Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

It’s 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.

RV Insurance Coverage

RV Insurance Coverage

It’s never a bad time for a road trip! 

If you are like the millions of American’s who are hitting the road this season to travel in a Recreational Vehicle (RV), follow these 3 key steps to keep you safe.

 

1. Before You Hit the Road in Your RV:

  • Check the exterior for cracks and missing or damaged seals
  • Inspect and test the battery
  • Examine and pressurize the tires
  • Replace filters and replenish brake, coolant, transmission, hydraulic and washer fluids
  • Clean, inspect and refill LP gas lines and appliances
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Flush and fill the water system looking for leaks, clarity, and drinkability
  • Check batteries and that all appliances are working
  • Inspect sewer hoses and waste tank valves for cracks or sticking

When you are far from home it is also vital that you have the right equipment on hand that can get you out of any situation.

 

2. What To Pack in Your RV:

  • Proper extension cord with the correct amps
  • Surge protector for variable campground electrical systems
  • Drinking water approved hose
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Portable chargers
  • Food, water, and essential groceries
  • Pressure regulator and water filter for variable campsite water pressures and contaminates
  • A set of tools
  • Extra clothing and blankets
  • Laser temperature tester to detect overheated brakes, tires, and axles
  • Emergency first aid kit

The last step in making sure you are all prepared before you travel is making sure you have RV Insurance.

 

3. The Proper Coverage for Your RV

California Casualty has been providing RV Insurance for over 40 years.  Our RV Insurance program is designed to accommodate almost all recreational vehicles from pop-ups to coaches. We cover motor homes up to $120,000 in value and our partner market covers up to $500,000 in value.

 

Coverages Include:

  • Total Loss Replacement
  • Emergency Vacation Expense
  • Disappearing Deductibles
  • Full Timer’s Package
  • Replacement Cost Personal Effects
  • 24-Hour Roadside Assistance
  • Windshield Coverage
  • Free Pet Injury

If you would like to add RV coverage to your policy call our Sales Department at 1-844-854-7265. For more information on RV Insurance Coverage, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-704-8614 or visit www.calcas.com.

 

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.

Why You Need Flood Insurance

Why You Need Flood Insurance

It’s no secret that spring storms can bring heavy rainfall in short amounts of time. This not only can cause rivers and lakes to rise outside their banks, but it can also cause flooding in city streets and near homes.

Contrary to what many may think is covered under their insurance policy, a Home or Renter’s insurance policy will not cover a flood. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you need to also purchase flood insurance. Floods are one of the most dangerous disasters in the United States, and if you don’t purchase flood insurance, they can cost you big time. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that just one inch of water in a 2,000 square foot house will result in $23,000 in damage.

Flood season has arrived. Here are five reasons you need flood insurance now:

1. It’s not just for homeowners and businesses.
Flood coverage is available for renters. Condo owners can also purchase it. It will cover damage to your possessions from a flood.

2. Flooding is not covered under your standard policy.
Homeowners and renters need to purchase separate flood policies. Umbrella insurance does not usually cover flooding, either.

3. Floods aren’t limited to flood plains.
Every state has experienced flooding, and it can happen anywhere. The NFIP estimates that 25 percent of flood claims come from areas outside of high-risk flood zones.

4. Flood insurance doesn’t take effect immediately.
There is a 30-day waiting period from the date you purchase the insurance until you are covered, in most cases.

5. It’s often not as expensive as you think.
The average policy costs about $700 per year. The higher your risk, the higher your premium. Costs do vary depending on your flood risk and the year and type of construction. Keep in mind, the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000.

Don’t delay, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect. Call a California Casualty advisor today at 1.877.652.2638 to make sure you’re covered. Or, contact our Agency Services department at agencyservices@calcas.com.

 

 

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.

Mental Health vs. Physical Health

Mental Health vs. Physical Health

What do you think of when you hear the word “health”? Most of our brains automatically think physical health- exercising, healthy eating, drinking water, etc. And while physical health does play a large role in keeping our bodies in shape and functioning properly, our mental health is just as important to maintain to achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.

The link between mental health and physical health is generally misunderstood because the mind and body are considered two separate entities, but oftentimes these two entities need to work together for our own wellbeing. Our mental health can directly affect our physical health and vice versa. Here’s how.

