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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Safety

Posted by on in Press Release

Wisconsin Requires Homeowners to Install Both Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Help Save Lives

MADISON, Wis. (October 4, 2014) – Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, families will be performing home fire drills and testing smoke alarms to ensure they work properly. At the same time, they should also be testing their carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Many folks may not be aware that both smoke detectors and CO detectors are required by the State of Wisconsin.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by consumer products.

“Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — can produce CO. It’s vital to properly maintain and operate these pieces of equipment to prevent CO from building up in your home. If carbon monoxide lingers in your home, apartment or garage, it can trigger serious health issues,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).

Families in cold weather climates have an extra risk as they may be tempted to use stoves, ovens or even gas or charcoal grills to help heat the home. “Using these appliances for heat is extremely dangerous as it can lead to fires and/or CO poisoning,” noted Von Haden.

Following are some important safety tips:

  • When warming up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor in the garage, even if the door is open.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow as CO could build up inside the vehicle, even if it is outside a garage.
  • Keep fireplaces and gas stoves clean and well vented.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • NEVER use gas or charcoal grills inside the home.
  • Be sure generators are located in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

Initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness. High levels of CO can case mental confusion, vomiting and loss of muscle control and unconsciousness.

“If your detector sounds or you are concerned about CO levels, get everyone out of the house and call 911 from a safe location,” noted Von Haden.


Posted by on in Press Release

Tips to Keep Kids Safe in Vehicles
A Recent Study Shows Adults Do Not Always
Buckle Kids in Car Seats or Booster Seats

MADISON, Wis (September 3, 2014) - September is Child Passenger Safety Month and a new study indicates that some adults are not always making sure children are properly buckled up. Recent findings by Safe Kids Worldwide indicate that one in four respondents admitted to having driven without their child buckled up in a car seat or booster seat. The top reasons were:

  • driving a short distance
  • in a hurry
  • taking the kid(s) on an overnight trip

“Parents or other caregivers may not realize the risks they are taking when children are not buckled up in vehicles, even for short distances,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA) reports that a third of kids who died in vehicle crashes were not buckled up.

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. The most recent NHSTA safety statistics show that on a daily basis an average of two children under the age of 13 were killed while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans.

To keep kids safe, experts advise:

  • Buckle up kids on every ride, every time.
  • Talk to other parents who may be driving your kids about the importance of buckling up.
  • Check that the correct child safety seat is being used and is installed correctly.

Using booster seats is especially important for kids who have outgrown their car seats are not ready for a seat belt alone. Generally, kids need to use a booster seat until they are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds.

“While older children might try to convince you that they don’t need a booster seat, studies show that children seated in a booster seat are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash than children using a seat belt alone,” noted Von Haden.

If you would like more information about child passenger safety or child safety in general, you can visit the website: http://www.safekids.org.

Another safety consideration families may not consider is to check all of your insurance coverages including auto insurance to be sure you have adequate limits. If you have an accident, your auto insurance policy will help protect you and your family.

For more information or to locate a PIAW member near you, look for the PIAW logo or go to www.PIAW.org/find_a_member.



Posted by on in Press Release



Security and Safety Tips for College-Bound Students

MADISON, Wis. (August 1, 2014) - As students head to colleges or technical schools, they will be brimming with enthusiasm and hauling a bunch of belongings – computers, phones, TVs, jewelry and more.


“Students assume that dorms are close environments and that everyone has the best of intentions. While most do, it makes sense to take some basic precautions to keep you and your property safe,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).

Following are some general tips to pass along to those who will soon be heading off to school:

  • Lock your door - It is important to lock your door whenever you leave your room in order to protect your belongings and keep your dorm room safe.
  • Check the guest policy - Look into the guest policy and the dorm security procedures. If you feel unsafe, speak to a dorm representative or an administrator about creating a more secure environment.
  • Install an inexpensive door alarm – Consider adding the extra security of a door alarm for your room. Inexpensive alarms that attach magnetically and emit a loud sound can help protect you from unwanted visitors.
  • Learn the security procedures – Many schools send automatic text alerts to students should an unusual situation arise on campus. Be sure you sign up for these alerts.
  • Keep your ID cards in a safe place - These days, student cards act as more than identification. If you have a meal plan or library account associated with yours, report your card loss immediately if it goes missing. “Identity theft can also be a concern, so let your parents’ know if you lose your ID. They can monitor any credit cards you may be using and add a fraud alert to your bank accounts to prevent losses,” said Von Haden. 
  • Never abandon your laptop – Do not leave your laptop alone whether in the library, study rooms or lounges. It only takes a few moments for someone to walk by and swipe it. If you must leave it temporarily, invest in a laptop lock to act as a deterrent.
  • Don't leave valuables in the dorm parking lot - Don't leave a GPS, MP3 player or other items in your car. Put any high-value items in the trunk or glove compartment where they can't be seen.
  • Get insurance for your belongings - If you are bringing any items of high value to school, such as electronics, make sure they are insured against theft or damage before you arrive. “Generally speaking, students living in dorms are covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance, but it is wise to check coverages and deductibles before leaving for school,” noted Von Haden. “If students will be living in an off-campus room or apartment, they will need renters insurance to protect their belongings.”


If your teen will soon be leaving for school, contact your local professional independent insurance agent and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Your agent will make sure you have the proper insurance coverage to protect you and your family.

Also visit: 

"Is Your Child Going Away to College?" Flyer (Member Benefits)






Posted by on in Press Release

Keeping Motorcyclists Safe on Wisconsin Roads:
Tips for Auto and Truck Drivers

MADISON, WI (June 11, 2014) – With the warm summer weather, motorcyclists are hitting Wisconsin roads. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the car or truck driver, not the motorcyclist, is at fault.”

Since a motorcycle has a narrow profile, it can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or masked by outdoor objects. “The size and weight of cars and trucks put the obligation on these drivers to use added safety measures,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). “Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you're changing lanes, pulling out of a driveway or turning at intersections.”

Following are more tips to ensure everyone on the road is safe.

  • A motorcycle often looks farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into or out of a driveway, assume a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
  • Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or rolling off the throttle, which will not activate the brake light. Allow more following distance for motorcycles, say 3 or 4 seconds. And, at intersections, understand a motorcyclist may slow down without the brake lights on.
  • Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement can make stopping quickly on only two wheels difficult. Again, allow for more following distance behind a motorcycle.
  • Motorcyclists often move position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the impact of road debris, passing vehicles and wind. “Motorcyclists adjust lane positions for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off,” explains Von Haden.
  • Respect motorcycles and treat them the same as other vehicles … for example, allowing the same amount of room on the road.

“The most important rule is to see more than the motorcycle – see the person on the bike who could be your friend, neighbor or relative. This is especially important for young drivers who may be sharing the road with motorcycles for the first time,” notes Von Haden.

Should you become involved in an accident with a motorcycle or any vehicle, follow these steps.

  • Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
  • If accident is minor, move cars to a safe place, out of traffic.
  • Make immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages, witness information and take photos with your cell phone. Trade insurance information with the other driver.
  • Call the police, even if the accident is minor. If they do not show up on the scene, go to the nearest police department to file a police report yourself. It can be important to have this document for any claims.
  • Notify your insurance agent immediately. Your local, independent and professional insurance agent can advise you about the next steps you need to take to quickly and fairly process the claim.

“Drive aware of motorcyclists and you can help make the streets and roads safer for everyone,” concludes Von Haden.


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Phone: (608) 274-8188 | Toll Free (800) 261-7429
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