Tire Safety Tips for your Summer Road Trip

By Jack Payton

Jack Payton is a car nut in the purest form. He loves to write about everything gear related, and rebuilt his first engine at 15. He works as the online publisher for the online tire retailer http://www.tires-easy.com/.  In his spare time he enjoys cruising, attending car shows, and collecting vinyl.

            My favorite part of summer is traveling. Now, I don’t mean anything fancy there is no call for lavish trips to Europe or the Bahamas; often I find the best trips are found a little closer to home. Road tripping is the unsung epic of the new American west, and from the week long trips as a child in the old family van to my day drives into the mountains on the weekends, I have many fond memories of road hopping from point A to point Basking in the sun on some beach somewhere. But before you hit the road this summer, don’t forget the importance of safety. I’m going to give you the same advice your grandmother would give you, only I don’t have to put my teeth in first to deliver: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. When it comes to tire safety, here are some tips to keep you and yours square on the road.

            Check tire pressure: This should be performed at least once a month, but absolutely before you leave on any distance drive. It is typical for tires to deflate 1 psi per month, as well as 1 psi per 8-degree loss in ambient temperature. According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on tire-related crashes, the leading cause of tire failure is under inflation. Inadequate inflation will also lead to a drop in gas mileage and an increase in tire wear, costing you more money in the long run.

            Rotate your tires: “Don’t they rotate every time I drive?” Ignore my daughter’s sarcasm there. Tire rotation is a very important practice to be performed at your local auto and tire tech. Rotation is essential to ensure even tread wear. Excessive loss of tread can cause the vehicle to lose its balance of grip on the road, and can become a major problem waiting to happen.

            Adjust the alignment regularly: Misalignment of the steering and suspension, can adversely affect the steering feel and stability of a vehicle, as well as cause rapid and uneven tire wear. If you feel the steering pulling in one direction or another when traveling straight ahead on a flat road with no crosswind, or if you notice uneven wear on the front tires, you should have the alignment checked and adjusted as soon as possible.

            Replace tires in pairs or complete sets: Installing different tires on the right and left side of the vehicle can tendentiously affect its balance and handling. For this reason, it is imperative that tires are replaced in front or rear pairs, or in a complete set—never one at a time. Regardless if the vehicle is rear, front, or all wheel drive, the new pair of tires should always go on the back, as maximum rear traction will ensure stability of the entire vehicle. By no means should you ever put tires of differing construction—such as radial or bias ply—on opposite ends or sides, because handling will be adversely affected.

            Select the right tires for the right driving environment: Most drivers are comfortable with all-season tires; so that most new vehicles now come equipped with them. However, more specialized tires for performance, rain, snow, off-road and touring have made the idea of matching your environment much easier, and this certainly has its advantages. Just consider that excellent qualities are most likely achieved at the expense of others. Determine what your crucial needs are, and narrow your choices accordingly. Then, if possible, drive a similar vehicle equipped with the tires you are considering.

            This summer, get the most out of your vacation and your tires. Avoid the short cuts that can cost you more in the long run, and remember to take a little extra time to play it safe. Memories of the good times will be your reward at the end of the road.

Thanks, Jack, for this very entertaining and informative article. pb


Seven Common Mistakes Hospitals Make Regarding Their OSHA/GHS Signage

By Jack Rubinger, www.DuraLabel.com, 503-469-3024

We conducted an informal survey among our customers and hospitals across the country. While not all our findings are strictly related to OSHA, we’re sharing the feedback because these signage issues are fairly universal.

1. One huge mistake that happens is that health care facilities tend to believe they are less likely to get inspected by OSHA if they have been inspected by The Joint Commission (TJC) or the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – so it’s a mistake to base signage and labeling on the potential for an OSHA inspection.

2. Another common mistake – especially in lab settings — is improper labeling of secondary containers. DuraSuite software helps lab managers keep a directory of common lab reagents and label secondary containers with proper GHS labels.

3. Involving those knowledgeable in wayfinding strategies is essential. Your strategic team should comprise external consultants and staff from the healthcare institution.

