Category Archives: Newsletter

New Cell Phone Law For Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators Starting October 28


Have you heard the news?


Effective October 28, 2013 it will be a civil infraction  to make a voice communication and send/read text messages using your cell phone for those who operate commercial motor vehicles or school buses in the state of Michigan.


The first violation will be a $100 fine. Second and subsequent violations will be a $200 fine.


So, if you must use your phone while you are driving, pull off to the side of the road or in a parking lot to make your call or text.


Here is the law as written on


Act 300 of 1949
257.602b Reading, typing, or sending text message on wireless 2-way communication device prohibited; use of hand-held mobile telephone prohibited; exceptions; “use a hand-held mobile telephone” defined; violation as civil infraction; fine; local ordinances superseded.

Sec. 602b.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the motor vehicle. Beginning October 28, 2013, this subsection does not apply to a person operating a commercial vehicle.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a commercial motor vehicle or a school bus on a highway or street in this state. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the commercial motor vehicle or school bus. This subsection applies beginning October 28, 2013.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not use a hand-held mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication while operating a commercial motor vehicle or a school bus on a highway, including while temporarily stationary due to traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. This subsection does not apply if the operator of the commercial vehicle or school bus has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has stopped in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary. As used in this subsection, “mobile telephone” does not include a 2-way radio service or citizens band radio service. This subsection applies beginning October 28, 2013. As used in this subsection, “use a hand-held mobile telephone” means 1 or more of the following:

(a) Using at least 1 hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication.

(b) Dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button.

(c) Reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed as required by 49 CFR 393.93 and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

(4) Subsections (1), (2), and (3) do not apply to an individual who is using a device described in subsection (1) or (3) to do any of the following:

(a) Report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard.

(b) Report a situation in which the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy.

(c) Report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the individual or another person.

(d) Carry out official duties as a police officer, law enforcement official, member of a paid or volunteer fire department, or operator of an emergency vehicle.

(5) An individual who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction and shall be ordered to pay a civil fine as follows:

(a) For a first violation, $100.00.

(b) For a second or subsequent violation, $200.00.

(6) This section supersedes all local ordinances regulating the use of a communications device while operating a motor vehicle in motion on a highway or street, except that a unit of local government may adopt an ordinance or enforce an existing ordinance substantially corresponding to this section.

Buying A Used Car?

Tips on Identifying a Flood-Damaged Vehicle


If you are in the market for a used vehicle, you know that it is important to inspect the vehicle to make sure it is in working order. But did you know that it is equally important to make sure the vehicle hasn’t experienced any water damage?


Following Superstorm Sandy, which hit October 28, 2012, insurance companies processed more than 250,000 claims for damaged vehicles. Damage can range from scratches and minor dents to vehicles being crushed or flooded.

photo: NICB

photo: NICB

“Rising water can cause major damage to the vehicle,” said Bob Passmore, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s senior director of personal lines. “Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive insurance coverage.”

Consumers and adjusters should be wary of vehicles that are exposed to flood waters. Unfortunately, there are many instances of flood damaged vehicles being resold to uninformed buyers. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), dishonest car dealers can purchase flooded cars, clean them up and sell them with hidden damage. They then can transport the damaged cars to states that were unaffected by the storm, and then sell them without disclosing the vehicles true history.

What to look for in a washed up vehicle

The NICB outlines specific things to be on the look out for:

• Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand, or silt under the carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.

• Check for recently shampooed carpet.

• Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.

• Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally doesn’t reach.

• Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

• Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out and inspect for moisture, mildew or grime.

• Check door speakers as they will often be damaged due to flooding.

• Ask about the vehicle’s history. Ask whether it was in any accidents or floods.

• Inspect the title and ownership papers for any potential or questionable salvage fraud.

• Conduct a title search of the vehicle.

• Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back rubber boots around electrical and mechanical connections for these indicators: Ferrous materials will show signs of rust Copper will show a green patina.

• Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.


Article adapted from


Buying a New Computer? Consider a Personal Articles Floater/Policy



Computer storeIf you are in the market for a new computer this fall, it is important to know how it will be insured in case of theft or damage.


