Blog Directory Martinspiration

A silver code, but no silver bullet

October 9, 2017

The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas that occurred in early October reminds us that any location can be vulnerable to active shooter incidents. And hospitals are no exception.

From preparing for superstorms and guarding against a terrorist attack to thwarting cyber-thieves trying to hack into patient records, hospitals have a lot of security-related concerns today. But perhaps the most worrisome threat of them all comes in the form of an armed and unpredictable assailant who can unleash sudden, unspeakable violence in your facility: an active shooter, defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.

Make no mistake—active shooter incidents are on the rise across America. Between 2000 and 2006, these incidents occurred around six times annually but increased to 16.4 times a year between 2007 and 2013. Within hospitals, these horrific events (called a "code silver") now happen at a frequency of more than one a month; in fact, one study found that there were 154 shootings in hospital settings and 235 victims (20 percent of whom were hospital employees) either killed or injured from 2000 through 2011. Within that span, 29 percent occurred in the ED, 19 percent in patient rooms, 41 percent on hospital grounds, and 23 percent in the parking lot.

I covered this topic in a recent story for The Joint Commission's EC News newsletter, read by hospital administrators. Click here to access the article.

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Handy heat without the hazards

October 1, 2017

Now that the calendar has turned another page, we're getting closer to cold weather. That means you'll likely be turning on the furnace soon. But in areas not served by central heating, you may have to rely on a portable heating device to warm things up.

Be warned, however, that electric space heaters were responsible for over 10,000 fires (accounting for 46% of all home space heater fires), 210 civilian deaths, and $305 million in property damage between 2009 and 2013, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data.

Learn how to protect yourself and your family when using a portable electric heater by reading my article on this topic, featured in the October 2017 issue of The Costco Connection magazine. Click here for the full story.

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Conjuring up fresh frights

September 19, 2017

Writing regularly about real estate, health care, technology, finances, pets and jobs throughout the year is fun and stimulating, certainly. But this time of the calendar brings me extra excitement, because I get to promote Halloween-themed events and topics, too - such as the upcoming season of Midnight Terror Haunted House, located near my neck of the woods in the south 'burbs of Chicago.

Read my latest article about this annual fright fan favorite and how it plans to freshen up the fear for 2017 by clicking here.

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Put the focus on fun to improve your savings habits

September 12, 2017

Squirrels stockpile nuts for a good reason—they want to be prepared when resources are scarce. Therein lies an acorn of truth that humans can take to heart: saving now can pay off later.

Problem is, building a nest egg is hard work. That's because we often don't have many dollars left after paying our bills. And poor habits like impulsive spending, living beyond our means, and not keeping track of our money can quickly exhaust our finances. The solution? Set realistic savings goals and stay disciplined. And don't be afraid to sometimes spend money on things you like to do, too, which can build good saving skills.

For tips on how to set fun savings goals, read my newest article for USAA Stories, available here.

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Why buying a home near your favorite grocery store matters

September 3, 2017

Buyers need to think about many factors before purchasing a home. These include price, neighborhood amenities, area schools and commute time.

New data suggests that nearness to your preferred food store should also be pondered. Shopping convenience is one perk. But a bigger one is the effect that grocer can have on your home’s value. This nearby store may affect your flipping or renting prospects, too.

Learn more about why choosing a residence in close proximity to your preferred food store can have a big impact by reading my latest story for The Mortgage Reports, available here.

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Why lottery playing is thirsty work

August 21, 2017

Gas, tobacco and cold beverages may be what gets customers in the door at convenience stores. But don’t discount good old-fashioned luck in the form of lottery scratch-off and computer-generated tickets. They represent a consistent revenue stream for convenience operators, generating about $8,000 in sales weekly and 9% of total convenience sales. And with Powerball jackpots hitting record highs lately, the c-store is likely to remain a popular destination for luck seekers.

Read my latest story for CSP Magazine, available here, on what store shoppers also purchase when they play the lottery at 7-Eleven, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Circle K and other convenience stores.

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