Thanking First Responders

Recently, we were honored to host a series of training courses for local First Responders in the area. Throughout the week, 134 individuals gathered to receive advanced training in topics such as mass casualty, hazardous materials, new technology, and more. It was a small way for us to say “thank you” for the hard work and sacrifice our local heroes put forth to keep us safe and secure.

Another way that we as a community can show our appreciation is to observe basic safety guidelines when we encounter emergency personnel.

Change Lanes. When you see an accident, a traffic stop, or another situation on the side of the road, it is important to move over safely before you arrive at that point. Use your signal, of course, and slow down. One of the most dangerous parts of the job is moving traffic, especially if drivers are rushed or distracted.

Be Aware. Loud music, cell phones, and passengers can all be distracting. It is important to be in a position where you are able to hear approaching sirens and see the lights that warn you of emergency vehicles. Limit distractions as much as possible in your every day driving, so that you’re ready for the unexpected.

Get Out of the Way. It is not only the safe thing to do, it is the law. When an emergency vehicle is approaching, it is vital that you slow down and pull over to the side of the road. Remain at a stop until it is safe to get back on the road. Remember that emergency responders usually follow one another, so keep an eye out for the next vehicle. We also recommend being courteous to other drivers who have yielded. Maintain a safe speed and let other drivers back in as it is possible. Whipping it back onto the road and zooming away won’t save that much time, and it may just cause another accident.

Follow instructions. When there is an accident or other emergency event, the first responders need bystanders and passersby to do exactly what they are told. It’s tempting to stop and ask questions, try to find out what’s happening, or rush around the scene. However, that could increase the danger of the situation and delay the aid offered to those involved in the accident.

We are so thankful to all of the first responders in our area and beyond. It was such a pleasure to host these fine professionals for training. We encourage you to express your thanks as well!

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A Clean Getaway

You started your vacation with our fabulous packing tips. You are organized and prepared for anything. But somewhere along the way, your car becomes filled with trash from the drive-thru, paper, toys, and more. By the time you get back home and finish cleaning up your car, you’re going to need another vacation! Here are a few ideas to help you calm the chaos of the vacation vehicle:

Prevent: For accidents and messes alike, prevention is key. When you anticipate a mess, spread a sheet in the trunk and the backseat of your car. Designate a container for trash and empty it every time you fill up the gas tank. Avoid bringing the messiest drinks and foods into the car. Have a set of extra clothes and shoes easily accessible so that children can change quickly if an adventure gets messy.

Save Some Space: You know that you’re going to buy a tie-dyed t-shirt at the gift shop, a photo album, or some other trinket. Pack an empty suitcase or tote and keep these items from filling up the floorboards of your car.

Bag it! We told you how much we love using zippered baggies and grocery bags to help keep you organized when packing. Keep those bags on hand, because they can be equally handy when trying to keep a mess out of the car. Whether the problem is wet swimsuits and towels at the beach or muddy boots from hiking, bags provide easy transport and confine the dirt. Those little zipper bags also keep your phone, camera and other gadgets safe at the beach or on those amusement park water rides.

More bags:  There’s a different kind of bag that can become your best friend at the beach. Get an inexpensive laundry bag, like the mesh kind that you tote to the laundry mat, to store all your plastic beach toys. When it’s time to go, stick the bag with the toys inside into the water to rinse the sand off of everything. A plastic basket with holes and a lid will also work.

Bucket list: If there’s no shower as you exit the beach, fill up your largest sand bucket with water for washing feet just before getting in the car.

Baby fresh: Baby wipes are always perfect to have on hand for a gentle clean. Another helpful tool from the nursery is Baby Powder. As you know, sunscreen, sweat, and water make sand stick to you like glue. Dust your skin with baby powder and after it soaks up the moisture, brush off both the powder and the sand.

With a bit of preparation, you can relax and just enjoy family time. At the end of your trip, you’ll be left only with pictures and memories. And when a mess does occur, you can Make It Like It Never Happened.