If you simply choose to insure it under your Renter’s or Homeowners insurance, then coverage will be based on the covered losses listed in your policy, and subject to your deductible.


Therefore, if your laptop cost $600, and your Renter’s insurance deductible is $500, you will be better off not filing a claim and purchasing a new computer on your own. Furthermore, the average Homeowners insurance deductible is $1,000. So in the example above, you wouldn’t be able to file a claim because you are responsible for the first $1,000 on your policy.


So what are you left to do? Consider insuring your new computer on a Personal Articles Floater, or in the case of some insurance companies, on a separate Personal Articles Policy.


Insuring a computer on a Personal Articles Floater/Policy will allow you to have broader coverage, and you can elect to have a zero dollar deductible. This means, that if your college roommate leaves your dorm or apartment door unlocked, and your computer is stolen, your insurance policy will cover the cost of replacing the computer without you having to pay a deductible (Given you are paid up on your premiums).


With the hassle that comes from a theft or a damaged computer, especially if you are a college student nearing completion of a 10-page research paper due tomorrow, you will appreciate not having to scrape up an extra $500 to pay a deductible or to buy a new computer.


So talk to your agent today to discuss the best way to insure your computer.



Do I Need Insurance for a Child Going Away to College?



iii LOGO_RGBx300This article was provided by the Insurance Information Institute to bring awareness about what insurance products parents and students should consider before heading off to college.



With computers, TVs, printers, PDAs, and MP3 players being shipped off to school, it is more important than ever that students and their parents purchase the appropriate insurance protections.


Theft can be a major concern on college campuses; according to U.S. Department of Education there were about 40,000 thefts in 2006. And campus fires are on the rise with a dramatic increase from a low of 1,800 fires in 1998 to 3,300 fires in 2005, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).


For students who live in a dorm, most personal possessions are covered under their parents’ homeowners or renters insurance policies. However, some home insurance policies may limit the amount of insurance for off-premises belongings to 10 percent of the total amount of coverage for personal possessions. This means that if the parents have $70,000 worth of insurance for their belongings, only $7,000 would be applicable to possessions in the dorm. Not all insurers impose this type of limit, so you should check with your agent or insurance company representative.


Expensive computer and electronic equipment and items such as jewelry may also be subject to coverage limits under a standard homeowners policy. If the limits are too low, parents may consider buying a special personal property floater or an endorsement for these items. There are also stand-alone insurance policies for computers and sometimes cell phones.


Students and/or their parents may also want to consider purchasing a stand-alone policy specifically designed for students living away at college. This can be an economical way to provide additional insurance coverage for a variety of disasters.


Students who live off campus are likely not covered by their parents’ homeowners policy and may need to purchase their own renters insurance policy. Parents should consult their insurance agent or company representative to see if their homeowners or renters policy extends to off-campus living situations.


For students going off to college, the Insurance Information Institute recommends the following:

1. Leave valuables at home if possible

While it may be necessary to take a computer or sports equipment to campus, other expensive items, such as valuable jewelry, luxury watches or costly electronics, should be left behind or kept in a local safety deposit box.

2. Create a “dorm inventory”

Before leaving home, students should make a detailed inventory of all the items they are taking with them, and revise it every year. Having an up-to-date inventory will help get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire or other types of disasters. For an easy way to put together an inventory, use the Insurance Information Institute’s free Home Inventory Software.

3. Engrave electronics

Engrave electronic items such as computers, televisions and portable devices like iPods with your name or other identifying information that can help police track the stolen articles.

The Insurance Information Institute offers the following advice to guard against theft of your personal belongings on campus:

1. Always lock your dorm room door and keep your keys with you at all times, even if you leave briefly. And, not just at night – most dorm thefts occur during the day. Insist your roommates do the same.

2. Don’t leave belongings unattended on campus. Whether you are in class, the library, the dining hall or other public areas, keep book bags, purses and laptops with you at all times. These are the primary areas where property theft occurs.

3. Buy a laptop security cable and use it. A combination lock that needs decoding may be just enough to dissuade a thief.

4. Most campus fires are cooking related so be careful about the types of hot plates or microwaves you bring to school, and how you use them.


