Heat Stress Prevention for First Responders

Heat Stress Prevention for First Responders

Summer heat is tough for anyone, but firefighters, peace officers, EMTs, and paramedics are at increased risk when heat’s extreme.

First responders are outdoors for extended periods of time, often in the sun. They’re also usually wearing heavy gear such as firefighting equipment, bulletproof vests (for officers), or other bulky protective equipment.

When these factors combine with elevated temperatures, heat stress can set in quickly. So it’s important for first responders and their departments to be well-versed in both the symptoms and best measures for prevention.


Heat-Related Illnesses: A Slippery Slope

Heat stress can progress from mild to life-threatening when symptoms aren’t addressed. Here are the main stages:

  1. Heat Cramps or Rashes – Caused by increased sweating, cramps, and rashes are the first sign of stress.
  2. Heat Exhaustion – At this stage, the body is overheating as a result of excessive loss of water and salt.
  3. Heatstroke – The most serious heat-related illness, heat stroke happens when the sweating mechanism breaks down and is no longer able to cool the body. Heatstroke can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.

Signs of heat stress aren’t always obvious — brush up on the symptoms of the above conditions here.



Preventive measures can be taken by first responders themselves, as well as their crew members, supervisors, and departments. The most successful heat safety protocols are adopted department-wide and include elements such as:

  • Hydration – Staying hydrated is the most important tactic for preventing heat illness. Although first responders know the importance of hydration, it can easily be forgotten in the middle of emergency situations. Water should be made accessible at all times to first responder crews, with the encouragement to hydrate well and often.
  • Knowing the signs – It’s important that both supervisors and team members know the signs of heat stress, both to self-monitor and to look out for their colleagues. Implementing a buddy system where partner pairs observe each other for signs of heat stress is also a good idea.
  • Rest breaks – Rest periods are essential to ensure that workers can hydrate and cool down. They should occur more frequently when temperatures, humidity, or sunshine increases, when air is stagnant, during especially taxing work, and when workers are wearing protective clothing or gear.
  • Cooling station – Especially when emergency calls are extended, a temporary set up where responders can retreat and take a rest is important. For instance, some fire stations supply their crews with trailers with a large fan and a mister; some have air-conditioned “rehab trucks” for firefighters on extended calls.
  • Training – Before the hot weather begins, employers should provide heat stress training to all workers and supervisors so they’re better prepared. When possible, training should cover conditions specific to that work site or area.
  • Heat alert program – When extreme heat is forecast, it’s important for employers and supervisors to implement a heat alert program, and ensure their workforce is safe and on the lookout.
  • Acclimatization – First responders can become acclimatized to working in hot environments, gradually increasing their physical stamina and sweating proficiency. Acclimatization is achieved through evidence-based training programs provided by employers.
  • Fitness — The risk of heat stress increases with obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, lack of physical fitness, and certain medications. All the more reason for first responders to improve their diet and exercise where they can.


Finally, although not a factor in heat illness per se, extensive sun exposure over time increases skin cancer risk. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that skin cancer risk in firefighters is greater than in the general population. Wearing (sweat-proof) sunscreen should be a daily habit.



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.



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.

We Protect AmeriCAN Heroes – Together We CAN

day with firefighte


Together We CAN.

During these trying times, it’s important to know that you are not alone. You have a community of people behind you, encouraging and fighting for you.

Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals are leading the fight on the frontlines against COVID-19, stepping up heroically in the face of incredibly long hours, heartbreaking care cases, and increased personal risk. Peace officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel are on the frontlines risking their own lives to keep our communities safe and in working order during this public health crisis. While teachers, school administrators, and education support professionals have completely changed their teaching strategies to accommodate students so they can stay safe at home and finish out the rest of the school year virtually.

We have never been more thankful for our everyday heroes than we are right now.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned our daily lives upside down, but when we come together as a community- as neighbors, as family, as friends -we are unstoppable. We CAN get through this and we WILL. Together we CAN.


We’d like to extend an extra special thanks to the Firefighters, Police Officers, Teachers, and Nurses who took the time to participate in our Together We CAN video. It is a privilege to hear about your daily experiences throughout the pandemic, firsthand. We appreciate your courage and dedication to helping keep us safe now, more than ever. Thank you.


This video is brought to you 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. Be sure to check out our Heroes series at https://mycalcas.com/leoheroesvideo/ or visit California Casualty’s YouTube Channel.

The Heroes Video Series was filmed and produced by Wide Awake Films.
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At California Casualty, our mission is to provide trusted, personalized auto and home insurance protection.  exclusively for educators, law enforcement, nurses and firefighters—those who protect, strengthen and enhance the quality of life in American communities.

