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West Bend Provides a Silver Lining.

The worst brings out our best.

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Play it safe this holiday season

The holiday shopping season is upon us. The National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales for 2017 will be between $678.75 and $682 billion. Whether braving the crowds of deal-seeking shoppers in stores or enjoying the comfort of their homes while shopping online, many people may be shopping for toys.

The Toy Association™ estimated the U.S. market size for the toy industry was $26.5 billion in 2016. With so many options available, shopping for the perfect gift for your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew can be quite a daunting task.

While choosing toys that will excite and interest your loved ones is a key goal, it’s also important to make sure you’re selecting safe and age-appropriate toys. Don’t worry! There are many great resources available to guide you through the toy gift-giving process.

Playsafe.org is loaded with information, including extensive safety tips, safety myths and facts, an age-by-age toy-buying guide, Q&A, expert advice, and more!

The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission has toy safety alerts and guides.

Kidshealth.org offers additional advice on selecting safe and age-appropriate toys.

And, if you’re looking for specific toy suggestions, check out this site for a variety of lists and reviews to help you find toys by age, category, or interest.


Watch out for deer!

If you live in a rural area or even a suburban neighborhood, it's possible you’ve experienced more deer sightings recently. While many people in the Midwest think of autumn as the season that brings cooler temperatures and brightly-colored leaves, it’s also deer migration and mating season. This results in increased driving risks and more deer-vehicle collisions.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 occupant deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and more than $1 billion in vehicle damage. In 2015, 186 deaths were the result of collisions with animals, according to the IIHS.

Attentive and defensive driving is key to avoiding deer hits. The Insurance Information Institute has these simple tips to help you safely share the roads with deer.


O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree 

Christmas carols fill the air, stores advertise the “best deals of the year,” and holiday decorations adorn homes, yards, and businesses. For millions of Americans, holiday decorations include live Christmas trees.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 27.4 million real Christmas trees were purchased in 2016. While real Christmas trees can add an authentic and festive feel to your décor with their lush and fragrant pine needles, they also create additional fire risks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 200 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees in 2011–2015. These fires caused an annual average of 6 civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage.

Taking some simple precautions can help protect you and your home from Christmas tree fires. Check out these resources from NFPA to learn more about home Christmas tree fires and safety tips.

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