Home Security Blog.

Be cautious responding to any phone call or emails from Area Code 809, 284, or 876. There have been many scams connected with these area codes.

Here’s how it works. You get an email or call from one of these area codes saying sorry I missed your call. Or they might tell you that some relative of yours is sick or in trouble. No matter what the call or email it is designed to get you to return a call connected to an “international” phone number the results of which you will be billed an exuberant rate and billed as such. (has been reported to be as much as $25 per minute)

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do because these are legal charges for the country that they are operating in. Most of them are in the Dominican Republic, Canada or a Caribbean country. They don’t have to comply with United states Laws regarding such calls. The bad thing about these calls is that you probably will not realize the costs of these calls until you get your telephone bill.

Never return calls to any unfamiliar number or person. You can call the directory assistance operator to get information on any suspicious call you may have recieved. They can check the area code location of the call.

Carefully read your telephone bill when you receive it. Check all charges and any fees that might be connected with any charges listed on your bill.

If you feel you have been scamed contact the carrier the charge was originated from. The name and phone number should be printed on your bill. Often the charge can be resolved by simple phone call. If the carrier refuses to resolve the charges then call your carrier or ATT&T. ATT&T will work with your carrier to try to cancel any fraudulent charge and help remove it from your bill.

ATT&T has been working hard to eliminate these scams for some time now. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and give them the information to look into your situation.


Before getting into the home emergency Supply Kit, I have some recommendations about Emergencies.
Every family member should know what to do in all types of emergencies. Have practice drills with all members. Have a meeting place to gather so that you know all members are safe if an emergency should occur. Many have lost their lives looking for family members or pets going back into a burning or destroyed home.

All family members should know where all utilitiy cut-offs are located and how to shut them off. If a tool is needed, know where it is kept and how to use it.

The U. S. Department of Homeland security has prepared an emergency suply list. Here are some of their suggestions:

* Water, at least one gallon for each person for at least three days.
* Food, at least a three day supply of non-perishable food.
* Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and a NOAA Weather radio with extra batteries.
* Flashlight with extra batteries.
* First Aid Kit and instructions on first aid.
* Whistle or some other signaling device.
* Dust masks and plastic sheeting with duct tape to form a shelter-in-place”.
* Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties for personal sanitation.
* Can opener for canned goods.
* Local maps.
* Prescription medications and glasses.
* Infant formula and diapers.
* Pet food and water for them.
* Have important papers in a water proof container, ie: Insurance papers, Bank information, any
account information.
* Cash, travelers checks and change.
* Sleepings bags for each person. Extra blankets and a change of clothes for everyone.
* Household bleach,(with eye dropper) Mix nine parts of water to one part of bleach.
* fire extinguisher
* Matches in a water proof container or lighters.
* Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
* Mess kits, paper cups, plates, towels and utensils.
* Paper and pencils.
* Books games, puzzles, or other activity items.
Have your family review and discuss what’s in your kit and what else they feel should be included. There may be some unique items needed for your family.


Posted on December 16th, 2008 at 07:28 by Alex Smith in Home Safety,PERSONAL SAFETY - Comments (2)

In a study done by the Jackson Police Department of Jackson, Tennessee, they found that certain crimes are most likely to occur according to the season of the year. There are many factors to consider as to why a certain crime is most likely at any one time of the year.

It seems that shorter days and cooler weather we find fewer assaults and car thefts. The closer you get to the Christmas Holidays, the more likely stores find higher shoplifting and identity theft.

Here’s a breakdown of incidents they found in their community:

Fall seemed to have more vandalism than in February
Winter showed the lowest number of burglaries as compared to July.
Spring had a rise in simple assaults whereas May and December were much lower.
As you might expect, Summer had the highest of violent crimes, murders and rapes.

You will notice that the frequency of crimes has a lot to do with the weather. People are more active in hot weather and less social in colder temperatures. Some increases can be attributed to juveniles out of school with more time on their hands. The dark hours of winter makes it easier for burglaries because it affords more cover the burglar more confidence he will gwt away with it.