A Salute to Our Peace Officers

A Salute to Our Peace Officers

This month, communities across the nation will celebrate, honor, and thank peace officers for their service and sacrifice. National Police Week is May 10 – 16 and Peace Officer Memorial Day is May 15; and although most events will be virtual, the spirit of gratitude is sure to be stronger than ever.

During these days of COVID-19, peace officers are on the front lines all day, every day. They are keeping communities safe, patrolling and responding to emergencies, all while covering for colleagues who’ve fallen sick, risking infection personally and oftentimes working overtime or without PPE.

Their heroism on the coronavirus front lines is plenty to celebrate—but it’s worth remembering (and celebrating) all the ways they serve and protect us, and the reason they joined the force in the first place.


Call of Duty

The motto of the Minneapolis Police Department is “To Protect with Courage, To Serve with Compassion.” The NYPD’s is “Fidelis ad Mortem (Faithful unto death).” In Los Angeles, the LAPD’s is “To Protect and to Serve,” and in Texas, the Houston Police Department’s is “Order through law, justice with mercy.”

These mottos speak to the sense of duty that draws these everyday heroes to law enforcement. It’s a profession that demands integrity, honor, intelligence, and a commitment to justice and fairness—and perhaps more importantly, a call to serve a community greater than themselves.


What Do Peace Officers Do?

In simplest terms, their job is to fight and prevent crime, as well as to maintain law and order. However, their duties span a range of responsibilities, including:

    • Conducting patrol duties on foot or by car, bicycle or motorcycle
    • Responding to calls to assist at incidents such as criminal activity, domestic disputes, fires, and public disorder
    • Attending collision scenes, vehicle checkpoints and vehicle offenses
    • Saving lives
    • Delivering death and hospital messages to families
    • Conducting initial investigations, gathering evidence, taking statements and conducting arrests
    • Searching personal property, individuals, vehicles, premises, and land
    • Preparing crime reports and presenting case files to senior officers
    • Attending and giving evidence in court and at other hearings
    • Building and maintaining community relations, including advice and support in areas such as crime prevention and personal safety


Serving at All Levels

Officers may also choose to work in specialized bureaus or divisions, including the State Troopers, Crimes Against Children, Crimes Against the Elderly, Sheriff Deputies, SWAT, Narcotics, Patrol Officers, Dispatchers and more.

Special law enforcement units exist within local/county agencies, state agencies, and at the federal level. From local police and highway patrol to the FBI, Department of the Coast Guard, and U.S. Secret Service, law enforcement officers serve at every level of government.


In Remembrance

With duty comes risk, and unfortunately every year we learn of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. Every May 15, for Peace Officers Memorial Day, flags are flown at half-mast as the nation pays tribute to those who’ve fallen. You can join the observance by using #PeaceOfficersMemorialDay on social media and sharing your thanks.


Thank an Officer

Besides thanking an officer in person (from 6+ feet away), there are a number of ways you can thank and help them—read our tips here.


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.

5 Ways to Help Peace Officers and First Responders

5 Ways to Help Peace Officers and First Responders

Peace officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel are the American heroes on the frontlines of keeping our communities safe and in working order during this public health crisis.

They are working daily to ensure public safety, enforce laws, arrive first to emergencies, and provide reassurance to anxious communities. True to their sworn duty, they are stepping up to do what’s needed. Now is the time for the rest of us to step up and support them.

As cities and communities put plans in place to open their doors, here are 5 ways you can help your first responders.

Keep Your Distance

Across the country, various forms of shelter-in-place and social distancing orders will slowly be lifted. The basic idea of the orders was to limit exposure to others and ultimately, limit the spread of coronavirus infections. As life begins to return to it’s new “normal” it is important to remember to continue to keep your distance when out in public and avoid going out if you feel you are getting sick. By continuing to socially distance yourself in public and taking the necessary precautionary measures (like wearing a mask), you will help continue to slow the spread and you’ll also relieve officers’ time and energy in enforcement.


Don’t Abuse 9-1-1

Only call 9-1-1 if you, someone else, or property is in immediate danger. True emergencies include medical emergencies, violent crime, accidents, downed power lines, etc. Calls that are not actual emergencies overload the 9-1-1 system. That’s already an existing problem, and authorities worry it will escalate if the public health crisis continues, or gets worse, as cities begin to open their doors. If you have concerns about coronavirus symptoms that are not a medical emergency, contact your doctor or advice nurse.


Be Safe

Now is not the time for outdoor enthusiasts to put themselves in harm’s way by going rock climbing or wilderness hiking—even if it’s solo. Emergency evacuations and rescue cost resources and manpower. There’ll be time for adventures later; for now, follow the laws and be safe. Observe the speed limit, drive carefully, and be fire- and safety-conscious around your home. In short, remember that any emergency you create for first responders will strain their limited resources.


