What weighs 200 pounds, reaches speeds of up to 45 mph and can cost your customers thousands of dollars in a split-second?

AIGdeerDeer collisions cost U.S. drivers millions every year, with an average repair cost of more than $4,000 for each claim. Odds for a deer collision double from October through December, so talk to your customers about the difference between comprehensive and collision coverages and share the tips below to help them avoid a deer accident:

  • Be more alert at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active
  • If you feel the need to swerve, use caution and be aware of oncoming traffic and your surroundings
  • Slow down – headlights only shine 200 to 250 feet in front of a vehicle, and a standard-sized vehicle typically takes 240 feet to come to a complete stop from 60 mph.
  • When you see a deer cross the road, slow down and expect more to follow
  • Watch for “deer crossing” signs and slow down when they are present
  • Use high beams while driving at night if there is no other traffic around

Welcome to the Halloween Safety Guide

AIG Halloween2Anytime a child has an accident, it’s tragic. Having your child get hurt any day of the year would be horrible but the last thing that you want to happen is for your child to be hurt on a holiday, like Halloween. It would forever live in the minds of the child and family, ruining that special time of year.

Everyone wants to have a safe and happy Halloween for themselves, their guests and especially their children. Using safety tips and some common sense can help you make the most of your Halloween season, keeping it as enjoyable for your kids as it is for you! There are lots of simple ways to help keep your child safe on Halloween, when accidents and injuries are more likely to occur.

The excitement of children and adults at this time of year can sometimes make them not as careful as they would normally be. Our site is filled with suggestions that can do a lot to stop tragedies from happening and help make the most of everyone’s favorite holiday of the year… Halloween!

By keeping Halloween a fun, safe and happy holiday for you and your kids, you’ll look forward to many happy years of Halloween fun! By keeping good memories for your kids, they’ll be more likely to carry on the traditions that you have taught to them with their own families some day!AIG Halloween3

Halloween Safety Tips for Drivers

AIG HalloweenHalloween is a wonderful holiday, but because of increased foot traffic and that Trick-or-Treaters are out at night, the potential for automobile related accidents with young pedestrians increases four times on this night according to a CDC (Center for Disease Control) study.

Streets are literally crawling with all sorts of witches, ghosts, goblins, vampires and all other sorts of costumed people. This makes for added responsibility for drivers to make sure that they drive safer than normal.

In many areas, people drive their kids into subdivisions and let them out to walk from house to house. Usually the parent follows behind in the car. This can cause traffic jams in small areas and much confusion as kids dart between cars on the streets going from house to house. A driver is already distracted because they are trying to keep an eye on their own kids and usually aren’t paying attention to much else.

Children and adults tend to be preoccupied and may not pay as much attention to safety as they should. They may not see your vehicle or just assume that you see them automatically. Stay on the defensive and you shouldn’t have a problem while driving on Halloween night.

Don’t use a cell phone or other electronic device while driving on Halloween night. You shouldn’t be doing this anyway, the rate of cell phone related auto accidents has jumped dramatically since the use of cell phones and texting has risen so high. Some states have already made laws concerning this and others are working on it.
Pay extra attention, particularly to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road. Kids tend to walk along the curbs, cutting across the street to get to other homes. Keep scanning all around you as you drive, whether as thru traffic or along with your kids as they trick-or-treat.
Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas during trick-or-treating hours. This will allow you time to break if you see a child dart in front of you.
Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway, they could be dropping off children. This is more common in rural areas but can happen anywhere.
Instruct your child to never get into the car of a stranger. It might be easy for your child to mistake someone else’s car your car with the excitement of Halloween. Put a lighted plastic Jack-O-Lantern on your dashboard to make your car more recognizable to your child,
It’s also a night that child predators are looking for victims. Let your child know that they should never get into the car of a stranger at any time. If someone stops them and asks for help or offers them candy, tell them to scream as loud as they can and run.
Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars. Left them know if they carry a flash light to never shine itin the eyes of a driver. This can cause blindness on the drivers part temporarily and they may not see your child.
If you are dropping off or picking up your kids in an area, pull off the road into a safe spot and turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists. If you go with your kids from door to door, leave the hazard lights on so other drivers can see your car parked there.

 

A few years ago no more than a mile down the road from our office a driver was not paying attention and drove on the sidewalk and killed one child and injured many others on Halloween night. So sad.

 

 

School’s (Almost) In Session – Is Your Home Ready?

We’re not quite sure where the summer went here at Action Insurance Group, but, if you haven’t noticed, it’s already time for the new school year.

As you think about how to get your kids organized and ready, consider doing the same thing for your home. It won’t just be good for you. In many instances, removing clutter also means removing distractions, which can help your kids focus.

