Earthquake Safety Tips


These safety tips will help you prepare for the next big earthquake:

Add anchor bolts or steel plates between your home and foundation.
Brace your home’s cripple wall (the short, wood-stud wall between the top of the foundation wall and the first floor) with sheathing.
Add moment resisting frames in homes with soft stories.
Brace unreinforced chimneys, masonry, concrete walls and foundations.
Install an automatic seismic gas shut off valve on your gas meter.
Strap the water heater to the structure of the house.
Keep an emergency supply kit, stored in a waterproof container, in an easily accessible area of your home.

This is not an exhaustive list of retrofitting options to consider, however, these items provide a starting point for discussions with a qualified contractor. Be sure to consult with the appropriate professionals as you plan any seismic improvements.

The 7 largest wildfires in North American history

Western Wildfires

As of Thursday, the Carlton Complex Wildfire in Washington has consumed over a quarter million acres, or an area roughly four times the size of Seattle. At least 200 homes have been burned and another 1,200 have been evacuated in 12 towns. Over 1,600 firefighters are working around the clock and, at last reports, the fire was 16% contained.

But, big as it is, the Carlton Complex fire isn’t all that huge by historical standards.

To put this fire into perspective, here is an overview of some of the largest wildfires to impact North America over the last 150 years.

The Miramichi Fire – New Brunswick and Maine

Surprisingly, some of the largest wildfires in history occurred more than 150 years ago when technology was non-existent and most buildings were made of wood and stone.

The Miramichi/Maine fire of 1825 was by far one of the most devastating, consuming more than 3 million acres and killing 160 people (although some reports put that number closer to 300). Located in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, Miramichi had experienced a particularly dry summer that year. While the cause of the fire is unknown, its devastation is well recorded with reports of the fire traveling at nearly 60 miles per hour across the wilderness in Miramichi and a portion of Maine along the Miramichi River. It left more than 15,000 people homeless, burning their crops and seeds for the next year’s planting season. Many more died because of exposure to the elements and a lack of food.

The Peshtigo Fire – Wisconsin and Michigan

Starting on October 8, 1871, the Peshtigo Fire burned over 3.7 million acres in Wisconsin and Michigan, killing an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people and is remembered as the deadliest wildfire in modern history. Eight hundred people, or half of the town of Peshtigo’s population, perished in the fire. Some survivors tell of jumping into rivers to escape the flames, but many who jumped into the Peshtigo River were boiled to death because of the severity and size of the fire.

It was far more devastating than the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on the same day, with 250 lives lost and 17,400 structures destroyed. The Great Chicago Fire remains the most destructive metropolitan fire in North America with more than $200,000,000 in property damage.

The Thumb Fire – Michigan

Ten years after the Peshtigo Fire, Michigan was devastated again by the Lower Michigan or Thumb Fire in September 1881. With settlers pouring into the area, more people were affected by the fire and left homeless. Over 2.5 million acres and more than 3,000 structures were burned. A reported 169 to 282 lives were lost in the fire. This marked the first time the American Red Cross responded in the aftermath of a fire, shipping food and supplies to the more than 14,000 residents displaced by the fire.

South Carolina Fires

In February 1898, a series of fires swept across South Carolina, charring 3 million acres of forest land and resulting in 14 unconfirmed deaths. Homes and sawmills were among the structures burned.

The Big Burn – Idaho

Over 3 million acres were consumed by the Great Idaho Fire as it traveled across Northern Idaho and western Montana on August 20-21, 1910. Hurricane-force winds blew hundreds of small fires into several large blazes. Eighty-five lives were lost; 78 fire-fighters (including a 28-man fire-fighting crew outside of Avery, Idaho) and seven residents. This would be the largest number of fire-fighters killed in a single event until the September 11 attacks in New York City.

Yellowstone Fires – Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Yellowstone National Park encompasses 3,468 miles (2,221,800 acres) and during the summer of 1988, forest fires scorched 36% of the park. For the first time in its history, the park was closed as thousands of fire-fighters fought the various blazes. Old Faithful, the famous geyser, was almost destroyed. Fire-fighting efforts would exceed $240 million. The fires were finally extinguished with the September snowfalls.

Taylor Complex – Alaska

The Taylor Complex fire in 2004 would be part of Alaska’s record-breaking wildfire season, when more than 6 million acres burned. Started by lightning, the Taylor fire burned more than 1.3 million acres.

Jameis Winston Is College Football’s $10 Million Man, and He’s Not Alone

It should come as no surprise that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, would take out an insurance policy on his potential future earnings in the NFL.

It’s the size of the policy that’s making headlines.

On Monday, Yahoo Sports reported that Winston, a sophomore, is now covered by a $8-$10 million disability and “loss of value” policy based on the assumption that he will be selected in the top 10 of next years’s NFL draft. It would pay out if he drops in the draft or goes undrafted based on injury or illness during his final college season.

Jameis Winston

While it’s unclear how much Winston and his family are paying for this coverage, or even which firm holds the policy, recent reports about Isaiah Austin’s policy pegged his cost at roughly $5,000 per million worth of coverage. Austin is the former Baylor basketball player who received a career-ending medical diagnosis just days before last week’s NBA draft and was forced to remove his name from consideration. As a player in a more dangerous sport, presumably Winston’s premium is more expensive, ranging up to $10,000 per $1 million insured, according to reports.

And sometimes these policies actually do pay out, as evidenced by Austin, as well as former USC linebacker Morgan Breslin, who went undrafted in 2014 while carrying as much as $1 million in loss of value insurance. He was later signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent.

But Winston is far from alone in wanting to protect his future value in the professional leagues. Click through the following pages for a slideshow of other high-profile college players who took out sizable policies on their own careers.

Top 10 Most Stolen Motorcycles


A total of 46,061 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2012 compared with 46,667 in 2011—a decrease of 1%, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) report.  The recovery rate for motorcycles in 2012 was only 39%, says the report, which was based on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) 2012 motorcycle-theft data.




If not quickly recovered, stolen motorcycles are often “chopped,” with their parts finding their way into the black market supply chain. Others are kept intact and resold to unsuspecting buyers after crude attempts to alter their identification. Still others are hidden away for years and, on occasion, recovered as they are in the process of being exported in shipping containers.


There were a total of 548 motorcycle makes identified among the 46,061 U.S. thefts in 2012.