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If Fire Strikes, Make Every Second Count: Part 2

Posted by Daryl Girnus on June 18, 2019

No one wants to contemplate what it would be like to have their home catch on fire, but if yours does, you’ll want firefighters to extinguish the flames as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you can help firefighters respond swiftly. In fact, one of the biggest factors affecting firefighters’ speed in putting out a home fire is what you do long before a fire sparks. Taking a little time now could make a huge difference later, reducing property damage and possibly saving lives.  

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Topics: Home safety, Washington State, Disaster preparedness, fire departments, Home Fire Protection

If Fire Strikes, Make Every Second Count: Part 1

Posted by Daryl Girnus on June 4, 2019

When a fire ignites, putting it out is all about speed. The faster you or a firefighter douse the flames with water or an extinguisher, the better. If anything slows down the response, the fire burns longer, causes more damage and poses a greater threat to human life.  

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Topics: Disaster preparedness, fire departments, Hazards

It's Been 34 Years Since Mt. St. Helens Erupted

Posted by WSRB on May 16, 2014


On May 18th, 1980, Mt St Helens in central Western Washington erupted with the force of a 20-megaton bomb. Fifty-seven people died in the wake of the blast, and in the following weeks the ash circled its way around the globe. Approximately 40,000 insurance claims were filed in the following few days, and the eruption caused about $27 million in insured losses.

While scientists don’t know when, they do all seem to agree that Mt St Helens will erupt again. The 34th anniversary of the eruption is on Sunday and serves as a great reminder to know what your insurance policy most likely covers and doesn’t cover.

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Topics: Disaster preparedness, insurance, Home Fire Protection, Hazards

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost and Why It Matters to You

Posted by WSRB on May 13, 2014


At 1:00 AM Sunday morning I awoke to the loud, obnoxious screech of a smoke detector. I grabbed my dog, put on my shoes, and headed out the door to see what was going on. It was pouring down rain and a group of neighbors was gathered in the parking lot in front of my condo. It ends up my next door neighbors had a branch fall through the roof next to the smoke detector, which set off the alarm and allowed the rain to come gushing into their bedroom.

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, rating bureau, Disaster preparedness, insurance, Home Fire Protection

Duties After Loss - What Your Insurance Company Expects from You

Posted by WSRB on May 8, 2014


When you buy a property insurance policy, you’re buying a promise from an insurance company: you’re essentially paying a small amount of money each month to protect yourself, your family, or your business against a much larger loss. So what happens when that loss occurs? While all insurance policies can be different, the Duties After Loss tend to be fairly standard.

Let’s say your kitchen catches on fire, or you accidentally run a red light and hit an oncoming car, or perhaps during a windstorm the shakes on your roof blow away, letting the rain and debris come into your home—what do you do?

According to most insurance policies, you must:

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Topics: rating bureau, Disaster preparedness, insurance

Disaster Preparedness and Your Insurance Policy

Posted by WSRB on April 28, 2014


We often discuss disaster preparedness on our blog: how to prepare for a snowstorm, how to clear your property for wildfire, kitchen safety, etc. But one thing we don’t spend much time covering is the parts of your insurance policy that may come into play after a disaster happens. As we always caution, talk with your agent! They’re your best resource. But here are some questions and topics you should be prepared to discuss with them before a loss occurs:

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Topics: rating bureau, Disaster preparedness, insurance, Home Fire Protection

Tornadoes in Washington - Should You Batten Down the Hatches?

Posted by WSRB on April 25, 2014


When most people think of tornadoes and where they occur, the Midwest usually comes to mind, not somewhere like Washington where our biggest weather woes tend to be flooding and wind storms – and those occasional times in January when it snows three inches and our entire hilly city shuts down. But sarcasm aside, tornadoes do occur in Washington and have even been known to cause property damage and loss of life.

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Topics: rating bureau, Disaster preparedness, insurance, Home Fire Protection, Hazards

Classifying Earthquakes

Posted by WSRB on April 21, 2014


Did you know that not all earthquakes are the same? Many of us in the Seattle area may be aware that earthquakes happen at different depths, known as “shallow” and “deep” earthquakes (there’s a third type, intermediate, as well) and that the Richter scale reading can give a good indication of how bad the damage might be, but different types of shaking occur during a quake as well. Earthquakes and their shaking is a complicated subject, but a little background information can help deepen your understanding beyond simple Richter scale readings.

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Topics: rating bureau, Building Construction, Disaster preparedness, Hazards

Landslide Insurance and High-Risk Areas

Posted by WSRB on April 11, 2014


The employees of the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the community of Oso and its surrounding areas as well as the families, friends, and neighbors of those who were lost in the tragic landslide on March 22, 2014. If you would like to make a donation, has listed some charities and benefits taking contributions. Please keep in mind that scammers do pose as charities, so please donate wisely.

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Topics: Disaster preparedness, insurance, Home Fire Protection, Hazards

April Marks the Start of Wildfire Season

Posted by WSRB on April 2, 2014


April marks the beginning of wildfire season in Washington State, and with recent weather reports showing that El Niño may bring a drier and warmer summer than normal, now is the time to prepare. In a previous post we covered how to minimize your risk during a wildfire, but do you know how wildfires spread? According to, there are three main threats that a home or business can be at risk for if they’re in a wildfire territory: windborne embers, radiant heat, and direct flame contact.

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Topics: risk, Washington State, wildfire, Disaster preparedness, Home Fire Protection, Hazards