What this article showed me was that we need to always be aware of our surroundings no matter what time of year. Summer months we tend to not lock windows and doors which allows more crime of opportunity. Winter months we’re so wrapped up to keep warm that we tend to not see around us. Spring brings a euphoria that we tend to be more trusting of people and may let our guard down. Fall brings us Halloween and more vandalism.

Your best thing a person can do to avoid being a target is to always be alert. Remember, most crimes are crimes of opportunity. People are too often preoccupied and not paying attention to their surroundings.

Report suspicious activity even if it’s not your home. You will be protecting yourself in the long run.


Posted on October 23rd, 2008 at 07:12 by Alex Smith in Home Safety,Identity theft,PERSONAL SAFETY,protecting valuables,Vehicle Security - Comments (5)

I’ve been asked many times over the years, “Why can’t I install my security system?” I’d answer, “yes you can, but it does take some knowledge of electronics, electrical wiring and computers in most cases.” I got asked that question again just yesterday so I went digging into and looking at some of the security systems available to the general public.

Security companies buy their components from a wholesaler. These wholesale distributors do not sell to the public because most states require a state license to install security systems. More manufacturers are now offering their products directly to the public via the internet. My opinion is that you might spend more money having a professional install your system, but it’s the best option you have. What kind of a price tag would you put on protecting your family or business? So you must ask yourself, is it worth taking the chance on a “self installed” security system.

Be that as it may, YES you can install your own system. I did have a lot of fun looking up systems and companies on the internet. Let me state, I DO NOT recommend the average person to install their own system.

There is a website called, Home Security Store that gives a good place for the do it yourselfer. They give a lot of options in many catagories. Here again, I am not endorsing them but they do give you several different companies to get information from.

Before trying to decide what system you are about to install first determine what you want it to do. Some of the questions are:

* Do you want the system monitored by a professional “central station.”
* Check out the central stations that might monitor your system. Is it UL approved? Is it one person
or are there many persons on duty 24/7? Can they receive signals from the security system you are
to install. Some security systems will only call their particular monitoring station.
* Do you want video surviellance? If so is it important to have “night vision.”?
* Do you want to be able to access your system remotely anywhere?
* Do you want a DVR (ditital video recorder) that saves and records all happenings to be reviewed at
a later date?
* Is the system going to blend in with the decor of where it is to be installed?
* Do you need to get permission from a landlord or historic society before you can install it?
* Do you need to get a permit from a city or management group? Some cities require a permit and
can fine you heavily if the police or fire department are dispatched to your home and you do not
have your system registered with them.
* Is the system user friendly? If a system is hard to operate most likely you will never use it.
* Is there weather or temperature conditions to be met? Some components have to be housed in
weather housings to operate under certain conditions.
* What distances will the devices transmit their siganals to what ever receiver it is programed into?
* What height must a device be installed at? Too high of a ceiling or too far of a distance may mean
the device will not cover the area you want to secure.

Before installing your own system contact your local Police department. They will be glad to give all the information you will need.


Living with an Alzheimer’s patient can be very challenging. Each person suffering from AD can react to the disease differently. Helping these patients takes a lot of patience and knowlege. You will have to develop skills and be creative in your approach of caring for them.

It is estimated that over 4.5 million American adults may have this impairment. You must learn to recognize the early symptoms and start preparing for being a care giver that could last for a long time.

AD is a progressive disease that affects the brain cells that produce Dementia, and memory loss. AD normally affects older people but it could start at a low age of 50. You cannot predict how fast the disease will progress because it varies with each patient. Some early signs can be having a hard time finding the right word to say, finishing thoughts, following directions, and loss of reasoning. If a person has a loss between night and day an gets dressed to go out thinking that the day is just starting is another good sign of early AD.

