Wildfire Preparation Tips

Wildfires in California have burned faster and more intense than ever. The past two years have seen the largest and most destructive conflagrations in the state’s history.

Too many people have come back to find homes in ashes and twisted, melted remnants of prized personal possessions.

Here are five key actions to be better prepared if the next wildfire threatens your community or neighborhood:

  1. Create a home inventory. Sixty percent of homeowners and renters have still not documented the things they own, which can cause post-fire/disaster headaches
  2. Review and understand your insurance policy and what it pays and does not pay for
  3. Get extra protection for collectables and high-dollar possessions with a scheduled personal property endorsement (often called a floater)
  4. Get renters insurance if you are renting to protect your furniture and possessions
  5. Prepare an emergency kit with important documents (copies of banking information, insurance policies, home mortgage and deeds, etc.)

If the worst should happen:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
  • Secure the property from further damage
  • Contact creditors, banks and appropriate agencies about credit cards, tax returns, Social Security cards or other papers that may have been scattered in the disaster
  • Check your credit report to make sure nobody is using your personal information
  • Be very wary of fly-by-night work crews and contractor fraud

Be sure to download and print your copy of these Wildfire Preparation Tips here.

Take Back Your Plan Time!

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.

 

Plan time is a vital part of a teacher’s day.  It’s when the “magic” happens, or at least, it’s supposed to.  If you’re like me, plan time mysteriously disappears, taken up by “quick” conversations with a colleague, getting students caught up on work, or communicating with parents, leaving you with little to no time to plan before your next class begins.

 

After a decade of teaching, I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to make the most of my plan time.  While some are blatantly obvious, these 6 little nuggets of wisdom may be just what you need to take back your plan time.

 

Use A Planner

Find a tool to help you plan your week, month, year.  Having everything in one place, and being able to see a week, or month, at a glance is helpful.  Create a digital template, or make one by hand.  Choose from one of the hundreds of editable lesson planner templates available like this basic lesson plan template from Angie Amos on Teachers Pay Teachers.

 

Shut Your Door
I know.  It’s hard.  You don’t want to seem unfriendly or unwelcoming.  However, if you are swamped with grading and planning, this is one step you can’t avoid.  If you feel it necessary, you can even make a little note to stick on your door explaining that you’d LOVE to visit, but you have work to complete.  Uninterrupted plan time is precious!

 

Avoid Scheduling Meetings
Some of us have little control over this one.  However, in my building, our plan time is OUR plan time.  Plan time isn’t allowed to be used for IEP meetings, conferences, or evaluations.  If you can, request that meetings be held at times other than your plan time.

 

Make A Plan Time Schedule

I know it sounds a little strange, but this one helps me stay on track.  Each day I have a specific task I aim to complete.  For example, Mondays I plan out my math lessons and Fridays I re-evaluate my upcoming lessons in case we lagged behind or got ahead that week.  Also, I always reserve about 10 minutes each plan time for parent or colleague communication (save the lengthier conversations for an after-school conference).

 

Delegate Work
If you have teacher’s aides, use them (please don’t ask your paraprofessional if they can help you with work, their job is to help students).  If not, ask a parent volunteer to help throughout the week.  Jobs like making copies, cutting, stapling, sorting, and hanging papers on bulletin boards are ideal for aides or volunteers.  These tasks take up a surprisingly large amount of time, so let someone else help you out!

 

Recruit Student Help
Use peer tutors to assist students who have been absent or who need extra help with assignments.  Offer peer tutors an incentive for their help.

 

Each school year and each day are different.  See what works best for you.  Don’t be afraid to protect your vital plan time.

 

Removing Ads and Distractions From Websites and Videos

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.

 

Have you ever shown a video to the class only to be bombarded by ads and other distracting content?  Sometimes, that distracting content can be inappropriate for school, and in some situations, get you into trouble!  Educators know to view any videos prior to a class viewing to evaluate its appropriateness, but have you ever thought about what else is happening on the page or video you are watching?  Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.

 

We’ve put together a collection of 6 free resources you can use to remove and block advertisements and other distractions from web pages and videos.  These helpful resources allow you to safely show videos without worry, and they’re all simple to use.

 

AdBlock is one of the most popular ad blockers worldwide with more than 60 million users on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge as well as Android.  It removes ads from YouTube videos, and blocks website and search ads.  Easy to install and free to use within Google Chrome.  Perfect for student research.  Students can become easily distracted by advertisements and videos.  AdBlock helps to keep students focused.

 

NicerTube gets rid of all the fluff, distractions and questionable content around YouTube videos.  Copy YouTube video URL, paste into the required field, choose a background, and create your safe video.  NicerTube generates a new link to your video.  All for free!

