24 7 / 2014

Tracy’s Thoughts: Agents of Change

tracyI’ve always disliked that title. Or worse “change agents.”  But you have to admit, they have a real ring to them: cutting edge, driver of newness, destroyer of… okay, getting carried away.

I first heard the term in the 1980s or 1990s at a seminar the company put on to teach all to be change agents. Drive the company to new heights and purge the non-believers. Maybe a bit much but the name has…

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23 7 / 2014

Unreinforced Masonry Buildings: A Hidden Danger

Did you know that almost 1,000 buildings in Seattle are constructed of unreinforced masonry (URM)? At first glance this sounds like a large number of buildings and a random fact, but once we understand the seismic dangers of unreinforced masonry this statistic suddenly becomes pretty frightening.

About 929 buildings in the Pioneer Square neighborhoodand all around Seattle are unreinforced, and…

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21 7 / 2014

Update On Forest Fires

Carlton Complex Fire:

The Carlton Complex Fire in the Methow Valley area of north central Washington State started last Monday after four smaller fires, sparked by lightning, grew into a large blaze. The fire was estimated at around 238,000acres on Sunday with zero percent containment. Fire crews estimate as many as 150 homes have been destroyed, but caution the number could be higher. With…

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15 7 / 2014

Tips To Prevent Brush Fires

Brush Fire

So we’ve talked a few times about forest fires and how to protect your property from them, but let’s be honest: as residents of Western Washington the idea of a forest fire is pretty remote from our minds, right? It’s something that happens near Chelan or in Spokane County.

And that’s true, isn’t it?

Not so much. Take for instance the brush fire that started along I-5 near Kent a couple of days…

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10 7 / 2014

Summer Travel Safety Tips


Summer is upon us! If you’re like me, you’ll be taking at least one trip at some point in the next three months (Helena, Montana, here I come!). In 2012 59% of Americans and said they planned to travel at least once during the summer months, and in 2013 that number rose to 66%. With over half of us on the road or taking to the skies, staying in hotels, and eating in restaurants, we thought…

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08 7 / 2014

Tracy’s Thoughts: Vendors and Conventions


Subscriber Services Manager Tracy Skinner at the PIA Oregon Agents Expo

Throughout my career I’ve attended a good number of conventions and other meetings as a vendor. I set up my booth and talk about WSRB and other topics like golf. OK, mostly golf.

I like to wander about from time to time because I am curious and my feet hurt if I stand still too long. Every show I learn something new on how to…

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30 6 / 2014

The 4th Of July Is Almost Here!

FireworksIt’s almost time to close up shop for a day (be sure you check out our 4th of July business safety tips before locking the doors!), fire up the barbecue, and enjoy the (hopefully sunny) day! To help make sure you’re fully prepped we thought we’d pass along some 4th of July fun facts, recipes, and fireworks safety tips. Read on for more!

Fun Facts:

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24 6 / 2014

New Look, New Logo, Same WSRB

With all great things in the world, the time will come where they need to be updated, made greater, or just flat out changed.

New Look, New Logo, Same WSRB

With all great things in the world, the time will come where they need to be updated, made greater, or just flat out changed.

20 6 / 2014

Common Home Fire Sprinkler Questions Answered

At WSRB we are committed to reducing losses caused by fire. While we focus most of our business activities on property, we also know that saving lives when a fire occurs is even more important. We’ve discussed home fire sprinklers on our blog before (check out the article here!) but some people have wanted to know more. Are they truly effective? How do they work? Won’t the flood damage cost more…

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17 6 / 2014

A Soft Story and Earthquakes

No, not a bedtime story, but a construction type!

A “soft story” is found in buildings that generally have parking beneath the main floors of the structure:

soft story 1

(photo credit)

Essentially they are buildings with large open spaces (parking, commercial establishments, etc.) and typically have 2+ residential floors above. These large openings usually require shear strengthening (stiffening a structure…

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