Seven steps to safe grilling

Cooking on the grill is a perfect way to enjoy a summer evening. But all too often, this leads to accidents or fires caused by improper grilling — approximately 7,000 people are injured in grill fires every year.

Take these seven steps to reduce your risk of injury and property damage while grilling:

1. Before using your grill, place it at least 10 feet from other objects, including shrubs, bushes, and your house. Believe it or not, a hot grill can melt siding or worse — cause a house fire — if placed too close.

2. Never leave a grill unattended.

3. Only use lighter fluid when starting a fire in a charcoal grill.

4. Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly. Do not turn on a gas grill with the lid closed.

5. If you find a leak, turn off the gas. Do not attempt to light the grill again until the leak is fixed.

6. Do not use a grill inside your home or garage. Doing so could cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

7. Allow grill equipment to cool completely before allowing children or pets near it. A grill remains hot up to an hour after use.

Take inventory before disaster hits

With headlines about natural disasters and catastrophic losses hitting the news around the world, everyone is wondering about the safety of their own homes. If a natural disaster struck your home and you lost everything, could you recall what “everything” includes?

Insurance companies ask you to place a value on what you’ve lost so you can be compensated in a claim. But who can possibly recall every item they own — especially in times of high stress? 

Create a home inventory
A home inventory is a list of every item in your home that includes a brief description of each item and its value. This list is an important way to prepare for a disaster, and there are easy ways to create your own:

  • This free online program helps you go through your house room by room to document every item and its value.
  • Videotape your belongings Walk through your house with a video camera, recording each item. Be sure to store the video somewhere other than your home, such as a safe-deposit box.

If you ever need to file a claim, written documentation of your home inventory will make the process easier and help settle your claim faster. You won’t have to spend days or weeks trying to recall your lost belongings, and you’ll be reimbursed for your losses sooner.

Remember to update your inventory every year or two to keep the list accurate.

Agents impress in the office and the community

Dave Schlichting, SECURA Farm Lines Director (second from left), delivers $5000 to agent Joe Draxler (second from right) to give to his fire department of choice. Also pictured: Bill Hurtgen and Charl Draxler.
Agent by day, volunteer by night. Joe Draxler of Indianhead Insurance Agency was the winner of SECURA’s Farm Lines contest, giving him the honor of selecting a fire department to award a $5,000 donation.

Joe chose to donate to the Glenwood City Fire and Rescue, which has been trying to raise enough money for a $24,000 heart defibrillator for several years. With this donation, it will reach it’s goal.

Not only is Joe a volunteer ambulance driver for the Glenwood City Fire and Rescue Department in his community, he also volunteers in villages outside of the United States. Through an organization called Living Water International, he has helped provide thousands of people with clean drinking water through the installation and upkeep of water pumps.

Joe’s passion for helping others is a reflection of the type of agents we have as part of our SECURA family. Our connections go beyond the office into the community, and we are pleased we could help this fire and rescue department reach its goals.

Keep your hot dog cool

Nine summer pet safety tips

Dogs are cherished members of many families. Be sure to take precautions to keep them safe during the hot summer months.

Never leave an animal in the car. Temperatures in a closed car can exceed 100 degrees in minutes, posing a serious threat to a dog trapped inside.

Keep a water dish near and full. If your dog is outside, a water dish needs to be easily accessible to him or her. Check the dish regularly to make sure it is full.

Protect pets from the sun. Animals can become sunburned and get skin cancer from sun exposure just like humans. If your pooch has thin hair or exposed skin, a veterinarian may recommend sunscreen. Keep him or her in the shade whenever possible to avoid sunburn and to provide a cool resting spot.

Avoid hot surfaces. If a surface is hot enough that you need to wear shoes, it is too hot for your dog to walk on it. Hot surfaces can burn paws just like they burn feet.

Minimize physical activity during the hottest hours of the day. Humans can adjust clothing to the weather, but animals cannot. Keep physical activity to the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are lower.

Supervise water activity. Water is a great way to cool off, but even dogs can become exhausted and drown. If you own a pool, make sure your dog knows how to get out of it.

Avoid fertilizer, anti-freeze, and toxic plants. Warmer weather typically means more time outdoors and increased exposure to chemicals. It also means dogs have more contact with poisonous plants.

Cover windows. An open window poses a falling hazard for any pet who may try to escape. Keep screens or barriers on your windows to prevent falls.

ID your pet. In the event your dog runs away, it is important that he can be identified. Tags and implanted ID chips are two ways to help others contact you when your dog is found.