How to Safely Dispose of Your Live Christmas Tree

Ready to start crossing items off your New Year’s to-do list? If your family enjoyed a live Christmas tree this holiday season, it’s time to make a plan for disposing of the tree safely. By following these steps, you can safely and responsibly dispose of your live Christmas tree.

Stay hydrated!

While it’s tempting to forgo the watering of your tree once the holidays pass, it’s important to continue caring for the tree until you’re ready to dispose of it. Keep it watered to prevent it from drying out, as dry trees pose an increased fire hazard. As an added bonus, well-hydrated trees will retain their needles better and cause less of a mess in your home when the time comes to remove the tree!

Clear the Christmas tree and clean out your space

Start by removing all the decorations and lights from the tree. This will prevent any potential safety hazards and make the tree easier to handle. Once your decorations are put away and the tree is removed, check and clean the space that housed your tree. Look around the floor for any potential water damage from overwatering. Make sure to steam clean carpets or repair hard floors right away to prevent further problems from spilled or standing water. If your tree dropped needles, try to sweep up rather than vacuum as pine needles can clog your vacuum cleaner.

Check options for local pickup or disposal

If your tree is still healthy and green, you may be able to donate it to a local park! Many parks and reserves will accept live trees and use them for habitat restoration or erosion control. If your tree cannot be donated, it is important to dispose of it properly to prevent potential fire hazards. Many cities and towns offer curbside pick-up for live Christmas trees, so check with your local waste management department for details. You can also check with local recycling centers to see which ones accept live trees to be composted or mulched.

If you’re transporting the tree in your vehicle, make sure to secure the tree to your car with cords or rope. For trees that extend more than a couple of feet beyond your car’s bumpers, tie a reflective flag to the end to alert other drivers. Just because the tree isn’t going to your house, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to skimp on securing it safely to your car!

We’re Here to Help

Are you ready to dispose of your live Christmas tree yet? Whether you’re a long-time policyholder or just starting to look for insurance options, we have team members who can help. If you have questions or concerns that you want to discuss, connect with your local OKFB agent today. If you have any insurance-specific questions, we would love to help you find the coverage that best meets your homeautocommercial and life insurance needs.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media! This kind of information and more is just a click away. You can find us on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

5 Tips to Store and Organize Holiday Decor

Now that the holiday season has come to a close, it’s also time for the task of taking down all the lights, greenery and decor of the holidays! This may not be as fun as it was to deck the halls at the start of winter, but don’t rush through it. Organizing and storing your decorations properly can make the next round of holiday decorating easier, safer and stress-free. Here are five tips to store and organize your holiday decor:

1. Do some early spring cleaning!

First, go through all of your decorations and dispose of any that are broken or damaged. When taking down light strands, check the cords to see if they are cut, frayed or bent out of shape. Check ornaments and decor for any chipped or shattered pieces that could cause cuts. If they can’t or won’t be repaired by the next holiday, safely dispose of these items! This will save space and prevent any potential safety hazards.

2. Take extra precautions when taking down and storing strings of lights.

Use a ladder and gloves while removing outdoor lights, and consider having a friend or family member give you a hand. Once they’re down, take the time to carefully wrap and store your lights. There’s nothing worse than going to deck the halls and realizing your lights are broken or horribly tangled! Consider wrapping lights around a piece of cardboard or through a PVC pipe to keep the lights organized and protected until next year.

3. Prepare for unstable temperatures in storage.

Many people store items in attics or garages where the temperature isn’t as well-regulated as it may be inside your home. Make sure any decorations you’re storing are ready to face changing temperatures throughout the year. A couple of easy ways to keep your items safe: wrap up or bag any decorations that could be damaged by water, ensure outdoor decorations are fully dry before storing, and remove batteries to be repurposed or stored separately to prevent corrosion.

4. Get your organization groove on!

Sort your decorations into categories, such as tree ornaments, lights, garlands, etc. and use clear plastic storage containers to store your decorations. This will allow you to easily see what’s inside and save time searching for specific items. Label each container with the contents to make it even easier to find what you need.

