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Is your mobile home anchored and secured? Here are some great tips on anchoring your own mobile home! Shield Insurance Agency represents almost 40 insurance companies and will work to find you the best price for the most insurance. Call or Text 616.896.4600 for a free quote today!
Shield Insurance Agency & Foremost Insurance Company present Insurance Terms
Every industry has its own unique language – and insurance is no exception. Here are some key insurance definitions and terms you might come across as you consider insuring yourself or your stuff.
Michigan Spring Lawn Care Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Lawn
When spring hits in Michigan, there’s a short period before summer comes where you have the time to care for your lawn and make it presentable!
This kind of spring lawn care usually includes ensuring your sprinklers are working properly to keep your lawn hydrated during the warmer months, taking care of your grass and soil with fertilizer, factoring in weed prevention, and of course, getting ready to do something about those pests and mosquitoes.
Everyone wants a bright, inviting lawn and garden, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Take a look through these tips and tricks to be sure you have the best lawn on the block.
Tips and Tricks
Ditch Your Weeds
To keep your lawn looking clean and not overgrown, it’s always a good idea to start by taking care of your weeds. Weeds start to show up right when spring does. Michigan’s most common and most stubborn weeds can include Dame’s Rocket, Maple Seedlings, and Dandelion.
While not harmful to humans, besides the occasional allergy symptoms, weeds are essentially a death wish for your lawn. You’ll want to spray some weed killer or dig each one up from the root before it spreads. They can take over the lawn quicker than you think.
Use Fertilizer On Your Lawn
Fertilizing your lawn in the spring gives it the nutrients it needs to grow back after the harsh Michigan winters. After the snow melts and the spring rain comes, the nutrients your lawn needs have long been washed away.
A properly fertilized lawn can thrive, just like the one you’ve always dreamed of. It can recreate the whole look of your home, without really changing anything at all.
For a bright green lawn, a fertilizer containing Nitrogen helps; and you’ll want something to ensure your roots are healthy as well, so one containing Phosphorus is a good idea as well.
Tax Day for individuals extended to May 17: Treasury, IRS extend filing and payment deadline
IR-2021-59, March 17, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.
“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.”
Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. Penalties, interest, and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.
Individual taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software, or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until October 15 to file their 2020 tax return but does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17, 2021, to avoid interest and penalties.
Get Gardening Muscles in Shape and Prevent Injuries. Before digging, pruning, and planting, make sure you’re ready for the work
by Susan Moeller, AARP, March 15, 2021
Christine Zellers tries to run five miles every day and, at 53, considers herself to be in shape. But even she admits that gardening can leave her sore and achy.
“I feel it, especially in the beginning of the season,” she says.
Zellers, an assistant professor of family and community health sciences with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County, New Jersey, teaches gardening, leads group exercise classes, and grows vegetables and herbs in her own garden in Ocean City, New Jersey. To protect her body, she tries to remember to stretch and limber up before heading out to dig, plant, or lug big pots around.
“You want to be thinking about the kind of movement you’re going to do and make sure you’re strengthening those body parts, like your core and your back and your legs and your quadriceps,” she says. “So you want to warm up a little bit just like you would if you were going for a run or doing an exercise class.”
Gardeners and health experts warn against jumping into gardening activities without some pre-game preparation to build strength, stamina and aerobic power and prevent injury.
For example, if your core body strength is off, your balance is also off, making falls a risk, says Maura Daly Iversen, a physical therapist and dean of the College of Health Professions at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. And you need aerobic capacity to do the work, she says.
“My friends that don’t garden think it’s light work,” says Iversen, who admits to being an “over-50” gardener. “But it can be pretty hefty work when you’re removing bushes and whatever. So I think cardiovascular fitness is also important.”
No gym membership needed
4 Tips for National Bath Safety Month
Keep the fun in the tub throughout the month of January.
Stay with her.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water, including the tub. Accidents can happen in an instant.
Young children do not have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they lose their balance. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure the throw rug outside the tub does not slide when stepped on. Consider installing a grab bar for kids to hold onto when stepping in and out of the bath.
Test the temperature.
Always wait until the tub is finished filling up before placing your child in the water, as the temperature can change. Set your home’s water heater to deliver water no hotter than 120 degrees to lower the risk of scalding. If you don’t have control over the heater, buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet.
