Pet Safety Tips for Winter

Pet Safety Tips for Winter

Even though they are covered in fur, pets still feel the effects of winter weather. Temperatures below freezing with wind chill can cause serious harm, sickness, or even death to domesticated animals, like cats and dogs.

Animals need protection from the cold, just like humans. If you aren’t sure whether it is too cold for you pet to be outside, a good rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you to stay outside for long periods, then it is probably too cold for them as well.

Keep your pet safe and warm all winter long by following these pet safety tips for winter.


Give Them Shelter

If your pet doesn’t live inside already, bring them inside for the winter and create a space for them in an area of your home that is not drafty. If this is not an option for you, then you must create a shelter for them where they can escape the elements. The shelter should be raised and waterproof, faced away from the wind, and either insulated or packed with plenty of blankets and straw.


Protect Their Paws

If there is snow or ice on the ground make sure the de-icing chemicals you use are not harmful to your pet. If your dog is indoors, it is also important to wipe its wet paws when it comes inside to avoid the ingestion of those chemicals and to prevent redness and irritation. If you go on winter walks, put Vaseline or snow booties on their paws to protect them.


Know Their Limits

Dogs and cats are susceptible to Hypothermia and Frostbite, so even if your pet is having fun playing in the snow, it is important not to keep them outside for long periods. Set outdoor limits by assessing their age and breed, for example small, short-haired dogs cannot spend as long of time outside as large, long-haired dogs, and the same goes for old or very young dogs.


Keep Away From Anti-Freeze

Anti-freeze is in abundance during the winter, but as little as a lick can cause kidney failure in your pet. Keep your anti-freeze stored away out of reach and be sure to immediately clean up any spills or leaks in your garage. When on walks, beware of unknown puddles in driveways or parking lots.


Check Food and Water

If your pet is indoors, it will typically be getting less exercise during this time of year. So if you feel like your pet is gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, monitor its food consumption. On the other hand, if your pet is outdoors, it will need to burn more calories to keep warm. Make sure you are feeding it frequently with more hardy meals. Also, be sure to check their water dish every few hours to make sure it has not frozen over.


Be Prepared

If a snow or ice storm knocks out your power or makes travel impossible, make sure you have stocked up on the proper food and medication for your pet. In the event of an emergency, be sure to also include supplies for them in your Emergency Preparedness Kit.


We know how much your pets mean to you. That’s why California Casualty automatically includes free Pet Injury Coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Get a free coverage comparison today! Contact a California Casualty adviser at 1.866.704.8614 or https://www.calcas.com.


Related Articles:

Disaster Preparation for Pets

Questions to Ask Before Boarding Your Pet

Pet Passenger Safety Tips


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.



Space Heater Safety Tips – Don’t Get Burned

Space Heater Safety Tips – Don’t Get Burned

Winter is officially in full swing, and that means many of us will start to get out the portable heaters to combat those brisk nights and chilly mornings- that is, of course if you haven’t done that already. space heater

Used properly, portable heaters are a godsend, but it’s extremely important to pay attention to the possible dangers associated with that trusty little plug-in heater.

Portable heaters are responsible for an estimated 25,000+ home fires each year, causing terrible burns to thousands of people. Imagine how you’d feel if not paying attention to a simple appliance caused the destruction of your home or hurt your family.

That’s why you should follow these Space Heater Safety Tips 

  • Never use an unvented combustion heater indoors (safety experts recommend electric heaters instead)
  • Only purchase or use newer models that have current safety features and the Underwriter Laboratory (UL) label
  • Keep the heater on a hard, level, non-flammable surface such as ceramic tile
  • Make sure the heater is at least three feet away from flammables like bedding, drapes, furniture, and papers
  • Keep pets and children away from space heaters
  • Always turn the heater off when you leave the area
  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep
  • Check to see if it has a tip-over safety switch that will automatically turn it off if it falls over
  • Avoid using extension cords and never run the cord under carpeting or mats

Pro Tip: these safety tips also apply when turning on the heat for the entire house. If you haven’t already, the National Fire Protection Association recommends us to have our heating system, or chimney, checked and serviced each year by a qualified heating and cooling professional to make sure it’s fire safe and there are no carbon monoxide leaks. It is also recommended to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors during this time.