5. Choose your storage space with care.

Store your decorations in a dry, cool place that is out of reach of children and pets and check the area for safety hazards before you put everything away. Having all the boxes and bins out of the way means it’s the perfect time to look around for any water damage, mold or mildew, or potential fire hazards that may have come up since last year. If you’re storing items in an attic, check the pull-down ladder for cracks or damage, as they can become safety hazards as they age and need to be replaced from time to time.

We’re Here to Help

Now you’re ready to organize your holiday decor! Whether you’re a long-time policyholder or just starting to look for insurance options, we have team members who can help. If you have questions or concerns that you want to discuss, connect with your local OKFB agent today. If you have any insurance-specific questions, we would love to help you find the coverage that best meets your homeautocommercial and life insurance needs.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media! This kind of information and more is just a click away. You can find us on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

Gear Up for Cold Weather

While auto maintenance is important year-round, this is especially vital as we enter the much colder weather ahead. Mechanical failures during the winter are more than just a pain: it could leave you stranded in freezing temperatures. Whether you just need to prepare a personal vehicle or you’re also looking out for commercial vehicles and farm equipment, we’ve compiled some winter car safety tips below to keep your machinery running smoothly throughout the winter months.

Tip 1: Inspect, Clean and Store

If you have cars or farm and ranch equipment that you don’t plan to use until the spring, storing these items is your best bet. Storing items indoors or with appropriate covers can help protect the mechanics from damage as rain, snow and ice blow through Oklahoma. This is also a good time to inspect and clean your car or equipment to make sure everything is running properly. It also lets you get ahead of potential mechanical issues or repairs that could pop up once you’re ready to use these vehicles in the spring!

Tip 2: Keep Your Engine Running Smoothly

Make sure you’re renewing or replacing your engine parts on a regular schedule. This includes your engine oil, oil filters, air filters, fuel filters and more. The last thing you want is an engine failure when you’re out on the road in the winter! The exact frequency of oil changes and other replacement needs will depend on the age, model and fuel efficiency of your car or equipment, but you can always check your owner’s manual or contact a mechanic to get your car on track.

Tip 3: Check Windshield Wipers and Tires Often

The winter months don’t just bring colder temperatures, they also bring a lot of visibility barriers to the roads! Your windshield wipers will be key to making sure you’re able to see clearly and drive safely through winter rain and snow. Drivers should also keep a close eye on their tires during the colder months, as lower temperatures can impact your tire pressure. Filling up your tires and checking your wiper blades could be the difference between making it home or ending up with a flat on the side of the road.

Tip 4: Plan Ahead for Bad Weather

During the winter, it’s always a good idea to check the weather and road conditions before you head out the door for the day. Plan your route to avoid road hazards or stay home if the weather is turning treacherous. Beyond planning for the day, you should also add some winter-specific items to an emergency kit in your car. Gloves, boots, ice scrapers and blankets are a great addition to snacks, water, first-aid kit and a flashlight. These items will all come in handy if your car does experience mechanical failure this winter.

Tip 5: Make Sure You Have Roadside Rescue

Did you know that OKFB Insurance offers Roadside Rescue to all current policyholders? This service runs 24/7, meaning roadside assistance is just a call away to help with the stress, expense and inconveniences of a breakdown. Services include flat tire assistance, towing, battery jumpstarts and more. If you’re already a policyholder, save the Roadside Rescue phone number in your cell phone for quick access during an emergency: you can reach the rescue hotline at 833-957-OKFB (6532).

We’re Here to Help

Make sure to keep these winter car safety tips with you as the temperatures start to drop! Whether you’re a long-time policyholder or just starting to look for insurance options, we have team members who can help. If you have questions or concerns that you want to discuss, connect with your local OKFB agent today. If you have any insurance-specific questions, we would love to help you find the coverage that best meets your homeautocommercial and life insurance needs.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media! This kind of information and more is just a click away. You can find us on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

Is Your Family Ready for Winter?