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Classes for First Responders

When you’re involved in an accident, you rely on local first responders to help you get to safety, help those who are injured, and prevent further tragedy. The St. Louis and Metro East area is blessed with amazing professionals who take on the challenges of this vital role. We are extremely grateful for those who put their lives on the line for all of us each and every day.

As a thank you, Schaefer Autobody Centers is offering a week-long series of advanced training courses for emergency professionals. All classes are free, and you may choose to attend any number or combination of classes. These courses are conducted in a classroom setting. A certificate will be awarded upon completion of each course. Click on the links below for our location addresses and map.

Rescue 4 Disabled: Monday, July 15th, 6pm-10pm, Crestwood

This classroom course is designed for First Responders and CERT team members. Attendees will be provided with the information they need to properly handle and care for persons with disabilities at accident scenes and mass casualty events. Mobility Vehicles and Service Animals will also be covered.

Mass Casualty Incidents: Tuesday, July 16th, 6pm – 10pm, Creve Coeur

This classroom course is designed for First Responders and CERT team members. This course provides attendees with the information they need to respond to and initiate immediate care during a Mass Casualty Incident or a natural or man-made disaster.

Hybrid/Electric Alt Fuel Vehicles: Wednesday, July 17th, 6pm – 10pm, Ellisville

This classroom course is designed for First Responders. Attendees will learn the information they need to properly identify, stabilize, shut-down, and safely work around new vehicle propulsion systems. Everything from battery operated to compressed air vehicles will be covered.

New Vehicle Technology: Thursday, July 18th, 6pm – 10pm, Hazelwood

In this classroom course, designed for all First Responders, attendees will explore advancements in vehicle design and materials such as Ultra High-Strength Steels, Composite Plastics, and Space Age Aluminums. New vehicle construction methods and advanced safety systems along with alternative extrication procedures will also be covered.

Extrication A-Z: Friday, July 19th, 6pm – 10pm, O’Fallon

This course for First Responders explains the new extrication techniques that are required to safely work around new vehicle designs and materials. Working with advanced high-strength steels, high voltages, high pressures, advanced designs and safety features will be covered. “How to get the job done with the tools you have available” will also be explained.

Register today, as space is limited for these free classes. Jeanna Delgado at (314) 402-2136 or ; or Katie Halloran at (314) 456-9405 or

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Have a Delicious 4th!

We love to talk to you about your car and driving safely, but it’s a holiday week. Let’s begin our Independence Day celebration a bit early! Fourth of July means great food, fireworks, food, swimming, food, friends…and did we mention food?

Here are some of the best recipes for the traditional holiday fare.

  • BBQ: It wouldn’t be July 4th unless someone fired up the grill. So bring on the brats, burgers, ribs, chicken, shrimp and steak!  No matter what recipe you use, be sure that you cook your meats to the proper temperatures. Don’t forget the homemade BBQ sauce.

  • Cold Drinks: We know you’re icing up the beverages already, but why not make the event a bit more festive with a specialty drink? For example, create a Red Sangria or Guy Fieri’s 4th of July cocktail. Of course, you could always go with the classic sweet tea or lemonade. If you do serve adult beverages, be sure to designate a driver or offer a place to stay.
  • Side Dishes: Corn on the Cob, potato chips, fresh fruit and veggies are sure to be on the table. Potato Salad is the most popular side dish, but some shy away from it due to the risks of mayonnaise out in the heat. If you’d love an alternative, try this recipe with poppy seed dressing. You can’t miss with Baked Beans and Pasta Salad. Just remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Food that has been sitting out in hot weather for over two hours has a greater risk of food borne illness. So make sure to put it all away after everyone has had a chance to get seconds (because they will!).

  •  Dessert: Some of the best parties promise more desserts than other food. The recipes for patriotic desserts are endless and so much fun! Try this trifle or an American flag cake. Of course, homemade ice cream will please even the pickiest of eaters.

So, relax and enjoy a day of celebration of this great country! Here’s to a delicious July 4th!

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More on Proper Packing

In last week’s blog, we provided some tips for saving space while packing for vacation. You know that making a list well before your departure date will help you avoid forgetting your must-have’s or taking along unnecessary items What should you add to that list that will keep your trip running much more smoothly?