In the event a student is planning to have a car on campus, choose a safe, reliable vehicle and do some comparison shopping to find the best auto insurance rate. Talk to your independent agent, Mike Salisbury, to find the best rate today. You can call the Reno Agency at 269.792.2232 or email Mike at


If you decide to keep the student’s car at home, be sure to contact your agent who handles your auto insurance, as many insurers will give discounts for students who are living away at school at least 100 miles from home.


Bicycle Safety and Insurance


iii LOGO_RGBx300This article was provided by the Insurance Information Institute to address the importance of insuring your bicycle properly.



Bicycling is increasingly popular, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. And bicycles can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars for a basic bike, to thousands of dollars for specialized racing bikes. Whether you use your bicycle to commute to work or school, or simply like to cycle around the block with your children, it is important to understand the rules of the road and protect your financial investment with the proper insurance.


Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. This coverage will reimburse you, minus your deductible, if your bike is stolen or damaged in a fire, hurricane or other disaster listed in your policy.


If you are purchasing a new bike, keep the receipt and call your insurance agent or company representative immediately. If you own a particularly expensive bicycle, you may want to consider getting an endorsement that will provide additional coverage. Your insurance agent or company representative can review your coverage options with you.


There are two types of coverage for personal property:

1. Actual Cash Value – reimburses you for what the bicycle is actually worth given its age. A 10-year-old bicycle, for example, would be valued at the cost of a comparable bicycle minus 10 years depreciation.

2. Replacement Cost Coverage – reimburses you for what it would cost to replace your 10-year-old bicycle with one of like and quality at current cost. Replacement cost coverage costs about 10 percent more than actual cash value, but it is a good investment.

Homeowners and renters insurance policies also provide liability protection for harm you may cause to someone else or their property. If you injure someone in a bicycle accident and he or she decides to sue, you will be covered up to the limits of your policy. Your homeowners or renters insurance also includes no-fault medical coverage in the event you injure someone. This coverage usually ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. Check with your agent to review how much coverage you have, and adjust the limits as necessary.


To make filing a claim easier, the Insurance Information Institute suggests the following:

1. Save your receipts

When you buy your bicycle you may also purchase expensive equipment to go with it, so make sure to save your receipts for everything. The cost of a helmet, patch kits, pumps, extra inner tubes and other essentials, not to mention that fancy new bike jersey, can add up quickly. If your bike and related items are stolen or destroyed, having receipts can help speed the claims process.

2. Add your bicycle and related items to your home inventory

Everyone should have an up-to-date home inventory of all their personal possessions. An inventory can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and make the claims filing process easier if there is a loss. To help you create your inventory, the Insurance Information Institute provides free, online software at

Of course the best protection of all is to keep your bike safe; to help avoid theft, follow these simple rules:

1. Always lock up your bike, even if it is in your garage, an apartment stairwell, or a college dormitory.

2. Lock your bicycle to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock it to items that can easily be cut, broken or removed, and that the bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked.

3. Lock up your bicycle in a visible, well-lit area.

4. Consider using a U-lock and position the bike frame and wheels so that they take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock-up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack the lock. Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Do not position the lock close to the ground as this makes it easier for a thief to break it.

5. Do not lock up your bicycle in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target you.

6. Consider registering your bike with the National Bike Registry.


It is even more important to keep yourself and your family safe while you are riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that cyclists follow these seven rules:

1. Protect Your Head – Never ride a bike without a properly fitted helmet.

Watch this short video on the proper way to fit a helmet

2. Assure Bicycle Readiness – Ride a bike that fits you and check all parts of the bicycle to make sure they are secure and working well.

3. Learn and Follow the Rules of the Road – Bicycles are considered vehicles on the road; therefore riders must follow the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles.

4. Act Like a Driver of a Motor Vehicle – Always ride with the flow of traffic, on the right side of the road, and as far to the right of the road as is practicable and safe.

5. Be Visible – Always assume you are not seen by others and take responsibility for making yourself visible to motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists.

6. “Drive with Care” – When you ride, consider yourself the driver of a vehicle and always keep safety in mind. Ride in the bike lane, if available. Take extra care when riding on a roadway. Courtesy and predictability are key to safe cycling.

