Home Security Blog.

Parents should know the area their children will be trick-or-treating in. Admonish them not to leave this area even if one of their friends tell them of another great place to trick-or-treat. Parents should accompany smaller children. Get together with your neighbors and go as a group. There is safety in numbers plus you will have as much fun as your children.

COSTUMES

* Purchase costumes, masks, beards, wigs, and costume accessories that are labeled “flame resistant”. These materials will resist burning. Keep away from flimsy-baggy sleeves and skirts.
* Buy or make costumes that are light, bright and easily seen by motorists. Place reflective tape on the costume and carry bags. Look for the tapes in your local hardware, bicycle, sporting goods or department stores such as Walmart or Kmart, etc.
* Each child should carry his/her own flashlight to see and be seen.
* Keep away from high-heeled or oversized shoes. Shoes should be well fitting and sturdy.
* Masks should be well fitted and have good ventilation with large eye holes for good vision.
* Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft flexible materials.

TREATS

* Warn children not to eat any treats until you have inspected them for any signs of tampering.
* Carefully examine any toy or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters under 3 years of age. Do not allow any young children to have items small enough to cause a possible choking or that have small parts that may break off and become a choking hazard.

DECORATIONS

* Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes may come into contact with them.
* remove all obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
* Indoors. keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from curtains or from anything conbustible that could be ignited.
* Check all lights and extension cords for fraying or loose connections. Do not overload circuits with numerous decorations. Keep the decorations clear from the path a trick-or-treater will take to get to your door.

Have a safe, fun, and scary Halloween.


Posted on November 3rd, 2009 at 15:48 by Alex Smith in Uncategorized - Comments (0)

It’s back to school for many students. Several ride their bikes to school. Before the school season starts, it’s time to make a safety check for the bicycle and give safety training to the rider.

The most important thing to check is for proper tire pressure. Most bicycle tires are made out of Butyl Rubber. It is a porous rubber that seeps air so the tires should be checked on a regular basis. Low tire pressure will lead to improper control of the bicycle. Proper tire inflation will also make a more comfortable ride.

The brakes need to be tested and if necessary adjusted.

Do not lubricate the chain with WD-40. It is a good cleaner and moister preventer but it shouldn’t be used as a lubricant. One of the best lubricants is Tri-Flow Bike lube. It will not let dirt and road grit accumulate on the chain. Other things to check is bearing lubrication, proper seat adjustment. Make sure the handle bar is tightly secured, clean gears, rear reflector and both rear and front lights. If the student is carrying books and supplies a good carrier is also recommended. It is important to keep the hands free so that the rider can grip both handle bars while riding the bicycle.

Each student should attend a bike safety course. Most police departments offer a course or will direct you to one.


Posted on August 14th, 2009 at 09:21 by Alex Smith in Bicycle Safety,PERSONAL SAFETY,Uncategorized,Vehicle Security - Comments (0)

I came across an interesting idea. I’m not endorsing the company or it’s products, but only to give out the information.

Years ago I worked for a company that sold “safe rooms” and hidden safes. Yes, they were steel vaulted rooms with unique hiding accesses. Even the experienced intruder would never suspect there was anything behind this hiding technique. Each safe room had an actual safe door behind the whatever they used to hide the existance of the safe room. Needless to say, they were not inexpensive to have installed. To date no one has reported ever having their safe room or safe found after over 30 years they have been installing them.

The problem bought up by the company Burglar Bombs has a valid drawback to a safe room. While most crimes are on the decrease home invasions are on the increase, most invasions are done at night while the victims are sleeping and the intruder can get a surprise attack. So getting into a safe room is not viable. So what can you do to prevent being surprised attacked in your own bedroom?

The best security system has a delay time after it has been triggered. It takes time for the police to get to you. So why not have a device that will cause a would be intruder to flee your home in seconds before he can harm you or take any of your possesions?

Burglar Bombs feel they have the answer. Place one of their devices in the hallway leading to your bedroom. When triggered it puts out a fine mist of non-toxic pepper spray that will engulf the hallway. It effects the breathing of the assailent such as coughing and making it hard to breath. Needless to say, if that were happening to you, you would find the nearest exit to get away from the pepper spray. So the intruder leaves the home before actually getting to his objective, you.