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Related Articles:

Fire Prevention Tips for the Holidays

Holiday Light Safety

The 6 Most At-Risk Fire Areas of Your Home


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 visit www.calcas.com.

Beware of Black Ice

Beware of Black Ice

Snowy and icy roads are the cause over a hundred thousand accidents every year, according to the US Department of Transportation. One of the most common, and arguably the most dangerous, parts about driving in the winter is hitting a hidden patch of ice called black ice.

 Black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice.  It is called black ice because it is so thin it blends in with road pavements making it practically transparent and very hard to see- therefore it is highly dangerous.  Black ice can be anywhere, but it is commonly found on bridges, overpasses, and on shared areas of roadways, like intersections.

If you are driving in a winter storm, hitting black ice may be unavoidable, but you can minimize your risk of an accident by taking these precautions.


Prepare for Icy Road Conditions

If you have to get out on the roadways during a snow or ice storm, use these tips:

Drive Slow – Reduce your speed to a slow and steady pace. You should brake for stop signs and intersections earlier than normal and leave at least an 8-10 second following distance between vehicles.

Know Your Brakes- Look at your car’s manual to see if your brake system is standard or anti-lock (ABS). If you hit black ice with standard brakes: steer into the skid and slowly pump your breaks until you are back in control. If you have ABS, steer into the skid and apply steady pressure to your breaks until you are back in control (do not pump them).

Make Sure You Have the Right Tires- When winter weather hits, it is recommended to switch from regular tires to snow tires or place snow chains on your tires. However, if you don’t want to replace your tires or purchase snow chains, make sure that your regular tires have the proper amount of tread and pressure to get you through the winter months.

Stay Alert- When you are driving over areas that black ice is commonly found, like bridges or overpasses, stay alert and be aware that your tires will probably start to lose traction. If you can feel your vehicle start to slide, don’t panic, reduce your speed even lower and proceed with caution.


3 Ways to Spot Black Ice

  1. Know When it Occurs: Black Ice occurs when the air is 32 degrees or below and rain/moisture is present on roadways. You can also expect black ice if it is sleeting or your car has ice frozen to its surface
  2. Glossy Looking Roadways: If a roadway looks glossy, wet, or patchy and it is below 32 degrees, you are probably looking at black ice. Before you get on the road, look at your sidewalk and see if it looks wet. If it does, very carefully move your foot over on top of it and see if you slide. If black ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, there is a good chance it will also be on the road.
  3. Pay Attention to the Cars In Front of You: If the cars in front of you are starting to slide or fishtail they are probably encountering black ice. If you are following at the recommended distance, you should have time to slowly change your speed before you drive over it. Another easy indicator is cars or tire tracks in the ditch or grass median.


The best way to avoid black ice is to completely stay off of the roadways when winter weather hits, but if you already know that won’t be an option, prepare yourself and with our winter driving safety tips.



Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety

Emergency Winter Car Kit

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers


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.


Winter Driving Safety

Winter Driving Safety

Undoubtedly, when the roads are covered in snow and/or ice the best option is to just stay hunkered down at home. However, for the majority of us, that’s not an option. In fact, 70 percent of US roads are located in snowy regions. and each year over 116,000 people are injured driving in the snow and ice.

Accumulation on roadways reduces tire friction and vehicle maneuverability and greatly increases the risk of accidents. So, as winter approaches and you make the necessary preparations to your vehicle, make sure you remember these winter driving safety tips to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. 
    • Allow at least 3 times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. 
    • If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brakes.
  3. Turn on your lights. 
    • This will make you more visible to other motorists.
  4. Keep your windshield clean.
    •  Once it has defrosted, keep the windshield wipers on to wipe away all falling snow and avoid it freezing over again.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction. 
    • Drive especially slow on hills to avoid rolling backward.
  6. Steer into a skid to avoid a crash.
    • This means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Keep an emergency kit in your car.
    • This should include a first aid kit, flashlight, water, blankets, and snowmelt or sand/kitty litter.
  8. Be on the lookout for black ice.
    •  Black ice is barely visible and makes roadways, bridges, and overpasses extremely slick
  9. Don’t pass snow plows.
    • The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  10. Don’t assume your vehicle won’t have problems.
    • Even 4-wheel drive automobiles can have issues on ice and snow!