Call It In

If you need to report a non-emergency crime, file a police report, or add to an existing report, avoid going to the police station in person. Instead, submit your information online or over the phone. Avoiding walk-ins limit exposure risk to their ranks.


Be a Good Neighbor

Many of us know first responders and police officers personally. Whether they’re in your family, friend circle, or neighborhood, make a point to reach out and check-in. See if there’s anything you can do for them or their families. This could be something like dropping off food at the station, walking their dog, or just simply being someone to talk to. They have been and will continue to be overwhelmed—physically, mentally, and emotionally until this pandemic has resolved completely. Let them know you’re there for them.


Life will return back to normal, but to keep our first responder and healthcare systems from getting overwhelmed, it is important to remain vigilant on doing what we can to stay healthy and continue stopping the spread.



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.

First Responder Discounts

First Responder Discounts

Firefighters, Police Officers, and EMTs put their lives on the line every day, while also finding time to serve their communities. Whether they are saving lives by running into burning buildings, comforting the scared when tragedy strikes, or just simply having fun in their community like joining in on a pick-up basketball game around or turning a fire hydrant into a sprinkler for a group of kids in the summer; they deserve to be recognized.

So, we have rounded up a list of companies that offer discounts to first responders as a, “thank you” to these brave men and women for what they do on the job and in their communities every single day.

Each store is linked for you convenience, just click on the stores name, and it will direct you to their discount page!


Steak ‘n Shake: offers 20% off to first responders when in uniform

Firehouse Subs: Firefighters get a free drink with every meal

Shoney’s: offers 15% to first responders

Schlotsky’s: offers 15% off to first responders

ATKINS: offers 15% off bars and shakes to first responders

Golden Corral: offers a 10% off to first responders with ID

Outback Steakhouse: offers 10% off to first responders with ID

El Pollo Loco: offers a 15% discount to first responders with proof of employment

Chipotle: offers discounts to first responders with ID, however the amount is dependent upon the location. Please check with your local Chipotle.

*Disclaimer: be sure to check that these discounts apply at your local restaurant*



NFLShop.com: offers 15% off an online purchase and free shipping for first responders with ID

MLB.com Shop: offers 15% off for first responders with ID

NHL.com Shop: offers 15% off discount for first responders verified through ID.me

OakleySI.com:  offers up to 50% off merchandise, when you register for an account with your first responder ID

Yeti: offers first responder discounts when you sign up with the program ID.me with your ID. Over 400 other brands (like Costco, Vera Bradley, AudioBooks.com, Sunglass Hut, Tervis, and Reebok) have discounts for military and first responders on ID.me, and sign up is free!

Under Armour: offers 10% off to first responders with ID

Dickies: offers 10% off your total purchase

Gerber Gear: offers first responders exclusive pricing through their Pro Program

Jockey: offers 10% off to first responders with ID

Lululemon: offers 25% off to first responders with ID

Frank and Oak: offers 10% off to first responders with ID

Columbia: offers exclusive discounts to members of government agencies that work outdoors when you sign up for their Professional Purchase Program

GOVX: membership offered to all first responders, which will go you 65% off hundreds of retail brands, discounted sports/concert tickets, and even discounted deals travel packages, hotels, amusement parks, and rental cars

Electronics & More

Apple: offers government employees discounts on Mac, IOS devices, and 3rd party products

Sprint: offers up to 25% off monthly service plans for first responders

Verizon: offers 15% off eligible plans and 25% off online accessories for first responders

AT&T: offers 25% off unlimited plans and $15 off monthly TV/Internet rates to active first responders

GameStop: offers 10% off at select outlets with first responder badge or ID

Carid: offers discount to all first responders with a first responder ID

Glock: offer special first responder discounts exclusively through its Blue Label Program

Shooter’s Pro Shop: offers a 10% off discount to first responders when they create and a Shooter’s account

Urban Ops Armory: offers exclusive discounts to first responders with proof of current employment submit a request to: support@uoarmory.com

Wolverine Supplies: offers a 10% discount with a first responder ID

Lockhart Tactical: offer 10% off select brands when you sign up for their Honor Program with a first responder ID

Primary Arms: offers 10% off select brands to first responders with ID, restrictions apply.

FN America: offers discounts to first responders through their LEMD Program

Leatherman: offers discounts to first responders through their Pro Program

Dunamis Rods: offers 20% off fishing rods to first responders, contact customer service for the code at: service@DunamisRods.com


Happy shopping! 🙂

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


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