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320 Granite Run Drive, PO Box 3320, Lancaster, PA 17604-3320
Personal Protection Bulletin
Home Gym Safety Tips
If your 2019 resolution is to get in shape, you may decide to use a home gym. It’s an affordable alternative to a gym membership and is easy to add to your homeowners insurance policy. As you work out, take some safety precautions to prevent injuries.
Read the Manual
Your home gym comes with a manual that outlines how to assemble and use the equipment properly. Read and follow the manual to prevent it from falling apart and to reduce your risk of injury as you use it.
Wear the Right Gear
Like you wouldn’t show up to the local gym in your swimsuit and flip-flops, wear the right gear to work out at home, too. The right clothing and shoes help you avoid slips and stay safe throughout your workout. For example, a sturdy, nonslip shoe is essential for running on a treadmill, and wear breathable clothing that stretches with you as you move.
Warm Up and Stretch
A 10-minute warmup can reduce your muscle strain and injury risk. Walk, jog or run in place, and do gentle stretches before you start your workout.
Switch up your routine every day to gain a whole body workout and reduce straining one particular set of muscles. Try doing cardio one day and lift weights the next.
Hang a Mirror
With a mirror, you can watch your form and ensure it’s right as you workout alone. Hang a mirror in a strategic location to protect yourself.
Lift with a Spotter
While you can lift weights alone, you’ll be safer when you have a spotter. He or she will remind you of your limits and help you out if you need it.
Know and Respect your Limits
Running harder or faster than you’re used to or lifting too many weights is a recipe for disaster. Keep your limits in mind, and don’t push yourself too hard. It’s okay to challenge your body as long as you can do so safely.
Keep your Kids Safe
Always supervise children as they use your home gym equipment. They should use the equipment properly and know their limits.
Clean your Gym
The accumulation of dirt and sweat on your equipment can cause bacteria growth that could make you sick. Wipe down your equipment after each use to keep it clean and prevent illness.
Talk to your Doctor
Always get approval from your doctor before you start any workout. Make sure you’re physically capable of using the equipment and doing the exercises, and get recommendations for workout lengths.
With your home gym, you can get and stay in shape. These tips also help you prevent injuries as you reach your 2019 resolution goals.
How To Protect Your New Smart TV From Hackers
The brand new Smart TV you receive for the holidays adds value to your home entertainment system. Connect it to the internet and use a remote control, smartphone or tablet to watch movies and videos, post photos to social media sites, and access apps such as Netflix and Skype. Despite its smart features, your Smart TV can be hacked. Take steps to protect your new Smart TV from hackers.
How are Smart TVs Hacked?
While technology manufactures work tirelessly to patch potential security problems in smartphone and computer technology, Smart TV manufacturers haven’t been as vigilant. Hackers can gain access to your Smart TV via an unsecure internet connection or application source codes. They can then perform several malicious or invasive tasks.
Steal your credit card information or identity.
Access your passwords.
Utilize voice recognition software for data-mining purposes.
Use your browsing history to send you targeted ads or instant advertising messages.
Turn the camera on and spy on your or your possessions.
Take over social media apps and post questionable, offensive or inappropriate content on your behalf.
Access and modify files.
How to Prevent Hackers
You can take several steps to deter hackers and protect your Smart TV.
Update firmware and patches regularly.
Utilize the firewalls on your Smart TV and network router.
Perform regular malware scans.
Check for data-mining language in your TV’s manual, features or settings. Turn off or disable any data sharing permissions if possible.
Separate your device networks. Use one for your Smart TV and another for other devices so a hacker can’t access all your internet-connected devices.
Exercise caution when browsing the internet. Consider reserving your TV for entertainment purposes, and use your secure smartphone or computer to browse the internet, perform online banking tasks or shop.
Inspect instant messages that pop up on your TV screen. Only open messages from reputable and reliable sources.
Cover the camera. A piece of tape or paper prevents a third party from accessing the TV’s camera and spying on you and your family.
Disconnect the internet. When your Smart TV is not in use, disconnect it from the internet so hackers cannot access the device.
Discuss ways you can secure your specific Smart TV with its manufacturer.
Purchase cyber insurance. It can protect you if your preventative efforts fail and a hacker uses your personal information, data or TV for unlawful purposes.
You can protect your new Smart TV from hackers when you take these preventative measures. They protect your personal information, secure your new device and protect you and your family.
