After School Safety

After-School Safety Tips for Treasure Valley Families


Parents, class is back in session here in Indianapolis and Greenwood, so you’ve likely already reviewed the basic safety tips for kids who walk or bus to and from school.

Those tips, of course, are:

  • Walk with a buddy
  • Stay in well-lit areas
  • Never accept a ride with strangers
  • Once home, lock the door and don’t let anyone in


However, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, urges you not to overestimate your kids’ safety smarts. Kids under 10, for example, may not grasp the concept of crossing a street safely, she says.

She suggests teaching them: “Stop. Left. Right. Left.” Meaning that children should, “stop at the curb, look left, right, then left again before crossing, and keep looking as they cross.”

Another thing kids need to know, says Borba, is how to ask for help. Have kids practice saying, “I need help,” out loud and instruct them to “find a uniformed employee, a police officer or a woman, preferably with a child,” when they need assistance, she says.

Once home, kids will likely use the Internet, so be sure to discuss digital safety too.

Staying Safe Online

Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff, author of Wit’s End and Google Bomb, says that, “we need to put parental controls/security measures on computers and cell phones. Unfortunately, these aren’t guarantees, so having a cyber-smart child is your best defense.”

Teach kids about the dangers of sharing personal information, such as their home address and phone number, online. And about using social media responsibly.

While online, it’s best for kids – and adults – to converse and connect only with people they truly know and trust, to keep their social accounts private and to still be cautious even then. After all, photos and information that go online today will still be there years later, when kids apply for college scholarships and jobs.

Above all, stay involved in your kids’ digital lives. Let them know you’re there for them, always – to talk, not to judge or punish, says Scheff. “Many kids fear having their Internet removed if they tell their parents they are being bullied online,” she says.

So keep the lines of communication open to help keep everyone safe, both in and outside of your home.

photo credit: niiicedave (back from AK USA)

5 Questions to Ask to Keep Your Trick or Treaters Safe on Halloween

Despite the fact that Halloween in the Treasure Valley involves walking around at night amongst ghouls and witches, it really only takes a little common sense to make the night safe for everyone.

Here are five questions to ask so your entire family, even pets, can enjoy a safe and fun evening of trick-or-treating or handing out candy to others:

  1. Are we visible?

Add reflective tape to costumes, clothing and candy bags to make it easier for drivers to see you and your group. That also goes for pets who are tagging along. Put reflective tape or flashing lights on their leashes or collars. Carrying flashlights and glow sticks is a good idea as well — they make you more visible and help you see better, too.

  1. How safe are our costumes?

Costumes, including masks and shoes, should fit well to prevent blocked vision, trips and falls. Baggy clothing can also increase the risk of contact with candles. If you purchase costumes, make sure they are marked as flame-resistant. And accessories such as swords and knives should be soft and flexible.

  1. Where are we going?

It’s best to have a plan before taking your kids trick-or-treating. You should only go to known neighborhoods and houses that have outside lights on, and children should never enter someone’s home unless an adult is with them. If you have older children going out on their own, have them tell you their plan.

  1. What are the kids eating?

It’s always a good idea to examine the items your kids have collected before they dig in. And it’s not just about tampering, either. Be aware of choking hazards, too, particularly for young children. And remember, when it comes to eating treats, moderation is key.

  1. How are Fido and Fluffy doing?

Even if your dogs and cats are just hanging out at home while you hand out candy, don’t forget about them. They shouldn’t eat candy at all, but especially chocolate, which can be toxic. Make sure candles are placed in areas where they won’t be knocked down. And remember that, depending on your pet’s personality, having people constantly coming to your door can be stressful. You might want to create a comfortable spot for them away from your home’s entrance.

With the right plan, you can make Halloween fun — and safe — for your little ghosts and goblins. And you can probably snag a little leftover candy for yourself, too.

Cooking Safety

Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food.

But cooking is also the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. Being mindful while you cook, however, can go a long way to helping prevent these fires.

Here’s what you need to know!
  • Keep an eye on what you fry
  • Be alert when cooking
  • Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area


  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • Ranges accounted for the largest share (57%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • More than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.



Residential Electrical Fires

Electricity is a basic part of residential life in the U.S. It provides the energy for most powered items in a contemporary home, from lights to heating systems to televisions. Today it is hard to imagine a residence without electricity. It is a part of our homes and our activities that most of us take for granted. We rarely think how powerful electricity is.

Yet, using electricity can have dangerous consequences. Electrical fires occur frequently throughout the U.S., causing injury, claiming lives, and resulting in large losses of property.

From 2009 to 2011, an estimated 25,900 residential building electrical fires were reported by U.S. fire departments annually.