They have several different devices to be used in the area you want protected. They can also be used in conjunction with your existing security system.
You can get more information on their website here.


So that long awaited vacation trip has now arrived. The whole family is excited to go on that cruise, tour that foriegn country or whattever your plans are. Preparing your home for this trip is as important as the trip itself. You will want to come home to the same home as you left it.

First, don’t broadcast your plans to anyone. Many people brag on their trip and you never know who might be listening, Tell the kids not to talk about it as well. Tell everyone about your trip when you get back. It will make a muh better story anyway.

Make your home look like someone is there.
Have a neighbor park his/her car in your driveway.
Have the lawn cut before you go. If need be, have it cut while you are gone.
Have the mail and news paper stopped or have it picked up by ssomeone.
Don’t hide a key to the house. Leave it with a neighbor or relative.
If you you use automatic lights have the kind that come on at different times. Not the same time everyday.
Unplug ALL electronic devices VcR’S, DVD Players , TV’s, Cable Boxes etc. They all have a circuit that is still active even if it is turned off.
Notify the police to watch over your property when they drive by. They would rather do that than fill out a burglary report.
If you have an alarm system, notify them what times you will be traveling and of course be sure you set the alarm before leaving.
Leave an itinerary with a neighbor or relative of where you will be staying and phone numbers that you can be contacted.
Have a list of all medications of family members and any medical needs they may have. List your doctor’s, your pharmacist’s, and at least one emergency contact person’s phone number.
Be sure you have all the necessary travel documents current. Pass ports and visa’s have and expiration date. Check with a travel agency or government office to see what documents you may need. Requirements change often so be sure ou have the latest and correct documents.
Some countrys require a special driver’s permit so don’t assume because you have a valid US driver’s license you can drive in that country.
Hope you have a great trip and take a lot of pictures. Oh yes, don’t forget the camera and film.


Posted on May 26th, 2009 at 04:00 by Alex Smith in PERSONAL SAFETY,Uncategorized - Comments (9)

Effective June 21, 2008 , adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U S federal or state-issued ID that contains the following: Name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and tamper-resistant feature in order to be allowed to go through the check point and onto any flight.

Passengers who do not or cannot present an acceptable ID will have to provide information to the TSA Security Officer performing document checking duties in order to verify their identity. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by the TSA may not be allowed to go through the check point or onto an airplane.

Acceptable ID’s:

* U. S. Passport
* U. S. Passport Card
* DHS “trusted traveler” cards (NEXUS. SENTRI, FAST)
* U. S. Military ID ( active duty or retired military and their dependents)
* Permanent Resident Card
* Boarder Crossing Card
* DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
* Driver’s licenses or other state photo idenity cards issued by the Department of motor vehicles. (0r
equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks. (all states are currently in compliance)
* A native American Tribal Photo ID
* An airline or airport issued ID (if issued under a TSA-apporved security plan)
* A foreign government issued passport
* Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Card
* Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

Non-US/Canadian Citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have documents issued by the U. S. government such as permanent Resident Cards. Those who do not, should carry their passports while visiting the U. S.


Posted on March 27th, 2009 at 08:19 by Alex Smith in Airline Safety,Airport Check Point Security,Traveling Information - Comments (0)

Unfortunately, everyone, even babies have to be checked before boarding any flight through the security check point.

The TSA Officers are trained as to how to approach your child. They realize your concern and will gently treat your child with respect. Some children may react to a stranger and become irritable. When this happens the TSA Officer will consult you about the best way to relieve your childs concern. You must take your child out of any carrier before entering the x-ray machine.

Check with your carrier to see if your child needs his/her own ticket and boarding pass when you make your reservations.

All child related equipment that will fit through the x-ray machine must be checked. Examples: strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats, back-packs, baby slings. When you arrive at the check point collapse or fold your child related equipment. Close up all pockets, baskets, or attached items on the equipment so as they will not get caught up in the x-ray machine. Place all loose items in the plastic basket provided at the check popint. If a piece of equipment is too large to go through the x-ray machine the TSA Officer will have to check it visually and physically inspaect it.

