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Spring Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Spring Cleaning Tips and Spring Maintenance Pitfalls

Spring is here and for many of us, it’s time to begin spring cleaning projects of all kinds. No matter what is on your agenda for this spring and summer, there are a few things that should be on your checklist every year. Learn some tips to increase the longevity of your property and avoid pitfalls that typically get overlooked. 

  1. Create a checklist.

Spring cleaning can be overwhelming. It’s important to work smarter by making a checklist, break down each room, and make sure you have the proper tools and cleaning supplies. A bathroom is going to need a different plan than your living room.

  1. Clear out the clutter.

One of the biggest steps of spring cleaning is to get rid of useless clutter and junk.  It’s best to decide what things to keep and what to get rid of while your stuff is being moved around and searched through.  To do this, divide your things into four simple categories like trash, give away/sell, storage and put away.

  1. Check the fridge.

It’s important to always keep your refrigerator clean and tidy. Doing so will help keep your food safe, so this should be done year-round. Salt and soda water are an effective combination to help clean any messes that might be left over. Also, make sure you clear out the coils on the back of the fridge to help keep its longevity.

  1. Clean all gutters.

Poor or improper drainage can cause water damage to your home. Check for loose and leaky gutters and ensure downspouts are positioned to drain away from your home’s foundation. Clear debris from all gutters and downspouts.

  1. Inspect the roof.

Your roof is your home’s primary defense against the elements. Visually inspect the roof, look for signs of warping, as well as cracking and loose shingle or tiles. Examine flashing around chimneys, skylights, and vents. Damaged covering and flashing should be replaced. For roof areas too high to inspect from the ground, hire a licensed roofer to perform the inspection and make necessary repairs.

  1. Check seals around windows and doors.

Cold weather can cause seals around windows and doors to loosen, harden and crack. Inspect these areas for damage and make repairs as needed. This will help reduce summer cooling costs and keep water out of your home.

  1. Service your home’s cooling system.

No one wants to be caught in the dog days of summer without air conditioning. It’s a good idea to have your home’s cooling system checked yearly, about one month prior to regular summer usage.

  1. Check smoke detector batteries.

This is an easy and potentially lifesaving task. Take time now to change the batteries in all your home’s smoke detectors. Better safe than sorry.

  1. Spring cleaning for the disposal.

When you think about everything that goes down the kitchen sink, a good yearly cleaning for the disposal is in order. Simply feed a tray of ice cubes through it while running cold water.

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Prevent This: Signs of Teenage Addiction

Spilled pills on a tablePREVENT THIS:
DRUG ABUSE AND TEEN ADDICTION

Addiction is a struggle that many families in America must deal with and unfortunately, a percentage of those addicts are teenagers.

It’s hard to tell with a teenager if there is a problem mostly because it’s already a very volatile age to being with. Dealing with the trials and tribulations of high school friendships, romances, worst of all hormones, all while trying to gain their own self-identity. Some of these teens take these situations very hard and have yet to build up proper coping mechanisms. This, in turn, leads some teens to other ways of escaping how they feel and one of those ways is turn painkillers.

Some teens though aren’t looking for some quick high and need the painkillers after an injury or accident. The problem then becomes how long do they need the painkillers and weening the teens off.

Here are things to look for to notice if a teenager may be having a substance abuse problem:

  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control the use of the substance.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance, occurs.
  5. Recurrent use of the substance results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Use of the substance continues despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use of the substance.
  8. Use of the substance is recurrent in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
    1. A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect
    2. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
    1. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM-5 for each substance).
    2. The use of a substance (or a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

For more information on substance abuse please check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics
And if you are facing the issue of someone who is abusing drugs but don’t know what to say or how to handle it you can look at this site: https://drugabuse.com/opiates/hotlines/
This has hotline numbers with dedicated respondents who will help talk you through what you should do or help you get in contact with a local treatment center that would be able to assist you.

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Introducing Niki Bolduc

Introducing Niki Bolduc

Hi All! I’m so excited to be featured on the first AMSkier Personal Lines Newsletter and share a little bit about myself.

