A Teacher’s Wishlist

A Teacher’s Wishlist

Teaching is a tough job. If you have school-age children, you probably imagine. It’s easy to admire the men and women who educate and inspire our children, but there are some parts of teaching you just can’t fully understand unless you are a teacher. Like:

  • How much they enjoy teaching your kids and would do almost anything for them
  • Just how hard they work during and after school hours
  • How important it is to create a safe environment for their students
  • The amount of their own salary they spend on resources and equipment

That last one, about how much they spend, is something California Casualty has been trying to help with for years. We have grants available for educators to help fund classroom projects, materials, and supplies. But, what do teachers really want and need for their classrooms?

Education Week asked their readers what they would want most for their classrooms if the money were no obstacle. Their responses included books, including bilingual reading materials, comfortable couches or bean bags for relaxing reading areas, flexible seating, improved technology, more personal computers and tablets, and new instruments for band and music.

WeAreTeachers joined the effort with their readers. Their list, from A to Z included:

  • Art supplies
  • Books
  • Various paper
  • Pencils and pens
  • Crayons
  • Glue and glue sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Sanitizers
  • Snacks
  • Tape
  • Storage containers
  • Tissues
  • Whiteboards

California Casualty recognizes these needs and have created Community Impact Programs for educators to help fund many of those items. Recipients have thanked us for allowing them to purchase markers, books and reading spaces, electronic whiteboards, and for making it possible to take students to historical field trips to bring lessons to reality.

“I teach because I want to make a difference in each child’s life. I can now things that I couldn’t before,” said Central California special day class teacher, Elizabeth T., about the $2,500 Academic Award she received in 2014.

Edward N., a science teacher in Southern California, was thrilled that the Academic Award would allow him to purchase essential chemistry and forensic equipment for his students. “This will help ensure that our students have the supplies and materials they need to succeed,” he said.

California Casualty has a passion for helping educators and students. That’s why we give back in meaningful ways, ways that impact classrooms and students. If you have a need, take advantage of these giving programs:

And, educators who take a pledge to “Keep on Course” and avoid distracted driving can enter to win a new Jeep® Compass from California Casualty. Learn more here.

Thank you to all the educators who give so much, care so dearly, and make a difference every day for our children and our communities.

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


Home Fire Safety Tips from Firefighters

Home Fire Safety Tips from Firefighters

Although it feels like more resources are created every day on fire safety, more than a quarter of reported fires are still home fires.

Though some home fires are caused by unavoidable circumstances, like wildfires; most could easily be prevented. The majority of home fires and fire casualties are caused by simple human error, like leaving pots and pans unattended while cooking, smoking inside the house, leaving flammable materials too close to open flames, etc. All of which are 100% preventable.

So, we asked our firefighter community on Facebook, “What steps we can we take to reduce our chances of causing a house fire?”, and here’s what they had to say:

Turn off the Stove

Cooking fires account for half of all home fires. Never leave a pan unattended, and if you have to walk away for a split second turn down your burner.

Watch Your Candles

Candles don’t have to be monitored as closely as pans, however, you should never leave the house or go outside with one burning. Candle placement is also important, they should sit far away from flammable material, like curtains, greenery, or fabric decor.

Eliminate Extension Cords

Extension cords are a serious fire hazard, over time they can deteriorate and potentially create a dangerous shock. Remember, extension cords are for temporary use only.

Keep Dryer Vents Clean

As your clothes are being dried, lint builds up in the vent. This lint is highly flammable and will cause a fire if it is not cleaned off properly. It is recommended to clean your dryer vent after every load.

Keep Debris & Brush Away from Your Home

Dead branches and leaves piled around your house can easily ignite and cause your home to go up in flames with it. At the end of fall, make sure all leaf piles are raked up or kept at least 10 ft away from your home.

Keep an Eye on the Space Heater

Space heaters cause thousands of home fires every year because of the heat they produce, they are an extreme fire hazard. If you use a space heater, never leave them unattended and keep them 3 ft away from flammable material.

Close the Door at Night

The best way to keep a fire contained is to shut the door. That is why firefighters recommend that you shut the door at night when you go to sleep.

