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 Compass Info4U Blog 
Friday, June 22 2018

Check out the Met Life Blog for more info on Family Wellness at:   https://blog.metlife.com/wellness

Taking care of a cat or dog is more than just making sure they’re fed each day and picking up after them — it’s a commitment you make to a living being that will depend on you for its entire existence.

And try as you might, you can’t stop a beloved pet from eating strange items, getting sick, or running away from home that split-second the front door is open. But there are things you can do to prevent problems and give your pet a great life.

1. Vaccinate, Operate, and Microchip to Locate

All cats and dogs need certain vaccines, and most vets will insist on sterilization to help control pet overpopulation, and microchipping to locate lost pets.

All three are often included in the cost if you’re adopting a cat or dog from a shelter or humane society. It’s important to note that these costs can range upwards of $500 per animal when visiting a private vet.

“Identification is crucial. A microchip is a very, very good idea,” says Dr. Gabrielle Carrière, the chief veterinarian of the Montreal SPCA shelter. She also recommends a collar with your phone number, in case Fido or Kitty make a break for it.

As for vaccines, Carrière says puppies and kittens should receive their base vaccines starting at eight weeks old, and then go for a booster every three to four weeks until they hit four months of age.

“Once they hit four months, they need to go back to their veterinarian a year later for their booster,” she says.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has a canine vaccination task force that publishes universal guidelines on best vet practices. It recommends four core vaccines for dogs:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Adenovirus
  • Parvovirus

“For cats, core vaccines include FVRCP (feline viral upper respiratory vaccine) and rabies. There are other non-core vaccinations that may also be recommended depending on a dog or cat’s risk factors and lifestyle,” says Dr. Wendy Mandese, a clinical assistant professor in small animal sciences at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

For animals that spend time outside the house, additional vaccines for feline leukemia, which is highly contagious among cats, and leptospirosis, an infectious bacterial disease that can be transmitted from dogs to humans, are important. Heartworm and flea protection for dogs, particularly in the summer months, is also a must.

“In Florida we see a lot of heartworm disease and skin problems related to allergies and parasites,” says Mandese.
It’s important to speak with your vet about which vaccines are most appropriate for your pet based on their lifestyle and location.

2. Find a Reputable Vet

Unfortunately, animals can’t tell you when they’re sick or injured. Sometimes it’s an upset stomach — and sometimes they’ve ingested an entire spool of thread while you were out grocery shopping. Avoid undue and entirely preventable stress by finding a reliable and trustworthy vet close to where you live.

Ask for recommendations from friends, colleagues and family members who live in the area for their best — and worst — vet experiences. Read online comments on clinics’ social-media pages and on third-party commenting systems like Yelp and Google reviews. Better yet, call up clinics and ask to speak to a vet tech or veterinarian directly.

And for all of those incidents that happen when your vet’s office is closed, jot down the number and address of your local emergency veterinarian hospital or clinic and stick it on your fridge.

3. Be Observant of Your Pet’s Behaviors

Is your normally sociable cat hiding under the bed? Is your normally very active dog sleeping more than usual? Give your vet a call — the staff there should be able to tell you whether it’s something urgent or something to be monitored.

“Any abrupt change in behavior should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian, as they can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Examples would be inappropriate urination, which could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, or aggression, which could indicate pain or anxiety,” says Mandese.

Vets see every kind of health disaster possible in animals — broken bones, skin conditions, and a plethora of random items — rocks, carpet, corn cobs — inside of digestive tracts.

“Vomiting and diarrhea are also common in dogs, especially ones that like to eat foreign objects and get into the trash,” Mandese says.

Cats and dogs rarely make their pain known to their humans, so it’s up to you to be vigilant about changes in your pet’s behavior — you could end up saving your furry friend’s life.

4. Clip Those Nails

Grooming isn’t just for shih tzus and show dogs.

Becky Misener, the owner of Grooming With Finesse in Waterloo, Ont., and the president of the Ontario Dog Groomers’ Association, says regularly grooming a cat or dog is beneficial in a number of ways.

First, regular handling of a pet conditions them to be more patient and accepting of a good brushing, bathing, and nail-clipping. “Anything you want a dog to learn, teach it on a routine,” Misener says.