Ziploc Bags: Plastic bags with zipper closures are inexpensive and help to organize and simplify packing. Use for toiletries and sunscreen to prevent leaks. The bags are also great for holding small items; crayons for the kids, vitamins, laundry detergent, or packets of your favorite sweetener. Just keep in mind they are not childproof.

Grocery Bags: While we’re on the subject of bags, you can fill a box once used for baby wipes, tissues, or cleaning wipes with grocery bags. It takes up very little space and keeps recycled bags handy for wet clothes, muddy shoes, trash, or other messes.

Electronics: Today’s parents must wonder how they survived long car trips without the benefit of DVD players, e-readers, and tablets. While you don’t want gadgets to dominate your vacation, they can keep the peace on a long drive. Check out free apps for the kids that will let them track the wildlife they see, plan a preschool vacation, or just play games.  You can also find free books for your Kindle or Kindle app, and don’t neglect to download Instagram for your vacation photos.

Apps: There are so many helpful apps, they deserve their own place on the list. In a previous blog, we explored the world of helpful driving apps that can save you money, time, and headaches. You can find the best deal on gas, a great place to eat, or the scenic route. You can store backup copies of travel documents in Dropbox or iCloud, or Passbook, depending upon device.

Anti-Bacterial Wipes: You can’t go without these as your travels take you to many a public restroom or outdoor eating area. Need we say more?

Mini Charging Strip and Chargers: All those electronic devices are bound to need charging. Who wants to be crawling all over the hotel room looking for outlets? A power strip will keep everything charging in one place. A car charger is a great idea as well.

Duct Tape: You never know what may need a quick fix. Duct tape can come to the rescue. A few other small items that are good to have in a pinch are paper clips, rubber bands, and a needle and thread.

Comfort Items: You already have a list of things that you need to make anyplace home. Don’t forget to think about earplugs or soothing sounds MP3 file on your phone, a nightlight or flashlight (or app), and your favorite scarf; which can be used as a pillow, light blanket, or to dress up any outfit.

Add these items to your packing list today and enjoy your trip!

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Packing for Vacation: Lighten Up!

Summer vacation season is here! Who isn’t excited about that? AAA estimates that two thirds of Americans will hit the road this summer. That’s a lot of cars on the road, each packed tightly with families, beach gear, food, clothes, and other belongings.

Did you know that packing wisely can save you time, money, and keep you safe? It is estimated that for every additional 100 pounds, your fuel efficiency decreases by up to two percent.  We’re sure this information won’t have you leaving any people behind, but you can make every pound count when packing. These questions will help you do just that.

What is provided at our destination? While it’s a great idea to pack some food for the trip and a kitchenette saves you a few meals out, there’s a good chance that you won’t be too far from a grocery store once you arrive (Even people in the most touristy towns have to eat).

What can do double duty? Beach towels, if needed, can be used for blankets in the car.  A rolled-up jacket can serve as a travel pillow.

Do I really need that? If you’re driving 6 hours, you don’t need your entire DVD collection for the kids. Reduce it, a lot, to save space and arguments. Better yet, go digital, if your device allows. An app for your phone or other mobile device could store more books and activities than you could ever use on one trip. Even if you normally prefer actual books, the space you save is well worth it.

How can I make the most of my wardrobe? Coordinate your vacation wardrobe so you need fewer shoes or accessories.  That little sundress with sneakers could be perfect for shopping in the afternoon, then dressed up with a jacket and flats for dinner out.

Can I reuse? No one really wants to think about doing laundry on vacation, but a load here or there could save you time in the long run. Consider taking along clothing that you can wear more than once before washing or items that you can wash by hand.

We’d love to hear your packing tips as well! Visit our Facebook page to tell us what you do to save space when you hit the road!

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Summer Under the Arch

Yes, we love St. Louis! What could be better than summer in St. Louis? We’ve recently spent a bit of time exploring the many different activities in this amazing city and sharing them on our Pinterest boards. As summer vacation is well underway, let’s take a look at a few of our favorites:

St. Louis Cardinals: Did you know that as of today, our beloved Cards have the most wins of any team in the National League? It’s been a great season so far, full of ups and downs and much excitement! Even when the Cards are out of town or have the day off, you can feel the team spirit in the air around this city. Beautiful Busch Stadium offers tours and accommodates groups. Thanks to the open-air setting, you can catch a view of the action as you stroll by during a game.