7. Stay Focused. Stay Alert. – Never wear headphones as they hinder your ability to hear traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and ride defensively.

Students Living Off Campus


Many returning college students elect to live in off-campus housing. This means they are renting a home or an apartment from a landlord and are no longer covered by their parents’ homeowners insurance.

Since they will need their own coverage, talk to your independent insurance agent, Mike Salisbury, at 269.792.2232 about purchasing a Renters insurance policy in order to financially protect your college student and their belongings.


The Insurance Information Institute has provided a ‘Renters Insurance Checklist‘ to help you choose the right coverage when you are shopping around for renters insurance or speaking with your agent.


 Renter’s insurance includes three important types of financial protection:

A. Coverage for Personal Possessions

B. Liability Protection

C. Additional Living Expenses


The following the Insurance Information Institute‘s checklist that can help you choose the right coverage.

A. Coverage for Personal Possessions

1. How much insurance should I buy?

Make sure you have enough insurance to replace all of your personal possessions in the event of a burglary, fire or other covered disaster. The easiest way to determine the value of all your personal possessions – including furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even linens – is to create a home inventory. This is a detailed list of all of your personal possessions along with their estimated value. An up-to-date home inventory will also make filing an insurance claim faster and easier.

The Insurance Information Institute offers free Web-based home inventory software, available at

2. Should I get replacement cost or actual cash value coverage?

An actual cash value policy pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation whereas a replacement cost policy will pay the cost of replacing your possessions without accounting for depreciation. The price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more but can be well worth the extra expense as the value of most items tends to depreciate quickly.

3. What disasters are – and are not – covered?

Renters insurance covers you against losses from fire or smoke, lightening, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, and certain types of water damage (such as when the tenant upstairs leaves the water running in the bathtub and floods out your apartment or a burst pipe).

Most renters insurance policies, however, do not cover floods. Flood insurance coverage is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (888-379-9531, and from a few private insurers. You can get a flood insurance policy from the same agent who sold you the renters insurance policy.

Earthquakes are not covered either. You can either get a separate policy or have it added as an “endorsement” to your renters policy, depending on where you live.

4. What is my deductible, and how does it work?

A deductible is an amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles are available as a specified dollar amount, typically $500, $1,000 or $2,000, though higher deductibles are available. The larger the deductible, the lower the premium charged for the same amount of coverage. So if you can afford a deductible of at least $1,000, you may get as much as 25 percent off your premium. Remember though, that you will be responsible for paying the deductible each time you file a claim.

5. What is a “floater” and do I need one?

If you have expensive jewelry, furs, sports or musical equipment, or collectibles, consider adding a floater to your policy. Most standard renters policies offer only a limited dollar amount for such items. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them if they are accidentally lost. You will need to present receipts and/or appraisals for the items covered by the floater.

It is important that expensive items be appraised properly as you will pay a premium based on the appraised value and, in the even of a claim, be compensated for this dollar amount. You can ask your insurer to recommend a reputable appraiser. For some items, like laptop computers, a stand-alone policy may also be an option. Check your renters policy first to see whether your laptop is covered and what the deductible is.


B. Liability Protection

1. Do I have enough liability insurance in the event someone sues me?

Renters insurance provides liability protection that covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage done by you, your family members, and even your pets. This coverage pays for both the cost of defending you in court and court awards – up to the limit of your policy. Most standard renters insurance policies will generally provide at least $100,000 of liability coverage, but additional amounts are available. Consider whether the amount of liability coverage provided by your policy is sufficient to protect your assets.

Did you know you also have no-fault medical coverage as part of the liability protection provided by your renters policy? This coverage is only for injuries sustained by others and is not a substitute for your own health insurance. Medical payments coverage allows someone who gets injured on your property to simply submit his or her medical bills directly to your insurance company so the bills can be paid without resorting to a lawsuit. Most policies include about $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage.

2. Do I need an umbrella liability policy?

If you need a large amount of liability protection, you can purchase a personal umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage provided by your renters or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander. For about $150 to $300 per year, you can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy. The next million will cost about $75, and about $50 for every million after that.

Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, there are certain limits that usually must be met in order to purchase this coverage. Most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your renters policy before selling you an umbrella liability policy for $1 million of additional coverage.

C. Additional Living Expenses

1. If I can’t live in my home after a disaster, will I be covered?

If your home is destroyed by a disaster that your policy covers and you need to live elsewhere, renters insurance provides additional living expenses (ALE). ALE pays for hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. It is important to know how much coverage you have, and what the limits are. Some companies provide coverage for a set amount of time, while others have a financial cap.

Other Coverages

1. I run a business out of my home; do I need supplemental coverage?

A typical homeowners or renters policy provides only $2,500 coverage for business equipment which is generally not enough to replace all of the equipment required by even a small home business. You may also need coverage for liability and lost income. Insurance companies differ considerably in the types of business coverages they offer. Some may meet the specific needs of your business, while others may not. So it is wise to shop around for coverage options as well as price.

2. Am I covered if I am traveling or away from home?

Most renters policies include what is called off-premises coverage. This means that belongings that are outside of your home are covered against the same disasters listed in your policy. For example, property stolen from your car would be covered. However, some companies may limit the amount of off-premises theft to 10 percent of the amount of personal possessions insurance. If you think you need additional off-premises theft coverage – for example if you travel a lot – shop around for a policy that has the insurance protection you need.


Insurance companies often offer discounts on renters insurance if you have another policy with them for your car or business. You can also get discounts if you:

– Have a security system

– Use smoke detectors

– Use deadbolt locks

– Have good credit

– Have multiple policies

– Stay with the same insurer

– Are over 55 years old

Companies offer several types of discounts, but these can vary widely by company and by state, so review your options carefully. Also, some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

Swimming Pools and Trampolines Increase Your Liability Risk


If you are one of the many American homes that own a swimming pool or trampoline, your house is probably one of the favorite hang out spots for the neighborhood kids. That being said, you also increase the likelihood that you will have to file a claim due to injuries sustained from swimming pools and/or trampolines, especially if they lack necessary safety precautions.


It’s important to notify your insurance agent if you have added a swimming pool or trampoline to your property. Failing to do so allows the insurance company the right to deny claims you submit resulting from these items because they were not informed of them in the first place.


If you add a swimming pool to your property, insurance companies shouldn’t cancel your policy or raise your rate, but they will want to see that safety precautions are in place, such as a fence, a locking gate, or an alarm.


Some insurance carriers will not insure you if you have a trampoline on your property. So if you are looking to purchase a trampoline, check with your agent first to see if this will cause an issue with your insurance company. You may be asked to add safety precautions to meet the company’s requirements, or you may need to change insurance companies altogether.


To reduce your liability risk if you own a swimming pool, you should:


–       Add an outdoor swimming pool barrier. This is a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa so that access to the water is limited. A successful barrier prevents a child from getting over, under or through it to gain access to the pool or spa. Barriers commonly include a fence, wall or gate.

**Fence gates should open out from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching. The gate should have no opening greater than ½ inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.

–       Add an alarm to doors, gates, windows and pools or spas to alert adults when unsupervised children enter the area of the pool or spa. Make sure the alarm sound is unique from other sounds in the house, such as the telephone, doorbell and smoke alarms.

–       Add a pool or spa safety cover. This is a manual or motorized barrier that can be placed over the water’s surface, and is easily opened or closed. A cover should withstand the weight of two adults and a child to allow a rescue if an individual falls onto the cover.


To reduce your liability risk if you own a trampoline, you should:

–       Discuss the importance of trampoline safety with your kids, and tell them about the risks of not using it properly.

–       Keep an eye on children and inexperienced jumpers while they are on the trampoline.

–       Instruct jumpers on how to safely enter and exit the trampoline.

–       Do not allow children or pets underneath the trampoline while someone is jumping.

–       Keep the trampoline free from foreign objects and pets. Any new object introduced to the trampoline is another potential hazard that can result in injury.

–       Do not allow roughhousing or flips as this behavior can result in injury.

–       For maximum safety, only allow one jumper at a time.

–       Do not allow children under the age of 6 years to use a full-size trampoline.

–       Use padding that completely covers the springs, hooks and the frame. Or, purchase a spring-less trampoline.

