Creating a Family Disaster Plan

Creating a Family Disaster Plan

An earthquake, flood, fire, or severe storm can strike at any time — and you and your family may not be together when it does.

How will you find each other if separated? What about household members who have medical conditions? And what if your cell phones or networks are out of power?

Crafting an emergency plan before a disaster hits gives you time to discuss your family’s needs and circumstances, review possible scenarios, and decide on the best options together. Schedule a time when the whole family can participate. You may need one or two additional meetings to finalize all the details.

Here’s what you’ll need to cover:

 

1. Make A Plan of Action  

Smart planning entails talking through a number of situations and “what-ifs.” Start by brainstorming around the following (and remember that coronavirus may affect some answers).

  • What natural disasters are we most likely to experience?
  • How will we receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What are the escape or evacuation routes from our house?
  • What is our shelter plan?

 

2. If Your Family is Separated

Re-opening across the country means parents may be going back to work and kids back to school. Are there other locations, such as after-school programs, childcare, gyms or volunteer sites that family members regularly attend? Consider those when answering the following:

  • If separated during an emergency, where should we meet near our home?
  • If meeting near home is impossible for some or all family members, what’s our meeting place?
  • If we are separated, who is our emergency contact outside of our immediate area?

 

3. Specific Needs of Family Members

Remember to tailor your plan to address any particular needs of/by family members, such as:

  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical conditions, disabilities or functional needs, especially those requiring devices and equipment
  • Language barriers or limitations
  • Ages of all household members, including school-aged children
  • Pets or service animals
  • Religious and cultural considerations

 

5. Fill Out the Plan

After discussing the above, it’s time to get it all down on paper. Be sure to capture the following as well.

  • All the contact information for each household member.
  • Who’s responsible for what during the disaster? Tasks might include things like retrieving the disaster kit, evacuating pets, and fielding disaster updates and alerts.
  • Create a personal network of friends, family or neighbors for things you might need help with.
  • Make sure you have one or more out-of-town contacts for emergencies.
  • Numbers for important contacts such as utilities, financial companies, childcare and caregivers, veterinarians, and insurance companies.

 

6. Share & Practice

During an emergency, cellular networks and wi-fi may be unreliable, and computers and phones may be lost or out of power. In these cases, having a paper copy of your family disaster plan can save precious time, minimize stress and prevent unnecessary emergencies. So, make sure each family member has a copy and carries it with them in a purse, backpack or work bag (here’s a template plan that fits in your wallet). Have regular family meetings to review the plan and practice. Finally, do a thorough review every 6 months or so, to update information or responsibilities.

 

7. Resources

Check out these resources to get your plan disaster-ready.

 

The perfect time to make a plan is right now. Getting all your family members on board and in the know sooner rather than later will ensure that you’re all ready when you need to be.

 

 

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.

Employee Spotlight: Shannon Schumm

We have amazing employees at California Casualty. The Employee Spotlight is a new series aiming to highlight those talented individuals that make up our successful company culture and community. From human resource recruiters and learning and development trainers to claims adjusters, marketers, customer support specialists, partner relations, sales representatives, and beyond; each week, we’ll highlight a new team member, so you can get to know us better and see how our employees make us who we are as a company. 

This edition of the Employee Spotlight will feature our Senior Knowledge Management Specialist, Shannon Schumm

Shannon has been with us for 16 years and is based in our Colorado office.

Let’s get to know Shannon!

Employee Spotlight

 

What made you want to work in Learning and Development at California Casualty?

Originally, I had a friend (that I had worked with at a previous job), who worked for CalCas about 5 years before I was hired. She said that California Casualty was a family business and a fantastic place to work. Once I got hired, I learned more about the company, its member groups, and dedication to our local community servants.

I am proud of what CalCas stands for. I am married to a police officer and knowing that there are companies out there that support our LOCAL heroes (teachers, firemen, police officers, and nurses) gives me a huge sense of pride. So many businesses recognize and honor our military heroes, but often forget about our local heroes that serve our communities. California Casualty often goes above and beyond to offer specific and tailored benefits for our customers.

I am also from Southern California so I thought it was ironic to work for a company with my home state in the title from Colorado.

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

I truly love my coworkers. I am part of a small but mighty team. Each of us brings something different and unique to the table.

By celebrating our team’s differences, we are able to come to amazing solutions for the greater good of our users. We are passionate about providing the right solution to our end users. We push each other to grow, learn, and strive to bring out each other’s very best.

I love knowing that I am able to help ease the complexity of knowledge our employees have. We have one source of truth for our employees to rely on to look up job-related guidelines and procedures. I work with our internal groups to ensure the helps system is up to date and accurate. Having accurate documentation helps create trust within our organization, trust within our documentation, and that trust flows through our employees to our customers.

I also love the friendships that are created at work and then transcend to lifelong friendships. I am honored to work with so many amazing humans, and even more proud to call them friends too!

 

What have you learned in your position at California Casualty?