4. Unfortunately, signage and wayfinding are often an after-thought for projects or new builds and capital requests for wayfinding and signage budgets are rarely approved. This makes maintenance of signage and developing a new strategy or updating the current strategy next to impossible. In the end there is limited money “left” to create signage which can lead to temporary solutions that often never get fixed or replaced with a proper permanent solution. Instead, wayfinding and signage should be included in the design phase. 

5. Whether you’re addressing OSHA signage, HAZMAT or confined spaces, one of the biggest mistakes is lack of consistency. Too often, hospitals have a mish mash of all types of signs and pictograms. An effective safety program ensures consistent graphics throughout a facility. 

6. Signs should not be over designed, over used, too cute or too expensive. The director of hospital safety and his staff are responsible for keeping messages current, installing bi-lingual messages where appropriate and making sure signs are where they are supposed to be. 

7. Too much signage. Facility managers tend to place more signs than necessary. This can often overwhelm visitors and lead to greater confusion. In healthcare settings, patients, visitors and families are already stressed. The least of their concerns should be trying to navigate a confusing building in order to find the department or person they are seeking.

Note:   I worked at a newly-constructed rural hospital and found that our designer had color-coded the tiles on the floor on one side of each hall, i.e., green led to the patient area, blue led to the surgical department, and so-on.  It was very helpful for the employees to be able to find their way in the beginning; however, if a visitor or patient came in, there was no signage to explain the color-coded floor.  If an employee happened along, they were happy to direct them to the right department.  Just a little added thought, and thank you so much for this article, Jack.  Hospital employees should always keep their paper work up to date, just in case of a visit from Medicare, OSHA, or Joint Commission. pb









Hauling Watercraft – Tips and Tricks You Need to Know before Hitting the Road

SUVs offer a lot of benefits, from more seating capacity to the ability to load them up with pretty much any type of cargo you might want. Of course, they’re also very popular for towing watercraft. If you’ll be heading to the lake, river or beach, having an SUV will help ensure that you can get there with your boat or jet-ski. Of course, there are a few things you need to know before you hook up your trailer to your SUV. Not knowing a few facts can cause serious problems on the road, and can even damage your vehicle, so it pays to be informed before hitching up that trailer.

Towing Capacity

Your first consideration is going to be the towing capacity of your SUV. Before you hitch that boat to your vehicle, you’re going to need to make sure that it can handle the load. You need to understand that there’s no such thing as an “average” SUV towing capacity. Some have boatloads (pun intended) and some have none.

For instance, the Acura MDX can tow 5,000 pounds, while the RDX can only tow 1,500. The Chevrolet Avalanche 2WD can pull 8,100 pounds, but the 4WD version can only pull about 7,900. The Chevy Tahoe is a similar category, with 8,500 pounds for the 2WD version and 8,200 for the 4WD version. Things get even stranger with the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The Sport 4WD version can tow just 1,000 pounds, but the Sport 4WD with the 3.73:1 axle can pull 3,500 pounds.

As a general rule, 4WD vehicles tend to have a lower towing capacity, while smaller, compact SUVs might have next to no capacity at all. If you’re unsure about what your vehicle can pull, you have two resources available to you. Check your owner’s manual and see if it lists a towing capacity specific to your vehicle, or contact a dealership. Of course, there are some handy websites online that can help you figure out what you can pull, including authority sites like Edmunds.com and Car and Driver.

Tow Package

You also need to make sure that your SUV has a towing package installed. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of SUVs and trucks do not come with a tow hitch installed. You will also find that a full OEM towing package includes more than just a hitch – transmission coolers are also important parts of the system to ensure that your vehicle stays in good shape. If you don’t have a tow package, contact your dealer or head to your local mechanic’s shop. As a note, some SUVs only have OEM packages available, while others only have aftermarket solutions. Work with an expert and find out what your options are.

Your Trailer Makes a Difference

Towing watercraft requires more than just “any old trailer”. Your trailer is going to be a very real investment, and you need to ensure that it stands the test of time and hard use. Make sure it’s certified by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association. This ensures that the trailer is constructed to withstand the harsh environments near water sources, whether that’s a river, pond, lake or the ocean.

