12 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Get a good night’s sleep, and you’re more likely to wake up alert, energetic, happy and able to function. Since November is National Sleep Comfort Month, implement six tips that help you sleep better and more comfortably.
1. Invest in a Quality Mattress and Comfortable Bedding
Your sleep comfort depends largely on your mattress. If it’s lumpy, hard or scratchy, you’ll toss and turn instead of truly resting. Visit a local mattress store today and invest in the best mattress and bedding you can afford. It will quickly pay for itself as you sleep better and enjoy greater productivity and happiness.
2. Lower the Temperature
Because your body heat rises slightly as you sleep, you’ll be more comfortable when you lower your bedroom temperature by a few degrees. Opening a window or turning on a fan produces the same results.
3. Limit Big Evening Meals
Visiting the buffet for dinner tasted good at the time, but a large evening meal increases overnight discomfort. It will keep you awake and give you indigestion and heartburn. Step away from the kitchen at least two hours before bed. If you need a snack, indulge in a small portion of cereal with milk, fruit or granola.
4. Skip Alcohol and Caffeine
Your late-afternoon coffee affects your sleep 10 to 12 hours after you drink it. Your nightcap might make you drowsy, but the alcohol will wake you in the middle of the night. To boost your afternoon energy level, grab an apple, walnuts or cheese. If you want an alcoholic drink at night, enjoy it at least two hours before bedtime.
When you’re anxious, tense or stressed, your body won’t be able to relax. Practice yoga, deep breathing and visualization. As you relax your mind, your body will follow, and you’ll enjoy more comfortable sleep.
6. See Your Doctor
If you still can’t get comfortable at night, talk to your doctor. Discuss physical or mental issues that might be preventing you from getting adequate rest. Check with your insurance agent, too, about whether chiropractor visits or specialty pillows are covered by your insurance.
With a good night’s sleep, you wake up in a good mood and ready to tackle the day.
12 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Nearly 13,900 PG&E customers in Santa Cruz County woke up today to a dark Monday morning, as the utility shut-off power to over 350k customers in 36 counties beginning Sunday night.This is a preventive/safety measure to reduce the chances of utility equipment sparking a wildfire as the State of CA is experiencing unprecedented strong winds and low humidity levels.
The next time you experience a power disruption, take these steps to protect your home, valuables and family.
Call the power company. Report the outage and any downed lines, and sign up (online) to receive alerts when the power returns.
Check the circuit breakers. Be sure they’re turned to the “on” position so the power will automatically turn on when it’s restored.
Never touch downed lines. They’re deadly.
Use battery-operated flashlights or lanterns. Candles or oil lamps can be fire hazards, so rely on battery-operated light sources.
Stay warm during winter power outages. Bundle in layers, gather your family and pets in one room and shut the doors. You can also use your wood stove as a heat source if it’s clean and functions properly.
Stay cool during summer outages. Dress in lightweight clothing and hang out in the basement. You’ll also want to stay hydrated. If the power outage lasts for an extended time, drive to a mall, movie theater or other cool location.
Preserve food. In general, food will stay safe in the refrigerator for up to four hours and in the freezer for up to 48 hours, but try to avoid opening these appliances. Wrapping these appliances with blankets might provide further insulation and food protection during short outages.
Fill your water jugs if possible. Grab your spare containers and fill them with water to sustain you during the outage.
Turn on the water. Let your spigots drip to prevent freezing water pipes during winter outages.
Unplug major appliances. Your appliances could be damaged by the surge that sometimes occurs when the power comes back on, so unplug all your appliances and electronics except your fridge or freezer. Consider keeping a single lamp or other electric device plugged in so you know when the power is restored.
Use your generator with caution. Only turn on your generator if it’s installed outdoors, properly connected to your home and fueled properly.
Don’t grill indoors. The carbon monoxide could kill you.
Check on your neighbors. Verify that your neighbors are safe, especially if they’re elderly or disabled, and share any water or food with them.
Stock an emergency supply. After the power returns, prepare for the next outage. Stock non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and pet and baby supplies, if necessary.
Review your homeowners insurance coverage. Your policy may cover food losses, power surge damages, burst pipes, and even hotel expenses that you incur because of a power outage. Contact your insurance agent for more details.
A power outage can occur at any time, so be prepared. These steps help you protect your home and your family.
Halloween is fun for many kids and families, but vandalism, property damage and insurance claims increase during Halloween. Protect your property this October with these tips.
Turn on the Lights
Reduce the risk of a burglary when you turn the lights on and make your home look occupied. Consider installing motion sensor lights, too, to deter criminals.
Install Security Cameras
See what’s happening around your property with security cameras. You can also install a doorbell camera to determine if trick-or-treaters or tricksters are on your porch.
Lock the Doors and Windows
Even if you’re home to pass out treats, lock your doors and windows. Don’t give burglars the chance to enter the back of your home while you sit out front.
Don’t keep valuables in plain sight. Remember to hide your new TV box and similar items, too.
Talk to Your Neighbors
Make friends with your neighbors to improve security on your block. You can watch each other’s homes and deter or report suspicious behavior.
Remove Tripping Hazards
Loose branches, kids’ toys, extension cords, and other debris can cause trips or falls. Spend time cleaning up your yard and porch as you reduce this risk.
Install lighting along your sidewalk and porch to prevent trick-or-treaters from tripping. A well-lit property also deters criminals.
