Archive for our education

General Home Security

pexels-photo-101808Keeping your home secure

Everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security.

And nowadays, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security, so we at Duncan Financial Group want to help you sort through those options with a few tips.

Do-it-yourself options
The widespread availability of electronic tools means that homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.

  • Cameras: Smaller and more inexpensive than ever, cameras can be placed nearly anywhere on the exterior of your home and monitored from inside wirelessly — or set to record footage for review later. Available software even allows you to point your laptop camera in a particular direction (say, at the front door) and check the images from a remote location.
  • Lights: Motion-detecting floodlights are an excellent deterrent to thieves, because they don’t want to be seen. Make sure they’re installed near entryways, and that they aren’t easily reached from the ground. And using timers for interior lights is a good way to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
  • Alarms: Vibration alarms are available for windows, alerting you if someone is trying to get in. Similarly, other monitors can be installed near doors and programmed to sound if a person comes within a set distance. Some even emit barking sounds to make it appear that a dog is in the house.

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety:

  • Keep your home locked. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people leave windows or doors unlocked. Make sure that sliding doors and windows have extra security, such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
  • Don’t leave a key outside. If you need to provide access to your home while you’re away, leave your key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Watch the landscaping. Thick shrubs and bushes around your porch or yard can give thieves a good place to hide. Keep them well-trimmed and ensure that problematic areas can be illuminated with your outdoor lighting.
  • Use common sense. If you’re going away on vacation, cancel your newspaper and other deliveries. Ask a neighbor to keep watch, and park a car out front. Don’t post publicly on social media or leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail indicating that you’ll be away for an extended period.

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina.  So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

 

We Didn`t Start the Fire, but We Can Help Keep the Fire Safe: Fire Pit Safety

pexels-photo-25344Be Careful When You Play With Fire, Even in the Backyard

It’s a great feeling to hang out with friends and family around a blazing fire in your backyard in Western Pennsylvania — unless, of course, that fire blazes a little too much.

While a fire pit can be a wonderful addition to your home, all fires are potentially dangerous. So before you sit down with some marshmallows to roast, we here at Duncan Financial Group have gathered up some tips to help you keep that fire in the pit (and away from everything else).

Are you legal?
• Before building or buying a fire pit, check the regulations in your area to learn about restrictions.
• Your fire pit may be legal, but a fire might not always be. Monitor and follow community burn bans.
• Be respectful. Nothing can extinguish the good vibes of a nice fire more quickly than police complaints from smoked-out neighbors.

What kind of pit do you want?
• You can buy a fire pit or build one. If you choose the latter, there are plenty of resources online to help you design it. Don’t dig a hole just anywhere and throw some rocks down. Put some thought into it and you’ll have a better — and safer — spot to enjoy.
• If you want convenience, a propane model might be right for you. They produce less smoke and have an adjustable flame.

Ready to build your fire?
Actually, you probably aren’t ready yet.
• First, ensure the area under and around the fire pit is clear of flammable materials. Keep the pit itself at least 10 feet from any structures.
• Before you start the fire, have a fire extinguisher or a garden hose handy.

Okay, now are you ready to build your fire?
• Choose hard, seasoned woods. Sparks from softer woods like cedar can increase the danger of igniting something nearby.
• Don’t use liquid fuels, even lighter fluid, to get your fire going. And don’t burn paper, cardboard, leaves, garbage, etc.
• If you have a metal fire pit, don’t overload it and always use the included safety screen.

Is the fire out?
• When you’re done, spread out the ashes and let them cool off for a bit. Then gently pour water or sand over them. Stick around for a little while to watch for flare-ups.

We want you to have plenty of nice, warm nights — without getting burned. Here’s to making memories around the fire!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance.

Meet David R. Leng

David LengDavid R. Leng, Vice President of Duncan Insurance Group, a division of Duncan Financial Group, LLC is a 20+ year Risk Management veteran.  His professional credentials include recognition as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Certified Insurance Counselor, Certified Risk Manager and Certified WorkComp Advisor.  David is also the Co-Founder of Keystone CompControl, and recently became an instructor for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals in 2010.  David graduated from the Pennsylvania State University earning a B.S. in Risk Management and Insurance.

To contact David Leng, please call 724-863-3420, ext. 3329 or email him at dleng@duncangrp.com.

REDUCE PREMIUMS? REDUCE RISK — LOSS CONTROL STRATEGIES

Business Protection BulletinBusiness owners know an injury to an employee or severe property damage destroys productivity; so all losses should be avoided or reduced. So why do insurance loss control representatives’ visits and the ensuing safety recommendations bother business owners so frequently? Is it a nuisance? Is it the money to implement loss control strategies? Insurance companies understand that the frequency of claims, that is the number of claims, predicts risk levels much more accurately than does the severity of claims.

For small business, as defined as those that cannot afford an in-house full time safety officer, the insurance company loss control representative acts in that capacity to review the overall loss control picture. Use this service to your advantage. The insurance company wants to reduce risk as much as you do. Of course, the company is less concerned about the budget to do so when you’re fulfilling their recommendations. So, what can you do about costly compliance measures? Ask the loss control representative for help. These professionals are in the field all the time and see many solutions to the same problems. They will have some cost effective ideas.

Manufacturers and contractors are familiar with equipment safety devices, such as guards on saw blades or operator cages. Ergonomics has become a popular form of loss control that ties into safety devices. Differing control knobs, placement of controls and sight lines improve operator efficiency and eliminate unsafe habits.

Environmental controls, for example ventilation and lighting, reduce worker fatigue, unhealthy air quality, and poor visibility. Injuries decrease in frequency as a result.

Proper protective gear might seem a bit old school, but goggles, gloves, hard hats, protective clothing, and even proper work clothing can help to reduce claims.

Installing guards and providing equipment protection is half the battle. Safety must be taught to employees at all levels for an effective loss reduction program. New and old measures should be embraced by management and implemented correctly.

Insurance loss control departments are a good source for safety lesson plans, posters, or even direct employee meetings to teach and discuss safety issues.

Loss control strategies eliminate or reduce risks. Prevention, avoidance, transfer, and separation are examples of viable strategies.

Come in to Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania and see what we are all about.