Stay Safe During Holiday Shopping

By Meemic Insurance

Shopping for that perfect gift or groceries for the week can be stressful enough without the threat of theft or other crimes. Unfortunately, busy people can become careless and more susceptible to potential problems. Remember to be careful, prepared and aware, especially during the holiday season.

Paying attention and taking precautions can eliminate your chances of being victimized:

· Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you do shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

· Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. Also, make sure they can describe your clothing and vehicle.

· Dress casually and comfortably, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

· Keep cash in your front pocket and avoid carrying a purse or wallet.

· Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

· Pay for purchases with a credit card or check if possible.

· Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card has been lost, stolen or misused.

· Keep a record of all credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

· Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

· Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason, especially in parking lots. Con artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

· When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Have your car keys in your hand to avoid unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.

· Don’t leave packages visible in your vehicle. Use the trunk or take them directly home.

· Keep your credit card or checkbook stowed away until the last minute to keep thieves from seeing numbers while behind you in line.

· Stay alert to your surroundings, but do ENJOY the time spent shopping for something that will make someone’s special occasion perfect!

For more tips, visit

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Applications

Wisconsin participates in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program. Schools, districts, and early learning centers seeking nomination must submit an online application by December 1 each year. Applications are reviewed each winter, and winners are announced close to Earth Day each spring.

The award recognizes schools, districts, early learning centers, and IHEs* that:

· Reduce environmental impact and costs;

· Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and

· Provide effective environmental and sustainability education.

The online application is the same one used for Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin. The application can be completed over time and not all questions need to be answered.

For questions, contact Victoria Rydberg, DPI Environmental Education Consultant at (608) 266-0419.

Two Grant Opportunities from The Meemic Foundation!

Do you know of a school in need? Whether it’s your child’s school, a former school you attended or a local school in your community, you have an opportunity to show your support by nominating them for a $500 For Our Schools grant that they can use exclusively at Office Depot, Inc. Find out more at

Need new math manipulatives? Microscopes? Art supplies? A special school-wide speaker? Whatever the need, our third quarter Traditional grant provide

s funding up to $500. Get details at

Not a Meemic Foundation Club Member? It’s free and exclusively available to all school employees. Sign up today at

Applications accepted Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2018.

Get Ready for Flue Season – Fireplace and Chimney Safety

By Meemic Insurance

When smoke travels up a chimney, some of it condenses into creosote, which is a tar-like substance that will build up over time. The creosote sticks to the flue and creates a major fire hazard in the chimney as it builds up.

If a fire occurs in a chimney, there are extremely high temperatures that will cause the flue to crack. Any cracks in a chimney will create serious health threats for family members because of the carbon monoxide that is drawn into the home. This substance is normally supposed to be vented out through the chimney. It is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly for family members and pets.

Chimneys should be inspected professionally every year and should also be cleaned by a professional at least once every year. The National Fire Protection Association has created several levels of inspection, which resulted in the NFPA 211 code. It is a standard for fireplaces, chimneys, appliances that burn solid fuel and vents. The NFPA 211 is the standard that all certified chimney sweeps use whenever they are hired to clean chimneys.

Level I Inspection

This level of inspection is recommended when a chimney is easy to access and the homeowner plans to maintain it as is. During a Level I inspection, the chimney sweep will verify that the structure of the chimney is sound and that is also free of obstructions or creosote.

Level II Inspection

If a new heating appliance has been added or an existing one has been modified to burn a different type of fuel, the chimney must have this type of inspection. This level of inspection is also necessary after a property has been sold or if something happened that would have probably caused damage to the chimney. Level II inspections include the same points covered in the previous level as well as crawl spaces, basements and parts of attics. In some cases, this type of inspection may also include performance tests such as pressure or smoke tests. An interior video inspection of the chimney may be conducted if it is deemed necessary.

Level III Inspection

If the previous levels’ inspections result in the suggestion of a hidden hazard and evaluations cannot be performed without accessing areas that are concealed, this type of inspection is necessary. It verifies proper construction and conditions of any portions of the chimney and flue that are concealed. Level III inspections may be necessary if an incident damaged a building to the point its chimney had to be inspected.

Annual inspections are important, but it is also helpful to consider purchasing a metal chimney liner. These liners are designed to protect the inside of the chimney from corrosion, which is the result of combustion byproducts building up. Chimney liners are made from aluminum or stainless steel and may be used for repairing existing chimneys. These items are U.L. tested, so they are both safe and durable if they are installed and maintained properly. For chimneys over gas, oil or wood-burning units, stainless steel liners are used. Aluminum is only suitable for some gas applications. In addition to the liners, high-temperature insulation must be used to ensure safety.

For more fireplace safety tips, visit