Ted Drewes: No warm summer evening is complete without a stop at Ted Drewes for frozen custard. What more can we say besides “It really is good guys and gals!”?

St. Louis Zoo: One of St. Louis’ most hailed attractions, the St. Louis Zoo has been named among the top zoos in the country by many organizations and publications, including TrekarooBudgetTravel, Parents Magazine, and Travel and Leisure. You can visit many different kinds of wildlife as you stroll along beautiful pathways, learn about nature and conservation, and explore various attractions such as the famous Zoo Railroad. Unlike many of the other top zoos, admission to the St. Louis Zoo is FREE! You can spend the day without spending a dime, or you can splurge and enjoy some of the extra features.

The Muny: Yes, St. Louis has Got Talent! Experience the magic of the musical on a stage under the stars! The Muny is the place to go on summer evenings. Once again,St. Louis doesn’t let expense get in the way of the experience. The Muny offers over 1,500 free seats on a first come, first served basis. This season is certainly not a disappointment, and includes Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, West Side Story, and more!

The City Garden: This little-known gem is worth mentioning, largely because it is little known. Nestled downtown on Market Street, this gorgeous getaway is filled with sculptures, plants, and water features. The children will be thrilled to climb, explore, and splash the day away! Be sure to bring a change of clothes.

We could go on and on and on! From the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Grant’s Farm, the Gateway Arch, and all that Forest Park has to offer, the St. Louis area is an amazing place to live and to visit. We would love for you to join in on the fun! Visit our Facebook page to share your favorite spot.  Better yet, join our Pinterest Boards and share your own pictures of your family enjoying the best this area has to offer! Send your email to and you will be added as a guest pinner. Whether taking a day trip, touring with visiting friends, or staycationing, have an amazing summer!

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Weathering the Storm

As we move into June and look back at the first part of 2013, there’s one thing we can say about this year so far. The weather has been interesting, to say the least! Snow in late March, up-and-down temperatures, and serious storms have been among Mother Nature’s tricks. This past week was particularly scary in parts of the St. Louis Metro area, and our hearts go out to those coping with loss and damages.

 We want to take a moment to explore some ways to stay safe during future storms:

  • Always Be Prepared. We have previously explored car maintenance and having an emergency kit. In relation to storms, it is vital to ensure your headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers are in working order and your tires are in good shape. Driving in heavy rain is much more dangerous when your car is not ready to handle it.

  • Baby, please don’t go.  Yes, sometimes the weatherman is wrong and incoming storms are sensationalized, but advances in meteorology and access to information on the internet allow us to have some confidence in predicting the weather. Usually, we know when a large storm system is coming into the area. It isn’t always possible, but sometimes our errands and activities can be rearranged so that we can be home safely when dangerous weather arrives.

  • Tune in. If you are out, it is not the time for iTunes or CD’s. Tune into local radio for updates and warnings. Keep the volume at a reasonable level, in case you need to listen for tornado sirens or emergency vehicles.

While driving in heavy rain, turn your lights on and slow down. Keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles. Remember to adjust your steering in high winds, paying attention to areas where your exposure to the wind will change, such as passing a large truck or moving out from under an overpass.  Always avoid downed power lines and flooded roads.

Sometimes, it is necessary to pull over to stay safe in heavy rain or hail. In this instance, turn on your hazard lights and do not get out of the car. Some sources advise to turn the car off and avoid touching metal surfaces, in case of heavy lightning. Though this is not supported everywhere, there is no reason to not do so.

If tornadic conditions are present, it is undoubtedly better to be in a sturdy building. It is widely accepted that there is no safe way to be in a car during a tornado. The National Weather Service explores the issue of outrunning tornadoes, which is generally ill-advised. If you do find yourself in such a situation, determine whether you are able to get significantly below the roadway and out of the way of debris (such as in a ditch), to park out of the traffic lanes and lie down in that area. If not, stay in your car, remain buckled into your seat belt, get as low as possible and cover up with a coat or blanket.