Offloading Your Watercraft

When you offload your watercraft, it’s best to do so from a boat ramp. This ensures that your boat (or other craft) has enough water beneath it to float fully and easily come clear of your trailer. It can also help avoid damaging underwater obstructions like rocks, tree trunks and the like. Always make sure that the area in which you offload is clear of obstructions and that there are no other boaters or swimmers in the vicinity before hitting the water. 

Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of an automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.   Thanks again, Don, for some good information regarding towing a boat.  There’s lots more to it than just hooking up! pb





This article was sent to us courtesy of  Don Elfrink,  the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out of Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of a automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.  Thank you, for this good advice for teens, as well as adults, who should set the example for their kids’s driving by avoiding the same distractions. pb

Summertime should be carefree – a time to relax and unwind after the long school year. However, for teens getting behind the wheel, summer can be fraught with danger. In addition to heat-related dangers to their automobile, there are some very significant dangers that teens can pose to themselves. Before you get behind the wheel this summer, make sure you know what those dangers are.

1. Texting

Texting while driving has made national headlines – the number of deaths resulting from this horrible habit has skyrocketed, and many of those (the majority, in fact) are teens. Don’t text while driving. If you absolutely have to make a call, use a hands-free headset and leave the texts until you arrive at your destination.

2. Friends in the Car

You and your friends will be out of school and hopefully have the chance to enjoy some downtime together. However, driving with your friends in the car can be very dangerous. It can be very easy to become distracted – make sure your entire focus is on the road and not on other people in your car.

3. More Traffic

Teens are often inexperienced with driving in heavy traffic, and it’s difficult to find a time of year when there are more cars on the road than during the summer months. More cars equals more threats to your safety – make sure you are focused, paying attention and alert to possible threats from those around you.

4. Leaving the Pool

Hitting the pool to cool off is one of the best things about the summer months. However, if you’re leaving the pool wearing wet flip-flops, it might be best to think again. Flip-flops aren’t particularly safe footwear for driving anyway, and water only increases the chance that your foot will slip at a critical moment.

5. Share the Road

In addition to more automobile traffic, you’ll find that the warm summer months bring out bike and motorcycle drivers by the droves. Make sure you can share the road with others and pay attention. Bikes and motorcycles are easy to overlook, and taking the time to look twice will save lives.

6. Dangerous Driving

Teen drivers are responsible for more auto accidents than any other demographic in the world, including seniors. Many of these accidents are the result of dangerous driving habits, including speeding. Getting where you’re going is not so important that you have to put your life and the lives of others in danger by driving too fast.

7. Eating behind the Wheel

Drive-thrus have revolutionized fast food and made it possible to grab a bite even if you’re in the middle of a road trip. However, eating behind the wheel is never a good idea. Before you unwrap that burger or start downing that hotdog, find somewhere to park and eat in safety.

8. Drinking and Driving

Summer is the time for parties, and teens attend their fair share. However, if there is alcohol available and you consume any, stay out from behind the wheel. It’s better to call for a ride than to risk your life and the lives of other people because of impaired abilities due to alcohol consumption.

9. Wear Your Seatbelt

“Seatbelts aren’t cool,” is something that many adults remember from their own teenage days. That hasn’t changed – teens always suffer from the delusion of “it can’t happen to me”. If you get behind the wheel, buckle up. Living is far cooler than dying.

10. Avoid Night Driving

Driving at night can be trying for even experienced adults, much less for inexperienced teen drivers. Unless you absolutely have to, stay off the roads after nightfall.


Road accident: Injury compensation for cyclists

Cycling in the city: Good for the environment, good for your fitness, and sometimes a great way to beat the congestion in the morning rush hour. Nevertheless, city cycling can be hazardous and cyclists are particularly vulnerable sharing the road with much larger more powerful vehicles.

