Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall is the perfect time of year! The summer heat begins to fade, leaves don their annual colors, football games take over the weekend, and pumpkin-flavored everything hits the shelves. fall preparation

However, it also serves as a reminder, that as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to fall, now is the ideal time to look around your home and get prepared for the oncoming winter. Fall’s mild temperatures and adequate daylight provide an opportunity to check the heater, repair gutters, and add extra insulation to the attic. An early autumn storm or blizzard is no time to learn you have leaks or other problems.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that winter-related damage causes over a billion dollars in insurance losses annually. So, enjoy the nice weather and your pumpkin spiced latte while you can. Just don’t forget to look ahead. Prevent your home from being a winter-storm statistic and make the necessary preparations to your home this fall.

 

Fall Preparation Checklist:

  • Have your heating system checked and cleaned.
  • Inspect ceilings, windows and outer walls for cracks.
  • Change air filters.
  • Check your pipes and plumbing.
  • Inspect your roof for wear or damage and clean the gutters.
  • Install weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors.
  • Seal up foundation and driveway cracks.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney for cracks or leaks.

Look around your deck or patio and yard. Now is the time to clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture and flower pots, drain sprinkler systems, trim trees and shrubs, fertilize lawns and mulch gardens. Before your lawnmower goes into hibernation, schedule a time to have it serviced. If your snowblower needs some TLC after its summer break, bring it in with your mower and tackle two chores at once. 

During the fall it is also important to make sure your home is fire safe. Hundreds of fires break out each day during the autumn and winter months. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure everything is working properly. The National Fire Protection Association warns carbon monoxide poisonings also climb during the fall and winter months.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Preparation Checklist:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on all levels of the home.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries.
  • Have all heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected.
  • Keep all flammable material at least three feet from heat sources.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Replace or have them serviced as needed. 
  • Know and practice home escape routes. 

A vital preparation step for any season is to review and understand your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Make sure you know what is covered under your policy, if you need to up your coverage, or add additional coverage for the coming winter months.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in 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.

10 Items to Keep at Your Desk

10 Items to Keep at Your Desk

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

 

You spend about eight hours a day in the classroom; it’s basically your second home. You never know what your day in the classroom will throw at you, especially these days, so be sure you’re prepared. In addition to your basic supplies, stock up with these 10 essential items every teacher should have at their desk.

 

10 essentials for your desk - flair pens

 

  1. Good Grading Pens/Markers – You can never have too many colorful grading utensils! I like Papermate Flair Pens and they come in a variety of bright, fun colors.

10 Items Teachers Should Have at Their Desk - Stain Remover

  1. Stain Remover – I always spill my coffee on my shirt! I use a quick stain remover, like Shout Wipes or Tide Pen, to clean myself up in a snap!

Travel Size Deodorant

 

  1. Travel-Sized Deodorant – The temperature of my classroom is never consistent! One hour I’m wearing my parka while I teach and the next I’m down to my sweat-stained shirt. Keeping a stick of deodorant on hand is also helpful on those warm days that I have recess duty.

face masks

 

  1. Extra Masks – For those days when you are rushing out the door and forget we are living in the “new normal”.
    Teacher Desk Essentials - Pain Reliever
  2. Pain Reliever – It’s hard to teach when you’re head is pounding! Keep a small bottle stashed in your desk drawer so you can make it through a tough day.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Disinfectant Wipes or Spray

 

  1. Disinfectant Wipes – Even though the janitorial staff is consistently wiping down surfaces, between classes this will most likely be your responsibility to help you (and your students) stay safe.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Bandages

  1. Bandages – No need to send students to the nurse (and risk exposure) for minor cuts and scrapes.

 

hand sanitizer

 

8. Hand Sanitizer– For when you don’t have time to run to the bathroom and wash your hands between periods.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Non-Perishable Snacks

 

  1. Snacks – Keep a few healthy snacks, that you don’t have to eat with your hands, tucked away so you aren’t tempted to go to the vending machine-like cereal bars, applesauce, or jerky sticks.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Refillable Water Bottle

 

  1. Reusable Water Bottle – Water fountains can be full of germs, invest in a large enough water bottle that you won’t have to refill throughout the day.

 

A few extra items that could also help you out include K Cups, a Fun Coffee Mug, a To-Do List, Lotion, Mechanical Pencils, Post- its, Kleenex, Gum, a Desk Fan, and a Bluetooth Speaker 

Worried about shelling out your own money? Ask parents and families to donate items that are for student use, like cough drops, wipes, Post-its, pencils, and bandages!

Check out our Pinterest Board, Teachers: What To Keep at Your Desk, for more and don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Its summertime and temperatures are quickly on the rise!

Extreme heat is more than an inconvenience though; it is a health hazard. It’s extremely important that we do all that we can to avoid overheating and that we all know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses like:

Heat Cramps

These are muscular pain or spasms in the leg or abdomen – often the first sign of trouble. Getting a person to a cooler place and hydrating them with water or sports drinks usually alleviates them.

 

Heat Exhaustion

This is much more severe with symptoms of:

    • Cool moist pale, ashen or flushed skin
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • Exhaustion

Treatment includes moving to a cooler place with circulating air, remove or loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Spraying a person with water helps as well as giving small amounts of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or sports drinks. If symptoms persist, call medical help immediately

 

Heat Stroke

This is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees); hot, red skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion, and possible unconsciousness. Immediately:

    • Call 911
    • Move the person to a cooler place
    • Cool them with water by immersing them or spraying them
    • Cover them with ice packs or bags of ice

Children and Pets are at Risk

Don’t forget your precious cargo when the weather heats up. We think that it will never happen to our families, unfortunately, each year an average of 37 children and many hundreds of pets die from being left in hot cars. The majority is the result of a parent or caregiver who forgot the child or pet was in the vehicle. Even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature can climb to a dangerous 110 degrees.