Where to begin? I have learned far more than I ever expected; from getting licensed in 44 states as a Claims Adjuster to learning DITA to manage our internal content. I was originally hired as a Claims Adjuster and later transferred to the Knowledge Management Team.

Our KM Team manages the cCMS and we are basically like tech writers, authors, editors, SME’s (all in one) for an insurance company.  I have provided narration for internal training courses, trained new employees on our help system, learned our admin side for our cCMS, and am the administrator for one of our training tools that allows content development and offers multiple outputs (simulations, documents, etc.).

Every day provides a new opportunity to learn and grow which our company strongly supports.

 

What are your favorite activities to do outside of the office?

I teach yoga and yoga sculpt locally. I am pretty involved in the studio’s yoga community. I have participated in leading BootCamps and Teacher Training for the past few years.

Our family loves to go camping and fishing as often as my son’s club baseball allows.

I love new adventures, with that in mind, I just got a new mountain bike which should be super entertaining……and will probably get to know the local ER’s well.

 

Anything else you would like the audience to know about you?

I am ringmaster of my family circus!! I have 1 daughter who just turned 20, a 14-year-old son, (who eats breaths and lives for baseball) and a stepson and his beautiful wife 2 grandbabies! Of all of that only 1 is still living at home.

We have 3 dogs –my husband is K-9 handler, so we have the police bomb dog Max the German Shepherd, and family dogs Sitka (german shepherd) and Echo (Dutch Shepherd/Malinois). Needless to say, no outfit is complete without dog hair.

I love dad jokes, puns, and anyone who is quick-witted and likes to laugh.  As Calvin Turner has told me I am fun, and fun at parties!

 

 

If you want to learn more about Shannon or are interested in a career at California Casualty, connect with her on LinkedIn! Or visit our careers page at https://www.calcas.com/careers

Home Renovations — DIY or Go Pro?

Home Renovations — DIY or Go Pro?

For homeowners looking to improve their abode, going the DIY route is tempting. It can save you money, allows for customization according to your needs and style, and can provide a sense of accomplishment and creativity.

That said, some renovation projects are best left to the experts. If you’ve got a project in mind, take a look at the following considerations to help you determine whether to hire out or do it yourself.

 

Questions To Consider:

What’s your skill level? In the age of YouTube, almost anyone can become a (near) master at anything. Depending on your project, you can find a ton of educational resources online to shore up the required skills and many times even the step-by-step instructions. Be honest in assessing your skills — if you feel comfortable and confident, great; if you feel out of your comfort or learning zone, look at hiring a professional.

Do you have stick-to-itiveness? All home reno projects are exciting in the “dreaming” and initial action phases, but do you have the patience to slog through the hard work and inevitable challenges? Multiple runs to the hardware store in a single day? Broken tools? Miscalculations of supplies or measurements? Maybe tackle a small project or two to test your longevity muscle.

How much time do you have? Try to gauge how much time your project will take (add a buffer of 20% or so), and realistically look at your available time. Evenings and weekends might be the quick answer, but remember you have a life and need downtime too. Also, think about the risk of a project dragging out unexpectedly. If your free time is tight or the family calendar too hectic, a professional contractor will save you sanity.

Is the project complex or dangerous? If your project involves asbestos, gas, electricity, or plumbing — or a mistake could cause serious consequences or harm — it’s best to go with a pro. Reputable contractors carry insurance and are current on all safety risks and requirements. They also have the expertise to advise you on any complicated aspects of the project, such as permitting, regulations, zoning, or structural issues.

Have you crunched the numbers? Usually, cost savings is a main factor for people going the DIY route. However, it’s smart to get a few estimates from professionals anyway and compare them to the DIY costs you’d rack up in materials, tools, and time. Don’t overlook opportunity cost — the time you could spend doing other important things in your life. And remember that for some materials, contractors can secure much better prices (or selection) than consumers.

Is good enough … good enough? Can you live with the end result not being absolutely perfect? Visible paintbrush lines? Tiles not quite even? A crooked cupboard? If so, DIY might be for you; if not, start asking around for professionals known for high-quality work.

Do you mind getting dirty? The majority of home remodeling is the demo work. It’s grueling, dusty, dirty, and messy. If you’re okay with that, more power to you on your DIY journey!

 

Here are some typical home renovation projects and whether they’re most suited to DIY homeowners or professionals. Many times, it boils down to question 4 above — the level of danger, expertise or complexity.

 

DIY:

    • Update kitchen cabinet front panels
    • Update interior door knobs or cabinet handles
    • Fix or Install a toilet0
    • Hang drywall
    • Paint interiors
    • Install laminate flooring
    • Change a ceiling light
    • Install baseboards
    • Replace tile grout
    • Replace tiles

Hire a Pro:

    • Remodel bathroom
    • Remodel kitchen
    • Install hardwood or tile flooring
    • Side the house
    • Remove lead paint
    • Make major structural repairs
    • Replace windows
    • Pave a driveway
    • Repair or replace roofing

 

Sprucing up your home can improve its functionality, increase your property value, and boost your mood. Being thorough in comparing a DIY versus professional approach can help you come to the best decision for you and your family.