 

How Mental Health Can Affect Your Physical Health

About 1 in 5 people in the US struggle with their mental health. Symptoms of poor mental health can include negative thinking, low energy levels, change in mood or behavior, isolation, struggling to cope with stress, changing in sleeping or eating patterns, negative self-talk, and feeling sad or depressed.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, it does not mean you have a mental illness. Poor mental health becomes a mental health disorder (mental illness) when your symptoms become frequent and start to affect your ability to physically function in daily life. Some common mental illnesses include

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • PTSD
    • ADHD
    • Eating Disorders
    • Bipolar Depression
    • Addiction

So, how does your mental health affect your physical health? Don’t be fooled by its name. Your mental health can affect more than just your mind, it can also affect your behavior and your body. Poor mental health will not only impact your body’s ability to make healthy decisions, but it can also increase your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and other health complications like obesity, weakened immune system, and more.

Studies have found that those who suffer from depression bodies show changes in how they function, which could have a serious impact on their physical health. Those changes include:

    • Increased inflammation
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Changes in the control of heart rate and blood circulation
    • Abnormalities in stress hormones
    • Insomnia
    • Metabolic changes such as those seen in people at risk for diabetes

Poor mental health can drain all of your energy and prevent you from working on your physical health, but increasing your activity and working on your physical health can actually improve your mental health.

 

How Physical Health Can Affect Your Mental Health

Physical health is the state of your physical body and how well it is operating. Ways to maintain your physical health can be broken down into four categories.

  1. Lifestyle – staying active throughout your day, getting enough sleep, drinking water
  2. Diet – eating balanced foods that nourish your body
  3. Hygiene – keeping yourself and your environment clean and kept-up
  4. Exercise – using and strengthening your body and muscles

Working on your physical fitness and health will not only add years to your life, it can also improve your mood and help prevent mental illness. People who are healthy and active feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better, feel more relaxed, and think more positively about themselves and life in general. Living a healthy lifestyle and staying physically active reduces your chance of chronic diseases and conditions, like type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.

Exercise by itself is a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. Studies show that it can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressants, reduce the symptoms of ADHD,  and work as a treatment for anxiety. That’s because exercising promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases the endorphins dopamine and serotonin into your body- which make you feel good and less stressed.

 

Which Is More Important?

So, which is more important, mental health or physical health? The link between physical and mental health is complex, but the answer is simple your body needs both mental health and physical health to function properly and let you live a happy and healthy life. If you are struggling in one area, you may choose to focus on one over the other and that is okay. Just remember the influence they have on each other and how important it is to keep up with your health both mentally and physically.

 

Looking for ways to stay healthy and combat stress and anixety? Click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you are not alone. Please reach out to a mental health professional. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a professional, start by reaching out to a close colleague, family member, or friend.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

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.

Spring Storms – Taking Shelter in Public Safely

Spring Storms – Taking Shelter in Public Safely

Spring storms including lightning, hail, flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes – can catch you or family members away from home. Finding safe public shelter during severe weather can be hard enough, but coronavirus has made that (like everything else!) even more difficult.

Follow these tips to stay as safe as possible from the storm and the virus. 

First things first: Sheltering during a pandemic

Your number one priority during a severe storm is finding a safe place to shelter; the second priority is protecting against Covid-19. In other words, don’t let a fear of the virus preclude you or family members from seeking life-saving shelter. That said, shelters that are open will most likely post notices that those who seek shelter to do so at their own risk. If they’re able, they may provide hand sanitizer, hand-washing stations, and perhaps even face masks. They’ll also be strict about occupancy limits. 

 

Know where to go

Depending on the size and population of your area, there may or may not be designated public storm shelters in your community. Check with your local emergency manager or fire department, the American Red Cross, FEMA, or other emergency weather preparedness body well ahead of the storms for shelter locations. From there, check to see which shelters are open and operating during the pandemic – you may find that some have decided to close until the virus is under control.  

 

Where to go

When a storm does hit, even designated shelters that are open during the pandemic may close their doors due to overcapacity (public shelters aren’t designed for thousands of people). If you end up needing to find shelter on the fly, remember these tips. 

    • If seeking shelter in public buildings, seek out substantial ones. Reinforced concrete buildings are usually stormproof. 
    • Small rooms, such as restrooms, storerooms, windowless closets, or other small sturdy rooms, are better than large ones.
    • Auditoriums and gymnasiums are not generally safe. 
    • Avoid high walls that could collapse.
    • Get underground or under a table. Cover your head. 
    • If basements are not available, go to a first-floor room. 
    • Stay away from windows, glass, and large rooms. 
    • Do not shelter in a mobile home or vehicle.

 

Protecting against COVID

If you are able to get into a shelter (or end up sheltering with others at a non-designated location), follow the same COVID precautions that are habit by now: social distancing as much as possible, always wear a mask, and use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands frequently. Cover your sneezes and coughs and avoid touching high-touch surfaces. Try not to share food or drink with anyone, if possible. If you made it into a shelter, they will have policies and rules for protecting public health as much as possible – follow all instructions from the shelter staff. 