If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.


If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.


Stay warm & be careful out there!

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.

Emergency Winter Car Kit

Emergency Winter Car Kit

Driving in winter weather can be extremely dangerous, but for most of the country, a winter commute in sub-par conditions is a fact of life.

Getting out during a wintery mix may be unavoidable, but it is important to know that even small amounts of snow, ice, freezing rain, and hail can lead to treacherous driving conditions, like slick, snow-packed roadways and low driving visibility. They also significantly increase the possibility of an accident.

If you know you will be traveling this winter make sure you are prepared for anything the winter weather may bring, by packing an emergency car kit to store in your vehicle.


What is an Emergency Winter Car Kit?


An Emergency Winter Car Kit is just like an Emergency Kit for your home. It is filled with contents that will help you survive in case of an emergency. The main difference between Car Kits and Kits for your Home is that Emergency Car Kits include devices made specifically for your vehicle, like tools to help you if you get stuck or stranded.

It is recommended to have one kit per vehicle. You can buy one online or make one yourself.


What to Pack in an Emergency Winter Car Kit:

    • First Aid Kit
    • Heavy Duty Jumper Cables
    • Tow Rope
    • Tire Chains or Snow Tires
    • Flares
    • Extra Cash
    • Whistle
    • Flashlight & Batteries
    • Portable Phone Charger
    • Multi-tool or Knife
    • Reflective Roadside Triangles
    • Ice Scraper & Brush
    • Blankets
    • Portable Shovel
    • Extra Gas
    • Small Bag of Sand or Kitty Litter
    • Warm Clothes (Coats, Gloves, Scarves, Stocking Caps)
    • Sanitation Liquid or Wipes
    • Water & Non-Perishable Food Items

You Could Also Include:

    • Reflective Safety Vest
    • Snow Boots
    • HotHands
    • Lighter or Matches
    • Rain Poncho
    • Distress Flags
    • Duct Tape
    • Small Fire Extinguisher
    • Can of Sealant
    • Mini Air Compressor

Winter weather can be unpredictable, and you never know when you might get stuck in a snowstorm or slide off of the road, but a well-stocked emergency kit will help you get back on the road, or at least keep you warm and safe until help arrives.


Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Preparedness- How to Build an Emergency Kit

Hacks to Beat Winters Freeze


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.


New Year’s Eve Party Safety

New Year’s Eve Party Safety

We are about to turn the calendars to welcome in the beginning of a new decade – 2020!

Tonight, millions will gather around the world to ring in the New Year, and if you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party, remember; safety is the number one priority. Every year, people are hurt from slips, falls, and other numerous dangers associated with drunken New Year’s celebrations.

Here are some important party-planning safety tips you need to consider if you’ll be hosting a gathering to celebrate the arrival of 2020.

    • Clear decks, steps, and sidewalks of tripping  hazards
    • Keep pets locked or gated in a room away from the commotion
    • Remove jewelry or other valuables from areas where guests might be
    • Use battery-operated candles instead of flammable ones
    • Avoid setting off or using fireworks
    • Don’t leave food on stoves or in ovens unattended
    • Check for food allergies before serving any dishes
    • Keep foods warmed or cooled to proper temperatures to avoid foodborne illnesses
    • Limit alcohol consumption
    • Arrange for designated drivers, ride-sharing, or provide a place to stay for inebriated guests

Unfortunately, even when you take the best precautions, accidents can happen. But don’t fear, a homeowners or renters insurance policy with high liability limits will help protect you if the worst should happen. That’s why you should contact a California Casualty advisor today to make sure you are fully covered for the holidays.

Don’t forget to ask about special coverages for high-value gifts like jewelry, musical instruments or fine art when you call 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.calcas.com.


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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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