These fires caused an estimated 280 deaths, 1,125 injuries and $1.1 billion in property damage.

Residential building electrical fires continue to be a part of the residential fire problem and accounted for 7 percent of all residential building fires.

The term electrical fires is defined as those fires that include electrical distribution,
wiring, transformers, meter boxes, power switching gear, outlets, cords, plugs, surge protectors, electric fences, lighting fixtures, and electrical arcing as the source of heat.

? An estimated 25,900 residential building electrical fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year. These fires caused an estimated 280 deaths, 1,125 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss.

? Residential building electrical fires resulted in greater dollar loss per fire than residential building nonelectrical fires.

? Residential building electrical fires occurred most often in one- and two-family dwellings (84percent).

? Residential building electrical fires occurred most often in the colder months of January and December (at 11 percent each month).

? In 79 percent of residential building electrical fires, the fire spread beyond the object where the fire started.

? The leading items most often first ignited in residential building electrical fires were
electrical wire, cable insulation (30 percent) and structural member or framing (19 percent).

? The leading factors contributing to the ignition of residential building electrical fires were other electrical failure, malfunction (41 percent), unspecified short-circuit arc (25 percent), and short-circuit arc from defective, worn insulation (12 percent).

? Smoke alarms were present in 50 percent and automatic extinguishing systems were
present in 2 percent of electrical fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

What to do if you are in a car accident


If you are in a car accident the questions like

Do you call the police?
Do you need to move your car?
Is your car safe to drive home?

  1. The first step happens before you leave the house. Make sure that you have all your insurance papers and car registration in the vehicle.
  2. Are you and your passengers ok? If anyone seems confused or unsure of their surroundings call 911. The better safe than sorry saying is correct.
  3. Move yourself and passengers to safety. If the damage to the car is minor or if the roadway has signs saying “move all fender benders to side” then do so.
    But, if there are injuries and your car doesn’t seem safe put out flares and wait for police.
  4. Call the police. Get a report. Call your Insurance Group agent as soon as possible – even from the scene.
  5. Exchange and get information. In addition to the name, insurance info, license plate & vehicle info from the other driver be sure and get the names and phone numbers of witnesses.


No Fee TV – What to Do After a Car Accident This episode of No Fee TV features attorneys Cynthia Danel and Todd Berkey, partners with Edgar Snyder & Associates. At the end of…

Read more …

Have you made your pledge to DIFF?

The vast majority of us have been there: Sitting in heavy traffic, tempers flaring and aggressive drivers cutting in and out of lanes.

Now you have a chance to do something about it. Join The Insurance Group and Safeco Insurance in promoting positive driving behavior with Drive It Forward Fridays (DIFF).

We at The Insurance Group already made our DIFF pledge to be more courteous drivers, and we hope you’ll join us in making driving in and around the Treasure Valley  more pleasant – and safer.


We sure could use everyone’s help! A new Safeco Insurance survey found that more than four out of five drivers have experienced others’ aggressive driving behavior, and it impacts them negatively. Some of the driving behavior that those surveyed said they would like to see stopped included cutting off other drivers (59 percent), using high beams toward oncoming traffic (57 percent) and tailgating (56 percent).

In some cases, the survey found a complete lack of road manners in startling situations. More than one-third (37 percent) of those surveyed have watched other drivers cut a funeral line; more than half (54 percent) have seen able-bodied drivers take handicap spots; and 42 percent report seeing other drivers cut off a school bus.

“People’s emotions and anxieties often will play out on our roads and highways, putting us all in tense, high-stress driving conditions that can be dangerous,” said Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan-based psychotherapist and author of the book, Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, who has written about road rage.

“A movement such as ‘Drive it Forward Fridays’ is not only good for society, but it’s good for your mental health,” said Alpert. “Simple positive acts can have a huge impact on how you feel by activating the reward center in the brain, meaning it really can make you feel good.”

Alpert offers the following tips to Drive it Forward and move beyond aggressive driving with positive driving interactions:

 Know the characteristics of an aggressive driver: Cutting off drivers, tailgating, unnecessary or excessive horn use, rapid lane changes and speeding. If this is you, stop. If not, stand clear.

Encourage good behavior by being friendly and courteous on the road. Give up a parking spot.  Or when it is safe to do so, allow other drivers to move into your lane. Just be cautious as other drivers around you may not realize what you are doing. Being nice, but safe, reinforces similar behavior in others.

Normalize the undesirable. Traffic, slow drivers and fast ones are all to be expected and are a normal part of being on the road in the driving community. Accept it. Consider leaving five minutes early to get to your destination as you’ll be more tolerant when you’re not running late.