Properly Dispose of Cigarettes

Smoking materials that are not put out properly cause almost of quarter of house fire deaths. If you smoke, smoke outside and use a glass or ceramic ashtray. It is also important to make sure embers are cool before disposing of them.

Test Smoke Alarms Regularly

Have a properly working smoke alarm can reduce your risk of dying in a fire by half! You should install a detector on every floor of your home and test them monthly.

Have an Emergency Kit 

If the worst should happen, make sure you and your family are prepared by building an emergency kit. It will save all of your important documents in case of a house fire.


The majority of firefighters agreed that the most important thing you can do to prevent a house fire, is to just simply be aware. If a house fire does break out, call 9-1-1 immediately.


Related Articles:

What You Need to Know About Smoke Dectectors & House Fires

Guest Blog: Tips for Homeowners and Renters from a Fire Prevention Officer

The 6 Most At-Risk Areas of Your Home


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.



Shout-Out to Our School Nurses

Shout-Out to Our School Nurses

It’s that time of year again, your students walk into class sneezing into their bare hands and coughing without covering their mouths. You watch as they proceed to touch every surface imaginable- the doorknob, their books, the chairs, your markers, your desk!!! You name it, their germs are on it. Before you know it your whole classroom feels like it needs to be completely cleared out and wiped down (again). There is only one person with the power to stop these little bacteria monsters: the school nurse.

School nurses are unsung heroes at schools lucky enough to have one on staff. Throughout cold and flu season (all winter long) 1 in 10 students become absent due to viruses that they pick up at school, and if it weren’t for school nurses that number would be even higher! Though they are vastly outnumbered by the students that they tend to, 1 nurse per 750 students (and often more), they continue to keep students and teachers, happy, healthy, and informed all year long.

School nurses are often over-looked and deserve to be recognized. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • They can tell by just looking at a child if they are getting sick and need to go back home, so they don’t spread an illness.
  • They can also tell when a student is trying to fake it to get out of class.
  • They coordinate with parents and the school to make sure sick students get what they need to get better and back in the classroom.
  • They care for minor injuries that happen to students (like bumps, scrapes, and bruises), so teachers can tend to the rest of their class.
  • They provide health education to students and give them the information they need about concerns or changes with their bodies.
  • They help students with chronic conditions like diabetes.
  • They also train staff members to deal with emergencies and are often the first to respond when one happens.
  • And lastly, they look out for our students and put their best interests first. Whether that is intervening if they suspect something is happening to a child at home or just listening when a child needs someone to talk to, they are there.

School nurses have a heart of gold and go above and beyond their job descriptions every day to help teachers and students. Thank you, school nurses, whether you hear it often or not, we are so thankful for you!

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote by calling 1.866.704.8614 or visiting www.calcas.com.

Pet Safety Tips for Winter

Pet Safety Tips for Winter

Even though they are covered in fur, pets still feel the effects of winter weather. Temperatures below freezing with wind chill can cause serious harm, sickness, or even death to domesticated animals, like cats and dogs.

Animals need protection from the cold, just like humans. If you aren’t sure whether it is too cold for you pet to be outside, a good rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you to stay outside for long periods, then it is probably too cold for them as well.

Keep your pet safe and warm all winter long by following these pet safety tips for winter.


Give Them Shelter

If your pet doesn’t live inside already, bring them inside for the winter and create a space for them in an area of your home that is not drafty. If this is not an option for you, then you must create a shelter for them where they can escape the elements. The shelter should be raised and waterproof, faced away from the wind, and either insulated or packed with plenty of blankets and straw.


Protect Their Paws

If there is snow or ice on the ground make sure the de-icing chemicals you use are not harmful to your pet. If your dog is indoors, it is also important to wipe its wet paws when it comes inside to avoid the ingestion of those chemicals and to prevent redness and irritation. If you go on winter walks, put Vaseline or snow booties on their paws to protect them.


Know Their Limits

Dogs and cats are susceptible to Hypothermia and Frostbite, so even if your pet is having fun playing in the snow, it is important not to keep them outside for long periods. Set outdoor limits by assessing their age and breed, for example small, short-haired dogs cannot spend as long of time outside as large, long-haired dogs, and the same goes for old or very young dogs.