Thousands of cyclists are injured on the roads of the UK every year, sometimes fatally, and often through no fault of their own. Carefully following the rules of the road, and wearing appropriate safety gear and lighting should always be a priority if you are a cyclist, however accidents can still happen as a result of negligence on the part of other road users. If you are involved in a collision with another vehicle and it wasn’t your fault then you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim to compensate you for your injury and any financial losses that you incur.

If you are suffer a collision with a vehicle and you find yourself well enough to do so, you or someone acting on your behalf should exchange details with the other party, and note down as much information as possible regarding the nature of the collision. Photographic evidence can be particularly useful in establishing who was liable for the collision. If you are not well enough to take the details of the other person involved in the collision the police will usually do this for you.

If your claim is successful the amount of compensation that you receive for your injury will depend on a range of factors including the severity of the injury and the level of impact that it has had on your life as well as any financial losses that resulted from your accident.

The sooner you are able to begin the process of making a claim, the more successful it is likely to be. Making a compensation claim doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. If you’re wondering how to make a personal injury claim a specialist personal injury solicitor can help assess whether you are eligible, and proceed to guide you through the entire process, from obtaining the appropriate medical examinations to providing comprehensive legal advice.

A combination of the widespread introduction of inner city cycle lanes and increasingly congested roads across the UK have perhaps contributed to the rising popularity of pedal cycling. In spite of greater awareness on the part of motorists, the cyclist remains a very vulnerable road user. Protecting yourself should be paramount, but no matter what you do accidents may sometimes happen. If you sustain an injury through no fault of your own, making a personal injury claim can help you get the compensation that you deserve. 

This post was written by John Hughes

P.S. If I may add to this informative article, in addition to wearing all the safety gear that protects from injuries, certain high-visibility stickers placed on the bicycle or helmet may help prevent an accident, as well.

***Keeping Yourself Healthy In An Unhealthy Modern Environment***

 Unhealthy environments exist all around us, whether they are rooted by our inactivity in offices while sitting at desks all day, or if they stem from psychologically damaging exposure to unpleasant scenarios. Keeping yourself healthy in an unhealthy modern environment can make all of the difference in your appearance, health and wealth, and here is how.

Physical Health
Although it would be ideal to hit the gym every day, while consuming perfectly portioned and healthy meals at every turn, it certainly is not practical. So what do you do when you cannot break away for a workout, or consume meals on the fly with the maximum health benefits? You make it up as the day goes along.

Workout at the Office
If an afternoon at the gym is out of the question, evaluate the environment around you to develop alternate physical activity.
• Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
• Walk to Lunch Spots & To Complete Errands
• Park Farther Away from Your Office
• Exit Public Transportation a Stop or Two Earlier than Usual
• Walk or Run Around the Building During Your Lunch Hour
• Stand While You Work
Eating Habits
Just because you are working sixty hours a week does not mean you should depend on fast food to deliver your meals, or vending machines to satiate a 2pm snacking crave. Both alternatives can lead to the ingestion of excess fat, calories, sodium and preservatives which are just as terrible for the waistline as they are your skin, hair and overall health.
• Plan Ahead and Prepare Healthy Lunches to Keep at the Office
• Turn to Healthy Snacking Options by Keeping Them Readily Available
• Drink Lots of Water Throughout the Day
• Order Healthy Options at Restaurants: Salads, Fruits, Nuts & Yogurts
• Do Not Skip Meals

Mental Health
Stress and anxiety are not only harmful to your overall physical health, but they can compromise your mental health and ability to make sound decisions throughout the day. Stress can lead to hasty decisions, oversights and lack of logic in an effort to produce results. There are a number of ways to improve your mental health throughout the day, just by making time to do so.
• Pause & Take Deep Breaths When You Feel Overwhelmed
• Take a Walk When You Are Out of Sorts to Collect Yourself
• Exterminate Toxic Relationships with Negative Friends or Family Members
• Remove Yourself from Stressful Situations as Quickly as Possible
• Remember What Makes You Happy and Think of Those Things Often

