ingredients can be avoided without spending a lot of time or effort. It just takes about an hour from start to finish.

Start by emptying pantry shelves and moving everything to boxes or a nearby countertop. Clean shelves with warm, soapy water and wipe dry. Before you put things away, think about how you will fill prime and non-prime spaces. For example, prime, eye-level shelves should be reserved for your items used most often.

  • Store canned vegetables, fruits and soups together, organized by contents, for quick access.
  • Keep all baking ingredients together on one shelf, such as flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Cake mixes, muffin mixes, Jell-o and pudding mixes go on the same shelf with baking ingredients.
  • Place pastas, rice and boxed quick meals together on another shelf.
  • Designate a lower shelf for paper storage, then place napkins, paper towels and plates together.
  • Keep heavy items, such as soda bottles, on a lower shelf.
  • Place smaller items in a shoebox or plastic container that keeps them easy to find.
  • Put single ingredients like dried beans, rice, and noodles in clear containers or canisters so you can easily find what you are looking for.
  • Rotate dried and canned goods, using those with the closest expiration date first.
  • Throw out old food or items you aren’t likely to use again.
  • Keep your pantry organized by putting things back in the spots you’ve designated for them.

At Parmenter Insurance Agency, we have 6 of us working every day for you to make sure that you get the best benefit for your insurance dollars. Please see our Website at plwinsurance.com and also visit our exciting Facebook page! This is another blog that came from Foremost.  They are one of the many fine insurance companies that we represent.

Being Careful During Fall Weather Can Determine Whether You Fall

No matter what part of the country you’re in, here are some slip, trip and fall prevention tips we can all keep in mind as autumn conditions – including less daylight, wet and blowing leaves, and cooler temperatures – take hold.

  • Wear non-slip footwear. Avoid boots or shoes with high heels. Leather soles offer little traction when wet.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground while exiting your vehicle.
  • Walk slowly in parking lots, even if you are running late. A slip-and-fall will make you even later or possibly send you to the emergency room.
  • Minimize the number of bags or items you carry. Several bags and heavy items can alter your balance.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If at the office, report unsafe conditions, whether they are inside or outside, to security or a designated property manager.

What tips can you add to the list?

Yellow wet floor sign on isolated white background

At Parmenter Insurance Agency, we have 7 of us working every day for you to make sure that you get the best benefit for your insurance dollars. Please see our Website at plwinsurance.com and also visit our exciting Facebook page! This is another blog that came from Utica.  They are one of the many fine insurance companies that we represent.

How To Protect Your Assets!

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 A burglary or break-in causes an average loss of  $2,000+.

In our area, there seems to be an uptick in the number of burglaries with the “bad guys” helping themselves to equipment, tools and sports items that are in the garage.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Probably, the number 1 thing to do is get some type of security system.  If you check on line you will find numerous new options that may fit your lifestyle and your budget.  The cameras that link to your phone are fascinating and seem to help in deterring an unwelcome guest.

Dogs are usually noisy so they are often a deterrent as well. But DO NOT GET A DOG for that reason alone.  They are great company, and need lots of attention.  Certain breeds of dogs can also add a cost to your basic insurance.

Keep your garage door closed, if possible.

Also keep blinds or curtains closed as much as possible so potential robbers can’t
case your possessions from the yard or street.

Don’t have large overgrown shrubbery that offers hiding places to burglars.

If you have neighbors who work at home, you may offer a less attractive break-in opportunity.  Look out for each other.

Just for awareness, most burglaries take place during the day.  Recently, we’ve heard of garages and equipment being stolen in the early morning hours just as people are waking up and going to work.  There is no one – size scenario.

Protect yourself as best as you can.

Home Insurance or Renter’s Insurance will help replace valuables in the event of a robbery.  If you have expensive audio and technical equipment or expensive jewelry, you should ask your independent agent about adding a rider to your policy.

The rider will give you the covered amount for a stolen piece of jewelry.  For instance if you have the jewelry covered at 10,000 and you have 20,000 in renter’s insurance you could potentially be reimbursed up to the $30,000 if the loss is documented.