 

 

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.

What Educators Need Right Now

What Educators Need Right Now

Written by Casey Boehm, OEA First Grade Teacher

We can all agree that summer 2020 has had a very different feeling than the summers of years past, for everyone, but especially for Educators.  On top of our daily concerns surrounding our health and safety, we’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and completely left in the dark about what the upcoming school year will look like.

I‘ve spent the last few weeks surveying the teacher community on Instagram. I posed the question, “As a teacher, what are  your top concerns heading into the new school year?”

This question opened the door to multiple conversations about health concerns, anxiety, access to remote learning technology, and the availability of resources.

Here’s what our Educators say they need going into the 2020-2021 school year.

Teachers need to be heard. The guidelines for reopening schools are changing daily. The decisions being made for education right now are critical. The new school year has abnormal circumstances and we need to think outside of the box to meet the health and safety needs of our school communities. If you have not already, send a letter to your school board and voice your concerns.

Teachers need community. Do not feel like you are in this alone. Talk to your people, family members, friends, or other teachers, and get your feelings about back to school out in the open. Chances are someone nearby is feeling similarly. Talking about the things on your mind can make it a little easier to enjoy the last bit of summer. If you are looking for more tips about finding balance during the summer months, click here to read more ideas.

Teachers need resources.  With remote learning, now more than ever, teachers are asking for resources -more technology to meet classroom demands, proper training for these specific programs and sites,  and/or resources to supplement them. WeAreTeachers reports that over 50% of teachers are in need of more training to teach engaging remote lessons. In my own Instagram survey, educators responded that they need both access to resources and additional training for specific remote learning technology to feel more confident going into the new school year. That’s not to mention all of the other resources needed for students to return safely back in the classroom.

 

Here’s what you can do right now to meet those needs:

  • Don’t be afraid to express your concerns, your voice is important. Reach out to your school leadership and talk about your apprehensions.
  • Find teachers in your grade level on Instagram and follow along. They share tips and relatable content. If you’re not sure where to start, ask a teammate if they follow any great teacher accounts. (You can also follow @IgConnect4Edu on Instagram and on Facebook for educator accounts in all content areas.)
  • Check out my new website that features training videos, a resource library (including remotely learning resources), and a teacher community for collaboration. Click here to Connect and Educate!

Teachers are the ultimate problem solvers. For years we’ve been flexible and have learned to work with whatever resources are provided.  No matter what scenario lies ahead or what obstacles we have to overcome, we’ve got this.

 

Guest Blog

 

Casey Boehm is a first-grade teacher in northwest Ohio. Casey is passionate about using technology in the classroom and sharing ideas for organization. Find her on social media @OrganizeandEducate

 

Employee Spotlight: Robin Chavez

We have amazing employees at California Casualty. The Employee Spotlight is a new series aiming to highlight those talented individuals that make up our successful company culture and community. From human resource recruiters and learning and development trainers to claims adjusters, marketers, customer support specialists, partner relations, sales representatives, and beyond; each week, we’ll highlight a new team member, so you can get to know us better and see how our employees make us who we are as a company. 

This edition of the Employee Spotlight will feature our Underwriting Service Representative, Robin Chavez

Robin has been with us since the summer of 2017 and is based in our Colorado office.

Let’s get to know Robin!

Robin Chavez

 

What made you want to work in Underwriting at California Casualty?

I really enjoy serving those in our community that serve the public, and that’s what drew me to begin my career with California Casualty.

Shortly after I started in insurance, I knew that I wanted to move into underwriting. When I saw that a position in underwriting became available at California Casualty, I jumped at the chance to join the team!

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

I enjoy critical thinking and variety.

Working as an Underwriter gives me the ability to use my mind daily and apply my decision-making abilities to diverse workgroups.

I love my job. I have been given clear goals and expectations to be successful in my position. I have been empowered to take charge of my own professional development and have had management support with my development plan.

 

What have you learned in your position at California Casualty?

Throughout my career at California Casualty, I have learned so much; everything from risk management, professional written and verbal communication skills, multi-tasking proficiency, to individual accountability, and even company collaboration.

 

What are your favorite activities to do outside of the office?

I am very family-oriented and spend most of my time with my husband and children.

We love to be outdoors; hiking, camping, and bike riding. However, we also like our down-time to relax and watch movies together.

 

Anything else you would like the audience to know about you?

I spent my high school years living in Germany and have been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of traveling around America, Europe, and Africa.

My husband is a Firefighter and was one of the first responders involved in both the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires here in Colorado.

I am a huge Harry Potter fan and cannot wait until I get to take my kids to Potter World in the future!

 

 

If you want to learn more about Robin or are interested in a career at California Casualty, connect with her on LinkedIn! Or visit our careers page at https://www.calcas.com/careers

Pin It on Pinterest