 

Plan ahead

With all these various factors to deal with, you can give yourself and your family an edge by preparing in advance. Your two best weapons will be: Having a personal/family plan and staying informed. So, before the storms come: 

  • Make a plan. Ensure that you and your family have a plan for severe weather events. For example, if your kids are at baseball practice or you’re at work or running errands, make sure everyone knows where to go if severe weather hits. Know the local shelters that are open during the pandemic, add them to your family’s emergency plan, and make sure all family members know and can act upon the plan.
  • Tune in and stay aware. All family members need to stay informed by trusted sources. Set up redundant sources of information so that you don’t miss any alerts. These might include: 
      • Phone apps and emergency/weather websites
      • Programmable all-hazard radios
      • Local news stations and media
  • Carry supplies in your car at all times. This is a great time to double-check your vehicle’s emergency kit (and for that matter, your grab-and-go emergency kit). Replace batteries, food, water, or any other items that may be expired. If you haven’t already, add coronavirus supplies as well – masks, hand sanitizer, and soap. 

It can’t get much worse than a severe storm during a pandemic, but knowing what to do and how to protect yourself and your family can give you an added layer of security and confidence. 

 

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.

Fraudulent Unemployment Claims – 6 Steps to Take if it Happens to You

Fraudulent Unemployment Claims – 6 Steps to Take if it Happens to You

Americans are finding themselves among another national crisis amidst the coronavirus pandemic – fraudulent unemployment claims. Across the country, employers are receiving numerous unemployment claims by imposters using the personal information of those who haven’t filed (because they are still employed).

This is simply a different form of Identity Theft where an individual’s personal identifiable information (PII) is compromised and then used to file an unemployment claim. The surge of COVID-related unemployment makes it easier for the fraudsters to file mass numbers of claims with hopes that some will go through. Unfortunately, if someone has successfully filed for unemployment in your name, not only has your PII become compromised, but you will also be responsible to pay the federal taxes owed on the amount received/reported in your name.

If you are actively working and have gotten a notice from your state or employer that someone has filed for unemployment in your name, here are 6 steps to help you get started protecting your identity and your credit.

 

1. Report the fraud to your employer

If you were not contacted by your employer, start by contacting your business’ Human Resources (HR) department and making them aware of the situation. For your records, the Federal Trade Commission recommends you keep a note of who you spoke to and when.

 

2. Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency

Report the fraud to your state’s unemployment agency and let them know that it was not you who filed. You can do this quickly online, click here to find your state’s agency. Again, keep a record of your case number and who you spoke to.

 

3. Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Because your personal information has been compromised you will also need to file a report with the FTC. Visit IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338 and to complete the ID Theft Complaint Form. You should receive a confirmation notice with the reference number assigned to your complaint within 48 hours.

 

4. Place a fraud alert on your credit report

Placing a fraud alert on your credit will make it harder for an identity thief to open accounts in your name, this is because a business must authorize your identity before issuing the credit. Placing a fraud alert is free, lasts one year, and will not affect your credit score. To do this, contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus and they will inform the other two.

Equifax: (800) 525-6285

Experian: (888)-397-3742

TransUnion: (800)-680-7289

After placing a fraud alert, it’s a good idea to get your credit reports and review them for major changes. You can obtain a free copy by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. You should also keep an eye on your credit score. You can do this by visiting a website that will not affect your score when you check, like Credit Karma.

 

5. Continue to monitor your accounts

In the following weeks, you should keep a close eye on your bank and other financial account statements, utility bills, credit card statements, medical bills, and medical insurance statements. If you see any unknown activity or unauthorized transactions call and report it immediately.

 

6. Get ID Theft Protection

Save yourself time and stress by investing in a service that will help protect your identity, like CyberScout. CyberScout is the nation’s premier provider of identity services. California Casualty customers automatically get free ID theft resolution services from CyberScout when they purchase their policy. For more information on CyberScout click here.

 

One in five Americans has experienced identity theft; one-third of Americans have never even looked at their credit report. As the pandemic continues to aide in the increase of online shopping and as tax season gets into full swing, it’s important now- more than ever- to be extremely cautious and protect your identity.

Here are a few more tips to help you stay safe this spring:

    • Use complex passwords
    • Don’t give out your personal information online
    • Use two-factor authentication
    • Purchase online through safe, trusted third-party apps like PayPal
    • Sign up for credit card usage alerts
    • File your tax returns as early as possible
    • Use a trusted tax-preparer

Don’t wait until it’s too late, fraudulent unemployment claims and other identity theft scams can happen to anyone at any time. Take the necessary steps and precautions to make sure it won’t happen to you.

 

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.

California Casualty

Pin It on Pinterest