Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquakes, one of Mother Nature’s most unsettling phenomena, are unpredictable and can strike without warning. That’s why it’s important for you and your family to learn how to prepare for an earthquake, and develop a plan to react quickly and safely if a disaster strikes.

Preparing for an Earthquake

  • Locate and learn how to use the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Prepare an emergency earthquake kit with warm clothing, non-perishable food items and bottled water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Bold down and secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and gas appliances to the wall studs.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover, and hold on!

During an Earthquake

  • Remain inside of your home and seek shelter under a heavy table or desk; brace yourself inside a door-frame or inside wall.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from windows and out of kitchens and garages, if possible.
  • Stay under the structure that is protecting you. If the shaking causes the table or desk to move, then you should move with it so you remain protected.
  • Do not panic, and anticipate what you should do next to remain safe.

Follow these guidelines to remain safe after the ground stops shaking:

  • Remain in your safe location for several minutes in case there are any aftershocks
  • Do not leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary to do so
  • Check your family members for injuries and administer first aid
  • Establish a temporary shelter area in your home away from areas that have severe damage

Preventing Auto Theft

Cars are a popular target of crime because they are relatively easy to steal. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim, use the following tips:

  • Never leave your car running and unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Park in high-trafficked, well-lit areas, if possible.
  • Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • Purchase an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle.

For additional protection, a strong auto insurance policy can help you recoup some of the losses associated with a stolen vehicle.

Protecting your Key Assets with “Key Person Life Insurance”

Most organizations employ at least one individual who is essential to the company’s success. This person may be a partner, a majority stockholder, or an individual with expertise that is unmatched throughout the rest of the company.

If this person’s exit from the company is planned, such as retirement or voluntary termination, then you can prepare for the loss and take the necessary precautions to minimize the impact. However, if the departure is unplanned due to a death, disabling accident, or on-the-spot resignation, then the company is exposed to financial risks.

Consider key person life insurance to offset your risk. This insurance solution can protect your organization’s solvency in the event that you lose the key person or people without warning, and also the investments made by lenders and investors to the company.

How Does Key Person Life Insurance Work?

  • Employer purchases life insurance on the key individual(s)
  • Employer is the beneficiary of the life insurance policy and applies for and owns the policy. If the key employee dies prematurely, the policy pays out to the employer
  • Tax-free dollars from the policy can be put toward finding, hiring, and training a replacement employee, compensation for lost business during the transition and/or financing timely business transactions
  • Policy can be transferred to a different key employee as a retirement benefit or to a different key individual, upon the retirement of the original key employee
  • It can be used to buy out the key employee’s shares or interest in the company
  • Premiums are based on several factors, including the key employee’s age, physical conditions, and health history. The amount of coverage also affects the premium.

Advantages of Key Person Life Insurance

  • Can be easily implemented and does not require Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) approval; only requires an annual report to the CRA
  • Life insurance benefits are paid to the company tax-free
  • Customers, creditors, lenders, and stockholders have the assurance that the business has a continuation plan and coverage in place
  • There is flexibility in what the funds can be used for.

Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions understands that your key assets need protecting and we are here to help! Please contact us today to learn more about key person life insurance solutions.

info@scrivens.ca | 613-236-9101

What you should know about maintaining your jewellery

Like any significant investment, you must make an effort to care for the gems and jewels in your collection. They will require cleaning and care on a regular basis to ensure that they sparkle and shine long after you pass them on to your children and grandchildren.

Jewellery Care

To ensure that your jewellery has a long and sparkling life, consider these care recommendations:

  • Always store your jewellery in a jewellery box or trunk when it is not being worn. This will protect it from dust and other particles that will diminish its appearance. When storing jewellery, also remember to refrain from stacking items on top of one another. This is because pieces with stones may scratch other soft metal items if they are touching.
  • Most jewellery can be cleaned simply with water or with mild dish soap. After cleaning, dry your pieces with a lint-free cloth.
  • Do not expose your jewellery to extremely hot temperatures, dry conditions or sudden changes in temperature, as many stones (emeralds, opals, and pearls, for example) are negatively affected by these conditions.
  • Do not wear jewellery while exercising or playing sports, as it can break on impact.