Modern Interruptions & Solutions
If the world was not complicated enough, dealing with family, friends and coworkers on a daily basis, now you are consumed by social media outlets that can enlighten you to everything everyone else in the world is doing too. Constant exposure to other people’s stress, negative behavior and varying personalities can invite stress and anxiety into anyone’s life. There are a number of steps you can take to remove yourself from unhealthy environments, even when they are occurring online.
• Avoid Upsetting News Stories and Media Outlets
• Turn Your Phone Off at Night to Sleep More Soundly
• Allow a Specific Amount of Time to Be Spent on Social Media
• Enjoy Friends & Family in Person, Whenever Possible
• Leave Your Phone at Home or in the Car During Social Visits
• Do Not Get Involved with Conversations or Arguments that Do Not Concern You

Focus your physical and mental well-being around positive scenarios, eliminating negative people, practices and situations from your life as much as possible. This application is different for everyone, so it is important to evaluate all aspects of your life to recognize either the people or the events that are causing you to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle, physically or mentally. If you are unhappy or unwell there is certainly a root to its cause. Identify it and obliterate it.

Would you like MORE energy, BETTER health, and MORE vitality in your life?  Discover the all natural health secrets that can help you feel great and live the healthy life you deserve, visit www.agingfit.com today!

Thanks to Glen Greenbaum, for this good advice on how we can be healthier if we just listen to these suggestions! pb




Today’s guest author is Carol Brown, who has sent some very interesting facts and figures regarding work-related illnesses.

Accidents happen anywhere, anytime, even when proper safety and training steps are taken. Every year, thousands of workers file claims after something within the system hiccups and compromises their overall well-being, or quite simply, because the demands of the positions themselves begin wearing down the body with continuous physical stress. Injuries, which the government lumps in with illnesses, run the most rampant in the offices, warehouses, roads, and other workplaces across the United States.

For consistency’s sake, all numbers have been culled from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s 2010 study of nonfatal occupational illnesses requiring days away from work.

  1. Sprains, Strains, and Tears:

In 2010, 46.9 out of 10,000 workplace-related injuries and illnesses came in the form of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics labels “sprains, strains, and tears.” Forty-three percent of these incidents occurred because of workers overexerting themselves, with 36% impacting the back. Yet such injuries to the shoulders actually required more time away from work than any other body part, with an average of 21 days. Back sprains, strains, and tears have actually declined in the previous years and at a rate faster than any other body part, no less.

  1. Musculoskeletal Disorders:

The BLS lumps all musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses into one statistic, and they make up 34.3 out of 10,000 on-the-job incidents. Most complaints involve the back, but rotator cuff disorders, carpal tunnel, and other nonspecified pains are also extremely common. All of them have experienced an increase over time, especially amongst those working as orderlies, nurses, and attendants.

  1. Overexertion:

Twenty-seven out of 10,000 total workplace injuries and illnesses occurred because of overexertion, marking an increase of 3% from previous years. Social assistance and healthcare positions in the private sector experienced far more strain-related conditions, at a staggering rate of 48 per 10,000 employees. Overexertion in lifting comprised 13.2 of the 27 reported cases, and the aforementioned “sprains, strains, and tears” stood as the most likely result of pushing the body beyond its limitations.

  1. General Soreness and Pain:

Overall body pain, including the back, accounted for 13.3 out of 10,000 reported on-the-job injuries and illnesses, and 11% required recovery at home or a convalescence center. Labor jobs unsurprisingly stood as the riskiest when it comes to suffering the symptoms, particularly among workers in transportation and warehousing. Twenty-eight out of 10,000 of such employees reported severe soreness and pain, with a median of 17 days away from the job to properly recover.

  1. Bruises and Contusions:

The BLS reports that 9.9 out of every 10,000 workplace injuries involved contusions and bruises, and a total median of four days away from work to heal. Numbers also reveal that 2.2 out of 10,000 incidents of multiple injuries also involve bruising as well as sprains. Once again, transportation and warehouse workers experienced the highest rate of suffering the conditions, with 20.2 out of 10,000.