Keep Away From Anti-Freeze

Anti-freeze is in abundance during the winter, but as little as a lick can cause kidney failure in your pet. Keep your anti-freeze stored away out of reach and be sure to immediately clean up any spills or leaks in your garage. When on walks, beware of unknown puddles in driveways or parking lots.


Check Food and Water

If your pet is indoors, it will typically be getting less exercise during this time of year. So if you feel like your pet is gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, monitor its food consumption. On the other hand, if your pet is outdoors, it will need to burn more calories to keep warm. Make sure you are feeding it frequently with more hardy meals. Also, be sure to check their water dish every few hours to make sure it has not frozen over.


Be Prepared

If a snow or ice storm knocks out your power or makes travel impossible, make sure you have stocked up on the proper food and medication for your pet. In the event of an emergency, be sure to also include supplies for them in your Emergency Preparedness Kit.


We know how much your pets mean to you. That’s why California Casualty automatically includes free Pet Injury Coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Get a free coverage comparison today! Contact a California Casualty adviser at 1.866.704.8614 or https://www.calcas.com.


Related Articles:

Disaster Preparation for Pets

Questions to Ask Before Boarding Your Pet

Pet Passenger Safety Tips


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.



Beware of Black Ice

Beware of Black Ice

Snowy and icy roads are the cause over a hundred thousand accidents every year, according to the US Department of Transportation. One of the most common, and arguably the most dangerous, parts about driving in the winter is hitting a hidden patch of ice called black ice.

 Black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice.  It is called black ice because it is so thin it blends in with road pavements making it practically transparent and very hard to see- therefore it is highly dangerous.  Black ice can be anywhere, but it is commonly found on bridges, overpasses, and on shared areas of roadways, like intersections.

If you are driving in a winter storm, hitting black ice may be unavoidable, but you can minimize your risk of an accident by taking these precautions.


Prepare for Icy Road Conditions

If you have to get out on the roadways during a snow or ice storm, use these tips:

Drive Slow – Reduce your speed to a slow and steady pace. You should brake for stop signs and intersections earlier than normal and leave at least an 8-10 second following distance between vehicles.

Know Your Brakes- Look at your car’s manual to see if your brake system is standard or anti-lock (ABS). If you hit black ice with standard brakes: steer into the skid and slowly pump your breaks until you are back in control. If you have ABS, steer into the skid and apply steady pressure to your breaks until you are back in control (do not pump them).

Make Sure You Have the Right Tires- When winter weather hits, it is recommended to switch from regular tires to snow tires or place snow chains on your tires. However, if you don’t want to replace your tires or purchase snow chains, make sure that your regular tires have the proper amount of tread and pressure to get you through the winter months.

Stay Alert- When you are driving over areas that black ice is commonly found, like bridges or overpasses, stay alert and be aware that your tires will probably start to lose traction. If you can feel your vehicle start to slide, don’t panic, reduce your speed even lower and proceed with caution.


3 Ways to Spot Black Ice

  1. Know When it Occurs: Black Ice occurs when the air is 32 degrees or below and rain/moisture is present on roadways. You can also expect black ice if it is sleeting or your car has ice frozen to its surface
  2. Glossy Looking Roadways: If a roadway looks glossy, wet, or patchy and it is below 32 degrees, you are probably looking at black ice. Before you get on the road, look at your sidewalk and see if it looks wet. If it does, very carefully move your foot over on top of it and see if you slide. If black ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, there is a good chance it will also be on the road.
  3. Pay Attention to the Cars In Front of You: If the cars in front of you are starting to slide or fishtail they are probably encountering black ice. If you are following at the recommended distance, you should have time to slowly change your speed before you drive over it. Another easy indicator is cars or tire tracks in the ditch or grass median.


The best way to avoid black ice is to completely stay off of the roadways when winter weather hits, but if you already know that won’t be an option, prepare yourself and with our winter driving safety tips.



Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety

Emergency Winter Car Kit

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


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