Second, groomers usually get far closer to the skin than pet owners do.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found things on dogs, like lumps or ear infections. We found a tumor on a dog one time,” Misener says.

Keeping a dog’s nails neatly trimmed is extremely important but can be tricky to do at home. The thickness and darkness of most dogs’ nails make it hard to see the quick — a red line that, when cut, leads an animal to bleed profusely (but not fatally). However, letting nails grow can be dangerous too, Misener says.

“What happens is, the foot doesn’t sit properly and it can cause splaying, and then they’ll bend their pastern (wrist bone) and it can cause long-term damage,” she says.

As for cats — well, have you ever tried giving a cat a bath?

It may never get easier, especially if you only bathe your cat when absolutely necessary. Misener’s best advice for cats is to start them out in the bath when they’re young, and to do it regularly. Of her now-deceased, water-loving cat, Misener says, “I would get her wet every single week, and this cat just loved the bath.”

Cats are notoriously squeamish about getting their nails clipped, as well. Your best bet is a thick towel to tightly wrap your cat up in, a proper pair of nail scissors, a healthy dose of determination, and perhaps some very thick rubber gloves.

5. Good Care Is In the Details

Quality dry and wet pet food is essential to an animal’s prolonged health, so do your research and look for food where meat is the first ingredient. Some people choose to feed their pets raw meat to simulate a biologically appropriate diet, but that approach is not always recommended by vets — and it can also be very expensive. Speak to your veterinarian for a diet best suited for your pet.

You might also consider purchasing a pet insurance plan, which may help cut veterinary costs and give you and your family some piece of mind in the event of an unexpected accident, injury or illness.

Owning a pet is a big responsibility, but it can also be a lot of fun. Take the time to research, prepare and find great healthcare for your cat or dog so you can raise a happy and healthy new member of your family.


Helpful Websites:

The ASPCA on vaccines

The ASPCA on general animal care

AAHA’s newest guidelines for dog vaccines

Posted by: Met Life AT 07:14 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 25 2018

Check out this very informative and eye opening blog post by Randy Klatt on the MEMIC Safety Blog. 

Do you text and drive?  Please just don't do it. The information will still be there or pull over and save a life, maybe yours!  

https://www.memic.com/workplace-safety/safety-net-blog/2018/may/death-by-text-or-other-distraction?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MemicSafetyBlog+%28MEMIC+Safety+Net+Blog%29

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 09:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 25 2018

Check out this website to see all the options and fun that can be had fishing in Maine waters. Get outside and get some "reel" quality time and take a sledge hammer to the video games and enjoy the ultimate playstation..... MAINE!!  

https://www.takemefishing.org/maine

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 09:02 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 17 2016

Oh there is nothing better than hearing that ol diesel engine hum and kick some butt out at the local lobster boat races. Right?
If you own your boat outright like many people do, it is a great way to have some fun. Fortunately they have almost always been fun, safe events.  But if you have a loan on your boat you may want to know if your Bank requires you to have breach of warranty coverage before you head off to the races. If you have a loss while racing your boat chances are it may not be covered.  Check the policy over closely many policies have a commercial hull use only clause.  So if you go out racing, you are breaching your contract with the insurance company and they could possibly deny a loss if it happens while racing. Breach of Warranty coverage would cover a loss if you are in violation of your insurance policy contract.  So just make sure you are really covered! 
And its off to the races.

Paul J. Miner
Compass Insurance

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 11:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 07 2014

Aids to Navigation can provide a boater with information similar to that which drivers get from street signs, stop signals, road barriers, detours, and traffic lights. This booklet will give you, the recreational boater, the basic information you need about the U.S. Aids to Navigation System (USATONS). This information will help you recognize, understand, and navigate by the colors, shapes, numbers, and lights you will encounter on the water. It will also give you the basic tools you need to read a nautical chart.

In addition, you will find information on safety, the proper way to interact with other vessels, tips on boating at night, and how to handle special situations you might encounter, like bridges and locks. Take some time to review this booklet, and keep it onboard your boat as a quick reference. Your understanding of the markers you see on the water will help ensure that you,  your family, and your friends have fun – and safe – boating trips.

Provided by the United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division.

Follow this link to read this extremely helpful and visual information on Aids to Navigation.

http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/workflow_staging/Publications/486.PDF

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 10:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 22 2014

Don't miss a Minute of Boat Season! Tips to get your Boat Ready for the Waves

Man inspecting boat motor

Another great blog entry by Foremost Insurance.