  1. Cuts, Lacerations, and Punctures:

Twenty-nine percent of the 9.1 of 10,000 cut, laceration, and puncture reports involved some sort of incident regarding work-related equipment, with fingernails and fingers the most vulnerable body bits, accounting for 26%. At 1.1 of 10,000 Punctures stand as far less common than cuts and lacerations, which the BLS lumps together. Employees in the refuse and recyclable material collection industry suffered these injuries significantly more than their counterparts elsewhere, with a staggering 185.9 out of 10,000 reporting slices and dices.

  1. Fractures:

Fractures accounted for 8.5 out of 10,000 reported workplace injuries and illnesses, and employees diagnosed with the condition needed a recuperation period of 28 days away from the job. The hunting industry claims 21.1 of the 2010 numbers, making it the most at-risk demographic, followed by mining (17.9) and construction (17.7). As a part of the BLS’ statistics regarding multiple sustained injuries and illnesses, it only afflicts .9 out of 10,000.

  1. Multiple Injuries and Disorders:

Workers who experienced more than one diagnosis concurrently form an entire grouping according to the BLS, who cited 5.7 instances out of every 10,000 in 2010. Hunting again exists as the most vulnerable career path to sustaining multiple traumatic injuries and illnesses, at a rate of 11.3 out of 10,000, and, as seen previously, instances involving strains and bruises are more common than those with fractures and burns. However, law enforcement officials were the most likely (33.3 out of 10,000) to require time away from work in order to recuperate.

  1. Back Pain:

Four out of 10,000 workplace injuries and illnesses specifically involved some form of back pain, whether alone or in conjunction with some other body part. Owing to the nature of their positions, both intercity and transit bus drivers suffer the most, in both categories — 96.1 out of 10,000 for combined pain and 44 out of 10,000 for just the back. In total, though, cases hailing from all professions only needed about eight days outside of work for a recovery to take place.

  1. Heat Burns and Scalds:

Food service employees, at a rate of 8.5 for every 10,000 workers, suffer from scalds and heat burns more than their counterparts in any other industry. Across the board, though, these injuries still sported a rate of 1.6 out of 10,000 reported cases of occupational incidents. On average, burns and scalds required a median of eight days to properly heal enough for patients to safely return to work.

Thanks, Carol, for sending these facts and figures about work-related injuries.  There are many types of personal protective equipment that help prevent injuries and protect our bodies from the hazards related to fit each particular job.  Please check out Texas America Safety Company for more information. pb






Whether you’re a boss or an employee, office security and safety is of paramount importance. You must protect your employees, information, and equipment, but what is the best way to do this? Here are some pointers.


You can hire a security firm to install cameras, or you can install them yourself. There are different kinds, too. Some of them take a picture every 5 seconds, some of them are motion sensitive, and still others take continuous pictures. The very presence of cameras can be a deterrent to theft and abuse. Some classroom teachers even purchase their own security camera for their classrooms so they have defense in case of accusations. The videos can be recorded over, or you can change out the disc or tape as needed to keep a record of all activity.


Have a security company install security coded locks on your office doors – especially the exterior ones. You can either have one code for the entire office, or an individual code for each employee – an ID number. This way you can have a record of who has entered the office, as well as the time and the day they came in. This gives your employees security when they’re working late, and also gives you a record of traffic in and out of the office.


If you have a number of employees who must enter or leave your building in the dark, make sure there is security lighting in the parking lot and surrounding area. Keep any storage or trash containers away from the building so there’s no cover for a prowler, and have those employees park close to the building. Even if you have a security fence around the parking lot, people can still climb the fence, so do everything you can to keep the parking lot safe.


Some companies use a  Security Training Website to source experienced officers to patrol the grounds. Having security professionals is an especially good idea if you are located in an area that has a high break-in problem. It will also provide an armed escort to employees leaving or arriving in the dark.


Have an alarm system installed. Yes, you know that employees are going to set it off now and then, but the old adage “better safe than sorry” is true. This is especially important if you have a lot of valuable equipment in your office, which could walk off if there is no alarm system to alert the police.


Most companies are computerized and networked. This can present extreme danger to private information if your system gets hacked. Be sure you have backup for everything, and some form of IT security.