We hope you always find yourself driving in sunny skies. In the event that clouds come your way, be prepared and stay safe. And if your car suffers damage, call on us to Make It Like It Never Happened.

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Goodbye Stains

Ahhhh…a new car! If you’ve had the experience, you remember it well.  The paint glistened in the sun, just the perfect color. The new car smell greeted you each time you opened the door. You couldn’t wait to discover all the new buttons and gadgets. No one, we mean NO one, could bring along a drink or messy food, for fear your beautiful new upholstery would become stained.

Fast forward a bit. Countless crumbs, broken crayons, and gas station receipts have found their way far under the seats. Windows have streaked and smudged, inside and out. Dust is everywhere, with fun little bits of pollen added in for your enjoyment. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.  All those things can be taken care of with a little bit of elbow grease. But the stains remain, reminding you of accidentally squeezed juice boxes, unsecured coffee lids, and other mishaps.  Is there any hope of reclaiming that new car look? Here are a few ideas worth trying:

  • Prevention is key. If you want a perfectly clean car, don’t allow kids or pets to enter. Never allow even the most responsible adult to have a coffee or soda. However, if you live in the real world, consider protective seat covers or a blanket for a short trip.  Floor mats can be your best friend, keeping stains off that carpet. In some instances, you can at least help some of your passengers choose water or a drink that is less likely to stain if spilled.
  • Prepare for the inevitable. Paper towels, napkins, or baby wipes are a great idea to have on hand for the occasional spill. One of our Facebook fans suggested having shout wipes, as you would carry for stain treatment on your clothing.

  • Act fast. Don’t let it sit. It’s important to get to a spill as quickly as possible. However, be careful! Pull over to a safe place so that you aren’t creating a hazard on the road.  Blot; do not to rub it into the seat or carpet. As soon as you can, use a mild detergent and water to clean up any remaining spill. Soak up as much as possible and vacuum soon to remove residue.

  • Attack with a vengeance.  Don’t let the stains taunt you forever. For older stains, our friends at Proformance Auto Detailing St. Louis recommend Resolve Triple Action Spray and a small brush. They advise that you don’t rub too hard, as you don’t want to cause fabric to wear and fray. When you use any heavy duty cleaner, it is wise to check an inconspicuous area for color fastness prior to treating the area.

With a little patience and some TLC, you can get back that new car feeling and Make It Like It Never Happened, not unlike what we do here every day!

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Giving Back

One of the best things about the St. Louis area is the wonderful people! We at Schaefer Autobody Centers are proud to be a part of such an amazing community. And one of the best things about having a business in a community like this is that we have many opportunities to give back.  Recently, such an opportunity presented itself, and Schaefer rose to the occasion.

The National Autobody Council established a nationwide program called Recycled Rides. The mission is to repair and donate recycled vehicles to families in need. Recycled Rides brings together insurers, collision repair professionals, paint suppliers, vendors and other professionals to repair vehicles that can be used by families in need. Local charities are consulted to identify families who would benefit from this opportunity.

When Schaefer Autobody Centers and American Family Insurance came together to participate in this program, a family was chosen by Circle of Concern.  Circle of Concern is a local organization founded in 1967 to assist people in the ValleyPark, Rockwood, and Parkway School Districts. Each month, the group provides financial help on a case-by-case basis and feeds more than 2,200 people living in West St. Louis County.

Indeed, it is better to give than to receive. It was such a joy to be able to give a reconditioned 2002 Ford Taurus to the family chosen by Circle of Concern. Valley Park was filled with hugs and smiles, as the family was overwhelmed and so very appreciative.

The people at Schaefer Autobody Centers look forward to many more years of reaching out to the St. Louis Community, through various programs. It was a pleasure to work with both Recycled Rides and Circle of Concern.  To learn more about what you can do to help with either of these great organizations, visit their websites.

Pictured above: Devin Hummel (American Family), Kevin Haller (Schaefer Autobody), Chris Pallozola (Circle of Concern)




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