My name is Niki Bolduc and I joined the Skier Family 8 months ago, coming to the agency with over 15 years of experience in Personal Lines Insurance. I am a lifelong resident of Wayne County, born in Honesdale and raised in Lake Ariel. My husband and I met in high-school and he has been by my side for the last 24 years. He is the best man I know – strong, hardworking, kind and loving. He makes me laugh every single day. We recently bought a new house and we are slowly renovating the entire place, one room at a time. Chip and Joanna Gaines, we are not, but it has been the best time working together to create our forever home. We have 2 children. Our daughter is 21, she is pursuing an architectural studies degree at Jefferson University in Philadelphia and currently working to self-publish a book of her poetry. She is a bright light, creative and insightful, with the biggest heart. Our son is 17, he just recently committed to play baseball at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus and will be studying Kinesiology. He is crazy talented and hard-working, intelligent with the quickest wit and the best sense of humor. I am thankful every day for the life I get to share with these amazing human beings.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I love creating great meals to feed my family and friends. Our home is constantly filled with people – we host parties all throughout the year to celebrate holidays or special events or just to simply enjoy time together. I love to be creative. I spend hours putting together table settings, candles and flower arrangements so that every dining experience in our home is special. There is no better feeling to me than the people I love most in the world crowded around a beautiful dining table savoring good food and conversation, playing games (my family is usually good for some very heated rounds of Boggle, Yahtzee or Bananagrams) & making lasting memories.

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to include one of my all-time favorite recipes. These cookies are a holiday staple for my family, the recipe passed down from my great grandma, Helen. When I make them, my entire kitchen smells just like hers did when I was a kid and it reminds me of some of the best moments I ever shared with her. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Grandma Franc’s Sugar Cookies

2 Cups Sugar                                                                                                                                 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Shortening                                                                                                                        1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Eggs                                                                                                                                            4 Cups Flour

Pinch of Salt                                                                                                                                 ½ Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract                                                                                                        Raspberry Jam (I prefer with seeds)

 

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, measure out flour and baking soda and set aside. In another bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, eggs, salt, lemon and vanilla extract. Slowly add in flour/baking soda mixture and milk. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for about an hour. (This will make the cookies easier to roll) On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, cut 2 circles per cookie. Cut a ½ inch hole in the center of half of the cookies. Place the whole cookie on a baking sheet, put 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam in the center and cover with the holed cookie. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Interested in developing a relationship with us at AMSkier? Please contact us here.

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Prevent This: Auto-Accidents

Prevent This: Auto-Accidents

We have seen an increase in frequency every year in auto accidents. Take a look at this chart and learn why auto accidents are happening along with some ideas to prevent them going forward.

prevent work related auto-accidents

So, how can businesses Prevent This?

Here are some tips:

Have staff read, agree to and sign a distracted driving policy. We’ve attached a sample for you here.
Ensure staff downloads an app to block incoming texts and calls. Some apps can send an auto response back, letting the sender know that they are driving and that the recipient will respond when parked. A few of these apps are:
– LifeSaver
– OneTap
– AT&T DriveMode

Keep a list of emergency names and numbers in each vehicle.

Make sure your drivers WANT TO DRIVE. A lazy driver or a fearful driver is an accident waiting to happen.

Train your staff on driver safety. Have staff participate in courses that teach defensive driving, safe driving practices and more essential topics. Stay tuned!

Prevent This, and more.
AMSkier, your Partner in Safety.

Concerned about what your insurance would cover in the case of an accident? Talk to one of our insurance advisers and contact us here.

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Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety TipsKeep Holidays Happy | 11 Safety Tips

Holiday safety is an issue that sparks reason to be concerned at this time of year, as families gather, parties are scheduled and travel booms. Take precautions to ensure your family remains safe, injury-free and happy this holiday season! Here are eleven often over-looked safety tips!

1. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use. 
Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

2. Do not overload electrical outlets. 
Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.

3. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. 
More than three strands may not only blow a fuse but can also cause a fire.

4. Keep trees fresh by watering daily.
Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.

5. Hang high lights with a buddy. Every year, more than 500,000 people are injured as a result of falling off of ladders. If you’re hanging holiday lights this year, don’t do it alone. Make sure your ladder is level, don’t overreach, and don’t ascend the ladder with your hands full. Consider accessories like ladder jacks and levelers for additional safety.

6. Use battery-operated candles. 
Candles start almost half of home decoration fires (NFPA).

7. Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources. 
A heat source that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations (NFPA).

8. Protect cords from damage. 
To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.

9. Check decorations for certification label.
Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.

10. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. 
Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires (NFPA).

11. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. 
Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am (NFPA).

Concerned about what your insurance would cover in the case of a holiday accident? Discuss them with one of our insurance advisers and contact us here.

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