And, this won’t make you popular with your employees, but you should have some kind of safeguard to keep employees from playing computer games at work. Some sites can be blocked at the server, so find out if World of Warcraft, Facebook, Pinetrest, and any pornographic sites can be blocked. This not only protects employees, it protects your company from being involved in scandal.


Josh enjoys writing and looking for  ways to save, and currently works
for a company involved in UK security jobs and training.



There are several factors that could make traditional sleep-away summer camp a less-than-ideal choice for some families, such as the age and temperament of children and the significant financial burden that such camps can impose. Very young children are typically excluded from sleep-away camps automatically, while older kids who do meet age requirements may balk at the idea of spending an extended period of time away from their families and friends. The anxiety and stress that often accompanies homesickness is likely to make parents consider the expense of summer camp an unwise investment, as many summer camps charge hundreds of dollars in fees, even before the added expense of buying supplies. Here are ten great alternatives for parents who want to keep their children occupied and engaged during summer vacation without sending them to pricey and distant summer camp.
  1. Volunteer Programs – Older children can learn a sense of civic responsibility and the importance of helping others by spending part of their summer participating in a local volunteer program. Animal lovers among the smaller set may be thrilled with the idea of helping at a local animal shelter, while others may enjoy working with a local charity or visiting a local retirement community.
  2. Community Day Camps – Community centers in most cities offer summer day camp programs, allowing kids to enjoy all of the fun activities that are a part of a sleep-away camp without the stress of spending weeks away from the familiarity of home.
  3. Religious Summer Programs – Many places of worship offer vacation workshops and other similar programs with a theme of religious instruction during summertime, which may be an ideal choice for devout families. Kids can spend the summer among peers who share their spirituality, learning about their family’s belief system through arts and crafts, story time, and other kid-friendly activities.
  4. Arts Workshops – Many art museums offer programs specifically tailored to budding art aficionados; local universities may also host summer programs for children staffed by students with education or arts majors. University programs may include visual art, musical instruction, or theater programs, depending upon your area.
  5. Sports Clinics – Pint-sized athletes are sure to love spending the summer honing their skills, which makes a local sports clinic the ideal choice. These programs keep kids physically active, which is a huge plus for parents who are concerned about the sedentary lifestyle that many children adopt when school ends. Rather than spending hours in front of the television or the computer, kids who participate in a sports clinic can enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and exercise while becoming stronger and more skilled athletes.
  6. Academic Programs – During summer vacation many school systems still offer programs for academically gifted children. Some programs even focus on peer-tutoring, allowing more advanced students to offer assistance to classmates who struggle in some areas, which can build a sense of social consciousness. Alternatively, many programs feature an emphasis on building and expanding gifted kids’ already-impressive knowledge base.
  7. Scouting – While the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America do have summer camps for their troop members scattered across the country, plenty of troops stay home during summer vacation to participate in locally-based scouting activities. School vacations provide active scouts with the opportunity to earn merit badges and other achievements, which can be difficult to do during the hectic school year.
  8. Family Day Trips – Families can spend their summer vacation taking a series of fun and exciting day trips. Visiting the zoo, the park, or a children’s center during the dog days of summer are surefire cures for the boredom and inertia that often sets in around mid-July.
  9. Visiting Extended Family – Today’s families tend to be more spread out than in previous generations, so kids might not get to spend as much time with members of their extended family as they would like. While spending a few weeks at summer camp might be daunting for some kids, visiting a favorite family member during summer vacation might not be as stressful.
  10. Family Camping Trips – Skipping a sleep-away summer camp doesn’t mean that kids have to forgo the camping experience altogether; outdoorsy families can plan a camping trip that keeps everyone together and costs far less than sleep-away camp fees.

Summer vacation can be a particularly trying time for two-working-parent households, or single-parent households in which that parent is employed outside of the home. Parents who depend upon school to meet the bulk of their childcare needs might benefit from engaging a temporary nanny during the summer months; an experienced nanny is a wealth of summertime-diversion knowledge, and is likely to be more than capable of keeping your kids off the couch and away from the computer during their school break.