Specific Care Recommendations

Diamonds

  • To maintain a diamond’s brilliance, soak it regularly in a solution of half ammonia and half cold water for 30 minutes. Then dry it with a lint-free cloth. Or, place a diamond in a glass of plain vodka to restore its sparkle.
  • Make sure diamond rings are inspected semi-annually to ensure that stone settings are in place.

Metals:

  • Many durable metals (like tungsten) require minimal care, yet others (like platinum) are more susceptible to scratching. Get a platinum band buffed every six months to remove scratches.
  • Remove excess dirt buildup on metals with a jewellery cleaner or mild soap and water.
  • To help silver retain its shine, polish it regularly with store-bought silver polish.

Gold:

  • Remove gold jewellery before showering or using household cleaners, as soap film builds easily on gold surfaces.
  • To clean gold, place it in a solution of a few drops of ammonia, mild detergent, and warm water.
  • To remove body oil and grease from gold jewellery, use rubbing alcohol.

Coloured stone care:

  • Avoid exposing emeralds to hot water or soap water for a long period of time.
  • Do not engage in vigorous activity while wearing tanzanite, as it is very brittle.
  • Clean opals with baby oil or olive oil to prevent them from drying out.

Need assistance insuring your jewellery? We can help. Call Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions today to learn more about our insurance solutions

The top chimney maintenance tips

Did You Know?

In spite of the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. To combat the risk of fire or inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, it is important for you to make chimney maintenance part of your home loss prevention plan.

chimney-maintenance-tipsChimney Maintenance

Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. In addition:

  • Have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to reduce creosote build-up.
  • Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote.
  • Replace cracked or damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
  • When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationality recognized testing laboratory.

There are two types of chimneys that require specific maintenance to minimize the dangers in your home.

  • Fireplace inserts (hearth stoves):
    • Vent should be connected to the flue of the chimney.
  • Factory-built metal chimneys:
    • Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney, as they cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.

Safety First

Do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue, as major complications car arise. If one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of the following serious problems:

  • Heavy creosote accumulation
  • Deterioration of the flue
  • Creosote blocking the lower heater vent
  • Carbon monoxide drifting into your home

Dealing with personal stressors at work

angelina jolie stressEveryone’s personal life can get a bit hectic at times. these stressful times can cause headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, sleeping disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. Stress also makes it harder for your body to defend against illness and can make current health problems worse.

Not only is stress hard on your body, it also affects your work life and responsibilities. When personal stressors – divorce, death of a family member or friend, money troubles, problems with children, or taking care of an elderly relative – affect your personal life, they can have negative effects on your work life, too.

To ensure that your work doesn’t suffer during a time of personal stress, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Keep a stress journal and write down exactly what is making you stressed: “I cannot seem to pay off my credit card,” “My children are acting up at school,” or “The death of my mother has made me feel like I can’t go on.” Then record how you react to these stressors and analyze whether there are more effective alternatives for dealing with them.
  2. Eliminate activities in your life that are not necessary, especially when going through personal stress. Focus your time on your health, your work and getting past the stressful situation.
  3. Take care of yourself. That means getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and getting regular exercise.
  4. Work on letting go of things that you can’t change.
  5. Ask for assistance from family members or friends. Chances are, if it is affecting you, it is also affecting them.
  6. Talk, laugh, and cry about your stressors. This will help you feel some relief from these burdens by just getting your emotions out.

Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, getting a massage, aromatherapy, yoga, or pilates are great ways to de-stress. Consider incorporating these practices into your routine.

Tips for Energy-Efficient Windows

windowInefficient windows can increase your energy bills and make your home uncomfortable. These tips can help make your windows more efficient year-long:

  • Hang curtains with white, plastic backing to act as insulation and to retain cold air in the summer and warm air in the winter.
  • Seal windows with caulk to close any air leaks and cut energy costs by 5 to 10 per cent.
  • Create exterior shade by installing things like awnings to help keep your home cool in the summer. These items can block sunlight and reduce heat gain by 65 to 77 per cent.
  • Install storm windows during the fall. If you don’t own any, consider purchasing low-emissivity storm windows, which can lower heating costs by 12 to 33 per cent and cost only a quarter of the price of a total window replacement.
  • Watch for excessive condensation – a sign that a window needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Consider weather stripping to prevent air leakage at moving window parts. Foam or gasket weather stripping can be applied to the sides and the sashes of windows.