It is recommended that if your child can walk through without assistance, you both may be instrusted to do so. In the case of an infant, then you may carry the child through the metal detector with you. If the alarm sounds then the security officer will check both you and the infant manually. Remember, before entering the metal detector, remove your shoes and all metal objects, such as belts. Place them in the plastic carrier.

All liquids, including baby formula, breast milk, and juice will be inspected, however, you or your infant, toddler will not be asked to taste them. Be sure to declare these items for inspection.

All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in a three-ounce or smaller container. Any containers that are half full or larger are not allowed. Place all three-ounce containers in a “Quart size” plastic bag.

Remember, all liquids must be placed in a single quart-sized zip lock plastic bag. Gallon bags or those that are folded over are not allowed. Each traveler is allowed only ONE quart sized bag. It must be removed from the carry-on luggage before screening. Carry only the needed amount of liquids for the flight with you.

If your child has a disability, you must declare it at the check-in area. A TSA Officer will assist you through check-in when requested.

You may go on-line here for more information about traveling with your child. Being prepared will make your flight more enjoyable and smooth.


Posted on March 7th, 2009 at 06:00 by Alex Smith in Airline Safety - Comment (1)

I am really amazed at the advancement of closed circuit camera systems now available to the general public. Most systems now are “plug & play” so you don’t have to be a computer programmer to set up and use your own system.

One of the relatively newcomers to this market is company called SVAT. They have some really advanced systems that are user friendly. In the past you had to partition out different phases for what you wanted to achieve, but this product can do it with one simple DVR. (digital video recorder) SVAT systems automatically shift from daylight to darkness and can record in total darkness. It’s true you are limited to about fifteen feet seeing in total darkness so the placement of the camera can be critical. The day light hours are recorded in full color and can distiguish facial features clearly.

They have several systems ranging from one to sixteen cameras that can be used both inside as well as outside monitoring. Some come with a full color flat screen that you can have four cameras, quad screen, displayed at the same time. You may wish to view just one camera full screen by itself.

Most of the cameras have a “built-in” motion sensor so that the DVR will only record if there is movement. Most of their DVR’s can record up to 154 days before the hard drive is fully loaded. You may have the DVR over-write at that time if you wish or have the DVR stop recording at that time.

I have not used any of these sytems myself, but looking at all of their specifications, they look impressive. For more information about SVAT systems, click here.


Recently I got a direct mailer from the NFRP, “the National Federation of Retired People.” I went to their website and found out they have been under investigation since 2001 for their deceptive mail out practices.

It seems they try to represent themselves as being approved by the Social Security Agency. By law no company, corporation or business may use any language that denotes any connection with the SSA.

In fact, they are really a company that buys mailing lists especially concentrating on people of retirement age. This is very dangerous because they ask you to respond and give your personal information. Having access to this information can lead to identity theft. Any insurance agency can buy these lists from them so, infact, they indirectly represent the insurance company that bought the mailings. Santonio, Texas is where they operate out of.

The owner of the company’s name is Elmer Gibson. Has been appearing in several different court proceedings beginning in a case initiated by The Social Security Administration October 28, 2002. Legislation is still pending in several other courts about this matter. Until a final ruling can be met it seems Mr. Gibson’s company is still mailing out these confusing and misleading mailers.

Bottom line, “the the buyer beware.” I suggest you check into any company before releasing your personal information you receive via the mail or phone. The mailer I got wanted me to mail back to them on an enlarged post card and place my personal information on the outside of the for the whole world to see. Anyone handling this return mailer would have my personal information in plain sight for identity theft. Common sense should tell anyone it doesn’t make any sense to broadcast your personal information on the outside of any material you are mailing. you for me or anyone


Posted on January 5th, 2009 at 20:27 by Alex Smith in Home Safety,Idnentity theft,mailbox security,U S Mail Security,Uncategorized - Comments (3)

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)

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