We wanted to get this great article that was sent to us by Carrie Dotson http://www.summernannyjobs.com/, published before too much summer gets away from us.  There are plenty of things kids can do that are safe and fulfilling, such as volunteering, without spending a small fortune.  Remember, you campers, take plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and a first aid kit along!  pb


We received this very informative article written by Tom Gillece of Gillece Services, and hope you pay attention to this and other posts that have warned us about possible electrical hazards in our homes. pb

A licensed electrician can conduct a thorough electrical inspection of your home to look for possible hazards, signs of damage, proper electrical capacity, and more, to ensure the safety and efficiency of electricity throughout your home. An electrical inspection is important especially in older homes and in cases where the electrical capacity is not great enough to meet the demands of a home’s electrical needs. Having your home inspected and inspecting what you can on your own, as well as taking steps to avoid possible electrical danger, can help to prevent potential electrical damage and fire.

While you may not be a professional, licensed electrician, there are still some basic signs you can look for and rules to follow when it comes to electrical security in your home. Detecting red flags ahead of time and utilizing your electrical connections appropriately can help you to keep your home safe and functioning properly.

What to look for:

Outlets and Switches:

Are your outlets or switches hot to the touch? Or do you notice a tear-shaped dark mark forming above an outlet? If so, you will want to stop immediate use of either. High heat and discoloration could indicate a serious problem with internal electrical wiring. Unplug anything in the outlet and turn off the coordinating switch. Outlet and switch cover plates, as well, should not be cracked or broken, as this could lead to exposed wiring. A professional electrician can fix or replace wall plates in addition to upgrading outlets, if suitable, from two-prong to three-prong outlets.

Power Cords and Power Strips:

Electrical cords need ventilation so that they don’t overheat. This means that cords around your home should not be placed under rugs or on furniture, nor nailed or stapled onto walls. Nails, staples, etc. can damage cords. Extension cords may be a good solution for extending electrical use, but only on a temporary basis. If your home is in need of more outlets or electrical capacity, consult with an electrician to address these problems for a permanent solution that is safer and more sufficient. Power strips fall under the same situation; they only provide more access to one source of electricity rather than increasing the power supply. So there is still a risk of a power surge or shortage occurring, which can lead to damage or fire.

Light Bulbs and Appliances:

Light bulbs and appliances should be used according to directed instructions and with proper size and operation in mind. Light bulbs should not exceed the unit’s wattage requirements in which they are being used. Bulbs should also be firmly screwed into place as loose bulbs can overheat. Other appliances that consistently blow a fuse or cause an electrical shock should be replaced as well as unplugged and turned off if in operation.

For further electrical protection and fire prevention, consider these solutions:

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter:

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) automatically turns off power to a circuit when any problem or difference in electrical flow is detected. They prevent possible deadly shock that can occur from contact with a leakage current. GFCI’s are recommended for rooms with high water usage such as the bathroom or kitchen, and they should be tested monthly to ensure their operation.

  • Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Each of these detectors is highly important in any home to alert occupants of impending danger. Smoke alarms are recommended to be installed in every bedroom and on every level of a home. It is best if they are all connected so that when one sounds, they all sound. They should be tested monthly and replaced typically every ten years, though sometimes sooner. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound before life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are reached in a home. They are recommended to be placed in hallways outside of bedrooms or in each of a home’s sleeping areas.

A professional electrician can inspect your home in all areas to address your concerns, provide options and solutions, or to reassure you of your home’s safe electrical condition. Upgrades may be necessary where more electrical capacity is needed or if electrical sources are damaged, outdated, or otherwise unsafe. Both a professional and personal evaluation of your home can help to prevent electrical damage and fire and to keep your home’s electricity secured and sufficient for ongoing use.

Gillece Services has been in business for over 30 years. They’re Pittsburgh’s one-stop-shop for Pittsburgh Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Indoor Air Quality, Water Quality, and Waterproofing services.

Find out more at http://www.gillece.com