Friday February 28, 2014
Safety comes in various forms. Personal safety involves protecting yourself from harm, vehicle safety involves preventing vehicle theft or damage, and home safety involves protecting your house from intrusion, fire or other threats. You always want to take preventative measures to threats, recognize threats when they are near, and then react to them quickly when they actually happen.
I recently wrote about car automation, and how it helps you prevent auto theft by making it easier to keep all your doors locked. This is an example of preventing a threat before it happens, since car thieves often select vehicles that have their doors or windows already open or unlocked. Car break-ins happen regularly, and keeping your vehicle secured helps reduce your risk. I also wrote about home security fraud, and how you recognize it when a scammer initiates it. Police in Springfield, Missouri recently issued a warning to residents regarding a fraudulent caller falsely identifying himself as a security professional to swindle elderly residents. This is also a frequent problem that pops up all over the country.
When it comes to escaping threats that are currently happening, few are as urgent or serious as a house fire. I explained how to survive for a longer period of time during a fire and how to best find your way to the exit. Part of that plan involves never reentering the house once you escape. A man died recently after running back into his burning house to retrieve his cellphone. Never take your safety for granted like that.
It is often easy to overlook a particular element of your personal, home or vehicle security, because there is so much to keep in mind while also living your daily life. Just take a few minutes every week to examine your habits and your potential vulnerabilities. Patterns and routines are often the key to weakness from a security standpoint. Mixing up your own routine or adding a new element to your security measures helps keep your protected and improves your odds of not becoming a victim.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Home security is all about protecting the people in your home first and the property in the home second. While it is vital to reduce your risk of home invasion, security systems are also useful once someone gets into the house. I wrote recently about how home security systems benefit you aside from preventing burglary. Many systems have emergency buttons that allow you to immediately summon the police, fire department or ambulance in the event of an emergency. If someone bypasses your system or gets into the house when the system is off, you can still get help quickly even if you don't have immediate access to a phone. An Idaho school recently implemented a new security system that included badges for each teacher. In an emergency, school staff push a button on the badge they already have on them to immediately summon help. The same type of system is available for homes as well.
Self-defense classes are also helpful in protecting yourself. I included a basic description of multiple martial-arts styles to act as a primer for you to start looking into self-defense options in your area. You can't take your home security system out with you when you leave the house, and you should be prepared in case someone attempts an assault. In the case of a mugging, it is often wiser to give up your wallet or money if it means the robber leaves you alone afterward, but you don't always have that option. The point of martial arts classes is not to fight. It is to learn how to recognize and avoid potential conflicts, while training techniques to protect yourself physically if you have no other choice.
Sometimes, you need help in those types of situations. Multiple self-defense tools are available that fit directly on your keychain. I described several of them, so that you can make a more informed buying decision. Always research the local laws in your area before making a purchase, however. Have you ever needed to use a self-defense tool to protect yourself? Was it effective? Please feel free to share your experiences.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Sunday February 16, 2014
Wheel and tire theft is increasing around the country, aided by the ease of online sales and more advanced power tools that make removing car wheels faster and easier for thieves. Once the wheels are off, the thieves sell the tires and the wheels to other car aficionados, or they sell the materials for scrap. The statistics for this type of crime are often unavailable, because the theft is often not reported. As with any crime, thieves look for easy targets when deciding which vehicles to attack. I recently wrote about how to lower your risks of wheel and tire theft, and this helps you protect your rims and wheel covers as well.
Window tinting is another way of protecting your vehicle. While the tinting doesn't make the car itself more obscure, it does help keep items in your car obscured from view. You still want to keep devices, CDs and other personal property hidden inside of the car, the tinting does help in cases where you forget to do so. Be aware of local laws before tinting the windows of your car, however. A Baton Rouge man was recently pulled over by police for having tinted windows that looked too dark, and it turned out that he was also a robbery suspect. Police took him into custody.
I described how this same principle applies to your home as well. Window tinting, typically called "window film" when used in a house, helps keep your house cooler while also giving you a greater sense of privacy. If you like sunlight coming into your home unimpeded, clear films also exist that block UV rays while not darkening your rooms. Decorative films are also available, to give the glass a frosted look if you like. Adding film to a window often invalidates any warranties, so make sure the windows aren't still under warranty when you add film to them. There is also added expense, so you need to weight the costs and the rewards before making a purchasing decision.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Friday January 31, 2014
It's been over a year since Hurricane Sandy, and even longer since Hurricane Katrina. However, the effects of the devastation caused by those two hurricanes are still felt by many across the country. If you live in an area that suffers from hurricane activity, it is so important to evacuate the area when you are advised to by the authorities. However, you can still prepare your home for the impending storm to try to minimize some of the damage. I wrote recently about this idea, and the earlier you start your preparations, the better off you will be should a hurricane strike near you.
Those preparations need to include a generator if you are staying in the house when the storm hits. Even if your home safely holds up against the force of the hurricane's wind, rain and flying debris, your power can get knocked out for days after the storm is finished. A generator helps you power your fridge, oven, furnace and other appliances to keep you functional until electricity is restored. I talked about the types of generators and the benefits of them, and I highly recommend you consider purchasing one for emergencies if you don't have one already.
Securing your windows is also extremely important when a hurricane approaches. It is equally important to keep the windows secured year-round, weather notwithstanding. I described the vulnerabilities of windows recently, and talked about how to best secure them against home invasion. Windows are also the occasional target for vandalism as well, so it is essential to keep lower windows well-lit at night and to keep them closed when you go to sleep. When you read about home invasions or see a story on the news, pay attention to the method of entry. Examine your own home to see if you face the same vulnerabilities. Windows are a frequent entry point, and now is a good time to examine your own window security before an incident (or a storm) potentially happens.
Photo © David Beaudrie