Warm weather has come early in some parts of the country, making boat owners itching to get out on the water. I speak from experience, since I inherited a boat and will be putting it on the water this summer. It has been unseasonably warm in my part of the country and I can't wait for it to become the appropriate time to ride the waves. However, our marine product manager, Brad Seeley, has reminded me that there are many things I need to do in order to get that beauty ready for the season.

If you are struggling with the pre-launch boat preparation, here are some great tips from Discover Boating to help get that ride out as soon as possible.

  • Inspect the fuel system for any leaks or damage. Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are all functioning properly. (You may want to run the motor out of the water first.) Also, it's recommended to change the oil before your first run of the year.
  • Check the belts, cables and hoses. They can become brittle and may crack or swell during the winter.
  • Inspect electrical connections for cleanliness or tightness. Charge your battery and have it tested to ensure it can hold a charge. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.
  • Check all fluid levels; change the engine oil, oil filter, and drive lubricants, if these tasks were not done prior to winterizing your boat.
  • Inspect propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion. Be sure to clean the hull, deck and topsides and make sure the drain plug is securely in place before every launch.
  • Check your safety gear! Make sure your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough on board for all potential passengers. Be sure on board fire extinguishers are the correct class and are fully charged.

A couple hours before your summer launch could save you huge headaches later. After researching this topic, I picked up a couple of my own tips. A lot of boat owners say to have extra plugs on hand, just in case. Also, brushing up on a boater's safety class is always a good idea and if you have a Foremost policy, you may be eligible for a discount.

Get prepared to enjoy this boating season and leave the rest to the water. Foremost just happens to offer boat insurance, so if you are in the market, Compass Insurance is a Foremost appointed agent. Give us a call at 207-790-2300.

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 11:09 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 22 2014

These are some excellent winter driving tips from weather.com.
http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/tipIndex.html
 

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions.

It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid...

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.

If your front wheels skid...

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If you get stuck...

  1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

Sources: National Safety Council, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Washington State Government Information & Services

Winterize Your Car

Driving in the winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers and unforeseen dangers. To help you make it safely through winter, here are some suggestions from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared.

Weather
At any temperature -- 20° Fahrenheit below zero or 90° Fahrenheit above -- weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious problems. It is important to monitor forecasts on the Web, radio, TV, cable weather channel, or in the daily papers.

Your Car
Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

  • Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.
  • Changing and adjusting the spark plugs.
  • Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
  • Inspecting the distributor.
  • Checking the battery.
  • Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth.
  • Checking antifreeze levels and the freeze line.

Your car should have a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.

Necessary Equipment
An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items in your trunk:

  • Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
  • Shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow and tire chains
  • Bag of salt or cat litter
  • Tool kit

Essential Supplies
Be prepared with a "survival kit" that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Scissors and string/cord
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.

If You Become Stranded...

  • Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
  • To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.
  • If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
  • To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm.
  • Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
  • Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

Reprinted with permission from the National Safety Council

For more tips visit weather.com link below.
http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/tipIndex.html

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 09:04 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 09 2014

Preventing Ice Dams on Homes

Understanding how ice dams form

When heat from the interior of a house with a sloped roof escapes into the attic space, it warms the underside of the roof. Meanwhile, the roof eave outside the heated space remains a colder temperature.

As snow accumulates on the rooftop, it melts over the warmer portion of the attic and the melt water runs down the roof. When it encounters the cold edge of the roof it refreezes. The refrozen water along the roof edge creates an “ice dam” and consequently, the melted snow running down the roof begins to back up underneath the roof covering. This water will soak the roof sheathing and leak into the attic unless there is a barrier above the sheathing. Sealing the roof deck is an effective way to prevent the water from entering your home and causing damage.

Preventing ice dams

When re-roofing:

Installing a new roof is the perfect time to seal the roof deck by installing a moisture barrier on top of the decking, before installing the roof covering. This affordable option will help keep water out of your home due to moisture from ice dams, as well as protecting the house from wind-driven rain if the roof cover blows off during a windstorm. The moisture barrier should extend from the edge of the eaves to at least 24 inches beyond the inside of the exterior wall.