 

SafeShare.tv Safely watch and share YouTube and Vimeo videos without advertisements and other unwanted distractions such as annotation, so that they can be viewed safely without the hassle of first having to download and convert videos with YouTube Downloader.  To view a video ad-free, copy and paste the video’s URL into SafeShare.tv’s safe-link generator.  The site will automatically send you to the safe version of your video.  You may also choose a title and description of the video.

 

ViewPure allows users to watch YouTube videos without comments or other distractions. ViewPure removes all comments and related videos, allowing videos to be watched without distractions, or more likely, without “inappropriate content.”  It is simple and free!  No need to copy and paste a URL.  Simply drag and drop the “Purify” button into your toolbar.  Click the “Purify” button when you are on a YouTube page to remove ads and other distracting content.

 

Quietube offers the ability to watch videos without the distractions. To watch web videos without the comments and other unnecessary junk, just drag the quietube button to your browser’s bookmarks bar.  Supports videos from YouTube, Viddler, and Vimeo.  The site seems primitive and is only one page, however, it gets the job done!

 

TubeChop allows you to easily chop a funny or interesting section from any YouTube video and share it.  This is a great, free tool if you want to show part of a video.  Find the video you want to chop, select and cut the video, and share it.  There are no ads or other distractions.

 

We want to hear from you!  What resources do you use to remove ads and other distracting content from videos and websites?  Let us know in the comment section.

 

Connecting With America’s Educators

It’s been quite a year for educators. California Casualty is glad to celebrate the progress made despite challenging times.

Once again, we had a great opportunity to meet with the delegates at the annual NEA Representative Assembly (NEA RA), held this July in Minneapolis, and explain the benefits of the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty.

 

Gathering with 6,000 representatives from around the country is always inspiring. The passion for students and public schools always impresses us. It’s wonderful to reconnect with old friends (many of whom are longtime policyholders) and get introduced to new ones, sharing the importance of membership to an organization like the NEA that fights for the rights of teachers and education support professionals.

 

Brian Goodman, Assistant Vice President of Field Relations, was working feverishly to catch up with as many NEA members as he could. “The NEA RA is really a remarkable event. It is rewarding to see our genuine leadership connections from across the country and get a chance to interact with 6,000 NEA leaders at one location,” he said.

 

California Casualty Senior Vice President Doug Goldberg concurs. “This year, the passion and energy at the RA was palpable, understandably with all of the external pressures facing public education,” he said.

 

Assistant Vice President Lisa Almeida added, “In my 13 years attending the Assembly, this was the best ever. Meeting with NEA leaders from across the country and hearing about their positive interactions with California Casualty and their local Field Marketing Managers is so gratifying.”

 

Doug said that NEA members took notice of the value and attention they receive from California Casualty. “We learned over handshakes and hugs with our friends and customers how much they appreciate the NEA, NEA Member Benefits and partners like California Casualty. In one example, a past NEA president sought us out to say he’d be switching over soon. The presidents of a couple states’ two largest locals also came to thank us for our local representation.”

 

 

Field Relations Vice President Debbie Harris summed it up with, “We often hear praise from delegates about our local reps from their states. They see us as friends and partners. Those relationships are priceless.”

 

TAKEAWAY:

We love hearing your California Casualty stories. Share them at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty, or tell your colleagues and family about our exceptional service and have them visit www.calcas.com to learn more about what we do and how we serve you.

College Students & Renters Insurance

The rush is on to get everything ready as students head back to college. If yours are moving into a place of their own, don’t forget to purchase renters insurance to protect all the special items that make the new place their home away from home.

Here are some important reasons why renters insurance is a necessity for your college student(s):

1. College kids have more these days: books, bicycles, TVs, computers, tablets, gaming systems, smart phones, sound systems, clothes, bedding, furniture and kitchen items. Replacing those items if they were stolen, damaged or destroyed in a fire could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Renters insurance also pays for temporary living expenses, like a hotel room, while their room or apartment is repaired.Renters insurance also pays for temporary living expenses, like a hotel room, while their room or apartment is repaired.

2. While most students who live in a dorm have personal property coverage under their parents’ homeowners insurance, once they move into a place of their own they usually need their own renters insurance policy.

3. A landlord’s insurance policy won’t cover your student’s belongings. The landlord’s insurance protects the building and only pays to fix walls, roofs, etc., not any of your kid’s contents.

4. Renters insurance provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt at your student’s apartment. It helps pay for medical expenses and other costs, like legal fees, if the injured person sues.

5. Renters insurance is a great value. On average, it costs between $10 and $20 a month, or about $200 a year. That’s less than most people spend each month for cell phones or the cable bill.

TAKEAWAY: Learn how renters insurance will cover your college student’s belongings by contacting one of our advisors at 1.800.800.9410, or visit https://secure.mycalcas.com/loverenters

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