How To Maximize Your Vehicle's Winter Fuel Economy
Whether you’re driving in the summer or winter, you want to maximize your vehicle’s gas mileage. Cold weather can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy, though. Use these tips to maximize your gas mileage this winter.
Why does Winter Fuel Economy Fall?
When temperatures drop from 70 degrees F to 20 degrees F, your vehicle’s fuel economy can drop by as much as 12 percent. Short trips of less than four miles also cause a fuel economy loss of as much as 22 percent. If you drive a hybrid vehicle, you could experience a 34 percent drop in fuel economy.
These drops occur for several reasons.
The engine takes longer to reach a fuel-efficient temperature, a factor in fuel economy during shorter trips.
Idling reduces overall fuel economy.
Window defrosters, the heater fan and heated seats require extra power.
Tire pressure decreases, which increases your vehicle’s rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy.
Cold engine and transmission fluids increase friction.
Battery performance decreases and affects the battery charge.
Cold air and snow mounds on your vehicle create a higher aerodynamic drag as you drive at highway speeds.
Winter grade gasoline blends are lower in energy than summer grade gasoline blends.
Severe weather reduces tire grip and wastes energy, and slower but safer driving practices lower fuel economy.
How can you Improve Fuel Economy?
If possible, take several proactive steps that increase your vehicle's gas mileage.
Park in a garage or other warm location to increase your engine and cabin temperature and reduce the amount of time and effort required to warm the vehicle.
Allow your vehicle to idle for only 30 seconds. It will warm up almost two times faster and use less fuel as you drive.
Use defrosters and seat warmers only when necessary. An ice scraper and warmer clothing can help.
Choose winter tires with low resistance and keep them inflated to the proper pressure as you improve traction and fuel economy.
Use the cold weather oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Charge your battery before winter at an automotive store, car dealer or your mechanic.
Remove accessories like the luggage or ski rack plus accumulated snow since these factors increase wind resistance and reduce your vehicle’s aerodynamics and fuel economy.
Toss sandbags into the trunk to increase traction.
Complete as many errands as possible in one trip. Also, check the traffic before your trip and avoid congested or slow areas.
This winter, your car may use more fuel than usual, but you can maximize your vehicle's fuel economy with these tips. For additional fuel economy and winter driving assistance, talk to your auto insurance agent.
Do You Need Insurance For DIY Projects?
If you've been working with your hands for any length of time, then you know that the difference between a professional job and a DIY project isn't binary, it's a spectrum. On one end, you're taking your team out to build a house on a client's property, and on the other end, you're building a birdhouse in your garage just because it seemed like a fun way to kill an afternoon. In the middle, you've got storage sheds, home repairs, additional rooms, doghouses and so on. At some point along that spectrum, insuring your project becomes a necessity, either for legal or pragmatic reasons. But where exactly is that point? What kind of DIY projects do you need to get insured, and which ones can you afford to not worry about?
You have a few main concerns, here:
Are you investing more than you can afford to lose?
Is liability a concern?
Will this affect any existing insurance policies you hold?
Take, for instance, building an additional room onto your home. This is going to have an effect on your existing homeowner's policy, and if you don't inform your insurer about your project, you may wind up invalidating that policy altogether.
On the other hand, spending a weekend erecting a doghouse in your backyard probably won't affect your homeowner's policy at all, and you're probably not spending more than a hundred dollars on lumber and other materials. You may even be piecing it together from scrap wood left over from another project. The only concern here is liability, which might or might not be covered by your current homeowner's policy. To play it safe you can always build a doghouse in the garage and wheel it out to the yard on a dolly to make sure you don't wind up with barbecue guests stepping on a nail or something, but it's generally worth checking your policy before starting any such project, just to be sure.
There are projects that may be covered by your homeowner's policy in terms of liability, but wind up costing a little more than piecing a doghouse together out of scrap lumber. A shed, for instance, or costly home improvements. In these instances it's down to peace of mind. Are you comfortable working without insurance, or would you like to have a safety net just in case?
If you're bringing other people onto a project, then of course you're probably going to want some basic liability coverage, but for more DIY projects than not, the rule of thumb is not to worry about insurance unless you feel uncomfortable without it, it's required by law as with larger structures like guest homes, or it's affecting a policy you already hold.
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