Getting started

You can start wherever you like, but it might be best to organize your activities before you start in on the daunting task of tackling all of your stuff. With sports and other activities, the school year can be a blur for parents. A family calendar — whether it’s a dry-erase board or a printout on the fridge — will ensure everyone knows where they’re going, and when.

Reducing your stuff

Eliminate as much clutter from the house as you can, perhaps by following the classic 80/20 theory: 80% of the time, most people use only 20% of their stuff. If the item you’re looking at isn’t in that 20%, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Donate stuff that doesn’t fit or that your kids simply don’t like and won’t wear anymore.

Buying new stuff

Now that you’ve de-cluttered, don’t head out for back-to-school shopping just yet. First, do an inventory of school supplies, clothes and shoes so you aren’t buying things you don’t need. If you’re going through a closet and you’re not sure what fits, have kids try on pants until you find a good pair. Then use that pair to compare the length of all the other pants.

Doing homework

If possible, designate a study space where your kids have the tools they need for success. It should be well-lit, quiet and free of distractions. Different kids have different learning styles, so pay attention to what works well and what doesn’t, and adjust as needed.

Staying on top of things

You’re off to a good start in the battle against clutter — so keep things rolling! Each week, set aside time to go on a “search and destroy” mission. And make sure the kids are involved, too. Everything — homework, school forms, backpacks — should have a home. And when everything has a home, you’ll be happier in yours!

 

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance.

Independence Day Trivia

Independence Day Trivia

1. How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth?

Two.

2. What day did most signers of the Declaration of Independence actually sign the document?

Aug. 2, 1776.

3. Did you know which president was born on July 4?

It was Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872.

4. Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July:

They were three of the first five presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The second president, Adams, and the third, Jefferson, both died in 1826, the 50th anniversary.

5. Most of the Founding Fathers agreed that July Fourth is the correct day to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain — except one. Who is it and why?

Adams thought July 2, the day the Second Continental Congress voted in Philadelphia to declare independence from Britain, would be the day patriots celebrated. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” Adams wrote on July 3. “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

6. When did the Fourth of July become a legal federal holiday?

1870. Then, in 1938, Congress reaffirmed the holiday to make sure all workers received full pay.

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7. Is there something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?  

Yes! It’s said the following is written upside down and backwards:  “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” It’s not known who wrote it, or when. In Revolutionary War years, parchment was rolled up, so this probably served as a message.

8. The Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Contest has become an annual tradition. How did it start?

It’s a pretty cute story: Legend has it that four immigrants got into an argument over who was most patriotic. To prove themselves, they ate as many hot dogs as they could handle — because nothing says America like excess.

9. America isn’t the only nation that celebrates the Fourth of July. Which other countries do, and why?

It might sound odd, but if you celebrate the Fourth of July outside the U.S., you still might see fireworks in Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. This is because thousands of people emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Some European celebrations on the Fourth take place near tourist destinations — to attract U.S. travelers — or near American military bases.

10. When were fireworks first used to celebrate July Fourth?

1777. Congress chose fireworks as a way to celebrate the first anniversary. They were ignited over Philadelphia. The celebration also included bonfires and bells.

11. How many people lived in the U.S. when the Declaration was signed?

2.5 million.

12. What baseball player threw a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on July 4, 1983?

New York Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti. It was the first no-hitter in 27 years.

13. Which newspaper first printed the Declaration of Independence? 

The Pennsylvania Evening Post

14. Which president first held a Fourth of July celebration at the White House?

Thomas Jefferson

15. Which country gained independence from the United States on July Fourth?

The Philippines did in 1946.

When Things go BOOM in the Night – Fireworks Safety

fireworks21

For most of us, the Fourth of July is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, having fun and creating memories – whether at home or away in the great Northwest.

But for some families, the holiday is a nightmare. Homes each year are damaged by wayward fireworks. Thousands of people are injured in accidents.

At Action Insurance Group, we want your holiday to be happy, but also safe. So here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your property on the Fourth.

Protecting yourself (and others)

  • To minimize the risk of injury, don’t use consumer fireworks. Attend a public display conducted by professionals.
  • If using consumer fireworks, always follow instructions. Do not attempt to re-light “duds” or create homemade fireworks.
  • Never let children handle or light fireworks. Even sparklers, which burn at more than 1,000 degrees, can cause third-degree burns. Kids under the age of 15 account for approximately 40% of fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
  • A responsible adult should always be present when children – even teenagers – are around fireworks. More than half of fireworks injuries happen to those younger than 20 years old.

Protecting your home

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, the best way to protect your home is to not use fireworks at home.
  • Remember, fireworks can cause grass fires and other types of blazes as well. Make sure you light fireworks in a safe area, away from homes and buildings, as well as other combustible material. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
  • Look out for tree limbs or bushes that could catch fire. Trimming vegetation to keep it away from your home is a good idea anyway, but it could save you from a catastrophic fire on the Fourth of July.
  • If your gutters have accumulated leaves, pine needles or other flammable material, clean them before using fireworks near your home.
  • Finally, if you won’t be home on the holiday, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house if others in your neighborhood will be using fireworks.