Winter is here: are you ready to keep yourself and your family safe throughout the frigid months ahead? Take our winter safety quiz to test your knowledge of common cold weather hazards and check the answers below!

Winter Safety Quiz

1. True or False: Farm animals will be fine in the winter with the same amount of food they eat in the summer.

a. True
b. False

2. How many layers of clothing does the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommend wearing while working in the cold?

a. One
b. Two
c. Three
d. No recommendation exists

3. Under which of the following conditions can someone develop hypothermia?

a. When the weather is below freezing
b. When the weather is above freezing
c. When someone isn’t dressed for the weather
d. All of the above

4. Ahead of freezing temperatures, homeowners should do which of these things?

a. Leave the area for somewhere warmer
b. Turn the heater all the way up
c. Drain and cover outside faucets
d. None of the above

5. Why is the first winter storm often considered to be the most dangerous for drivers?

a. Motorists are out of practice or unprepared
b. Emergency crews may be unprepared
c. Cars are too warm for the roads
d. Both A and B

6. True or False: Current OKFB members can access 24/7 Roadside Rescue in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

a. True
b. False

7. Which of the following could pose a hazard to homeowners during a winter storm?

a. Cable going out during a big football game
b. Unstable tree branches falling on a home or vehicle
c. Snow or ice piling up in blocked gutters
d. Both A and B
e. Both B and C

8. What items should you have in your home emergency kit?

a. Candles, flashlights and batteries
b. Bottled water and no-cook food and snacks
c. Blankets and warm clothing
d. Emergency radio and charged power banks
e. All of the above

Answer Key

  1. The answer is: False! Many animals require more food and water in the winter than in the summer. With the low outdoor temperatures, it takes more energy and food to keep livestock’s body temperature safe and stable.
  2. The answer is: Three! If you’re going outdoors to work on your home, yard, or ranch during the colder months, OSHA recommends wearing at least three layers of clothing to insulate yourself from low temps.
  3. The answer is: All of the Above! While hypothermia is most commonly developed when a person is in sub-freezing temperatures, those aren’t the only times to be alert. Individuals can also develop hypothermia at cool temps above 40 degrees if the person is not able to retain heat or if they are chilled from rain, sweat or cold water.
  4. The answer is: Drain and cover outside faucets! Freezing temperatures can cause water to expand in your pipes, which could lead to a burst pipe in your home. Draining, covering and insulating any outdoor faucets and exposed pipes could help prevent these issues.
  5. The answer is: Both A and B! The first winter storms often catch both motorists and emergency crews off guard. Motorists may be out of practice or haven’t gotten ready for winter weather. This can lead to slick roads and more accidents during early winter storms.
  6. The answer is: True! Roadside Rescue is provided by OKFB Insurance to every active Member of Oklahoma Farm Bureau. If a current OKFB Member’s vehicle is stranded on the side of the road, simply call the rescue hotline at 833-957-OKFB (6532).
  7. The answer is: Both B and C! There are many potential hazards for homeowners to watch out for in the winter months. Before storms hit, check nearby trees and get any unstable branches trimmed away to avoid damage from falling branches. Clearing out gutters can also prevent ice or snow from piling up on your roof or pulling the gutters off your home.
  8. The answer is: All of the above! Winter months can bring snowstorms and ice storms that sometimes result in power outages and road closures, so keeping an emergency kit handy means you’ll be prepared if your family has to stay inside your home for an extended period.

We’re Here to Help

How did you do on our winter safety quiz? Whether you’re a long-time policyholder or just starting to look for insurance options, we have team members who can help. If you have questions or concerns that you want to discuss, connect with your local OKFB agent today. If you have any insurance-specific questions, we would love to help you find the coverage that best meets your home, auto, commercial and life insurance needs.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media! This kind of information and more is just a click away. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.