Do not try to figure this out alone.  Let us offer your our expertise in getting your financially secure to protect your assets.

Call us at Parmenter Insurance Agency.

Call (877) 445-0708  or contact us at http://plwinsurance.com

 

 

 

How to Hang Pictures

Although selecting artwork and pictures for your home reflect personal taste and style, hanging them correctly is just as important as the theme and color. Experts say most wall art should be hung at eye level. Since eye level is different for different people, start out by hanging the picture about 60 inches from the floor. When you hang a picture over a sofa or other furniture it should be about two-thirds the width of the piece and positioned 5 to 10 inches above the lowest edge of the furniture.

Keep balance and unity in mind as you organize wall art. If you want to hang a group of different sized pictures, decide on the overall shape of the arrangement first. Save time and eliminate unwanted holes in the wall by first laying out items on the floor. Vertical wall arrangements make your room seem higher, and horizontal lines make it seem wider. Large paintings or objects can be balanced with a pair of smaller prints, or one long object. Try using wall displays in a grouping of three to create drama and eye appeal.

To keep pictures from sliding out of place once they’re on the wall, wrap a small piece of tape around the wire where it hangs on the hook. You can also put double-sided tape on the back of the frame in its lower corners to make the picture less likely to shift. Just be sure that the tape won’t damage the surface of the wall.

At Parmenter Insurance Agency, we have 7 of us working every day for you to make sure that you get the best benefit for your insurance dollars. Please see our Website at plwinsurance.com and also visit our exciting Facebook page! This is another blog that came from Foremost.  They are one of the many fine insurance companies that we represent.

Make Your Outdoor Steps Safe

Check your outdoor steps for these factors:

  • Are you building your own steps?

    If so, first check both your park’s regulations for them and your local building codes that regulate tread depth, stair width, riser height and handrails.

  • Are your outdoor steps secured?

    Your steps need to be secure, whether they are on the ground or on cement. It’s easy to lose footing on wobbly or broken steps. When steps sit on concrete pads, you can secure them with metal straps screwed into the concrete. For more information about building and securing porch steps, visit these sites:

  • Does the tread depth and riser height measure the same for each step?

    Make sure the steps all measure the same height, and have the same tread depth. This way, no one will trip from an unexpected change in distance to the next step.

  • Do you have a handrail?

    If not, add one. If your steps measure several feet across, a handrail on each side is best. Most local building codes require handrails. Check these out before you install them.

  • Are your outdoor steps skid-resistant?

    Consider affixing skid-resistant material in the center of your steps to help establish sure-footedness. Keep this material in good condition. If it deteriorates or separates from the steps, it can become a hazard itself.

  • Do your outdoor steps need cleaning?

    Keep your steps clear of debris like snow, ice and leaves. Though you might have just a few steps, any debris can take away a person’s footing in an instant.

  • Do your outdoor steps need to be sealed?

    If your steps are concrete, seal them with an acrylic or silicone-based concrete sealer. If they are wooden, check if they need to be stained or water sealed.

  • Are your outdoor steps even with the door?

    The first step outside your home should be even with the entry door and not be a step down.

  • Do your outdoor steps have gaps in them?

    If your steps are made of wood, make sure no gaps exist between the boards that a high-heel could get caught in.

  • How strong are the boards in your steps?

    Make sure wooden steps are strong enough to safely hold the weight of a person standing on an individual board.

  • Do you have open-backed outdoor steps?

    Make sure the opening is 4 inches high or less, so a child won’t fall through them or get caught in them. If the opening is more than 4 inches, cover the backs of your steps instead of leaving them open.

  • Are your steps well lit?

    Make sure your steps have adequate lighting on them at night.

Once your steps are in shape, be sure to keep them well maintained and check them often for hazards. This will ensure your steps always provide a warm welcome for you and your guests.

At Parmenter Insurance Agency, we have 7 of us working every day for you to make sure that you get the best benefit for your insurance dollars. Please see our Website at plwinsurance.com and also visit our exciting Facebook page! This is another blog that came from Foremost.  They are one of the many fine insurance companies that we represent.