Independence Day - Enjoy It - Don't Regret It 
July, 03 2017, ,
Posted by Administrator
It is hard to believe that the year is already almost half over. With the end of June comes a time of year that I have been excited about since I was a little kid; Independence Day. As a kid it was always the shock and awe of going to the fireworks stand and seeing all of the different types of fireworks that were available. I still have the same excitement when I go to a local fireworks stand, but now I have the joy of seeing my kids look around like I used to when I was a kid. Of course, they always want to buy at least one of everything, but I have to remind them that some are not appropriate for young kids and of course the budget is not unlimited!

Many of you will set out to buy fireworks or join a group that is having a fireworks show. If either of these are a part of your 4th of July plans, remember to be safe and always be aware of what is going on around you.

- Watch young kids and make sure that they are handling the fireworks properly.

- Keep the bulk of the fireworks well away from where you are shooting the fireworks to avoid having a spark get into the large supply and setting them all off at once.

- Just because it was on the internet and the people were not harmed does not mean that you will have the same outcome. If it looks cool, but at the same time a bad idea, it is probably a bad idea and should be avoided.

- Keep a water source close by in order to extinguish small fires that may start after fireworks have been lit.

- Be aware of your surroundings. If there is a cut wheat field, dry pasture, or even a wood structure near where you are shooting your fireworks a change of venue or avoiding aerial fireworks might be the best option.

Whether you have been unfortunate enough to experience it first hand or read it in the news, each year people suffer minor to severe injuries during the 4th of July. Make smart choices this year and don’t be one of the news headlines come July 5th.

When severe weathers threatens your area…..How prepared are you? 
May, 22 2017, ,
Posted by Administrator
Whether you have lived in KS your whole life or have only been here a short time, you have probably been a part of or heard about the severe weather season that this state can encounter. Mother Nature brings a wide range of severe weather to this area. Everything from large damaging hail, intense straight line winds and even large devastating tornadoes are a possibility. The hope for everyone is that they never have to encounter any of these events, however if you live here long enough, the odds are pretty great that you will encounter one if not all of these events. Below are some things to consider in helping minimize the stress if you should have to be involved in one of these weather events.

At Home:
Have a plan in place with your family. Make sure that everyone is aware what to do in the event of severe weather. Designate an area of your home that you will plan to shelter in the event that severe weather approaches. With the advanced warning systems that are currently in place, there should be a short amount time to get to the designated area, but you do not want to be scrambling to grab essentials during that time.
Some Items to Consider:
Flashlights with extra batteries
Shoes and a change of clothes for all persons that will be in the area
Bottled Water
Battery powered radio
First Aid Kit
Cell phone charger (car charger and house charger)
Small children (items that will be essential to their well-being i.e. diapers, formula, etc.)
Pets – Don’t forget to include them in your plan – designate someone to be in charge of getting them into the shelter and have food available for them

At Work:
Severe weather does not always happen when you are home where you know what your plan is. Situations could arise while you are performing your normal work schedule. Whether you are an employee at an organization or a part of the management of the organization, below are some items to consider when it comes to preparation at the workplace.

Does your company have an emergency action plan?
Do you know where you are to go in the event of severe weather?
Are there supplies in these areas for the individuals that may be trapped?
Is there a communication plan for ensuring the safety of all employees (phone list in the emergency shelters)?

The time to worry about your insurance is not after the storm. There will be plenty of stress caused by the situation itself. Don’t create additional stress by not knowing what your insurance policy covers or finding out after the fact that your insurance does not cover something that you thought was covered.

Take time now to review your insurance policy. Contact your insurance agent about the specifics of the policy and what it does and does not cover. There may be items that you have forgotten to add to your policy or there may be provisions in your policy that are better understood prior to the claims adjuster having to explain them to you after an already traumatic event. If your agent is not able help you with your needs, it might be time to find a new agent.

Driver Awareness 
April, 03 2017, ,
Posted by Administrator
April is distracted driving awareness month. I am sure all of us can recall a time when they have seen another vehicle on the road way that is being operated by a distracted driver. Distractions can come in many different forms, but when distracted driving is mentioned the most frequent response is cell phone usage.
Cell phones provide many avenues for driving distractions. Incoming/outgoing calls, text messages, internet browsing, app usage are just a few things that people are able to utilize while they are driving. The driver can also be distracted by passengers because of their cell phone or electronic devices. I cannot begin to tell you how many times we have been traveling as a family and my spouse and/or kids have said you have to see this picture or look what I did on my iPad.
Technology has made an attempt to help reduce the distraction of cell phone use in the vehicle by equipping vehicles with hands-free talk and text. While the technology does remove the driver from having to physically hold the phone while driving, there is still a distraction associated with this technology. When talking, the driver is focusing on the conversation, so their mind is tied up in the conversation and not focusing on their surrounding environment that could have been avoided. Now I know I have driven without talking on the phone and been distracted just thinking about the day or prior days, however add in the call and you are adding to the problem.
The talk to text feature keeps the driver from having to type the information into their device. You would assume that this would be a good thing because you do not have to take your eyes from the road and hands off the wheel to type the message. However, consider that the device may not recognize everything that you say and corrects (much like auto-correct when you are typing) to the closest word that it recognizes. You just sent a message to someone that contains content that was not intended or makes no sense, then you hit panic mode and are scrambling to send another message to correct the error or having to call and explain your error!
While cell phones are the most frequently thought of and discussed topic of distracted driving, there are many of things that can distract a driver. Eating, drinking, navigation in an unfamiliar area, etc. are all potential things that can distract drivers. I am not trying to say that you can eliminate every distraction when you are driving, I am simply pointing out that there are a lot of distractions and working to reduce the number of distractions could help save a life of a oved one or someone else.
I have heard people say that they don’t worry about the distractions of driving or their conduct behind the wheel because they are driving in areas where they may not see another vehicle for miles. My response to them is what about your life?
Below is a link to a National Safety Council Article that looks at 2016 and the increase in fatalities on our nation’s roadway. It also discusses some of the additional reasons for the increase. ... mates.aspx

Data Security - Fraudulent Impersonation  
February, 15 2017, ,
Posted by Administrator
Fraudulent Impersonation
Depending on whom you are talking to is can be called different things, i.e. social engineering. No matter what it is called, it is just another way for easy access to information. People wanting information can use a lot of sources of information (social media, websites, etc.) to make them appear to be legitimate sources that should have access to the information requested.
If in doubt about a request for information, money, etc. –
- Try calling the person back at the phone numbers that are provided in their email.
- If the number does reach someone, ask if you can send them an email with a confirmation code to respond to verify that it is a legitimate request
- Call someone else in your organization to verify
Although the above information may seem common sense, these things create problems each day. If nothing else, make others aware. You don’t know what someone doesn’t know until you ask or make them aware.

Data Security - Phishing  
February, 08 2017, ,
Posted by Administrator
Everyday there are a lot of emails that cross our paths. During the day many of us will see emails from vendors, customers, and just plain junk mail. Some of the emails that we receive look like they are coming from legitimate senders. We often open emails and click on attachments or respond without really looking at what we are doing. It does not take much more time to slow down and look at the email before moving forward, keep the following in mind when you are receiving emails.
- Have you received emails from this person/vendor before
- Are you expecting an email from the sender
- Does the email look like it is coming from a recognized source, but the content appear off
- When in doubt ask – there is no stupid question when it comes to protecting your companies data

Check back on February 15th for tips on screening people for fraudulent impersonation.

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