New technology and apps are being developed to warn parents of a child left in a car or truck, and the 2017 GMC Acadia will be the first vehicle with a built-in sensor that alerts drivers to check the back seat for children or pets left in the car. Until these are tested and more readily available, safety groups have mounted campaigns to prevent child heatstroke danger with these warning tips:

    • Never leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle
    • Keep vehicles locked so children can’t climb in
    • Always check the back seat before leaving the vehicle
    • Place a stuffed toy in the car seat when it’s unoccupied and move it to the front seat as a visible reminder when you put a child in the seat
    • Put a purse, briefcase or other important items in the back seat with your infant or young child
    • Alert childcare facilities to notify you if your child fails to show up
    • Call 911 if you see a child alone in a vehicle and take action if you see they are in distress or unresponsive (break a window and remove them to a cool place and wait for emergency responders)

Personal Safety

When extremely hot weather hits, these are things you can do to alleviate the danger:

    • Drink plenty of water and rehydrating sports drinks
    • Avoid strenuous work during the heat of the day
    • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
    • Stay indoors as much as possible
    • Never leave children or pets in a vehicle
    • Go to a basement or lowest floor of a house or building if there is no air conditioning
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in cool public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, malls, and other community facilities
    • Spend time at a community pool or water park
    • Check on family, friends, and neighbors (especially the very young or old) who do not have air conditioning

Home Prep

Ready.gov has an extensive list of recommendations to help keep your home cool when the temperature rises:

    • Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate them
    • Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation
    • Install temporary window reflectors (such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard) to reflect heat back outside
    • Cover windows that receive direct sunlight with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers
    • Keep storm windows up

Automobile Prep

Your car takes a beating in extreme heat. It’s a good reminder to:

    • Test your battery
    • Check your fluids – oil, coolant, and wiper fluid
    • Get your air conditioning serviced
    • Inspect all hoses and belts for cracks or tears
    • Carry extra water or coolant

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.

Easy Tools for Your Students’ Digital Portfolios

Easy Tools for Your Students’ Digital Portfolios

Performance-based assessment is rapidly becoming popular.  Student portfolios play a large role in this method of assessment and tell a story of student learning, achievement, and growth.  Student-created digital portfolios help educators, and students, reflect on assignments, effort, and improvements that can be made.

The following digital student portfolio tools will assist you and your students in creating meaningful, 21st Century portfolios. Here are 6 easy tools for your students to use to create their digital portfolios.

Kidblog – Safely and securely publish student writing, audio, visual, or video projects. Simple to use and kid-friendly. The first 30 days are free.  After your trial, you can choose memberships of $44 per year or $9 per month.

Padlet –  Similar to a piece of paper, Padlet allows students to safely create a post of any kind. Padlet is flexible. Use it as a portfolio, a platform to blog and communicate, upload files, or simply make lists. The first 30 days are free. Teacher plans are $99 per year or $12 per month.

Evernote – Take notes, organize, archive, upload files, share ideas, and sync with multiple devices. The basic plan is free, and yearly paid plans offer more options and storage (Plus = $35/year and Premium = $70/year).

Pathbrite – Free interactive showcase portfolios. Upload student work using simple drag-and-drop tools.

Three Ring – Free for students, teachers, and parents. Allows users to securely upload student work, document, organize, comment, and access from anywhere.

VoiceThread – A single educator license will cost you $79 per year or $15 per month.  This secure web-based program permits users to upload images, videos, documents, and presentations.  Additionally, users may comment on one another’s work using any mix of text, microphone, webcam, telephone, or audio file.

 

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

Remembering Fallen Officers in 2020

Remembering Fallen Officers in 2020

In 2019, the lives of 307 law enforcement officers were tragically cut short. For the last several decades, in mid-May, upwards of 40,000 people would gather in Washington, D.C. for Police Week.

During the week, fellow officers, friends, and family members gather to honor and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice the year prior, like the 307.

This year, however, will be different than years past. We will not be there physically; no one will, but the memories of those lost will not be forgotten. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, this year Police Week will pay tribute to their fallen heroes by holding their Candlelight Vigil virtually.

For 10 years, California Casualty has been a sponsor of the Top Cops Awards – and each year, members of our Partner Relations team have been given the opportunity to attend Police Week. Through these events we’ve had the privilege of really getting to know our Law Enforcement Officers, their families, and their brotherhood.

In past-years at the Candlelight Vigil ceremony we’ve held our candles side-by-side with these Law Enforcement Officers, their families, and loved ones. We’ve stood in awe and watched the entire field of the National Monument go dark, only to be illuminated with the glow of candlelight. We’ve recognized and paid our respects to those who have lost children, mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends, and we’ve cried alongside our Law Enforcement family, bleeding blue in support of their losses.

Like most events taking place in the world right now, this year will not look the same, but our fallen officers and their families still need that same support.

To commemorate the lives lost in the line of duty in 2019, and in support of our many friends in Law Enforcement, our team will be tuned in digitally to show our support and pay our respects. Join us online at 8PM EST on May 13th, 2020 to remember and honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

To watch the Candlelight Vigil you can tune into our Facebook, where we will share the live stream of the ceremony to our page OR you can visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund or the National Law Enforcement Museum on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.

 

For more than 50 years, Law Enforcement associations across the US have relied on and trusted California Casualty to protect their members superior auto and home insurance coverage.

Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

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