–       Use trampoline net enclosures to prevent injuries from falling off the trampoline.

–       Do not use a ladder with the trampoline. This encourages small children to use the trampoline unsupervised.


The Reno Agency recommends anyone who owns a swimming pool or trampoline to purchase a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy (PLUP). This policy will extend additional liability protection to you in the event a claim exceeds your liability limits on your homeowners insurance.


Not only do PLUP’s extend coverage to your homeowners insurance, but also to your auto insurance, boatowners insurance, rental dwelling insurance, etc. Depending on your insurance company, adding this valuable coverage may provide you with a discount on your other insurance policies.


PLUP’s are purchased in increments of $1 million, so talk with your agent, or call the Reno Agency at 269.792.2232, to determine what amount is appropriate for you.

Tips to Defeat the Heat



Thankfully in Michigan, we don’t often see triple digit temperatures in the summer time. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hot. And let’s not start on the humidity.

Our friends at Hastings Mutual Insurance Company have some real life stories about heat stress incidents they want to share with you, and helpful tips on how to beat the heat.

Roofers on a roofIn the construction industry, an employee began installing a roof on a hot sunny morning. Two hours later, he complained of feeling ill and vomited. However, he continued working. At 3:00 pm, when he descended the ladder, he was disoriented and confused. He missed a step and fell to the ground. His supervisor and some of his co-workers drove him to the hospital and several hours later was pronounced dead. His internal body core temperature was approximately 108 degrees Fahrenheit.


Man carrying basket of grapes in vineyardIn the agricultural industry, a young worker arrived for her shift at a vineyard. Her job required her to spend long hours tying grapevines in the sun. As the day wore on, the temperature skyrocketed, eventually reaching well into the triple digits. After nine hours of work, she collapsed from heat exhaustion. Two days later, she succumbed to the effects of the heat exhaustion and died. She was only 17 years old and her life was snuffled out due to overexposure to the heat.


Hastings Mutual Insurance Company wants you to know that the two above examples were totally preventable.

Here are three simple steps to defeat the heat:

1. Water

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This is no mystery since our bodies are almost entirely composed of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. By that point, you are already on your way to becoming dehydrated. A general rule of thumb is to drink 4 cups of water every hour. It is most effective to drink a small amount of water every 15 minutes.

2. Rest

Rest breaks help the body to recover.

3. Shade

Resting in the shade or air-conditioning helps the body to cool down.


More steps to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion:

1. Report symptoms of heat illness right away

2. Wear light-colored cotton clothing

3. Wear a hat

4. Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn

5. Watch out for persons who show signs of heat stress

6. Know where you are working in case you need to call 9-1-1


While waiting for medical assistance, you can help a person in distress by:

1. Moving the person to a cool, shady area

2. Loosen the person’s clothing

3. Fan air on the worker

4. Apply cool water or ice packs to his or her skin


Heat-Related Illness: Know the Signs

It’s important to know the signs of heat-related illness – acting quickly can save lives.

– Heat Stroke: It’s the most serious heat-related illness. Usually, when your body builds up heat, you sweat to get rid of the extra heat. With heat stroke, your body can’t cool down.

The symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, very high body temperature, and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 if a person shows any signs of heat stroke.

– Heat exhaustion: Happens when your body loses too much water and salt through sweating.

The symptoms may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating.

– Heat fatigue, heat cramps, and heat rash: These are less serious, but they are still signs of over exposure to heat.


OSHA Heat PosterAs a business owner, you can prevent or reduce the chance of your employees falling into these situations by:

– Providing ample cold water for all employees in convenient, visible locations close to the work area.

– Encourage workers to drink water before they get thirsty, or about every 15 minutes.

– Offering plenty of breaks in a shady area or in an air-conditioning facility.

– Encourage employees to wear, or provide employees with light-colored and permeable clothing.

– Monitor workers for signs and symptoms of heat exposure and encourage employees to report symptoms of any heat-related illnesses.

– Train workers and supervisors about the hazards leading to heat stress and ways to prevent them.

– Implement an emergency plan and know what to do if someone is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness.

– Monitor weather conditions and reschedule jobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day.