In the US, home break-ins occur about every 18 seconds. That’s pretty alarming. Not only can a thief steal your belongings, they can rob your peace of mind leaving you and your family feeling violated, scared and even angry.
By taking the time to educate yourself and following some simple precautions, you’ll be better prepared to protect your family and home from a break-in ever occurring.
Know it: A security system may prevent a burglar from even attempting to break in.
Do it: Have a security system installed and monitored – and display the yard signs and window stickers you are provided.
Know it: Thieves sometimes rely on the cover of night, but most burglaries happen between 10am and 3pm while many people are at work or school.
Do it: Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed back. Consider getting motion activated security. Leave on a TV or radio. A barking dog can serve as a great deterrent to thieves – while you get to enjoy a wagging tail and a wet nose when you arrive home.
Know it: Burglars are often familiar with your neighborhood or daily schedule.
Do it: Varying your routine will make it harder for the bad guys to tell when you’re not home.
Know it: Signs that you’re on vacation or out of town for an extended period can make your home an easy target for burglary.
Do it: Put your mail, newspaper and deliveries on hold. Have a trusted friend or neighbor watch your home. Put indoor lights on timers. Some police departments offer an out of town home watch. If your local authorities provide this service, be sure to sign up several days prior to going out of town. Be vigilant about what you and your family post on social media.
Know it: 34% of burglars enter through the front door. Another 30% take advantage of unlocked windows or other unlocked doors.
Do it: LOCK YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS! Keep your garage doors closed, even when home.
Know it: The top three things a burglar is looking for are cash, prescription drugs and jewelry but don’t doubt that these criminal opportunists will take anything they can get their hands on. Unfortunately, this often includes your identity.
Do it: Don’t leave valuables, cash or items that can be used for ID theft in plain sight or hidden in obvious places. Keep an up-to-date home inventory with a record of serial numbers from electronics to aid in filing police reports and insurance claims. Be sure to have an identity theft protection and recovery service if burglars get access to your personal or banking information.
We can’t stop all criminals, but California Casualty is here to protect you with quality auto and home / renters insurance with exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Every policy also comes with free ID theft protection.
Today, an 8.9-magnitude quake struck Japan, causing widespread devastation and setting off a chain of tsunamis that are affecting coastlines as far away as California. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been turned upside-down by this historic disaster.
When things like this occur – it’s important that we remind ourselves of steps to take in the face of disaster.
– Identify hazards such as heavy items that aren’t secured, and repair them
– Create a disaster plan
– Prepare disaster kits that contain first aid items and fresh water
– Identify building weaknesses and repair them
– Drop, Cover, and Hold on
– After an earthquake, check for injuries and damage
– Follow your disaster plan
With winter winding down (finally!) – our thoughts are turning to spring and summer, and some of the damaging rain and storms that come with the changing seasons. Certain areas of the US are already seeing flooding from some of these storms, so we wanted to share some tips from the FEMA website for staying safe during a flood.
How to react if a flood is occurring near your home:
Listen to the radio or TV for information
Be aware of flash flooding, if there is a possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas prone to flash flooding.
If you must evacuate, attempt the following:
Secure your home as much as possible. Bring outdoor items indoors, and move essential items to a higher floor
Turn off utilities and the main shutoff points. Disconnect as many electrical appliances as possible. Do NOT touch electrical equipment if you’re in standing water.
Do not walk through moving water. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to make you fall.
Use a stick or cane to check ground firmness where you are walking
Do not drive in flooded areas. Flood waters can sweep you and your vehicle away quickly
Driving in Flooded Areas
If you find yourself driving in flood conditions, be aware that only 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars and can cause stalling
A foot of water will float many vehicles
Two feet of rushing water is enough to float away even heavy SUV’s and Trucks
We hope you never need to use these tips, but it pays to be aware of the dangers of flooding before they happen!
If you happen to have your own website or blog, you can add some cool widgets provided by FEMA by going to their site here and downloading them.
This is a topic that is very close to my heart – since last week I was awoken at 5:30am, after the coldest evening in nearly a decade in this area, to a very angry wife demanding to know why the shower wasn’t working.
I was immediately gripped by fear – what are we going to do? Are our pipes frozen? How do we prevent the pipes from bursting? What happens if they do? Do I have to go in to the CalCas office without a shower?
Prevention: An ounce of prevention here is worth a pound of cure. If you know it’s going to be very cold, leave your faucets open a very small amount to keep the water moving. Open your cabinets to expose plumbing to room temperature air. This will help prevent pipes from freezing…but what should you do when they DO freeze?
First – you should open your faucets, one at the very least. This is because as you heat up the pipes, it’s possible you’ll create steam. That steam needs a place to release to, especially since the expanding ice may already be stressing your plumbing.
Second – expose as many areas of plumbing as you can to warmed indoor air. Open up your cupboards and bathroom vanities (make sure you gather up any toxic materials if you have pets or little ones around the house).
Third – use a hairdryer or heat gun to warm the frozen pipes. Be very careful doing this, as even a hairdryer can get hot enough to cause burns. You can also try rubbing the pipes with a towel soaked in warm water.
You definitely want to be home when your pipes thaw because there’s always a chance a pipe has ruptured, which is something you can’t tell until the ice inside them has thawed.
You should also make yourself aware of the location of your main water shutoff valve and how to close it. If a pipe does burst, it can do a great deal of damage to your home very quickly.
Another question that is very important is “Does my homeowner’s/renter’s policy cover damage caused by frozen pipes.” The answer to that is, probably. However, coverage can vary from policy to policy and from state to state, so it’s vital you check your policy before anything happens!
For those that were concerned – a few minutes with a hairdryer got my pipes thawed, and, much to the relief of my coworkers here at CalCas, I was able to shower and make it in to the office.
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