Here are some options for sealing the roof deck:

  • Install a “peel and stick” membrane over the entire roof deck;
  • Install 4″-6″ wide “peel and stick” tape installed over all the wood roof panel seams, covered by a 30# felt underlayment over the entire roof;
  • Install a high tear strength synthetic underlayment with all vertical and horizontal seams taped;
  • Install a closed cell polyurethane spray foam applied to the underside of the roof sheathing at the joints between the sheathing panels and along all intersections between roof sheathing and all roof framing members.

Things you can do before re-roofing:

  • To help prevent ice damming, remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof, such as an attic.

  • Light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space and particularly those in cathedral ceilings the open area that is directly under your roof, such as attic space or a mechanical room, should be insulated.

  • Recessed light fixtures release heat if they are not insulated.

  • Check to see if there is any visible light from these fixtures in the attic.

  • If there is, they probably are not adequately sealed or insulated. Seal or insulate those light fixtures immediately.

  • If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents, seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal.

  • Insulate, seal, weatherstrip or gasket all attic access doors.

  • Attic penetrations and access doors, which are not properly sealed and insulated, allow for heated air to escape into the attic and can contribute to an ice damming condition.

Removing ice dams

IBHS does not recommend chipping or breaking ice dams due to the damage that can be inflicted on the roof. If you are not physically capable of going onto the roof or are unable to easily reach the roof, consult a roofing professional.

For low slope roofs or flat roofs:

  • Removing the snow will remove the source of a potential ice dam.

  • Use a heavy duty push broom with stiff bristles to brush off the snow on low slope or flat roofs.

  • A shovel or snow blower should not be used since they may tear up the roof cover system.

For steep slope roofs:

  • Removing the snow will remove the source of a potential ice dam.

  • A roof rake may be used for most single story buildings while remaining on the ground to pull snow down the roof slope.

  • Do not pull snow back against the slope or sideways since the snow may get underneath the cover and can break shingles.

Another great resource article by The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

http://www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/preventing-ice-dams-on-homes/

Posted by: IBHS AT 07:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, December 09 2013

Make Fire Prevention a Habit

The most important part of fire safety is prevention. The following tips will help you form fire-safe habits and

prevent fires in your home. Click on this link for the tip sheet coutesy of Foremost Insurance Group.

https://n.b5z.net/i/u/10048627/f/Fire_Prevention_Tips_for_Homeowners.pdf

Posted by: Paul J Miner AT 12:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 19 2013

 

Another epic blog post by Brianne Tucker November 15, 2012 11:20 am  on the Foremost Insurance blog.         

I’m feverishly preparing for what I consider to be a rite of passage:  I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. While I love to cook and host my family from time to time, there’s something extra intimidating about preparing the quintessential meal of the year.  How do I manage preparing a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and vegetables at the same time? In one oven? At this point I have a spreadsheet listing what I need to do on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and the baking times and temperatures broken down in chronological order. (Thank goodness my mom is bringing the pumpkin pie.)

While I was researching ways to prevent the turkey from drying out, I stumbled upon this fact. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking-related home fires. Add another thing to worry about to the list.

It’s pretty clear to see why 69% of all home fires on Thanksgiving are cooking fires. People are stressed and busy, which can lead to carelessness and inattention in the kitchen. Let me join the chorus and reiterate the NFPA’s tips regarding cooking safety:

  • Make sure your stovetop is clear of anything that could catch fire, like oven mitts, towels, hot pads, wooden utensils and food packaging.
  • If you are frying, grilling, or broiling, stay in the kitchen. If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling, check on your food regularly and remain in your home. Use a timer help remind you that you are cooking.
  • Only cook when you are alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove.

Then there’s the use of turkey fryers, which the NFPA actually discourages. So does Underwriters Laboratory (UL), which will not certify any turkey fryers with their UL Mark. This video explains why UL finds those appliances dangerous.

I know that won’t stop everyone from frying a turkey. If you are considering it, please read Underwriters Laboratory’s article on the subject. They list not only the hazards, but key tips you should follow to make the process as safe as possible.

We hope everyone can celebrate a safe and happy Thanksgiving. And if you’re in the market, consider talking to a Foremost Agency about an insurance policy for your home.

Posted by: Paul J. Miner AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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