Beware of Sharp Edges
Use a rubber cover for the faucet head and drape a towel over metal rails for shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. Avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.
Are electric space heaters safe?
Electric space heaters can be used safely, but they are not the safest option for staying warm when the temperature drops.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters account for 43% of home heating fires and 85% of home heating deaths.
They can also be a hazard in the workplace. While there are no federal safety rules prohibiting space heaters at a worksite, you should follow local rules and regulations. OSHA also requires businesses to follow all manufacturer specifications on the unit’s label and in the user manual when using electrical equipment.
So, if you’ve tried other ways to warm the area, like adjusting your HVAC system or adding weather stripping, and it’s just not working, an electric space heater might be the next best option. And it can be used safely at home or in the workplace when you take the right precautions.
Here are steps you can take to increase space heater safety for your home or business.
Use your indoor electric space heater safely
Here’s how to increase safety while enjoying the warm comfort of your electric space heater indoors:
- Follow all manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines.
- Before you use it, do an inspection of the space heater to check for damage on its parts, knobs, coils, and legs. If any damage is detected, take the space heater out of service immediately and have it repaired by a professional.
- Place the space heater at least six feet away from combustible materials and never place anything on top of or touching it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near each space heater.
- Put your space heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Avoid furniture, countertops, rugs, or carpets. Keep it out of high-traffic areas, such as doorways.
- Make sure your space heater is plugged into properly grounded outlets. Do not use extension cords or power strips.
- Turn off the space heater when no one is occupying that area or when it is out of sight.
- Do not use space heaters if small children are in the area.
- Unplug space heaters at the end of each day and make sure the unit has cooled before exiting the room or job site.
- Only use a space heater as a temporary (not permanent) heat source.
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition.
- For business use, require employees to request permission from a supervisor or facility manager.
When you use your electric space heater the right way, you are reducing the likelihood of property damage and injuries — keeping you and the important things around you safe and sound.
Safely use space heaters outdoors
Many restaurants, schools, offices, and other businesses use outdoor spaces during the cooler months of the year and rely on outdoor heaters to keep businesses running and people warm. Check out these safety tips for heating and storing propane cylinders and other outdoor space heaters
- Use propane heaters in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Set up heaters in open, ventilated areas. Propane cylinders cannot be used in enclosed spaces.
- Use the shortest possible hose to operate the propane cylinder.
- Follow restrictions based on occupancy. For example, restaurants with 50 or more occupants cannot have propane cylinders within five feet of exits.
- Store propane cylinders inside and in an area with minimal potential exposure to temperature increases, physical damage, etc.
There are also electric patio heater options for heating the outdoors.
NFPA recommends following these safety guidelines for electric patio heaters:
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use and storage.
- Complete proper inspection, cleaning and maintenance procedures for each use.
- Be mindful of necessary clearances from the heating element as well as installation and wiring requirements.
- Pay attention to the power requirements and whether an electric patio heater can be plugged into an outdoor extension cord and receptacle, power tap or multiplug adapter safely.
- Ensure any extension cords used are in good condition and free from splices or deterioration.
It’s possible to accomplish the safe use of space heaters by following the right precautions during setup, use, and storage.
Keep this article handy as a quick reference for basic space heater safety indoors and outdoors.
Things to consider before you buy or replace an electric space heater
In addition to using your space heater safely, here are other safety tips to consider for buying, maintaining, or replacing an electric space heater
- Understand which type of space heater you have. There are convection and radiant heaters. Convection space heaters circulate air in the room. Radiant space heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats the objects and people in line with the space heater.
- Invest in an electric space heater with added safety features. An automatic shut-off feature if the heater falls over or heating element guards are good features to look for.
- Consider the hours you have used your space heater as an indication for when it is time to replace it. For example, a space heater you have used daily for two years might need to be replaced due to the long hours of use. Replace your heater with a newer, safer model when possible.
Electric space heater safety is essential for you and the people around you. Practice safe use of space heaters on a regular basis to reduce the risk of fire in your home or business.
This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Talk to your Shield Insurance Agent to learn more about Homeowners and Business insurance coverage options
– National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
– National Safety Council
– American Red Cross
– Business and Legal Resources
– Safety+Health Magazine