Use Flameless Candles
Jack-o’-lanterns are traditional decor, but open candle flames can start a fire. Use flameless or battery operated candles instead.
Protect your shed, garage and other outbuildings, along with the items they store, from vandals and thieves. Padlock the doors, lock the windows and tie down valuables inside.
Greet trick-or-treaters from your front porch or yard. While friendly, this action allows you to watch your property and prevents visitors from entering or casing your home.
Prevent your pets from escaping or running away when you secure them in a crate or interior room.
Seal your Mailbox
If vandals target mailboxes in your area, bring yours inside. You may also wish to tape your mail slot closed to prevent unwanted mail in your home, such as smoke bombs.
Park in the Garage
Protect your vehicle from vandalism and theft when you park it in the garage. Lock the doors and turn on the alarm, too. Alternatively, use a local parking garage or park in a populated or other secure space.
Update your Homeowners Insurance
If your home is damaged during Halloween, you can file an insurance claim. Update your policy now. Be sure it covers vandalism, fire damage and liability.
With these tips, you protect your home this October. They can improve the safety of your property during Halloween.
With over 3 million acres burned this year, California is reeling under the impact. This is around 10 times more acres than the state usually experiences.
While firefighters fight on, and our state’s resources are strapped – much of our wilderness and trails remain closed. As regular citizens we may feel helpless but we need to continue to do our part to prevent fires when we can.
October is National Fire Safety Month. Now is as good a time as any to evaluate your home and workplace so you can keep your loved ones and employees safe. Consider taking these steps that help you prevent fires this month and year-round.
Make sure trees and surrounding areas follow the local guidelines. Clear out flammable brush and take down flammable trees. Thin the trees (using recommended proximity guidelines) .
Organize your Space
Poor housekeeping can mean an increase in clutter and fire fuel. Plus, messy hallways and blocked exits, sprinklers or firefighting equipment can hinder escape and rescue efforts. Walk through every part of your building and perform a thorough cleanup.
Machinery, electronics and other equipment can overheat and cause a fire. Maintain all your equipment to prevent this hazard.
Prevent Electrical Hazards
Faulty wiring and other electrical hazards can spark a fire. Perform regular inspections of the entire electrical system and make any repairs immediately.
Store Chemicals Wisely
Flammable chemicals pose a safety risk. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets and labels on each container, then store and use the chemicals properly.
Allow Control Panel Access
You can turn off the electric and reduce this potential fire hazard at the control panel. Ensure the control panel is easily accessible and that key personnel know where it’s located and how to turn off the electric during an emergency.
Stock Fire Extinguishers
Based on your building’s size and occupancy, you must stock a certain number of fire extinguishers. Follow this requirement and inspect the fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they remain in proper working order. Also, train every staff member to use the fire extinguishers confidently.
Install Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers
Smoke detectors provide a warning, and a sprinkler system can save your building, equipment and inventory if a fire does start. Install both of these safety features, and inspect them regularly.
Designate Specific Smoking Areas
Require smoking employees and visitors to smoke only in certain areas that are far from chemicals, papers and other flammable materials. Provide ashtray receptacles and stock working fire extinguishers near the designated smoking areas, too.
Clearly Mark Exits
Post emergency exit diagrams where employees can see them. Also, mark every exit with a neon sign, and place reflective tape on the floor and doors.
Perform Regular Fire Drills
Fire drills prepare your employees for a successful evacuation. Conduct these drills regularly.
Update Contact Information
All of your employees should know who to contact during an emergency. The contact list will include the phone numbers for emergency personnel and key employees.
This October, you can celebrate National Fire Prevention Month. Take these 11 steps as you prepare your commercial property to remain safe.
There is a lot of ‘phishing’ going on these days. As many as one in five people fall prey to phishing incidents, but over 14 percent don’t recognize these phishing attacks. Learn more about phishing and how to combat attacks on your personal or company email.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam that cybercriminals use to gain access to sensitive information. It often occurs via email. The cybercriminal will send you an email that looks official but actually includes spyware, malware or other malicious software. When you open the link or download the file from the email, the criminals can access confidential information like bank account information, your social security number and other data. In many cases, you never know that your information has been compromised.
How to Recognize a Phishing Email
Phishing emails are designed to look authoritative so that you will open them and give the cybercriminal access to your computer. While these emails often look like they’re from a real company, you can usually recognize them via five signs.
- Sender Address
Before opening any email, look at the sender’s address. It may look similar to the official company’s address but could be slightly off. For example, it may use dot-net instead of dot-com or include a small spelling error like micrsoft or micosoft.
Cybercriminals use threats and fear to manipulate consumers. They may say that you will lose money, face criminal charges or suffer another devastating consequence if you don’t open the email. In most cases, these threats are meant to incite fear and get you to comply with their complicit wishes.
Steps That Can Protect Your Email
You can’t prevent cybercriminals from targeting you. However, you can take steps to protect yourself.
- Install spam filters and virus scans.
- Learn to recognize phishing emails.
- Only open email links from verified and trusted sources.
- Delete any emails that look suspicious.
- Train coworkers and associates to recognize phishing threats.
- Purchase cyber insurance that protects you if you are a victim of phishing.
You can’t stop cybercriminals from targeting your email, but you can use these tips to protect yourself and your data.