It is hard to predict what an AD person may do. Think prevention and try to adapt the person’s surroundings to decrease hazards. Here is some ideas you may want to consider:
* Display all emergency numbers, your home address, family and friends names, in several places in the home and by each phone.
* Leave a spare key with a neighbor in case the person locks you out.
* Try not to use extension cords. Place lights and appliances near an outlet. If you have to, secure it to the baseboard.
* Cover unused wall outlets with “child-proof” plugs.
* Stairways should have at least one handrail and it should extend beyond the first step. Carpeted
stairs or stairs with safety grips are best.
* Keep ALL medications and prescription drugs (over the counter drugs) under lock and key. Be sure all are clearly marked with the name, doseage, strength, and expiration date. It is also good to have the pharmacy name, local emergency services phone number in the locked cabinet.
* Keep all alcohol locked up as well. Alcohol increases confusion in AD patients.
* Keep sharp objects and clutter out of the way. Be sure all passageways are clear.
* Remove firearms and other weapons from the home, or render them safe by locking them up and
engage trigger safety locks. It’s best to keep the ammunition in another location again locked up.
* Power tools and machinery can be dangerous. Survey your worksop, basement or garage for
possible danger with these items.
* Be aware of all poisonous materials. Even some plants can be harmful. Check with your local poisoncontrol center if you have any questions about a certain plant or substance.
* Be sure all the important information stored on your computer is safe. Install passwords or save it
on a CD, or flash drive for safe keeping. There are several different programs you can install to help protect your stored files. Your local electronic store can help you recommend a program for your needs.
* Remove scatter rugs or any flooring that in not secured to the floor.

Alzheimer’s is a hard on the individual as well as family and friends. Trying to keep them safe and happy at home for as long is possible is a win-win situation for all concerned. Hopefully in the near future, a cure can be found for this terrible disease.


We all have to give more attention to the our surroundings no matter where we are. Sometimes we get into a routine and let our guard down because we are so familiar with our surroundings. Here are some tips of the different places you might be in during your daily routine for personal safety.

Office/Work Place:

Always have your purse locked up in a secure drawer. Don’t leave it on the floor or desk. If you can’t lock it up in your desk, always take it with you when you leave your work area.

Never leave personal phone numbers posted on the wall around your desk. Never give a number to anyone without their permission.

If you are planning a trip, don’t tell the whole office of your plans. Tell them about your trip after you get back. It makes for a better story anyway. You never know who’s listening.

Be cautious of all repair people or those who service your office. Especially if a new person that normally does not service your office comes in. Always ask for their proper identification. If suspicious, call the company they represent or inform your boss.

Elevators:

Always be aware of whose in the elevator. Look inside before you enter. If a person looks suspicious, wait for the next car. DON’T GET IN.

This also applies while you are waiting for an elevator. If you feel uncomfortable with anyone waiting as well, don’t get in. Walk away look like you changed your mind to do something else.

While on the elevator try to stand close to the controls. All elevators have an emergency alarm. Also if you feel threatened push all the buttons so the elevator will stop at all floors. This gives you a better chance to escape a situation.

Parking your car at work:

Try to park your car in a well lighted area next to an exit or elevator. Know where these exits are and have an escape plan.

Have your car keys out and in your hand before entering the parking garage. While searching for them in your purse can make you unaware of what’s happening around you and you can be approached easily without you noticing.

Always look into the back seat, floorboards, and around your car as you approach it.

Needless to say, ALWAYS lock you car even when you are in it. Keep the windows up so no one can reach in.

Keep your purse on the floorboards and don’t leave it on the seat. If you leave it in plain sight just to “pop” into a store you will take the chance someone will break your car window and steal your purse.

If you are bumped from behind DO NOT get out of your car immediately. Assess your suroundings. This could be a ploy to “car jack” you. It’s best to stay in your car and wait for the police to arrive. If the other party leaves the scene don’t try to follow. Try to get the tag number and write down a good description of the vehicle.

Always leave a good distance between your car in front of you. If threatened, you can step on the gas and make a get away. Don’t try to fight off an attacker. Give up your car and run away. Your car can be replaced, you can’t. Throw the keys if needed in the the opposite direction you are running. This will create a distraction and will give you a little more time to escape.

If your car breaks down, raise the hood and get back into the car and tie something to the car antenna. If someone stops to assist you DO NOT let them into your car. Ask them to call for help and do not accept a ride from them.


Posted on July 27th, 2008 at 05:03 by Alex Smith in Car Security,PERSONAL SAFETY,protecting valuables,Vehicle Security - Comments (3)

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