Don’t personalize other peoples’ behavior. Just because a driver cut you off doesn’t mean they meant to or did it to enrage you. Consider other explanations such as the driver is en route to an emergency; there’s a crisis a parent is trying to get to at home; or simply, the driver didn’t see you.

Drive it Forward Fridays

Summer travel season has started, and you have a chance to help make driving in and around the Treasure Valley more pleasant and safer for everyone.

We at The Insurance Group are joining Safeco Insurance in asking drivers to participate in Drive It Forward Fridays (DIFF). To take part, drivers can visit or use the hashtag #DIFF on Twitter to pledge to be a more courteous driver and to share their positive driving actions.

“Helping to promote better driving makes the roads safer for everyone in our community,” said Suzanne Hart.

A new Safeco Insurance survey found that more than four out of five drivers have experienced others’ aggressive driving behavior, and it impacts them negatively.

Only 36 percent of those surveyed admitted to driving aggressively. Yet, 85 percent describe other drivers as aggressive, and 82 percent said it’s others’ behavior on the road that makes driving a negative experience.

Not all the news is bad. Of those surveyed, 72 percent said that they’d be willing to make at least one change to their own behavior to make driving more pleasant for everyone. So as the summer travel season kicked off, Safeco Insurance launched the Drive It Forward Fridays campaign to encourage drivers to take positive steps to counter negative driving behavior that can be dangerous.

The Insurance Group is proud to support Drive it Forward Fridays and we’ve made our pledge!

Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Safeco Giving program

Safeco Insurance announced the winners in the Make More Happen Contest.

Winner: Pet Prescription Team, La Habra Heights, Calif., which is supported by the volunteer efforts of Partner Agency Insurance, Brea, Calif.·        

Runner-up: Texas Lions Camp, Kerrville, Texas, which is supported by the volunteer efforts of Preferred Personal Insurance Agency, Houston, Texas.

Because of all the votes surpassed 25,000 during the contest, Safeco has added $500 to Angel Wings Network $3000 award for a grand total of $3500.

This all came about because Suzanne Hart, an employee of The Insurance Group-Weiser, gives back by making fleece blankets for cancer patients and providing additional assistance to the organization.

Suzanne Hart (right) and Linda Roundtree

Suzanne Hart (right) and Linda Roundtree

You can get involved with Angel Wings Network also. Just go to to find out how.

Your vote could mean $10,500 for Angel Wings Network from Safeco Insurance!

Suzanne Hart (right) and Linda Roundtree

Suzanne Hart (right) and Linda Roundtree

Just one click from you could help Angel Wings Network win up to $10,500 from Safeco Insurance. That’s right — just one click.

You see, The Insurance Group-Weiser has been selected for a Safeco Insurance® Make More Happen Award because of our volunteer service with Angel Wings Network. The award comes with a $3,000 donation from Safeco Insurance for Angel Wings Network and entry in the Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Contest.

Your votes could help Angel Wings Network receive even more money from Safeco. Here’s how it works: The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite charity featured in the Make More Happen Contest. The entry with the most votes will receive an additional $10,000 donation from Safeco; the runner-up will receive $5,000. If the total votes made during the contest reach or exceed a vote goal, all of charities featured in the contest will receive an additional $500 donation from Safeco Insurance.

At The Insurance Group-Weiser, we believe strongly in supporting our community — and dedicated organizations like Angel Wings Network help make Idaho a better place for all of us. We’re particularly proud that we have been recognized with the Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award because Suzanne Hart, an employee of The Insurance Group-Weiser, gives back by making fleece blankets for cancer patients and providing additional assistance to the organization.

Please help make more happen for our community by voting today:

Of course, all of the Make More Happen Award winners deserve to be celebrated, so when you visit the contest site, take a little time to read about the great work they all do and cheer on those that inspire you. Be sure to leave a cheer for Angel Wings Network or The Insurance Group-Weiser! We hope you’ll come away inspired to make a difference.

You can start by getting involved with Angel Wings Network. Just go towww.angelwingsnetwork.netto find out how.

And remember, get those votes in before May 19!

Boating season is upon us

Boating season is right around the corner.


  • Your homeowner’s coverage does not cover your boat. Just like you need auto coverage for your car you need a separate policy for your boat.

boat insurance covers

  • damage to your boat
  • liability if someone is injured on your boat
  • coverage in case your boat damages docks, other boats or other folks
  • theft, fire, vandalism or other disasters that might befall your boat

When your boat is out of the water and attached to your truck it is actually covered by your auto policy.

Since boat coverage can be kind of tricky don’t hesitate to contact your Insurance Group agent with questions.