With some common sense and planning, the Fourth of July can be both safe and enjoyable for everyone. Whether you’re staying at home or heading to out of town, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating our independence!

Grilling Safety

Grilling-char-styleSummers mean backyard grilling – safely!

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS
Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).
NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS
From Kingsford.com
Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.

GAS GRILL TIPS
From the National Fire Protection Association
Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.
If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

From all of us at Action Insurance Group, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!

History of Flag Day

American flag flying in the wind

American flag flying in the wind

Flag Day is celebrated in America on June 14, commemorating the day the first flag resolution was passed.

On June 14, 1777, less than one year after Betsy Ross had received the order from General Washington to make the first flag, the Second Continental Congress passed a flag resolution stating:
Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

The first national observance of Flag Day was on June 14, 1877; 100 years after the flag resolution was adopted by the Continental Congress.

In the late 19th century, schoolteachers all over the United States began conducting patriotic ceremonies commemorating Flag Day as a way to teach children about history. One such schoolteacher, Bernard J. Cigrand, is often referred to as the “Father of Flag Day.” He lobbied Congress for many years for Flag Day to be officially observed.

Other patriotic groups, including the Colonial Dames and the Sons of the American Revolution, also spent years trying to convince Congress to make Flag Day official. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation stating that June 14 shall be National Flag Day, and in 1949, it was made official by an Act of Congress.

On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House began publicly celebrating Flag Day, and has been celebrating Flag Day every year since 1911. Since 2008, the Betsy Ross House has revived the patriotic zeal of the earliest celebrations with Flag Fest – an all day, old-fashioned, family fun street fair with games, live entertainment, a patriotic pet contest, shopping and more, celebrated on the Saturday before Flag Day.

For more information: www.betsyrosshouse.org/hist_flag/day.html

Spring Maintenance for Your Home

When springtime rolls around, almost everyone thinks of cleaning. That’s fine (we probably all need to do a little more of that, after all), but there’s something even more important to keep in mind: home maintenance.

So, now that you’ve set your clocks ahead for daylight-saving time, changed the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, give your home a checkup, too. Here are some suggestions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Interior and appliances

  • Check the basement and/or crawlspace for any signs of standing water or dripping.
  • Pull your dryer out and clean the exhaust hose and vent (lint found here is a common cause of house fires).
  • Vacuum refrigerator/freezer coils for efficiency.
  • Clean exhaust fan outlets and screens.
  • Check all air filters and replace, if necessary.

 Roof, siding, windows

  • Check for damage to your roof and have a professional inspection, if necessary.
  • Go into the attic. If there is visible moisture or discoloration, your roof might be leaking.
  • Examine the paint on your siding and trim. If it is peeling, you might need new paint to protect against the effects of weather.
  • Check for leaks around window and door sills. Improving your seals can lower your energy bills.

Yard and exterior

  • Check for signs of rodents and other pests.
  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts, and make sure they are draining away from the home.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches and shrubs.

Remember, winter weather can cause significant damage that is easy to spot, but it often results in wear and tear that homeowners can miss if they aren’t looking closely. It’s well worth it to spend a little time on home maintenance this spring, so that wear and tear doesn’t turn into something more serious.

Get Started Early To Get Your Boat Ready For Summer

If you love the water, few things are better than boating season. Summer just wouldn’t be summer without spending those long, hot days on the lake or river, cooling off with a lazy dip in the water, dropping a line in hopes of catching a “big one,” or having an action-packed day of waterskiing and tubing.

Boating is not without its share of pre-summer preparation.  If you’re not on the ball early, it’s easy to find yourself midway through July still on dry land.

At Action Insurance Group, we want to ensure you’re first in line at the boat launch at the first sign of the season change, so here are a few tips for being ahead of the game.

  • Tune it up. It’s always a good idea to have your boat winterized at the end of each season, but whether you did or didn’t get it done last year, make sure to get a full tune-up before you hit the lake this summer.
  • Charge it. Make sure your battery is fully charged.

Clear it out. If there’s a chance any bit of gas from last season is still in your tank, fill it up with fresh gas as well as a stabilizer; this will prevent buildup in

  • the gas lines and injection system.
  • Give it a test. Before you get the boat all the way into the water and off the trailer, lower your motor into the water and make sure it will turn over.
  • Plug it up. Ensure your drain plug is in and the bilge pump is functioning properly.
  • Double- and triple-check. The last thing you want is to be turned away at the ramp for not having an updated registration or missing your ski flag or life vests.  Double check that your documents are updated and that your boat is fully stocked with everything you need.

We at Action Insurance Group wish you a fun-filled and safe boating season!